Editor's note: Joe Rooney is the co-founder of Elevation Proving Grounds (EPG), a company that works with electric and autonomous vehicle companies to build better automotive technology through vehicle testing, staffing, and training. You can learn more about EPG and contact us at EPGAmerica.com.
Like many things, the electric vehicle world has been in limbo for the last few months. Many OEMs are still currently on track for new model releases but, as expected, many are also delayed. With canceled auto shows, cash flow issues, closed proving grounds, and shuttered production facilities, we’ve seen announcements, R&D, and plant construction come to a virtual standstill. These unexpected *speed bumps* are detrimental to schedules that are meticulously put in place well before a vehicle is scheduled to be in a customers’ hands.
Of the EVs slated to be released in the next year or so, these are some of the more interesting ones that have provided further details about their current state of affairs.
Markus Baumann, Head of Test and Digital Commissioning at BMW, recently told Austrian Industry Magazine that the i4 “is at the moment completely in the green area.” Meaning the vehicle is still on its original testing, validation, and production schedule, and that the vehicle should be released as promised in 2021.
Back in January, Byton announced that the U.S. launch for the M-Byte would be pushed from 2020 to sometime in 2021. Now the company has put “about half” of its 450 staff members in Santa Clara on furlough. The end of May was the target timeline for people to return to work but there have been no reports of this going into effect. A spokesperson told Electrek that the “production timeline will no doubt be impacted.” While all product testing is currently done in China where no workers have been furloughed, it’s possible that the timeline for the M-Byte to be delivered in the U.S. will be pushed back again.
One of the bigger EV debuts of the year is Ford’s Mach-E which is still on track to arrive in late 2020 for the US (Europe is delayed). As reported by CNN back in April, Ford engineers took home more than a dozen pre-production vehicles to continue making improvements in order to keep the original delivery dates on track.
General Motors has confirmed for now that it’s electric vehicle program is still on schedule with the Hummer, Lyriq, and GM's Cruise Launches Origin, A Fully Autonomous Vehicle, expected to be released next year. The unveiling of these vehicles has been postponed for now but the work on these vehicles is said to still be pushing ahead. Details have not been given on how the development is pushing forward with a remote workforce, but one program is said to even be ahead of schedule at this point.
Karma announced that its all-electric vehicle the Revero GTE will be released in the Spring of 2021. A few weeks ago, Karma said that it had started prototype testing of the new model. Stating that “Karma engineers recently conducted dynamic testing at California’s exclusive Thermal Club race track, among other performance circuits and conditions."
Lordstown Motors, a maker of light-duty work trucks, said that it has moved plans back to deliver the first vehicles to customers to January 2021, one month later than the original delivery date. The automaker recently announced that due to the canceled North American International Auto Show, the unveiling of the Endurance will now take place virtually on June 22nd. Included in that announcement was an update on the progress of the conversion of GM’s former plant into an EV production facility, which appears to be on schedule.
Lucid has trudged ahead with the construction of its production facility in Arizona and is actively hiring for all types of positions. It has also been giving a behind the scenes look at its beta prototypes that have been immobile for the last few months. Normally “these vehicles would be racking up long-distance miles on the highway or circling a test track as [Lucid] refine and validate the Lucid Air’s advanced engineering and game-changing performance.” For now, they are awaiting the opportunity to get back out on the road for testing and validation. The production unveiling that was originally scheduled for the New York Auto Show, has not been rescheduled, and production dates of late 2020 are still on track, according to CEO Peter Rawlinson.
The first fully electric Polestar, the Polestar 2, “will begin delivery to U.S. reservation holders in summer 2020.” While there was some delay in showrooms opening for Polestar in the US, the first locations will now open on the West Coast and in New York late summer 2020. Showrooms in Boston, Denver, Texas, Washington DC, and Florida regions will now open in early 2021.
The highly anticipated release of the R1T by Rivian has been pushed back to 2021 from late 2020. While a few workers have been on-site the last few months prepping the plant in Normal, Illinois for production, testing has effectively come to a halt. However, the plant has recently started reopening on a larger scale using a phased approach. Rivian’s Amazon delivery truck is still on track for its first deliveries next year.
In other Rivian news, Lincoln canceled its all-electric partnership with Rivian citing “[g]iven the current environment, Lincoln and Rivian have decided not to pursue the development of a fully electric vehicle based on Rivian’s skateboard platform.”
Volkswagen has been running into software issues with the ID3 causing delays of deliveries until September of this year, a delay of a few months. These delays date back to December of last year. The ID3 is viewed as a vehicle that will be around for the long term for VW so a few delays should not impact their larger electrification plans for the future.