Hey, Jaan here.
I hope your holiday mood is kicking in with minimum stress and maximum joy this year! I know it can go the... other way at times.
There will be a lighter 'Xmas edition' next week, and then I'm heading offline for a bit, to return on 5th of January.
I'm planning to start the year with some industry predictions from our members & also start gathering the 2022 sales numbers as we did last year.
Maybe next year I can also avoid going down those rabbit holes and get you the newsletters before the weekend?
What's up in the EV industry this week:
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I'm very interested in the moves of the Vietnamese EV maker, VinFast, as it wants to take on the world Universe.
So here's the VF8, a mid-size electric SUV, designed by Pininfarina:
VinFast claims it has 65k orders across the VF8 and VF9
I had the chance to check out the VF8 in Oslo in summer and all I can say it looked... decent. They did know how to create a show out of the reveals though. The first pic I made is from the event:
I wrote you that VinFast shipped its first 999 units of the VF8s toward California from Vietnam about two weeks ago.
What the company didn't mention publicly (I only found it in its FAQ), is that those will be a 999-unit limited release called "City Edition", going to VinFirst Pioneer customers only and includes different features, pricing and specs from the standard VF 8. One of those differences apparently meant it has a 180-mile range.
While these EVs will come out from its production facility in Vietnam, VinFast is also building a 150k EV/year plant in Chatham County, North Carolina that should come online in 2024. It will also receive $1.2B in incentives from North Carolina, the largest economic incentive package in the state's history (link).
Although I'm rooting for another strong EV player, I'd be nothing if I didn't also cover the potential shortcomings. VinFast has apparently been shipping every (electric) automotive journalist I can think of to their resort in Vietnam to test the car out for the past months, putting them also through the extravagant tours and shows to show big of a deal they are.
Kevin Williams from Jalopnik was one of those invited, but unlike the rest, put out a report of caution here. It's a great read overall, but here's where the testing part starts: (link).
Kevin concluded: "It feels like an underdeveloped, unfinished product that, quite frankly, would be an embarrassment in any market."
The most surprising finding for me was Kevin approaching a main engineer on site about why the car feels so slow:
“So, this car has anywhere from 350 to 402 horsepower, right?” I asked the VinFast engineer. “Why is it so slow?”
“You mean peak horsepower. The VF8 only has 350 to 402 horsepower when the battery is above 80 percent charge,” the engineer said.
Only achievable with an >80% battery charge? What in the Universe???
Here are some resources & videos on the car:
The most-clicked link last week : the lithium-ion battery prices rose for the first time in more than decade, 7% year-over-year (BNEF survey, link).
Norway has reached 20% of all cars on the road being fully electric. It took almost 10 years to reach 10%, less than three years to hit 20%, and Christina Bu of Norwegian EV Association says 30% should be achieved within two years. Meanwhile, about 80% of all new cars sold are fully electric. (link)
Rivian calls off (sorry, *pauses*) the joint venture plans with Mercedes-Benz, which was announced ~3 months ago (link, MoU from September).
"As we evaluate growth opportunities, we pursue the best risk-adjusted returns on our capital investments.
At this point in time, we believe focusing on our consumer business, as well as our existing commercial business, represent the most attractive near-term opportunities to maximize value for Rivian.”
This leaves me with three questions:
Sono Motors #savesion campaign update: 813 of 3,500 Sions paid for, with 41 days to go. No idea what I'm talking about? See my deep dive from last week.
Tesla rolls out its holiday update (it's an over the air software update), which includes:
STEAM integration now live on Model S & X. Musk: "You can play Cyberpunk, Elden Ring and 1000s of other games in your car with an epic sound system! [...] Even works with keyboard & mouse."
... and more ( release notes ). Note, that the availability of these vary significantly depending on which model (and year) you drive and where.
Apple delays its electric car, now to 2026, will be <$100k, with no autonomous capabilities ( link ). I agree with Reilly Brennan, who wrote in his FoT newsletter:
"The most important next step in Apple Car hysteria is figuring out their charging network, not their autonomous plans."
Geely confirms Zeekr's confidential filing for IPO in the US as early as Q2 of 2023. Zeekr is said to be seeking a >$10B valuation and raising over $1B. ( link ) Zeekr has so far sold 66,611 of its first premium EV, the 001, since it started deliveries last October and plans to enter European market in 2023.
Redwood Materials goes straight to the battery belt: Charleston, South Carolina. In Ridgefield, its new $3.5B plant will recycle, refine, and manufacture 100 GWh of battery materials like nickel, cobalt, lithium, and copper per year. ( link ) Here's the announcement, as a livestream from yesterday, with speeches: (45min video ).
On a related note, Redwood Materials was approved for more than $105.6M in tax incentives for its battery recycling and materials facility in Northern, Nevada in exchange for $1.1B in capital investments at its Storey County facility. ( link )
Germany has received approval from the EU Commission to subsidize the construction of 8,500 fast-chargers in 900 locations with €1.8B ($1.91B).
Outside of NEVI funding in the US, this seems to be the biggest country/state level investment to the infrastructure I've seen, along with yesterday's news of:
California Energy Commission (CEC) approved a $2.9B zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure investment plan for 2022-2026 ( link ), which includes:
This should add 90k more EV chargers (L2+L3) to the state, more than doubling the current 80,027 chargers out there. PS, here's an interactive dashboard to show all public & shared private chargers in California ( link )
Tesla reportedly added another incentive on top of the $3,750 discount that’s offered to US buyers taking delivery of a Model 3/Y before the end of this year: 10,000 miles of free supercharging, to be used within two years. ( link ) Tesla reportedly also offers 10,000 km for this-year deliveries in Europe ( link ).
