Fuel Type: Fuel Cell (FCEV)

Podcast: Carmakers take aim at electrification targets

Carmakers are taking aim at electrification targets. Some manufacturers have laid out ambitious plans, while others are making more gradual transitions. Autovista Group Daily Brief journalist Tom Geggus discusses these targets with editor Phil Curry and senior data journalist Neil King.

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Show notes

Stellantis targets 70% electrified-vehicle sales in Europe in 2030

Volvo to go all electric and online by 2030

Honda targets 100% BEV and hydrogen sales with improved carbon-neutrality

Renault aims to achieve European carbon neutrality in 2040

Can the automotive industry carve out a sustainable future?

Are EVs as green as they seem?

VW outlines large-scale energy production as part of carbon-neutrality plans

VW accelerates towards electric and digital future

Is it too early to go ‘EV-only’?

Jaguar makes BEV and hydrogen changes on path to net zero

Making the CASE for advanced commercial vehicles

Advanced automotive systems including connected cars, autonomous driving, shared vehicles, and electromobility (CASE), are experiencing exponential development as OEMs undergo digitalisation. While many of these technologies might be associated with high-end luxury passenger cars, manufacturers are also exploring commercial vehicle applications.

Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) recently announced it would combine its CASE technologies with the commercial vehicle foundations cultivated by Isuzu Motors (Isuzu) and Hino Motors (Hino) as part of a new collaborative effort. Meanwhile, Renault’s light commercial vehicle (LCV) offering is undergoing its own energy transition, emphasising electric and hydrogen drivetrains for its upcoming models.

A commercial CASE

Through their new partnership, Toyota, Isuzu and Hino hope to accelerate the adoption and implementation of CASE technologies. As well as addressing various difficulties facing the transport industry, the three companies hope their collaboration will help the progression towards a carbon-neutral society.

In a press conference, the manufacturers explained small commercial-purpose trucks would be used to help develop battery electric vehicles (BEVs), electric platforms, and fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). Given the expensive developmental costs of BEVs and FCEVs, this collective approach makes sense. Toyota, Isuzu and Hino are also planning to advance the implementation of infrastructure. This will include introducing FCEV trucks to hydrogen-based society demonstrations in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture.

The partnership will also look to accelerate the development of autonomous and other advanced systems. By building a connected technology platform for commercial vehicles, they hope to provide logistical solutions to improve transport efficiency as well as reducing CO2 emissions.

‘CASE technologies can only contribute to society once they become widespread,’ the companies explained. ‘Commercial vehicles can play important roles in dissemination, as they travel long distances for extended periods of time to support the economy and society and can be easily linked with infrastructure development. And from the standpoint of carbon neutrality, commercial vehicles can especially fulfil a key function.’

Forming new ties

To promote the partnership, the manufacturers will form a new business called Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies Corporation. This new company will be focused on mapping out CASE technologies and services for commercial vehicles. Moving forward, the collaboration will not only deepen, but open up to other like-minded partners.

Isuzu and Toyota have also agreed on a capital partnership to advance their collaborative efforts. Through a cancelation of treasury stock through a third-party allotment, Toyota is scheduled to acquire 39 million shares of its common stock worth a total of ¥42.8 billion (€332 million).

This will leave Toyota with 4.6% ownership of Isuzu in terms of total issued shares as of the end of September 2020 and a post-allotment voting rights ratio at Isuzu of 5.02%. Isuzu also plans to acquire Toyota shares of the same value through a market purchase.

Renault’s zero-emission solutions

Meanwhile, Renault is renewing and expanding its LCV range, with new versions of the Kangoo, the Express, the Trafic Combi and the SpaceClass. The manufacturer is also developing its Renault Pro+ services, offering turnkey digital and connectivity solutions.

Through this work Renault is looking to support the transmission to zero-emissions. The new Kangoo Van E-TECH Electric is expected by the end of 2021, picking up where the Kangoo ZE left off. It will be equipped with a 44kWh battery, offering a range of 265km. The OEM also offers fleet charging solutions with its subsidiary, Elexent. 

Before the end of the year, Renault will unveil the Master ZE Hydrogen, an alternative to the diesel Master. With its hydrogen partner Plug Power, the manufacturer is looking to capture 30% of the European hydrogen LCV market by 2030.

Smart zero-emission vans promise greater development of green and connected technology for the wider automotive sector. Commercial vehicles spend their lives on the road, meaning any new drivetrain and technology must be well-designed and long-lasting. This know-how can then be utilised by the passenger-car segment, as these systems are stress-tested.

However, these technologies must first be adopted. As demonstrated by the European Automobile Manufacturer Association’s (ACEA’s) latest figures, diesel still reigned supreme last year in the new-LCV segment. Accounting for 92.4% of the van market, the fuel type was leagues ahead of electrically-chargeable vehicles (EVs) which garnered a 2% share. In reality, the adoption of these new drive trains will likely be mandated by zero-emissions policies created at national and international levels.

Only battery and hydrogen cars to be sold in the UK from 2035

The UK government has published the results of a consultation on banning new fossil-fuel vehicles. The document confirms a phased approach to zero-carbon-only registrations beginning in 2030.

