Newsletter | Charging Sheriffs – 3G chargers in trouble – NHTSA on a recall roll @theEVuniverse
Here's this week's zaptail for you:
- Biden gives a speech: Skyrockets Tritium and mentions Tesla.
- Tesla hires Charging Sheriffs and NHTSA says farting noises aren't enough to warn pedestrians.
- The US is rolling back 3G and chargers are in trouble. Juicebar takes advantage.
- The first big Rivian R1T crash shows its safe.
...and a bit more (2,536 words, about an 11-minute read).
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Now, welcome to the EV Universe
Tritium, the Australian fast-charger maker that has been powering a significant amount of the charging networks worldwide, revealed their first US manufacturing facility in Lebanon, Tennessee.
It's not small either - it will be able to produce 10,000 DC chargers/year with a potential bump of up to 30k. (link). 43% of Tritium's business is in the US, so a local factory makes sense.
The announcement came in with the best way to get as many eyeballs on it as possible - President Joe Biden announced it in his White House briefing along with the CEO, Jane Hunter (video). From all the places in the world, is it possible to get your charger at a better spot?
Biden also went on and tweeted:
We've been keeping an eye on the company for a while and it completed the SPAC merger (with DCRN) to go public in Nasdaq last month.
The stock ($DCFC) went bananas after the announcement, peaking at 174% higher ($18.6/share) since Monday, and has now settled at around $13.8, almost exactly 100% higher. This puts Tritium at a $1.84B market cap.
Biden said "Tesla"
On the very same briefing as above, Biden finally uttered the words "Tesla" (timestamped video):
“Since 2021, companies have announced investments totaling more than $200 billion in domestic manufacturing here in America — from iconic companies like GM and Ford building out new electric vehicle production to Tesla, our nation’s largest electric vehicle manufacturer, to innovative younger companies like Rivian building electric trucks or Proterra building electric buses,”
While it might not sound like a big deal, it was for a lot of people - I covered in our Pro newsletter last week how Biden avoiding the word Tesla went viral and even gathered 58,561 signatures on a Change.org petition.
USPS mail trucks still thirsty
The new USPS mail trucks by Oshkosh that raised hell back when the winner of the $6B-worth contract of renewing USPS's 160k-vehicle-fleet was announced, turned out to be pretty terrible in efficiency: capable of 8.6 mpg (27.3L/100km), per EPA's letter.
Now, what's the point of replacing the decade-old fleet that runs at an average of 8.2mpg (28.7L/100km)? Only 10% of the fleet will be battery-electric and the company is sending mixed signals. (link) found via Trucks.vc.
Now, looks like after the EPA sent the damning letter described above, USPS said that with sufficient funding, 70% of its fleet can be electrified within a decade - and ordered the first 5k EVs. I'll translate: USPS says: we'd want to do better, but it's all about the money. (link)
The whole thing has been an absolute disaster if you ask me.
Redwood Materials sets eyes on Europe
Redwood Materials' founder JB Straubel said in an interview that the company plans 'at least two large battery recycling and material production factories in Europe'. The locations will be chosen to be as close as possible to existing car & battery factories. This makes sense on so many levels. Any room near Giga Berlin?
In reality, Straubel is well connected with other EV players too. He sits on the board of directors of QuantumScape, which is VW's solid-state battery go-to, and worked together with Northvolt's Peter Carlsson while at Tesla. It's already has a deal with Ford in the US, too (and a $50M investment from Ford).
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Electrify America and BMW iX/i4
BMW and Electrify America announced that the 2022 i4 and iX buyers will get a 30-minute complimentary charging session in EA's chargers, for two years.
This isn't the first deal of its kind. Just recently, I mapped all the deals EA has done with different EV models for our updated version of the Industry Map (members-only):
I love the win-win nature of these EA deals. It's a huge habit-maker for new EV owners to charge at Electrify America's stations, and at the same time providing a bit of a safety net for the new owners. I only wonder what the usual deal looks like between the companies.
