American OEM EV/HV launch plans
GM adopts eAssist in three mid-sized models; Ford expands EV/HV/PHV offerings
Reported below is a summary of development and launch plans of EV (Electric vehicle), HV (Hybrid electric vehicle) and PHV (Plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) among the Detroit Three and emerging automakers in the United States.
GM intends to offer a broad range of electrified vehicles such as the Chevrolet Volt PHV, Chevrolet Spark EV, and the eAssist mild HV systems, to meet the increasingly strict fuel efficiency standards in the US market. GM reportedly is adopting a four-mode HV system, evolving from the present two-mode HV, in the next models of full-size pickups and SUVs.
Ford has launched HV versions of the Escape, Fusion and Lincoln MKZ using Toyota's technologies. As a result, Ford has produced the largest number of HVs among the American automakers. Ford will launch six new EV/HV models (Focus EV, C-Max HV, C-Max Energi PHV, new Fusion HV, Fusion Energi PHV, and Lincoln MKZ HV) fitted with lithium-ion batteries from the fall of 2012 to the beginning of 2013.
Ford has announced plans to gather a thousand engineers in the Advanced Electrification Center located in Dearborn, Michigan, US, intending to achieve 25% reduction of its electrified vehicle development lead time, and to triple production capacity for its electrified vehicles by 2013.
Chrysler plans to launch the Fiat 500 EV and make HV versions available with the Chrysler 300 and minivans in 2013. The company is also developing the Ram 1500- and minivan-based PHVs and minivans that will be fitted with a hydraulic hybrid system.
Ford Fusion Energi PHV slated for US launch
in the beginning of 2013, projected to deliver
EPA-certified 100+ MPG-e
Chassis (diagonally front view) of the second model,
Model S, released for sale by Tesla Motors in June 2012
Despite these difficult situations, Tesla Motors is doing fairly well while Coda Automotive has started delivering its first Sedan model and announced plans to develop the second model jointly with Great Wall Motors in China.
HV/EV launch plans by Toyota, Subaru, Mazda and Daihatsu (posted in September 2012)
EV/HV launch plans by Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi and Suzuki (posted in October 2012)
GM: Adopting the "eAssist" mild HV system in three mid-sized passenger car models
GM: Adopting the "eAssist" mild HV system and advanced two-mode HV system
|Two-mode HV system for rear-wheel drive vehicles||Chevrolet Tahoe||2007||Will be equipped with advanced two-mode system (four-mode) (1)|
|eAssist (Mild HV system)||Buick LaCrosse ((2) in table below)||Launch|
|Chevrolet Malibu ECO||Launch|
|PHV||Chevrolet Volt (3)||2010|
|Opel Ampera (3)||Launch|
|Cadillac ELR (4)||Launch|
|EV||Chevrolet Spark EV (5)||Launch|
(Note) The year under "-2011" is the year of launch. Models launched in 2011 are identified by "Launch" (in this and all other tables below)
|(1) Two-mode HV||GM's Two-mode HV system is intended for higher fuel efficiency while maintaining the traction for the rear-wheel drive large vehicles. The system is currently fitted in the full-size pickup and SUV models.|
|GM is developing a four-mode HV system, evolving from the two-mode HV system, for full-size pickup and SUV models slated for full remodeling in 2013. The four-mode system will take a few years before completion and will not be available until a few years after the release of the remodeled vehicles (technical details of the four-mode HV system have not been announced or reported.)|
|(2) eAssist HV||The eAssist is a mild hybrid system equipped with a motor/generator, in place of the conventional generator. The motor/generator drives the crankshaft via a belt-drive system and assists the engine during rapid acceleration. The system uses lithium-ion batteries supplied by Hitachi. GM calls it "eAssist" rather than "hybrid" to distinguish it from a full hybrid system.|
|* Adopted as standard in 2011 on the 2012MY Buick LaCrosse powered by a four-cylinder 2400cc engine. * Adopted as optional (for additional 2,000 dollars) on the Buick Regal powered by a four-cylinder engine. Combination of "a 2400cc engine and the eAssist system" is standard on the 2013MY Regal being released in the fall of 2012 (the 2400cc engine-powered models without the eAssist system are abolished). * Adopted on the 2013MY Chevrolet Malibu ECO in April 2012.|
