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[YesAuto News] On March 10, 2020, Tesla CEO Elon Musk released a message through social media that the 1 millionth Tesla brand officially rolled off the line that day. From the first Tesla Roadster in 2008 to this red Model Y, Tesla has achieved a leap of 1 to 1 million in more than 10 years. At the same time, the entire automotive industry is also undergoing earth-shaking changes. A transformation from traditional fuel vehicles to electrification.

As a brand that started in the early days and insisted on manufacturing electric vehicles, behind its booming, we seem to think that Tesla is more or less the initiator of this “new energy revolution”. Looking back over the past 10 years, the changes brought about by “electrification” are far from limited to vehicle driving methods, including but not limited to Tesla's “electric vehicles” are gradually transforming from a concept to a demand. So what enlightenment did Tesla, which brought about change, bring us in this “electric wave”?

Changes in consumers' “car view”
From “transportation” to “electronics”

You can try to recall, what was our view of “electric vehicles” ten years ago? At that time, we were also keen on displacements of more than 2.0L, non-V8/V12 not luxurious, and sneered at “small displacement turbines”, then electric vehicles were even more regarded as a concept, direction, and even a “toy”. Today, traditional fuel vehicles are still the mainstream of the automotive industry, while electric vehicles are no longer as out of reach as castles in the sky. Instead, they are like the transition from push-button phones to large-screen smartphones. The rise of the electric vehicle industry is not just cars. The change in driving forms, while the advancement of electrification, also brings the common progress of intelligence, networking and automation. This has led us to see that “electricity” and “intelligence” always appear to be accompanied. Of course, this is to a certain extent to reflect the “future attributes” of electric vehicles, but at the same time, it has gradually led to the shift from vehicles to vehicles. The transformation of electronic products.

On the other hand, compared to the internal combustion engine, which has been developed for a century, the combination of battery and electric motor drive is more “simple and violent”. This is why pure electric/plug-in hybrid sports cars with more than 1,000 horsepower after entering the electrification era are so common. Although it is very easy to obtain additional power through electric motors, it has to be said that the development of electric vehicles is still largely restricted by batteries. In the information age, batteries are often used in items such as mobile phones/laptops, and items with high power/high energy consumption often still need to rely on external power sources to operate. Therefore, with the development of electric vehicles, we have gradually begun to realize that there are shortcomings in the support of batteries for high energy consumption products, which are equivalent to the thermal efficiency of internal combustion engines. The capacity and weight limitations of the battery itself are the “technical singularities” that electric vehicles need to break through.

The above mentioned the “four modernizations” of automobiles, namely electrification, automation, intelligence and connectivity. With the development of electric vehicles, these four points have gradually become the development direction of future automobiles. Not only are they the “intrinsic attributes” of electric vehicles, but the emergence of electrification, automation, intelligence and networking are also inspirations for traditional fuel vehicles. . However, compared with the mechanical-based fuel vehicles, most of the systems rely on electronically controlled electric vehicles to be easier to achieve in terms of automatic driving, which is why these concepts have emerged with the birth of electric vehicles. So we might as well imagine, in the future, what will our cars be like? Where will the way of car use be guided? unmanned? Deprivatization? What if I want to have driving pleasure? Can you only rely on a virtual racing simulator? Will driving become a luxury? I think that with the development of automobiles, some of these problems may really become reality in the distant future.

The vision for the future seems to be somewhat vague and impractical at present, so besides the car itself, what other practical significance does the changes brought about by the development of electric vehicles have? I think Tesla's online car purchase model is also worth mentioning. As we all know, despite the physical showroom, Tesla has always insisted on the online sales method of ordering cars. What results did this lead to? In February 2020, due to the impact of the pneumonia epidemic caused by the new coronavirus, the sales of the national auto market were hit hard, and the Tesla Model 3 sold 3,900 units in February. Compared with traditional car companies that generally lost 80-90% of their sales in February, the online car purchase model has brought a lot of cushion to Tesla, which also made Model 3 the third place in the sales rankings in February. position.

As for why consumers naturally accept this online car purchase model, I think this may be due to the difference between consumers' concerns about electric vehicles and traditional fuel vehicles. Consumers of traditional fuel vehicles often consider power, gearbox, driving comfort, etc., but for electric vehicles, they mainly value cruising range. Therefore, compared with fuel vehicles, the purchase of electric vehicles requires fewer “driving links”, which has contributed to the combination of electric vehicles and online car purchase models. Of course, most of our current brands still need to rely on the traditional shop-to-watch/buy car model, but it has to be said that the transition from offline to online is also a new idea brought by electric vehicles, and there are currently no problems. Few manufacturers began to try to transform in this direction.

The attitudes of traditional car companies on the development of electric vehicles
From “all-or-nothing” to “conservative and wait-and-see”, different markets have their own merits

Now that this “electric vehicle wind” is so aggressive, what kind of responses have been made by the major traditional automakers? In fact, we can see that in different continents/countries/regions, due to their own differences in automobile culture/historical development, their responses to the electric megatrend are also different. For example, in the European market, Volkswagen Group can be regarded as a typical case. After being heavily punished by the “Diesel Door” incident in 2015 and subsequent impacts, Volkswagen shifted its focus to electric vehicles. Previous reports stated that Volkswagen will Invest about 44 billion euros to develop more intelligent and environmentally friendly vehicles in the future, including the development of mobile services such as electric/autonomous driving, smart connected cars, and car sharing. Now we are also seeing Volkswagen’s ID. series models gradually taking shape, and at the same time Other products related to the MEB platform have also been launched. From being hit hard in 2015 to now, compared to the steady transformation of Mercedes-Benz and BMW, we can see that Volkswagen’s strategic changes can be regarded as the most radical in the entire European market.