The first step will see new petrol and diesel models banned from sale. Vehicles that can travel a ‘significant’ distance on zero-emission technology, including some hybrids and plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), will be sold until 2035. After this point, only zero-carbon technologies, such as battery-electric (BEV) and hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), will be available.

Another consultation later this year will determine what constitutes a ‘significant’ distance that hybrid vehicles need to travel emission-free.

The consultation around the advancement of dates reviewed four key areas of concern over the plans. These included the readiness of the chargepoint infrastructure, the preparedness of the vehicle-manufacturing industry, inadequate battery supply, and the impact on consumers.

Some vehicle manufacturers raised concerns that hydrogen-fuel infrastructure provision had not yet been rolled out to an extent that would stimulate the uptake of FCEVs. These respondents stated that this is particularly important for ensuring all car and van market segments can transition to zero-emission, especially those that may not be suitable for BEVs.

However, in response to these concerns, the government highlighted the various funding schemes in place to increase infrastructure and support manufacturing. It pointed towards a report by the Faraday Institution that suggested 1.6 million BEVs a year would be built in the UK by 2040, with an additional 40,000 jobs created in the sector by 2030.

UK manufacturing

There is a mixed response amongst manufacturers over the future of their UK plants. Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover are dedicated to building BEVs in the country, with the Japanese carmaker bringing battery production to the UK. However, Stellantis is concerned about the UK’s 2030 ban and is in talks with the government to secure funding for the future of Ellesmere Port.

‘As soon as you say that we are going to ban the sales of this kind of car, we will stop investing,’ Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares commented at the launch of the merged automotive group. ‘If we are told that in 2030, internal combustion engines cannot be sold in the UK, which we respect as a decision from the country, then we are not going to invest in ICE anymore because that makes no sense.’

In response to concerns over hydrogen, the consultation response document states: ‘The FCEV and hydrogen refuelling market is in its infancy and government has taken steps to support its growth in the UK. The transport decarbonisation plan will discuss the potential role for hydrogen in decarbonising the transport sector, including road transport.

‘In addition, we have announced plans to publish a hydrogen strategy, which will set out a whole system view of developing the UK hydrogen economy, including how we will work with industry to create 5GW of low-carbon hydrogen production for use across the economy by 2030.’

There was also discussion around eFuels, which can significantly lower the emissions from internal combustion engines. However, the consultation response highlights the unknown nature of emissions from this technology. ‘By 2035, zero must mean zero,’ it states.

Funding round

The UK government is launching a research and development competition for electrically-chargeable vehicle (EV) innovations. Those entering could benefit from a share of £20 million (€23 million) in funding. This comes following the publication of consultation results surrounding a ban on fossil-fuel vehicles from 2030.

The investment fund is part of the government’s drive to ‘build back greener’ following the economic damage inflicted by COVID-19. Technologies that could benefit include zero-emission emergency vehicles, charging technology or battery-recycling schemes. It hopes that the EV design and manufacturing sector could create around 6,000 skilled jobs.

‘Investing in innovation is crucial in decarbonising transport, which is why I’m delighted to see creative zero-emission projects across the UK come to life,’ commented transport secretary Grant Shapps.

‘The funding announced today will help harness some of the brightest talents in the UK tech industry, encouraging businesses to become global leaders in EV innovation, creating jobs and accelerating us towards our net-zero ambitions.’

Innovative ideas

Previous winners of government research investment include a zero-emission ambulance prototype. Designed by ULEMCo, it can reach speeds of 90mph and travel an average of 200 miles a day with zero-emissions. Another successful entrant was Urban Foresight, which used its £3 million share to develop ‘pop-up’ street chargers. These are located in pavements and provide discreet access to charging infrastructure for those without off-street parking.

The uptake of EVs is increasing in the UK. As the technology also plays a crucial role in the government’s ‘Road to Zero’ plans, more needs to be done to support the sale of the technology with new innovations and ease-of-access to infrastructure.

By releasing this latest funding now, the government also hopes to have new ideas and technologies in place in time for its ban on new fossil-fuel vehicles coming into action in 2030.

Video: Europe’s registrations struggle in February but improvements to come

Autovista Group Daily Brief editor Phil Curry discusses the registration figures from Europe’s big five automotive markets. While numbers may be down, the outlook for the whole year is more positive…

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Show notes

Lockdown drives German new-car registrations down by 19% in February

February UK new-car registrations plunge to level of 1959

Significant downturns in European registrations in February

Conditional reopening of German car showrooms

England’s car showrooms to remain closed until 12 April

Podcast: How is European automotive adapting to pandemic and climate-change fallout?

Daily Brief editor Phil Curry and journalist Tom Geggus discuss key activities and developments in the European automotive sector from the past fortnight. These include COVID-19’s effect on the uptake of mobility-as-a-service (MAAS), different fuel types, and autonomous technology.

Show notes

Cazoo buys Cluno as CaaS options increase

Significant downturns in European registrations in February

Lockdown drives German new-car registrations down by 19% in February

February UK new-car registrations plunge to level of 1959

VW accelerates towards electric and digital future

VW aims for commercialised autonomous systems in 2025

Is it too early to go ‘EV-only’?

Ford to be zero-emission capable in Europe by 2026

Jaguar makes BEV and hydrogen changes on path to net zero

Volvo to go all electric and online by 2030

E-fuels gain awareness as Mazda joins alliance