11 min read

#26: πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’Ό Diess as Tesla CEO – Big EV Market Delusion? – Autopilot memes πŸš—

The weekly newsletter that went out to over 1,000 members. Join at evuniverse.io

| Weekly #26 |
​​
I'm planning a piece on EVs and microchips next week.
If you've got any insights, send me a message.​


Also, I'm building something really big, starting this weekend. Something I think can become the biggest collaborative project of the EV community ever made.
​
I might be able to share version 1.0 next week!

– Jaan
​


DEEP DIVE / EV AD / STOCKS / FUNNY / EVENTS / MOMENTUM / TWEET / REFERRALS

Herbert Diess in the place of Elon Musk. What could've been?

Diess was offered Musk's job in 2015...
​
​by Musk himself.
​
The current CEO of Volkswagen, Herbert Diess, has been a top executive for quite some time already. Starting in BMW in 1996, he moved up within the next 15+ years, becoming one of the biggest authorities in the automotive industry by the time he left BMW in 2014.
​
According to Business Insider (link in GER), Elon Musk and Diess had already met when he was working in BMW, and then again before joining Volkswagen in 2015. That's when Diess had an employment contract from Tesla in his hands, ready to be signed.
​
He said no.
​
(He did reportedly take up a considerable amount of $TSLA shares though, which would be in a good spot now).
​
​What could have been?

Both CEOs have publicly complimented each other and met up last year for test-driving ID.3, that's when the picture above is taken. Diess has been the strong force behind Volkswagen's electrification effort that has now finally seen breakthroughs, after years of building the electric momentum.
​
Diess has also been playing 'catch-up' with Tesla, being one of the few legacy CEOs that have acknowledged it honestly.
​
So let's say the history would have been different and Diess would have said YES to Tesla. Here are a few possible scenarios that might have happened in my eyes:
​
​1. Both win:
​Since Diess is a rockstar really and Musk wouldn't have gone anywhere, working together with Diess, they would have made ~150% on Musk's regular output. That means extra brainpower and execution to the already-extra Tesla. Diess would have been at the head of the, well, what Tesla is today.
​
​Or... not?
​A lot of what Tesla and Musk have achieved so far has been naturally limited by time/resources/production ramp factors, so would Tesla really be in a different spot than today? Would it have been humanly possible?

/ for the record, I don't think Musk would have stepped away from Tesla and leave Diess solely in charge.
​
​2. Tesla & Legacy.
One thing that Diess would have brought with him is the network of legacy automakers. Tesla was viewed largely as a novelty, something new, exciting, but nothing disruptive by legacy makers in 2015.
​
It's hard to remember today, while every carmaker is on an obvious EV path, that only 6-7 years ago most of them were sure EV's won't make it past the first charging station.
So, Diess might have brought more legacy game to Tesla, OR he might have just been written off as he joined "the EV guys". Of course, they would have been wrong to do so.
​

3. Volkswagen?
​Diess took the reigns shortly after Dieselgate happened and turned the company around. The electrification through Electrify America charging networks would have still happened, because of the ruling. Would VW have stopped at that? Since Diess had been such a high driver of going EV, on several occasions conflicting with the traditional execs on the topic, would it have just continued the traditional route?
Surely some movement would be already happening like throughout the automotive industry, but I'd think it wouldn't be the kind-of-a-leader version of it that VW is today. Yes, I'm calling VW a leader of the EV route when it comes to traditional automakers.

So... sadly, or luckily, we will never know. I even think it's for the best because the EV sector won from these decisions. Tesla is a superpower in EVs and VW is becoming one too.

I'll start a post in our FB group (link) after launching this newsletter, feel free to weigh in on what you think might've happened if Diess became the CEO of Tesla in 2015.

​Share the article​


DEEP DIVE / EV AD / STOCKS / FUNNY / EVENTS / MOMENTUM / TWEET / REFERRALS

EV AD

​
​This time it's more of a job ad, but still rather interesting.

Tesla China launched a cyberpunkish video ad to find fill the big shoes of a design chief in China.
​
The (video on Weibo) features Tesla's Chief Designer, Franz von Holzhausen, and calls for breaking traditional boundaries and leading the reconstruction of design. This means designing cars tailor-made for the country.
​​
​It leads to Tesla China's homepage (link) which in turn leads to the formal application (link).

​Share​


DEEP DIVE / EV AD / STOCKS / FUNNY / EVENTS / MOMENTUM / TWEET / REFERRALS

STOCK RANT

Arcimoto ($FUV)

Arcimoto $FUV, announced the NASDAQ's approval today to begin listing its shares of common stock on The NASDAQ Global Market (mid cap), moving there from the NASDAQ Capital Market (small cap). This should make the FUV more accessible to investors around the world. (link)

Tesla ($TSLA)

Morgan Stanley's analyst Adam Jones explained why Tesla is a must-own stock today on Bloomberg Markets (video):

Auto investors face greater risk NOT owning Tesla shares in their portfolio.

