The Porsche Taycan is set to the brands first full EV, and now we know what it’s actually going to be called.
All the facts
Back in 2015, the Mission E was unveiled with the Taycan codename, but now Porsche has revealed it’ll be called the Taycan. The name change was announced on Porsche’s 70th birthday by Porsche’s CEO Oliver Blume, alongside news of a new Speedster concept. And if you’re interested, we’re told the Taycan name translates in a Eurasian dialect to ‘lively young horse.’
At the 2015 Frankfurt motor show and the announcement of the all-new Porsche Mission E, shown in concept car form (above). It looked like one of Stuttgart’s finest, but everything inside it seemed to be alien. Where was the flat-six engine? If Porsche had jumped on the EV bandwagon, surely the internal combustion engine’s days were numbered?
Three years later, we have a much more measured, balanced view of EVs, and they’re shifting relationship with ICE-powered cars. In 2018 everyone’s releasing an EV – or at least announcing an ambitious plan for electrification, and our roads are peppered with Nissan Leafs and a swelling number of Teslas. Now, the idea of an electric Porsche isn’t a shocking novelty, and it needs to be backed up with some serious specs, infrastructure and competitive performance.
What is Porsche Mission E?
The Porsche Taycan (formerly the Mission E) is an all-new supercar that’ll fit somewhere between the Panamera and 911, and will feature an all-electric powertrain. It has been spotted being benchmarked against Tesla Model S and Model X EVs.
‘With Mission E we are making a clear statement about the future of the brand,’ said Porsche board chairman Dr. Wolfgang Porsche, speaking in 2015. ‘Even in a greatly changing motoring world, Porsche will maintain its front-row position with this fascinating sports car.’
In the wake of the ongoing emissions scandal rocking Porsche’s parent company VW, electric drivetrain technology is being fast-tracked throughout the VW Audi empire.
How fast is the Porsche EV?
Porsche claims the Taycan will pass 62mph in ‘less than 3.5 seconds’, dashing past 124mph in just a dozen seconds. Top speed meanwhile will be ‘more than 155mph’. The dual-motor layout delivers four-wheel drive and the 911’s four-wheel steering features for agility that would surprise most four-seaters. The batteries are mounted as low as possible within the composite construction for a ground-hugging centre of gravity. There are also two recesses within the skateboard-like battery, for better rear occupant legroom.
In Stuttgart at the company’s annual earnings conference, Porsche let slip that the Tayxan would be powered by LG batteries from South Korea – but that the cells have been designed and built specifically for the Taycan, so they’re not appearing in any other EVs. Steiner added that longer term, Porsche would be pooling its resources within the VW Group to eventually produce its own batteries.
Is the Taycan a real Porsche?
Sort of. ‘The Porsche Mission has been developed in-house at Stuttgart from start to finish, but Porsche is working with its VW stablemate on a separate platform called the Premium Performance Electric or PPE,’ said Stefan Weckbach, head of BEV at Porsche. That’s BEV as in Battery Electric Vehicles, in case you were wondering. ‘E-mobility is a Herculean task, and that’s also true in monetary terms. Group-wide cooperation is therefore a huge plus for us.
‘We’re working very closely with our counterparts, in particular at Audi, on the use of joint modules for the e-vehicles we are currently planning. The brands are also working on the joint development of a platform for new BEV projects in the future.’ We should expect three SUV or saloon models from that in the future, enabled by the economies of scale sparked by working with sister brands. By teaming up, Audi and Porsche are jointly saving 30% in R&D costs.
Of course the Porsche Cayenne is based on the Audi Q7 and the Macan on the Audi Q5.
What are the Taycan specs?
Three years ago, the Mission E promised impressive specs, but Porsche realises it’s been chasing a moving target ever since the car was announced – and that won’t stop when the car is finally released in 2019. Power electronics and battery tech are moving at such a fast rate, Porsche is still unsure if it’ll be offering incremental upgrade packages to early customers.
Tesla is happy to offer performance improving software updates with startling frequency, whereas Nissan tends to save any Leaf updates for refreshed models.
