Monday, March 25, 2019

China February 2019

BYD Yuan EV535, BYD new NEV model, China automotive news
BYD's Yuan EV interior

BYD’s Yuan and Tang shine

Traditionally, February, along with January, are the two slowest months in the Chinese plugin market, but with sales growing 58% YoY last month, to some 53,000 units, especially in the context of a falling market (the mainstream market was down 17% last month), one can’t really be complain about this market, despite the PEV market share dropping slightly to 4.7% (4.3% in February), the 2019 result is already above the 2018 result (4.2%).

With all this continued growth (March could be already a record-breaking month), we could see sales double this year, surpassing the 2 million mark, making some 60% of all global PEV sales in 2019.

With symbolic export numbers, the domestic market is more than enough to absorb the current Chinese production, and most foreign OEMs are now starting to follow the seismic changes in the market, forced into electrification by the new PEV quotas (10%* in 2019), but results are still symbolic, as the foreign brands total share is still stuck at 6%.

Of this (small) cake, Volkswagen is the current big player, with 3% share, by far the Best-Selling foreign brand, and the only able to place a model in the Top 20, followed by Tesla, with 1% share, while the rest of the manufacturers share the remaining 2%.

Of course, Tesla is set to deliver the Model 3 in large numbers, starting in March, so the German maker should lose the Best Selling Foreigner soon. Maybe already in March?

In February, the headlining news were the Geely Emgrand EV joining the BYD Dynamic Duo(Yuan and Tang) in the podium.

Here’s February Top 5 Best Selling models individual performance:

 BYD Yuan EV535, BYD new NEV model, China automotive news
#1 – BYD Yuan EV: We all knew that BYD’s new Baby Crossoverwas destined for success, but the rise and riseof the BYD Crossover had to stop sometime…And it did last month, with only4,332deliveries in February, as the Chinese maker might be already preparing the model for the next battery upgrade, said to be around 58 kWh. With a several thousands-long waiting list, demand is no problem, depending more on BYD’s ability/willingness to make them in large volumes (The Tang is more profitable…), than anything else. With unrivalled specs (42 kWh battery, 305 kms/190 mi NEDC range, 174 hp motor), and price (25,000 USD), success is guaranteed, and with the new battery upgrade coming soon, one can only imagine this winning streak to continue throughout the year, making it the favorite for the 2019 Best Seller award.

#2 – Geely Emgrand EV: The automaker’s bread and butter sedan had some updates a while back, including a new battery (52 kWh) and motor (160 hp), increasing its range to 400kms / 250 mi NEDC (around 280 kms / 175 mi real world), and sales have reflected this, with 3,895 units in last month, allowing it to reach the podium for the first time since last August. The best-selling Chinese brand (and Volvo owner) is milking the model strongpoints, like its quality and technology, to compensate a middle-of-the-road design and price (CNY 218,300 / $31,834), at least until the much more ambitious Geely GE11 (Geely’s Model 3) doesn’t land, so it seems the Emgrand EV looks to be living its last glory days…

Resultado de imagem para 2019 BYD Tang PHEV
#3 – BYD Tang PHEV: The second-generation Tang continues to be delivered in large amounts, registering 3,216units last month. Sales should continue strong for BYD’s successful flagship, although the upcoming (and much anticipated) Tang BEV could steal sales from it. As for the current Tang PHEV specs, BYD’s Midsize SUVsaw the battery grow to 24 kWh, originating an increased 100 kms range / 62 mi NEDC (around 70 kms / 44 mi real world), while on the power department, things have stayed the same, but with 500 hp and 0-100 kms/h in less than 5 secs, one can’t really say it was underpowered.... All for CNY 279,800 / $40,816. 

Resultado de imagem para 2019 Chery eQ
#4 – Chery eQ:Chery was one of the pioneering EV brands, having won China’s Best Selling EV title three times in a row (2011, ’12, ’13), with its tiny QQ3 EV, now the automaker regained relevance with the eQ, the spiritual (and material) successor to the QQ3, having registered 3,157 units last month, allowing it to collect another Top 5 position, its first since last October. A vehicle marketed to city dwellers, for USD 24,000 before incentives, you get a funky city EV, with the 22.3kWh battery providing just enough range (200 kms / 125 miles NEDC), to cover the needs of the urban jungle (And the subsidies requirements).

