MAKERS GEAR UP FOR EV SUSTAINABILITY
After the success story of the Nissan Leaf, more battery electric vehicles from other brands are set to go mainstream before the end of the decade
n array of electric vehicles with much-improved touring range have been previewed by a number of carmakers at the ongoing Frankfurt Motor Show. While Germany’s leading brands have wasted no time in using their home soil to show pending EVs with next-generation batteries that could cure the inherent problems of range anxiety, Honda managed to attract substantial attention with a near-production concept that would hit showrooms with a price tag to beat.
The so-called Urban EV Concept is a retro-looking compact hatchback that measures no longer than today’s five-door Jazz. It is built on a dedicated platform for battery electric vehicles and uses shades of luminescent blue on the exterior to signify its CO2-less ambitions. Easy functionality has been made possible with the use of slim A-pillars and widescreen floating screen on the dashboard.
Honda has yet to reveal the specifications of the production-ready model, which will hit European showrooms in 2019. Bosses have stressed that electrification will become more common in their new cars from now onwards. The only other EV Honda is currently selling in selected markets is the Clarity which features hydrogen fuel cell technology. The Urban EV Concept will evolve into a regular battery electric vehicle drawing energy from the wall socket.
The nature of its size would enable Honda to price its new EV at a lower level than others. Theoretically speaking, it could cost less than 1 million baht if it was to be made in Thailand using the latest privileges drawn up by the Board of Investment.
BMW is set to make a third model in its “i” sub-brand family to sit in between today’s i3 hatchback and i8 sports car. The rakish-looking saloon is being previewed as the i Vision Dynamics concept car that is rumoured to be called i5 when it hits showrooms in 2021.
Due to advancements in lithium-ion batteries, t he iVision Dynamics can travel on pure electricity for up to 600km — more than double the distance of the earlier generations of EVs. BMW says it can do 0-100kph in less than four seconds and has a top speed of nearly 200kph.
BMW hopes to have 25 electrified vehicles on sale by 2025 with 12 of them being pure battery electric vehicles. In order to make EVs a sustainable business, BMW will be investing in the manufacture of batteries to control production and supply in-house.
Mini, BMW’s fashionable small car brand, will also be going all-electric in 2019 with the Hatch. The so-called Electric Mini Concept features chiselled sections on the front end, although they are just for show because electric motors don’t need cooling. Expect the production-ready version to gain influences from the i3.
Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen have asserted their EV ambitions by showing more body variations for their new sub-brands known as EQ and ID respectively. Although none of them have hit showrooms yet, both brands have announced production plans from 2020 onwards.
The latest show car from Mercedes-Benz is the EQA which, in the eyes of the layman, is like an all-electric version of the next-generation A-class hatchback. The EQA uses the so-called EVA (electric vehicle architecture) platform and can drive for a theoretical 400km. The previous show car was the EQC, an SUV roughly the size of today’s GLC. Mercedes hopes to sell 10 different EV models by 2022.
After confirming the Microbus-reviving ID Buzz for production at a similar time frame as Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen is preparing for the next one in the guise of an SUV. The ID Crozz is an evolution of an earlier concept with closer hints to the real article for the showroom. A hatchback version of the ID family was also once shown as a potential rival for the i3 and EQA.
Audi, sister-brand to Volkswagen, followed up its EV plans by unveiling another SUV concept called Elaine that looks similarly rakish in profile as the ID Crozz. Like all of its compatriot brands, Audi is looking to sell EVs with at least 500km of driving range, as well as with autonomous driving technologies.
Nissan, who was first to bring an EV into mainstream production, revealed the second-generation Leaf earlier this month. But rather than debuting it in Frankfurt, the new Leaf premiered on its own in Japan. Nissan is promising a 400km range for its new-generation EV which is roughly double that of its predecessor. With such a range, EV users would be able to charge at home and use their cars on a daily basis without relying on a charging point elsewhere.
Nissan is set to become the first brand to sell an EV in Thailand. The Leaf is most likely to go on sale next year, although it’s still unclear what kind of tax waiver the Thai government will be giving to carmakers importing EVs before building them in the country. If shipped in and taxed normally, the Leaf would cost around 2 million baht, thus reducing its reach to the masses.
Honda’s Urban EV boasts retro looks and compact dimensions.
EQA is like an A-class EV that’s more premium than a Nissan Leaf.
ID Crozz has been further honed to ready itself for the road.
BMW’s iVision Dynamics previews a saloon sitting in between the i3 and i8.
Electric Mini goes on sale in 2019 with influences from the BMW i3.
Audi preps the next step to its first electric SUV with the rakish-looking Elaine.