However, with performance and speed being such an important part of the Mission E concept Porsche is considering how to factor in life-cycle improvements to the Taycan.
Porsche plan to use 800 volts with PSM ‘permanently excited synchronous machine’ – an electric motor with extremely high power density, high-efficiency and consistent performance over the entire range of speed and distance. Concept Study Mission E features two of them: one on each axle with a total of more than 440 kW (600 hp) to give a range of over 500 Km.
Or use a standard Type 2 charging cable.
Where does it fit?
Porsche is planning to offer its Taycan EV in three different power outputs and will price the fast four-door in a similar ballpark to the Cayenne and Panamera. This points to a launch price of around £75,000 in the UK when sales start in 2019.
Offering a choice of performance levels gives the Porsche EV a wider market appeal, different price points and an answer to the Tesla Model S, which also comes in 75D, 100D and P100D flavours. We understand the Taycan will be available with some very familiar-sounding badges, reflecting the performanceincrease.
- Carrera 300kW equivalent to 396bhp
- Carrera S 400kW equivalent to 529bhp
- Turbo 500kW equivalent to 661bhp
One constant question Porsche has to face right now is: ‘how do you make it feel like a Porsche?’ And it’s a reasonable thing to ask, especially when it comes to electric cars. Take the 911 GT3; it’s one of the most responsive cars on the road – thanks in part to its naturally aspirated flat-six – but how do you deliver that instant response and hit of acceleration in a marketplace where e-motors with tonnes of torque and linear power delivery come straight off the shelf?
The quick answer: Porsche says it’ll be going deeper into the response and power characteristics of EVs, and there’s more to it than just pure acceleration. For example, steering and braking feel are both something Porsche prides itself on, and the company expects them to be a good area of differentiation in its EV. No wooden brake feel here, say the engineers.
And unlike other cars such as the Tesla Roadster, which can only achieve its headline-grabbing figures twice before needing to cool down, Porsche wants its car to deliver the same level of performance at all times.
‘Porsche drivers won’t need to worry about throttling performance,’ said Weckbach. ‘The Mission E will offer reproducible performance and a top speed which can be maintained for long periods, he vows.
The Taycan will sound like an electric car, in the same way that the 911 GT3 sounds like a flat-six monster. That is, while the car’s acoustics may be tuned to sound as pleasant or aggressive as possible, there won’t be any synthetic BMW i8-style noise.
‘Porsche is unlikely to lower itself to gimmicks of this kind or use sound effects to mimic a bubbling eight-cylinder,’ explains Weckbach. ‘But we will give due consideration to sound as an emotional factor in the Taycan, using the design approach typical of Porsche and incorporating a clear reference to the technology.’
What’s more, Porsche believes there’s more to driving dynamics than the metallic roar of an ICE behind you, and that in the future, the sound of thousands of tiny explosions won’t be so associated with driving excitement anyway.
Porsche wants to ease Taycan owners into the world of electric charging, and it’s going to use a combination of hardware and software to do it.
For example, in a step above Tesla’s own Supercharger network, Michael says Porsche drivers will be able to easily reserve charging spots as part of a normal sat-nav-led journey.
‘Take the Turbo Charging Planner for our battery electric powertrains as another example,’ said Michael. ‘Quick-charge options are optimally matched to your route planning and charging pedestals are pre-reserved, meaning that you can gain that all-important advantage and lose as little time as possible. Added value of this kind helps to determine the essence of the brand.’ Unlike Tesla, which sees charging as a financial incentive to buy into its ecosystem, Porsche wants to use charging as an additional revenue stream.
Interestingly, Porsche isn’t too keen on rolling out its fastest charging technology to everyone’s homes, either. Instead, it’ll offer an extended range of wall chargers, with different models catering for different cars and use cases.
‘We’ll also be able to tailor charging output to customer needs. For example, 3.6 kW for a plug-in hybrid or 7.2 kW for drivers who want to go faster in their Porsche vehicle. For purely electric vehicles, the customer can choose between 11 kW and 22 kW.’
