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Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening wherever you are in the world, welcome to EV News Daily, you trusted source of EV information. It’s Monday 6th March it’s Martyn Lee here and I go through every EV story so you don’t have to.
FRANCE’S PLUGIN EV MARKET SHARE REACHES 23.8%
In February 2023, France’s plugin electric vehicle (EV) market share reached 23.8%, up from 20.1% YoY, with full electrics driving the growth. The Dacia Spring remains the best-selling full electric for the third consecutive month, followed by the Tesla Model Y and Peugeot e208. The Renault Megane and MG4 also continue to perform well.
Traditional combustion-only powertrains have experienced their fourth consecutive month at under 50% market share, declining to 49.0%. Diesel-only powertrains are also declining, currently standing at 11.7% share and predicted to fall to under 10% by summer.
Despite some recent economic recovery and supply chain improvements, the overall auto market may be constrained by negative economic sentiment, though plugin vehicles remain competitive in total cost of ownership, leading to further growth in their relative demand.
Tesla’s Berlin production is ramping up, with around 18,000 Model Y units produced per month and more supply arriving from Shanghai. With potential doubling of supply volumes, the Model Y is expected to remain Europe’s best-selling EV in 2023, barring pricing adjustments.
MAZDA MX-30 SALES DISAPPOINT IN THE US
The newly introduced 2023 Mazda MX-30 electric vehicle (EV) is not selling well in the US, with only two sales in February and nine in January. This could be due to a limited supply of the vehicle or weak demand, as it is not eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit and has a base price of $34,110. Mazda does not offer a long-range EV, and its representatives have stated that short-range EVs are not selling, so the company may need to consider other solutions, such as sticking to internal combustion engines.
In Europe, Mazda recently introduced the Mazda MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV plug-in hybrid, which has a 17.8 kWh battery and recharging capability. It will be interesting to see whether the hybrid MX-30 will be more successful in Europe later this year. Mazda plans to introduce more battery-electric vehicles around 2028-2030.
GERMAN MINORITY PARTY TRIES TO BLOCK EU RULE FOR 100% BEVS BY 2035
The minority party in Germany is attempting to block the EU’s plan to ban internal combustion light vehicles by 2035 as part of the European Green Deal. The Free Democratic Party (FDP) wants biofuel-powered vehicles to be exempt, hoping to support the German car industry. However, there are not enough biofuels available for a significant number of cars, and the EU regulation is necessary to ensure the transition to fully electric vehicles.
Volkswagen Group plans to go all-electric by 2033 in the EU, and other automakers are following suit. The FDP’s demand is more for the fear of the transition than real benefits for the car industry. In reality, the EU regulations help keep the German car industry competitive with China, and the transition to fully electric vehicles is necessary for the future.
Italy, Poland, and Bulgaria are also opposed to the new regulation, but Germany’s vote for the law gives it a qualified majority to adopt it. The reduction of electric car prices in the coming years will make the transition more accessible for everyone.
GM TEAMS UP WITH SAMSUNG SDI FOR BATTERY JOINT VENTURE PLANT IN MICHIGAN
General Motors (GM) has announced its partnership with Samsung SDI to build a joint venture plant in Michigan, USA. The plant will have an annual production capacity of 50 GWh and will manufacture cylindrical and prismatic batteries in addition to pouch batteries. The decision to partner with Samsung SDI instead of LG Energy Solution reflects the automaker’s efforts to diversify its battery supply. GM currently uses pouch batteries from Ultimate Cells among others in its EVs.
Samsung SDI’s joint venture with GM will mark the company’s second partnership with an automaker in North America, following the first one with Stellantis in April 2022. Analysts have suggested that Samsung SDI’s recent aggressive approach in penetrating the North American market has been thanks to the International Raw Materials Accessibility (IRA).
The GM-Samsung SDI partnership also highlights the complexity of automaker-battery maker relationships. Until now, GM has maintained an exclusive partnership with LG Energy Solution by establishing a joint venture, Ultimate Cells. However, with the failed discussions to create a fourth joint venture plant with LG Energy Solution, GM has decided to broaden its cooperation by partnering with Samsung SDI.
LI AUTO PLANS TO BUILD 800 V HIGH-VOLTAGE SUPERCHARGERS
Li Auto, the Chinese automaker that produces extended-range electric vehicles (EREVs), is apparently preparing for a shift to pure electric vehicles. Images shared by Xchuxing, a local automotive media outlet, show that the company is constructing an 800 V supercharging station at a service area in China. The charging station is expected to be completed by March 31, 2023, and will have four charging piles.
