News and Highlights from 2017, and Where 2018 Will Take the EV Industry
It’s been quite an exciting year for automotive electrification. New models have been released and have immediately taken center stage. Technology development has been spurred on, largely due to the disruptive Tesla brand’s very public presence, even if they haven’t been able to scale production effectively. 2018 promises to be another banner year for the electric and hybrid-electric market, building off the momentum generated in 2017. These are some of the EV industry highlights from 2017, and what to expect going into the new year.
2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV
Nationwide sales in the United States and Canada began in January for the Chevrolet Bolt. The mainstream domestic carmaker released their fully-electric compact car months ahead of their nearest competitor, Tesla. Not only is the Bolt EV the first long-range electric car available to the public at an attainable price, it did so while winning award after award. It’s the 2017 North American Car of the Year and the 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year, among many other accolades.
Tesla Model 3 release
The long-awaited Tesla Model 3 finally began rolling off the assembly line with deliveries commencing on July 28th. It’s been common knowledge that Tesla has been plagued by manufacturing issues that are preventing vehicles from being completed on their expected timelines. The Model 3 itself is a wonder – an electric car with an all-electric range of 220 miles or more and performance that rivals that of most sports cars.
2017 Honda Clarity Electric
Honda has entered the fully-electric marketplace for the first time with the Honda Clarity Electric. It’s an all-electric version of their Clarity Fuel Cell vehicle, operating solely on plug-in electric power. Honda’s electrification program is extremely cautious, available only to California and Oregon residents to date. As well, it’s only available as a lease, not a purchase, which is a potential deterrent from ownership. In addition to the Clarity Fuel Cell and Clarity Electric, a Clarity Plug-In Hybrid model is available nationwide.
Widespread electric and hybrid development announcements
Aside from new models in production, 2017 has had several important announcements regarding electrification.
Among the first was Volkswagen, attempting to redefine their business after the Dieselgate scandal. As a worldwide automotive group, VW committed to developing 80 electric vehicles by 2025, and making an all-electric version of every one of their 300 models by 2030. That’s an extremely aggressive promise considering the high cost of current EV development.
Volvo also made an electrification announcement in 2017. Their strategy promises that every Volvo launched for the 2019 model year and beyond will have an electric motor. That may mean electric-gas hybrid or fully-electric. Either way, it’s a bold commitment.
Toyota also followed suit late in 2017. Their strategy strives to offer 10 new fully-electric models by the ‘early 2020s’, and to offer electric options in every vehicle in their lineup by 2025. This is a marked improvement to their current lineup which includes the Prius family and the Toyota Mirai FCV.
Nissan, BMW, and Mercedes are among the other manufacturers who committed in 2017 to future EV development.
What’s to come in 2018
The coming 12 months will continue to define the next generation in the automotive market. The car industry is showing significantly less dependence on fossil fuels with a focus on making electric vehicles mainstream instead of an outlier.
Redesigned 2018 Nissan LEAF
The best-selling electric car to date received a much-needed facelift for the 2018 model year. Going on sale across North America in January 2018, the LEAF 2.0 is more powerful, better equipped, and has a longer range than the first-generation Nissan LEAF. It’s expected that its 150-mile range and much-improved looks will keep it on pace to be the best-selling EV going forward also.
Reduced EV and hybrid battery costs
It’s no secret that battery technology is a major hindrance to EV implementation. Significant strides have been made in 2017 to make extended-range electric cars a possibility such as the 238-mile range in the Chevrolet Bolt. Tesla has announced a 500-mile range Roadster in the coming years, so expect that hybrid battery capabilities and costs will make electric and hybrid cars more affordable in 2018 and beyond.
2018 Jaguar I-Pace
It’s expected that Jaguar’s I-Pace all-electric compact SUV will arrive midway through 2018. It promises to pack dual electric motors with approximately 200hp each, along with a 90kWh battery. Acceleration from 0 to 60mph is estimated at 4 seconds, making it a direct rival of the Tesla Model X, and at a substantially lower price point.
Volkswagen e-Golf redesign
Commencing their commitment to electrification, Volkswagen will be re-releasing the e-Golf late in 2018 as a 2019 model year. It’s said to have a much higher range of 186 miles, thanks to the use of an EV battery instead of a PHEV-type battery. It also enables the e-Golf to use an onboard 48-volt charger for fast charging capability.
2018 Lucid Air release
Perhaps one of the most exciting revelations for 2018 is the first Lucid electric car. The 2018 Lucid Air is a luxury fully-electric car that puts a target directly on the Tesla Model S sedan. The base Lucid air includes a range of 240 miles and 400 horsepower in a rear-wheel-drive configuration. Upgrades include an available 1,000hp all-wheel-drive powertrain, a range of up to 400 miles, a glass canopy roof, reclining executive rear seats, and equipped with autonomous driving technology as standard equipment. Pricing starts at just over $50,000 but maxes out at over $100,000. The entry-level pricing undercuts Tesla by more than $20,000.
It’s clear that 2018 is going to be another exciting year for the EV market. With further range, vehicle redesigns, new entrants, and falling prices, everything is pointing to a record-setting year.