What’s In A Name? The Global Change From ‘Gas Cars’ to ‘Electric SUVs’

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Last year Chrysler announced the end of nearly all their cars, leaving the Chrysler 300 as the sole survivor.  This week Ford announced they same thing by formally heralding the death of the Taurus, Fusion, CMax, and Fiesta leaving only the Mustang and Focus in development.  General Motors will follow suit in the coming weeks.

plug-in-bmw-x5Are the “big 3” giving up on the North American car market? No; what they are doing is responding to consumers purchasing only SUV’s and trucks and realizing that new SUV’s will require a ground up fresh designs.  If they have to start with a blank sheet of paper, automobile manufacturers are not going to engineer yesterdays technology.  With few exceptions gas engines will remain in vehicles only as generators for the electric propulsion systems of today and tomorrow.  They are going to produce mostly plug-in hybrid SUV’s.

Four things have lead to these changes:

  1. Consumer tastes have changed:
    • Much like “station wagons” were replaced with small trucks and the first SUV’s in the 1980’s, SUV’s will replace “sedans” by the early 2020’s
  2. Globalization:
    • Automobile manufacturers no longer make product for just one market, no matter how large it is.
      • Consider the One Ford strategy from the mid 2010’s as a the most high profile example of this globalization
  3. Improvements Electric Storage and Propulsion
  4. Regulations:
    • Government’s around the globe have demanded better fuel economy and emissions standards
    • Electrification, mostly in the form of Plug-In Hybrids (PHEV’s) will lead the way for the next decade followed by pure EV’s after that

The government regulation is, we think, the most interesting part of this dynamic.  As we said in a 2017 article:

Trump Changes to Corporate Average Fuel Economy Standards Will Have Little Effect On Automobile Manufactures. This is because Trump is only planning to eliminate changes AFTER the year 2022 and also because nearly all manufacturers are building cars for the global market which will still have increasingly tough regulations.
Source: PartisanIssues.com/2017/12/trump-changes-to-corporate-average-fuel-economy-standards-will-have-little-effect-on-automobile-manufactures/

What Automobile Manufacturers Have Already Announced For Electrification?

Literally every notable automobile manufacturer on the globe has made announcements about their drive to Hybirds, Plug In Hybrids and Full Electric Vehicles.  Below is an update from some of the largest automotive companies:

Audi

Audi just started taking deposits on its new A1 e-Tron in Canada and the US, but it also announced a raft of new electrics and plug in hybirds.

BMW / Mini

BMW just committed to expanding their existing line of electrics to 12 fully electric and 13 hybrids by 2025.  In January 2018 BMW unveiled its modular design for their 2021 electric vehicles.

From 2021, new BMWs will be built on modular platforms capable of accommodating fully electric, plug-in hybrid or internal combustion powertrains. These cars won’t look radically different from today’s models, only being slightly taller to incorporate under-floor batteries.
Source: theglobeandmail.com/globe-drive/news/industry-news/bmw-unveils-electric-car-plans-for-2021-andbeyond/article37703938/

Chrysler

Chrysler has not made many electric specific announcements but Fiat / Chrysler CEO (and half Canadian) Sergio Marchionne has said he is fully aware of the trend:

…promising an exclusively hybrid and/or 100 per cent electric production from 2019.
Source: ctvnews.ca/autos/maserati-drives-the-move-to-electric-for-fiat-chrysler-automobiles-1.3529460

Ford

Ford has been making announcements for years about their plans for many more “electric vehicles” but was coy on models and even generalized descriptions.  We now know this is because they are nearly completely replacing their gas powered cars and with Plug-In Electric SUV’s:

(Ford is ) now nearly doubling their commitment (to electrification from just last year and) will pump $11 billion into electric vehicles in the next five years, with 24 hybrid and 16 fully electric vehicles to debut by 2022 In January 2018 (they will all be SUV’s or trucks).
Source: wired.com/story/ford-electric-cars-plan-mach-1-suv/

General Motors

GM has been the world leader in electrification of automobiles with the first mass production plug-in Hybrid (the Saturn EV1 1996 and Chevy Volt 2010).  GM now has the worlds first fully electric vehicle under $40K, the amazing Chevy Bolt.  Personally, I drive the stunning Cadillac ELR.  In October 2017 GM announced they would have 20 FULLY electric vehicles on the market by 2023.

Hyundai / Kia

In December of 2017, Hyundai announced they will seven NEW electric vehicles on sale by 2022 and another 30 electric’s by 2025.

Jaguar

In addition to many other electric announcements Jaguar is showing off the spectacular i-Pace to go on sale in the summer of 2018.

Land Rover

CEO Ralf Speth said in September 2017 a complete commitment to electrification of their products:

“Every new Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) model line will be electrified from 2020, giving our customers even more choice.  We will introduce a portfolio of electrified products across our model range, embracing fully electric, plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid vehicles.
Source:  economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/60415467.cms

Mercedes

Mercedes already has several successful EV’s and more are on the way.  Mercedes just announced it will expand its global battery network from 5 to 6 factories by the end of 2018 and that:

…it would invest $11 billion to make sure each Mercedes-Benz vehicle would have a fully-electric or hybrid version by 2022
Source: businessinsider.com/mercedes-reveals-plans-to-dominate-ev-market-2018-1 

Nissan

Nissan will have 8 new electric vehicles on the road by 2022 which will add to its ownership of the worlds best selling electric only vehicle, the Nissan Leaf.

Telsa

We have nothing much to say about Telsa as they are the worlds first mass production electric only automobile manufacturer.  Oh wait… yes there is something super cool from Tesla:

Toyota

In addition to previously owning the factory that Tesla currently makes all of its electric vehicles in Fremont California, Toyota made a huge announcement In December of 2017 that it is ‘all in’ on electrification of its fleet including large trucks and commercial vehicles:

… (Toyota will) launch 10 new BEVs worldwide by “the early 2020s” and it wants to have electric options throughout its entire lineup of cars by 2025
Source: electrek.co/2017/12/18/toyota-electric-car-plans/

Volvo

Volvo has been misquoted many times in the press as saying that they will stop production of all gas engine vehicles by 2019.  However, the fact is that Volvo will only stop the ENGINEERING of gas vehicles in 2019.  They will still produce gas only vehicles into the early 2020’s until the products naturally expire.  All new Volvo’s from 2019 on will be plug-in electric.

Volkswagon

There new slogan “We’re Very Plugged In” gives you a clue as to their intent.  In the summer of 2017, VM said they would invest over 20 billion Euro’s into electrification but by the November 2007 they had massively increased their commitment to 34 billion Euro’s.

…its total investments in electric vehicles capacity and projects will amount to about 72 billion euros by 2022… …It has pledged to offer an electric version of each of its 300 group models by 2030…
Source: cbc.ca/news/business/volkswagen-electric-vehicles-1.4407483

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