The next few years will be decisive for electrified vehicles, as new model roll-outs begin to accelerate in 2021-onward. In that sense, a proxy question could be which automaker has the more convincing electrification strategy, ranked in order of importance:
– VW is the most ambitious by far, since it opted to develop a fully electric “from the ground up” platform for a whole new family of vehicles, which seems inspired by what Tesla has done and could put VW at the forefront of the EV space. This has been a costly path though, which poses risks if tangible EV demand does not materialize.
– PSA has opted for a mixed approach, offering EVs that are based on a more traditional platform that can be adapted to different propulsion systems. This is a cheaper solution, and allows PSA to quickly adapt the product mix depending on customer demand, but sacrifices in battery range (well below what Tesla is capable of).
– Renault already counts on the success of the Zoe, but it is an older platform (first introduced in 2012) and thus a bit long-in-the-tooth. It remains to be seen if RNO can replicate this sale success across other segments (notably in SUVs and crossovers). The new PHEV launches are in my opinion less ambitious than what PSA is pursuing.
– BMW, has focused on developing its sector-leading PHEV range. It is a different approach to VW, expecting a more gradual step-up in EV demand. The new iX3 is based on a conventional platform and thus suffers on the range department too. The 2021 launches which are based on full EV platforms do show that the company is taking EVs more seriously though.
– Daimler has based its EV strategy on the EQC SUV, which has been a weak seller in Europe and is also based on a conventional platform. With the launches of the EQA and the EQS next year, Daimler stands as Tesla most direct competitor, and hence could suffer from this once Tesla starts producing in Europe.
– FCA is the least developed in the EV space and it shows. The Fiat 500e is too expensive and offers a compromised range (320km), while the electrified offerings for its other brands Jeep and Dodge, are limited to PHEVs with no major EV announcements in sight.
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