Report #98: Hyper EVs breaking records — Fisker Ocean launch— Volkswagen taking a step back

Hey, Jaan here.

Happy holidays, if you are celebrating!

I'm grateful you're here, so I could rant on the things on which I'm most passionate about  — electric cars  — full time.

I'm sorry for missing your inbox last week. I was a bit under the weather so I only made the Pro Report for the week (I never miss those). I've added a sweet Black Friday deal below so you wouldn't miss any either.

This week, you can read about:

  • [Deep Dive] Volkswagen Group making the moves I feared;
  • [EV Spotlight] Fisker Ocean;
  • Google Maps now shows DC chargers and lets you choose the plugs you use;
  • Hyper EVs breaking records and a very big electric mining truck.

Words: 3,192 | Time to read: 15 minutes | Feeling: thankful and craving for pizza

— Jaan


Musk reaching for 30
Disclaimer. This guy isn't affiliated with us and doesn't know we exist.


This is your chance to join the 80+ of us in the  EV Universe Pro . The Pro Reports, community and EV resources are waiting on the other side.

Enter the discount code BLACKFRIDAY and you'll get

  • 30% off for 6 months if you buy a  monthly  membership, or
  • 30% off for a year if you buy an  annual  membership.

It's okay if you miss this and stay right where you are. I usually do one to two discount campaigns per year. Just letting you know none of them will discount as much as this one.


The deal ends on Monday, 11:59 pm ET.


Hey, don't you turn that ship back!

I think Herbert Diess is turning over in his... vineyard.

Diess eating a pear
Or, actually, I think it is a  pear-yard ?

I've been waiting for some serious move of what the Herbert Diess → Oliver Blume change in the VW Group will bring about, and this might be the start of it.

The News

Volkswagen Group's CEO Oliver Blume is reportedly planning to push back the Trinity EV project from 2026 to ~2030 because the new software (along with the Scalable Systems Platform (SSP)) won't be ready in time. ( link ) ( original in  🇩🇪 , paywalled )

"The E3 1.2 software, which is already years late and primarily intended for Porsche and Audi, is to be used for longer and refreshed again in between. The E3 2.0 software will not start in 2026, but in 2029"

The decision hasn't been formally made yet as far as we know.

The company may also scrap plans for the $2.1B Trinity plant in Warmenau, near its Wolfsburg facility — and is discussing an assembly line at Wolfsburg's main plant. Originally the construction for the Trinity plant was set to start in spring 2023.

Blume said in a separate letter to employees ( link ):

"We are taking the opportunity to look at all projects and investments and check their viability,"

Another German news outlet, FAZ, has now learned that there will be up to €1.5B invested into improving the current MEB platform, and the VW unified cells which were meant to be used in the SSP platform will also be brought forward to be used on the MEB. ( link ) FAZ says Blume and the VW Brand CEO Schäfer have already decided against the new Trinity plant.

My two Watts

I see two intertwined but major problems here for the Volkswagen Group, which seem to put the automaker at a serious disadvantage, potentially for the next eight years:

  • lack of a great EV platform and production efficiency (danger of MEB being/getting outdated, just being stretched to more models), and
  • lack of great software in the cars.

All of this might turn out to be a world of pain for the automaker. I do hope there's a grander vision here that they'll pivot to and plans which they haven't yet made public, especially in terms of innovation.

From what I've gathered, the Trinity plant was very much the push of Herbert Diess, as he saw Volkswagen lagging behind in efficiency of EV production. As he witnessed Tesla dishing out a Model Y in 10 hours, three times faster on average than their ID.3, Diess was determined to create the same in VW Group with Trinity.

But that's the thing. The Diess era was about catching Tesla. This is the core that seems to have changed.

Anyway, here's my attempt at humor about all this: ( tweet )

Still in the EV game

In terms of EV production, there's no denying that Volkswagen Group and also the brand itself still is one of the biggest EV makers out there (Group #2  last year , or VW brand #4).

While this year's results aren't in yet, our current  data  tells us the group is in the 4th overall place.

Volkswagen just recently celebrated producing its 500,000th ID model, a milestone it took about two years to reach. ( link )


Before we carry on to the EV spotlight —

I'm launching a curated EV deals website tomorrow.

It will feature all the Black Friday deals that are related to EVs. You know, like software, merch, vehicle accessories, and so on. So if you have any deals you'd want to put up on the site or know any good EV deals worth sharing, please let me know!

