Electric vehicles are coming, and the past year has seen a number of big manufacturers roll out their plans for the electric revolution.
Although each is shooting for the same goal – profitability in an era of tighter emissions regulations – there are a number of different theories on how to get there.
Here are the latest formal plans, collated in the one place. If you notice a brand is missing – and many are – that means they’ve yet to offer any detailed announcement of plans for an electrification program.
Audi has promised to offer three new electric vehicles by 2020, with a third of all cars sold by 2025 to be electrified in some form.
Lower in the range, the rollout of electrification is likely to begin with mild 48-volt hybrids. Cars fitted with these systems use a water-cooled belt-driven generator in place of a traditional starter motor, allowing the car to coast with the engine off for almost a minute in the right conditions.
When the throttle is prodded, the engine can fire instantly back to life, while a camera allows the system to see when traffic is moving and preemptively start the internal combustion engine.
Further up the EV tree will be e-tron cars, with fully-electric powertrains. A crossover, previewed by a number of concept cars in recent years, will lead the charge in 2018.
Expect to see internal combustion playing a major role in the Audi line-up for years to come, though. Senior figures have said conventional engines are still “unbeatable” for their blend of power and efficiency, not to mention convenience.
BMW used a December event in Munich to outline its modular, electric future. The company wants to have 25 electrified models on sale by 2025, with 12 of those to be pure-electric. By this point, around a quarter of total sales are expected to be electrified vehicles.
Dr Ian Robertson, member of the BMW board of management, says the “trend toward e-mobility is irreversible”.
To cater for the range of body-styles required for success in the current landscape, there will be modular platforms for passenger vehicles – think sedans, hatches and wagons – and the ever-growing X SUV range. Battery packs with heights between 80 and 140mm will be developed to suit the differing model lines.
Batteries will be housed between the axles, in 60kWh (450km range), 99kWh (660km range) and 120kWh (700km+ range) trims.
They’ll be paired with electric motors with 100kW, 190kW, 250kW and over 300kW for a varied model range with entry-level, mid-spec, warmed-over and genuinely-hot performance models. The new architecture will debut in 2021.
American car manufacturers are known for their big-engined muscle cars, but GM has been open in its desire to get ahead of the game on electric vehicles.
The Detroit giant has committed to offering 20 electric vehicles by 2023, the first two of which will arrive in the next 16 months. Unlike some of its competitors (and American upstarts) the company says fuel-cell vehicles will play a big role in the future as well.
“We think with electric vehicles, there is a two-pronged approach to this,” Dan Ammann, GM president, told media earlier this year. “One is battery-electric vehicles, obviously, but we also believe fuel-cell will play a significant role and we are going down both paths. The BEV will be the mainstream high volume [path] in the shorter term.”
“On the BEV side, we have launched the Bolt here – we were first to market with an electric car with usable range – we believe that the future will be heavily electric. Fuel cell will play a role in that and we are investing across all these technologies.”
The I.D and I.D Crozz will both launch in 2020, priced similarly to the Golf hatch and Tiguan crossover respectively. The new I.D Buzz, a modern take on the legendary Kombi, will debut in 2022, while reports have also suggested the next Beetle will be a rear-driven electric-vehicle.
By 2025, the company wants to sell three million electric cars per year, while the entire VW Group line-up – somewhere in the vicinity of 300 models – will be electrified come 2030.
Er, next? Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler CEO, has been very open in his skepticism about electric vehicles.
Rather than banking on pure-electric power, Marchionne says the company will focus on combining electric power with internal combustion to meet tightening CO2 regulations.
“We are investing without making a lot of noise on electrification,” he said. “We will combine it with combustion to yield the right level of CO2. But we’re not betting the bank on going fully electric in the next decade. It won’t happen.”
Marchionne also said he hopes people don’t buy the 500e. In other words? If you’re keen on a pure electric car, look elsewhere.
Toyota (and Lexus)
Toyota is planning to aggressively ramp-up its electric technology in the coming years, with the goal of offering electrified powertrains across its range by 2025, and selling more than 5.5 million electrified vehicles by 2030.
Of those 5.5 million sales, the company wants 1 million to be zero-emissions. If the goal is met, more than 50 per cent of all Toyota and Lexus models sold will feature some form of electrification.
More than 10 battery-electric cars will be offered by the early 2020s, with the rollout commencing in China and spreading gradually to Japan, India, North America and Europe.
Solid state batteries will be a big part of this rollout, with plans to have the technology ready for consumers in the ‘early 2020s’.
Along with solid-state batteries, Toyota has joined Panasonic for a study into prismatic batteries. The technology promises to cut weight and costs, allowing companies to squeeze greater voltage from batteries with fewer cells.
Finally, the next few years will see the development of the Hybrid System II currently doing service in the Prius.
A more powerful version of the powertrain will appear in some models (Supra, anyone?), while a simpler iteration will also help expand the hybrid line-up ahead of the early 2020s.
The move is part of a push to sell a total of 1 million electrified cars by 2025. The company also wants to have all its manufacturing plants carbon neutral by 2025, in keeping with the greener focus of electric vehicles.
Five fully electric vehicles, the first of which has been unveiled under the Polestar badge, will hit the market between 2019 and 2021.