Canaccord Genuity analyst Jed Dorsheimer raised his price target on Tesla from $419 to $1,071, putting Tesla at around $1T valuation (link).

Binance, the Cryptocurrency exchange, launched tradable stock tokens in Tesla (link).

EV Industry

Rob Arnott and colleagues from Research Affiliates launched a report called the Big Market Delusion, hinting that historically the companies that all grow together in a booming industry are treated like they all win, when they're actually competitors and in the long term only one/few win (link).

We suspect that as EV competition heats up, many companies will fail, as was the case in previous industry boomsβ€”whether autos, airlines, or technologyβ€”and with time the total value of the industry will recede to more reasonable levels.

As always, nothing in this newsletter is to be taken as financial or any kind of advice. I just report what I see.

​Share​


DEEP DIVE / EV AD / STOCKS / FUNNY / EVENTS / MOMENTUM / TWEET / REFERRALS

FUNNY

I had a little bit of fun on the weekend when Elon Musk tweeted out about the Autopilot. The memegenerator in me woke up:

​
I made some more of these and made a dedicated website for future memes: evmemes.com. These even went semi-viral on Reddit with over 1k upvotes, yay.
​
Do follow EV Universe on Twitter if you haven't yet: @TheEVuniverse​
​


DEEP DIVE / EV AD / STOCKS / FUNNY / EVENTS / MOMENTUM / TWEET / REFERRALS

EVENTS:

Mercedes EQS World Premiere tomorrow (link):

Here's EQS's half-camouflaged drive by Fully Charged (video).
​
Audi Q4 e-Tron premiere today (link):


XPENG to debut its P5 smart sedan today at 2 pm ET on its YouTube channel (link).

Also - Auto Shanghai (19-28th of April 2021) is becoming more interesting by the day, with Honda now announcing they'll reveal the prototype model of the first Honda-brand battery-electric vehicle in China, probably similar to the SUV e:concept (link).
We can also expect to see Toyota's electric crossover concept, the Xpeng P5 sedan, MG Cyberster, Lexus's LF-Z Electrified concept, and probably some surprises.

​Share​


DEEP DIVE / EV AD / STOCKS / FUNNY / EVENTS / MOMENTUM / TWEET / REFERRALS

THE WEEKLY MOMENTUM

COMPANIES

^ RIVIAN stories (not the official site) put together 9 reasons Rivian will deliver in 2021 & Beyond (video).

HYUNDAI partners with UBER to help the drivers switch to electric cars, in part of the UBERs sustainability goal of becoming a zero-emission platform by 2040 (link).

LIGHTNING EMOTORS partners with Soderholm Bus & Mobility to sell its electric commercial vehicles in Hawaii. Soderholm is the biggest bus distributor in the Pacific Islands. (link)

NIKOLA partners with RIG360, gaining access to 65 dealer locations across the US for sales and service (link).

VOLVO to start using fossil-free "green" steel in cars from this year, in collaboration with SSAB (link).

GENERAL MOTORS might eliminate floorplan costs on the upcoming Hummer EVs (so dealers wouldn't have to pay for the car in the showroom) to help dealers adjust to the new dealership model. (link)
I covered GM's previous dealership move on the "EVs or Bye" issue way back.

TESLA's M3 and MY sales surpassed 1M (link). Meanwhile, Model 3's delivery numbers in China are up 85% month-over-month with over 25k M3's sold. Model Y is up 119% with over 10k cars month-over-month (link).
Tesla is now starting to advertise the Model 3 with only 93 miles of range, which aims to give buyers access to local EV incentives, on its website in Canada (link).
​
TESLA's made-in-China Model Y was completely disassembled by Zhihu Automobile in a teardown. They concluded the Model Y is undoubtedly the most integrated electric vehicle to date. Surprisingly, only about 25% of the parts are 1-1 shared between Model 3 and Y (link in Chinese).
​

COUNTRIES

PRINCE PHILIP's coffin is said to be transported to the funeral in a converted electric (or hybrid) Land Rover (link). Prince Philip has contributed to conservation throughout his years and also has some connection to EVs (link) and (link).

Maryland's EV legislation that have passed, including the EV tax credit, Right-to-Charge, Anti-ICEing (link).

EUROPE phasing out hybrids sooner than expected, with Reuters claiming "draft green finance regulations would ban manufacturers from labelling them as "sustainable investments" beyond 2025". An analysis of AutoForecast Solutions found that only 28 PHEV models are in production plans in Europe through 2028, compared to 86 fully electric models. (link)

Vietnam's first and locally manufactured electric bus was put into operation (video).
​

MODELS

^ LUCID Air "release candidate" tested in urban NYC with CEO Peter Rawlinson (video).

