Hey, Jaan here.
The past week has been c r a z y. In a good way.
Here's a warm welcome to 470 of you that have joined us this week!
There are over 2,700 of us now. Wow.
Here's what's up in the industry this week:
Words: 2,779 | Time to read: 13 minutes | Feeling: Like saving Sion
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"We failed. This could be the end of the Sion. You decide."
— Laurin Hahn, CEO and co-founder of Sono Motors. ( link )
Sono Motors announced yesterday that they have failed to raise the ecessary capital (probably what their US tour was about), and its investors are saying they should close down the Sion solar EV project, lay off 70% of the people, refund the community and focus on their solar technology offerings instead.
With this backstory, Sion launched a #savesion campaign inviting its 22,000 reservation holders (and others) to put in payment for the car in full (€26,900 ($28.3k)) or contribute what they can. The ones that do pay for the car get a €3k discount.
I also wonder if some of its claimed 22,000 B2B pre-orders come into play
The co-founders share in this (emotional) video that if they can get 3,500 people to pay for the car in full within 50 days (which would be north of $90M?), they will be able to go on towards production:
Looks like they have a tracker on their website , which currently says 165.43 of 3,500 paid Sions have been reached. 48 days to go:
Just a few hours ago, the company also dropped a video of the CFO, Torsten Kiedel, answering most community questions about the finances:
The stock $SEV is down 36.59% over the past 5 days, currently hovering at ~76.8M market cap. ( link )
Sono Motors is one of the most community-involved EV startups I've seen so far and has raised significant funds from the crowd before - like the €53M in 50 days back in early 2020. Back then, 75% came in from Sion reservations ( link ). This is how I see it:
Chance they'll make it: ✓
Since this is our EV spotlight section, we can't go without some specs and pics of the Sion.
The co-founders of Sono Motors
The best video I've seen of the car so far is with Carl from Munro Live interviewing the COO Thomas Hausch next to the car. They call the Sion "the Swiss pocket knife, not the Gucci handbag" ( video ).
I personally hope this is not the end of Sion. Their dedication in bringing an electric car to the market at a lower price than others is admirable, and the 'quirks', along with several smart design moves of the car, are a sure bonus.
Here's a link to this deep dive separately our blog, in case you feel like sharing it with others.
A brief note on how far the Tesla Semi things reached. No new info about the Semi here, so you can skip this in case you don't want the 'behind-the-scenes'.
We kind of went semi-viral.
We reached 5.1M sets of eyeballs on our Twitter channel within a week. By the way, please follow me at @TheEVuniverse , we're just about to break the 5,000 mark.
3 million impressions came in from tweet of Tesla Semi passing the ICE truck on Donner Pass (6% grade). It gathered 965.7k views and over a thousand retweets. The guy who owns the platform "liked" it, which gave it a nice boost.
950k impressions came from the tweet from our Semi deep dive which compared Tesla Semi to other class 8 electric trucks. The guy who owns the platform likes this one too. This is our 4th so far (yay).
In a bit more indirect impressions, you can add another 6M to the mix, as Musk replied to a tweet that was a screenshot from our deep dive. I shall file this one under 'brand awareness'.
Overall, I'm frunking happy about how all this turned out. I'm planning to put my Semi curb weight, battery and charging estimations in a nicer format next week and hopefully get Musk to say if they are semi-accurate or not.
General Motors is considering establishing Corvette as an EV subsidiary from 2025, with a four-door coupé and a high-performance crossover planned, next to the already teased electric Corvette. ( link ) According to a media report citing a ' GM inside source', Escalade and Camaro could also be created as EV subbrands.
If I weren't so lazy I'd find out the place where I predicted: BYD will build EVs in Europe, soon. BYD manager Stella Li told Bloomberg that the company is evaluating locations of 'maybe not only one, it can be two' vehicle plants in Europe. ( link )
She also commented on Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway) selling about a fifth of its holdings and landing at around 16% currently: "It’s very natural for him to get some returns — cash out. I don’t feel this is any indication he’s abandoned BYD."
I... did not see this coming:
"Dr. Hall, a retired ophthalmologist, is part of a cadre of die-hard Tesla owners who are racing to visit as many of the company’s fast-charging stations, called Superchargers, as possible."
There's apparently a whole group of people who track their progress on a shared Google Spreadsheet and compete with each other on Supercharging. The top "players" have visited over 1,500 Superchargers, and Andrew Hall's latest check-in on Twitter said SC #1678. WSJ story: ( link ). Thanks, Gary, for sharing this on our community .
The United Auto Workers union scored its first battery plant 'victory', with Ultium Cells in Lordstown, Ohio, the LGES and General Motors joint battery venture, seeing 710-vs-16 workers vote in favor of unionizing. ( link ) I'd bet you'll see some more battery plants follow soon enough.
