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The global shift to electric cars accelerates in 2020

Which automakers are taking the move to electric transport seriously now that we’ve hit the 2020s?

Australia no longer manufactures its own cars - we rely on imports. As other countries around the world move to electric vehicles and phase out petrol / diesel cars, the time will come when we are only able to purchase electric or other alternative energy-fueled cars.

The big picture

Number of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) currently in operation globally ~6 million
International Energy Agency forecast of PEV numbers by 2030 (1) (conservative) 250 million
Number of new EV products to market by the end of 2022 (2) 289
Conservative estimate of Australian sales of new electric vehicles by 2030 615,000

The world’s major car manufacturers are attempting to remain competitive by investing hundreds of billions to transition to low or zero-emission vehicles. This sets the context for the future we are likely to see for Australia’s automotive future.

Is this future really possible?

Whilst proposed investments and promises confirm that the world car fleet is going electric over the next two decades, they should be read with some care. According to European environmental lobby group Transport and Environment, European carmakers have been deliberately holding back on pure battery electric car sales.

“Carmakers are playing a high-risk game where they’re deliberately postponing sales of cleaner cars to maximize SUV-fueled profits,” said Transport and Environment clean vehicles manager, Julia Poliscanova. (3)

On the other hand, leaders in this space are working to reduce the cost of manufacturing and improve the performance of plug-in vehicles. Laggards risk being too late to develop the necessary capability and technology to remain competitive and the demand for hundreds of millions of electric vehicles may be serviced by non-traditional automakers that have already begun investing in this space.

Who is doing what?

We’ve scoured the internet to bring you an up-to-date compilation of what commitments the major global car makers have made to the electric transition.

Who is leading the pack? Who is resisting change? Which brands will survive?

Leaders

Tesla As the company that started the electric car revolution, with a mission “to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy”, they stand outside the incumbent industry. Tesla ranked as the world's best-selling plug-in passenger car manufacturer in 2018, and have produced over 921,000 electric cars (4). They have now eclipsed the total historic electric sales by any other vehicle manufacturer, including BYD, the largest EV manufacturer in China. All other auto makers are playing catch-up with Tesla, and it’s clear quite a few will fail.
Company positioning Sales target # of new models Proposed investment
BMW (2) All brands and model series can be electrified, with a full-electric or plug-in hybrid drive-train being offered in addition to the combustion engine option (2017).

Supporting Californian fuel emission standards.

Electrified vehicles to account for between 15-25% of sales by 2025 25 new plug-in electric cars to 2023. (6) $6.5 billion, including €200 million ($A325 million) investment into upgrading its Munich plant (7)
Changan
(Chinese state-run auto maker)
Will shift to making electric vehicles exclusively, ending sales of combustion-engine cars by 2025 (8). (2017) By 2020 between 7%-10% of its sales to be of new energy vehicles. (9) 34 new energy models by 2025 18 billion yuan ($3 billion) into new energy vehicle development during a 10-year period.
Daimler (10): (incorporates Mercedes-Benz) No current plans to develop new fossil fuel engines. (2019) 10 different all-electric models by 2022 €10 billion
Ford Motor Company (11) Supporting Californian fuel emission standards. 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its model lineup by 2025 US$11 billion by 2022
Honda (12) “Our full line-up will be electrified by 2022,” said Tom Gardner, Honda’s senior vice president in Europe. (2019)

Supporting Californian fuel emission standards.

Will only sell electric and hybrid cars in Europe by three years to 2022. The Australian target is 25% electrified by 2025 (13). Six electrified models launched over the next three years, with Honda e and new hybrid-only Jazz variant leading the way. (14) $0.545 billion (15)
Volkswagen (16) Are betting the future of the company by starting an “e-offensive”.

Supporting Californian fuel emission standards.

3 million pure electric cars per year by 2025 (one third of global sales) More than 75 new, electrified Group models are due to come onto the market, along with around 60 hybrid models. Nearly €60 billion ($A97.3 billion) over the next few years in a large-scale transition towards electric vehicles (17).