Tesla's Charging Sheriffs
Tesla expects a holiday rush in its European Superchargers during the upcoming holidays and made two moves to remedy, or rather spread out, the 'load':
- 79 Supercharger stations will have free off-peak charging across France, Germany, Norway, and Sweden (times & locations) for four weeks,
- Tesla is looking for Charging Sheriffs in Germany to handle queues.
Wait... what? Yes. Tesla is hiring 'helpers', according to the info sheet (pdf in Ger), that need to:
- Manage queues at the Supercharger,
- Show a friendly face and represent Tesla in the best possible way,
- Reassure people and if necessary, offer small gifts (hats and other goodies) by their own choice,
- Make people aware of alternative charging stations nearby
The helpers get €50/day ($57) as a standby rate and 15€/h ($17) if 'on call', plus travel and accommodation reimbursement.
The info also said under /IMPORTANT: "Don't let curious people or Youtubers tempt you into making any public statements, just be polite and send them to Tesla's official channels."
The infosheet has originated from only one source so far, but a respectable one - nextmove, the EV-rental company from Germany (I timestamped their news video for you).
Sounds like a fun gig.
💥 One of the first ~1,000 Rivian R1T's on the road wrapped itself around a traffic pole. The driver walked away unscathed, here's a (video) from the scene.
Fun fact: Although the car is totaled, it looks like the flashlight is still working in the small door compartment. Not bad (2:11).
🚫 Ford: we'll triple our EV production, really fast. Chip supply: No you won't.
Ford halted the Mach-E production for this week (along with some ICEs) due to the chip shortage. (link)
📣 NHTSA is on a roll. It first made Tesla recall the 'rolling stops' feature on FSD, then the seatbelt reminder might not chime (good call), now hits nearly all 2017-and-later US Teslas with a "Boombox recall", saying the external music software function is a safety risk. (link) (recall pdf) NHTSA explains:
“While Boombox can enhance the conspicuity of the vehicle to pedestrians, a vehicle that uses Boombox when in motion may cause the PWS to be noncompliant with FMVSS 141, which could increase the risk of a collision.
Of course, this will just mean Tesla will remove the feature with an Over-The-Air software update.
I might be wrong on this, but is NHTSA basically saying that the 'fart noises' are the 'wrong noises' and it should be a whooooooosh instead?
⚡ Smart move. A lot of chargers in the US are using 3G for connectivity and are thus subject to 3G network rollbacks as soon as AT&T next month, T-mobile in July, and Verizon on Dec 31st.
Juicebar, the US charging network and EVSE supplier, launched the Trade Up Program to convince prospects to replace its competitors' 3G chargers with the 4G capable charger of their own.
A $1,000 rebate and 10-year guarantee are offered with the program when replacing a competitor's unit. (link)
🚫 Nissan shuts off the development of new combustion engines in almost all of its main markets. Not everywhere, though - it will continue to develop ICEs 'to a limited extent for pickup trucks and SUVs in the US' and hybrid drivers for China and Japan markets.
This marks a major shift of Nissan's development funds, which is at ~$4.3B, that will likely go towards electric vehicle technology. (link)
🗨️ Join the discussion on our [Open Thread] at the Home Base: Which EV merch do you own? (link)
📛 Name-change. Daimler AG has renamed itself Mercedes-Benz Group AG as of 1 February 2022. This completes the bigger move, as in December, Daimler Truck Holding arm was listed independently on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. (link)
🇮🇳 📚 India's 2022 budget sees 'stepping up initiatives' to boost EV infra and EV ecosystem. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said (link):
Considering the constraint of space in urban areas for setting up charging stations, a battery swapping policy will be brought out and interoperability standards will be formalized.