The move is “about the customer” according to Hakan Samuelsson, CEO of Volvo Cars. “People increasingly demand electrified cars, and we want to respond to our customers’ current and future needs.”
Expect to see 10 full-electric Mercedes-Benz models in showrooms by 2022, after a recalibration from Daimler earlier this year. The company had previously committed to delivering the same number by 2025.
To make it happen, Daimler has promised $14 million for the development of electric vehicles, to be used by Mercedes and Smart.
The battery-powered range will be led by a mid-size EQ SUV, previewed by the Generation EQ concept at the 2016 Paris Motor Show. Dual motors make a combined 300kW of power, while a battery pack of unspecified size (somewhere ‘over 70kWh’) delivers around 500km of range.
It’ll be built on a new modular architecture, developed purely for battery-electric vehicles. The way it’s been designed, the wheelbase, track width and battery size can be adapted for life in sedans, coupes, four-wheel drives and essentially anything else in between.
The mid-sized EQ – potentially badged EQC – is expected to cost the same as a GLC when it arrives.
Hyundai has taken its time getting to electric vehicles for the global market, but it’s planning to do things properly having committed to the technology.
Having admitted to being “around three years” late to battery-electric vehicles, a senior vice-president for the brand recently spoke of plans to be a ‘fast follower’ from now on.
Expect to see 38 ‘green vehicles’ from the company, both electrified and fuel-cell-powered, by the time 2025 rolls around. A pure-electric Kona is coming in 2018, with a fuel-cell SUV (as previewed by the concept above) to follow.
Expect to see 13 electrified models to arrive by 2021, starting with hybrid versions of the F-150, Mustang and Transit Custom, along with a pure-electric SUV – set to arrive in 2020. With range of ‘at least’ 480km, the compact four-wheel drive will be built in Michigan, and sold in North America, Europe and Asia.
Jaguar Land Rover
Every Jaguar and Land Rover will feature some form of electrification from 2020 onwards. Along with pure-electric cars like the upcoming I-Pace, that means the rest of the range will follow in the footsteps of the Range Rover (Sport) PHEV with some kind of hybridisation.
Reports have suggested the Land Rover electric vehicle will arrive in 2019, potentially carrying the Road Rover name, built on the same platform as the next-generation Jaguar flagship.
Honda hasn’t announced a comprehensive roadmap like some of the other manufacturers here, but it has made a few smaller claims about when electric vehicles will be arriving, and what they might look like.
The company is planning to release two pure-electric vehicles in 2018, one for the Chinese market and another for the rest of the world. Although they’re only concepts, the Urban EV and Sports EV concepts are both designed to preview the direction of that car. Get excited, folks.
Come 2022, Honda wants to be selling cars capable of charging in just 15 minutes. That involves developing new batteries, capable of handling the load involved in fast charging without deterioration.
There’s also talk of smart power management systems in Honda cars, designed to shuffle power between its own battery, the home and the grid. Nissan has been playing around with something similar in the UK and in its homeland of Japan.
At the moment, the company sells the Clarity Electric in some American states.
Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi
Don’t expect them to rest on their laurels, though. The group, which now includes Mitsubishi, wants to launch 12 new electric vehicles. By that point, battery costs are expected to be 30 per cent cheaper than currently, while 15 minutes of quick charging is expected to offer 220 km of range.
Mitsubishi will have its range running on Alliance platforms by 2020, while Mitsubishi plug-in hybrid technology will be used across Renault and Nissan vehicles to cut costs.
Although it’s hugely successful in Australia, Mazda is a minnow by global standards, which needs to be considered when discussing its research and development capability.
The company has teamed up with Toyota and Denso to develop “basic structural technologies” for electric vehicles across all classes, from Japan-only ‘kei cars’ to hulking four-wheel drives. The partnership also aims to deliver “appealing” cars to “embody the unique identities of each brand”.
We’ll see Mazda hybrids and battery-electric vehicles from 2019, but don’t expect it to abandon internal combustion altogether. Instead, the company is planning for petrol- and diesel-powered vehicles to remain strong as the hype surrounding the likes of Tesla dies down, met by the reality of “well-to-wheel” emissions.
If the latest roadmap from head office is to be believed, liquid fuels will be dominant until 2040. In other words? Car company says what it’s doing at the moment is just fine, thanks very much.
Speaking of small manufacturers, Subaru also lacks the research and development capacity of someone like Toyota.
With that in mind, expect to see the first Subaru EV models to be based on existing model lines, rather than ground-up creations. A plug-in hybrid SUV is expected to arrive in 2018, while reports have suggested an all-wheel drive SUV with a pure-electric powertrain is coming in 2021.
Peugeot Citroen (PSA)
Citroen has announced plans to have electrified powertrains in 80 percent of its cars by 2023, citing demand from China as a strong driver. A new platform, developed alongside Dongfeng, will be central to the electric charge.
Meanwhile, Peugeot will kickstart its electric range with a plug-in hybrid 3008, set to land in 2018.
The wider PSA Group will deliver seven plug-in hybrid models and four pure-electric models by 2021, with an expanded focus on connected, autonomous vehicles.