BYD e5
#5 – BYD e5: BYD’s bread and butter electric sedan, a favorite among taxi-drivers, registered 2,476 units in February, and yet, this performance was overshadowed by their team stars Tang and Yuan. This workhorse of the BYD lineup, has good specs (61 kWh, 405 kms / 253 mi range NEDC, 218 hp), considering the price (CNY 220,650 / USD 34,600). With a new and (finally!) attractive design, the nameplate is set to continue its brilliant work as the lesser known team member of the All-Stars-rich BYD Team. 

Resultado de imagem para geely ge11
Geely GE11

2019 ranking

Looking at the year-to-date ranking, the big news was the BYD Tang PHEV climbing to 2nd Place, making a 1-2 score for BYD at the top, while the Chery eQ and Geely Emgrand EV also had reasons to celebrate, as both saw their standings improve, with the Chery model climbing two spots to #4, while the Geely sedan jumped seven positions to #5.

There are some fresh faces in this 2019 ranking, with Great Wall placing its two Ora EVs in the Top 20, with the funky R1 EV now in #13, while the original iQ5 EV is now #14, while the VW Passat GTE, a fresh face in China that the German automaker decided to launch recently (Danke schoen, EV quotas!), is now #18, thanks to 1,475 deliveries, a new personal best, being the only foreign nameplate in the ranking.

Finally, another startup company has made it into the Top 20, WM Motors has its Weltmeister (yes, you read it correctly) EX5 EV compact crossover in #19.   

The Nio ES8 had a slow month, with just 654 deliveries, but I guess it is still too early to sound the alarm, let’s see how the ES8 behaves in March. 

Interestingly, only 5 PHEVs feature on the Top 20, highlighting the BEV-friendly focus of the market (BEVs represent 75% of the plugin market), and this share is set to continue growing, as BEVs grew 58% last month, against only 18% for PHEVs

Looking at the manufacturers ranking, BYD (27%) is a comfortable leader, thanks to the success of the Yuan and Tang, while below it, SAIC (12%, down 2%) remains in the 2nd Spot, ahead of Geely (8%, up 1%), while BAIC (5%) continues in the doldrums, allegedly affected by production problems. 

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Op-Ed: Top 10 Countries in 2018

This is the Inside EVs contributor Assaf Oron Top 10 in 2018, an article i had the pleasure to help doing, it ranks the countries that made a larger contribution for the EV Revolution last year. Enjoy: 

2018 has been a true transition year. One could say, Year 0 of EVs charging into the major
leagues. For that we have to thank mostly China, Tesla, and Hyundai-Kia, in that order.


 According to Jose, global EV sales surged 65% over 2017 (and 2017 was 58% over
2016!) - ending at just over 2 million new plug-in vehicles, and 2.1% global market
share. It should be noted that the ICE auto market was slightly down in 2018, and is
forecast to drop even further in 2019.

 For the first time ever, a single EV sold in six figures in a single year, a classic major-
league sales milestone. And the Tesla Model 3 did it in style, with nearly 146k
deliveries in its first full year on the market!

 The world’s leading EV market by volume, China, crossed another milestone with over
a million EVs sold in one country in one year, the vast majority BEVs.

I keep the exact same scoring system as last year’s list, so the points are directly comparable
to 2017. If in 2017, only the top 2 countries reached 50+ points and #3 had 45, in 2018 we
have 4 with 50+ and 2 with 45+, while the leader gallops towards 80.

Ok let’s go. Last year’s place is in parentheses.

10 th Place – tie (8 th and 9th): Germany and Ukraine, 40 points. Claim to fame: Germany’s
EV consumers run ahead of its stagnating automakers; Ukraine continues to play role-model
for low/med-income countries and to shame spoiled Western EV consumers, but suffers
fluctuating denominators.

An interesting pair these two make, being Europe’s economic powerhouse and its anchor of
stability, vs. one of the continent’s poorest with a wildly unstable economy.

