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EVU Report: EU vs China EVs — UAW strikes — Lithium in an US supervolcano

Hey, Jaan here.

I’m really happy today.

That’s because today we reached 4,000 of us right here, subscribers to the EV Universe. 🥳 

I’m grateful you are with us. Keep fighting the good fight.

Ok, with this out of the way, let’s jump right into our industry insights — I’ve found plenty to report on:

EU and China EV battle is heating up, the Big Three in US are hit with a strike and UK’s EV subscription Onto collapses. As usual, coupled with plenty of other news to buzz about too.

Words: 1,901 | Reading time: 9 minutes 

Before I kick off, here’s something (someone) great I want to introduce to you:

The Dunne Insights newsletter, from Michael Dunne.

I’ve featured Michael’s podcast interviews in 7 of our newsletters now and I love the EV industry backstories I learn from these. Subscribe for both his interview drops and weekly overviews of the EV industry here: (link).

Now, back to Jaan’s rants on everything EV.

EU against China EV imports

We saw this coming, but:

European Commission started an investigation into whether to impose tariffs to protect the EU against Chinese EV imports, which benefit from (their) state subsidies. (link)

I was about to write a whole story on this here, but then realized that Bloomberg’s headline from yesterday summed it all up nicely (link):

  • EU says China’s policies result in cheap cars flooding markets

  • Chinese state media says Europe is afraid of competition

United Auto Workers strike 

UAW organizes strikes in the US “Big 3” automakers: General Motors, Stellantis and Ford.

Never before has the strike been organized at all three of the automakers with ~150k in workforce potentially up for the strike. After midnight yesterday, around 12,700 workers walked out on a Ford plant in Michigan that makes Bronco SUVs, a General Motors factory in Missouri that assembles Chevrolet Colorado pickups and a Stellantis plant in Ohio that builds Jeep Wrangler SUVs.

Here’s what UAW is demanding and what automakers are offering (link):

Currently, the sides don’t seem to be reaching an agreement. The UAW’s initial list of demands was projected to cost each of the companies $80 billion over four years. Sources say 8 engine and transmission plants will soon be targeted too, which would soon shut plenty other facilities down. (link)

Here’s a headline I liked from Steve Levine of The Electric: In Contract Talks, Detroit Avoids the Real Issue: Making Desirable EVs. Meanwhile, Trump uses all this to say electric cars are a disaster for US (link).

Ford CEO, Jim Farley, says the UAW proposal could force bankruptcy, and Ford’s press release on it says it would “more than double Ford’s current UAW-related labor costs, which are already significantly higher than the labor costs of Tesla, Toyota and other foreign-owned automakers in the United States that utilize non-unionrepresented labor. (link)

My two Watts:

  1. It’s clear whatever happens, this will hurt the bottom line of these three automakers. Which in turn potentially hurt their EV offerings.

  2. At least, hopefully, the workers get something out of it.

Now imagine running plants where workers are still motivated, yet your company doesn’t have to deal with the UAW… who is the real winner here?

Onto collapse

Onto, the EV subscription company in the UK, has now filed for administration. (link) It had a fleet of 7,000 EVs (mostly Fiat, Peugeot and Opels) and ~ 20,000 subscribers. Onto had raised a total of over $350M to fund its growth. We covered Onto’s oncoming problems in our Pro Report in mid-July, when the previous investor L&G said they won’t provide any more funding.

“Onto has suffered from the steep fall in electric vehicle residual value in the first half of 2023, rising interest rates, and the squeeze on disposable income and was unable to secure additional funding from its shareholders. After entering administration, Onto will continue to serve existing customers as the administrators explore strategic options.”

Gavin Maher, joint administrator

It saddens me. Yes, business like this is never easy, but there aren’t many better ways to really impact EV adoption more than with the electric rental/subscription fleets.

Perhaps Onto’s main competitor in the UK, the Octopus Electric Vehicles, is in better shape? It has raised £650M in total and handles financing in-house. It also now has over 100 models to choose from. (link)

You can’t make this up:

An EV driver in Georgia called the police on the US Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm, after her staff blocked a public charger with a gasoline car to “reserve” it for her upcoming convoy of EVs. The convoy she was using to highlight the White House investment in EVs. (link)

A few more watts:

  • Autonomy acquires EV Mobility, aka the largest EV subscription company in the US acquires an B2B electric car-share platform. (link)

  • Ten Teslas were destroyed in a parking lot fire in Frankfurt this week, torched by environmental protesters (video) (link). 🤦 Notable: you can see the Teslas wholly burned, yet the batteries did not catch on fire.

  • Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are the “least stolen” vehicles in the US, per this IIHS study (link) (21-page report). These models are 33 times less likely to be stolen than the average.*

  • 📚️ Arrival: the rise and fall of Britain’s EV unicorn, by The Fast Charge (link).

  • 📚️ Study tip: Strategy& released its Powertrain study 2023.

  • 👀 Watch tip: Florian Minderop from MisterGreen explains how they plan to reach a fleet of 15,000 Teslas, as they are already at ~5k (2h30min interview by Remo Uherek).

* On the other end of the spectrum, the SVP Matt Moore says: “If you own a Hellcat, you better check your driveway.”

Here’s the first look & drive on the Lotus Eletre and the just-revealed Lotus Hyper-GT Emeya - by Marques Brownlee (video).

The Emeya hyper-GT:

The Chevy Blazer EV reservation holders have started to receive the personal configuration links. You can’t find the configurator link on their site, but if you click here, you can access the configurator. Just note, that only reservation holders can actually submit their orders.