Polestar offers an Over-the-air update for 68 extra horsepower, to total of 476 hp, for the Polestar 2's in North America. It will cost $1,195 (once). ( link )
Stellantis said, yesterday, that it will indefinitely halt operations at an assembly plant in Belvidere, Illinois in February, citing the rising costs of EV production. ( link ) The plant was so far building the Jeep Cherokee SUV (so... a pure ICE vehicle) and employed 1,350 workers.
"The action will result in indefinite layoffs and it may not resume operations as it considers other options," Reuters writes.
Stellantis reportedly said that the industry:
"has been adversely affected by a multitude of factors like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the global microchip shortage, but the most impactful challenge is the increasing cost related to the electrification of the automotive market."
But is this EV talk but a scapegoat?
UAW chairman representing the plant's hourly workers said that the production has been moving to Stellantis' plant in Toluca, Mexico. "To me there is no question about it. Their plan is to close this plant."
StoreDot's '100in5' battery cells with silicon-dominated anode are now evaluated by a 3rd party: the independent laboratory Shmuel De-Leon Energy. Specs: The 30Ah pouch cells have a density of 300 Wh/kg and 1,000 consecutive extremely fast charging cycles. ( link )
Arcimoto and Faction will launch a pilot with GoCar Tours in Las Vegas, to get the first 20 electric Fun Utility Vehicles (FUVs) to the hotels for tourists without having a driver in it (link).
As far as I could put it together, it works like this:
The first 20 hit the road by mid-2023 and the partnership hopes to deploy another 290 vehicles after. The CEO and founder, Ain McKendrick, also gave a rare glimpse at the financial side ( link ):
“Right now our current vehicle systems are under $35,000. We take about a $17,000 Arcimoto vehicle platform and we put on about $12,000 to $13,000 worth of tech. [...] Our goal is to be profitable at the $2 per mile price point out the gate, not to have the promise that it’ll be cost-reduced 10 years from now.
There are over 30 more detailed insights that you'll want to know on this week's Pro Report. Unless you join the Pro, that is: ( link ).
Our friends at Recurrent analyzed real-world data from over 7,000 connected EVs to evaluate how much their range drops in the winter. You can read more about specific data on each model here.
👀 Sandy Munro gets the wheels of Canoo van spinning, with an interview with the CEO Tony Aquila (42min):
I actually learned quite a lot, especially how function-purpose the van is built, including for wheelchairs. That thing even has a side-facing seat, which you... really don't see anywhere.
👀 🤦♂️ Lexus actually did it! They created a manual transmission system prototype for the electric UX 300e:
👀 First of its kind. I'd share this just because it's from the video masters at Hagerty combined with the jokes of Jason Cammisa which give me goosebumps every single time. Seriously. But hey, lucky for us, they also drag raced the Lucid Air Sapphire v Bugatti Chiron v Tesla Plaid... and Ducati Panigale so I can share it with you:
📚 In case your Christmas table chat arrives at the "oh but this Finnish GTK study said we'll run out of minerals for energy transition", refer to this demanding but worthy thread: ( link ).
📚 Senator Joe Manchin's letter from Monday to Treasury Secretary Yellen, warning about the IRA's EV tax credit loophole for leased, rental and rideshare cars. (2pp pdf )
"I have heard that some automakers and foreign governments are asking your agency for a broad interpretation of 45W that would allow rental cars, leased vehicles, and rideshare vehicles [...] a huge piece of the U.S. vehicle market, to be eligible for the full $7,500 commercial vehicle credit as a way to bypass the strict sourcing requirements in the 30D Clean Vehicle Credit (30D).
[...] It is vital that we do not allow companies to cheat the system by using the 45W credit for non-commercial uses."
📚 LeasePlan released its annual Car Cost Index. It found that from 22 European countries analyzed, EVs are competitive with fossil-fueled cars in at least 18 of the countries, in a total cost of ownership (TCO) basis. The study for each segment: (23pp pdf ). The costs are averaged over the first four years of ownership, assuming an annual mileage of 30,000 km (18.6k mi).
Here's the total monthly cost of ownership for the D1 segment (mid-size standard segment, like VW Passat, Ioniq 5, Ford Kuga, Škoda Enyaq):
Here's the TCO breakdown across fuel types:
I picked a few quotes from the Bloomberg interview with the CEO of LG Chem, one of the world’s biggest chemical companies and a key producer of battery materials, Shin Hak-Cheol (link):
"We are giving our commitment to our customers — battery manufacturers and OEMs — that we will be IRA compliant. However, there are some unclear scenarios. If you have all the metal mines owned by a US company, and then you assemble there — that’s clear-cut. There are many scenarios in between, and those scenarios eventually have to be worked out by the US government. We haven’t figured out every detail yet.
[...] It’s no secret that demand is much larger than supply. You just cannot build factories fast enough. You cannot hire people that fast.
[...] I think the industry at large has to focus on what they can deliver — to kind of calm down, use data and facts, and do the best they can do."
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Caution! High Voltage! ⚡
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