This week's electron cocktail to you consists of:
- OEMs that promise stuff
- Biden has still never heard of Tesla
- Serbians fought against lithium mining... and won 💪
- ID Buzz disappoints me (again) and Joe Rogan makes us semi-viral.
...and a bit more (2,319 words).
My wifey reads every one of my newsletters (hey, Kristi 👋) and said something I hadn't realized before. Most newsletters don't contain as many images, videos, and information as I send you every week.
Is it a good or a bad thing?
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🗺️ Electric roadmaps
Renault, Nissan & Mitsubishi Motors announced a common roadmap "Alliance 2030", which focuses on EVs and connected mobility. Here's what I found important for us:
- €23B more ($25.6B) investment in electrification over the next five years.
- Five common EV platforms and 35 new EV models by 2030, claims to have the largest global EV offer then (doubt it).
- Nissan announced it'll replace Micra with an EV in Europe, which will be built in the Renault ElectriCity in France.
- Common battery strategy to secure 220 GWh production capacity by 2030*.
- Nissan is the one to lead solid-state battery tech for the members (probably the $75/kWh ASSB one Nissan promised by 2028).
* Hmm... let's do some back-of-the-envelope calculations.
220 GWh is roughly enough for 4.4M BEVs on an average 50kWh pack. The total sales of these three carmakers make roughly 7.4M cars in 2021 and they of course presume growth until 2030.
Are they estimating they will make half or less of their cars run on batteries? Good luck, Alliance. You'll be changing your estimates soon enough.
Bentley goes beyond 100
As a subsidiary of Volkswagen Group, Bentley has been rather behind on its electric vehicle plans. Yesterday, Bentley announced the "Beyond 100" sustainability strategy. Here's what you need to know:
- Three EVs (not hybrids) are due in three years. After 2025, a new EV model will be announced every year.
- Commits £2.5B ($3.34M) to sustainability investment over the next decade.
- Bentley's current (and only) Crewe plant in the UK with 4,000 workers will be transformed into a carbon-zero Dream Factory (pictured above), which will see the first BEV roll off the production line in 2025.
- Bentley will be exclusively electric and carbon neutral by 2030.
Here's the 7-minute video by Bentley.
General Motors ramps up
General Motors announced a $6.6 billion investment in Michigan manufacturing, including a new 50 GWh Ultium Cells battery plant in Lansing (JV with LGES) and converting the existing Orion Township facility for Chevrolet Silverado EV and GMC Sierra EV. (link) GM got a 50% tax break on the property taxes over the 12 years for the expansion of the Orion facility. (link)
By the end of 2025, GM to have more than 1 million units of electric vehicle capacity in North America. This ramp-up will be interesting to see, as Ford also claims it will sell 600k EVs 'in 22 months from now'.
The Orion factory should be currently building the Bolt EV and EUV, which are halted due to the battery problems - GM has been rather quiet about the future plans for Bolt after the recalls are sorted out.
The press release also featured some of GM's battery and EV component supply chain, which I'll map out in tomorrow's EV Industry² newsletter (members-only).
We also saw President Biden make a statement on the GM's Michigan move and how much the administration has helped - officially on the White House web. And here's something for the laughs:
Rio Tinto got driven out
⚒️ "All permits were annulled... we put an end to Rio Tinto in Serbia," Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said on Thursday
Rio Tinto's battery mineral efforts suffered a proper setback in Europe, as Serbia's government canceled all previous decisions and denied Rio Tinto's greenfield lithium project Jadar. It was supposed to be "the largest source of lithium supply in Europe” with enough Lithium for 1M EVs for at least the next 15 years and Rio Tinto had committed $2.4B to develop the project.
It is most likely the government succumbed to the pressure of the people against the possible environmental damage, who had been protesting against Rio Tinto's lithium mine since late November.
Honestly, I've got no idea how much the project would have really damaged the environment (or not), but I do love communities that can stick together against a common enemy.
