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  • EVU PRO Report #126: ⚡️ NIO ET9 launch — 🔋 Battery tests through charging port — 📉 VW cuts costs

EVU PRO Report #126: ⚡️ NIO ET9 launch — 🔋 Battery tests through charging port — 📉 VW cuts costs

Caution! 800V! ⚡️

Hey, Pro!

Jaan here.

Our last Pro Report of the year. And it’s a good one.

Thank you for being with us here — it is your contribution to the EV Universe that has allowed me to work on what I love, through the whole of 2023. No place I’d rather be.

I hope you’ll have a Zappy New Year!

Words: 2,263 | Time to read: 12 minutes

PS! This issue is better viewed online, as I couldn’t fit enough EV pictures in the email and we’ve got quite a few in our spotlight section today. 🙂 

Half of the Ford dealers in US (~1.5k) have chosen to only sell ICE and hybrids in 2024. (link) 86% of the US population will be within 20 miles of a Ford dealership that can sell and service a Ford EV. A year ago, Farley had said they have secured commitments from 2 out of 3 dealers to sell EVs (and do the necessary investments).

Meanwhile, GM offered to buy out the Buick dealers that don’t want to go EV and invest $300k-$300k — and with data from last week — nearly 50% took the buyout this year. (link) This will leave the US with ~1,000 Buick stores across the US for 2024.

VW has now, after “intense negotiations”, agreed on key points in a paper for the three-year “Accelerate Forward/ Road to 6.5” cost-cutting measures (link). VW brand projects that the program will deliver positive earnings contributions of up to €4B in 2024. Few picks by me from the release:

  • Reduced personnel costs especially in the administrative units by 20%, extends partial retirement schemes;

  • Optimized costs and performance to achieve the 6.5% profitability target for 2026;

  • VW maintains hiring freeze;

  • The number of test vehicles in Technical Development will be reduced by up to 50% as digitalization and technological advances enable more testing to be carried out on test rigs, saving €400M/year.

  • improved procurement services to save €320M/year;

  • enhanced after-sales business to generate €250M/year

  • optimization of production time €200M/year: “Development times for new VW models will be cut from 50 to 36 months so that vehicles are brought to market faster without sacrificing quality or safety.”

 The EU Council has given the green light to the EU Commission’s proposal to postpone EV tariffs between the UK and the EU — will now apply from 2027 (link)

Maryland becomes the 10th US state to sign up for the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) regulation initiated by California (link)

Reading tip: How a Trump victory would impact U.S. EV policy,” by Levi Tillemann, VP for Policy and International Outreach at Ample


  • NIO raised $2.2B from the Abu-Dhabi government-owned fund CYVN. (link) In July we reported in our Pro Report that CYVN invested $738.5M in the carmaker, now it owns 20.1% of NIO’s total issued and outstanding shares.

  • Alpha Motors is again raising money on StartEngine —raised $128.6k currently at a $350.11M valuation (previously crowdfunded nearly $2M). (link) Alpha claims it has over 66K preorder indications received so far. I wonder how much harder it is to raise for Alpha considering the huge crash and burn of the crowdfunding journey of Atlis (now $NXU at $3M market cap).

  • Louélec, a Canadian electric carsharing fleet management platform, raised $3M from Desjardins, to buy 400 more EVs for Uber and taxi drivers (link)

It feels like this section is, and will increasingly be, dominated by Chinese EV players. Interestingly, the competition has gone so wide there that there are plenty of smaller players launching EVs that we don’t even report here yet.


NIO unveiled ET9, its “smart electric executive flagship” at its NIO Day 2023:

Looking at this, I feel like NIO made the Audi A6 Avant e-tron before Audi itself (link)

Links: product page | press release | 30-sec ad video

What we learned:

  • Pre-orders open for RMB 800,000 (~$112,150),
    Deliveries scheduled for Q1 2025.

  • Architecture 900V platform (up to 925V),

  • Battery: 120kWh will be equipped with Nio's in-house developed 46105 large cylindrical battery cells

  • Charging: up to 600 kW at 765A

  • Performance: 340kW permanent magnet motor with SiC at the rear and 180kW induction in front

  • Chassis: Steer by wire system, Rear wheel steering and full active suspension. A torsional stiffness of 52,600Nm/deg. The steer by wire is likely the tech from Germany’s ZF Group which partnered with NIO in late 2022.

  • Infotainment runs on SkyOS, NIO’s in-house developed vehicle OS.