I'll send a separate email to you tomorrow when I launch the site too, so you'd get to browse them.


EV spotlight

Henrik Fisker, CEO of Fisker, on 17th of November:

It’s an emotional day as we start production of the world’s most sustainable vehicle in record time – on time – in the carbon-neutral factory in Graz.

The Fisker Ocean started production in Magna Steyr plant in Graz, Austria. Here are the details:

  • Price: starts at $37.5k, first 5k units at $69k.
  • Range: 350 miles EPA (563 km) | 250mi on entry level
  • Battery: estimated at 100kWh, NMC from CATL | LFP for entry
  • Charging: capable of over 250kW peak (no details yet)
  • 0-60 mph: 3.9 seconds | 6.9s for entry
  • Dimensions: 1994mm wide / 2921 wheelbase / 4775mm length / 1631mm height
  • SolarSky Roof, which they claim in ideal conditions would increase the range by 1.5k-2k miles per year ( video ).
  • Available in Austria, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and the US. From April 2023: France, from June 2023: Canada, UK.

And plenty of smart features, yes including a rotating screen, which I won't be listing here.

Some resources if you want to geek out more:

  • The configuration page for the Ocean provides a nice interactive 3D walkthrough ( link ).
  • Trim levels compared ( link ).
  • The press kit with all the details (66pp  pdf ).
  • A MotorTrend review when they drove one earlier this month. ( link )
  • A video interview with Henrik Fisker on the day production launched ( video )

Fisker has over 63k reservations for the Ocean and plans to produce 42,400 next year, reaching 150k/year from 2024. Q1 of next year, however, will start with 300 units.

Here's a three-minute timelapse of how the Fisker Ocean is built:

Fisker's Q3  report  also had a little nugget hidden in it, saying the first drivable PEAR prototype will be completed ahead of plan, sometime this month.

PEAR should start at around $30k and already has 5,000 reservations, without anyone having seen the car yet. ( link )


🌌 Around The 'Verse

The most clicked link  last week : an article on why the 'coal-powered EVs' objection is moot, from our friends at Recurrent ( link )

Mazda enters the EV room... sometime in the future. It plans to invest 1.5T yen ($10.8B) into 'electrification', and raised its target for all-electric car sales from the previous 25% to now 'between 25% and 40%' of total by 2030.

However, the significant uptick in BEV sales is meant to start from 2028 with the new battery-electric models coming to market in 2026-27. It also considers battery production. ( link ) ( video  36:06)

Jaan's two Watts: Mazda is kind of like me. I also like to do all of my work right before the deadline in one go and expect to absolutely nail it without any practice.

General Motors held its Investor day last week - here are all the slide decks from the speakers. ( link ) GM expects its EV profits to be comparable to gas vehicles by 2025, 'years ahead of schedule'. This factors in IRA incentives, and the company expects $50B of its projected $225B revenue in 2025 to come from EVs. GM's e-van subsidiary BrightDrop forecasts $1B in revenue in 2023. ( link )

Perhaps the most curious(er?) part was when GM President Mark Reuss said: servicing Teslas is "a growing business for us. I gotta say it's a new business". Apparently since 2021, GM dealers have serviced over 11,180 Teslas across the US (slide 31  here ).

In the UK, the government announced "all motorists begin to pay a fair share" from 2025, with EV owners having to start paying vehicle excise duty (road tax, currently £165/year) from 2025 and the current 2% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rate for EVs would increase by 1% annually from 2025 to 2028. ( link )

A portion of the OEMs and policy groups voiced their concerns with this, mainly saying it is short-sighted. ( link ) via  The Fast Charge .

Google Maps rolls out another update for EV owners. Now, if you search for 'charging station' in Maps, you'll be able to filter them by compatible plugs and if it is a 'fast charge' station. ( link ) ( tweetable )

I like my pizza electric. Domino’s ordered 800 Chevy Bolts for deliveries across US, with the first 100 hitting the roads this month. ( link ) You'll be able to track how many are in operation and yet to arrive in each state  here . The company also launched a giveaway where you can win one of two 2023 Bolts ( link )


Mercedes to BMW: I see your $18 seat-heater subscription and raise you a $1200 'acceleration package'!

