GM takes hard steps towards electrification in USA
General Motors has announced a comprehensive restructuring plan to save six billion dollars annually by the end of 2020. This will free up funds to invest in the development and production of electric cars and autonomous vehicles, but also means closing down large U.S. factories.Weiterlesen
Mary Barra, Dieter Zetsche, Nissan.
“Launching the Chevrolet Bolt EV, getting that into the marketplace and seeing customers’ reactions is one way we can capitalize on our battery cell technology.”
General Motors CEO Mary Barra explains the company’s move to invest in Lyft and Cruise Automation as a long-term way to profit from new technologies.
“It is very important to get the right timing. As a tendency, and as a trend, we have become more bullish in that regard.”
Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche explains the company’s newest plans regarding their accelerated development of premium electric cars. Though Zetsche would not reveal details, the company may be taking aim at rivals Tesla and Audi.
“It is now fair to say that charger availability has reached critical mass in Japan.”
A statement from Nissan indicates that Japan’s charging infrastructure has reached a level where EV drivers don’t have trouble finding a plug. Some 6,200 chargers are said to be available at some 7,000 locations nationwide, including 60% of the world’s quick chargers.
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Mary Barra, Steven Schoefs, Susan Beardslee.
“This gives us an unprecedented opportunity to develop cleaner, safer, smarter and more environmentally friendly vehicles for our customers.”
In a letter to shareholders, GM CEO Mary Barra comments on GM’s latest sustainability report. It lists “alternative propulsion” as one of four pillars.
“Over 20 European countries apply some form of CO2 tax on company cars, and that trend will accelerate – driven in no small measure by ‘Dieselgate’ and related emissions issues.”
Fleet Europe editor-in-chief Steven Schoefs predicts an increase in fleet electrification driven by emission regulations but also by “mirroring” incentives for hybrid and electric vehicles, as those rules increase TCO (total cost of ownership).
“The role of vehicle electrification in urban areas is part of a broader smart mobility model that includes shared vehicles, charging options, and driverless electric vehicle fleets of cars, buses, trams, and light rail. No singular option prevails; in fact, innovative manufacturers are creating ways for them to converge.”
Says Susan Beardslee is a senior analyst at ABI Research that forecasts global electric vehicle revenue to grow to 58bn dollars in 2021, as manufacturers increasingly look into multimodal transport.
Annette Winkler, Scott Keogh, Mary Barra.
“A full-electric Smart Fortwo will be available at the end of 2016. We’ll start in the U.S. It will be available in both the coupe and Cabrio version. The Forfour will also be offered in Europe and China in full electric.”
Smart CEO Annette Winkler is laying out the strategy for the electric Smart – finally – and hopes to increase sales beyond the USA. Especially California proves a great ground for Smart’s electric offering due to favourable policies.
“We need to make a choice – keep riding the wave or jump to something else. If you make a leap to something new, it’s a huge opportunity (…) I believe we in the auto industry can be the disruptors.”
Audi of America president Scott Keogh wants to go all in and push electrification, as he believes that “electrification of the industry to be inevitable.”
“We are not actively working on providing infrastructure [for the Bolt EV].”
Says CEO Mary Barra, even though the new electric car comes with the widely spread CCS charger. Time will tell if the move is wise or if GM will change its mind. After all, they want the Bolt to appeal to the masses.
Mary Barra, Gordon Wagener, Mark Fields.
“I have no doubt that the auto industry will change more in the next 5 to 10 years than it has in the last 50.”
At the presentation of the Chevrolet Bolt, GM CEO Mary Barra said the EV was not just developed as a consumer car, but also for rideshare services such as Lyft, in which GM just invested 500m dollars.
“We have a strong strategy, and if you look at last year’s concept cars, they can give you some indication of where we are going. A full electric would definitely have an expression of its own.”
Gorden Wagener, chief of design for Mercedes-Benz, says that while the carmaker’s hybrids look like their petrol- or diesel-powered counterparts, an EV would have unique look to it.
“Never say never, but right now that’s not in our plans.”
Mark Fields, Ford President and CEO, says that despite investing some 4.5m dollars in electric vehicles research through 2020, we will not see a hybrid performance vehicle from the U.S. manufacturer anytime soon.
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Carlos Gosn, Mary Barra, Yoshikazu Tanaka.
“I don’t think anybody envisions today a future without the electrification of cars.”
Still, Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn has no illusions about the profitability, or better the lack thereof, of electric cars. Compliance is the new reality before better times may come, Nissan believes.
“We’ll be able to put the Chevrolet Bolt in the marketplace next year. […] We wanted to put it in the marketplace as quickly as we could. Electrification as an option for the masses, not just at the top end.
It looks like GM CEO Mary Barra fully agrees with her counterpart at Nissan, as the American carmaker, too, works towards the electrification of the masses.
“If Elon Musk says fuel cell technology is stupid, in a sense this is true: We are just at the beginning. It was just born and has huge potential.”
Toyota Mirai’s chief engineer Yoshikazu Tanaka is aware that fuel cell technology may indeed seem like an impractical option. Yet, the company decidedly creates facts as it plans to produce “30,000 FCV annually by 2020,” he said.
Dieter Zetsche, Mary Barra
“These days Tesla is selling 50,000 vehicles in a total market of 80 million. So it’s not our number one priority to compete with Tesla.”
Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche does not see Tesla as a serious competitor. Audi and its planned Q6 electric car might be another matter. But the CEO did not confirm any plans to go head to head (yet).
“To make the biggest impact, it takes an engineering organization with the scale and the expertise to build electric vehicles for everyone, not just the elite.”
General Motors CEO Mary Barra sent out a similar message to Tesla, as she once more praises the upcoming Bolt as an EV accessible to mass market.
Harald Kroeger, Mary Barra, Jim Buczkowski.
“Who would have thought that among Porsche customers 10% would care for the polar bears? That basically shows there is something out there.”
Says Harald Kroeger, vice president-electrical/electronics and electric drive at Mercedes-Benz, about Porsche electrifying its portfolio. He is certain that in ten years’ time, there will be battery cells with twice the capacity at half the price: “We have the first samples in our labs at home that show me it’s true.”
“As you look at regulatory requirements around the globe, electrification is a key part in making those targets. But doing it in a way that is focused on the customer.”
GM CEO Mary Barra says the manufacturer has “to be part of defining the future,” but that ultimately, the customer will decide what the future will be.
“I think that’s the challenge we face. We have to have C- and D-segment vehicles that are very affordable for customers to really get EVs to take off.”
Jim Buczkowski, Ford’s director-electrical and electronics systems/research and innovation, says that falling gas prices pose a significant problem for the electric mobility market.