  • Four seats for an executive cabin space, rear seats move like this.

  • L 5,325mm, W 2,016mm, H 1,620mm, wheelbase 3,250mm

To demonstrate the capabilities of the new intelligent suspension system, Li showed a demonstration video of an ET9 prototype with a four-tiered tower of champagne at the front of the car going over a speed bump without spilling the champagne: (video)

Here’s a 3-minute walkaround video of the ET9 (video):

More of the other NIO Day learnings in the Charging section.

In other news — NIO CEO William Li personally drove 1,044 km (649 miles) during a livestream on a single charge in a NIO ET7. (link) Here’s the full 12-hour livestream (12h video). The car was equipped with its 150 kWh semi-solid battery pack and average speed came to 83.9km/h (52mph). WeLion expects to begin supplying semi-solid-state battery cells to NIOs 150kWh pack in volume in April 2024.


Zeekr now officially launched the Zeekr 007, with a starting price of just $29,390. (link) Zeekr says it has received over 51,569 orders for the vehicle since the debut 40 days ago. The long-range variant, powered by CATL Qilin batteries, can support 870km (CLTC) of range, goes 0-100km/h in 2.84s in rolling start and (naturally) runs on a 800V platform.

Exeed (Chery brand) launches Sterra ES, an electric sedan starting at ~$31.6k and a range of 550-905 km (342 mi-562 mi) (link).

Galaxy, Geely’s new EV brand, started the pre-sales of its first EV: Galaxy E8 sedan starting from 188,000 yuan ($26.6k), deliveries set for January 2024. It’s based on the Geely SEA 400V platform and goes up to 620km (385mi) on the 76kWh LFP battery. (link) 0-62mph in 3.49s. The E8 has a 45’’ screen on the center console.

BYD launched its electric SUV Song L, received more than 28,000 pre-orders (link).

Cadillac shows Vistiq, an 3-row SUV going on sale in US in 2025 (link)

Huawei reportedly to build dedicated stores for models it makes with automakers, expected to reach 800 stores in 2024 and 1,000 in 2025, according to local media. (link)

Acura ZDX, first all-electric vehicle from the maker, is now open to reservations in the US, expected to start at $60k and get an EPA range of up to 325 miles. (link) (specs)

Volvo reportedly plans to launch the ES90 luxury sedan in 2025. (link)

🕵️‍♂️ Little-camo shots of the A6 Avant E-Tron (link)

Renault 5 E-Tech electric will be unveiled on 26 February at the Geneva International Motor Show, one of the options will have a 400km WLTP range on 52kWh battery. The starting price will be “around €25,000”. Few design element teasers here (link)

RECALL: Toyota recalls 25,815 bZ3 EVs in China due to inaccurate remaining power estimate. “Some vehicles' dashboards may show a higher remaining battery charge than actual, and in extreme cases, the vehicle can lose power before the charging warning light comes on.” (link)

Perhaps one for our discovery list (last we wrote about them was in 2021):

ReJoule has now become the first startup I know of to successfully perform a test on an EV battery health through the charging port.

They did this with a Bolt and Model 3, and will now expand the lineup to trial the beta version commercially. Carsales.com just invested in the company (not sure how much, but I found the total private investment in 2023 was $565k) and they’ve got >$13M in grants this year ($19M total).

RedBook Inspect, a carsales. com affiliate, will be one of the beta users for the system’s pilot early next year.

Zoom out: Most of the additional lithium mined in 2023 (the +24% increase) came from ramp up and expansions of already existing projects, via Benchmark:

LG Chem starts construction of its 60,000-tonne/year NCMA cathode material plant in Clarksville, Tennessee. Should be largest of its kind in US. Was supposed to start in Q1 this year, ops now scheuled to start for 2026. (link) It will also secure a supply chain from FTA nations so it’ll remain IRA compliant.

Changan Auto 🤝 Ganfeng Lithium (world’s largest market cap lithium producer), to set up a 50-50 joint venture to develop and built solid-state batteries. (link)

Resource tip: German researchers from Aachen University and VDMA launched the 2nd edition of the “Recycling of Lithium-ion Batteries” guide (28-page pdf)


US Strategic Metals (USSM) raises $230M from Appian Capital Advisory for its cobalt and nickel mine and a hydrometallurgical recycling plant in Missouri. (link)

Relyion raises $4.4M in seed funding from Active Impact Investments and Planeteer Capital. (link) Relyion Energy “takes used EV batteries and, using proprietary hardware and AI-driven software, links a number of them up to form a larger unit that can be cheaper than typical industrial battery systems.”