Mercedes EQE and EQS owners can soon pay $1.2k to improve the 0-60 mph acceleration by about 0.8 to 1.0s. This will be done by fine tuning the max kW output of the electric motors by 20 to 24%. ( link )

Tesla, Tesla, Tesla: releases Full Self-Driving Beta program to anyone in North America who requests it from the car screen, assuming they've bought this option. ( link ). Tesla also seems to be closer to finally adding Apple Music to its cars, as noticed by the Tesla running on developer software in the Petersen Museum Tesla expo ( link ). Tesla referral program is making a comeback for the US too ( link ).

LG Chem will build the biggest cathode plant in the US, a $3.2B plant in Clarksville, Tennessee. ( link ) It starts construction in early next year and production in the second half of 2025. The plant should reach an annual capacity of 120k tonnes of NCMA cathode material by 2027. That's enough for the batteries of around 1.2M EVs.

Following the 🐇: LGES has already signed a contract to supply over 950k tonnes of cathode active materials to General Motors for use in their joint battery venture Ultium Cells plants in MI, OH and TN. The latter, in Spring Hill, would be <100 miles from the new cathode plant and should start production in late 2023 ( link ).

The US Department of Energy (DOE) drops another $73.9M in funding for 10 projects to advance technologies and processes for EV battery recycling and reuse ( link ) (recipients  pdf ).

Europe: Now that the changing electricity price matters more for them, the EV fast charging networks in Europe increasingly go to dynamic pricing with intra-day, daily or month-by-month price changes. Here are a few latest examples:

  • Tesla introduced new 'peak tariffs' all across Europe (between 4-8pm) and the prices on other times have gone (back) down significantly. ( link )
  • The Shell Recharge fast charging network sends its customers an email, saying they are updating their pricing communications... which will mean no communications. ( link )
  • Fastned decided to evaluate prices on a monthly basis ( link ), which for example meant a ~11% price drop in some countries for November ( link )

Meanwhile, in 22 locations which are mostly in California, Tesla is offering free Supercharging in the off-peak hours (8pm to 9am) through the Thanksgiving holiday rush on Nov 23-27th. ( link )

ABB E-Mobility division raises ~$212M in a pre-IPO private placement, ABB retains 92% in the division. This would put the spinoff at a ~$2.65B valuation. ( link )


Hyper EVs

We've got these hypercar EVs that keep breaking records. Let's take a look:

Rimac Nevera becomes the Universe's fastest production electric car. Vmax 412 kph / 256 mph. That's about 1/3 the speed of sound. ( video ) ( link )

Rimac Nevera
What a magnificent piece of engineering, that one

Nevera had also claimed the 1.85 seconds 0-60mph earlier on, which is now broken by another hypercar that actually runs on the Rimac chassis, powertrain and battery:

Pininfarina Battista, which went on a record run itself on the Dubai Autodrome ( link ) ( video ):

  • 0-6 0mph in 1.79s (0-100km/h in 1.86s)
  • 0-120 mph in 3.39s (0-200km/h in 3.79s)

It also now earned the title of the fastest braking EV in the Universe, going from 100km/h (62mph) to 0 in 31 meters (101.7ft).

Pininfarina Battista
Many say Battista absolutely nailed the design, and I don't disagree

Both of these 'hand-made' electric hypercars are sold at a >$2M price and are limited to 150 units each. Here's a recent factory tour with Mate Rimac ( 57min )

Meanwhile, a tad bit cheaper-but-still-hyper, we've got the freshly unveiled Drako Dragon, which claims (aims) to be the most powerful (2,000hp), quickest (1.9s 0-60mph), and fastest (>200mph) production hyper-luxury SUV in history. Base price is $290k and reservations started ( link ). Production and first deliveries scheduled for 2026.



Pod Point

I saw a chance for a meme and took it.

Nothing to charge. Pod Point, which has 60% of its revenue come in from home chargers, issued a profits warning at a projected £7M loss, because the future EV owners are delaying home charger installations, because their EVs have long waiting times and/or are delayed. ( link )

Tesla sends OTA update, marked officially as a recall with NHTSA, to 321k Model 3/Ys in the US due to rear lights sometimes not lighting up. ( link )

Arrival founder and CEO, Denis Sverdlov, steps down from his role, switching positions with Chairman of the board, Peter Cuneo. ( link ) Related: an investment firm connected to the founder boosts stock sales planning to offload up to 40M  $ARVL  shares - about 10% of his stake. ( link ) The stock is now at -98.94% from its peak in late 2020.


