Friday, December 30, 2016

2016 in Review

2016, also known as  Year Six of the Modern Age of Electric Cars is about to end, so i took the time to review some of the most important facts this year:

Image result for Tesla Model 3
Model 3: 9 months away from hitting the roads, but already the most important EV in History

The EV Future will be bright (But it's not here yet)

If there is a phrase that sums up the general feeling in the Plug-in scene in 2016, it's the one above, starting with the production-spec Chevrolet Bolt Detroit presentation in January, the Tesla Model 3 earthquake in March, 31st, and ending with several announcements of long range EV's throughout the year, the fact is that buyers had a taste of the Second Generation EV's, but all they could buy during 2016 were First Generation BEV's / PHEV's and a couple of 1.5G models (Chevrolet Volt II, Hyundai Ioniq Electric), which lead to a Osborne effect in many western markets, with buyers preferring to wait for the upcoming models, leading to a drop in sales of First Generation electric cars.

BYD Song plug-in: Announced for 2016, now scheduled for 2017

BYD Remained Number One (But failed to amaze us) 

After watching BYD sales surge three-fold and reaching the Best Selling plug-in manufacturer status in 2015, one would think that sales would at least double in 2016, but this wasn't the case, with around 100.000 units sold this year, or 64% growth, it felt like when Messi won the Pichichi Trophy with 45 goals, yes it was impressive, but the previous year he had scored 50...

Having won seven Monthly Best Seller Trophies (January, April, May, June, July, August, October), and with a 30.000 units lead over the Second Placed Tesla, the Best Selling Manufacturer trophy is more than deserved, but this was more due to regularity (Five consecutive months at 10.000-something) than outlandish results, with the two most impressive results of the year going to Tesla (13.394 units last September) and Zotye (12.318 in October). Using the Messi analogy, it was like despite the 45 goals, not once did the Argentinean player scored a poker during the whole season.

The model diversification (Tang, e5, etc) occurred in 2015, didn't followed in 2016, with only the BYD Qin EV300 reinforcing the lineup, while the Song and Yuan Crossovers and the T3 Van remained in the sideline.

Will they appear in 2017? They'd better do, as 2017 in the Chinese EV Market will be even more fierce, with foreign carmakers forced to join the local EV party and on a global level, there will be other OEM's (Tesla, BMW, BAIC) targeting 100k or more EV's for 2017.

You'll better step up, BYD...

Image result for baic eu260
BAIC EU260: A rising star
China is Rising - Third Chapter

2016 was Year Three for the Chinese EV market, with foreign makers still neglecting the Chinese EV market, where the local brands have 95% of this booming market to themselves, this allowed the Chinese EV makers global share to rise from 31% in 2015 to 43% in 2016, with China rapidly becoming the place to be, not only it is the largest EV market in the World, but also the fastest growing one, volume-wise.

Even mentioning EV Share, China is making giant steps, their plug-in share is now at 1.4%, an important improvement over the 0.9% of 2015 and already above markets like the USA or Europe, both close to 1%.

If BYD and BAIC are frequently mentioned here, others are also contributing for this unstoppable wave, like Zotye (#6 in the global manufacturers ranking), SAIC Roewe (#12), Zhidou (#13) or Chery (#15).

An interesting trend is the steady climb of chinese cars in the global ranking, if in 2013 the best positioned chinese model was outside the Top 10 (#11 - Chery QQ3 EV), in the following year there were two (#7 - BYD Qin & #10 - Kandi EV) in the Top 10, 2015 witnessed three models in the Best Sellers ranking (#4 - BYD Qin; #6 - Kandi Panda EV; #8 - BYD Tang), while in 2016 there are four (#3 - BYD Tang; #7 - BYD Qin; #9 - BAIC E-Series EV; #10 - BAIC EU260) models, with the Tang becoming the first Chinese model to reach a Podium seat.

Expect for 2017 to reinforce this trend, maybe with five Chinese models in the Top 10?

I'm Too Sexy (To Surf the Wave)

Sometimes Tesla behavior reminds that of a certain Right Said Fred hit, with a near cult-like following from its fans and a Model 3 success that surpassed Elon's wildest dreams, it would be more than enough to keep every other OEM happy and they would just surf the wave and prepare for the Model 3 goldmine.

Not Tesla. During 2016, they did a Model S facelift (Ok, they had to do something about that nose), improved their P90D/90D versions, replaced the 70 version for the 60/75 units, which together with the QA issues of the Model X, created unnecessary production constraints in Q1 & Q2.

As the year progressed and the Q3 was turning out to be memorable, they thought: "This is becoming boring, we haven't presented anything awesome in the past couple of months, so what can we do? I know, the P90D is passé, let's do the P100D! And add the Second Gen. Autopilot!"

With another two jaw-dropping additions, they managed to increase even further their sexyness-awesomeness, with the minor detail of screwing up the production plan of Q4...

With all this, the new Power packs and all the rest that's going on (Gigafactory, Model 3 tooling...), being COO of Tesla must be one of the toughest jobs on Earth.

Then again, Tesla has to keep their cult followers happy, right?

Image result for bmw i3

BMW steps up from other German Automakers

Following on the Volkswagen Dieselgate and Tesla's increasingly larger appetite for premium customers, German automakers joined the EV bandwagon with both feet, announcing big plans for the future, but the fact is that in 2016, only BMW made the necessary step-up.

In the BMW i-line models, the i3 model finally received a decent battery, with 33kWh, pulling sales to record levels and making it the cornerstone of its plug-in strategy.

