A New EV Generation is Upon Us

Well, that’s my opinion. Depending on your age you probably saw something similar happen with VCRs, CD players or cellular phones. First there was a very expensive product. Each year you saw new products that cost as much or more than last year but they had more features. You upgraded because thought having a built-in recording timer, a multi-CD player or a smarter smartphone was a good thing.

The same thing was happening with electric cars. More efficient, longer range, longer battery life and more automation in the direction of self-driving. That seems to be the process in technological items. People who can afford it continue to buy it. But, things are changing. While the EV market is far from saturated there are people who are waiting for lower-priced alternatives. Competition is starting to make this happen.

While the US market hasn’t been hit with the cheaper new cars yet, it is only about one third of the world car market. The other big players are China and Europe. Cheap EVs in China have been available for a few years and the market is very competitive. What’s starting to change is Europe. The change there is coming in two directions.

First, Chinese manufacturers, in particular BYD, are trying to enter the European market. So far that has not been going well with MG being a possible exception — probably because people still think of MG as a British brand rather than a Chinese brand. Change is also coming internally with car manufacturers in Europe starting to address this market. Renault talking about it “new” (meaning electric) Twingo which is to be a €20,000 car is the latest. The biggest player, VW, keeps talking about the ID.2 but, so far, it isn’t in production. But, what is important here is that it is a transition point. Will Europe build the next generation of EVs on its home terrain or will Chinese vehicles — either made directly by Chinese companies or European manufacturers in conjunction with China be the new EV generation?

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