Schaeffler has acquired further 29.88% of Vitesco, now owns nearly 80% of the company (confirming the takeover plans we talked about a few months ago) (link).

Neta and LK Technology will jointly develop a die-casting machine in the 20,000-ton class, which is expected to reduce the manufacturing time of vehicle chassis from 1-2 hours to 1-2 minutes. (link)

Graph tip: Where do China EV exports go to (12-month rolling averages below) (link)

Tesla confirms GM and Ford will gain access to the Supercharger network in February (link)

Audi and Porsche recall over 93,000 of the 40-amp 220/240-volt charging cables they’ve delivered with their EVs and PHEVs in the US from 2019-2024, due to excessive heat generated by the cables charging at home. (link)

At NIO Day 2023, NIO launched the fourth-generation NIO Power Swap Stations and the 640kW Liquid Cooled Power Charger (765A, 1000V). (link) PSS 4.0 is compatible with multiple brands (we’ve seen deals with Geely and Changan) and reduces the overall swapping time by 22%. The rooftop has solar. In 2024, NIO plans to build 1000 Power Swap Stations and 20,000 chargers, further enhancing the charging experience for users.

Deployment & Plans

Germany: First of the 900 charging sites of Deutschlandnetz opened, with Fastned inaugurating the first 4×400kW on the A4 motorway. (link) The company also celebrated tenth anniversary of its very first fast charging station in the Netherlands (link)

Croatia: GreenWay plans to install 300 chargers of 100-400kW in Croatia over the next three to five years. (link)

Canada’s first bi-directional EV charging hub for electric buses has launched in British Columbia, in a pilot project between Coast to Coast Experiences (CTCE, their e-buses used), BC Hydro (the utility), Lion Electric (maker of the buses), BorgWarner (chargers), PowerTech Labs (BC Hydro subsidiary), and Fermata Energy (the V2G software platform). (link)

WeaveGrid 🤝 Wallbox to offer wind-powered EV charging for Colorado EV drivers, through accessing Xcel Energy’s Charging Perks program. (link)

With the Zeekr battery unveil, the automaker also announced it has so far opened 401 ultra-fast charging stations in China with over 2,200 charging piles of 360 kW. (link) It plans to expand to 1,000 ultra-fast stations in 2024 and have 10,000 up in 2026.

UK: Osprey’s network has increased from 400 to 1,500 fast chargers this year (link)

US: City of Los Angeles orders Beam Global EV ARC off-gird solar EV charging systems. (link) The systems fit in a standard parking space and are equipped with two Enel X JuiceBox Pro chargers.

If you want to dig deeper, I also found their pricing for every possible setup of the Beam EV ARC’s (both with ChargePoint and Enel chargers) and I uploaded it for you here. And you can dig deeper on the rest of the contract details here.

The City of Los Angeles’ Electric Vehicle Master Plan (21-page pdf) aims to have 45,000 chargers by 2025 and 123k by 2030.

Funding, M&A

AmpUp was awarded an $1.7M grant by the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURA) for a project where AmpUp’s tech will regulate charging at stations, smoothing out demand spikes. (link) AmpUp’s network represents over 30% of all networked Level 2 charging stations in the State of Connecticut as well as over 94% of all private chargers in the state, also has 96.4% charge session success rate there.

Exponent Energy raises $26.4M in series B, led by Eight Roads Ventures (has raised $44.4M total). Exponent develops the “e-stack” – LFP battery pack, charging station, and connector — tailored for Indian last-mile logistics market. The stack is currently in use with over 500 EVs that have covered over 3M km so far.

TotalEnergies acquires three startups from its TotalEnergies On acceleration program in Paris — including taking 56% stake in Time2plug which developed a “marketplace where customers can obtain instant quotes and tap into a certified in-house installer network in a highly efficient way thanks to the digitization of the entire process.” (link)

Norway: state-owned Enova agency funds €5.3M to install 108 chargers in 19 heavy-duty EV charging hubs (link).

The UK government has awarded £4.8M ($6.1M) to four projects to develop V2X technologies (link)

That’s it for this year! And what a year it’s been. We shall return in the third week of January. Meanwhile, there’s another 2.5k-word report in your inbox next to this one.

See you soon.

— Jaan

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