Automakers continue to add EV models to gain market share in the Chinese NEV market, while Toyota plans to mass-produce EVs in the country.
IHS Markit perspective
- Significance: GAC has launched the GE3, its first all-electric sport utility vehicle (SUV); and SAIC-GM-Wuling released the Baojun E100, its first fully electric vehicle, according to the automakers' statements. Toyota may begin mass-producing EVs in China from 2019.
- Implications: The GE3 SUV first made its debut at NAIAS in January and is the first car based on the automaker's new electric car platform. The E100, a small two-seater car, has been designed specifically for China market to be used for intra-city commutes.
- Outlook: IHS Markit alternative production forecasts estimate that GAC will be a serious player in the NEV market with around 105,000 NEVs in annual production in 2020, making it the fourth largest NEV producer in China. SAIC-GM is forecast to produce around 8,500 plug-in vehicles in China this year, but this will rise steadily to around 120,000 units in 2020.
State-owned automaker Guangzhou Automobile Group's (GAC) passenger vehicle arm, GAC Motor, and minivan joint venture (JV) SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Company have launched all-new electric vehicles (EVs) in China. GAC Motor has launched the GE3, its first all-electric sport utility vehicle (SUV); and SAIC-GM-Wuling released the Baojun E100, its first fully electric vehicle, according to the automakers' press releases.
As the brand's first self-developed all-electric SUV, the GE3 offers an electric driving range of 310km with its lithium battery capable of recharging back to 80% capacity in just 30 minutes. The model claims to deliver up to 120kW of power and 290Nm of torque and offers acceleration from 0-100 km within 9.3 seconds. The model's price has been kept in the range of CNY150,200 (USD22,200) to CNY173,200. Commenting at the launch, president of GAC Motor Yu Jun said, "Since GAC Motor launched the first hybrid vehicle in 2012, our company has mastered the five core technologies in battery, motor, control unit, electro-mechanical coupling systems and system integration, developing new energy vehicles is a key strategy of GAC Motor. Launching GE3 is a start and we hope to bring products that meet the future trends while guaranteeing unique driving and riding experience." GAC Motors also revealed plans to introduce an electric drive sedan and SUV models with an electric drive range of up to 500 kilometres and a full recharge time of under 30 minutes.
The E100, the brand's first fully electric vehicle, is powered by a single motor that is capable of producing 110 Nm of torque and 29 kW of peak power. The small vehicle boasts a range of 155 km on a single charge with its battery capable of fully recharging in about 7.5 hours. The Baojun E100 is a small two-seater car with a top speed of 100 km per hour. The company began limited pre-sales of the Baojun E100 started earlier this month in the country, with a starting price of CNY35,800. The company informed that the vehicle received 5,000 registrations for the first 200 vehicles. The JV has produced and made available another 500 vehicles. Sales will be initially limited in Guangxi.
Outlook and implications
The GE3 SUV first made its debut at the 2017 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in January. The automaker recently introduced several new models including plug in hybrid vehicles (PHEV) at the Shanghai Motor Show as it looks to boost its market penetration. In addition to the GE3 electric SUV, the company launched five new models such as the GS7 SUV, the 2017 edition of the GA8 sedan as well as the GA3S PHEV, and the GS4 PHEV SUV. GAC aims to create a strong family of models based on the G-Cross Platform Modular Architecture. The GE3 is the first car based on the automaker's new electric car platform, which is expected to also be used for a sedan, an SUV, and a multipurpose vehicle. IHS Markit alternative production forecasts estimate that GAC will be a serious player in the NEV market with around 105,000 NEVs in annual production in 2020, making it the fourth largest NEV producer in China. The automaker also recently begun construction of a NEV production base within a large industrial base in China. The base has total investment of over CNY45 billion and has a designed area covering around 5 million square metres.
The SAIC-GM-Wuling JV was first set up in 2002 and sells commercial and passenger vehicles under Baojun and Wuling brands. The E100 has been designed specifically for China market to be used for intra-city commutes. The vehicle does come with features such as independent front-wheel suspension and single-arm rear suspension, anti-lock brakes with electronic brakeforce distribution, pedestrian alert system, seven-inch screen and Wi-Fi. Chinese automaker SAIC and GM also have another JV named SAIC-GM. It has been reported that the company recently announced that it plans to invest CNY26.5 billion over the next seven years to develop a new generation of electrified vehicles. The JV plans to offer a range of pure electric, plug-in hybrids, hybrids and conventional vehicles equipped with stop-start systems. Last month, GM disclosed that, along with its JVs, it intends to sell 150,000 NEV annually in China by 2020 and 500,000 units by 2025. IHS Markit's alternative propulsion forecast shows that SAIC-GM is to produce around 8,500 plug-in vehicles in China this year, but this will rise steadily to around 120,000 units in 2020. Our forecasts show the NEV range will be across the Buick, Cadillac, and Chevrolet brands.
Toyota is accelerating the development of EVs and has also set up an in-house EV business planning division headed by president Akio Toyoda in December last year. According to a previous company statement, the venture company has four members – Toyota Industries Corporation, Aisin Seiki, Denso,, and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC). Toyota Group will be responsible for technical support during the development of EVs. The establishment of an in-house EV unit is also expected to help the automaker achieve its mass-production plan of long-range EVs by 2020. In China, the automaker announced an expansion of research and development (R&D) facilities at its Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing Center (TMEC) last year. The automaker established TMEC in 2010. As part of the expansion plan, the automaker will improve the existing laboratory facility, construct a new laboratory, create a battery evaluation and test facility, and improve test tracks. These are scheduled to be completed from late 2018 onwards.
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