There is also talk of Inductive charging, just drive over a base plate and the car is re-charged automatically. For this to work the car and the plate need to be super close.
The new Taycan will be built in Porsche’s Zuffenhausen plant, alongside the 911 – but with space and time at a premium, the extra facilities needed for the Taycan are being built around the existing, working factory. A portion of the plant is currently closed whiles the lines are re arranged for the Taycan.
It’s an unprecedented move for the marque, and quick glance at the proposed layout essentially shows the new factory filling in any gaps around the site. The task to essentially retrofit more facilities has been so unusual, that Porsche has had to construct an 800m conveyor belt to take Taycans from the body shop to the paint hops. Around €700m is being invested in the site
For Porsche, building its first all-electric car is a huge learning curve in more ways than one. And it’ll be the same for customers, when they first get their hands on the Taycan at the end of the decade. This promises to be one of the most fascinating EVs yet on sale – and one aimed squarely at old-school ‘petrolheads’ keen to make a stepchange into the new electric era.
What’s it like?
Porsche brand ambassador Mark Webber loves it.
Learn more at the Porsche Mission E Micro site:
Electric cars only make up about one percent of the U.S. car market these days, but that could get a boost with big money coming in to promote electric vehicles.
This past week, California, New York, and New Jersey announced major investments for electric vehicles, mostly for fast-charging options, home charging, and other charging infrastructure.
In California, $738 million over the next five years will expand the state’s charging network for both personal cars, electric trucks, and other bigger vehicles. New York’s EV program is bringing in $250 million for 200 fast chargers on roadways and in cities, along with 400 public charging stations at parking lots, airports, and train stations.
In New Jersey, the state’s utility company is putting in $300 million to build out the state’s 200 charging stations to a 50,000-strong network in neighborhoods, office parks, and along major roads. The roughly 16,000 EVs in New Jersey will hopefully expand to 275,000 in the next seven years, the utility said.
The state is also looking into legislation to build 600 new charging stations by 2020 and provide incentives for new zero-emission vehicle drivers.
These big dollars toward electrification mean even more when big industry players get behind the alternative fuel option.
FCA or Fiat Chrysler Autos is the latest of many car companies to set aggressive electric vehicle goals, showing that the auto industry is also betting big on EVs — it’s not just emission-conscious governments trying to hit greenhouse gas reduction goals.
On Friday, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said at a company event the car group would spend more than $10 billion on building out a more robust electric fleet — a hefty chunk of its $52 billion budget for the next five years. The company’s Jeeps will be electric by 2022 and the carmaker will have four all-electric SUVs. All in all, that’ll bring the total up to 30 hybrid or all-electric vehicles in the next four years.
Fiat Chrysler’s plans follow those of a growing list of carmakers like Volvo, with plans to go all-electric starting next year, and General Motors which wants to have 20 fully electric vehicles available in 2023.
It’s not only environmental — these companies are keenly aware that electric vehicle demand is ramping up. Last month, American Automobile Association found that 20 percent of Americans want their next car to be electric, up five percent from the year before.
Although Elon Musk would really like those 50 million Americans to all buy Teslas, with government support, tax benefits, and increasing gas prices, more and more companies are likely to offer up an electric alternative to a fuel-burning vehicle.
Where is the UK model?
Infineon prepares for long-term growth and invests €1.6 billion in new 300-millimeter chip fab
Semiconductor specialist Infineon Technologies has announced plans to build a fully automated new facility in Villach, Austria. The new plant will complement Infineon’s existing facility in Villach, and will focus on producing the company’s 300 mm power semiconductors. Infineon will invest $1.6 billion in the plant over the next six years.
Global demand for power semiconductors is soaring. As the market and technology leader, Infineon is particularly sought-after by customers and is even growing more strongly than the market
said Dr. Reinhard Ploss, Chief Executive Officer of Infineon. “Growth is underpinned by global megatrends such as climate change, demographic change and increasing digitization. Electric vehicles, connected and battery-powered devices, data centers or power generation from renewable sources require efficient and reliable power semiconductors. We recognized that trend early on and so are rapidly expanding production capacities for 300-millimeter technology at our Dresden location. The new facility at Villach will help us cater for the growing demand that our customers anticipate, and continue on our path to success in the coming decade. Backed by the unique expertise we have built at our locations in Europe, we as a global company can strengthen our position on the world market long term.”
