Vehicle manufacturers keen to adopt EV models for market expanse

22 May 2017

22 May 2017

More and more manufacturers are diving into the electric vehicle (EV) market, as technology, battery life and most importantly consumer awareness improves. What was once a bastion of small manufacturers and startups, today even premium manufacturers are looking to take their slice of the sector.

Some companies are developing EV strategies, others are releasing new versions of their already popular models. One such company doing the latter is Nissan, which has announced it will be launching the second generation Leaf in September 2017. The company has released a teaser image which suggests a major facelift to the current model, bringing it in line with the manufacturer’s new Micra.

Speaking at an event in Norway, Pierril Pouret, senior vice president of Nissan in the Nordic Region, commented: ′This will be a brand new model designed from blank sheets that will make sure we’re still in the front.’

The new Leaf is expected to feature an improved range, although no details of this have yet been released. With Tesla offering around 215 miles range from the batteries in its Model 3, manufacturers are keen to show they too can improve the distance their EVs can travel.

Meanwhile, BMW has announced plans to be a leader in electrification and connected technology. At its annual general meeting (AGM) in May 2017, Harald KrÜger, chairman of the board of management at the manufacturer, told shareholders that the company expects to sell 100,000 electric vehicles in 2017, and by 2025, electrified drivetrains are likely to account for 10-25% of the company’s total sales. He also confirmed a new BMW i8 Roadster in 2018, a pure electric Mini in 2019 and a fully electric BMW X3 for 2020.

He said: ′From 2020, we want to be able to build electric, plug-in hybrid and combustion-engine variants of each model series on the same line. This will make us extremely flexible. Sustainable mobility thrives wherever there is an effective combination of three factors: customer, legislation and industrialisation. Anyone who has driven an electric car – and I do this very often – knows that e-mobility is also sheer driving pleasure in its purest form. That is why 95 per cent of electric car owners choose an electric vehicle as their next car.’

Another German manufacturer, Audi, is also looking to expand its electric vehicle fleet. Rupert Stadler, speaking at the AGM held in May 2017, told delegates that the vehicle maker would be releasing three new battery electric models by 2020. One of these, the Audi e-tron Quattro SUV, will be ready for launch as early as 2018, with the company stating it would have around 300 miles of range.

The move could be a sign of how seriously parent company Volkswagen (VW) is taking its new modular electric drive (MEB) architecture. The company is keen to encourage subsidiaries to share technology across brands to save costs within the group. By 2025, Audi plans to have at least one third of its models as fully or partially electric.

Finally, Japanese vehicle maker Subaru is considering jumping on the EV train as it makes record investments into its research and development. The company is considering installing electric drivetrains in existing models rather than launching an all-new car. The manufacturer believes it would allow the opportunity to capitalise on the market without the need to tie in with other manufacturers.