Big Changes in the EV Market

Like it or not, following EVs in China is the best way to see the future. While EV adoption is only about 6% in the US right now, it is more like 30% in China. One reason for this is that EVs have pretty much reached price parity with ICE vehicles there.

There are about 100 EV manufacturers in China. They come from the tiny and cheap WuLing mini EVs (and many competitors) to some seriously high-end models. BYD and Tesla actually make a profit on EVs but probably most other companies do not.

Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) batteries amount to about 70% of the market in China. Tesla is using LFP batteries in its standard range models but most non-Chinese manufacturers and still using Lithium ternary batteries. LFP is cheaper and last longer. Their disadvantage has been a lower energy density but they are catching up. CATL has recently introduced a new LFP battery that also uses manganese which has a higher energy density with no increase in cost.

Stellantis and Toyota lead the naysayers with the Stellantis President saying that EVs cost and will continue to cost a lot more to produce than ICE vehicles. This makes no sense as there are way fewer parts in an EV. The only expensive part is the battery and battery technology continues to change at a rapid pace. The President of Volvo disagrees and Volvo will be introducing smaller EVs next year.

In non-Chinese markets there are mostly relatively large EVs in the market. But, that is starting to change. The BYD Dolphin and Seagull are examples whith the Dolphin starting to be exported to Europe. Tesla has also announced that its new smaller EV (it doesn’t have an announced name yet but let’s call it the Model 2) will appear on the market in 2024. The first factory for it is currently being built in Mexico. Their plans are to produce more of the Model 2 then all other models combined.

While you may not want a Dolphin or Model 2, their introduction is going to put further pressure for lower priced EVs. It’s pretty close to the time when you can pick the price you are willing to pay for an EV and then wait to see what is available.

The US market is currently pretty interesting. The Chevy Bolt has been discounted to way under $30,000 and, maybe, it now has batteries that don’t catch fire. The downside is that it is an orphan. That is, GM has a new skateboard that is being used in all its newer vehicles but not the Bolt. But, if you are in the US and need a lower-priced EV now, it may be your best choice.

The Chinese EV market is more mature with over 100 EV manufacturers there. Many of their vehicles are smaller than traditional “western” cars and very inexpensive. If legacy auto makers want to stay in the game they are going to need to start producing smaller vehicles. This along with advancements in battery technology should drive down the cost of EVs.

Bottom line is stay tuned. Things are changing rapidly.

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