Up to 14 calls to change your mind. This is apparently what you can expect from Lucid Motors if you want to cancel your order of the Lucid Air, based on an internal email. ( link ) In a rather rare sting towards another OEM, Elon Musk replies to this about Lucid ( link ): "They are not long for this world"
As we wrote last week , Lucid is offering an $18k discount for its employees and now we've learned Lucid sent an email to customers with abandoned orders saying they would reinstate these orders of Lucid Air Grand Touring at the original legacy pricing of $139k... which is a 10% discount for the current $154k ( link ).
434,000 battery-electric vehicles were sold in China in November, which puts the market share at 26.3%. ( link ) Meanwhile in the UK, BEVs took a 20.6% share ( link ), and 81.6% in Norway ( link ). Want to guess the top EV model in each of these markets? My oh MY.
VinFast files for IPO in the US and should start trading on Nasdaq under the ticker VFS after the offering is completed. ( link )
Lukas Wenzhöfer won the Opel Rocks-e (which is basically a Citroën AMI) design contest we write about a few months ago. He calls it the "Rocks e-xtreme" and the car will be built as a one-off vehicle. ( link )
BloombergNEF released data from their annual battery price survey, which I find to be a key overview of the battery industry ( link ).
A few takeaways:
Evelina Stoikou, the lead author of the report at BNEF, said:
“Raw material and component price increases have been the biggest contributors to the higher cell prices observed in 2022. Amidst these price increases for battery metals, large battery manufacturers and automakers have turned to more aggressive strategies to hedge against volatility, including direct investments in mining and refining projects.”
Here's another interesting view of the battery prices across different use cases:
My two Watts (opinion, could be wildly off)This survey is core data from the industry and mustn't be ignored. However, consider a few factors that would influence the battery cost move for the coming years:
Herbert Diess looks at Oliver Blume walk back on all his EV plans for VW like:
What prompted this one: In addition to VW Group postponing the software, EV platform and potentially scrapping the Trinity EV plant (my deep dive here ), the Trinity EV design will now also be redesigned.
The sedan-like Trinity design will reportedly be turned into "significantly more in the direction of an SUV".
According to German media, the launch of Trinity is postponed to around 2028 to 2030. All of these incoming news seem to be a part of bigger restructuring, so we might expect a bigger strategy reveal sometime in the following months. ( link )
Meanwhile, Volkswagen has shared some details of its MEB+ platform ( link ), which is what we knew will be coming in the stead of the SSP platform which sees major delays. MEB+ will use the unit cell that allows for up to 200 kW charging and 700 km (435 mi) of range.
And now to the main question:
Should I make the meme section a regular thing?
👀 The first Brightdrop van rolls off the line in Ontario, Canada. This (reportedly) marks the first full-scale EV plant in production in the country:
"We're creating a whole supply chain here in Canada so that auto workers here in Ontario will be able to build electric vehicles" — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
👀 Sensational headlines aside, BYD Seal is the company's answer (or at least tries to be) to undercut the Tesla Model 3. It should be coming to Europe already this year too. Here's a great overview:
👀 Fisker PEAR spotted in the wild (in camo) for the first time ( photos ) ( video ). We knew the 'first driveable prototype' was coming late November per its Q3 report hint, so this from LA is likely it. The 2024 PEAR should start at <$30k.
👀 Canoo Lifestyle Van crash tests:
Gary Gumushian, the Global Vice President of Canoo said in a LeasePlan EV event where this video was shown ( link ):
"We've crashed these vehicles hundreds of times, we've put them through millions of miles. Every one of these crashes, the battery was not damaged."
📚 A nice deep dive from our friends Intercalation Station various applications in the stationary battery storage world: ( link ).
📚 Tom from The Fast Charge, the British EV newsletter, takes a stab at understanding an important topic: is 99% EV charger reliability possible? ( link )
Background: along with its DC charging infrastructure plans, the UK gov has mandated that all new 50kW+ DC chargers will need to meet 99% minimum reliability standards by the end of 2023.
With California leading something similar with its EV Charging Reliability Transparency Act ( link ), I predict we'll see more and more policy tackling the problem of not only charger availability, but also working charger availability. And that's very, very welcome.
📚 An interesting discussion around fast-charger safety... from another angle. Should the chargers have an emergency unlock capability so you could drive away with your EV if you are in danger? ( link ) I wonder if and how many CPOs and OEMs (or those few that are both) have considered this.
Related: I found the Now You Know channel created a 33-minute in-depth video considering exactly this about a year ago. They even tested several 'charge handle ejectors' made by the community and had polls to choose the best one:
📚 Today marks exactly one year of our silly-but-fun 12/9 Tesla stock split 'conspiracy'. ( link )
Bernd Lange, the head of the Trade Committee in the EU Parliament, no longer believes the EU-US task force will come to a solution about the EV requirements in the Inflation Reduction Act ( link ):
„I think it is necessary for the EU to file a complaint with the World Trade Organization quickly in the next few months. This will clarify that the US action is clearly incompatible with WTO rules.“
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⚡ Caution! High Voltage!
Shell is set to acquire Volta Charging the US public charging network ($VLTA) for $169M in cash. We'll take a deeper look into the why.