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E-mobility roundup: The race for entry-level EV segment is heating up

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer
Johannesburg, 03 Jun 2024
Renault is officially readying its own EUR 20 000 EV for launch in a couple of years.
Renault is officially readying its own EUR 20 000 EV for launch in a couple of years.

The race for Europe's compact electric vehicle (EV) segment is heating up, with both VW and Renault announcing plans for EVs at the coveted €20 000 starting price.

NEVs on the rise

Electrified vehicle sales may have slowed slightly in Q1 of this year, but the numbers for new energy vehicles (NEVs) worldwide are still on the rise. With a year-on-year increase of around 17%, this breaks the recent trend of sales rising by at least 20% annually, which had been happening in the previous three years. When it comes to pure EVs, Tesla rules the roost with a market share of 21.5%, followed by China’s BYD and SAIC groups, BMW, and finally VW, making up the top five.

In South Africa total NEV sales shot up by nearly 83% from 1 665 vehicles in Q1 ’23 to 3 042 units in Q1 ’24, according to statistics released by Naamsa.

Euro pride

The race is officially on for Europe’s entry-level EV market with China’s recent assault demanding a rapid response from the Old World legacy brands.

It’s about entry-level electric mobility from Europe for Europe.

Oliver Blume, VW.

Volkswagen, for example, is doing a lone-wolf thing and has just announced a planned 2027 release of its cheapest electric car yet, with a promise of the coveted EUR 20 000 starting price as well as some big claims regarding technology, design and quality. 

What’s more, Volkswagen is committed to manufacturing the model in Europe with a high degree of localisation when it comes to sourcing parts too. “It’s about entry-level electric mobility from Europe for Europe,” said company boss Oliver Blume.

Volkswagen has just announced a planned 2027 release of its cheapest electric car yet.
Volkswagen has just announced a planned 2027 release of its cheapest electric car yet.

Twingo to go

Clearly in Germany the best defence is a good offence, but in France they’re, sacre bleu, collaborating with the enemy… Renault is officially readying its own EUR 20 000 EV for launch in a couple of years and has partnered up with an as-yet unnamed Chinese engineering outfit to help develop the future Twingo model. 

This plan materialised right after Renault failed to strike a partnership with - you guessed it, Volkswagen - putting even more on the line of the anticipated battle for Europe’s compact EV segment.

Fill ‘er up

Still on China-related news, the world’s biggest plug-in hybrid electric vehicle manufacturer, BYD, is ironically proving that there is much sense left in burning a bunch of dead fish. 

The company has just revealed its latest generation hybrid drive system combining a battery and 160kW electric motor with a petrol-powered engine boasting a thermal efficiency of more than 46%, which according to BYD claims makes it the most efficient internal-combustion production engine in history. 

The bottom line is, with a full battery charge and a full tank of petrol, the new tech promises a driving range of more than 2 000km.