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EVU Report: Apple scraps EV plans — Renault 5 launch — Indian charging market

Caution! High Voltage! ⚡️

Hey, Jaan here.

I carry your weekly dose of EV insights from the EV Universe. On the menu today:

On the good end,
I found a way to get you even more EV insights for free,
we’ll help my friend Joël pick an EV, and
shine our EV spotlight on Renault 5.

On the bad end, we’ll cover
Mercedes taking a major step back on EVs,
Apple scrapping its EV plans altogether,
Nissan shutting down LEAF production in Europe, and
Lucid and Fisker are both in trouble.

And across the verse, we’ll dig deeper into topics like Ford launching NACS access, EV charging → grid optimization, India’s EV and charging ecosystem, and more.

Words: 3,551 | Reading time: 13 minutes | Feeling like: the winners and losers of the future auto industry are decided right now.

PS — my schedule for sending these newsletters of late is messy. It’s because at the same time I juggle this free edition, the detailed paid version reports, and some niche B2B reports. I do it all so I could keep this free edition going as much as possible, and build towards a next-level product that will truly set the EV information free.

So, this time the Pro members got three newsletters from me in the last two weeks, but you got just one. I’m sorry. Join us on the other side?

Either way — stick around, and we’ll build something magnificent together.

No ads this time, but instead an announcement I’m very happy to make.


… and you can get even more of my insights thanks to this.

What does Voltera do?

In my words: Voltera is one of the few companies I’ve found that is tackling charging infrastructure in North America at scale, offering turnkey solutions for EV fleets, including companies from drayage to rideshare, light-duty to heavy-duty. We’ve mentioned some of their news here before, and it’s great to say this partnership has yet again spun out from within the readers of EV Universe.

I love the community we’re building here, all aligned on the same mission.

In their own words: “We site, build, own, and operate strategically located, fit-for-purpose charging facilities – enabling you to deploy and operate EVs at scale.”

Since spinning out of EdgeConneX in August 2022 (Voltera is backed by EQT) and led by experienced EV infrastructure players, they’ve already managed to put together a portfolio of 21 sites in the US, representing ~$150M of private investment in ZEV infrastructure real estate and over 115MW of charging capacity being developed for ZEV fleets. (link)

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My friend Joël from Canada had a question for me. And this time, instead of giving him my two watts, I decided I’d turn to someone much smarter.

You. Joël asked me:

I'm now ready to replace my petrol car with an EV.
Family of 4.
Longest commute 90 km (56 miles) round-trip, maybe once a week. Regular commute is 25km (15mi) round-trip.
Let's say 200-250km (125-155mi) per week.

I can install a charger, I'm wired up.. It's just not set up.
Budget is flexible. Just want the best cost-quality ratio.

What do I get?

Let’s gather some recommendations for him, I’ll publish these in the next newsletter and let him know. PS — I’d never publish your email, so leave a name along the comment if you want to:

What EV should Joël get? Leave your thoughts.

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The following is one of my deep dives from last week’s Pro Report. If you see this message, it means you haven’t joined us yet and are not getting the weekly extra reports. You can sign up here for early access and extra details on the industry: (link).

This was meant to advertise something else of theirs, but…

This is what I wrote to you back in July 2021, to our Pro Reports (back then called EV Industry2), on all the headlines announcing Mercedes-Benz is going all-electric by 2030. It’s always in the fine print we should be looking at:

Well, looks like now is a good time as any other for Mercedes to use that little door to back out of its EV plans.

Mercedes now announced it is walking back on its EV sales targets (without saying it like that, of course).

The previous “100% all-electric by 2030”, even without the disclaimers, now becomes “50% xEV by the second half of the decade”. Translation: they are targeting just 50% of their sales to be battery-electric, or plug-in hybrid, by 2030.

Here are their 2023 financial results, with the outlook of the future strategy (link).

Although it doesn’t seem to be recognized in the news yet, this is a massive change if we think about it. It’s nearly a weak, non-goal now really. They have basically buried the BEV targets altogether, now talking only of “xEV share”, as its new guidance KPI. (link)

Context from our 2023 OEM sales tracker (launching to the Pro members this week): Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars (including smart) sold 240,668 BEVs in 2023, which was 11.77% of its overall sales. It was also a 61.3% increase from the 149,227 BEVs sold in 2022. In 2022 it had a 7.31% BEV mix in sales.