FARIZON AD21, the Geely-owned semi-truck maker aiming mostly at the Chinese market, will be using swappable battery packs and had its first photos leaked (link).

APTERA Noir, one of the three Aptera EV Alpha prototypes ridealong in this (video). Also, here's Aptera on the drag strip test (video).

VW ID.4 completed its cross-country road trip. The 6,700-mile journey was documented in daily vlogs on the VW USA YouTube channel: (videoz). Dustin Krause, Director, e-Mobility, Volkswagen of America said:

β€œWe proved exactly what we set out to do with this drive, which was to show that with a little planning, covering long distances in an EV can be easy.”

GMC Hummer EV SUV hands-on (video).

Mercedes-Benz received 20k orders for the EQA which was unveiled in January (link).
​

FACTORIES & PRODUCTION

REE Automotive signed a strategic collaboration agreement with Magna to bring the Modular Electric Vehicles powered by REE, to market (link).

APPLE is reportedly "very near" to be closing a deal with the joint automotive venture of LG and Magna named "LG Magna e-Powertrain". (link)
​That would make sense, as LG & Magna would be OK being just suppliers while the car brand remains Apple. Hyundai and Kia's discussions with Apple probably failed due to them not wanting to go unrecognized and reduced to the supplier level.

RIMAC Automobili, the EV hypercar maker, has unveiled its design and project plans for a new state-of-the-art campus on the outskirts of Zagreb scheduled to be operational in 2023 (link). CEO and Founder, Mate Rimac, said:

Just 10 years ago this company was only me in a garage, working on electric performance vehicles and components. Since then, we have grown to around 1,000 employees, formed strategic partnerships with Porsche, Hyundai Motor Group and others, and are working with the biggest names in the automotive industry. But, one thing that we have always committed to is developing our business within Croatia; we’re proud to be here and with this new location, it will be our long-term home.

TESLA's letter to the German court explains the company's recommendations to the federal government on the need for major changes in permit approval frameworks, because they are in "direct contrast to the urgency of planning and action needed to combat climate change". Full letter in German: (link).

XPENG to build the new Smart EV in a manufacturing base in Wuhan, China, with an annual capacity of 100k units (link).
​

BATTERIES & MINING

Rivian R1T / Rivian.com

RIVIAN announced Samsung SDI will supply the battery cells for its vehicles. (link)
​We called it on the newsletter #21 by the way, based on seeing the R1T in South Korea (link). πŸ₯³

RIO TINTO started production of battery-grade lithium from waste rock at a lithium demonstration plant at the Boron mine site in California (link).

PIEDMONT LITHIUM released an updated Global Mineral Resource estimate (MRE) for its flagship Piedmont Lithium Project in North Carolina (link to pdf)

BATTERY RESOURCERS, the closed-loop battery recyclers that sells the recycled material back to the battery manufacturers, raised $20M on their Series B, led by Orbia Ventures (link).
​

CHARGING

The EV Network

bp pulse signed an agreement with The EV Network, an 'independent EV charging infrastructure development company' to deploy DC fast charging hubs across the UK. First sites are expected to be operational by the end of the year and each hub features up to 24 300kW chargers. (link)

On average, EV drivers in Queensland, Australia spend about $3 and 34 minutes charging their cars, according to data of 11,6k sessions on the Queensland EV Superhighway (link).

FASTNED, the European fast-charging network, released its annual report showing a revenue and volume increase in 2020, despite the Covid-19 impacting travel.
​
While aggressively expanding the network by 53.5% Y-o-Y to 456 chargers, the charging revenue went up 40% reaching €6.3M ($7.5M) and the volume was up 39% with 11GWh delivered.
On average, a Fastned customer charged about once a month, with 18kWh per session, costing €10.5 ($12.5).
The CEO of Fastned, Michiel Langezaal, said:

We are at Day One of an exponentially growing charging market.

The full, well-detailed annual report can be found here: (link to pdf).
​

JOBS & TALENT MOVING

Manuj Khurana, a former executive of India's investment promotion body, Invest India, is joining Tesla India as the first major employee in the country. He'll be leading policy and business development efforts in India (link).

Jesse Schneider, Nikola's executive vice president of technology, hydrogen and fuel cells, is leaving and starting his own business called the ZEV station, focusing on renewable electric charging and hydrogen fuel stations (link).

​Share The Momentum


DEEP DIVE / EV AD / STOCKS / FUNNY / EVENTS / MOMENTUM / TWEET / REFERRALS

TWEET OF THE WEEK

...

This letter went out to 1,126 subscribers.

You can β˜• b​uy me a coffee to add 'zap' to my writing to keep this stuff going. ⚑

If you love this newsletter, go to evuniverse.io and sign up.​

Enjoying these posts? Subscribe for more