🚌 The perfect school bus? BYD introduced its Type A electric schoolbus for the US with V2G (vehicle-to-grid) technology, capable of 140mi (225km) range. It is ideally meant to charge at night, then after getting kids to school, act as a power bank for the building. (link)
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🛻 RAM fans, gather. RAM announced the Ram Revolution 'exclusive insider program', so the fans could join and receive extra content leading up to the new Ram 1500 electric truck coming in 2024. (link)
Their intro video states that "the real revolution starts not when the first electric truck rolls off the line, but when the best electric truck rolls off the line."
🛻 E-pickups wanted. CarGurus asked 1,026 pickup truck owners if they expect to buy an electric truck within the next decade. 43% said yes, half of them "Millenials". Also, if you believe the results, it won't matter which trucks they've owned in the past - 78% are up to change the brand. (pdf) via Trucks.vc.
🚗 You can now order the Subaru Solterra in the US for a refundable $250. Deliveries are expected summer this year (link) (ordering page)
🏆 That's fast. Wayne Gerdes broke the Guinness World Record in a Porsche Taycan on "driving coast-to-coast with shortest charging time" with only 2 hours, 26 minutes, and 48 seconds. (link)
💰 A whole lot of reasons. You can get a subsidy of €20,000 ($22.7k) to switch from an older ICE taxi vehicle to a new EV in Ireland. €25k if it's wheelchair-accessible.
That's not all - a €5k tax relief applies, along with a €600 subsidy for a home charger and an up-to-€1k annual toll refunds. Total funding of €15M ($17M) has been set for this year. (link) Wow.
🚯 Loophole closing. European Union is reportedly planning to tighten the CO2 emissions measuring methodology of the plug-in hybrids and incorporate real-world measured fuel consumption data. (link) The data comes from the OBFCM systems that have been required to be fitted in the cars since last year.
Too bad it's expected only to be enforced from 2025... but, I'm very happy about closing this loophole. Because on average, PHEVs are 2-4x worse in emissions than shown (pdf).
🚙 The ID.Buzz van nears its debut on 9th March and should start accepting orders starting May. Its pricing now leaked and is now rumored to start at ~€53,900 ($61.3k) for the 77 kWh entry version. (link in Ger)
🚗 Easy test drives. Volvo Cars opened its first-ever Pure Electric Test Drive Hub at the Eden Project in Cornwall, UK. (link) I find this nice. You can pre-book or walk in to test drive these, rather than searching through dealers to get in one.
👀 Here's a sarcastic-the-way-I-like-it video of Trevor Noah of the Daily Show covering the 'recall' (OTA software update) of Tesla's rolling stops. Also, is this the first time in the world that a 'recall' is to remove a feature not a bug?
📚 Also, Brad Templeton argues on Forbes that it's a bad move and hurts future robotaxis.
👀 Sandy Munro and team are tearing down the Model S Plaid and revealed the rear cradle and electric drive module that they call a 'packaging symphony':(video)
👀 Secretary General Christina Bu of the Norwegian Electric Car Association, sharing how the new open-to-all Superchargers work (also in blog form here): (video)
📚 Latest report from Calstart says 1,215 medium- and heavy-duty zero emission trucks (ZETs) were deployed in the United States across more than 163 fleets, while Europe saw 2,300 and China 20,000 ZETs.
61% of the US trucks went to California, largely due to the generous HVIP subsidies. (pdf)
📚 The US Department of Transportation released a free "Toolkit for Planning and Funding Rural eMobility Infrastructure" to help rural communities take full advantage of federal funding for EV charging stations. (link)
An open-access editorial in the journal Nature Materials argues that the proposed new regulations for the European battery industry could make the electrification of transport harder.
The bottom line is that if you want an industry or a technology to grow, you generally have to allow it some latitude in the early days. Excessively rigid restrictions on how it may operate can stifle its ability to adapt and compete. Holding European battery manufacturers to high standards is a noble aim, but becomes self-defeating if it sets the bar too high for them to compete in the global marketplace. What’s more, battery technology is itself still in flux, and a suite of carefully constructed regulations on materials is pointless if technical advances quickly render them obsolete.
And... I kind of agree with it. You?
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