German automakers’ EV production was flat in 2018, a bit over 200k. Their years-long bet on
subpar PHEVs backfired spectacularly, with July’s EU-wide introduction of more stringent
emissions standards. They were caught flatfooted and had to revamp all PHEVs. VW is
talking big about near-future EV production, but talk is cheap. I would also really like to see
Mercedes e-buses in large quantities, there is absolutely no excuse for the Western world’s
largest bus-maker to continue foot-dragging on this. German consumers, meanwhile, nudged
sales and market share up by about one-third to ~70k and ~2.0%, salvaging Germany from
dropping out of the Top 10.

Just like in previous years, over half of EVs introduced to Ukraine’s roads last year were
used imported Leafs. BEV sales roughly doubled to 5300, but PHEVs probably dropped (I
don’t have exact numbers). The overall auto market increased due to a sharp rise in used-
imports. So it seems the effective EV market share stayed roughly flat at 3-3.2%.

Ukraine shows how a low-medium income country can play a meaningful role in the EV
revolution. But I’ve realized there’s an even stronger lesson for us in the West, in particular
the US.

Every year, thousands of Ukrainians – a country where the average monthly salary is $300 –
line up to pay $15,000 for an 80-100 mile used American Leaf. In their harsh winter, range
might be easily 40% shorter than that, and there are hardly any quick-charge stations – but
there’s always demand for those used Leafs.

Meanwhile, Americans who make easily 10x more than Ukrainians, have access to brand-
new Leafs with double the range for the cheapest prices to be found anywhere, and to brand-
new Bolts with triple the range for not much more – but could not be bothered. In fact, to
judge by comments on American EV sites and by some “analysis” stories, the offer to, say,
lease a 150-mile Leaf for 3 years at a price of $7-10k total out-of-pocket, no worries about
battery depletion or resale value (or to get e.g., a 125-mile eGolf for a similar price) – is a
ridiculously bad deal, beneath contempt, almost a crime against Humanity.

So, my fellow EV fans: do you really like EVs? As much as the Ukrainians do? Please do
maintain some perspective. Thank you.

9 th Place: Japan (tie-5th), 43 points. Claim to fame: stagnant domestic market and limited
focus by automakers, combine for a continued slide.

Japan slid to its lowest place in the list’s history. Its EV market, dominated by 1-2 domestic
models, was down somewhat to 52k sales and 1.0% market share, lower than any other
country in the Top 20, let alone the Top 10. The 240-km Gen 2 Leaf whose best 2018 market
was Japan, salvaged things from cratering completely. It should be noted that the Japanese
don’t buy Korean EVs and vice-versa. I wonder whether this has to do with mutually
destructive tariffs.

Just like Germany, Japan’s world-leading auto industry should do much more on EVs. One
cannot deny that the world’s most common BEV and most common PHEV are still both Japan
designed-and-made, and both had a good year (Leaf and Outlander). Also, Honda showed
what it can do with the Clarity PHEV – which with the Volt’s retirement, is the world’s best
passenger PHEV on offer (only available in the US, though?). So unlike the Germans’ wacky
EV offerings thus far, the Japanese certainly have it in them when they want it. Most of them,
unfortunately, still don’t want it. To add insult to injury, we now have the Ghosn scandal, losing
Japan’s prominent EV front man.

The main thing preventing Japan from dropping out of the Top 10 like a depleted Leaf battery-
pack, is its global leadership role in battery production (Panasonic-Tesla, and to a lesser
extent also AESC-Nissan).

8 th Place: Iceland (7 th ), 43.5 points. Claim to fame: Iceland continues its role as the “mini-
Norway”, although a bit more like Sweden.

Sparsely-populated Iceland saw EV sales increase to 3500 and 17.5% market share, #2 in
the world, with December’s share around 30%. Sounds a lot like Norway a few years ago,
except that the EV mix here is PHEV-heavy like in Sweden.

7 th Place: The United Kingdom (tie-11th), 44 points. Claim to fame: steady rise and
production spurt finally land the UK solidly in the Top 10.

