We start the 2019 review by saying goodbye to the Chevrolet Volt, nine years and 180.000 units later, the extended range plugin was an early pioneer, having been the world's Best Selling Plugin in 2012, and the runner-up in 2011 and 2013, but after the early peak of 2012 (25.370 units), sales have started to slow down, with the GM product losing contact with the first places, something that the heavily revised Volt II of 2016, despite surpassing the 2012 record, by registering 28.295 units, also failed to do, with GM's decision to not sell the 2nd generation Volt as Opel Ampera in Europe, not helping at all on the hatchback sales career.
To worsen things, the new generation was only produced for three years, with the first half of 2019 signaling the end of the EREV, with GM's supposed replacement, the Bolt EV, failing to beat the 2016 score of the Volt.
With both models, the Volt and Bolt, being quite different, it is bizarre that GM decided to kill the former when the vehicle still had a couple of years ahead and was profitable, but then again, bizarre decisions is what GM management seems to be specialist, like the refusal to sell the Gen 2 Volt in Europe, just at the time that PHEVs were all the rage in Europe...And i won't even ask why they haven't made the Volt MPV5 prototype!
Anyway, we say farewell to the pioneer Chevrolet Volt, an exciting, if cramped inside, electric vehicle, and a reference for any PHEV out there.
But back at 2019, the biggest events were:
- The coming of age of Tesla and its Model 3, after finally winning its first Manufacturers trophy in 2018, ending a three year rule of BYD, the Model 3 sweapt also that year Models trophy, 2019 cleared any doubts on wether Tesla was here to stay, with the American maker repeating both titles again, but this time with a huge 100.000 units advantage over the runner-ups. And with the Model Y, Semi, Roadster and Cybertruck on the pipeline, it looks that Tesla has at least the next two titles (2020 & '21) in the bag;
- China's subsidy changes were an earthquake in the local plugin market, originating a half-year sales rush, with the consequent fall of a cliff in Q3 and a stabilization in the doldrums in Q4. But more than a sales slump, the biggest long term consequence is the dry up of many subsidy-dependent models, while higher end nameplates, new and more competitive models from the local OEMs, like the GAC Aion S, along with quota-related introductions from foreign makers and profiting from the new environment to gain visibility, while Tesla paved the way for a strong 2020 in China, where it aims to be not only the best selling foreign maker, but also to become the first foreign OEM able to run with the best of the local brands;
- A consequence of the previous point is SAIC's lottery win with the Baojun E-Series, after a discrete career before the subsidies cut, the tiny two seater became one of the few small EVs to keep access to subsidies, propelling it to an unprecedented popularity among fleets, like car-sharing companies, becoming an unexpected bonus to the solid case that the OEM was already presenting, as it is the first Chinese EV maker to sell in (relatively) large amounts outside its domestic market, with the MG ZS EV crossover and the Maxus van, besides keeping a strong lineup of plugins across the range. If in previous years SAIC looked to be the less promising of the Chinese Big 3 (BYD, BAIC and SAIC), because it was the one to best adapt to the new environment, it is now the one to look for in China, along with the smaller GAC.
Thanks to eGear.be
, here is a list of what is coming and what i think of them:
Audi e-Tron Sportback
- Finally some interesting looks to Audi's electric tank;
- A meh!
effort from BMW, a BEV version of its X3 SUV, with some middle of the road specs. The Mercedes EQC looks nicer;
- With the VW EV triplets coming en force
in 2020, the Italian brand had to do something , if it didn't wanted its lunch (A-segment) eaten by the German conglomerate. So in the Geneva Auto Show, they are promising a brand new 500e, with a 70.000 units target production. Unrealistic? Let's hope not, if the specs and prices are attractive, it could become a huge hit, and the automaker really needs it, because the VW triplets will pressure the other players in the city car category and FIAT without city cars in Europe...Is basically nothing.
Ford Mustang Mach-E
- The reinvention of Ford? This is an OEM that seems to have seen what lied ahead (the management change surely helped), and seems to go full EV now. This new EV is really compelling and will be interesting to see the public reaction to it;
- The cutest car of 2020 and my favorite City EV, alongside the BMW i3. But that price, mmm...Will sell, but at a fraction of the i3;
- A Premium EV with an air-cooled battery, 2WD and some 300 kms range...Enough said?
- It would be an interesting niche vehicle to add to a more mainstream EV from Mazda. But as the first mass-produced Mazda EV...Too niche.
- It won't go into the Best Sellers table, but nonetheless, it will be an interesting addition to the market, as there's nothing quite like it;
Mini Cooper Electric
- After the BMW i3 being the only luxury EV on the market, the Group finally allows to launch a Mini EV, but only as a 3 door and with lower specs, and a lower price, so that it doesn't steal the i3 thunder. So yeah, it will be niche, but a good one;
Opel Corsa EV / Peugeot 208 EV
- Good specs, one more techy (208), another more sporty (Corsa), both will be strong contenders to the Zoe lead in the small EV segment. Both combined could even reach 100.000 units in 2020;
Peugeot 2008 EV
- Europe's Kia Niro EV. If PSA has enough batteries, it could be a huge success and reach some 50k units;
- A worthy competitor to the Model 3, but most of the public won't notice it. 20k units would already be ok, 40k would be a great success;
- The only EV Elon Musk thought of being worthy to compete with Tesla. Which is saying a lot. Those 20k units allocated for 2020 could be much higher if Porsche wanted...
Tesla Model Y
- Tesla Model 3, meet your nemesis. While production (200k?) of the Model Y won't be enough to displace its sibling from the Global Best Seller throne in 2020, 2021 should see it succeed to the Model 3 as the most popular EV in the World.
VW e-Up! / Seat e-Mii / Skoda Citigo EV
- The triplets are the first city EVs with respectable specs and prices. Enough said. Will the triplets reach 60k units in 2020?
Volvo XC40 EV
- Cousin of the Polestar 2, but with higher sales potential, because it is an SUV and Volvo is not a startup;
- Along with the Tesla Model Y, the most important launch of the year. Hell, i would even say that it is the most important EV model ever, that does not wear a Tesla badge. The shape of the future of electric mobility will depend on the success of this model, that should easily surpass the 100.000 units in 2020.