|The 2012MY Buick LaCrosse has fuel efficiency of 25 mpg city/36 mpg highway as compared with 19 mpg city/30 mpg highway of the previous model. The eAssist is easier to adopt, fuel efficient and costs less than the full hybrid system. GM calls it "light electrification" and reportedly plans to introduce it on many mid-sized and small cars.|
|However, Toyota's 2013MY Camry HV and the Ford Fusion HV released for sale in 2012, both developed as full hybrid vehicles, demonstrate high fuel efficiency and Nissan's gasoline-fueled Altima has fuel efficiency that outperforms the Malibu ECO. For these reasons, remarks are sometimes heard saying that the intended role of the eAssist has become uncertain (please see "Comparison of fuel efficiencies among four mid-sized passenger cars" below).|
|(3) Chevrolet Volt PHV (Opel Ampera)||Volume production of the Chevrolet Volt PHV began in November 2010. The 2013MY Volt has EV drive range of 38 miles and a total cruising range of 380 miles with a starting price of 39,145 dollars. The Chevrolet Volt sold 7,671 units in the US in 2011 and 16,348 units from January to September in 2012 (GM's pre-release forecast was to sell 60,000 units in the world in 2012). In November 2011, GM Europe released the Chevrolet Volt's sister model under the model name of Opel Ampera.|
|(4) Cadillac ELR PHV||The Cadillac version of the Chevrolet Volt will be released for sale at the end of 2013. Fitted with a 1600cc gasoline engine, its electric powertrain delivers more power than the Volt and its EV drive range is expected to exceed the Volt's 38-mile range.|
|(5) Spark EV||The Chevrolet Spark, a four-seat mini-car (3675mm long, 1598mm wide) produced in and imported from Korea, will be the smallest Chevrolet sold in the US. The EV will be launched in the second half of 2013 in the US and later in the urban area in emerging markets such as China and India.|
Fuel efficiencies among four 2013MY mid-sized passenger cars launched by GM, Ford, Toyota and Nissan
|EPA fuel economy (mpg) (city/highway/combined)||Engine displacement||Base price (dollars)|
|Chevrolet Malibu ECO equipped with eAssist||25/37/29||2400cc||22,390|
|Nissan Altima with four-cylinder petrol engine||27/38/31||2500cc||21,500|
|Ford Fusion full hybrid||47/47/47||2000cc||27,200|
|Toyota Camry full hybrid||43/39/41||2500cc||25,990|
|(Notes) 1.||2013MY Nissan Altima' fuel efficiency shows the highest result among the mid-sized gasoline-powered models sold in the US.|
|2.||The Malibu and the Fusion are fitted with lithium-ion battery. The Camry is fitted with nickel hydride battery.|
Ford: Launching six new models of EV/HV/PHV
Ford: Launching Focus EV and lithium-ion battery-powered HV/PHV in 2012
|Lincoln MKZ (2)||2010||Launch|
|F-150 (4)||Co-developing with Toyota|
|PHV||C-Max Energi (3)||Launch|
|Fusion Energi (1)||Launch|
|EV||Transit Connect Van (5)||2010||Sales suspended|
|Focus EV (6)||Launch|
|(1) Fusion||The new Fusion will be released in the fall of 2012 in two types; the gasoline-fueled model and the HV with the EPA fuel efficiency of 47 mpg city/47 mpg highway/47 mpg combined. The Fusion Energi PHV intended to achieve EPA fuel efficiency of 100+ MPG-e will be launched at the beginning of 2013.|
|(2) Lincoln MKZ||The new Lincoln MKZ was developed as an independent Lincoln-branded car rather than as a sister model to the Ford Fusion. Fitted with the newly-developed HV system (2000cc gasoline engine, the new-generation HV system, and lithium-ion battery with 41 mpg city/36 mpg highway fuel efficiency), the HV will be launched toward the late fall of 2012.|
|(3) C-Max HV and C-Max PHV (Energi)||Ford launched the new Ford C-Max HV in September, and will launch the C-Max Energi PHV around November to December 2012. Ford is selling gasoline-fueled C-Max in Europe, but the C-Max will be available only in HV and PHEV versions in North America. The two models will be produced at Ford's Michigan Assembly Plant where the Ford Focus is manufactured.|
|The C-Max HV's EPA fuel efficiency of 47 mpg city/47 mpg highway is higher than 44 city/40 highway of the Toyota Prius v (Prius α in Japan). Ford is advertising the C-Max HV as having fuel efficiency higher than that of the Prius v. It has a starting price of 25,995 dollars (27,345 dollars for the Prius v) and has a cruising range of 570 miles.|