For some reason, I couldn’t take the price lower than $58,215… which even then excludes taxes, dealer mark-up etc. So much for launching Blazer as the affordable EV?

A few more watts:

  • Refreshed Model 3: we did a deep dive on everything about the revamp in last week’s Teslaverse #4 newsletter. Now, there are additional specs that have surfaced from China’s regulatory filing (link).

  • New BEV range world record: 2,753 kilometres (1,710 miles), achieved by this project from TU Munich. (link) This was done in an empty airplane hangar and covered in 99 hours, and consumed 0.6kWh/100km on average.

  • Lexie Alford started her trip around the world in the new all-electric Ford Explorer. (link)

  • Mach-E Rally: “The First Mustang to Live on Tarmac and Play in the Dirt” (2min video)

You don’t hear this every day:

An ancient supervolcano that exploded around 16 million years ago, located on the border of Nevada and Oregon, is now found to hold 20 to 40 million tonnes (up to 120M) metric tons of lithium. (link) (paper)

This would mean it’s 12x larger than the lithium amount in the salt flats in Bolivia, considered the largest lithium deposit on Earth so far. Lithium Americas says mining could begin as early as 2026.

Musk commented this with: “Lithium ore is common, lithium refining is the limiting factor.”

The global weighted average price for lithium-ion cell prices has dropped below $100/kWh for the first time in two years on the back of falling raw material prices. (link) Latest analysis from Benchmark Mineral Intelligence put the average at $98.2/kWh, a 33% drop from the $146.4 high in March last year.

Fast bites:

  • NIO 🤝 SVOLT to jointly develop large cylindrical cells (link)

  • Rimac 🤝 EVE Energy for producing 46xx battery cells in Europe (link)

  • Ascend Elements, a lithium-ion battery materials and recycling platform, raised $542M in Series D led by Decarbonization Partners (BlackRock), Temasek, and Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).

Volkswagen is slowing down its EV production, cutting 269 temporary contracts when they soon expire at its electric car factory in Zwickau due to the „current market situation“. (link)

Market situation” as I see it: Corporate fleet orders accounted for ~70% of VW’s EVs so far — and with Germany dropping subsidies + the obvious incoming competition + VWs own next-gen BEV lineup not coming for several more years… I’d say there’s plenty to be worried about.

The fate of ~2000 more temporary workers remains uncertain, sources say. So does the fate of VW, I say.

BMW invests £600M ($743M) in its Oxford, UK plant to build new all-electric Mini and turn the plant fully electric by 2030. (link) UK gov will support this with £75M.

In one chart:

It took a decade to sell the first million all-electric vehicles in the US. It took two years to reach the second million, and just over a year to reach the third million in Q1 this year. (link) In the 12 months through June, Americans bought 977,445 cars that run solely on electricity, according to Bloomberg Green.

Let’s start with some stats my mind can’t really handle:

China now has 2.27 million public chargers, with 54,000 installed on average per month. This includes 963k DC chargers and 1.3M AC chargers. (link)

These chargers provided a total of around 3.26 billion kWh of electricity in August alone, up 39.8% from last year. Counting the private charging infrastructure, China has 7.208 million charging units (both AC and DC).

A few more watts:

  • The US gov opened applications for the EV Charger Reliability and Accessibility Accelerator, which will provide up to $100M to repair and replace existing but non-operational charging infrastructure. (link) (Notice of Funding, applications by Nov 13th)

  • ChargeScape is a new joint venture in North America created by BMW, Ford and Honda, which aims to create a low-cost platform to connect energy providers with carmakers and EV owners. (link) Starting from smart charging, but aims to provide V2G features.

  • Hilton plans to install up to 20,000 Tesla Universal Wall Connectors at 2,000 hotels in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico

  • EVgo ships its first 350kW fast chargers that comply with the Build America, Buy America Act (BABA) specifications — made by Delta Electronics (link). Read: these are eligible for the gov funding.

  • Siemens Foundation started a $30M, ten-year workforce development initiative in the US for the EV charging sector, called EVeryone Charging Forward. (link)

  • Only EV drivers get it: “it’s 11:59pm and nobody is plugged into the supercharger, all of us waiting until it hits midnight for that off-peak charging price to hit. (tweet) The price drop of $0.50 to $0.11/kWh is worth waiting a few minutes.

  • Tesla isn't just winning the NEVI grants in the US, it gets funded in Europe too. Tesla will receive €148.7M of €352M in the fourth AFIF funding round (42%). With this, Tesla will deploy 7,198 of 250kW charge points in 687 locations, in 22 countries. Here are all the recipients (pdf). Congrats to our friends at Eleport and Enefit Volt for also taking a piece of this pie to accelerate your impact.

In pictures:

Tesla installed its 50,000th Supercharger in Roseville, CA:

This is what the future looks like:

I’m actually surprised how wide this tweet post went on X. Wild.

"Everyone knows that profits in electromobility are made later. In China, where we went into high volumes early on, we will soon reach the profit zone. […] We want to be at the forefront of electromobility. It is becoming our core business.”

CEO of Bosch, Stefan Hartung

That’s it for today. This issue went out to 4,007 subscribers.

If you’re left thirsty for extra EV insights, consider joining our premium version — to level up both your game and mine. For example, there’s another 2,500-word Pro Report I’m sending today, accessible only to members.

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I' read all the comments there, so do let me know what you think. Anyway, it’s been a pleasure. Have a great weekend!

— Jaan

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