Considering the smart BEV sales came in at 18,100 for 2023 (a -12% drop from 2022), this means Mercedes’ own EV lineup increase year-over-year was even a bit larger, at 73% all-electric growth for 2023.

We would assume that Mercedes ICE sales skyrocketed this year which makes them walk back on their plans, right? Nope. They sold as many cars in total, as they did in 2022 (2,043,800 in 2023 vs 2,043,900 in 2022).

So, this means the sales of their overall not-electric, aka fossil cars sales shrank by 4,67% in 2023 (1,803,200) compared to 2022 (1,891,500).

Looks like Mercedes will stick with the short-term fossil-fueled view, because it’ll be easy to keep selling some ICE and hybrids for a while. The EV market demand fluctuates too, who would’ve guessed? Mercedes even announced another €3B ($3.2B) in stock buybacks, which are to start when they’re finished with the current €4B one.

Mercedes will be fine. For just a bit. And then it’ll wake up in 2028 or so to realize they’ve given up most of their market share to the automakers that are focusing all their might on building nothing but EVs right now. Be they from Europe, US, or elsewhere.

Disclaimer — I might be totally wrong and overly salty here, of course.


Hear that?

Yes, that’s a sigh of relief you can hear among auto execs.

Apple, reportedly, finally let go of its EV project.

Although granted, the delays we’ve gotten accustomed to have been pointing at Apple sunsetting this for a while.

This Tuesday, Apple surprised nearly 2,000 employees working on the project codenamed Project Titan, saying internally the project started at ~ 2014 is now canceled and some of the car teams will move to Apple’s AI division instead. (link)

That said, there’s no official announcement yet — nor any fact that the project will remain out of question in the near future. After all, Apple has reportedly spent $10B+ on the project so far. It has been said that there was another $10B earmarked for the budget, which might lead to some acquisition play soon instead?

I for one hope that this means Apple will direct some of its folks to work on the next-gen Apple CarPlay OS version, the one that can work as the Operating System of the car itself. This would be a neat way to upgrade the software-poor automakers to catch up with the increasingly digitalized needs of the (electric) auto space.

Also, Apple pulling out makes it even more impressive that Xiaomi and Huawei have been able to bring actual EVs to market. Granted, they also “live” in the EV production hotspot of the world — China. While the competition in the home market there is heavier, it is easier to bring a new EV to production there, and both are already experts in global distribution of their products.

Now cue the jokes about how Apple had to shut the Apple Car down because the EV had the charging port in the bottom of the car.

Quick takes:

  • Fisker warns in its latest annual report that it needs additional capacity, will cut 15% of its workforce. It is also “negotiating with a major car manufacturer about a possible investment and a development partnership.” Fisker produced 10,193 Oceans last year and delivered 4,929.
    We’ve been covering Fisker trending towards trouble in the Pro Reports for a while. I might write a deep dive on what’s up soon. Would you care for more context?

  • Lucid said it will only make 9,000 vehicles this year and will need to do another capital raise. (link) Context: Lucid planned 90,000 EVs for 2024 in its shareholder deck when it went public three years ago. I’m also wondering when we’ll see the Saudis just buy out the rest of the company (currently owns ~60%). $LCID currently sits at ~$7.38B market cap.

  • BYD’s head of America Stella Li says, somewhat surprisingly, that BYD does not have plans to come to the US. (link)

Renault 5 E-Tech

  • Price: starting from €25,000 ($27,100) — but, although more below, beware that this starting price is for the no-DC-charging trim! (unsuitable for most people)

  • Deliveries: will be built in France and officially launch in Sept 2024.

  • Range: 400 km (249 mi) range at 52 kWh battery (net), or

    300 km (186 mi) range at 40 kWh battery, all per WLTP.

  • Batteries are from AESC, NMC cells.

  • Architecture: AmpR Small, Ampere’s B-segment platform

  • Performance: 70kW, 90kW or 110kW and150km/h (93 mph) top speed
    0-100km/h in 7.9 to 12s, depending on version.