Connection: As Rio Tinto doesn't have other projects in Europe (at least according to their web), it might also render their recent investment to InoBat, the Slovakian battery maker which intended to build a gigafactory in Serbia using the mined lithium, redundant.
There isn't too many lithium projects in the EU to choose from, either...
Tesla & earnings
→ Tesla held its Q4 and 2021 Earnings call on Wednesday. Here's the shareholder deck (pdf) and the audio call with Q&A. I'll create the scope with the most important bits for tomorrow's EV Industry² newsletter (members-only).
→ Tesla's Fremont factory was the most productive auto factory in America in 2021, producing 8,550 cars a week on average. 2nd was Toyota's Kentucky plant with 8,427 and 3rd BMW's South Carolina plant with 8,343. Interactive graph by Bloomberg (link).
🏎️ FIA Formula E returns for the 8th season this weekend, with a new head-to-head qualifying system. As I've reported, Season 9 will see new cars and teams come in, and more freedom which should spark new tech too.
While we're at it, here's a little eye candy: The Porsche Taycan Turbo S is the 2022 Formula E safety car:
🚛 And! Williams Advanced Engineering, the foundation technical partner for Formula E and the one providing the batteries for the first four seasons as well as other racing series, was acquired for $222M by Fortescue Metals Group. Fortescue is an Australian iron ore miner that now wants to decarbonize its operations by 2030. (link)
GM issued a warning letter to dealers tempted to mark up the EV prices for customers:
"GM will be forced to take action if it learns of any unethical sales practices or brokering activities that undermine the integrity that customers expect from the Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, and Cadillac brands."
This means for example that GM will not allocate any Silverado EVs to the dealers that haven't played fair. (link)
Ford saw the same troubles with dealers already with the Mach-E and now with the F-150 Lightning. Customers have seen markups as much as $30k over the MSRP and dealers have sold the earlier delivery slots for extra $. Ford struck back and said it will limit or lose the allotment of the F-150 Lightning to the dealers that break the rules.
Ford also recommends the dealers add a clause so that the customers would not be allowed to sell the car within one year of purchase to avoid flipping. (link)
Imagine being an automaker in 2022 and relying on car dealerships.
One of the Friends of the EV Universe, José Pontes, the co-founder of EV-volumes.com which is arguably the best EV niche database out there, was kind enough to share his predictions for the year:
We estimate 10 million electrified sales in 2022, and about 7 million of its battery-EVs.
China: With the drop of 30% of Chinese subsidies this year the growth will likely be smaller in 2022 than in 2021 (the growth rates weren't sustainable for long)
Europe: While the potential demand is fast-growing, real demand is dependent on incentives and models with enough range. I expect 2022 to be more a year of consolidation than a repeat of the rapid growth of 2021.
US & Canada: Tesla is opening Austin, but will lose market share because the market will grow faster than Tesla sales. Ford, Hyundai-Kia, VW Group, BMW, Mercedes, Nissan will all introduce new models, or make them available in volume. Overall growth acceleration.
🏢 Big corporations like Amazon, AT&T, and IKEA, via the lobby group Corporate Electric Vehicle Alliance, gave the OEMs a 'blueprint' of what kind of EVs they want to purchase in the US over the next five years.
If I put the median together, it'd be a battery-electric (not hybrid) sedan, with a minimum range of 275 miles and fast-charging capabilities. More details in the report. (link)
📊 Tesla (352k) outsold BMW (337k), Lexus (304k), and Mercedes-Benz (276k) in the US. (link) No, not just their EVs. All fuel types.
🚂 Battery-electric locomotives are picking up steam (pun intended) - now Rio Tinto, the same one I wrote about above, ordered four of Wabtec's e-locos to use in Western Australia (link).
🛵 -> 🚗 Ola Electric, the India-based maker of the widespread electric scooter S1, will open a new R&D center in the UK to develop two-wheeled and four-wheeled EVs. Here's what the founder shared:
🔋 Redwood Materials, the battery recycler-turned-producer plans to ramp up its copper foil production to 100 GWh of product (~1M EVs worth) annually over the next few years. (link)
The anode foil production lies in the same site in Nevada where the company's hydrometallurgy recycling operations are - which means the closed loop of recycling -> new product happens right there. The first copper foil will of course head to Panasonic and thus into Tesla's batteries in Nevada.
