Report #88: Diess out, Blume in — Used EV prices soar — Rivian starts R1S deliveries

Hey, Jaan here.

This week we've got some rather fun headers generated by DALL·E 2 AI. I used different variations of prompt "Promo photo of McDonalds launching electric car fast-charging station shaped like a burger" here. You'll find on the newsletter how all of this is (almost) relevant.

Here's some of what we've learned this week:

  • Diess out, Blume in, and Porsche's IPO closing in.
  • A Tesla crash test... with a twist.
  • Mexico nationalizes lithium.
  • Used EV prices have gone up 54.3%

Words: 2,091. Time to read: 10 minutes. Feel: electrifying.

- Jaan


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Diess out, Blume in

Blume in, Diess out

You likely already know all about Herbert Diess being switched out of VW Group for... reasons. Here are four that we scooped up and what went down, in case you've missed it.

The date for Diess to leave the CEO position was yesterday, so here we are with a few new viewpoints before we'll be all "Blume this" and "Blume that".

Out: Herbert Diess

After the announcement, we didn't see Diess explain much, some of it just following business as usual. Like his visit to Canada last week. (link) Volkswagen and Mercedes Benz signed letters of intent with the Canadian government to secure access to key battery raw materials, like lithium, nickel, and cobalt.

Canada <> Germany

But after today, it's likely we won't hear more of Diess<>VW ever again, regardless of him being still on contract on a modest €2.2M/year salary until 2025.

So, first off, here's Herbert Diess' farewell speech from yesterday: (video, 4min).

These were the most rewarding 7 years of my career. The future of our industry can be brilliant but we have to change fast. We have changed tremendously & are well underway. Thank you for all your trust & feedback.

For a lot more insights into his tenure, I enjoyed the interview with Diess, with picture-questions by Dirk Borth, VW Group's Head of Internal Communications, (42:32):


They discuss Elon Musk (how important it is to take competitors seriously and understand what they do differently), SalzGiga, football, Greenpeace, and more.

In: Oliver Blume

Now today, as Blume takes over as the Chairman of the Volkswagen Group Board of Management, the company has published a written interview on the website: (link). I'll highlight a few questions/answers that I found to be less 'fluffy':

Is it possible to run the Group and Porsche at the same time?

Read the Blume interview highlights & more

PS — Do you think we'll ever see Oliver Blume do a Reddit AMA?

Diess Reddit AMA


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Last week's question was: How is this planter relevant to the EV industry?

The Planter

A weird one, I know, but bear with me. This picture is taken in Tesla's Gigafactory Texas. The planters are... Cybertruck-shaped. (link)


This week, the correct answer came from our reader that goes by the nickname f205v. He could even add something I didn't know —  the planters are made from discarded wall panels. Well done!


🌌 Around The 'Verse

The most clicked link last week was... the video showing a Tesla Model 3 destroyed during a massive hail storm in Canada (video).

The most bizarre thing I saw this week is this "crash test" from an insurance company called AXA. (link)

To demonstrate how a Tesla battery bursts into flames after scraping it in an accident, they shot a Model S off a ramp, flipping it to land on its roof. The bottom indeed burst into flames.

Here's the kicker: they had removed the batteries beforehand and installed pyrotechnics which they ignited remotely... all because of "safety of the spectators":

After the story doing some media rounds, AXA Switzerland semi-apologizes (link).

Every third public EV charger site in the UK is a lamppost charger (link) via The Fast Charge.

Mexico nationalizes its (future) lithium industry (link).

Mach-E is available for reservation again, after four months of closed orderbook. But at a 7% higher price, starting $46,895. (link)

Hyundai Ioniq 6 got 37,446 pre-orders in South Korea in one day. (link) Ioniq 5 had 23,760 on its first day.

The Polestar 6 convertible with an expected $200k price tag for the LA Concept that we just covered... is sold out.

Polestar 6

Rivian delivered the first of the non-employee R1S SUVs. One of the first deliveries went to Pennsylvania and the new owner detailed his first impressions at length on the Rivian Forums here (link). Another owners R1S pictured is from RivianStories (link). I love that there are these communities that have popped up with a surprising amount of enthusiasts and owners.