  • Front-Wheel Drive only

  • Charging: up to 100kW DC, 11kW AC charging

But!!! The 70kW trim will have no DC charging, only AC, and no bidirectional capabilities. Yikes. In 2024?! And that is why you don’t want to really buy the cheapest version, do you.

Another thing that came out in discussions in our EV community — imagine what this will do the people buying the car in the aftermarket. A regular buyer would have no idea to check if the car has DC charging or not. 🤷 

  • Higher trims will have V2G capabilities, V2L of up to 3.7kW, and Plug & Charge capable.

  • Tows 500 kg (1,100 lbs)

  • Weight: 1,350kg (2,976lbs) for 40kWh, 1,450kg (3,197 lbs) for 52kWh version. Wheelbase: 2,540mm

  • Trunk size: 326 litres (looks like no frunk)

  • Design: French. But surprisingly very similar to the concept we’ve seen. I call it the futuretro approach.
    It also has nice little touches, like the fake-air intake on the hood, homage to the original R5, which is actually a battery indicator for outside of the vehicle.

  •  🥖 1 baguette holder. Yes you read that right, see the pic above.

  • Nostalgia points  a lot. Those familiar with the original Renault 5 and R5 Turbo, will find plenty of familiar features inside and out.

Here’s the livestream of the launch (33 min video), and the press release (link).

Here’s a walkaround from Jonny from the Late Brake Show (video, 24min):

And another from Fully Charged (video)

History: Renault 5 was originally produced from 1972 to 1994, with over 5.5M total sold, and was France’s best-selling car for the first 14 consecutive years.

Guess what — most of the sentiment I’ve seen about the car is positive. People like the idea of small EVs. Mix it with nostalgia and… let’s see if this thing actually sells. Renault CEO Cambolive does claim they already have 50k orders on the waitlist.

Meanwhile, Renault CEO Luca de Meo confirmed that it is still in “good discussions” with Volkswagen to partner on a an mini EV for Europe, and hinted it is also talking to others: "I am open to anybody who wants to jump in. I have production capacity. I have the platform. I know how to do it.” (link)

Speaking of small EVs, I’ll be testing both the Volvo EX30 and the GWM Ora 03 (aka the Funky Cat), in the next few weeks. If you’ve got any questions you have that I could cover you can send ‘em my way as a reply to this email.

Want to share this Renault 5 overview with friends? Here it is as a standalone article, with more videos, on our web (link).

👋 Bye bye, Nissan LEAF in Europe

Nissan is shutting down the LEAF production in Sunderland, UK. (link)

Nissan made LEAFs (leaves?) there for the European market from 2013. Before that it brought the earlier 2011-12 models in from Japan. In total, it produced more than 280,000 of the world’s first mass-market EV here. For context, around 650k LEAFs have been produced globally to date.

Interestingly, it took over 10 years for the LEAF to finally succumb to the now broader selection in the market. Not a bad run at all.

From the top of my mind, I think there are no other EV models except Tesla Model 3, Y, and perhaps one or two from BYD, that have cumulatively sold more than the LEAF, even at this point. This is about to change with the Chinese EVs ramping up, but imagine what a phenomenon the LEAF has actually been.

One of my daily drivers is a LEAF that came out of that very factory in 2020.

And LEAF, for exactly what it is, has been a wonderful car to own. Some flaws that might hunt it from the old days (on CHAdeMO standard, no active battery thermal management, limited range, no frunk, old in software) have been justifiable because of the lower price, (really) good reliability, excellent safety, enough space in the interior and trunk, and a few other benefits. I like the car.

So happens, that I’ve also been involved in an e-taxi fleet where we owned 94 of these, and I’ve personally sold ~70 of ‘em after their active taxi service of ~120k miles. I now know a lot of happy 2nd round of users for these, with mileages going even over 400,000 km (250k mi) by now. Anyway,

The US and Japanese plants, per Nissan, will continue to produce the model for now. This isn’t Nissan taking a real step back either really (although its BEV mix in overall sales currently is subpar by today’s standards), as the Sunderland plant is prepared for three new EVs.

