Car manufacturers focus on new energy vehicles

Global Business

Two decades ago the shift towards so-called new energy vehicles would have been considered science fiction.

CGTN’s Daniel Ryntjes reports.

October 7th 1913. Workers are making the first mass market affordable car constructed using a system of ropes and winches to pull the Model-T past 140 workers, bringing the assembly time down from 12 1/2 hours down to 93 minutes.

What happened at the Highland Industrial Center in Michigan more than a hundred years ago sparked a technological and social revolution.

Today, Volvo said it’s committing to the next exponential leap, moving away from the internal combustion engine.

“We are making a strategic change in the future of our development,” Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson said. “All cars released to the market after 2019 will be electrified. ”

Volvo’s journey toward electrification has become more viable because it’s parent company, the Chinese firm Geely, is a battery maker.

The market for electric vehicles was previously the domain of those willing to pay a premium for vehicles either with environmental credentials or in the case of Tesla because of the high performance of a luxury brand. Now Tesla has launched it’s much more affordable Model 3, its first mass-production vehicle.

Some are convinced that the era of the electric car has come.

“People are clearly into the idea of electric vehicles where they weren’t maybe ten or fifteen years ago”, Alyssa Fischer, Global Policy Lead at World Resources Institute says.

“It’s lost a lot of that stigma that it used to have. And I think companies realize that getting ahead of this curve they can become the shapers of the space. ”

Audi is planning an all-electric SUV with a 300-mile range for 2018, while BMW plans to introduce an electric version of its popular 3 series this September.

General Motors plans to launch 10 electric and gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles in China by 2020 to compete with other Chinese manufacturers making similar moves, like BYD and SAIC.

Technology companies like Apple and Google’s Waymo brand are also moving into the space, by leveraging expertise in developing self-driving technologies.

Given the pressures on our urban environments as populations grow and more people enter the middle class, companies are also planning for a future where vehicles are increasingly shared and ordered using mobile apps”

Manufacturers are also spurred on by government commitments in countries like Norway, France and China and US states like California, pressing ahead with higher environmental standards and new incentives to signal that they too are fully on board the car of the future.

Ashly Knapp talks about the rise of the electric car and why gas-powered cars are on the way out

CGTN’s Rachelle Akuffo spoke to Ashly Knapp from to learn more about the rise of the electric car and whether Volvo or Tesla can stay viable.