|The C-Max Energi will be launched from November to December 2012. It has a total cruising range of 550 miles including 20 miles of EV drive and will achieve 100 MPG-e fuel efficiency. The sales price starts at 29,995 dollars.|
|(4) F-150||Ford and Toyota have been jointly developing HV versions of full-size pickup and SUV since the summer of 2011. The joint effort is aimed at meeting fuel efficiency and emissions standards that are constantly growing more stringent in the US.|
|Their goal is to develop an HV system that will improve fuel efficiency without affecting traction and power for the laden vehicle. A reasonably high aerodynamic performance is another goal for the full-size hybrid pickup truck.|
|(5) Transit Connect EV||Sales of the Transit Connect Van EV have been suspended since Azure Dynamics, the company responsible for the EV system, filed for bankruptcy protection in March 2012. Ford has denied that Azure Dynamics' filing for bankruptcy protection affects Ford's EV/HV launch plans as a whole.|
|(6) Focus EV||Ford's Focus EV was released for sale in January 2012 in the states of New Jersey, New York and California, US. The EV is fitted with LG Chem's 23 kWh lithium-ion battery and has a cruising range of 100 miles with the EV drive system co-developed by Magna International.|
|The car's price starts at 39,995 dollars and the purchaser is eligible for a 7,500 dollar federal government subsidy. The car only sold 135 units in seven months from January to July in 2012. It will be released for sale in the fall of 2012 in nineteen major cities including Chicago and Detroit (as for sales quantity of other EV/PHV in the seven month period, the Nissan Leaf sold 3,543 units, the Chevrolet Volt sold 10,666 units, and the Prius PHV sold 5,035 units).|
|(Notes) 1.||The new Ford Fusion powered by a 1600cc EcoBoost engine being launched in the fall of 2012 will be Ford's first mid-sized sedan, other than the HV models sold in the US, with the available Start-stop system (for additional 295 dollars). Ford claims the system contributes to improving fuel efficiency by 10% in city mode and by 3% in average overall.|
|2.||Ford is developing the F-150 fitted with a Hydraulic Hybrid jointly with EPA and Eaton. The car uses the engine and the regenerative brake to compress and store nitrogen gas in a high-pressure accumulator. The pressurized gas is released to turn the motor at starting and acceleration to assist the engine. It is said Ford intends to achieve fuel efficiency of 40 mpg highway with the F-150 (the most fuel efficient rear-wheel drive 2013MY F-150, fitted with a V6 3.5-liter engine, has fuel efficiency of 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway).|
Ford: Strengthening electric drive system development and production
|In August 2012, Ford announced its "Advanced Engineering Center" located in Dearborn, Michigan, would be renamed "Advanced Electrification Center" and Ford would gather 1,000 engineers there. The company plans to invest 135 million dollars to strengthen development of electric drive systems including motors, inverters and secondary battery systems. In particular, Ford intends to upgrade its battery test equipment and double its processing capacity.|
|Above plans, when realized, will contribute to reducing the lead time of EV and HV development by 25%, reducing the HV system cost by 30%, while tripling production capacity in 2013 so that the company would be able to offer more options to choose from to the customers.|
Chrysler: Launching Fiat 500 EV and Chrysler 300 HV in 2013
Chrysler: Launching Chrysler 300 HV and minivan HV; road testing of PHV
|HV||Dodge Durango||Discontinued in 2009|
|Chrysler 300 (1)||Launch|
|EV||Fiat 500 (2)||Launch|
|PHV||Dodge Ram 1500 (3)||150 trial cars produced for road tests|
|Town & Country (3)||Road tests with 23 trial cars|
|(1) Chrysler 300/ Minivan||Chrysler plans to combine the V6 Pentastar engine and the ZF 8-speed automatic transmission with motors and adopt them on Chrysler 300 and minivans. According to Chrysler, HV is a must now that 54.5 mpg (23.3 km/liter) fuel efficiency standard for 2025 (average of light vehicles) has been finalized in the US in August 2012. The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee and other vehicles will also be made available with diesel engines.|