“The investment that Infineon has decided to make in Villach is unique in terms of its magnitude, and thus a real success for Austria as a location and the technology sector in Europe”, said the Chancellor of Austria, Sebastian Kurz. “We are aware that high-tech companies need the right framework conditions for research, development and high-quality manufacturing. And we also want to further improve these conditions – industry can rely on Austria here. In this way we will secure the jobs of the future together.”
“This major investment is also a milestone for Infineon Austria economically, technologically and socially and an important step in securing the future of our high-tech site in Villach,” said Dr. Sabine Herlitschka, Chief Executive Officer of Infineon Technologies Austria. “In the fiercely competitive semiconductor industry, the new production facility sends an important signal: with the excellent know-how of our employees and our leading technologies, we are leveraging the opportunities offered by digitization and are globally competitive as a high-wage region – now and moving ahead.”
Villach is the group’s competence center for power semiconductors and has long been an important site for innovation in Infineon’s production network. Manufacturing of power semiconductors on 300-millimeter thin wafers was developed here and then expanded into fully automated high-volume production at the Dresden location over the past years. Thanks to the larger diameter of the wafers, this technology delivers significant gains in productivity and reduces working capital. Dresden is Infineon’s largest site for wafer processing (frontend) and 300-millimeter production capacities there are expected to be fully utilized by 2021. Infineon will apply the automation and digitization concepts from Dresden at the new Villach factory and develop them together with the two locations in order to increase productivity and ensure synergies in relation to systems and processes at both.
According to market researchers from IHS Markit, Infineon is by far the world’s largest provider of power semiconductors and has a market share of 18.5 percent.* These power-saving chips control the flow of electricity in a wide range of applications, such as electric vehicles, trains, wind and solar farms, and power supply units for mobile phones, notebooks and data centers. The factors driving growing demand for power-saving chips are robust and sustained. With its planned investments in additional production capacities, Infineon is helping to make life easier, safer and greener.
Infineon Technologies AG is a world leader in semiconductor solutions that make life easier, safer and greener. Microelectronics from Infineon is the key to a better future. In the 2017 fiscal year, the Company reported sales of around €7.1 billion with about 37,500 employees worldwide.
We give Infineon Technologies AG a Buy rating.
Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn presides over the company has made more electric cars that anyone else so he should know a thing or two about the range that consumers expect from their car before having to plug them back in.
At a recent speech in Hong Kong he said that about 300 KM was fine.
The Nikkei Asian Review revealed that Carlos is focused on lowering price and not on extending range.
“We have seen that consumers do not talk anymore about range or autonomy as long as you guarantee more than 300km,”
said Ghosn, the chairman of the three carmakers, in a media session with Hong Kong reporters late Friday.
Ghosn said the companies only recently determined that 300km was the key milestone, as car owners on average drive just around 50km a day. “You could not have guessed this [result] through studies,” he said. “You had to have 500,000 [electric] cars on the ground to understand that consumers do not put autonomy on top of their concerns any more when you cross 300km.”
For the Chinese market in particular, price is now the key issue, Ghosn said. “When you look what are the electric Chinese cars that are selling, they are very, very affordable cars,” he said. “The price point of the Leaf today is not adequate for the Chinese market.”
The debate over how much range is enough has raged among electric car advocates and consumers ever since the first all-electric vehicles hit the streets. I remember speaking to consumers looking to purchase a Sparrow EV and if 50 miles was enough for their commute.
Now, most electric models have had ranges of about 80 – 110 miles, which will cover the daily driving of about 90 percent of the public, according to census and Department of Labor studies. Yet many car buyers still rejected those electrics from range anxiety: would there be enough charge left for incidental trips after work? They think they may have a sudden urge to drive to Aberdeen for some reason.
