11 min read

Newsletter | Giga Texas opens – Polestar scores Hertz – Longest SC in the Universe

Hey! Welcome back to the EV Universe weekly.

We're like Morning Brew, but weekly and EV-only. I think we can even copy their punchline:

"Become smarter [on EVs] in 5 minutes". Today, it'll take about 11 minutes.

Today, on the EV Universe:

  • Tesla opens Giga Texas with a Cyber Rodeo event
  • EV demand soars, supply dwindles.
  • Drive Electric Earth Day is a month full of EVents
  • Polestar scored a 65k Hertz deal, solar EV production, and world's longest Supercharger.

2,400 words this week, which should take you around 11 minutes to read.

- Jaan


Welcome to the

EV Universe

where Tesla keeps opening 'em EV factories.

Right now, about 5537 miles from me and a lot closer to a lot of you guys, a party is shaping up in a brand-new factory.

Tesla sure knows how to make things look cool. And around everything it does, the company has built one of the most devoted fanbase I've seen in my life.

Giga Texas' opening party, called the Cyber Rodeo, let people in a couple of hours ago and the fans are exploring the set.

Here's the livestream from Tesla that will start in less than an hour (9 pm CT). You'll likely find the video replay from the same link if you're tuning in later. I get if you do, it's about 4 am for us Europeans right now.

So far, I've seen Tesla showcasing all of its good stuff:

Cybertruck, Tesla Semi, Roadster, the production process with a lot of the 'bots put on loop movements, the original MS and MX Prototypes, different castings, a video of a 4680 pack being fitted to Model Y, and photos of seats mounted on the battery pack.

Images by @SawyerMerritt, @DriveTeslaCa, @WholeMarsBlog, @EricMandela.

I liked this display: the Giga casting (below) replaces 70 parts (above):

Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Senator Ted Cruz are also expected to speak at the event, with Elon going on stage ~9pm. In case you're thirsty for more, here are some Twitter users posting from inside: 1, 2, 3 and Youtubers: 1, 2, 3.

I'm sure I'll be able to share some new details tomorrow and next week too.

In case you've missed it, this is one of the coolest flythrough videos I've seen, of the Giga Berlin by Tesla:

And here are Sandy & Cory doing a review of the said video, explaining what they see (video) - exactly what I was looking for.

📊 Chart of the week: EV demand

Cars.com has about 26M monthly visits, 92% of which are from the US. So I believe it gives a rather good overview of the local consumers. (link)

In March, the search volume for EVs increased by 173%. Here's how the states ranked up, by search percentages:

California understandably comes in with a high lead with the highest EV adoption in the US, showing a search volume of 16.3% of the total. The next up are Florida and Texas with around 7% each.

Demand soars, supply dwindles. Welcome to 2022!

Drive Electric Earth Day

If you've been with us long enough, you saw me shout out this event series already last year. This time around, I have even more reason to do so, as I've now met and talked with several of you behind this great community effort.

Here's a shout-out to you, my good readers that are attending, organizing or volunteering! What a great way to make an impact.

Drive Electric Earth Day events are taking place across the US through the whole month of April both virtually and in-person. The goal is to educate people on EV ownership. The busiest time will be the Earth Day weekend on the 22-23rd of April.

The event series is organized by Plug in America, with the Sierra Club, the Electric Vehicle Association (formerly Electric Auto Association), and EVHybridNoire.

See the whole list of events here or as a map here. There are 189 events currently listed and 10 of them are happening this weekend!

Kickoff video:

DISCLAIMER: I made the following snippet just to make you feel like you're missing out on our Pro membership. Because, well, you are. :)

Tesla delivered an all-time high of 310,048 EVs within the first quarter of 2022 (link). Its main contender in volume, BYD, managed to sell 143,223 BEVs.

I'm mapping the Q1 BEV sales across the automakers and countries now. They're all over the place.

I'll launch the V1 spreadsheet tomorrow in our Pro newsletter.

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⚡ Znippets

🚗 Hertz announced it will purchase 65,000 EVs from Polestar over five years, starting this spring in Europe and late this year in North America and Australia. (link)

For scale: Polestar delivered about 29k of its Polestar 2's (the BEV) in 2021. Today, the Polestar 2 is sold out in Europe and Australia, the orders open up again on April 27th.