An electric crossover is expected to be revealed later this year to replace the LEAF (and even carry the name forward?), and start production in 2026. And electric replacements for Qashqai and Juke are (finally) coming as well, as part of a £3B ($3.8B) investment by Nissan.

We don’t know much about the LEAF successor, only that the Nissan says it will be based on this "Chill-Out" concept car (link). We all know how the legacy is with concept cars, so let’s see if there’s any resemblance at all in the end.

I’m a bit excited about what Nissan spins up to replace this legend. Farewell, Nissan LEAF 👋 


This is done by a friend of the EV Universe — Priyans — and is the most comprehensive overview of India’s EV charging infrastructure I’ve seen published anywhere. And you know I’m a sucker for big-picture overviews.

I recommend signing up to his newsletter ExpWithEVs too, as he does these reports regularly. This month’s report contains 18 charts and 4 maps of chargers, both DC and AC, from 68 charging networks. India now has 5,585 CCS2 charging points.

Interestingly, three companies — TATA Power, Jio-bp and Bharat Petroleum — have currently installed nearly 50% of all CCS2 chargers in the country, 25% coming from Tata alone.

Context: EV sales in India

This is a teaser from the global EV sales tracker I’ll launch to y’all next week, but felt it fits in here well for context.

In 2023, 82,025 4-wheeled battery electric vehicles were sold in India, more than doubling (+114.3%) from sales the year prior. The penetration in the 4-wheel car market is still ahead, though, as EVs made up just 1.74% of the overall 4.7M car sales. Why do I talk of 4-wheelers here? 

Well, it’s because the 2-wheelers are the ones of volume in India with 17M registrations in 2023 — of which 5% were electric. However, the segment that has gone electric the most is 3-wheelers: out of 1.08M total registered in 2023, 54% were fully electric. Meanwhile, 5.14% of all buses that were registered were electric. (link)

Ford drivers are now available to use the 15,000 Tesla’s Superchargers across US & Canada. Ford rolled out the update for its EVs to support NACS (link), and sends a charging adapter to owners. Owners get it in the first come, first serve logic, so request the adapter here or on the Ford app. It’s free until June 30th, after which you’ll pay $230.

"I would also like to thank Elon Musk and the Tesla team for their close collaboration and leadership to help change the lives of so many EV customers through improved access to charging."

— Jim Farley, CEO of Ford

More on this and Tesla’s Supercharging on our Teslaverse newsletter edition coming soon, but per Tesla, "coming to NACS in spring 2024 are Rivian, General Motors, Volvo, and Polestar.

EV Charging vs The Grid in three stories:

A CEO of one grid operator in the Netherlands, Stedin, says public EV chargers need to be shut off between 4-9pm, because at these hours the “network is bursting at the seams”. (link in 🇳🇱 ) Here’s a counter from researcher Auke Hoekstra, explaining why this is a dumb idea and what to do instead via introducing smart charging practices (link).

Related study tip: here’s the “Finland EV Smart Charging and Optimisation Report 2024” by Synergi using data from over 1,000 EV drivers in Finland. I especially like the part about optimizing home charging behavior through automated smart charging services, which in addition to being good for the grid also means drivers will save on costs (via Jaap Burger link).

I found this was a good spot to ask Synergi for a bit of context on what they do. And Antti delivered (thanks!):

Hey! I'm Antti Hämmäinen, CEO and co-founder of Synergi.
We are a finnish technology company, building software for households to optimise their electricity consumption.

Our mobile apps work in all Nordpool countries + Spain, and through our software you can optimise your EV Charging, Heat Pump usage, with upcoming solar features on the horizon. We also work with utility companies to provide more value for all customers, not only spot priced customers.

While we’re on the topic, ev.energy, a smart EV charging platform, receives a $41M grant from the California Energy Commission to do just that — developing and scaling products for EV drivers in California to respond to dynamic grid signals and lower their charging costs.

That’s it for today! This newsletter went out to 6,415 awesome readers like yourself. There’s two ways you can support us in making impact on EV adoption: sharing our website with your friends, or signing up to EV Universe Pro.

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Thanks for being with us and see you soon.

— Jaan

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