🔋 Solid-state battery startup Factorial Energy raised $200M, led by Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis. (link)
🔋 Britishvolt secured £1.7B ($2.27B) in private funding by Trixtax and abrdn to build out its first Gigaplant in the Northumberland site. The 30GWh capacity will be enough for ~300k EVs annually, starting production early 2024 (link).
🔋 Dongfeng, in collab with Canfeng Lithium Battery rolled out the first 50 demo Aeolus E70 EVs with semi-solid Lithium-metal battery technology. (link) Never mind that the article calls it solid-state, in reality is somewhat of a hybrid tech. The solid-state battery tech is a known 'race' currently, with most OEMs having announced they'll 'reach production of EVs with solid-state' some time after 2025.
Dongfeng also loaded off $815M worth of shares of Stellantis $STLA (link)
📈 Leap Motor, the Chinese EV startup with near-40k sales in 2021, plans for an offshore IPO - likely in Hong Kong. (link)
📈 Next.e.GO Mobile, the Aachen Germany-based small-sized EV maker, is planning a stock market listing in the first half of 2022 - no info if IPO or via a SPAC for now. (link in DE)
🚌 Might not be obvious, but e-buses are taking over the world. BYD just rolled its 70,000th electric bus off the line. These buses are literally going everywhere. (link)
🛻 Foxconn Chairman Young Liu says the Lordstown pickups will start shipping in the second half of this year (link).
🚗 Baidu and Geely's EV brand Jidu raised a whopping $400M in Series A, having raised $300M already before that in March. The company is a year old. Jidu is focusing on an electric robocar which should be unveiled in Beijing auto show in April and mass-produced in 2023.
🚗 Beware when towing - this Mach-E owner might be stuck with a $28k repair bill after the Ford service flatbed tow truck damaged the battery. (link)
🚐 VW ID.Buzz is on a road trip with journalists which VW calls the covered drive. The debut of the mini(bus)van that can also be used as a robotaxi has been confirmed for March 9. Looks like the first pics of the interior surfaced. Looks a lot like the ID.3/4 (pics from forum VWvortex):
Can I express how disappointed I am after waiting for this concept (dumb of me, I know) to become alive since 2017? Here's what we saw back then:
👀 WATCH THIS:
☣️ Tesla showing how well the HEPA filter works on 'bioweapon defense mode' vs the car without. They used smoke grenades. (video)
🥶 DirtyTesla debunks the FUD around electric cars and icey traffic jams by talking through and leaving his Model Y and Model X running for 12 & 18 hours (video)
🚗 Jay Leno's Garage and the Lucid Air Dream Edition, with Peter Rawlinson (video).
🚗 Aptera's Beta Track Test (video). Aptera wants to start deliveries of the 1,000-mile solar EV this year and manage to build 20,000 of them. BTW, I shared Aptera's crowdfunding round here in late 2020 - if you took part in the $2.8M round, let me know.
📚 READ THIS:
Alex Voigt, the German EV and automotive reporter who also brought us the Taycan whistleblower story takes a deeper look into Daimler and its future. Well worth the read: (link). And if you haven't here's his take on VW.
🎧 LISTEN TO THIS:
Driving with Dunne podcast is a great one with the founder of ZoZo Go, Michael Dunne. The latest is an episode with the founder and CEO of ChargerHelp!, Kameale C. Terry. Via Trucks.vc (link).
Tweet of the week
Well. this one is getting out of hand...
Joe Rogan posted about Cybertruck being 'the coolest car I've ever seen' on Facebook and I had to share this with everyone.
Imagine the influence Joe Rogan has. If nothing else comes of the Cybertruck (I believe it will), it has already been a proper marketing unicorn for Tesla.
This letter went out to 1,728 subscribers.
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