Laggards

It’s hard to choose between Toyota and Mazda as the most resistant to change, although Fiat Chrysler have pushed hard against EVs in recent years.

A number of companies have publicly sided with the Trump administration in its attempt to roll back emissions standards and make stricter standards in California illegal. This action to resist change speaks loudly.

Despite Hyundai visibly marketing the Kona and Ioniq in Australia, we have to put them in the laggard list because of their stance in opposing stronger emissions standards.

Company positioning Sales target # of new models Proposed investment
Fiat Chrysler Automotive (18)  Ex-CEO making significant anti-EV statements in 2017 and 2018.

Against Californian emission standards.

Jeep (FCA owned) will have four all-electric vehicles and 10 PHEVs by 2022. Plans to spend $9B electrifying (19), with 700 million euros ($1.1 billion) specifically to take the Fiat 500 electric (20).
General Motors (owns Holden) (21) CEO Mary Barra promised an ‘all-electric future’. Collaboration with EVgo, ChargePoint and Greenlots to establish the largest collective EV-charging network in the United States with access to more than 31,000 chargers.” (22)

Against Californian emission standards.

20 models of fully electric cars by 2023. Investing $2.3B alongside LG Chem to build batteries. (23)
Hyundai (24) “Long-term aim is to be creating vehicles that have as small an impact on the environment as possible, because their powertrains require no fossil fuels, and they emit no CO2 or other pollutants.” (25)

Against Californian emission standards.

44 hybrid and electric cars in the next five years. Investing 11 trillion won ($A13.5 billion) into electric and autonomous cars. (26)
Kia Against Californian emission standards.

Decided against releasing their fully electric Niro in Australia.

One million electrified vehicles annually by 2026, half of which it aims to be all-electric 44 electrified models – which includes hybrids and plug-in hybrids as well – by 2025 (27). $36 billion 'Plan S’ strategy (28)
Mazda (29)

 

Among the slowest car-makers to embrace pure-electric cars and last year the brand failed to meet mandatory fleet-average CO2 average emissions.

Set aside $88 million ($A121m) to pay fines in 2018 alone. (30)

Against Californian emission standards.

Will deploy some form of electrification in all production vehicles by 2030. Fully electric is expected to account for only 5% of these cars. (2018) $0.25 billion (31)
Toyota (32) Signed a joint venture agreement with Chinese EV manufacturer BYD in November 2019 to develop battery electric vehicles. Aiming for all Toyota vehicles and sites to be zero emissions by 2050 (33).

Have repeatedly stated that they believe fuel cell technology is the future of zero-emissions vehicles. (34)

Against Californian emission standards.

Half of its global sales from EVs by 2025. 1 million fully electric cars (BEVs + fuel cell EVs) per year by 2030. Sometime in the early 2020s, Toyota intends to have 10 fully electric cars on the market. $13.5 billion through 2030 on battery technology. (35)
Subaru (48) Slow off the mark and effort focused on hybrids. 100% electric vehicles by mid-2030 1 all electric SUV Partnering to use Toyota technology.

The rest

While all companies are taking action, we’d expect many of these companies to be a lot more ambitious.

Company positioning Sales target # of new models Proposed investment
Audi (36) Have a ‘Consistently Audi’ strategy, to accelerate a roadmap towards electrification, but nothing jumps out about Audi’s approach.  1/3 of their vehicle sales by 2025 to be fully-electric More than 30 electrified models by 2025, “20 of which will be fully electric.” €12 billion by 2024 (37)
Geely (owns Volvo and Lotus) (38) Modest investment and no major EV statements.  The "A" model will be joined by ten more electric vehicles by 2025. $5 billion
Groupe PSA (Peugeot, Citroën, DS Automobiles, Opel and Vauxhall) (39) Starting in 2019, all new petrol and diesel models will also systematically come in a hybrid or all-electric version. Fifteen new electrified vehicles will be launched in the next two years. €300 million to build electric powertrains and e-transmission (40)
Mitsubishi (41)
Nissan (42)
Renault (43)
A fairly uninspiring approach from this group.

