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#32 | Global | China ahead of US; TomTom's EV suite, VW Group beating Tesla in EU

We'll start with the words of the US president Joe Biden: Right now China is leading this race. Make no bones about it. It's a fact. They think they're going to win, but I've got news for them, they won't win this race.

‣ We'll start with the words of the US president Joe Biden (link):

Right now China is leading this race. Make no bones about it. It's a fact. They think they're going to win, but I've got news for them, they won't win this race. We can't let them. We have to move fast, and that's what you're doing here.

Now the thing is, he's right. China is building mega/gigafactories at the rate of one per week, the rate in the US is one every four months. (link). China isn't only ahead in battery production, but in the whole supply chain - especially in battery chemicals, where it controls 66% of the global production of cathodes, 82% of anodes, and 72% of battery cells. China produces 23% of key battery raw materials, although I'm not sure if this info takes into account the materials mined abroad which China is still sourcing.

I love a good 'arms race' when it comes to electrification, the FOMO at the government level will move mountains.

‣ TomTom upgraded its EV suite - in addition to routing you via an optimized route and charging networks, it claims to feature two solutions that look interesting to me (link):

  • TomTom claims it can predict REAL range more accurately than some electric models themselves. If you've ever driven a LEAF like the one I own, you know the 30% over-or-underestimation is absolutely a thing.
  • They also claim to prepare the battery for the optimal fast-charging performance ahead of time while driving, preconditioning the battery and helping users spend less time waiting at a fast charger, improving battery life, and lowering total costs of ownership. I like that their route planner takes into account that you can charge faster when the battery is more empty and thus route you accordingly. But what does this preconditioning mean?

‣ Daimler Trucks has announced it will supply batteries from CATL for its eActros Longhaul truck from 2024 (link) and collaborate with Engie, EVBox, and Siemens Smart Infrastructure for charging infrastructure (link).

‣ The Volkswagen Group will extend the agency model from ID.3 and ID.4 to other electric models in the Group brands (link). In this model, the customers order the car directly from the manufacturer and the dealer is somewhere in between as an intermediary/agent (wrote a bit about it in #11 here).

‣ California's Air Resources Board (CARB) regulation requires rideshare companies to begin electrification of their fleets starting 2023 and reach 90% of miles driven electric by 2030 (link). Uber & Lyft seem to say "yes, but show us the money" (link).

‣  With every fourth EV sold in Europe being from the Volkswagen Group, it has flown past Tesla's dominance in the European EV market. Looking at cumulative rolling 12-month EV sales per Schmidt Automotive Research, Volkswagen Group has sold 206.4k EVs, versus 102.5k sales by Tesla. (link) To be fair, Tesla hasn't been able to produce cars in its Giga Berlin factory yet, so that might change the scales. Also - VW Group itself is way bigger, as its EV lineup comes from VW, Audi, Porsche, Seat, and Škoda.

‣ Ford increased its commitment to invest $22B by 2023, now increased to $30B by 2025. It also announced 40% of sales will be all-electric by 2030 (link). I do like that they don't use the word electrified anymore (so no hybrids), but I believe they are underestimating what the next 8.5 years bring.

‣ Tesla has achieved the 'pure vision', as all Model 3 and Y that are delivered from May 2021 in North America, will no longer be equipped with a radar, per Tesla's press release (link):

These will be the first Tesla vehicles to rely on camera vision and neural net processing to deliver Autopilot, Full-Self Driving, and certain active safety features.

This is a way bigger topic, but it seems Musk is thinking along the lines that the 'Vision' can achieve most of what they need, although radar would supplement that in certain cases. Just not useful to use both. Here's a recent tweet he 'agrees with'.

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