Chart(s) of the week: CHINA

China, the biggest car market on Earth, is going battery-electric at a crazy pace. In October, 508,000 EVs were sold in the country, putting the EV share at 22%. Or in other words, to really let that sink in, nearly every fourth car was fully electric.

And it's not all Wuling Mini, as the outside perspective would have you believe. Per a great report from Colin McKerracher at Bloomberg, the average range of models sold this year is 261 miles (420 km) NEDC ( link ).

Here's how the different segments of battery-electric vehicles average:

EV models avg range in China

The market for EVs (and PHEVs) grows in China, but the legacy OEMs from outside of China seem to be falling behind on their rEVolution in the country.

We have seen recent announcements on strong(ish) China EV offensive for several of these foreign automakers. Most recently, General Motors announced on Tuesday it will launch more than 15 Ultium-based EVs in China by 2025, producing 1M EVs annually by then. Its Ultium-equipped plant in Wuhan should go into production by the end of this year.

While many plans are in the works, the current situation shows that its the Chinese brands that are dominating the EV market (note, this one includes PHEVs):

China dominates EV market

I found this one goes very well with this recent picture of an Audi dealership in Wuxi, Jiangsu province in China. The green text states:

"Audi also has pure electric new energy (models)!"

It goes well with other reports that the consumers don't even turn to the dealership, assuming it doesn't have electric models to offer. Lots of work to do for the legacy foreign OEMs to position them as attractive to the customer of today's Universe - and attractive means EVs.

Audi dealership


Stuff I'm...


👀 Caterpillar demonstrates first battery-electric 793 large mining truck, capable of hauling around 265 tonnes ( link ):

Here are some humans for scale:

Humans and CAT

Btw, 35 of these are already set to go to Rio Tinto in Western Australia ( link ).

👀 A 16-minute walkthrough of the "Inside Tesla: Supercharging the Electric Revolution" exhibit in the Petersen Museum in the US. It'll be there for a year.

👀 I compiled this year's Euro NCAP Crash & Safety test videos in a  playlist , Currently 19 videos, ranging from Nissan ARIYA to NIO ET7 to WEY Coffee 02.

👀 Neat feature: The Lucid Air GT  deploys heated washer fluid slowly to melt ice on the windshield, saving you from having to scrape. ( video )

👀 POV: people crouching to film the first NIO battery swap in Sweden, of the first NIO ET7 delivered in the country ( link ) ( tweetable ):



📚  BloombergNEF prepared its report for COP27 called ZEV Factbook (68pp  pdf ). I love keeping up with BNEF's overviews as they always provide the industry overview we need. You know, until EV Universe creates its own someday.

📚 "EV Batteries – Who controls them? Who owns them?" by our friends at Cling Systems. ( link ) A great read to understand the full scope of circularity in batteries, the incentives and disincentives of OEMs on closing the loop, and the fundamentals how to achieve it.

📚 A study by National Grid, CALSTART, RMI, Stable Auto, and Geotab on "Electric Highways" (52pp  pdf ). They claim that many charging stations will need at least 20 fast chargers to meet passenger EV demand, and that much of the charging demand will also come from medium- and heavy-duty vehicles with high-voltage transmission needs.

📚 An interview with the CEO and CTO of WeaveGrid, the startup which develops software to help utilities manage the EV charging loads on the grid ( link ). WeaveGrid just raised a $35M Series B funding round, led by Salesforce Ventures.


Quote of the week

Per an European Court of Auditors  report  last year, almost 70% of chargers were centered in the Netherlands, Germany and France.

Herald Ruijters, the Director of Investment in Innovative and Sustainable Transport at the European Commission, claims that the EU funding will help to balance the scales ( link ):

"Basically, already the Netherlands and Germany are fading out because they have a good infrastructure. So we now are very much looking at eastern Europe and southern Europe.
I have many, many applications from Spain and Portugal and Italy, so I can already foresee that they will be very well covered in the coming years. So we are now focusing a lot on the east."

As someone living in said 'east', I can already see significant projects popping up with the help of these funds. Like the latest €2M charging network  built  on the gas stations in Latvia, where approximately half of the investment will come from EU's Alternative Fuels Infrastructure Facility (EU AFIF). Thanks, Andre, for sharing the latter news on our community platform.


This newsletter went out to 2,289 subscribers.

Looking for more? Join us in the EV Universe Pro. Don't forget the BF deal above.

See you next week.