Nissan is against Californian emission standards.

1 million sales of electric or electrified vehicles by 2022 12 pure electric models across its various global brands, using a common EV platform by 2022 $10 billion to 2022 (44)
SAIC (45) 600,000 units by 2020  30 new models equipped with “world-leading technologies” 20 billion yuan (US$2.85B) in new energy vehicles
Volvo (46) All new Volvo models released from 2019 will be made available as either a mild hybrid, plug-in hybrid or battery-electric vehicle.  50% fully electric by 2025 and 1 million total sales. All new models to have an electric variant. 5 percent of its annual revenue, equating to a little more than $1 billion a year, to build driverless and electric cars (47)

What does this all mean?

Leaders in this space will be able to tap into whole new markets, whilst the laggards risk going out of business entirely.

It’s hard to imagine Toyota, the largest automaker in the world, going bankrupt because it can no longer compete with Chinese and European electric vehicle manufacturers. We need only look at the failure of companies such as Nokia and Kodak to understand that incumbents must embrace disruption to be able to survive.

In five years the inevitable shift to clean electric vehicles will be well on the way. By the end of the decade, buying a petrol or diesel car in Australia will no longer be the norm. It’s likely that in just a few years you won’t be able to buy a car without an electric motor and Australia will be adopting electric cars whether we are ready or not.

[19th January 2020]

Footnotes

[1] https://www.iea.org/reports/global-ev-outlook-2019, accessed 9 December 2019

[2] Unlocking demand for renewably powered electric vehicles, 2018, Evenergi

[3] https://thedriven.io/2019/07/01/bmw-unveils-new-electric-vehicles-says-europeans-dont-want-them/, accessed 19 November 2019

[4] https://www.iea.org/reports/global-ev-outlook-2019, accessed 9 December 2019

[5] Unlocking demand for renewably powered electric vehicles, 2018, Evenergi

[6] https://thedriven.io/2019/07/01/bmw-unveils-new-electric-vehicles-says-europeans-dont-want-them/, accessed 19 November 2019

[7] https://graphics.reuters.com/AUTOS-INVESTMENT-ELECTRIC/010081ZB3HD/index.html, accessed 16 January 2020

[8] https://www.wsj.com/articles/major-chinese-car-maker-plans-electric-only-future-1508414743, accessed 21 Nov 2019

[9] https://wattev2buy.com/electric-vehicles/changan-electric-vehicles/, accessed 21 November 2019

[10] https://thedriven.io/2019/09/20/musk-congratulates-daimler-shift-electric-vehicles/, Accessed 14 Nov 2019

[11] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autoshow-detroit-ford-motor/ford-plans-11-billion-investment-40-electrified-vehicles-by-2022-idUSKBN1F30YZ, accessed 18 Nov 2019

[12] https://www.euractiv.com/section/electric-cars/news/honda-speeds-up-plans-to-electrify-car-models-in-europe/, accessed 18 Nov 2019

[13] https://www.racv.com.au/royalauto/moving/news-information/electric-vehicle-strategies.html, accessed 22 Nov 2019

[14] https://www.honda.ie/Page/111/honda-electric-vision, accessed 18 Nov 2019

[15] https://www.peakresources.com.au/news/3823/, accessed 15 January 2020

[16] https://www.volkswagenag.com/en/news/stories/2019/09/the-future-lies-in-e-mobility.html, Accessed 14 Nov 2019

[17] https://thedriven.io/2019/11/19/volkswagen-commits-97-billion-to-electric-mobility-switch/, accessed 21 Nov 2019

[18] https://electrek.co/2019/07/08/dodge-electric-absolute-future/, accessed 18 Nov 2019

[19] https://cleantechnica.com/2018/10/29/worlds-10-biggest-automakers-their-ev-plans/, accessed 9 December 2019

[20] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-fiat-chrysler-fiat-500-bev/fca-plans-electric-fiat-500-for-2020-as-moves-on-from-renault-idUSKCN1U61AV, accessed 18 Nov 2019

