11 min read

Newsletter #32 | πŸ’¨ China hard to catch – Tritium goes public – Fastned, Tesla in Superhub βš‘πŸ”Œ

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| Weekly #32 |

I wonder if the country songs of the future will feature the word frunk?

- Β Jaan



β€£ 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.

β€£ 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?

β€£ 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).

β€£ 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).

β€£ 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).

β€£ Β 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 Ε koda.

β€£ 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.

β€£ 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'.



Tritium, the only 'pure-play' EV fast-charger hardware and software developer that we've talked about more than once, is set to go public via SPAC merger at a $1.2B valuation.

The SPAC merger will happen with Decarbonization Plus Acquisition Corp. II ($DCRN) and Tritium will be listed under the suitable ticker of DCFC, probably meant as in Direct Current Fast Charging? (link)

The SPAC doesn't include a traditional PIPE (the fundraising round to inject more capital), because the DCRN is a more than $400M SPAC. Tritium CEO Jane Hunter told TechCrunch:

We didn’t need a PIPE because DCRN is a more than $400 million SPAC and our shareholder group agreed to a minimum cash closing of just $200 million, which significantly reduces redemption risk. Also, our revenue has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 56% since 2016 as we expand our presence in major markets where we have a significant market share, such as the U.S. and Europe.

The transaction is assumed to provide gross proceeds of up to approximately $403M to grow Tritium’s operations to three global, full-scale manufacturing facilities, with investment in a new production facility in Europe, expansion of its Los Angeles site, and further development of the Brisbane facilities.

The $DCRN stock doesn't seem to have moved more than about 2% for the news so far. If this would have been about 4 months ago when the SPAC mobility market was on fire though...

DISCLAIMER: As always, nothing in this newsletter should be taken as financial advice.



β€£ Lucid launched its "User Experience" in video and press release (link), and it looks awesome.

β€£ CUPRA Born was revealed on Tuesday - looking like a sportier version of the ID.3, the car is built on the MEB platform and has a 77kWh battery pack with up to 170kW power output. It's also completely CO2 neutral throughout the supply chain. Here's the reveal (video) and press release (link). I like the 'boost' button - makes you feel like sitting in the Knight Rider's KITT.

β€£ MAN Lion's City E electric bus carried out a real-world trial, stopping at every bus stop and carrying a regular load, reaching a range of 550.8 kilometers (341mi) (link). I like that they let TÜV SÜD monitor it - these guys sealed the charging socket on the bus before starting and removed it in the end, to assure no wrongdoings.

β€£ Opel (Vauxhall) launched the new Movano-e, the light commercial vehicle with 'class-leading figures' for payload, cargo capacity. The options are 37 kWh and 70 kWh batteries with a WLTP range of 117 (72mi) or 224 kilometers respectively (link). Sorry - did I read that right? WLTP of 117 kilometers sounds a bit... wow. But I guess I shouldn't second-guess a leading automaker, there must be a market for this, right?

β€£ The Tesla Cybertruck is thought to have passed the 1-million mark of reservations, per this Google Sheet tracker (link).

β€£ Meanwhile, Ford revealed 44,5k reservations in less than 48 hours for the F-150 Lightning (tweet). Even Musk stopped by to tweet 'Congrats!'

β€£ Tim from the Rivian Owners forum found the VIN deciphering document from the NHTSA database, which hints at a possible more affordable, dual-motor R1T soon (link).

β€£ Nissan ARIYA's debut drive on the streets of Monaco (video)

β€£ Electrek got to drive all of Daimler's electric trucks - and they want to see them everywhere (link).

β€£ Fisker to build the next Popemobile (pdf).

β€£ Faraday Future launched its FF Futurist Experience, showing the FF 91 EV up-close in New York City (link).

β€’ FUN - It's a blast from the past, but I discovered the Fiat 500cc is meant to play a nice melody instead of a 'wheeeee' sound when traveling under 12mph. I timestamped the part in this (video), but the whole 'press conference' is worth a watch really.

β€’ EV AD - Jimmy Fallon on the Ford F-150 Lightning, talking about its features and mainly - about its frunk:



Fastned's charging hub render
Image: Fastned

β€£ Fastned is increasing its UK footprint fast: Fastned and Tesla are creating an Energy Superhub, a dual-branded charging station in Oxford, UK. Fastned, teaming up with Oxford City Council, Pivot Power and Wenea to build and operate the Superhub, which will feature 14 fast chargers. The site will also feature 12 Tesla Superchargers. With a massive 10MW of power available, the hub is set for future expansion and opens by the end of the year. Initially, on the Fastned side, 10 EVs can simultaneously charge at up to 300 kW. CEO of Fastned, Michiel Langezaal, said:

Our mission is to accelerate the transition towards electric mobility by giving freedom to electric drivers. EV drivers experience this freedom when they know that fast and convenient charging is omnipresent. [...] We need hundreds more and will therefore continue to engage with landowners and partners such as Pivot Power across the UK. Big stations are the only way to provide charging capacity to the exponentially growing number of EVs coming to our roads.

β€£ California, US announced $17.5M for EV charging in rural areas, both for fast charging and Level2, which will cover up to 75% of the EV charging equipment costs (link). Now, this is where I do see the governments stepping in - providing incentives to build chargers where they can't be commercially viable due to lower demand but are needed nevertheless.