The German automaker also launched the 740e plug-in hybrid, which was an instant hit in its class, helping BMW to have the most extensive plug-in lineup of all, while all other PHEV's were also beating sales records, which allowed it to become the Third Best Selling Plug-in maker in 2016, the first among established OEMs;

German automakers global share remained stable at 19%, with BMW (8% Share) surpassing Volkswagen (5%) as the major Teutonic EV maker, with Mercedes in Third, with 2% share, Audi in Fourth (2%), followed by Porsche (1%) and Smart (0%), with BMW being the only brand to win share (+2%) regarding last year.

Global Sales Continue to Grow

After a slow start, EV sales picked up pace, now expected to surpass the 750.000 units, after the 140k of 2012, low-200k in 2013, 320k in 2014, and 550k last year.

Growth Is All Around

While Norway continues to be the poster-child for EV Share (29% Share!) and China the King of Volume (Over 100.000 units more than in 2015!), others are also making themselves noted, like Belgium (1.76% in '16 vs 0.78% in '15) or Austria (1.6% vs 0.6%), while several countries in the Scandinavian region, probably inspired by the Norwegian case-study, are growing at surprising rates and reaching high market shares, like Sweden (3.7%), Iceland (4.2%) on Finland (1.2%).

Other markets finally had their Year One in 2016, like Luxembourg (0,61%), Lithuania (0,40% vs 0,04% last year) or Romania (0.14%).

Despite the general positive trend, there were some slowing markets this year, with the largest being Japan, that for the second consecutive year is falling significantly, with its current market share (0.45%) far from the 2014 peak, when it was flirting (0.98%) with the 1% barrier.

Other two markets dropping significantly regarding 2015 are the Netherlands (3.4% vs 9.3%) and Denmark (0.6% vs 2.3%), but in these cases the culprit is easy to identify, as fiscal changes made EV's less appealing to local buyers.

Also of importance is the dissemination of plug-ins into countries not associated with EV's, like Malaysia (Some 106 units), UAE (283 sales), Sri Lanka (993 units!) or Ecuador (20 Twizzies).


  1. Ahh, okay José, you seem to have a strong preference for writing jokes and figurative analogies, but unless your writing is just to add romance and not to describe facts and put them into perspective, lots of details might go amiss.

    TESLA: the hype of a generation (the ones not old enough be be empty nesters and the others too young to steer the reality by their hands). Hardly TESLA will be delivering any meaningful Model 3 cars by the end of 2017. But the most important of all is: what TESLA will do to remain competitive in the top-end market, that one they always catered (Roadster market, P85, P90D, P100D). Yes, they have a cult, not sure what tangible returns the online generated noise TESLA so much nurtures will bring like those Easter Eggs, and those AutoPilot features that are neither Pilot nor Auto trustable. In the mean time, lots of established automakers are joining the bandwagon, and lets be real, the lead and the market for itself TESLA has conquered with merit, is just going to be shared and eroded...
    At least in Europe, the Supercharger network needs to be rethought, what works in the US will not work in Europe. TESLA needs dealereships and needs personnel more focused on the product than in bragging online noise. If the main premium european brands start their onslaought (BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen Group, Jaguar Land Rover), they just need 2 or 3 accessible CCS Combo outlets in all their dealership courtyards to outdo the Supercharger network.
    An example of lack of vision some at TESLA have, are the recent jokes about the 350kW standard: TESLA, get real, you are now claiming that Superchargers need to be subscribed and policed, just get going instead!

    China: impressive numbers but they suffer the same fakery as Denmark, The Netherlands and UK numbers (among others): fiscal advantages & retail gaming.

    Sum up: full EV and plug-in are here to stay (horray!), but the true story has lots of pints of salt.

    1. Any number of Model 3 cars delivered in 2017 will be meaningful. Even if it's just a few hundred and not Elon's super unrealistic wish of 100 000 to 200 000.

      Tesla don't have to do much to remain competitive since the competition is lacking. Yes, other manufacturers are coming with some competition but we are talking a couple of years more and in limited numbers.
      Also remember that the global luxury car market is ~10 million. That's the segment that will be shared and eroded, the EVs are not really competing with each other but with the ICEs that are about to be converted.

      The supercharger network works perfectly in Europe. It's faster, more efficient and better allocated than the CCS system. Why wouldn't it work?

      Tesla don't need dealerships. That is one of the great parts about Tesla, they have eliminated that horrible part of car buying. Tesla has show rooms to tell you about the product and let you test drive it.

      When travelling long distance, why would I want to stop at a dealership to charge? Those are often not well located. Compared to a Tesla charger along the route and near restaurants etc.
      You don't make any sense.

      You seem to be buying the hot air, vapor, smoke and mirrors that the big automakers are using. When they actually put something on the roads we will be able to evaluate how that will affect Tesla. Until then you can just let the talkers talk and watch the walkers walk.

      Almost nothing of what you wrote makes any sense whatsoever.

      Fakery? There is no one hiding that there are a lot of incentives and regulations pushing the EV boom. Those measures are pushing the market faster to get to the point were EVs become mainstream because of being better and more wanted. And even then that is not always enough, look at the US which have some of the highest EV incentives yet EV sales have not really taken off. It takes more than just incentives, it also takes public awareness and will.

    2. Why would Tesla use dealership? It have been a lot of surgeries that point out that dealerships don'y want to sell electric car wish means that Teslas sales would probably dive if they where sold by people who don't want to sell them.

      The big European automaker talks about a big network of CCS chargers with 350 kW and Tesla talks about next generation supercharger with a higher charging rate, why would we take the other automaker serious but not Tesla wish have already shown that they are serious about charging network?

      The other automaker are talking about what they will deliver in 2-4 years, tesla have been delivering good electric cars for over 4 years.

      About that Tesla wont offer free unlimited access to supercharger anymore, have the other automaker promised that they will offer it?