And as always, Rivian teams up with me to post pictures of some of the deliveries right while I'm writing this snippet up. More happy owners: (tweet)

Toyota will invest up to 730B yen (~$5.6 billion) in battery production for BEVs in Japan and the US, building capacity of up to 40 GWh, aiming production to start between 2024 and 2026. (link)

Honda & LG also plan a $4.4B investment to build a 40GWh battery plant in the US, starting mass production at the end of 2025. (link)

Lucid Motors filed for a new offering of up to $8 billion (link)

McDonald's partnered with InstaVolt and ChargePoint in the UK and is installing these branded DC chargers all around. (link) In Finland, McDonald's has already partnered with Kempower and launched several chargers last year (link), thanks Felix.

Little birdies have told me we'll see some countries added to the list soon. I'm lovin' it.


Tesla looks to be launching pre-fabricated V4 Superchargers next year (link):

200M e-kilometers (124M e-miles) is how much the 1,300 of VDL's Citea e-buses have cumulatively driven in Europe (link)

Don't miss out on me ranting on about 30 news on tomorrow's detailed Pro Report:

Unlock 30 more insights this week for $10

Rumors. New models. Latest sales and delivery numbers. Charging networks expanding. New and rumored gigafactories. They're all in the Pro Report tomorrow, sign up with the button above.


Chart of the week

Used EV prices in the US in July were 54.3% higher than same time last year, while gas cars have leveled off to 10.1% higher. (link)

The car search engine iSeeCars analyzed 13.8 million 1-5 year old used car sales for the result. Hybrids hover at just under 30% appreciation. Here's what the year-over-year appreciation looks like for the months of this year:

Used car price comparisons YoY chart


(instead of the 'uh-oh' this week)

🤞 I'm rooting for: Arrival

"Arrival needs to prove that the Microfactory works" — Avinash Rugoobur, President.

Arrival, which projected $1B in revenue for this year when it merged with a SPAC to go public, now says it won't likely generate any revenue at all this year.

The R&D on the Arrival Bus and Car has been halted, the company aims for a 30% spending cut and now focuses on building the Vans for UPS, which years ago invested in the company and ordered 10k vehicles.


Image: Chris Ratcliffe / Bloomberg

Rugoobur said in an interview (link):

"The focus right now for the organization is to start production on the van, because once that happens, we fundamentally rewrite the rules of the industry."

Why I'm still rooting for Arrival: Prototypes are on the road, but we all know production is hard. We've seen almost all production plans of EV startups slashed in 2022. And it's likely even harder if you want to go off the beaten path. The microfactories are a novel idea and I'm all for a lean and automated design, so I'd like to see them execute it.

The products (and the factories, at that) are purpose-built. From scratch. I guess that's my weakness.

The vans showed so far (early video walkthrough) look like a great delivery fleet product. The bus also already received a European road certificate (video)... and is now on hold.

All in all, I do hope this one makes it far enough so we see the electric vans and buses on our roads.

PS - Am I wrong here to trust their manufacturing process? Let me know why.


Stuff I'm...


👀 Tay...can! Whatcar journalists drove a Porsche Taycan through 14 European countries in 24 hours (28:44). Entertaining:

👀  Rivian R1S and R1T test going through 'eyes-deep' water. (link) The maximum water fording height claimed by Rivian is 43.1 inches in the R1T and 43.2 inches in the R1S (109-110cm).


📚 An article on how the IRA and new EU Battery Regulation demonstrate the need for a digital platform for end-of-life li-ion batteries. A great read from our friends at Cling Systems (link)

📚 An article by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence on what is driving lithium prices in both the short- and the long-term. (link)  "The lithium ion battery is now geopolitical." — Simon Moores, CEO of BMI

📚 Per 50 million MoT tests (roadworthiness test for a car in the UK) analyzed, EVs (17.87%) and hybrids (14.84%) were less likely to fail the MoT tests at the first attempts than their gas (20.07%) and diesel (23.11%) counterparts. (link) via The Fast Charge.

📚  "Nearly 500,000 school buses in North America spend most of their time parked. Fossil fuel-powered buses provide no value when idle." A pilot project in Beverly, Massachusetts with two electric school buses sent 7MWh of energy back to the grid in over 80 hours this summer, helping to stabilize the grid during peak demand. (link)


Tweet of the week:

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