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Race to electric car begins in full swing

Posted February. 24, 2021 07:40,   

Updated February. 24, 2021 07:40


The era of electric vehicles (EV) is dawning with leading global automakers announcing their plans to invest and release EV.

With Tesla dominating the EV market and tech companies, such as Apple and Xiaomi making a foray into EV manufacturing, the major automakers’ decision reflects a sense of crisis that they could fall behind the competition as Nokia and Motorola did in the IT market. In order not to fall behind in the reshaping market, leading automakers are going all-in on the EV market, even giving up their mid-to long-term production plans for exiting models. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, EV represented only 2.7% of new car sales last year but the number is expected to grow to 28% by 2030 and 58% by 2040.

General Motors (GM) is planning launch 30 new EV models by 2025. It pledged to stop making gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles by 2035. The American automaker is investing $27 billion in the research and development of EV and autonomous vehicles by 2023.

Ford announced that it will invest $29 billion in electric and autonomous vehicle development and will go all-electric in Europe by 2030. To make it happen, it is planning to concert its plant in Cologne, Germany to produce EV starting from 2023.

Volkswagen expects EVs to account for 20% of its total sales in 2025. The German automaker’s goal this year is to sell more EVs than Tesla. Volkswagen introduced its own electric car platform MEB in 2018, boasting its EV technology. Japan’s Toyota has unveiled its EV platform e-TNGA and plans to launch a medium-sized sports utility vehicle (SUV) before the end of June.

Global automakers are keeping Tesla, the global leader in the EV market, in check. “It won’t be easy for Tesla to continue at that speed because the rest of the industry is moving ahead big time,” said Oliver Zipse, chairman of the Board of Management (CEO) of BMW, at the Digital Life Design (DLD) Conference.

In line with the global eco-friendly trend, governments around the world are introducing regulations on internal combustion engine and policies promoting EV, which is giving momentum to the distribution of EV. Major EU countries, including Germany and France, are planning to offer subsidies of 9,000 euros per electric vehicle by the end of the year. China has raised its electrified-car sales target, targeting EVs to account for 25% of new cars sold by 2025 and set plans to end the sales of diesel vehicles.

sanghun@donga.com · nabi@donga.com