Another project on the other side of the world, Connected Kerb together with Kent County Council is installing chargers in massively underserved areas of Kent County, which have 20 to 30 times fewer chargers per 100k people than London (link).

β€£ Ioniq 5 owners will get two years of unlimited 30-minute complimentary charging sessions in Electrify America's network. (link). This is not the first time, though. Previously, in Electrify America and the Automakers:

  • Hyundai's announced offering 250kWh of free charging for 2021 Kona Electric and Ioniq Electric models (link).
  • Volkswagen offers all 2021 VW ID.4 owners three years of free unlimited charging (link). Connection -> Electrify America is VW's subsidiary started because of the #dieselgate scandal.
  • Ford's Mustang Mach-E customers receive 250kWh of free charging (link).
  • Porsche Taycan owners get three years of free Β unlimited charging (link).
  • Lucid Motors gives access to 350kWh of free charging for three years for anyone reserving the Lucid Air in 2021 (link).
  • Jeep will provide free charging for Jeep owners in its joint network called the 4xe Charging Network (link).

β€£ EA claims that across the country, 96 percent of the population live within 120 miles of an Electrify America charger.

β€£ Arena del Futuro will feature a 1,050-metre ring road with inductive charging in Brescia, Italy. ElectrReon wireless will provide its tech to charge two Stellantis vehicles and an Iveco Bus. The project aims to demonstrate contactless charging for a range of EVs as they drive on highways and toll roads as a potential pathway to decarbonizing our transportation systems along motorway transport corridors. (link).

β€£Audi pilots its concept for quick charging, featuring a lounge and exclusive reservations (link).

β€£ UK's energy regulator Ofgem will invest Β£300M ($424M) in low carbon projects, including cabling for 1,800 new ultra-rapid charge points along the motorways in England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland and 1,750 charge points in towns and cities (link).



β€£ LFP batteries might make a dent in the viability of battery recycling businesses, as the main advantage of LFP lies in what it lacks - nickel and cobalt. Β Yet these two are profitable to recover for recyclers. Our friends at the Intercalation Station newsletter dive deeper into this here (link).

β€£ Ford and SK Innovation signed an MoU to create a $5.3B joint venture called BlueOvalSK to produce 60 GWh in battery capacity in the US with the potential to expand. The 60 GWh plant is an important piece of the puzzle in Ford's plans of supplying batteries to the expected demand of 140GWh in North America by 2030. (link)

β€£ BMW started its battery production or iX and i4 at its Dingolfing Competence Centre for E-Drive Production where the cells are assembled into modules and packs. Beforehand, the cells are painted in the Regensburg plant after being manufactured by CATL and Samsung SDI (link).

β€£ Another project to track responsibly produced cobalt from the mine to the EV is underway, as the battery material supplier Umicore, GMOC metals and mining companies, Eurasian Resources Group and Glencore test a blockchain solution Re|Source (link). I'm planning a deeper dive on the 'Global Battery Passport' topic, stay tuned.

β€£ InoBat, the Slovakian battery maker, and Rio Tinto are building a value chain to cover the entire life cycle from raw materials to the recycling of lithium (link). If Rio Tinto decides to build out the 55,000-ton lithium plant in Belgrade, Serbia, that is.

β€£ LG Energy Solution is likely building a $1.2B battery factory in Bekasi, near Jakarta in Indonesia. The 10GWh plant will be built together with the state-owned Indonesia Battery Corporation (IBC). Some of these batteries produced will end up in Hyundai's EVs Β (link)Connection - CATL has its eyes on Indonesia as well with a $5B potential investment.

β€£ Farasis and Geely are establishing a joint venture (35% and 65%) for the research and development as well as production and sale of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and other applications. This is to meet 80% of Geely Technologies and its subsidiaries' battery needs (link). Connections -> Farasis already has a strategic partnership with Daimler, and Geely owns a bit under 10% of Daimler. I do love me a battery triangle.

β€£ Solid Power presented details on its solid-state battery platform and transitions its silicon cells to pilot line (link). Connections -> BMW and Ford look to source some of their solid-state batteries from Solid Power.

β€£ The average kWh price for used batteries is higher than for new batteries - Circular Energy Storage tries to answer why (link).



β€£ ElectraMeccanica started construction of its new U.S. Assembly and Engineering Technical Center in Mesa, Arizona. When up and running after Spring 2022, it can produce 20k of those sweet electric three-wheelers a year (link).

β€£ NIO extended the cooperation with JAC, producing its models in the JAC's Hefei factory until May 2024. JAC will double its annual production capability to 240k vehicles as Nio's demand is ramping up and probably reaching the current 120k capacity soon (link).



β€£ Looks like European countries might not be able to set their own bans of ICE vehicles due to European legislation. That is if the EU itself doesn't launch an EU-wide regulation for the phase-out (link). I'm not an overwhelming fan of the bans in general, as I'm mostly opposed to any market manipulation (that includes the fossil subsidies), but not letting the member countries choose their own path of phase-outs is... backward. Of course, Norway and now the UK don't have that problem.

β€£ Oxis Energy, the British lithium-sulfur battery specialist, is facing bankruptcy (link).

β€£ Lordstown Motors says its 2021 output will be at best 50% of the expectations, and it needs capital to execute its plans (link).


This week, we've got Musk saying the tweet of the last week from Diess about hydrogen is... right.

In related news - Daimler disagrees (link).

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