Li Auto’s current models are EREVs, but the company’s founder and CEO, Li Xiang, said in a recent media communication that they would allow two technology routes to develop in parallel: optimizing range extender efficiency and improving pure electric vehicle technology. The company’s products use the 800 V silicon carbide high-voltage platform, and Li Xiang expects that pure EV models with 80 kWh packs will have a range close to that of regular models with 100 kWh packs and will cost nearly the same as EREVs.
Li Auto plans to accumulate 3,000 supercharging stations by 2025, at a cost of RMB 10 billion ($1.45 billion), according to Li Xiang. The company’s supercharging stations will be open to other models built on the 800 V platform, ensuring that each peer brand can also charge efficiently. Li Xiang is confident in the coverage of supercharging piles along highways, as China has been encouraging car companies to build supercharging stations since last year.
TESLA CUTS PRICES ON INVENTORY VEHICLES IN EUROPE
Tesla has once again reduced the price of its electric vehicles, this time on inventory vehicles in Europe. The discount only applies to new Model 3 and Model Y vehicles with less than 50km on their odometers and not part of Tesla’s used vehicle inventory. The discount varies across Europe, ranging from 1.5% to 7%, and there doesn’t seem to be a correlation between the location and the discount. The price cut likely comes as Tesla seeks to continue building market share in the region, where competition is fierce compared to the US market.
Tesla has become known for frequently adjusting its prices in the first quarter of this year, with both minor and major adjustments occurring globally. The recent price cut on inventory vehicles in Europe saves consumers thousands of euros and is consistent with Tesla’s strategy in China, where it has also cut prices to compete with other electric vehicle manufacturers. Unfortunately, the discount does not seem to apply to vehicles in the United States.
CARBON CERAMIC BRAKE KIT FOR THE MODEL S PLAID
Tesla is set to release the Carbon Ceramic Brake Kit for the Model S Plaid, allowing the sporty sedan to reach its advertised top speed of 200 mph. This kit will cost $20,000, including installation costs via Tesla Service, and the brake parts can identify themselves in the car’s computer, enabling the car to reach its maximum speed. Tesla has sent letters to those who expressed interest in buying the kit, stating that the equipment will be released in the coming months in limited quantities.
It is worth noting that the standard brakes of the Model S Plaid have been downgraded to the same parts as the dual-motor Model S, only with a red plastic cover to make the calipers look bigger.
TESLA MODEL Y SEAT RECALL
Tesla is recalling thousands of Model Y vehicles due to an issue with the bolts securing the seat back frames to the lower seat frame. Specifically, one or more of the bolts may not have been torqued to specifications, which could cause the seat belt system to not perform as designed in a collision, potentially increasing the risk of injury to occupants in affected second-row seating positions. As of February 23, 2023, Tesla has identified five warranty claims that may be related to this issue.
This recall affects 3,470 Model Y cars from 2022-2023, and Tesla is not aware of any injuries or deaths related to this issue. Tesla will contact affected owners and schedule a service appointment to inspect and tighten the seat bolts, free of charge.
OUR NEXT ENERGY TO PROVIDE ENERGY STORAGE FOR BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY PROJECT IN W.VA.
Our Next Energy, an EV battery startup based in Novi, Michigan, has been chosen by BHE Renewables to provide its new Aries Grid energy storage units to a solar-powered manufacturing hub in Ravenswood, W.Va., worth $500 million. The site includes a Precision Castparts Corp. plant that assembles titanium products for the aerospace industry. Aries Grid, which stores solar-generated electricity during the day for use at night, uses the same lithium iron phosphate battery technology that the company uses for its electric commercial vehicles. Each Aries Grid unit comprises 78 Aries I EV battery packs, and can store energy from the grid or renewable sources such as solar or wind.
ONE will also build a factory on the Berkshire Hathaway site to assemble more battery storage systems. The company will invest $22 million to build the new Aries Grid factory, which is expected to open in 2025 and create 105 jobs. This is the first major project for ONE’s Aries Grid business unit, which launched in February. ONE’s CEO, Mujeeb Ijaz, believes that the new vertical will account for 20-25% of the company’s overall business once it scales up.
The company has also continued to invest in its EV battery business, including plans for a $1.6 billion EV battery cell plant expected to open in Michigan next year. To help fund that project, it raised $300 million in a series B funding round in February, bringing the company’s valuation to $1.2 billion.
EVERCHARGE AND PASSKEY PARTNER TO DEVELOP BATTERY ENERGY STORAGE SYSTEMS
EverCharge and PassKey, two subsidiaries of South Korean conglomerate SK Group, are partnering to develop a Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) to supplement EverCharge’s EV charging stations. The BESS will be used to consolidate power during off-peak hours and deploy the energy via EV charging stations during periods of high demand. By combining EV charging with battery storage, sites can benefit from lower operating costs and additional energy resiliency.