The UK was a perennial “almost”, never quite making it into the annual Top Countries list.
Well, it landed with a bang and seems here to stay. Unless the ongoing Brexit fiasco craters
its EV scene.

Sales increased ~40% to 61.4k and 2.3% share, but the big story was production. Nissan’s
Sunderland plant feeds Europe’s Gen 2 Leaf demand, while Jaguar got tired of the Germans’
empty talk about their mythical “Tesla-killer”, and came out relatively quickly with the i-Pace, a
veritable competition to the Model X selling a solid 7k units in its first few months.

6 th Place: The Netherlands (16th), 45 points. Claim to fame: our biggest mover has
successfully reinvented itself as a BEV haven, but how about a little more consistency from
now on?

While the UK added an impressive 9 points, the Netherlands jumped by a full 12, advancing
10 spots. A few years ago the Netherlands sported the world’s #2 market share after Norway,
but it was almost all PHEVs due to some tax loophole exploited by fleet managers. The
loophole was closed, EV sales cratered, and the country dropped out of my Top 10. Now they
are back with a vengeance, sales more than doubling to 28k and 5.2% market share, 9/10ths
of them BEVs.

We’re not done with loopholes, however; luxury BEVs enjoyed favorable taxes, expiring at the
end of 2018. So of course the 2018 best-selling EV list is dominated by luxury brands. Now,
hopefully, Netherlands will experience an auto-tax system in line with environmental and
economic sanity, and we’ll see what the country’s “normal” EV market really looks like.

Another thing in Netherland’s favor is its relative leadership role on electric buses. Granted,
that’s a continued abysmal weakness of European automaking and bus purchasing; but
against that weakness, Netherlands almost alone is punching above its weight. Eindhoven-
based VDL makes only 1-2k buses a year, but 10% of them (and rising) are electric; they
sold their 500 th e-Bus last September, continuing to compete with Poland’s Solaris for the
continent’s #1 e-bus making spot. By contrast, Mercedes (oops, have I already mentioned
them?) makes ~30k buses/year around the world, practically none of them electric.

5 th Place: Sweden (tie-3 rd ), 49 points. Claim to fame: despite solid performance, Sweden
drops 1.5 spots. Also, how about some BEVs for a change?

Similarly to 2017, Sweden again increased sales year-over-year by ~1.5x, to 29.k and 7.2%.

Amazingly, that wasn’t enough to hang on to its tie for 3 rd . One reason is only 27% BEV in the
mix, and Volvo’s continued delay in introducing a BEV to the market. Not much else to add.

4 th Place: South Korea (tie-5 th ), 50 points. Claim to fame: Korean automakers continue to
jump ahead in the EV game.

Korea finally broke its two-year tie with Japan, big time. While Japan slid way down, Korean
automakers more than doubled their EV output, from 39k to 95k, and introduced the
midmarket SUVs Hyundai Kona and Kia Niro, each available both as a PHEV and as a 200-
mile BEV. Meanwhile, the Hyundai Ioniq BEV continued to sell well in Europe and Korea.

Consumers didn’t lag behind, doubling EV purchases to 32k and 1.75% share. And battery
maker LG Chem continues to compete with Panasonic-Tesla and BYD for the world’s #1 spot.
On the bus front, Koreans apparently believe in fuel-cells rather than electric. Oh well, see
how that pans out for them; better than diesel in any case.

3 rd place: the United States (tie-3 rd ), 53 points. Claim to fame: welcome to Tesla Country.

EV sales increased dramatically to 361k and 2.1% (exactly China’s 2017 market share), a
75% increase, most of it due to domestic production. Tesla’s near-impossible Model 3 ramp
plans finally started happening for real, and the company still managed to sell nearly 100k of
the S and X worldwide. And thanks to the Gigafactory, the US is increasing its battery-
production score as well. So things look pretty rosy.

