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🌎 EV Industry²: Mercedes €1B 🔋blunder – Tesla Q2 earnings – Hidden chargers 🔌

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I've got a question for you. Turns out Tesla confirmed that the British English language will be coming to Tesla vehicles. I'm wondering...

What will they call the frunk?

- Jaan


💸 Tesla Q2 Earnings Call

I know I've been covering Tesla more than usual lately. Don't worry, this too shall pass.

As you know, I love the company, yet I've previously tried to steer away from overreporting on Tesla because everyone else does it already anyway. We do need to know what's happening though, so here's the gist of the Tesla-verse this week:

The Q2 earnings call, the presentation of which you can find (here), audio webcast (here), shareholder Q&A questions (here), and 10-Q filing (here) was held this Monday the 26th.

I'll sum up the key learnings:

Financials

  • Total revenue grew 98% YoY in Q2 to $11.9B with an operating margin of 11.0%.
  • The profit was $1.1B and $354M (32.2%) of it came from emission credit sales. This marks the first time Tesla turns a profit even without counting the profit from selling credits.
  • Musk won't be on the Earnings Calls in the future unless there's something really important he needs to say.

Batteries

  • The new design where 4680 cells are built to the structural frame of the cars has been successfully crash-tested.
  • Tesla's contracts with cell suppliers call for roughly a doubling of cell supply to Tesla in 2022.
  • Musk noted that Tesla wants to consolidate to ideally two form factors in battery formats and one nickel chemistry, one iron chemistry, to avoid becoming the "Baskin Robbins of batteries".

    So, the first of the two consolidated form factors would be a 4680 nickel-based structural pack (that's what Tesla uses for long-range vehicles) and
    one format for iron-based cells, which doesn't have to be a 4680 format (the LFP cells are cheaper but less energy-dense, so they will be used for standard range vehicles. This also means the cells aren't part of the car's structure.)

Cybertruck & Semi

  • VP of Vehicle Engineering, Lars Moravy said: Cybertruck is in alpha stages, moving into beta phases later this year and looking to ramp that into production in Giga Texas after Model Y is up and going.

Here are the already-installed capacities for the Tesla S3XY models:

  • The Tesla Semi truck launch, which we thought/hoped is happening late this year, is delayed until 2022. Reason - trucks would use up too much of the new next-gen 4680 battery cells needed for Cybertruck and Texas-build Model Y.

Chip shortage

Tesla switched to microcontrollers instead of semiconductors to overcome the shortages: "The team reacted quickly and the electrical and firmware engineering teams remained hard at work designing, developing and validating 19 new variants of controllers in response to ongoing semiconductor shortages"

So that's why it was eerily quiet on Tesla's side during the shortages.

Supercharger Network

Elon also touched on the Supercharger Network opening (that we've covered last week here):

  • Non-Tesla EV owners would be able to access the Supercharger via the Tesla App. This is how he explained it:
  • It should work with cars from any manufacturer.
  • Time-based pricing so slow chargers wouldn't stick around.
  • Europe, China is easy to open due to the same charging connectors, but in the US a special adapter can be bought. Chargers may be equipped with adapters.

Musk said:

Tesla's goal is to support the advent of sustainable energy, it is not to create a walled garden and use that to bludgeon our competitors, which is sometimes used by some companies.

To finish things up, here's a nice visual of the Full Self Driving V9 Beta in action, comparing what the vehicle cameras see and how the vehicle renders it:


🌎 Companies & Global

  • Dynamo Motor, the UK company known for converting hundreds of Nissan e-NV200 EValia into electric taxies, now plans to introduce two new electric models (to convert) and increase their conversion capacity to 10k vehicles annually by 2026.

    There's a crowdfunding campaign to fund the growth on Seedrs -  within a week, £1.6 (81%) of the 2M target has been collected. (link)
  • Tesla agreed to pay $1.5M to settle a lawsuit alleging the company used a software update to reduce the maximum battery voltage for 1,743 of its Model S sedans. Tesla agreed to pay $625 to each of these affected owners. (link)
  • Minnesota implements California clean car standards (link).
  • 94% of 15,000 EV owners surveyed in Norway said they are satisfied or very satisfied with their car. The most satisfied owners were those of Tesla M3 and Kia e-Niro. (link)

    Have you noticed I don't put a lot of surveys in the newsletters? It's mainly because most of them don't tell us how many people were questioned. I know it's mathematically correct, but in reality, a segment of 1,000 random people doesn't give us the real picture. /end rant
  • A timeline of Nikola's Trevor Milton - from fictional to fraudulent (link). Milton pleaded 'not guilty' and lawyers issued a statement saying his innocent (link).
  • The IAA Mobility Show runs from 7-12th September in Munich, Germany (link). Mercedes-Benz will unveil five fully electric models there: EQE, EQB, first electric Mercedes-AMG, and the Mercedes-Maybach electric concept (link).
  • LA Auto Show 2021 runs from 19-28th November (link). Fisker confirmed the Fisker Ocean SUV will make its global debut.
  • The ABB FIA Formula E released the provisional calendar for the next season, 16 races in 12 locations (link). It also claims 17,300 paid reservations ($250 deposit) (link).
  • REE Automotive will open its US headquarters and the first Integration Center in Austin, Texas. The annual capacity of the Integration Center is expected 40,000 modular EV platforms by H2 2022 (link).
  • Onto, the UK electric car subscription service, raised $175M in Series B led by Alfvén & Didrikson and Pollen Street Capital. Total funding $245M. It offers ~3,000 electric cars currently on a monthly subscription (link). Now that's how you expand the EV Universe, I love the business model.
  • Related - Carbar, the car subscription service in Australia secured a $50M investment and expects its share of EVs in the fleet to grow to 25%, because of 'consumer interest'. (link)