The New Leaf is good for over 200 miles and all the Tesla models offer well over 200 miles of range at motorway speed.
We expect battery costs to reduce 2-5% per year for the foreseeable future.
The Royal Mail has agreed to purchase 100 Peugeot Partner L2 Electric vans, to be used as delivery vehicles.
The vans will go into service from December 2017 at delivery offices around the UK, supported by a rollout of charging infrastructure.
This is the first major feet order for the Partner L2 Electric, which was launched in February
The Partner L2 Electric has a gross payload of 552 kg, with The 22.5 kWh lithium–ion battery pack is fitted under the load floor – Peugeot says there is no loss of load space compared with legacy Partner L2 models.
Range is a claimed 106 miles (on the NEDC cycle).
A permanent–magnet synchronous motor produces 49 kW (667 hp)) at 4,000 rpm, and maximum torque of 200 N·m. The front wheels are driven through a speed reducer and single–ratio gearbox.
“With electric vehicles firmly on the agenda this week, there couldn’t be a better time to announce this landmark deal with the Royal Mail, says PSA Group Fleet Director Martin Gurney.. “The order was won after Royal Mail carried out trials with the Partner Electric.””
“Our research has shown that electric vans are a good operational fit with our business, and we are delighted to be ordering such a large volume to use in our daily operations,”” said Paul Gatti, Royal Mail Fleet Director. “Emissions are an important issue for us at Royal Mail and we are continuously looking at new and innovative ways to reduce our carbon footprint and our impact on air quality.””
Geneva sees launch of crazy Vanda Dendrobium – EV from Singapore
You may well as who is Vanda? They are a Singapore company specialising in battery technology and electric mobility and an offshoot of parent company Wong Fong Engineering, a big player in heavy items such as cranes, tailgates and military equipment, for example.
It hasn’t built a car before, nor does it plan to become a volume automotive manufacturer. The closest thing to a series production vehicle in its current portfolio is the rather beguiling little Motochimp electric scooter, which goes on sale in Japan in summer 2017, and the Ant Truck, a square-cut one-tonne EV load-lugger heading for production before 2018.
The Dendrobium is intended as a halo project, to build interest and awareness in the brand. A second car may follow, should the Dendrobium be successful. CAR Magazine had a sneak preview of the Dendrobium before it travelled to Geneva, at Williams Advanced Engineering, the consultancy offshoot of the F1 team tasked with engineering and building the show car on behalf of its creators, Vanda.
‘We are still deciding whether to put the car into production fully,’ Vanda Electric CEO Larissa Tan told CAR. ‘The plan is to do so, but reaction at Geneva will be key. If it does, it will be made in the tens rather than the hundreds.’
Should the Dendrobium make the jump into production, Williams Advanced Engineering will again most likely be the construction partner.
At the time of writing, Vanda hasn’t yet named a potential price for the production car, nor taken deposits, with final decisions to be taken post-Geneva. Nonetheless, we’re told we can expect a production version to carry ‘a seven-figure price tag.’
Will it ever move?
The numbers associated with the Dendrobium’s projected performance are startling: 0-62mph in as little as 2.6sec, and a top speed of around 200mph.
Ian Cluett, head of programmes at Williams Advanced Engineering are targeting a kerb weight of 1750kg. ‘It’s hard to make a two-tonne-plus car fast,’ he says. ‘Weight is the key for this car – there’s still lots to come.’
Power, range, and the powertrain configuration itself for that matter, are still to be finalised. It may feature four in-board electric motors, or three; regardless, it will power all four wheels. Currently the car is designed to use a single-speed gearbox at the front and multiple gears at the rear, with conventional differentials rather than a more complex motor vectoring system. No news regarding battery size, technology or charging specifications.
Likewise, which type of motors will be used is still TBC, but Cluett says the Dendrobium won’t use the same motors as the Williams-developed Formula E powertrain. Total power output is likely to exceed the equivalent of 1000bhp.
If the Dendrobium does go on sale, when will it reach the road?
