Friday 4th May 2018.
VW BATTERY ANNOUNCEMENT GOES UNDER THE RADAR
- There was another big auto event and it wasn’t Tesla’s Q1 results. It was VW’s AGM. Tesla has a market capitalisation of $48.2bn. Shortly after the Q1 results and a strange earning call you and I will get onto later, VW signed battery contracts.
- And let me put this out there. Every single article I read today talked about Tesla losing value due to Elon Musk’s attitude on the investor call. Let me throw something your way, which might not be the whole reason, but I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere.
- Just after the Tesla announcement, VW Group said they have contracts on their battery supply and associated technology worth way more than previously announced. Worth DOUBLE previously announced.
- VW Group said they have contracts worth 40bn Euros, that’s $48bn. What did I just say Tesla was worth? That’s right, VW signed purchase contracts for just one part of their electric cars worth the whole of Tesla ? autos and energy combined. My mind is a little blown.
- By 2025 VW will sell 3 million pure electric cars every single year, Chief Executive Officer Herbert Diess told investors Thursday at the annual shareholder meeting in Berlin. VW currently makes more cars in four days than Tesla does in a year and has enormous firepower.
- “By 2020 we will offer our customers more than 25 new electric models and more than 20 plug-in hybrids,” Diess said. “In just a few years’ time, then, across all brands and regions, we aim to put the world’s largest fleet of electric vehicles on the road.”
KIA UNVEILS NIRO EV IN JEJU
- Kia Motors took us by surprise yesterday by unveiling the pure BEV version of its Niro crossover, at the fifth “Electric Vehicle Expo” on the resort island of Jeju. Korea’s second largest carmaker showed off its Niro alongside the Niro PHEV and the Soul EV.
- The Niro is interesting because many people went gaga for the Hyundai Kona earlier this year, particularly the long range version with a 64kWh LGChem pack, with thermal management, and although the price isn’t known it won’t be Tesla prices.
- And now it’s sister company Kia to take the spotlight. The Niro has the same parts, so can do 380 kilometres on a single charge of the 64kWh pack or 240 km on the smaller 39.2 kWh battery.
- Also, for Kia prices you get front collision avoidance, lane keeping assist and highway driving assist systems.
- Last year Kia sold 23,647 Niro hybrids and plug-in hybrid models.
- Kia plans to begin selling the Niro EV in the domestic market sometime soon after July, having received more than 5,000 pre-orders for the Niro EVs in February.
- Both Hyundai and Kia models will be supply restricted for a long time.
GO INSIDE THE RIMAC FACTORY FOR A CLOSER LOOK
- CNET has posted a video of the Rimac factory. They say: “The Rimac C Two promises to make 1,914 horsepower and 1,696 pound-feet of torque, which should propel the car to 60 miles per hour in 1.85 seconds. Rimac estimates that the C Two’s top speed will be around 258 miles per hour. While the preproduction car debuted at Geneva this year, Rimac estimates that it will be over a year before they start getting delivered to customers.”
- I’ll post a link to CNET in the show notes. they say the video offers a look into the Rimac factory and “explains how a Croatian electric hypercar startup came to source the wheels for its 2,000 hp car from a relatively small bespoke wheel company in sunny Vista, California.”
- The video is 6mins long and if you like close up super slo-motions, you’re in for a treat.
FAREWELL FLUFFERBOT & EARNINGS CALL REACTION
- The Tesla earnings call was very entertaining for someone not invested in the company. Elon was tolerant at best of some of the questions, especially things he thought were dumb to ask. Some highlights?
- Supercharger V3 network – something along the lines of 200-250kW is ultimate for pack size and C rating. Elon is open to other car makers using the network, for a fee.
- Share Price – The company’s share price dropped 5% on Wednesday and slid further on Thursday, wiping more than $3.4bn off the value of the company
- Model Y production – set to start within 24 months, 2020 being later than a Reuters report suggested, and it won’t be at Fremont. That new facility’s location hasn’t been decided yet.