[21] https://apnews.com/c70d4274a69643bba37667585dbee7aa, accessed 18 Nov 2019

[22] https://media.gm.com/media/us/en/gm/home.detail.html/content/Pages/news/us/en/2019/jan/0109-charging.html, accessed 18 Nov 2019

[23] https://thedriven.io/2019/12/06/gm-and-lg-chem-announce-joint-battery-venture-worth-us2-3-billion/, accessed 6 December 2019

[24] https://www.caradvice.com.au/805251/hyundai-hybrid-electric/, accessed 14 November 2019

[25] https://www.hyundai.com/au/en/why-hyundai/eco-initiatives, accessed 14 November 2019

[26] https://thedriven.io/2019/12/06/hyundai-to-focus-on-autonomous-and-electric-vehicles-in-75-billion-push/, accessed 6 December 2019

[27] https://www.racv.com.au/royalauto/moving/news-information/electric-vehicle-strategies.html, accessed 2 November 2019

[28] https://thedriven.io/2020/01/15/kia-to-target-1-million-electric-car-sales-yearly-by-2026-in-36-billion-plan/, accessed 16 January 2020

[29] https://www2.mazda.com/en/publicity/release/2018/201810/181002a.html, accessed 21 November 2019

[30] https://www.carsales.com.au/editorial/details/mazda-planning-pure-electric-car-push-to-avoid-eu-fines-115535/, accessed 9 December 2019

[31] https://graphics.reuters.com/AUTOS-INVESTMENT-ELECTRIC/010081ZB3HD/index.html, accessed 15 January 2020

[32] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-byd-toyota-electric-idUSKBN1XH119, accessed 14 November 2019

[33] https://thedriven.io/2019/11/08/toyota-signs-joint-venture-deal-with-large-chinese-battery-and-ev-manufacturer/ , accessed 22 November 2019

[34] https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/toyota-electric-vehicle-development-accelerated/, accessed 14 November 2019

[35] https://graphics.reuters.com/AUTOS-INVESTMENT-ELECTRIC/010081ZB3HD/index.html, accessed 15 January 2020

[36] https://www.auto123.com/en/news/audi-e-tron-electric-commitment/65164/, Accessed 14 Nov 2019

[37] https://electrek.co/2019/11/29/audi-accelerates-electric-vehicle-plans-12-billion-investment/, accessed 9 December 2019

[38] https://www.forbes.com/sites/billroberson/2019/04/14/heads-up-tesla-and-gm-chinas-geely-plays-the-electric-angle-with-geometry-line-and-a-new-ev/#7630f61f27c4, accessed 20 Nov 2019

[39] https://www.groupe-psa.com/en/automotive-group/innovation/groupe-psa-lelectrification-en-marche/, accessed 19 November 2019

[40] https://www.groupe-psa.com/en/automotive-group/innovation/groupe-psa-lelectrification-en-marche/, accessed 9 December 2019

[41] https://www.racv.com.au/royalauto/moving/news-information/electric-vehicle-strategies.html, accessed 21 Nov 2019

[42] https://www.motortrend.com/news/nissan-plans-ev-surge-2022/, accessed 18 Nov 2019

[43] https://group.renault.com/en/our-company/drive-the-future/, accessed 19 Nov 2019

[44] https://graphics.reuters.com/AUTOS-INVESTMENT-ELECTRIC/010081ZB3HD/index.html, accessed 15 January 2020

[45] https://wattev2buy.com/electric-vehicles/saic-electric-vehicles/, accessed 19 November 2019

[46] https://www.volvocars.com/au/about/our-stories/i-roll/2018/may/electrifying-sales-envisioned-for-2025 Accessed 14 Nov 2019

[47] https://www.reuters.com/article/us-volvocars-electric-margins/volvo-expects-electric-car-margins-to-match-conventional-vehicles-by-2025-idUSKCN1R12DD, accessed 9 December 2019

[48] https://thedriven.io/2020/01/22/subaru-targets-100-electric-cars-by-mid-2030-but-mild-hybrids-only-headed-to-australia/ accessed 23 January 2020

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