Two years ago there was only one 200-plus-mile range EV sold, Tesla’s Model S, but that is due to quickly change.
In two years from now, the tally of 200-plus-mile range EVs for sale or pending production launch could be up to 10, and by the end of 2020, there could be at least 20 for sale or pending production.
The count is “at least” 20 by 2020, because the way this works is automakers are always planning ahead, developing behind the scenes, and it’s nearly assured they will make more announcements between now and then bringing the total higher.
To give some perspective of this growth, in 2011, aside from Tesla’s limited-edition Roadster which sunsetted in 2012, there was only one EV for sale in the U.S., the Nissan Leaf, and you could get that one for $30-40,000-plus with 73 miles range.
2011 Nissan Leaf – mainstream state of the art at the beginning of the decade. The Model 3 pictured top costs about the same with triple the range, and 0-60 in sub 6 seconds, instead of about 10.
Today there are still only 13 highway legal EVs of any spec or price for sale in the U.S., several are “compliance cars” sold in limited markets, so 20 EVs with over 200 miles range is quite a development when even the mature hybrid market has only around 40 vehicles.
And again, bear in mind: today the count is 20. By 2020, what do you think the count might be? Could there be as many 200-plus-mile EVs then as there are hybrids now? And might there be 300 and 400 milers among them?
Where are we getting these numbers?
New cars projected are not guaranteed to get here, but the names and anticipated arrival dates are supplied by Michigan-based automotive analyst Alan Baum.
Here’s his partial list in alphabetical order:
• Audi eTron Sportback Crossover June 2019
• Audi e-tron Quattro Crossover April 2018
• BMW 3 Series October 2018
• BMW X3 2020
• Ford Model E Crossover April 2020
• Jaguar i-Pace Crossover July 2018
• Mercedes ELC (based on GLC) June 2019
• Mercedes C Class October 2019
• Mini Unnamed October 2019
• Porsche Mission E (Pajun is nickname) October 2019
• Smart BEV CY20
• Volvo BEV CY19
• VW ID Crozz Crossover October 2021 (not counted for 2020)
• VW ID Car January 2021 (not counted for 2020)
Not on the above list of a dozen cars due by end of 2020, but a separate list to add to the total, are the already existing Tesla Model S, Model X, and Chevrolet Bolt EV, which brings the total to 17.
Next up is of course the Tesla Model 3, and others pending include the next-generation Nissan Leaf which rumors say may not get 200 miles until the second year after its launch this fall. Also, Hyundai and Kia are at work on at least a few models. Honda is also expected to contribute.
Volvo can also be noted, as it automaker just announced that all new models after 2019 will be electrified, so it, plus others including even startups emboldened to start new on the cusp of a new EV era will add to the total.
So really, the count likely already exceeds 20, and we were just being conservative on a lengthy list.
To write about each one of these with a photo of each – not actually available for many of the future models – would make for an article the length of a small book, so we’ll just talk about salient points leading to this state of affairs.
Why This is Happening
To adapt and modify a phrase from real estate – substituting the word “location” – there are three reasons why automakers are jumping on board the EV bandwagon: regulations, regulations, and regulations.
This is not the only motivation, and we’ll fold those in shortly, but regulations cannot be underemphasized.
Porsche Mission E.
Regulations actually set the political/economic environment that gave Tesla breathing room to make a go at becoming the first U.S. maker to make it since Chrysler.
Among other perks, it has relied on federal tax credits equal to around 10 percent off the selling price of its base Model S for its customers, and it makes money selling green credits back to automakers it derives from each of these sales.
None of this is meant to imply Tesla has not done an amazing job in creating a company and products, but the timing and regulatory climate have been quite a help.
SEE ALSO: Europe Is Awakening From Diesel-Induced Sleep to Chase New Electric (Car) Dreams
Tesla is often cited as another reason why automakers like Audi, BMW, etc., are also building EVs – and that is true of the “disruptive” company – but its mission is dovetailing into a regulatory environment that is pulling others in for other reasons besides.