- Semi – 2,000 reserved. They’re not actively selling. Musk said they could build a 500mile truck today, and by the time it launches, they’ll have 600miles cracked. Is that because all these road tests are showing the letting regen do it’s work on a heavy truck is giving them more range? Or platooning? Or better battery tech we don’t know about? One thing JB Straubel said, when it was pointed out Daimler said the Semi was against the laws of physics, he didn’t feel Daimler understood exactly what Tesla could do with batteries.
- China – He also mentioned that a Gigafactory for China would also be announced soon. And every future Giga factory would have car production and battery production under one roof.
- Cells – Cells used in Model 3 are the highest energy density cells used in any electric vehicle. “We have achieved this by significantly reducing cobalt content per battery pack while increasing nickel content and still maintaining superior thermal stability.”
- He gave us an insight into why the robots had held up production of the Model 3, including a machine which was trying to automate the process of bonding some fluff on top of the battery pack to deaden the sound, which is turns out wasn’t needed anyway. And the machine couldn’t match it up in the right place, a machine Elon dubbed Flufferbot. Sadly, it had to go. In a moment of pure internet, a Flufferbot now has it’s own twitter account.
- And in a moment which reminded me of pure Steve Jobs, when he wanted Apple to be a private company which didn’t answer to bozo analysts (although I think analysts are a fine bunch of folk) Elon let rip. He cut off one question and then, after another, took a 14 second pause and went to a young YouTuber who seems to have found his way onto the call by way of a campaign to ask one question for retail investors. Elon kept him on for TWELVE questions.
- So established media and analysts got upset because their exclusive club had been gate-crashed and they had a good moan online today.
- Bernstein: “Beneath the bizarre theatrics, however, we see Tesla’s Q1 as in-line with expectations on most metrics, including revenues, gross margins, and free cash flow.”
- Morgan Stanley: “Irrespective of the Tesla CEO’s annoyance with the genre of questions he was receiving from the analyst community, we note that an important part of Tesla’s success has been its relationship with the capital markets in funding its ambitious plans.”
- JP Morgan: “We expect TSLA to fall today after CEO Elon Musk dismissed multiple analyst questions as ‘dry’ and ‘boring’ (including questions probing what we feel are key topics, such as profitability of the Model 3 and the company’s capital requirements).”
- Piper Jaffray: ” The unorthodox behaviour sparked an after-hours sell-off. We still recommend TSLA, but in the next few months especially, we would expect significant volatility.”
- Baird: “Ignore the noise and focus on metrics. TSLA reported solid results and is successfully ramping Model 3 vehicle and battery production”
- Nomura: “No shareholder wants to see a CEO lose his patience over important, albeit mundane questions”
- Evercore ISI: “”‘Wow’ is the only way to describe the Tesla Q1 call which was unlike anything we have heard before.”
NEW SWEDISH CAR POLICIES EXPECTED TO BOOST ELECTRIC CAR MARKET SHARE IN SWEDEN
- Zachary at Clean Technica has picked up on a story about new tax in Sweden from July which will penalise gas and diesel, whilst plug ins get a boost.
- In the first three years of owning an ICE car based on CO2 emissions. Sweden has 6.1% of new vehicle registrations being plug ins, and previous 5 year exemption to vehicle tax is now completely removed and zero emission vehicles get a bonus up to 25% of the list price, which is up to $6,700, for something like a Nissan LEAF. Whereas buying a BMW i3 REX gets you $5,600 bonus.
ENPHASE REPORTS ‘DECENT’ Q1 2018 EARNINGS AS CFO RESIGNS
- And the last story today, a bit of solar. First up Enphase, makers of micro-inverters. Which particularly interest me, I don’t have solar at the moment and really want to start adding some. However I also want to cashflow it, and also want to build up with some on the garage roof before any on the house. So micro-inverters would be an interesting way to scale up if i get some solar this year. I like that each panel can generate grid-ready AC power.
- Their latest results were $70m of revenue in Q1 18 and their cash balance was almost double, largely due to private equity investment in the quarter.
- They shipped 611,000 micro inverters last year. The IQ7, their latest model now available in the US and UK, soon Germany and Austria.
- “Unlike the rest of its inverters, the IQ 8 platform is designed to support both grid-tied and off-grid applications, supported by the company’s Ensemble software” say GreenTechMedia.
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