Until you look outside of Tesla. Sales of non-Tesla BEVs were actually down 25%, despite
Nissan introducing Gen 2 Leaf in March, and Chevy Bolts offered at deep discounts. Lesser
EV models saw even sharper drops: eGolf was down 3x, Soul EV down 2x. Recall that the
Model 3 was offered for ~$50k or more until near 2018’s end, so ostensibly this was not direct

I think what’s going on is that American consumers have fallen into thinking that EVs are
either Tesla or “a bunch of useless, overpriced golf carts”. It’s not a random thought; much of
US media coverage, and what people write on American EV blogs and comment threads,
suggests this strongly.

The Tesla-first patterns were even stronger on the automaker side. GM just killed its Volt,
reneging on the promise to use its technology in larger vehicles. The party line is that “the
time window for PHEVs has passed; we’re going straight to BEVs”. Forgive me for not buying
it, because sales of Exhibit A for GM’s purported future, the Bolt, were completely flat from
2017 (~28k). Not only did they fail to exploit another full year in the US market with >$10k
price advantage over the Model 3; under 10% of Bolt production went to Europe where it
could have made a killing. So 2018’s only affordable 200-mile BEV in Western markets fell
from the global #10 position in 2017, to below the top 20. This is a rather shocking failure of
leadership. And Ford has essentially killed all its EV production, which was pretty lame to
begin with. They are said to be working on an electric F150; but how long will that take, given
that their only BEV experience is small volumes of the Focus? It is a sad year when Chrysler
is the best-behaved Big Three member. Or put another way, in 2018 Tesla sold 4x as many
EVs as all the Big Three put together.

We are lucky to have Tesla and to see it achieve such high-volume midmarket success. But
judging by the US patterns, some of its success has been zero-sum vs. other EVs. It doesn’t
matter whether it’s intentional or just US consumer silliness and Big Three corruption at play;
the bottom line is dangerous. Tesla (or any other automaker), is never free of the risk of
failure. It is problematic when in the world’s #2 auto market, all the EV eggs are in one basket,
especially when this basket itself is dominated by a single person who’s had a rather shaky
year at the top.

And then there’s the political and incentive environment. For a decade, the straightforward,
relatively generous US Federal incentive has served as an anchor, in particular once
automakers started bundling it into lease deals enabling people to enjoy it regardless of tax
liability. But in 2018 we’ve finally hit against its weird sunset rules, and in a way that actually
hurts the leading American EV producers (Tesla and GM) while sparing foreign automakers.

But instead of fixing this, the White House and its Congress allies want to kill the incentive
completely. Meanwhile, the EPA has been inhabited by oil-owned zombies, who claim we do
not need to conserve oil anymore, and seem willing to undermine California’s ZEV mandates
that drive that state’s unique EV scene.

But with all that said, the Model 3 juggernaut has enough kick-ass energy in it now, to lift the
US even further in 2019. And fortunately, other markets don’t seem to be following US’s
Tesla-or-bust, anti-incentives trend.

2 nd place: Norway (2 nd ), 56 points. Claim to fame: perennial silver medalist gets another one;
some progress on larger vehicles.

Norway’s passenger EV sales approached 50% of market total, with the Leaf winning
general-market #1 for the year. Light-commercial EV sales doubled, but are still under 5% so
the weighted average EV share was 41%, up from 34% in 2017 and 27% in 2016. There’s
some progress on buses, still lots to go.

Norway continues to function as the EV world’s lab on what happens further ahead in the
market transition, but in its overall role in the EV revolution, it is no match to...

1 st place: China (1 st ), 78 points. Claim to fame: a crisp, cool million – actually 1.1 million -
despite yet another regulatory revamp. The sky’s the limit.

No one can catch China now, at least not for a few years. As the intro said, sales easily
crossed 1 million, while EV market share doubled from 2.1% to 4.2% thanks to an ICE-market
volume drop. For the second straight year, the government intervened in the EV market to
improve production quality, this time by raising the bar for subsidies in terms of minimum
range/power. This put a dent in last year’s world-record breaker, the BAIC EC-Series. Its
sales stopped for a few months to get it upgraded, causing it to miss joining the Model 3 in the
six-figure club; it still managed to beat its 2017 performance (as well as narrowly edge the
Leaf for global #2), with 90k sales.