Last fall, the three main automakers of Europe all announced 15-25 percent of their sales would come from plug-in electrified cars by 2025. That naturally is only stage one, and what they may do from 2025-2035, while yet to be discussed in much clarity, will be likely much more.
Mercedes CEO Dieter Zetsche announces new EQ brand and concept last year in Paris.
They are doing this because in Europe tailpipe emissions must get down to 95g CO2/km by decade’s end, and they must splice zero emission vehicles into their fleet to bring up their numbers. Other markets, including the U.S. and China, and elsewhere are also tightening greenhouse gas rules, and so, the shift is on.
In the U.S., federal regulations are also calling for more, though these do not outright require zero-emission vehicles. In California, on the other hand, the regs of its Air Resources Board do call for as many as one in seven vehicles sold in state by 2025 be zero-emission.
The Trump administration’s new EPA leadership has called for a re-review of 2022-2025 rules, but things are in motion in California and states that follow its rules that constitute close to a third of the U.S. market.
Plus, all automakers are planning for global realities as nations, particularly those on board with the Paris accord of 2015, are pushing for more.
Now that they’re in it, corporate pride – never lacking with automotive manufacturers – is also on the line.
Baum notes VW Group, smitten by the “Dieselgate” scandal that broke September 2015, also needs to reinvent its image from “clean diesel” TDIs that it knew could emit up to 40-times NOx due a “cheat device,” as the U.S. EPA called it.
SEE ALSO: Volkswagen Embraces EVs So You’ll Forget Dieselgate
General Motors too, Baum contends, started with its extended-range electric Volt and now has to its 238-mile Bolt EV in order to help scrub an image tarnished from an era in which it crushed the EV1 of the late 90s, early 2000s.
Beyond that, another factor is consumer demand. It is also growing though there is plenty of pushback, and already the unconverted have made noises in defiance of the predicted demise of the internal combustion engine, and there’s still lots of room for such anti-EV rhetoric.
Today in the U.S., only 1 percent of vehicles in a 17.5-million passenger vehicle annual market are plug-in electrified, and out of these, a little over half are pure battery electric.
Chevy Bolt EV.
Poised to change this are vehicles priced below the Model S and Model X, which while fascinating to many, have been financially out of reach.
The Model 3 is of course the most prominent, and all the more fascinating as it appears much more affordable to those who so far have only pondered electric drive. As Tesla works to ramp up quickly, it should continue to stoke the synergies now underway.
As more people learn that EVs can work for them, can provide a satisfying drive experience while saving them trips to the fuel pump, and being good for the environment as well, faster growth is expected.
Battery costs have come down since just a few years ago when Ford’s CEO said the Focus Electric’s battery costs almost as much as a gas-powered Focus.
Li-ion batteries that cost upwards of a $1,000/kWh at the beginning of the decade have been as cheap as $145/kWh for GM, and Tesla and others are driving the costs down to the $100 mark.
This is needed to get prices down with parity to conventional cars. Consumers have demanded that, and also of concern has been range anxiety, which Baum notes “is declining for some, while many are unconvinced.”
And yet one more related factor – and there are more, but these are some of the main ones – includes desire for public charging infrastructure.
Plans are in the works to increase the public charging even though most vehicles will be charged at home or work.
About The Cars
All but Ford in the top bullet list with penciled in dates are European, and these are just the first few while more will have to come.
You may note names like BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, and Porsche, known for luxury and high-end performance cars, dominate the list, so these may not be volume sellers.
VW ID Concept due for production in 2020.
To fill in the slack for a real mass market, it’s believed Hyundai, Kia, Ford, Nissan, and Honda are coming online, though more specific models have yet to be revealed.
Toyota too may be on its way, as it was just reported that a solid-state battery it’s developing that stands to charge faster, and be more compact than li-ion could power a new EV by 2022.
More gaps beyond this will have to be filled in as well, and that’s been the name of the game so far, which has seen setbacks and positive surprises unforeseen by the most optimistic in 2010.
As they generally predicted however, while the EV market is still small today, it appears many more pending cars should have enough range and cost close enough to conventional alternatives to continue the acceptance curve more sharply upward.
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