|(2) Fiat 500 EV||Chrysler will produce the Fiat 500 EV in its plant in Mexico and release them for sale in the US in 2013. The company is likely to produce only a limited quantity since the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt's sales remain somewhat sluggish.|
|According to Sergio Marchionne, CEO, Fiat-Chrysler, the company loses 10,000 dollars per Fiat 500 EV sold (Automotive News of April 9, 2012).|
|(3) PHV||Chrysler is conducting a three-year road test since 2011, under cooperation of EPA, using 109 units of PHVs based on the Ram 1500 (fitted with 12.1 kWh lithium-ion batteries supplied by Electrovaya in Canada). Electric power companies are participating in testing including supply of electric energy from PHVs for homes and buildings and selling electricity to power companies.|
|Chrysler is also conducting road tests using 23 units of PHVs developed based on the Town & Country minivan.|
|The demonstration test was suspended in September 2012 after an overheating incident of the lithium-ion batteries on three of the 109 Ram PHVs. Chrysler will resume tests after the lithium-ion batteries are improved.|
(Note) Chrysler is conducting road tests, as is Ford, with a Hydraulic Hybrid system fitted in minivans.
EV/HV plans among emerging manufacturers
Tesla Motors: Model S released for sale in June 2012 but facing delay in production
In June 2012, Tesla Motors began delivering the Model S, the company's second production model. The company plans to start production of its third model, the Model X, at the end of 2013.
Tesla Motors had orders for more than 10,000 units of Model S as of May 2012 and was to produce 5,000 units within 2012. However, the company announced in September it was facing 4 to 5 weeks of delay in production and will be able to deliver only 200 to 225 units of Model S in the third quarter and 2,500 to 3,000 units in the fourth quarter. Accordingly, Tesla Motors made downward correction of sales forecast from 560-600 million dollars to 400-440 million dollars.
In this regard, Tesla Motors has announced plans for 150 million dollar capital increase and application for deferred payment of interest arising from the DOE financing.
Tesla Motors: Model S released for sale in June 2012 for 49,900 to 97,900 dollars
|Model S (2)||Mass production|
|Model X (Crossover) (3)||Launch|
|Small EV (consisting of three types) (4)||Launch|
|(1) Roadster||Tesla Motors' first model, the Roadster, was introduced in 2008 and 2,300 units of them were delivered by June 2012. Production of the Roadster was discontinued in the summer of 2012 with plans to start producing a successor model after a few years.|
|(2) Model S||The Model S is a seven-seater sedan (five adults and two children sitting in the third row facing backward). Fitted with lithium-ion batteries with one of three capacities, the car's sales price (after the 7,500 dollar federal subsidy) varies widely from 49,900 to 97,900 dollars (please see the Model S specifications below). The Model S is produced at a plant in Fremont, California, purchased from NUMMI that was once a joint venture company established by Toyota and GM.|
|(3) Model X||In February 2012, Tesla Motors announced its third model, Model X, a crossover vehicle built on the same platform as the Model S and is about the same size as the Audi Q7. The car is fitted with an all-wheel drive system with 60 kWh or 85 kWh lithium-ion battery and motors in the front and rear. The Performance version powered by 85 kWh battery accelerates from start to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds and has Falcon Wing doors at the rear sides (hinged at the ceiling and swing open upward).|
|Production will begin at the end of 2013 at the Fremont plant in California, US, aiming for annual sales of 10,000 to 15,000 units. The company started taking purchase orders concurrently with the launch announcement and earned orders worth 40 million dollars the following day (5,000 dollar deposit times 8,000 orders).|
|(4) Small EV||Tesla Motors plans to develop a compact EV series based on the third-generation platform and start production in 2015 to 2016 in annual quantities of around 100,000 units. The compact EV series reportedly will consist of (1) a small sedan about the same size as the BMW 3 Series and sold for about 30,000 dollars, (2) a crossover about the size of the BMW X3, and (3) a sports car that will replace the Roadster that was discontinued from production.|
