This week’s electric vehicle (EV) news is all about cars, with Bloomberg dominating the news on EV adoption rates. We discuss new model announcements from Mercedes, Byton, Audi, Jaguar with an emphasis on the popular luxury SUV market. With all the new models coming out, consumers are going to be spoiled for choice. Anecdotally (i.e. unscientifically), we constantly hear people saying that their next car will be an EV. It is clear that EV’s have moved out of a niche market and have gained broad public awareness and acceptance as a viable option. For parking lot owners/managers, the key is to start preparing for a not-to-distant future where a significant percentage of the cars in the lot will be EV’s with all the challenges and opportunities that presents.
Bloomberg reports that the number of EV’s sold globally will reach 4 million this week. They report that the time taken to reach each successive million has shrunk from nearly a year and half for the second million sold to 6 months for the fourth million. Bloomberg BNEF (“Cumulative Global EV Sales Hit 4 Million”.)
EV Inflection Point Coming Fast?
Bloomberg has been studying the California market, the leading market for EV’s in the US. For the first half of this year, cars with a battery represented 10% of new car sales. This includes hybrids like the Prius as well as plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars. Two key take aways: first, the data shows the erosion in sales of hybrids in favor of EV’s. Second, in looking at adoptions trends, rates start slower than expected. However, sales reach an inflection point, after which adoption rates move exponentially. In Norway, it took a decade for EV’s to reach 6% of new car sales but only 5 years to go from 6% to 45%. While Norway is a special case with generous government incentives, it is illustrative of how inflection points might work in the EV market. Not saying that 6% is the magic inflection point for other markets, but we are getting to this point in a number of markets, including California and we should start thinking more aggressively about EV adoption rates. Bloomberg (“Electric Vehicles’ Day Will Come, and It Might Come Suddenly”.)
The first offering from Mercedes’ all electric, EQ range, was announced today—the EQC luxury SUV. Daimler CEO, Dieter Zetsche, explained that they had exceeded their expected investment of $12 billion but that “there is no alternative to betting on electric cars, and we’re going all in. It is starting right now.” The EQC is expected to go on sale in the US in 2020.
Chinese startup electric-carmaker Byton has already begun testing its semi-anonymous SUV on Chinese roads. The car is expected to go on sale in China in 2019 and in the U.S. and Europe in 2020. It is expected to be offered with two battery options—a 250 mile and a 320 mile range choices. It is expected to ship with Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities—able to drive itself in most situations but with the driver required to take over at short notice—with level 4 coming shortly after 2020. By comparison, the current Tesla Models S and X are somewhere between Level 2-3 BMW (“The Path To Autonomous Driving”) for a more detailed explanation of what autonomous driving levels mean). Focused on a high-tech experience, it will also compete in the luxury SUV segment with an entry price around $45,000.
Reportedly has begun production of its 5-seater all electric SUV, the e-tron. Audi has tried to keep specifications under wraps ahead of its September 17 official launch in San Francisco (Tesla’s home field) but it reportedly will come with a 250-mile range. The car should be on sale by the end of the year.
The iconic Jaguar E-Type may be making a comeback albeit in an all-electric configuration. Jaguar has announced it will sell the electric E type in 2020. Prices are expected to be eye watering for a car that many (including the Museum of Modern Art in NY) call the most beautiful car ever made.