Two years after the decision, Larissa Tan tells us – by which time battery technology will naturally have moved on again. Tan says the production car’s powertrain ‘will fit a hypercar at that time,’ in terms of its performance and technological advancement.
The car’s essential design has existed as a concept project since the mid 1990s, Tan explains, and was always intended to be an EV. Although the project was revisited again in the mid 2000s. ‘We were waiting for technology to catch up with the design, for the time to be right. We decided now that the time is right to realise it.’
Yes we are mentioned in a BBC article published jusst before Christams on the BBC Autos page.
Featured as Last-Minute gifts for green-minded drivers. See BBC website.
Eco-friendly cars that swap petrol for plugs are becoming increasingly popular. According to the International Energy Agency, in 2015, the number of electric vehicles (EVs) in use across the globe reached over 1.26 million. And 13 million charging stations, which will accommodate that growing number of EVs, are projected to be in place by 2020.
The holidays are here, but here are some last-minute ideas for the EV lover in your life, from the cousin who only commutes via e-bicycle, or your friend who refuses to sit behind a steering wheel to spew exhaust into the air.
Electric car charging cables
This Surrey-based company, Cables for Charging, will supply charging cables for any EV user you know, whether they drive an electric BMW, Nissan, Mistubishi, or Audi. The site provides a guide for choosing which charging cable is best for your type of car, and they ship to anywhere in the UK or Europe. £120 to £140
Tip of the hat to Jim Barber for the headsup.
An interesting report published in Bloomberg claims that big bad GM may lose as much as $9,000 on every all electric Bolt that leaves the showroom. Sounds crazy until you understand more about the Clean Air Rules in California.
California crafted the doctrine, with tough clean-air rules and a mandate that automakers sell some non-polluting vehicles if they want to do business in the Golden State. Nine others have adopted it, New York and New Jersey among them, and all told they make up close to 30 percent of the U.S. market. That goes a long way to explaining why zero-emissions models from more than 10 brands are on the roads, with more on the way. Most are destined to be loaded with red ink for their makers, but they’ll be great deals for consumers as companies unload them to meet their targets.
While Trump may dilute federal programs that take aim at carbon-dioxide spewing cars, California won’t be backing down, certainly not during Governor Jerry Brown’s term. The most populous state is such a powerhouse — roughly 1 in 8 new vehicles in the US was registered there in the first half of the year — that companies will keep spitting out electrics for the privilege of selling everything else in their lineups.
“California will continue to act as the ballast, as the center of gravity, for clean air and climate policies in the U.S.,” said Levi Tillemann, author of “The Great Race,” a book on the future of automobile technology. “Trump will thrust the state back into the role of clean-air crusader, and that’s a banner a lot of people in California don’t mind carrying.’’
Where it’ll get interesting is over the next decade or so. The states’ rules are set to tighten so that zero-emission vehicles, or ZEVs, will have to rise to an estimated 15.4 percent of sales by 2025, some five times the current level.
The hurdles may go higher: Brown, a Democrat with two years left in his term, signed a law ordering greenhouse-gas emissions be 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. To get there, ZEVs, plug-in hybrids or fuel-cell cars like Honda Motor Co.’s Clarity may have to comprise 40 percent of sales, up from about 3 percent now, according to California Air Resources Board staff projections.
Can that really happen? “The idea that automakers will sell 40 percent of their vehicles at a loss in California is ludicrous,” said Eric Noble, president of the CarLab, a consulting company in Orange, California, who reckons most electric cars lose at least $10,000 per sale.
The industry’s willing to take the hit on a small scale now. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s battery-powered Fiat 500e is made for California alone, and Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said in 2014 that it was losing $14,000 per sale. The company’s pretty much giving it away, at a monthly lease-rate of as little as $69. Nissan Motor Co. has advertised lease deals for the Leaf at as low as $149.
Of course, the industry might figure out how to make ZEVs into money makers, once the charging-station infrastructure is built out and as battery costs fall. Global demand seems sure to rise, with major economies, including China, having recognized climate change as a threat and tailpipe-emissions from gas-powered autos as a chief contributor.