Meanwhile, BAIC has come out with the larger, stronger-spec EU Series, as well as the EX
Series SUV, and they are stealing the EC’s thunder. Despite a late start, both newbies
managed to land in the global Top 20 for 2018. I wonder which of the three will reach an
annual six figures first? Overall, China’s residents bought ~55% of the world’s EVs last year,
spread across many automakers, with BYD rather than BAIC the overall volume leader. Look
at China’s Top 20 list to see how broad and deep the transition has become.

And of course, China still totally determines the world’s EV bus scene. According to Jose it
was same-old same-old in 2018: another year, another ~100,000 new electric buses in China.

Meanwhile, Europe added a mind-boggling 650 (six hundred and fifty) electric buses in 2018,
with a good chunk actually coming from China. That’s not even a rounding error in Chinese

Wrap-up and Tidbits

 For the first time, France is off the list with 39 points. As I have repeatedly warned the
French, their gradual improvement rate is not enough in today’s EV world. They
listened and tried, market share increasing by one-quarter to 2.1%, but still fell short.
Only a major advancement, e.g., doubling of Renault ZOE production, or PSA finally
putting some skin into the game, will bring them back.

 If one splits the US to California vs. all the rest, the “Not-California” part drops out of
the Top 10, while California with 7.8% EV share and Tesla’s production numbers,
shoots past Norway to 2 nd place with 63 points.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Finland February 2019

Image result for Porsche Panamera vs Volvo S90
Volvo: Big in Finland

Volvo Land

Despite a harsh climate and small incentives, Finland has become a major plug-in market, thanks to some impressive growth rates, if in 2019 the growth rates are not so outlandish (+25% in February, +22% this year), with the mainstream market falling significantly (-13% YoY), the 2019 PEV Share continues to rise significantly, now at a record 5.7%.

An interesting aspect of the current moment, is the fact that BEVs are gaining share significantly, now having 21% share, a significant improvement over the 14% of 2018.

Looking at the models ranking, it's a Volvo-fest, with three Swede models in the Top 5, with only the evergreen Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV (61 units last month, a new record) and the BMW 530e following the pace of the Volvo models. The brand plug-ins are getting more love here, than in its home market…

And the new generation V60 PHEV has just landed, so expect it to rise to a Top 10 position soon. 

Another recent landing is the Tesla Model 3, that has started to ramp up deliveries and expects to crack Volvo's rule in this market soon.

Another two strong recent reinforcements in the BEV team is the Hyundai Kona EV, now in #9, and the Audi e-Tron, that landed last month with 14 units, which could indicate a significant demand for the German SUV.

Looking at the manufacturers ranking, Volvo (44%) is a comfortable leader, with BMW (13%) stable in Second and #3 Mitsubishi (10%), keeping a good lead over the #4 Hyundai (6%).

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Canada February 2019

Tesla Model 3 firm in the lead

January registered some 2.700 plugins in Canada, up 38% YoY, with the 2019 PEV share rising to 2.2%.

After a weak year end, due to the focus on deliveries south of the border, the Model 3 is back on track in Canada, with the midsizer being responsible for one third of all plugin registrations this year. 

On the other hand, the Nissan Leaf had a big tumble this month, dropping two positions, to 4th, with the 129 registrations made in February being the worst result in the Leaf 40 kWh career...The 62 kWh version is badly needed to pick up sales, Nissan.

Chevrolet had reasons to smile last month, with both models climbing positions, the Volt to #2 and the Bolt to #6, while the Honda Clarity PHEV joined the Top 10, thanks to 162 deliveries, its best result in the last 7 months.  

Regarding the manufacturers podium, Tesla (41%) is head and shoulders above the competition, while Chevrolet (14%) is in Second Place, with Mitsubishi (8%) now in Third Place.

Tesla Model 3 & Others

 Ford Fusion
Toyota Camry
Tesla Model 3
Honda Accord
Mercedes C-Class

Looking at the midsize vehicles general ranking, this time the Model 3 was 3rd, as the Toyota Camry managed to overcome it.

Looking into 2019, expect the Model 3 to continue running for the mainstream midsize category leadership, as the Premium midsize title seems to be already in the bag.