Electric Vehicles (EVs) have now become a common sight on our streets. And although they are still more expensive than petrol or diesel cars, their price has lowered considerably, putting them within reach of many more households.
While Tesla comes to mind as the leading manufacturer of EVs, all major players in the industry have ventured into that market and have planned comprehensive strategies to win a piece of the cake.
Audi has committed to offer three new electric vehicles by 2020, and to electrify in some way a third of all cars they sell by 2025.
This electrification is likely to be implemented on 48-volt hybrids. These cars would use a water-cooled generator instead of a traditional starter motor, which would allow them to coast with the engine off for up to a minute thus reducing fuel consumption.
Higher up in the price tag, Audi will launch e-tron cars with all-electric powertrains.
BMW’s plans are a bit more ambitious as they announced that they would offer 25 electrified vehicles by 2025; twelve of them to be all electric.
With such a wider range of vehicles concerned, BMW plans to develop modular car ‘platforms’, i.e. a few number of bodies able to accommodate various battery sizes to enable the car maker to diversify its offer while keeping the manufacturing process efficient and profitable. Be they sedans, hatches, wagons or SUV, they will all be capable to house battery packs with heights between 80 and 140mm to suit different lines, from 60kWh battery providing a range of 450km range to 120kWh offering a range of over 700km.
They will be paired with electric motors of various performance (100kW, 190kW, 250kW and 300kW) to cover all price ranges of the market, from entry-level to high-performance models.
American car manufacturers aren’t renowned for leading the charge when it comes to electric vehicles but GM may be paving the way for others.
The Detroit-based company has announced that they would offer 20 EVs by 2023, the first two of which should be available by the middle of 2018.
Their strategy to penetrate the market is two pronged: electric cars are, obviously a must, but they also believe that fuel-cell vehicles will play an important role and they are investing in both these areas.
You don’t change a winning team.
VW’s modular approach to manufacturing is one of the reasons of their success. When it comes to electric vehicles, they indeed follow in their own footsteps, using the MEB platform.
Two EVs will launch in 2020, the I.D and I.D Crozz, with a price range similar to the Golf hatch and Tiguan crossover respectively. A third vehicle, the I.D Buzz will be a modern take on the iconic Kombi and is planned for release early 2022, while there are rumours of an electric Beetle in the pipeline.
The company aims at selling three million electric cars by 2030 and plans to have all its vehicles electrified by that date too.
Toyota (and Lexus)
Toyota is already a serious name when it comes to hybrid vehicles. Its Prius is one of the best-known and popular EVs on the market.
It is planning to continue to develop its electric technology over the coming years and offer electrified powertrains across its whole range by 2025 as well as reach a sales figure of 5.5 million electrified vehicles by 2030, one million of this to be zero emissions. Toyota will also offer over 10 battery-electric cars by 2020.
Toyota is also ramping up its investment in research and is hoping to have solid-state batteries ready for consumers in the early part of the 2020s’. They have also joined force with Panasonic to study prismatic batteries, which promise to cut weight and costs.
The company intends to release five all-electric vehicles between 2019 and 2021.
All other Volvo vehicles released from 2019 will also have an electrified powertrain, which means that they will all have some form of hybrid system, with a goal of selling one million electrified cars by 2025.
This is not all though: the car manufacturer will extend its commitment to the environment by making its manufacturing plants carbon neutral by 2025.
The company originally committed to release ten fully-electric models by 2025 but has brought this date forward to 2022. To support this, parent company Daimler has promised $14 million for development to Mercedes and Smart.
The mid-size range will be led by the EQ SUV presented at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. Dual motors including of up to 300kW and a battery pack of yet-unspecified size will deliver a range of around 500km.
Modular architecture definitely seems to be the way forward as Mercedes-Benz is favouring it too. There will be a common wheelbase, track width and battery size which can be then adapted to make sedans, coupes, four-wheel drives and anything else in between.
It has to be said that Hyundai’s attempts at producing electric vehicles have been half-hearted, but it is now serious about catching up.
By 2025, the company is planning on rolling out 38 ‘green vehicles’ either electrified or fuel-cell powered. This wave will be kick-started in 2018 with an all-electric Kona and a fuel-cell SUV to follow shortly after.
Ford is another slow adopter when it comes to electric vehicles but they are planning on launching 13 electrified models by 2021, starting with hybrid versions of the F-150 Mustang and Transit Custom and a purely-electric SUV to arrive in 2020. With a range above 480km, the compact 4WD will be available in North America, Europe and Asia.
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