EVs and plug-in hybrids to dominate Frankfurt Motor Show
Automotive analyst Tim Urquhart says that the launches will form a key trend as ‘OEMS hope that increasing critical mass of EV products on the market will help boost the thus far less than impressive sales across the European region and beyond’.
He added: ‘The BMW i3, VW e-up! and the EV variant of the Golf will all add to the range of EV models on sale across the European market. It is these cars, along with other recent entrants such as the Renault ZOE, and the current best-selling EV, the Nissan LEAF, which will dictate whether the first generation of EVs will be expensive brand-building loss-leaders or actually contribute meaningfully to the bottom line profits and sales volumes.
‘If one takes the ZOE as an example, the omens do not appear hugely encouraging. France is Europe's biggest EV market and in the first half of the year the Zoe commanded what would appear to be an impressive 75% share of the market. However, this is still only equates to sales of 3,592 units.’
Urquhart commented: ‘A company like VW has the financial resources and R&D capability to develop full EVs, while looking to develop other forms of alternative powertrains such as its e-gas project, while CEO Martin Winterkorn personally believes that P-HEVs offer the best bridging technology between the current generation of EVs and the second and third generation of EVs. With new battery chemistries hopefully get near the level of range and utility currently afforded by conventional ICE car.
‘In the meantime premium OEMs are accelerating the launch of P-HEVs, with the production BMW i8 the most significant public debut of its type at Frankfurt. BMW is keen to show that cars with alternative powertrains can be sporting and dynamic, in other words be imbued with the company's traditional brand values, while still offering low emissions, high fuel efficiency and able to be operated solely on battery power.’