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EVU Report: VW invests in XPeng — EV sales breakdown — New charging alliance in NA

Hey, Jaan here.

We’re celebrating a milestone this week.

The EV Universe crossed 3,500 subscribers 🥳

And have you to thank you for it. I had no idea what to expect when I sent the first newsletter to just 82 of you in late 2020.

So far, our growth has been all organic. This means I haven’t spent any money on advertising. But to scale the impact we make on making EV information accessible to everyone, we need to scale our community here.

I’ve now started efforts to reach more EV geeks like you and me, by spending actual dollars to find the relevant people. However, I’d much rather have every ad dollar go to someone in the EV verse rather than the ad platforms. You know, for double impact.

So here’s my offer to you: So if you’ve got a community, following or a business that has EV geeks in it who might love getting this newsletter, reach out to me. We’ll tell them that EV Universe exist, and in return, I’ll get to support your stuff over Zuck’s.

Before we jump in today’s newsletter, here’s a little heads-up: I’m taking a short break from publishing and will be back mid-August. 

In case you’re one of the Pro members (join here) you’ll get another detailed newsletter today and see me drop by with some of the most important stuff as they happen. Otherwise — enjoy the ~3,000 words today and I’ll be back soon.

Shall we?


The European BEV sales numbers for the first half of the year just came in.

Here’s a pdf with all numbers per markets across fuel types. In case you missed it, we covered sales of 11 OEMs and 4 regions in our latest newsletter, including sales in the US and China: (link). Now, let’s take a closer look at Europe.

Let’s start off with this chart I made to show the current state: the first half of the 2023 car sales in EU+EFTA+UK markets (aka, Europe):

(tweetable here)

208,882 BEVs were sold in Europe in June and 938,912 so far this year. That’s a 45% increase from the 647k sales during the same period last year.

I messed around with the data a little and here’s what I found noteworthy. The ‘top players’, so to speak, in different metrics.

Growth year-over-year:

  • Bulgaria +161% (337 in H1 2022 to → 879 in H1 2023)

  • Finland +157% (5,950 → 15,300)

  • Belgium +154% (17,187 → 43,578)

  • Greece +150% (1,286 → 3,212)

  • Portugal +121% (7,737→17,074)

Largest in BEV sales:

  • Germany 220,244 (+32%)

  • UK 152,965 (+33%)

  • France 137,919 (+48%)

  • Netherlands 58,272 (+97.5%)

  • Norway 55,274 (+2.1%)

  • Sweden 52,439 (+32%)

BEV mix of all car sales:

  • Norway (of course) 83.1%

  • Iceland (wow) 38.2%

  • Sweden 37.3%

  • Finland 32.6%

  • Denmark 31.0%

  • Netherlands 28.9%

My biggest takeaway? WOW. There is such a significant shift happening in so many countries. It’s not just Norway anymore. I’ll offer the last calculation I made here for you. I shall call this rate of change, as it will truly explain which countries are witnessing the most significant shift towards EVs right now.

(!) BEV market share change:

  • Finland increased +19% in market share, jumping from 13.7% BEV sales mix the first half of last year, to 32.64% this year. Holy smokes, I’m proud of you neighbors.

  • Denmark +14.5%, from 16.5% → now 31%

  • Iceland +12.4%, from 25.8% → now 38.2%

  • Sweden +9.7%, from 27.6% → now 37.3%

  • Netherlands +9.7% from 19.2% → now 28.9%

Can you imagine going from every 7th car sold in your country being battery-electric, to every 3rd car being so, all within one year? That’s Finland.

Now, let’s zoom out a little. In first half of the 2023,

  • 2,719,000 BEVs were sold in China (+10.3% YoY)

  • 938,912 BEVs were sold in Europe (+45.0%)

  • 556,707 BEVs were sold in the US (+64.4%).

Ok, ok I’ll let you off the hook now. If you’re still awake. It might sound weird, but I always get so excited every time I get to crunch these numbers.