|(Notes) 1.||Toyota is launching the RAV4 EV, co-developed with Tesla Motors, in the fall of 2012 in the state of California, US.|
|2.||Tesla Motors has also begun a new model development jointly with Daimler and the project is moving along smoothly (announced in March 2012).|
Model S specifications
|Battery capacity||Cruising range||0→60 mph||Price(dollars)||Launch|
|Model S||Model S||40 kWh||160 miles||6.5 seconds||49,900||Winter 2012|
|60 kWh||230 miles||5.9 seconds||59,900||Fall 2012|
|85 kWh||300 miles||5.6 seconds||69,900||Summer 2012|
|Model S Performance||85 kWh||300 miles||4.4 seconds||84,900|
|Model S Signature||Signature||85 kWh||300 miles||5.6 seconds||87,900|
|Signature Performance||85 kWh||300 miles||4.4 seconds||97,900|
|(Notes) 1.||Cruising ranges are measured at the speed of 55 mph. The EPA-certified cruising range of the versions powered by 85 kWh is 265 miles.|
|2.||Prices apply after the 7,500 dollar federal government subsidy.|
Tesla Motors: Building "Supercharger" quick charging network across the country
|Tesla Motors is constructing "Supercharger" network of quick charging stations to enable an extended range for the Model S EV. In September 2012, the company revealed the first six locations that are already active (in the states of California, Nevada and Arizona). Tesla Motors plans to build a network of charging stations in a hundred locations in total within two years, with 250 miles or less apart between the closest locations, covering the whole country. The company has plans to start similar networking in Europe and Asia in the second half of 2013.|
|The stations are designed to charge power at 100 kW enough to travel three more hours at 60 mph while the driver is taking a short half an hour break. Charge will be free of charge for the Model S owners. Solar panels are used to generate more electricity than necessary to charge the Model S cars and the surplus energy will be supplied to a local smart grid.|
Coda Automotive: Developing entry-level EV jointly with Great Wall Motors in China
Coda Automotive released the Coda Sedan for sale in March 2012.
In August 2011, Coda Automotive reached a cooperation agreement with Great Wall Motors, a Chinese automobile manufacturer. In April 2012, the two companies announced plans to develop an electric vehicle that will be marketed for a price as low as an entry-class gasoline-fueled car.
Coda Automotive: Coda Sedan EV released in April 2012
|EV||Coda Sedan (1)||Launch|
|Joint development with Great Wall Motors (2)||Launch|
|(1) Coda Sedan||Coda Automotive, in partnership with Hafei Automobile Group in China, is producing four-door five-seat Coda Sedan EV bodies in China and assembling the EV powertrain with the bodies at its California plant in the US. Delivery started in March 2012 with the starting price of 38,145 dollars. The purchase is eligible for 7,500 dollar federal and 5,000 dollar California state subsidies.|
|The car, fitted with 36 kWh lithium-ion battery, has a cruising range of 120 to 150 miles. The batteries were developed internally by Coda Automotive and are produced by a local company established jointly by Coda Automotive and Tianjin LiShen Miles Power Battery Systems.|
|(2) Joint development with Great Wall Motors||In August 2011, Coda Automotive and Great Wall Motors, a Chinese company, agreed to a joint development and global marketing of an EV based on Great Wall's body and fitted with Coda Automotive's drive system and batteries. The EV will be sold under the Coda brand in the US and under the Great Wall brand in China.|
|In April 2012, the two companies agreed on details and announced their plans that call for a similar role sharing system adopted for the Coda Sedan. Great Wall Motors will produce the bodies at its Baoding plant located in Hebei province, and the final assembly of the EV powertrain and other components for the US market will take place at Coda's plant in the US. The vehicle is expected to be sold for an affordable price as that of the entry-level gasoline-fueled vehicles and will be sold in the US, China and Europe. Launch in the US is slated for mid-2014.|
(Notes) Battery management and EV drivetrain will form the core businesses for Coda Automotive in addition to EV sales.
