European OEMs prepare aggressive EV/HV launches

VW and Daimler product plans reflect the need for more PHVs



 This report contains the development and launch plans of electrically driven vehicles, namely electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid vehicles (HVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHVs) among European automakers.

 Automakers have aggressive launch plans from 2013 to 2015 despite the recent slow sales of electrically driven vehicles. The following factors are said to be supporting the aggressiveness:

  * Models that are currently in the market were planned several years ago when a faster market penetration of electrically driven vehicles was anticipated.

  * The introduction of electrically driven vehicles, regardless of specific type, is necessary to meet the increasingly strict regulations on fuel economy and CO2 emissions applied in Japan, US and Europe.

  * The State of California, US, has plans to introduce the zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) program starting with the 2018 model year. The program requires that EVs, PHVs and FCVs (fuel cell vehicles) to account for at least 15.4% of all vehicle sales in 2025 model year. Nine other states have expressed plans to follow California.

  * EVs and PHVs having notably high impact on fuel economy are experiencing sluggish sales due to the high battery cost, short cruising range and inadequate availability of charging infrastructure. But mass production of batteries is expected to lead to cost reduction and the market may see a breakthrough in the near future.

 Daimler already has a broad lineup of electrically driven vehicles and is reportedly making PHVs available with mid- to large-sized cars starting with the next models of the S-class and C-class. BMW will launch the "i3" EV in 2013 and the "i8" PHV in 2014. The company will also introduce the PHV version with the next models of the 7 Series being released in 2015 to 2016. Volkswagen (VW) has adopted the eDSG system to make HV and PHV versions easily available with all models based on the MQB platform. VW also has plans to significantly increase the availability of PHVs.

 PSA Peugeot Citroen (PSA) is developing a compressed air type hybrid system dubbed "Hybrid Air" in addition to the Hybrid 4 which is a diesel-fueled HV already on sale. In early 2013, Renault launched "Renault Zoe" which the company expects will be the best-selling model among its EV lineup. The company plans to start a full-scale mass advertisement for the new model.

The "i8" PHV Concept The CrossBlue Coupe PHV Concept
The "i8" PHV Concept to be introduced by BMW in 2014
(Source: brochure of  2013 Shanghai Motor Show in April)
The CrossBlue Coupe PHV Concept exhibited
by VW in 2013 Shanghai Motor Show in April

Related report:
"North American International Auto Show 2013 (1): US and European OEMs"

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