This is the case in Europe, what about the United States, which loves large-displacement cars? In November 2019, U.S. President Trump officially announced his withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, which means that models sold in the U.S. domestic market no longer need to meet the “coffee rule”, that is, to neutralize by producing more electric or low-emission models The high carbon emissions of large-displacement vehicles means that American car companies can sell traditional large-displacement vehicles more freely in the country without being restricted by carbon emissions. However, this has not stopped American car companies from implementing electrification. In addition to Tesla itself, traditional American car companies have gradually begun their own electrification product plans, such as the Ford Mustang Mach-E released not long ago, and GM’s new The main reason for the new products that will be released on the BEV3 platform of the pure electric BEV3 is that these American brands are still globalized companies. Even if they do not need to comply with the “Coffee Law” in the United States, cars sold in Europe still need to meet the stringent requirements. Carbon emission standards.

At the same time, we also see a feature. The new electric vehicles of these traditional American car companies use the names of the classic models, such as the Mach-E born from the Mustang car series and the HUMMER EV electric pickup truck whose name is derived from Hummer. It seems that we It is understandable that the transformation of traditional American manufacturers from “proud of V8” to electric vehicles will still encounter resistance from traditional market perceptions. Because they are worried that consumers will not be able to accept the emerging electric concept for a time, they should try their best to The new product is moving closer to the classic name, even if it is an “insult” to the classic in the eyes of some fans. It can be seen that the response of the US market to the trend of electric vehicles can be said to be “put down.”

Now that the always “rough” American market has also followed the trend, how did Japan, another major automobile country on earth, respond to electric vehicles? Through the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show, we can see that although each company has shown their latest concept cars at the biennial Tokyo Motor Show, and these models are also focused on highlighting electrification and intelligence, but if you want to put it into practice For mass production, it is indeed difficult for us to find outstanding works among Japanese car companies, and the only impressive Japanese electric cars in recent days are Honda e and Mazda MX-30, but the first regions where these two cars are launched are also in Europe. In the market, Mazda MX-30 does not even have a right-hand drive version. The reason for this phenomenon is still to meet the carbon emission balance of the European market, and the large number of K-Car/small-displacement vehicles/hybrid models in the local market makes the existence of electric vehicles not so necessary , so we can see While the Japanese market is conservative towards electric vehicles, it also reflects the eruption of the trend of electric vehicles in the European market.

The Chinese market under the megatrend
From “overtaking on a curve” to “subsidy for retreat”, rigid demand is still dominant

After talking about the overseas market, we will return to the domestic market. As a market that everyone is more familiar with and understands, it started with the early “new forces in car-making”, and later the intervention of traditional manufacturers, and then the new energy sub-brands launched by major manufacturers. The speed of development of electric vehicles in China in 2010 is obvious to all. It is true that the Chinese automobile industry started later than in Europe and other regions. It is very difficult to catch up with and surpass the traditional internal combustion engine in a short time. The rise of electric vehicles has once again drawn a new line for automobile companies around the world. This is the main meaning of “overtaking on a curve”.

But it has to be said that from the popularization of smart phones to e-commerce, the transformation of the information age has shown the Chinese people's super acceptance of new things, but why is this not well reflected in electric vehicles? In the final analysis, cars are still in the “rigid demand” stage for the current domestic market. Many family-based car purchases are mainly based on practicality, which makes it possible to exclude policy factors (such as license restrictions, etc.) For the time being, electric vehicles cannot meet the overall needs of most people. However, as mentioned in the previous article, the endless emergence of electric vehicle products still represents that people's awareness of electric vehicles is gradually awakening. When can we accept electric vehicles like a new mobile phone? I think it should only be a matter of time.

In mid-2019, some local subsidies for electric vehicles were cancelled in China, which has caused considerable discussion in the new energy vehicle market. However, from a rational point of view, although local subsidies can ease the cost pressure of new energy vehicles to a certain extent, they have also led to barriers for auto companies to sell vehicles in different cities, splitting the entire new energy vehicle market, and the abolition of local subsidies has also made new energy vehicles. The energy vehicle market will be more open and transparent. In general, the development of electric vehicles in the domestic market is still advancing with the times, and the domestic electric vehicle market will also be more diversified in the future, whether it is Chinese brands, domestic overseas brands such as Tesla and Volkswagen, or In the future, the BMW iX3, which will be produced in China and sold overseas, will also play an important role in the world's electric car trend.

to sum up:

From the first to the millionth, we saw that Tesla not only completed its own leap, but also led the development of electric vehicles around the world. The prevalence of electric vehicles has changed people's perception of the car itself, as well as the traditional car companies' perception of the car. Also in this boom, different countries/regions and different brands have their own cognitions of electric vehicles. The coexistence of radical and conservative attitudes is also very interesting in retrospect. In the future, the electrification, automation, intelligence and connectivity of automobiles will continue to affect the development of the global automobile industry. What will our cars look like in the future? What role will the car have for the user? This may take a long time to give the answer, but judging from the current development trend, the future of the automotive world may be full of surprises.