Fisker Automotive: Karma released but the development of the second model suspended due to funds shortage
Fisker Automotive was established in 2007 gathering 1,100 million dollars funds. Then, the company was granted a 528.7 million dollar loan by the DOE and took out 193 million dollars (the remaining 336 million dollar loan has been suspended due to a delay in plans).
In October 2011, Fisker Automotive began delivering its first model, an upscale sports car called Fisker Karma PHV, and has delivered a total of 1,000 units by August 2012. However, the 103,000 dollar price is very high and continued sale is considered hard once early adopters have bought the car.
Fisker Automotive is in the process of developing its second model, a mid-sized sedan called the Atlantic, and its volume production is said to be critical for the company to stay in business. However, development has been suspended due to shortage of funds without a clear plan as to when production will ever start.
Fisker Automotive: Atlantic originally planned for production to start in 2012, now unclear when production will ever begin
|PHV||Fisker Karma (1)||Launch|
|Atlantic (2)||Unclear when production will start|
|(1) Karma||In October 2011, Fisker Automotive began delivering its first model, the upscale sports car Fisker Karma PHV. The company had orders for approximately 2,500 units by August 2012 and delivered more than 1,000 units. The PHV is a four-seater car, 4996mm long, 1984mm wide, and 1330mm high, and has a starting price of 103,000 dollars. The purchase is eligible for 7,500 dollar federal government subsidy. The car is assembled in Finland by a local assembler, Valmet Automotive.|
|The Karma is fitted with A123 Systems' 20.1 kWh lithium-ion battery and GM's 2000cc direct-injection turbo engine. It has an EV drive range of 50 miles and can travel additional 250 miles by the engine generation. It accelerates from standstill to 60 mph in 6 to 8 seconds with a maximum speed over 125 mph. According to Fisker, the Karma has fuel efficiency rating of 54 MPG-e.|
|In February 2011, the car experienced a hose clamp defect in the lithium-ion battery cooling system which led to recall of 293 Karmas. The car also experienced a vehicle fire in the spring of 2011 and again in August 2012.|
|(2) Atlantic (Mid size sedan)||Fisker Automotive was to produce a mid-sized sedan that would be the company's second PHV model (model name Atlantic, code name Nina Project) starting in the fourth quarter of 2012 at the plant purchased in 2009 from GM in Wilmington, Delaware. However, the company failed to raise enough funds or meet deadlines for development and other events that resulted in suspension of the 336 million dollar loan remaining from the DOE. As a result, the company has no clear plan as to when production will start.|
|The Atlantic is expected to have a price tag of 50,000 to 60,000 dollars and Fisker Automotive has arrangements with BMW regarding the supply of engines. The development is 90% completed but has been suspended for about half a year. It may be resumed in the future but will be some time before work gets going.|
|Fisker Automotive had announced Atlantic-based convertible and station wagon concepts. The company was to produce 150,000 vehicles a year by 2016 in total including such additional models.|
Wheego Electric Cars: Losing competition to the Nissan Leaf
In December 2010, Wheego Electric Cars launched a two-seat EV, Life, with the price tag of 33,995 dollars. The company had also announced plans to develop a five-seater vehicle as well. But the company is growing less competitive after the Nissan Leaf was launched at a competitive price of 35,200 dollars.
Wheego Electric Cars has not disclosed its sales results.
Bright Automotive: Pulled out in February 2012
Bright Automotive had plans to develop and produce mid-sized delivery van PHV and had 5 million dollar funding from GM Ventures. The company had also filed for 314 million dollar loan from DOE but the application was denied and the company was wound up in February 2012. It is said the company failed to cast aside the common concern among the potential customers about the total cost of owning a commercial van PHV.
Aptera Motors: Wound up in November 2011
Aptera Motors, established in 2006 in the state of California, was developing a unique, three-wheeled EV and had received a conditional approval from DOE for a 150 million dollar loan. But the company failed to raise enough funds to start production and lost many investors as they grew less ambitious after learning that the company's financing was not successful.
Sources: Press releases and newspaper articles
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