In case you want to dig deeper, let me know and I’ll send you the spreadsheet I’ve created to play with these numbers.

In case you missed it, we went over the Tesla Q2 earnings call in the Teslaverse newsletter last week (here).

Fix: my apologies if you clicked on the ‘read more’ on my Volkswagen’s troubles on our last newsletter and ended up on a paywalled page. It was actually available on our free online version, but I messed up the links. Here’s my full rant: (link).

What a magnificent chart.

(tweetable here)

Nearly 40% of China’s ride-hailing vehicles are now electric. 

In my eyes, heavy-usage fleet electrification is a triple-win in impact, because:

  • more miles per each vehicle are electric so every ride-hail EV has a significantly larger impact on the world;

  • great way to deploy EVs at scale;

  • great way to show that EVs are great to use and drive to people who wouldn’t even consider it before (a rather underestimated power).

The latest power games in the UK seem to put the country’s 2030 ICE ban into question.

Recent media craze against EVs are surely meant to follow it. Our friend Tom who runs the British EV newsletter The Fast Charge gives an overview of the current state here: (link) Per some 'government sources’, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is on the fence about the ICE ban (link):

“It is fair to say he would be open to reviewing it. There is no review at the moment, but he wants to make sure we are always taking a proportionate and pragmatic approach, particularly as we are way ahead of a lot of other countries on a lot of this green stuff, including vehicles.”

“Way ahead of a lot of other countries”? Well you could say that… to some extent. June saw BEVs take up 17.9% of all car registrations, and reached 16.1% share in the first half of the year. (link) Still seems like a weird time to rest on the laurels.

Two major news relating to the China EV market today.

Volkswagen plans to invest $700M in XPeng and jointly develop two EVs.

To be honest, this came as a surprise to me. VW is to invest in XPeng as part of a deal to jointly develop and produce two mid-sized (B-Class) EVs for China, based on the Xpeng’s flagship G9 SUV. (link)

This would give VW a 4.99% stake in the automaker. Of course, the stock $XPEV jumped 36% on the news and the company now sits at a $16.9B market cap.

In a separate deal, Audi said it’s expanding its partnership with SAIC to produce luxury EVs for the Chinese market. The companies plan to develop a new platform for premium EVs. (link)

Mitsubishi withdraws its business from China. 

The Japanese carmaker says that the shift from ICE to electric vehicles in China has “hit its existing range and sales have fallen far short of expectations.” (link) (tweetable)

Meanwhile, Mercedes-Benz is rethinking its China BEV strategy to “better meet the needs of Chinese customers in terms of space or digital content in the future.” Mercedes EV sales in China in the first half of the year are reportedly significantly below its global average of ~10% mix. (link)

It’s becoming more and more obvious. If you don’t offer battery-electric vehicles, and I mean competitive BEVs, you’re out.

We are seeing this happen live in China, as thanks to China EV inc leading the EV shift, their domestic carmakers are now on track to reclaim the majority of the home market this year. (link)

This will be the first time in four decades that the Chinese automakers would control >50% of their home turf. Case in point, BYD already overtook VW as the best-selling brand and is now increasing the lead (link). Puts the VW-XPeng and Audi-SAIC deals into new light, doesn’t it?

Although it doesn't seem to affect us in the rest of the world immediately, it is a very, very important shift in the auto industry.

Context: China. In the first half of the year, BEVs made up 20.5% of all cars sold in China:

  • 573,000 BEVs in June (+20.5% YoY),

  • 1,566,000 in Q2 and

  • 2,719,000 in the first half of the year (+10.3%)

And this is how the domestic-vs-international sales for BEVs+PHEVs looked like by end of last year:

I know some of you probably didn’t expect to learn much of China auto market in this newsletter. Heck, even I didn’t expect to when I started this EV Universe. But… I guess you don’t have a choice anymore, do you now 🤷

Nissan will invest up to €600M ($668M) to Ampere, the new EV division of Renault. (link) Today, Nissan also announced it has reached the milestone of 1 million BEVs sold globally (link). 650,000 of these were LEAFs.

