CAM study finds Tesla most innovative automaker

The Center of Automotive Management (CAM) has analysed the innovative strength of 32 car manufacturers looking at 291 innovations in the field of electric mobility. Tesla remains by far the top innovator in the technology field but is tracked by VW.

Volkswagen places as one of the “Fast followers” in second place with the Chinese manufacturer BYD in third place and the Hyundai Group in fourth place. In addition to BYD, Geely, BAIC and SAIC also made it into the top 10 of the most innovative BEV carmakers, making four Chinese carmakers for the first time.

Chinese OEMs could soon do even better in the ranking: The researchers from Germany attest a big improvement to companies like Nio and Xpeng, even if they still land outside the top 10. Daimler and BMW only follow in the midfield, while Toyota, Honda and Ford are considered “laggards” in the CAM evaluation.

For the Innovation Index in the field of electromobility, the team led by study director Stefan Bratzel evaluated the series models’ innovations in terms of range, consumption and charging performance “to improve customer benefits”. In the case of Tesla, the CAM justifies the 159.4 index points with “strong innovations in the area of range and charging performance”. The evaluation for the year 2021 should also be interesting: On the one hand, the charging capacities of the revised Model S and X increase to up to 250 kW, but there are reports of users who only get low charging capacities with the LFP batteries of their MIC Model 3 increase.

Volkswagen increased its score by 37 index points to 122.6 points compared to the previous year. The reason given here is “high segment ranges and charging performance of the VW ID.3 as well as other innovations from Porsche (Taycan) and Audi (e-tron)”. The VW Group’s lead over BYD is large. It has even increased in the current evaluation: while the Wolfsburg company was able to gain the aforementioned 37 points, the Chinese carmaker improved by 23 index points to 70.0 points. Here, the “innovations of the BYD Han EV” are mentioned above all – i.e. probably above all the “Blade Battery” with LFP technology.

After strong gains, the Hyundai-Kia Group was only able to increase by nine points to 58.2 index points. Indeed, few innovative eMobility solutions from the Korean company came onto the market in 2020. Here, too, we are already looking forward to the evaluation for 2021, when Hyundai with the Ioniq 5 and the group subsidiary Kia will launch the first models based on the new E-GMP 800-volt technology to completely different market segments.

Correlation between innovation and BEV sales

Behind the Koreans, there is a dense midfield from Renault to GM, Geely (including Volvo and Polestar), BAIC, PSA and SAIC – all scoring between 41.4 and 31.4 index points. So a new, innovative model could lead to strong shifts here in the future. Daimler is in 11th place with 26.0 index points but could improve strongly in 2021 with the EQS. Behind them, Great Wall, BMW, Fiat-Chrysler and the Tata Group (including Jaguar Land Rover) are counted as followers. From 16th place onwards, Nissan (13.2 index points) joins the latecomers and newcomers’ ranks. Here Nio, with 9.2 index points, has already beaten Mazda, Toyota and Honda.

“The established carmakers have to brace themselves because in the next few years we can expect considerable innovation momentum not only from Tesla but also from newcomers to electromobility such as Lucid Motors or the Chinese manufacturers Nio and Xpeng,” says Bratzel. “Anyone late to the game in e-mobility is taking a big risk.”

Besides: “Manufacturers’ electric innovations can boost their sales figures. For example, there are astonishing correlations between the innovation strength and the electric vehicle (BEV) sales of car manufacturers. Among the top 5 OEMs with the highest sales are also four of the most innovative car manufacturers in the field of purely electric e-mobility.”

With reporting by Sebastian Schaal, Germany.

Source: press release via email


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