Tesla remains the world’s most innovative car manufacturer in the field of battery electric mobility (BEV). The VW Group holds on to second notch but cannot close the gap to Tesla. BYD improves to third place, leaving Hyundai and Geely behind. Mercedes Benz, together with BYD, recorded the strongest increase and landed in fourth place for the first time. Chinese companies are making a leap forward in terms of both innovation strength and sales.
These are the central findings of the annual Electromobility Report 2022 of the Center of Automotive Management (CAM), which systematically records the cumulative innovation strength of over 30 automotive groups in the period between 2012 and 2022 (YTD June) in the field of battery electric vehicles (BEV) and evaluates it by means of an index. The innovation analysis focuses on innovations in the field of electromobility that are ready for series production and lead to an improvement in customer benefits, especially with regard to range, consumption and charging performance.
The global ramp-up of electromobility is leading to a reorganisation of the automotive industry. The innovative strength of car manufacturers plays a central role in this. Based on a total of 512 individually assessed series innovations, the American electric car pioneer Tesla remains the top innovator by a wide margin. The Volkswagen Group leads the field of “fast followers” in second place, but cannot close the gap to Tesla. Chinese BEV manufacturer BYD makes significant gains and pushes Hyundai out of third place. Mercedes-Benz improves by four places thanks to an increasingly broad and innovative portfolio and comes in fourth for the first time. Hyundai is unable to maintain its strong position and drops two places to fifth. With SAIC and Geely, two more Asian manufacturers make it into the top 10 of the most innovative electric car manufacturers, while BMW drops from 7th to 10th place. The Japanese manufacturers Nissan, Toyota and Honda remain laggards in electric mobility, ranking only 18th, 21st and 24th respectively.
Cumulative innovation strength of global BEV manufacturers. Source: CAM
According to this methodology, innovation leader Tesla achieves 188.2 index points in the first half of 2022 and can slightly increase its lead over Volkswagen with an increase of 14.8 index points. This is due to innovations in the field of battery cell structure, which enable a higher range of 16 % and reduce the costs per kWh by 14 %. With an increase of 12.2 index points in the first half of the year, the Volkswagen Group now stands at 149.4 IPs overall. Among others, ID.Buzz contributes to this with charging power of 170 kW in the van segment. In addition, the Enyaq RS Coupé achieved an improvement in range (WLTP) to 545 km.
With 112.3 index points (+36 IP), the Chinese BYD Group is particularly innovative. In addition to cell-to-battery technology (CTB), segment innovations such as the Denza D9, which has a range of 620 km (China standard) and a charging power of 166 kW, are worth mentioning. At the same time, innovations were noted in other models such as the Yuan Plus, Tang EV and Han EV. Mercedes-Benz makes the biggest leap forward with a record increase of 40.7 points in the first half of 2022 and now comes to 84.5 IP. The EQE in particular has contributed to this, with its high ranges (654 km, WLTP), very good charging performance and low consumption (15.7 kWh/100km) in the upper mid-range segment.
Ford and Nio are also surprisingly strong: Ford moves up five places with an increase of 20.4 index points and is now ranked 13th. Contributing to this are, among others, the Mustang Mach-E as well as the F-150 Lightning, which show best values for range in their segments. The best newcomer is the Chinese manufacturer Nio, which, thanks to its new ET 5 and ET 7 models (including the highest range in the mid-size segment), has gained over 16 IP and is thus already ranked 15th among the most innovative electric car manufacturers.
BYD shows a strong upward trend and can report a tripling of its sales to 582,000 purely electric passenger cars after three quarters. BYD has a high order backlog and, unlike the German manufacturers, is experiencing few delivery bottlenecks. BYD’s run of success is likely to continue in Europe: Recently, the car rental company Sixt announced the conclusion of a contract with BYD, according to which Sixt will buy 100,000 electric vehicles from BYD in the coming years. For the full year, the CAM forecasts around 820,000 BEV sales for BYD, which can thus move ahead of the SAIC Group, also from China, with 700,000 e-cars.
Volkswagen is making slow progress on BEV sales in 2022 due to production and supply chain issues. In the first half of the year, Volkswagen sold 217,000 BEVs (+27%). For the full year, the CAM expects BEV sales of around 500,000 passenger cars. For the other German manufacturer groups BMW and Mercedes, BEV sales of 180,000 and 130,000 passenger cars respectively are expected for the full year.
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