The U.S. has a ZEV incentive of its own, offering a $7,500 tax credit to buyers, and also gives credits to manufacturers to reward them for cars that meet greenhouse-gas reduction targets set by the Obama administration.
There’s no indication President-elect Donald Trump has a view on these enticements. While he has dismissed global warming as “nonsense,” he told the New York Times he has an “open mind” on scientists’ overwhelming consensus that human activity is warming the planet. Key members of his transition team have rejected that notion or contend the dangers are exaggerated.
The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the industry’s main trade group, has asked Trump to consider their state ZEV costs when evaluating the feasibility of rules set under President Barack Obama to boost average fuel economy standards by 2025. Over the next eight years, the electric-vehicle demands will impose costs of up to $40 billion on companies that they’ll pass on to customers, according to the group. The miles-per-gallon standard, which is 35.3 for 2016, will under the rules go to 50.8 — a number the industry contends could make cars prohibitively expensive.
On Wednesday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency took a formal step that makes it harder for Trump to undo the Obama targets. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy announced a preliminary determination that Obama’s 2025 targets are achievable, affordable and appropriate. If she finalizes this decision before leaving office, she’ll force Trump into a formal and protracted rule-making process to revise the rules.
Whatever happens in the national capital, California, a largely left-leaning state, will be where the power is for years to come. The bill that established its greenhouse-gas targets was championed by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican. Two California cities, Los Angeles and Bakersfield, are the most smog- and particulate-laden in the U.S. Brown has called climate change “the existential threat of our time.”
And California is where ZEVs are being dumped. More than half of all electrics were sold there in the first six months of 2016, according to IHS Markit Ltd.
Bolt v Tesla Model III
Under the rules, GM needs to sell enough Bolts that it can go to town on other vehicles, including pickups and SUVS, which is where the big money is. The Bolt’s anticipated per-sale loss of roughly $8,000 to $9,000 is an estimate based on a sticker price of $37,500, according to a person familiar with the matter. A GM spokesman declined to comment on the expected profitability.
But GM has reasons beyond compliance to promote the Bolt, according to Tim Mahoney, Chevy’s chief marketing officer. For one thing, it lures younger, technologically savvy buyers who probably wouldn’t have considered Chevrolet, he said. “It’s a statement about what we can do for the Chevy brand.”
The Bolt has a 238-mile range, which gives it an edge over mass-market electrics that have been around for a while; the Leaf can go 107 miles on a single charge, the Fiat 500e just 85. GM will also have a jump on Tesla Motors Inc.’s first and hotly anticipated mass-market offering, the Model 3, due late next year. The Bolt will be available in California and Oregon this month, with states added through 2017. GM also plans to sell the Bolt in China and Europe but not the UK.
It just Maths stupid
Here’s how the math works for GM in California. Let’s say it sells a total of 219,962 vehicles in one model year (as it did, in fact, in 2015). To avoid heavy fines or the threat of getting shut out entirely, it would need state-awarded ZEV credits equal to 14 percent of the total — or 30,794. That would mean finding buyers for 7,698 Bolts, earning four credits for each, or 10,082 Chevy Volt plug-in hybrids or a combination of the two.
“EVs are compliance vehicles and GM knows this,” said the CarLab’s Noble. “The Bolt will take sales from all of the other vehicles on the market, and GM will get a lot of credits.”
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has called California’s ZEV bar “pathetically low,” saying on an earnings call in August that “there’s massive lobbying by the big-car companies to prevent CARB from increasing the ZEV credit mandate, which they absolutely damn well should.”
Some see the future in zero- and low-emissions, with or without incentives. Toyota Motor Corp. has said it will stop making virtually all gasoline-burning models by 2050, and Volkswagen AG has laid out plans to be selling 1 million battery-powered cars annually by 2025.
The U.S. is one-fifth of the global car market, and groups ready to go to battle over emissions like to offer an argument beyond the threats of smog and global warming. California’s policies are forcing companies to be innovative, said Luke Tonachel, a senior analyst for the Natural Resources Defense Council. If they stop, “U.S. manufacturers could lose market share.”