READING TIP: EU officials are reportedly working on a deal with Latin American nations, supplying e-buses in exchange for lithium supplies.

FACEPALM MOMENT: Mobil 1 (ExxonMobil) launched this 2-minute advertisement picturing the world covered in cables. It’s funny (video).

Looks like GM won’t be sunsetting the Chevy Bolt after all, now announcing the ‘Next-Gen Bolt’. (link) The new version will run on the Ultium platform and come back to market “at an accelerated timeline”.

It will be interesting to see if General Motors will be able to actually start producing EVs at scale, as it has promised so for quite a while now. I almost refrain saying their EV production targets in our newsletters right now. Yes, the line-up for the launches for 2nd half of this year is promising, yet the current 36,322 EVs sold in the first half of this year make up only 2.8% of its overall sales.

Per it’s Q2 shareholder letter (45-slide deck here) GM still outlines its goals to earn $50B+ in EV revenue in 2025 and hit 1M production capacity in North America by then. I’m calling it now (purely an opinion) that this will not happen. But I hope, of course, that they prove me wrong.

Something that does support its potential in the EV world is the 160 GWh of battery capacity being built in the US. This is GM’s EV manufacturing and supply chain ecosystem in North America:

It looks like GM has encountered an issue before these battery plants come fully online, though:

from last week, General Motors temporarily stopped production at its CAMI plant in Canada, the one building the BrightDrop electric vans, due to battery shortage. (link) It should go back online from August.

GM is not a considerable EV force today. Do you think it will become one in the next years?

Ford launched the Mustang Mach-E Rally at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. No technical details yet, but it’ll come on sale in the US and Europe. (link)

Ford has slashed the price of its F-150 Lightning, in some trims by as much as $10,000 in the US and CAD15k ($11.4k) in Canada (link). The carmaker says that increased plant capacities and upgrades, continued work on scaling production and cost, and improved battery raw material costs allowed it to lower prices. I’ve also seen plenty first-account rumors that the F-150 Lightnings have been piling up in the dealership lots… I wonder if it’s true and this here is a reaction to that.

Renault announced it’ll end the production of one of the OG small EVs from September — the Renault Twizy. (link)

33,340 Twizys have been sold so far, in 55 countries globally.

👋 Twizy, I know a lot of people loved you

It will, however, be replaced with a rather similar Mobilize (Renault brand) Duo, which is 20m longer and 8cm narrower.

Just in today, Renault has also now put a specific end date on the production of the Zoe: 30th March 2024. (link) 420,000 Zoes have been produced since it started in 2012.

WATCH TIP: The ‘urban camo’ Cybertruck up close (video). And the Cybertruck wrapped to look like an F-150 (photo)

will we see this one trolling around the streets soon?

And another: Aptera entered the validation phase for its (ultra)aerodynamic shape at Pininfarina’s wind tunnel (1m video).

BMW started series production of the i5 in the Dingolfing plant in Germany along with the new fossil counterparts of the 5 series. (link) (video)

India rejects plans for the joint venture of BYD and its Indian partner Megha’s for an $1B EV and battery plant in the country. This comes per the “Security concerns with respect to Chinese investments in India were flagged during the deliberations.” (link)

Rivian can move ahead with its $5B EV facility production plans in Georgia (link).

VinFast will hold a groundbreaking ceremony at its $4B EV factory in North Carolina tomorrow, on July 28th. (link)

It seems we (or… I, at least) might’ve overlooked one interesting clause in the US’ IRA battery subsidies: all battery materials that are recycled in the US are considered American-made and will qualify for the incentives. (link)

Tata Motors plans to build a 40 GWh gigafactory in the UK. The over £4B ($5.18B) investment will deliver batteries for JLR and Tata Motors and possibly other automakers, starting in 2026. (link) This is Britain’s largest cell project so far and doubles UK’s battery pipeline capacity. FT estimates the UK gov will subsidize the plant with around £500M ($647.5M). (link)

Northvolt’s own Peter Carlsson writes about the importance of building sustainable batteries in regions with available renewable energy with low carbon supply chains. ⚡️ 

Redwood Materials is reportedly in talks to raise $700 million at a $5 billion valuation, to finance another recycling plant in Nevada. (link)

READING TIP: Recurrent analyses its connected fleet to understand how different outside temperatures affect the range of select EVs (link).