🚗 Models

  • Here's the Porsche Vision Renndienst Electric Minivan Concept now shows us its interior called modular travel cabin:
  • Ford F-150 Lightning has 120k reservations so far. Requires a $100 deposit. From Ford's Q2 report: (link)
  • Kia EV6 got a WLTP range of 328 miles (528 km) for the 77.4 kWh RWD version (link). The long-range and ultra-fast 800V charging (10-80% with 18 minutes) does make it a nice vehicle for longer trips too.
  • A case study of Westport Police Tesla M3 Squad car - saves money, improves performance (link).

🔋 Battery and ♻ Recycling

A €1B whoops of Daimlers EQS batteries.

  1. Mercedes-Benz was to use its partner Farasis Energy to supply batteries for the EQS and the 2022 EQE.
  2. Farasis European plant has been delayed to 2024 due to resources directed to Chinese factories, so Farasis offered to supply cells from its Chinese plants instead.
  3. Daimler decided that Farasis will "only produce residual sizes" of the cells.
  4. CATL was chosen to take over the planned volumes from Farasis and deliver the cells to Daimler, between its regular orders. That costs extra.
  5. So much extra, that additional costs rake up to be around €1.5k per each EQS model, meaning about €1B over the lifetime.
  6. Daimler reportedly wanted to order from Northvolt at the end of 2020, but it declined because of its full order books. Daimler had previously declined offers for battery supply from Northvolt, twice.

Daimler has plans for 8 battery factories in Europe, but these wouldn't be up and running fast enough. Now, all of this is based on a report from Manager Magazin, reported by the Spiegel (link). If true, this is a blunder of quite the scale.

Another takeaway here - we're at the position in the electrification of the industry where the automakers are the ones with a problem - where to secure the batteries. Meanwhile, battery factories are swimming in future orders, trying to scale their operations up as fast as possible. It's a bottleneck, a temporary one, but a tough one still.

Meanwhile,

  • Redwood Materials raised $700M in Series C, led by T.Rowe Price. The EV battery recycling business founded by JB Straubel, Tesla's co-founder, is currently tripling its Carson City facilities (see more in our issue #35). (link)
  • ReJoule, the battery diagnostics startup, is raising their seed round and is looking for investors. (link)
  • Faraday Battery Challenge awards $14M to 17 battery projects in the UK (link).
  • Microvast completed the merger with SPAC $TCHB and listed on the Nasdaq exchange, raising ~$822M. (link) New ticker: $MVST
  • Porsche's (83.75% owned) Cellforce Group will start battery production in 2024, selecting the chemical company BASF as the exclusive cell development partner (link).
  • Customcells, the other part of the JV with Porsche above, brought in Porsche as a shareholder along with two others, raising an estimated €20-30M. Customcells is a manufacturer of small and medium-sized battery cell series. (link)

⚡ Charging

  • These new on-street charge points above from Trojan Energy sit flat within the pavement until needed, trial started in Brent with five chargers (link).
  • Electrify America will begin to phase out the CHAdeMO in 2022 (link). We'll see more of that happening I guess. Great, now I don't have to google which letters of it are capitalized every single time.
  • Forev, the Scottish charging network operator received a £2M ($2.8M) investment to build out a network of over 1,700 charging points across Scotland (link)
  • TotalEnergies takes over the biggest charging network in Singapore, Bolloré's Blue Charge, with its 1,500 charging stations (link). Singapore plans to reach 60k charge points by 2030 (link).

    Fun fact - I've been to Singapore about 3 years ago for a demo of wireless charging that we hoped to implement for our taxi fleet. The electric taxis on Grab that used BYD models were almost impossible to book due to high demand.
  • +242 fast-chargers in Ampol gas stations in Australia (link).

👀 What I'm watching:

  • This couple of EV Nomads used their Tesla S 70D for about 30k miles (181k->210k) and sold the car at a profit. They aren't the only ones, we've got a lot of reports coming in even from Tesla's trade-in on how the used cars are appreciating.
  • Interview with Aptera Head Engineer, Nathan Armstrong, discussing the lineup and the brand's future:
  • Porsche Taycan 4S was driven until it died (video).

👨‍💻 Talent & Jobs

  • Tesla announced its AI Day will happen on August 19th, with the sole purpose of bringing in AI talent to the company (tweet).
  • Canoo appoints Josette Sheeran as the new company President. The former diplomat is to "bring vast experience in the US and global negotiations, supply chains, financing and partnerships and, in joining us full-time, will help me to build out the company to become the global leader in mobility to bring EV’s to everyone", in the words of the CEO Tony Aquila. (link) Canoo's top team has been through a lot since the SPAC merger, we've covered it previously (here) and (here).

That's it, folks!

You can ☕ buy me a coffee to add zap to my writing to keep me going. ⚡

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