Electromobility picks up speed on its way to mainstream

Electromobility picks up speed on its way to mainstream

Feature articles |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Never before has it been evident within just one week how much electromobility is gaining in importance for the car industry. Not only the electric pioneer Tesla has clearly stepped on the gas, but competitors from the classic car industry can also chalk up significant successes in the market for electric cars – or at least credibly demonstrate that they are tackling the issue with great energy.

According to its latest quarterly report, Tesla sold more than twice as many electric cars as a year earlier – despite the global chip shortage, from which the US manufacturer was not spared, and the shortage of raw materials in general. In total, Tesla produced more than 200,000 cars in the quarter under review – in the comparable quarter of 2020, the figure was only 80,000 vehicles. Tesla thus achieved a turnover of almost 12 billion dollars and a profit of 1.1 billion dollars. What is remarkable about this is the fact that the lion’s share of this profit came from the sale of vehicles – previously, revenue from the sale of CO2 certificates was by far the most important profit earner at the company.

Admittedly, the company also had to accept setbacks in some places. For example, Tesla is also suffering from the supply bottlenecks for semiconductor components – probably less than other vehicle manufacturers, but the crisis is not leaving Tesla entirely unscathed: for the second half of the year, the company assumes that the supply situation for chips will have a negative impact on deliveries and the company’s growth. There was also a setback in Tesla’s plans to build the Semi electric Semi trailer truck. The company had to postpone the start of production until 2022; previously it had been assumed that the first units could be delivered as early as the end of 2021. Nevertheless, Tesla remains optimistic: the construction of the new plant near Berlin is going according to plan, they said. The first Model Y vehicles are expected to roll off the production line there before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Volkswagen is becoming Tesla’s most important competitor. The company delivered more than 170,000 battery vehicles to customers in the first half of 2021, easily doubling the number of BEVs. In the European market for BEVs, the company now claims a market share of 26 per cent. For the coming years, VW CEO Herbert Diess expects sales of electric cars to rise steadily; the market for conventionally powered cars is even expected to drop to just 20 per cent of the total pie by 2030.

Volkswagen is addressing broad markets with its BEV platform 

Only recently Volkswagen announced its plan to phase out the production of internal combustion engine cars in the period between 2022 and 2035. To make this possible, the company wants to bring low-cost electric small cars to market as early as 2025 – previously, the market launch of these cars was planned for 2027.

At the other end of the luxury scale, at Daimler with its Mercedes-Benz brand, the combustion engine is also nearing its end. Daimler wants to offer new vehicle architectures only with electric drive from 2025. Daimler does not name a concrete date for the end of petrol and diesel engines, but the company wants to introduce three new fully electric vehicle families in 2025: The MB.EA model family is to cover all medium-sized and large passenger cars, the company says. As a scalable modular platform, the MB.EA is to form the basis of Daimler’s future electric car portfolio and thus take centre stage in terms of unit sales. For the sportsmen among drivers, Daimler wants to launch the AMG.EA platform. It is intended to address the needs of a technology-savvy and performance-oriented clientele and is designed for performance throughout. In addition, the manufacturer plans to develop a battery-electric platform for vans and light commercial vehicles called Van.EA.

By 2025, Mercedes will be fully electric

Daimler plans to invest more than 40 billion euros in the development of battery-electric vehicles by the end of the decade. According to media reports, the first milestone will be the launch of the EQXX model, which, with its range of more than 1000 km, is expected to outperform all current models and allay the range anxiety of conservative customers. An important role will be played by the use of the highly efficient axial-flow motors – these are also central to Renault’s electrification plans. Daimler recently acquired the British motor manufacturer Yasa for this purpose.

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