🦸 The Biden administration's senior officials held a rather superstar meeting yesterday with Elon Musk (Tesla), Mary Barra (GM), Jim Farley (Ford), Carlos Tavares (Stellantis), Peter Rawlinson (Lucid), and Jeremie Papin (Nissan Americas) among other automaker execs to discuss EVs and charging, more specifically "creating a national network of 500,000 chargers" (link).

Oh, how I'd wish I could be the fly on that wall.

🇨🇦 Canada announced its first '2030 Emissions Reduction Plan' with $1.36B in EV subsidies, $320M for 50k chargers. (link)

🌎 Nissan and Toyota (and soon Ford) are about to 'run out' of the US federal EV tax credit as they're hitting the 200,000 PHEV/EV mark. This will trigger a 12-month phaseout. (link)

🇺🇸 US' NHTSA is upping its fines to automakers whose vehicles don't meet fuel efficiency requirements for MY 2019+. This will likely cost most automakers hundreds of millions of dollars. (link)

💸 POV: If you bought Tesla's stock instead of depositing $250k to pre-order a Tesla next-gen Roadster Founders Edition when it was unveiled back in 2017, you'd have turned that deposit to $4.15M by now. The first Roadsters will likely be delivered sometime next year. Inspired by MKBHD (link).

🔌 BYD has discontinued the 'pure combustion engine' vehicle production, now focusing only on EVs and plug-in hybrids (link).

🚐 NASA awards Canoo $147,855 to build (at least) a vehicle, called the Artemis Crew Transport Vehicle, for the Artemis program by June 2023. (link) Among other requirements, the contract sees that the car must have a wrap or paint job that "inspire(s) the NASA agency and the public for future Artemis missions"

📅 Ridin' SOLO: If you're in NYC on April 13-14th, go check out ElectraMeccanica's drive event - you can drive the three-wheeler SOLO EV and meet the senior management. (link) And report back to me, hehe.

Meanwhile, I spotted the SOLO EV in the future, on the Amazon series called Upload (on the right):

Shoutout to Halans, the pioneer of the #EVonTV hashtag

📈 VinFast has filed confidentially for an IPO in the US, likely to raise $2B (link)

📱 EVs and Phones: NIO, one of the Chinese new-age EV makers and per my data the 10th-largest BEV seller in the world Universe, plans to launch its own smartphone line. (link). I guess if Apple, Huawei and Xiaomi are coming into the EV world, you might as well. I do however doubt Tesla will make the speculated π (Pi) Phone any time soon.

In semi-related news, NIO also applied for wine trademarks and the "NIO Tipsy Club", to go with its NIOlife branding. (link) The automaker even has an exclusive vineyard in France:

I guess the tequila is taken. Now, who's gonna grab the beer?

You're not just buying an EV... you're buying into the lifestyle.

NIO also started the series production and deliveries of the ET7, which should reach Europe in Q4. (link) Here's a great overview of the car (video).

🏭 GM resumed the Chevy Bolt EV and EUV production after eight months (yeah it's been that long!) of the Total Recall. The pre-2020 model owners got their batteries upgraded to 66kWh, compared to 60kWh before. GM delivered 99 Hummer EVs and 358 Bolt's in Q1 this year. (link)

The Hummer EV first drive videos are also popping up just now - here's one from Kyle from Out of Spec:

The otherwise ~$110k Edition 1 Hummer EV can go for $286k in used marketplaces, like the three offers here: (link).

🏭 General Motors teamed up with Honda to co-develop new affordable EV CUV models globally, starting sales in the US from 2027. The automakers also aim for one of the models at a lower price point than the upcoming Chevrolet Equinox EV (which should be at ~ $30k). (link)

🏭 Rivian in the ramp-up phase: expects to "incur significant expenses and continuing losses for the foreseeable future" per its recent SEC 10-K filing (link).

It also announced produced 2,553 and delivered 1,227 vehicles in Q1, which 'are in line with the company's expectations' and is well positioned to deliver the 25,000 annual production guidance. (link)

Meanwhile, slightly used (400mi) Rivian R1T Launch Editions start from $139k, while the original MSRP was $75k (link). Here's a Porche dealer selling one for $145k (link).

