China is an early mover in this “electrification campaign.” According to CPCA, global sales of new energy passenger vehicles (including PHEV, pure EV and FCEV) reached 2.86 million in 2020, representing a year-on-year increase of 36%. China, as the largest new energy PV market worldwide, accounts for 41% of that number.
Other parts of the world aren’t far behind. In April 2019, the European Union issued Regulation 2019/631, setting the most stringent carbon emission standards in history. Norway, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, and Portugal plan to ban sales of gasoline vehicles by 2025, 2030, and 2040, respectively. Developing new energy vehicles is the only way out; in an unexpected move, Germany has legislated to increase domestic EV subsidies, with the subsidy for pure EVs priced below 40,000 euros to be increased from 4,000 to 6,000 euros. Carmakers are ramping up investment in electrification as well – Volkswagen increased its 2030 EV production target from 15 to 22 million.
And so, China has become a pivotal battlefield for electric vehicles among global car companies. Volkswagen plans to invest 60 billion euros in hybrid power, electrification and digital fields between 2020 and 2024, 33 billion of which will be spent on electrification.
Volkswagen has started to develop a new EV platform since 2015 with investment exceeding USD7 billion. The company released its MEB platform in 2018, and the sales of pure EVs based on the new platform were expected to reach 20 million by 2029. In addition to the Volkswagen ID. family, the MEB platform will also be applied to Audi (certain models), Skoda and SEAT.
GM has also released BEV 3, a new generation electric platform. Going forward, most of GM’s pure electric models will use this platform, including those from brands like Chevrolet and Cadillac, covering all kinds of vehicles such as small cars, pickups, large SUVs, and even commercial vehicles.
Volkswagen may overtake Tesla as the dominant electric car maker with its BEV sales by 2022, according to a Deutsche Bank analyst. Herbert Diess, Chairman of the Volkswagen Group’s board of directors, has said the company plans to reduce battery costs by constructing six European giga-factories, and electric vehicles have now become one of the company’s “core businesses.”
On the other hand, Daimler-Benz, a traditional luxury car brand, is also speeding up the pace of electrification, launching two new electric platforms, building new energy plants worldwide, and developing the next-generation electric drive technology in-house. It is reported that Daimler-Benz has started its transformation around the 5C strategy. The original five business divisions of the Company have been merged into three major sections, with streamlined organizational structure and independent operations. In the future, the core focus will be on electric vehicles and autonomous driving.
Daimler-Benz has laid out a new energy vehicle production network around the world, with 6 electric vehicle factories and a total of 9 battery plants planned. In the future, the company’s production network will continue to expand, which is expected to produce more than 500,000 electric vehicles each year.
Chinese automakers’ first-mover advantages are gradually emerging. BYD has already built an extensive presence in the core parts and components manufacturing of electric vehicles, and has reportedly achieved a high degree of vertical integration of the industry chain in terms of new energy core components such as power batteries and electric drive systems. It has the second largest market share in the domestic power batteries market, and released a new generation of power batteries – “blade batteries” in March 2020; it also has the second largest domestic market share in IGBT, and is the only domestic auto company in China that boasts a complete IGBT industry chain, with its IGBT4.0 reaching a level on par with the international mainstream in terms of technology.
In keeping with the “7+4” strategy, BYD launched a new BNA architecture to achieve efficient modular car manufacturing. The pure electric e-platform and the fourth-generation DM plug-in hybrid platform help the well-scheduled launch of BYD’s new products. BYD’s EIC system for its new energy vehicles includes highlights such as the “blade battery” and the “three-in-one” technology.
Riding the wave of electrification, major automakers began making related announcements in 2021. In March, Oliver Zipse, Chairman of the BMW Group, said the MINI brand will be fully electrified by 2030 and the company will discontinue sales of fuel vehicles, adding that “pure electric vehicles will account for at least 50% of the BMW Group’s total global sales by 2030.” On March 31, Daimler AG stated that it is advancing its corporate structure adjustment and accelerating the transition into electrification; Audi announced days ago that it will no longer develop new internal combustion engines; Toyota China said it will introduce 10 pure electric models to the Chinese market by 2025, and bring along four full engine electrification technologies, including Double Engine, Double Engine E+, E-Engine, and Hydrogen Engine.