Monday, December 30, 2019

2019 in Review - 2020 EVs

Resultado de imagem para chevrolet volt 2019

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.   

Resultado de imagem para Tesla Model 3

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.

Resultado de imagem para VW ID.3

2020 EVs

Thanks to, 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;

BMW iX3 - A meh! effort from BMW, a BEV version of its X3 SUV, with some middle of the road specs. The Mercedes EQC looks nicer;

FIAT 500e - 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;

Honda e - 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;

Lexus UX300e - A Premium EV with an air-cooled battery, 2WD and some 300 kms range...Enough said?

Mazda MX-30 - 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.

Mercedes EQV - 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;

Polestar 2 - 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;

Porsche Taycan - 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;

VW ID.3 - 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.


  1. 200K Tesla Model Y in 2020?)

    Come on - 50k will be a success

    1. Agree, 200k sounds extremely optimistic

    2. I agree that 200,000 is unrealistic -- but something on the order of 100,000 seems plausible to me, with the accelerated timeline...

    3. The 200k number had a question mark and it was more of a teaser, as i doubt it can get there.

      Having said that, it is not all impossible, demand is there, Tesla just needs to ramp up fast, both in California and China.

  2. That would be a tall order, but it all depends how quickly Tesla can ramp production. I have a feeling they might surprise us all. Demand should definitely not be a problem.

    1. Yes, there is no doubt that they could easily sell 200,000 and more of Model Y during the first year -- but I just don't see how they could produce that many. In a pretty optimistic scenario, they might reach "mass production" (>1,000 per week) in May, and ramp to ~5,000 per week by the end of the year. (I doubt Fremont has capacity for much more than 5,000 per week...) That would average to ~3,000 units per week over less than 34 weeks, i.e. roughly 100,000.

      Of course the initial ramp might be somewhat steeper, resulting in a higher average -- but that still wouldn't give us much more than 100,000 for the year...

      In theory, they could also expedite Model Y production in Shanghai -- but even if they started production this year, the ramp would be near the end of the year at the earliest, i.e. it wouldn't move the needle for the whole year very much either.

  3. I'm not sure the air-cooled battery in the UX300e actually says much: I suspect it's active air cooling (there is precedence from Prius Prime), which is a *totally* different story than the infamous passive cooling of the Leaf...

    Having said that, the other specs indeed look ridiculous for that class. With such an offering, they will certainly prove that "nobody wants EVs" -- not *their* EVs, that is...

    1. The active air cooling is still pretty bad, 62kWh Leaf has it and it suffered from the whole "rapidgate" problem. It can do fine in day-to-day use so it's ok-ish on budget EVs, but not on premium brand.

    2. Even with active air cooling 62kWh Leaf suffered from the whole "rapidgate" scandal, and when Bjørn Nyland did his 1000km trip with eGolf (also actively air cooled) it suffered from overheated battery despite temperature being well below freezing.

    3. FAKE NEWS
      The Leaf has no active air cooling, neither the eGolf has.

    4. Contrary to some early rumours, the 62 kWh Leaf does *not* have active air cooling. It has exactly the same passive cooling as all the other Leafs. That's the problem.

      Cars with active air cooling -- such as the original Ioniq -- can work just fine. (Though probably not able to offer quite the same performance and charging speed as liquid cooled ones...)

      As for the eGolf, I have seen claims in the past that it's also passively cooled? Not from any reliable sources though -- so I guess that might be wrong...

    5. Cooling, active or passive, is not everything, the chemistry also is a factor.

      Having said that, a Premium model with air cooling feels...stingy.

  4. Isn't 100,000 for eCorsa plus e208 a bit optimistic, given that even the established Zoe isn't anywhere close to that yet?...

    1. The Zoe production rate is expected to double soon, so if there is enough demand, we could see it reach close to 100k in 2020.

      As for the Corsa/208 duo, if demand is there, i could see them hit 100k, if we add both.

      Then again, PSA might prefer to allocate batteries to the more profitable 2008 EV, so the 100k mark is more of a best case scenario.

  5. I don't see how ID.3 is supposed to surpass 100,000 in 2020, given that AFAIK VW's production target is just 100,000 for the first year... No doubt though that it will get way more than that once production is at full steam in 2021 :-)

  6. Please note that except Tesla Model-Y, all others are compliance/low volume vehicles. Best example is Chevy-Volt which is still a best car with 85 km / 53 mile electric range with another 480 km / 300 miles from petrol engine. What happened? GM just killed it by slowly restricting the production and then claiming that there is no market for it.
    Goodbye Volt.

    But Model-3 rampup in China GF-3 is really great with production already hitting 1,000 / week. If GF-3 can take more load of Model-3, then Fremont could ramp up production of Model-Y.

    Besides I am expecting chinese trio of BYD/BAIC/SAIC to extend the range of their BEVs to sell more.

  7. BAIC Baojun (2 seater) is sold as rental car and not as family car since most people would like a car to carry at least 4.
    Similarly Fiat 500e (2+2 seater) can also be sold as rental car. Is Fiat really willing to do that.

    Mini Cooper - BEV is a 4 seater, but with just 3 doors and market for such cars is very low. I wonder why Fiat and BMW choose such models for their BEV.

  8. Great news guys. Carlos Ghosn has been allowed to go to Lebanon.
    Probably Japanese found that there is no case of violation against him and let him go.
    The whole issue is about nationalism and trying to prevent the merger of Nissan with Renault.

    Mr. Carlos Ghosn was the architect and brain behind Leaf which is the worlds #1 selling BEV with 450,000 + sales to date.
    Without him, Nissan would have gone bankrupt.
    All this shows how nationalistic the Japanese are and they never buy any imported vehicles.

  9. Year 2019 review even before posting the last month market's reviews? Wow, 2020 is going to be a slow news year.

    1. Nah, 2020 should be full of exciting news... Maybe that's why he posted the 2019 review early ;-)

    2. Wait for the full year posts in January...Plenty to talk about! ;)

  10. The main point here is that thhe EV share will rise, yet overall car sales will shrink permanently by 30%. Many simply cannot afford a car anymore and are priced out of the market. EV must become at least 30% cheaper.

    1. The number of people worldwide able to afford a car -- and also the number of people able to afford an EV -- is only getting larger. In many markets, people are just not that interested in owning cars any more -- and especially not owning combustion cars, which most people are beginning to understand are on the way out...