The major news in charging came in yesterday for North America — 7 automakers, BMW, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes and Stellantis, created a joint venture to put up 30k DC chargers in North America by 2030.

The chargers go up in “urban and highway locations”, feature both NACS and CCS connectors (remember, Mercedes and GM have already said they’ll adopt NACS), and the first location is to open in the US in the summer of 2024, and later in Canada.

Here’s my two Watts:

  • Yay — solid joint venture with a good cause, what’s not to like?

  • Timing — no doubt this is meant to take advantage of the NEVI-and-similar government funds inbound.

  • Reality — I do doubt they’ll be able to put up 30k DC chargers by 2030, I wonder if they would even reach half of it. But I’d love to see it happen.

  • Similar — looks kind of like the IONITY network in Europe (a joint venture of BMW Group, Ford, Hyundai, Mercedes, and VW Group).

  • Reliability — and that’s the key. Government funding has some of the reliability requirement of the network embedded, but it’s also up for the business itself to keep the chargers working. We all know the Electrify America stories…

Well, that was five Watts actually, but don’t worry, no extra charge.

Here are the results of our poll on if card payments should be required at chargers from our last report:

64.45% of the 45 of our respondents said card payments should be required, against 35.55% saying cardpay shouldn’t be a required option for charging. I’ll highlight some:

For: “Why ever not? Seems to be a simple, effective & efficient solution to charging costs & the welter of different "fobs". Fossil fuel "charging" works like like this since ever...”

Against: “I am paying digital via plug & charge - with accounts at Tesla or ENBW for example - my billing data are on their platforms and I get a transparent billing after charging. I think we will get more and more digital and don't need this card payments solutions on chargers. It would be a waste of money to implement this.”

Against: “Card reader introduces opportunity for theft and cyber vulnerability.”

PS to all the comments: thank you. And in case you want to leave your name along with the comment in this newsletter, leave it within the form alongside the comment. To ensure anonymity, I’ll never use your name without this. :)

The EU-wide EV charging infrastructure targets we’ve covered here before are now officially set, adopted by the European Parliament and European Council. (link), (82-page pdf). It will be published after the summer and will likely come into effect in the first half of 2024.

The agreement states that:

  • From 2025, there has to be at least a station with 150kW chargers along every 60 km (37 mi) of the EU main transport corridors (TEN-T).

  • From 2025, heavy-duty charging with a minimum 350kW will also need to be deployed every 60km in the TEN-T core network and every 100 km on the larger TEN-T network, with complete network coverage by 2030.

Now, it also comes with some rather interesting requirements, some of which touches on our cardpay topic above:

  • users of electric vehicles must be able to pay easily at recharging points with payment cards or contactless devices without a need for a subscription and in full price transparency.

  • operators of recharging points must provide consumers full information through electronic means on the availability, waiting time, or price at different stations.

MEPs promised that the Commission will set up an EU “database” on alternative fuels data by 2027 to provide consumers with information on the availability, waiting times, or prices at different stations.

We can some CPOs falling in line already, for example we’ve seen Tesla deploying its new V4 Superchargers in Europe with small displays and contactless card payment systems. Here’s the latest video from one installed in Austria, yet to be activated (video).

If you are in the UK, consider participating in the “Great EV Charging Survey 2023” by EV Association of England (link).

Nissan adopts Tesla NACS for its Ariya and future EV models.
Hyundai says “we will decide soon.” (link)

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Think you can handle more? I’m dropping another newsletter called the Pro Report full of insights on plans, partnerships, funding rounds and anything curious in our EV verse. Get in here. 

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