The new year looks promising for electric vehicles and their related service industries and technologies. The Tesla Model 3 sedan is now in full production and the traditional automakers are finally starting to get more serious about introducing truly competitive vehicles.
Here are a few things to look for as 2019 rolls out.
US Federal tax credits begin dropping away for Tesla and GM customers since they hit their quotas in 2018. Nissan may hit their 200,000 vehicle quota during 2019. How will this impact their sales? Will these limits be lifted or modified? Will states like California step into the void with compensating subsidies?
Electrify America expands dramatically in 2019 by covering major highway routes through most of the US with close to 300 locations in 42 states. They will also be adding hundreds of community DC fast charging sites in 17 metro areas with a mix of 50 kW and 150 kW chargers.
These locations provide only minimal support for cars that use CHAdeMO for DC charging such as the Nissan LEAF but driving coast to coast in an EV with a CCS charging inlet and a large battery pack will be much easier a year from now.
Tesla will tell us what Supercharger 3.0 is and likely will begin installing it in 2019. Will they keep their existing North American connector and push the voltage limits to 1,000V? Switch to CCS like they did with the Model 3 in Europe?
New car models begin arriving. The Jaguar I-PACE just began arriving at the end of 2018 so expect to see more of them on the road soon. Audi’s all-electric e-tron SUV is expected to arrive in the first half of the new year. Another car set for making a springtime appearance is the Hyundai Kona Electric. The related Kia Niro EV should arrive next year as well but the timing isn’t clear yet.
Will the Porsche Taycan be delivered by the end of 2019? Maybe in Europe but probably not in North America until 2020. The Mercedes EQC may follow a similar late 2019 or early 2020 timeline.
The Nissan LEAF e-Plus with its 60 kWh battery pack should also finally arrive next year so there will be several under-$50k EVs with more than 200-miles of range. The BMW i3 will get an upgraded battery bringing it to around 150 miles of range.
A major trend may be improved payment systems at public charging locations. Major charging providers should finally begin implementing roaming agreements with each other.
Maybe some charging providers and some automakers may begin supporting “Plug and Charge” which is an element of the CCS charging standards. Electrify America DC chargers with VW Group and Mercedes Benz (Daimler) vehicles are likely to first support Plug and Charge in 2019. Fastened in Europe already implements a non-standard alternate system th can work with existing vehicles.
The goal is to match the experience of Tesla Supercharging where drivers just plug in and walk away without having to use a credit card, phone app, or perform other charging authentication steps.
New cars will be announced. About a year ago GM said they would announce two new EVs in the next 18 months based on the Bolt EV platform. That still gives them another few months to go. Are these two mystery vehicles still planned or has the recent GM reorganization changed things?
Volkswagen is likely to continue rolling out new EV model announcements but how many will be delivered to North America? Ford and Toyota haven’t said much recently.
Kia has already revealed the 2020 next generation Soul EV. Will Hyundai announce a 64 kWh 2020 Ioniq Electric? Tesla will almost certainly announce the Model Y CUV and maybe also their future pickup?
Will Toyota announce its first serious EV?
New factories will be coming online and likely new ones will be announced. Tesla has already started early construction work on Gigafactory 3 near Shanghai and is expected to announce a new Gigafactory in Europe soon. These new factories are expected to produce to make batteries and assemble vehicles that use them. Gigafactory 1 in Nevada May begin building the Tesla Semi.
Other new battery factories are being build in Europe and Asia. In North America, Mercedes is building a battery factory as part of improvements to its existing factory in Alabama. SK Innovation will begin construction of a battery factory in the state of Georgia in 2019. LG has a battery factory already in Michigan but will they expand it next year?
No matter what happens, we should be in for an exciting ride. What other important EV vehicles or trends are coming in 2019?