^ TOYOTA announced an electric vehicle strategy that will result in 15 new battery-electric vehicles released by 2025. Above is the BZ4X concept EV they unveiled at the Auto Shanghai. BZ stands for Beyond Zero. Also, yes, it has the yoke thingy (link).
POLESTAR, the Volvo (Geely) subsidiary EV maker, raised $550M from external investors led by Chengxing Equity and Zibo, with a hint of possible further fundraises (link).
Eloop, the Austrian car-sharing startup. received €1M ($1.2M) investment to add over 100 Tesla M3's to its fleet (link).
RIVIAN is reportedly willing to pay employees $1,000 per month to drive the R1T or R1S. Note: Rivian hasn't confirmed this, it's from the Owners Forum (link). In other news: I'm moving to Normal, Illinois.
RIVIAN also launched another one of its stories - this time about the Rivian Insurance. Initially available in 40 states, it'll cover your vehicle and accessories even when you go off-road. I won't dive into why it just makes so much sense for the company itself insure their cars, especially when the car is as 'connected' as Rivian's. By the way, I love Rivian's strategy on the 'drops' of the specifically themed stories at stories.rivian.com. Great marketing.
VOLKSWAGEN is adding the performance brand GTX to the ID. family, with the first vehicle GTX'ed being ID.4 - launching April 28th (link).
REE AUTOMOTIVE announced an agreement with NAVYA to develop a level 4 autonomous system (link).
^ GLOBALLY, Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model X are Google’s most searched for electric vehicles globally per a new report of 155 countries (link).
EUROPE's truck makers and environmentalists sent a joint letter to the European Commission, calling for 11k charging points for electric trucks across the EU by 2025 and 42k by 2030 (pdf). Should I make a separate section for EV-lobby?
WASHINGTON state has now passed the Clean Cars 2030 bill which requires all new light-duty vehicles from 2030 to be electric (link). This is the earliest in the US, comparing to the 2035 ban in California and Massachusetts.
DOE will award up to $100M to support the SuperTruck initiative, aiming for electrifying freight trucking and expand EV infrastructure in the US (link).
Kamala Harris, the US Vice President, toured the Thomas Built Buses electric bus facility (which uses Proterra technology at base) in her visit to North Carolina and discussing the American Job Plan. Electric school buses are, according to the White House, the "pillar of the American Jobs Plan’s investment in electric vehicles" (link). s/o to Andre for putting this on my radar!
In related news, President Biden visited South Carolina virtually, touring the Proterra manufacturing plant. Here's the full video from The White House:
We have a lot of catching up to do but we're going to be in a position where we ought to own the future," Biden said during the tour. "We ought to be the single most significant suppliers of electric buses and vehicles in the world before it's over. Right now, we're running way behind China.
^ General Motors unveiled the production version of Cadillac Lyriq with a starting price of $60k on a 100kWh battery pack and 300m+ miles, starting deliveries early 2022 (link).
Rivian R1T spotted retrieving the Blue Origin's space capsule (video). Makes sense, through the Bezos->Amazon->Rivian connection, we'll be seeing more of that. The Rivian delivery van started delivering packages in its third city: Tulsa, Oklahoma (link)
Four GMC Hummer EVs doing crab walk in public (video)
LORDSTOWN MOTORS exits San Felipe 250 after stage one, because of estimating the energy consumption wrong pre-race (video).
BYD EVs will now come with ultra-safe Blade Batteries. The most extreme strength test was a 46-ton truck riding over the battery - which remained usable! BYD also announced 4 new EV models in China: 2021 Tang EV, Qin PLUS EV, Song PLUS EV, and 2021 e2 (link).
FACTORIES & PRODUCTION
ULTIUM CELLS LLC, a joint venture of General Motors and LG Energy Solutions, announced a more than $2.3B investment to build its second battery cell manufacturing plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. It'll feature a 2.8M sqft facility and create 1,3k new jobs. Above is an infographic of GM's production roadmap (link). GM is betting big on batteries, look for more in the Batteries section.
TESLA will build a new data center in China to accommodate the local personal information processing laws (link). Add that to the list of 'problems I didn't know existed about building innovative EV's', huh?
LI-CYCLE will build a new Li-ion battery recycling facility in Arizona, the third of its kind with a 10 tons per year processing capacity, doubling previous output (link).
PORCHE TAYCAN will use the newly developed production technology of using 'sealing patches' instead of plastic plugs for the sealing of the holes in the car's body (that are needed to access all of the body cavities for corrosion prevention) (link). Increases quality and productivity.
BATTERIES & MINING
SES (formerly SolidEnergy Systems), the Li-Metal battery manufacturer, completed a Series D funding round of $139M, led by General Motors (pdf).
A $3.1B merger of two Australian miners, Orocobre Ltd and Galaxy Resources Ltd will create the fifth largest producer of lithium in the world (link).
FACTORIAL ENERGY is out of stealth mode and unveiled a 40Ah solid-state battery cell for EVs. Also added announced some talent hired (see the talent section below) (link).
GROUP14 announced a 27,000 sqft commercial-scale manufacturing facility for the lithium-silicone anode materials in Woodinville, Washington. Expected production: 120 tons per year (link).
VOLKSWAGEN announced its production of battery systems in its Braunschweig plant will be doubled to 600k battery systems a year (link).
RYSTAD energy found the EVs might face production delays from 2027 due to a lack of lithium supply. It does assume today's lithium mining capacity will continue to grow at the same pace as it's done so far and calls for more mines to be opened down the pipeline. Their calculations say the impact might be the equivalent of 3.3M of 75kWh EVs delayed in 2027, 9M in 2028, and 20M electric cars in 2030 (link).
BMW claims they'll reach automotive-compatible solid-state battery by the end of the decade with a demo before 2025. Frank Weber, a Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG, Development, said (link):
"The greenest electric car in the world will be a BMW – sustainable from the initial idea to recycling after its use phase. We are developing the battery cell of the future: it will be powerful, safe, cost-effective, and recyclable - from material selection to recyclability after the use in the vehicle. All of this will be created in a European value chain.
NIO unveiled its next-gen Power Swap Station and signed a partnership with Sinopec. The world's first mass-produced battery swap station allows the maneuver into the station automatically.
Users need only need to click once while staying in the car and with ~4.5 minutes ride out with a full (and maybe even upgraded!) battery (link).
I was hesitant at first, but NIO seems to have eliminated all the hurdles of battery swapping, truly giving a good customer experience. They've done over 2M battery swaps so far.
NIO also addressed my doubts that the swap stations would work only in densely populated areas. In 2021 Auto Shanghai, NIO announced the Power North Plan, which will feature among 100 Power Swap stations, 120 mobile charging vans, 500 charger stations, and over 10k destination chargers, deployed in Northern China within three years (link).
By the way - should the battery swap be considered as charging?
In a related matter, CHINA added an average of 4,000 charging stations a day at the end of 2020. Within the December alone, the 112k chargers added are more than the entire US public charging network! (link)
EV CONNECT announced Canada expansion, with plans to provide 1k EV stations by the end of 2022 (link).
JOBS & TALENT MOVING
Joe Taylor, the former Chairman and CEO of Panasonic Corporation of North America, joined as an Executive Chairman of the Factorial Energy team. Joe played a key role in developing the Tesla-Panasonic relationship. The company also sees Dieter Zetsche, the former Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz join the advisory board. (link)
Kevin Pavlov, the former COO of Karma Automotive and a long Magna history, joins ElectraMeccanica as the Chief Operating Officer (link).