☀️🚗 Valmet Automotive in Finland 🇫🇮 is about to become THE hotspot for solar EV production, as Sono Motors announced it will build the entry-level ~25k€ Sion in the Valmet factory. (link) It's the same plant the premium ~150k€ Lightyear One will be produced (should be very close to production).

Piece of connected history: in 2010, the world's best-selling EV was produced right there: the TH!NK City. (link) Soon after, Tesla Roadster took the title.

💰 California reopened its HVIP funding program for hybrid and zero-emission trucks and buses, $272M was requested in the first 24h (link)

⚡ Ynvisible with Exevio produce a digital e-paper road sign to show the availability of the EV charger. (link) Here's a pilot from Croatia:

The idea behind it is to reduce the EV owners' need to check apps for charger availability while driving, with these up around key areas like intersections near chargers.

My question to you is: is this just a solution in search of a problem or does it really solve something?

⛔ Uh-oh

Sometimes, even in the magnificent EV Universe, things just don't go the way you want them to...

👨‍💻 Tesla will OTA-recall 127,785 Model 3's in China due to potential semiconductor component fault which can lead to collisions (losing driving power) due to the rear inverter failure. (link, original in Chinese) Most articles seem to hide the fact it's fixed via software update.

⚠️ Faraday Future revealed some of its management team members are subpoenaed by the SEC for making inaccurate statements to investors and will miss the annual 10-K filing due to the 'extra work'. (link)

⚠️ Mullen Automotive was hit by Hindenburg. The short-seller 'research company' Hindenburg alleges Mullen misrepresented its battery test results and is making impossible claims on solving the solid-state battery technology. You can find all the reasons for the doubt here: (link) Meanwhile, $MULN has dropped -16.27% in the last five days, on an already highly volatile ride with a high of $13.14/share in November and a low of $0.52 per share in February.

🇬🇧 UK: Last week I wrote to you about the UK's new infrastructure policy, which relies a lot on local authorities taking action. Well, turns out more than 70% of the local authorities have no plan in place for their own EV transition yet (link).

🚢 Remember Felicity Ace, the ship carrying about 4,000 VW Group cars, including the Lamborghinis, that are now all at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean?

The owner of the ship, Mitsui OSK Lines, has now banned the carriage of used BEVs on board. (link) Hybrids are still allowed. This is weird, as we know hybrids pose a way higher fire risk compared to BEVs.

Luckily, for now, other shipping companies have not followed suit.

👀 Eye candy:

Tesla opened its longest Supercharger station in the Universe. Located in  Beaune North, France, it's got 28 stalls capable of 250kW each. (link)

DMC is back! DeLorean's next-gen EV teaser (link). The car will premiere on August 18th at Pebble Beach.

I'm watching:

👀 Lightyear One: the road to production (4:02) celebrating the milestone of now shifting focus to customer-use prototypes, having validated the core efficiency technologies.

👀 Joulez is a US-based EV rental startup that just crowdfunded $612k on StartEngine. Here's an interview with the CEO, Micah Berdale (video).

👀 Road rage against Tesla owners is a real thing.

Thanks to Tesla's cameras recording, we see it all. Like this Model 3 owner, being chased by two pickup drivers for about 20 minutes who threw different objects at the car at every chance. The 911 operator didn't send help, because of the situation 'not being urgent'.

I'm reading:

📚 North Carolina's Transportation Electrification Roadmap (58pp pdf) by NRDC. Going EV could prevent over 1,000 deaths and save $12.5B in public health benefits by 2050.

📚 Similarly, the American Lung Association launched a study "Zeroing in on Healthy Air" (link, 19pp pdf) claims EVs + clean energy can save $1.2 trillion in public health benefits in the US by 2050, if the shift to 100% EVs happens by 2035. It'd avoid 110k premature deaths, 2.7M asthma attacks.

📚 A call to bring in Charles Koch to testify against his climate change disinformation campaign, among the hearings already taken place with BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell executives (link).

📚 There is no threat coming of the US electrical grid being overloaded by EVs - report by Physics Today (link)

📚 The IPCC released its Sixth Assessment Report is a huge (3,675-page) intergovernmental report on climate change. (link) Lots to go through. Here's the

I'm listening:

🎙️ Keith Phillips, CEO at Piedmont Lithium discusses energy independence and lithium production in the US with Bloomberg's David Westin (link).


Solectrac, acquired last year by Ideanomics, is ramping up!


That's it for today!

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