PassKey, which is the U.S. arm of SK Group’s sustainable energy solution business, aims to accelerate the clean energy transition toward net-zero, while providing affordable, convenient, and reliable electricity services to North American customers. The company intends to integrate innovative business models and technologies utilizing EV charging, energy storage, artificial intelligence, and renewables to solve the lack of sufficient energy and grid stability for customers.
Earlier this year, EverCharge and PassKey announced a partnership with Avis Budget Group to launch a significant number of EV charging stations at the George Bush International Airport (IAH) in Houston, Texas. The companies intend to expand this partnership to additional airport locations throughout 2023 and beyond.
The collaboration between EverCharge and PassKey shows the increasing importance of battery energy storage systems in supplementing EV charging stations and ensuring the reliability and resiliency of the electric grid. It also highlights the role of innovative partnerships in accelerating the adoption of clean energy solutions.
US ELECTRIC VEHICLE MARKET WARMS TO CHINESE BATTERY TECHNOLOGY
Lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery technology, prevalent in China, is gaining traction in the US electric vehicle (EV) market, as manufacturers look to embrace its cheaper cost and safety, according to research from consultancy Adamas Intelligence. LFP technology accounted for just 9% of battery capacity in US EVs in 2022, up from zero the previous year. However, the situation is about to change, with start-up Our Next Energy to begin producing LFP batteries in Michigan this month, expanding next year after opening a new $1.6bn plant. By 2027, the company intends to supply enough LFP batteries for 200,000 EVs. Ford has also announced that it will license technology to make LFP batteries for its cars from China-based supplier CATL, citing the need to offer customers a lower-priced option.
Although LFP batteries hold less energy per pound than nickel-rich batteries, they can be recharged more times before wearing out, making them a good fit for taxis operating in Chinese megacities with widely available charging infrastructure. LFP batteries’ lower energy density was less of a problem for cars that weighed less than the trucks and sport utility vehicles favoured by US consumers. Moreover, the higher cost of nickel and cobalt as EV sales grow is driving new US interest in LFP technology, as nickel’s price has more than doubled in the past three years, and the majority of the world’s cobalt is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, often under punishing conditions for workers.
WHEN TOYOTA GETS HUMBLED, EVERYONE SHOULD TAKE NOTE
“When Toyota gets humbled, everyone should take note” – that’s the message from Automotive News Executive Editor Jamie Butters. Toyota, known for its quality, durability, and supplier relations, is facing a challenge in the electric vehicle market. After analyzing a Tesla Model Y, Toyota has admitted that Tesla has leapfrogged them, at least when it comes to battery-powered cars. Toyota is known for its design for manufacturing approach, which has helped the company maintain high quality even at assembly plants that produce vehicles quickly. But with Tesla’s star performance in this area, incoming CEO Koji Sato is calling for big changes in the way Toyota does business, from manufacturing to sales and service, with a focus on a BEV-first mindset. Toyota is already working on a new EV platform to go into production in 2026. Sato is acknowledging that Toyota will likely be behind Tesla in EV manufacturing efficiency until then but getting it right in 2026 will mean a lot more than getting it right now. The conversion to EVs is a long game, and Sato has a crisis he can bring right to Toyota’s leaders, who have had to create an internal sense of crisis to combat complacency.
GREENPEACE ACCUSES TOYOTA OF GREENWASHING IN AUSTRALIA
Greenpeace has filed a complaint with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) against Toyota Australia, accusing the car manufacturer of making false claims about its environmental credentials. The complaint alleges that Toyota’s plans to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 are “misleading”, that the company has few validated emission-reduction targets and that its Mirai hydrogen vehicles should not be classified as “low emission vehicles”. Greenpeace also claims that Toyota’s hybrid cars are not “self-charging” as the company claims, but are petrol-powered. Toyota Australia has denied the claims.
The ACCC recently conducted a review of environmental claims made by 247 Australian companies, finding that 57% had made “concerning” claims about their environmental credentials. The cosmetic, clothing and footwear and food and drink sectors had “the highest proportion of concerning claims”. Greenwashing, a tactic used by companies to make products or services appear more environmentally friendly than they are, can prevent consumers from using their purchasing power to make informed decisions that benefit the environment. Companies found to be greenwashing may face substantial fines.
XCEL ENERGY’S PLAN FOR LARGEST UTILITY-OWNED CHARGING NETWORK SPARKS OPPOSITION IN MINNESOTA
Xcel Energy’s proposal to install 730 electric vehicle fast chargers in Minnesota has received significant opposition from various stakeholders. Xcel hopes that this plan will help to jump-start the slow electric vehicle market in Minnesota. However, the gas station and EV charging industries and the Minnesota Department of Commerce oppose the plan. Over 50 consumers have also written to Minnesota utility regulators to voice their opposition. Critics argue that Xcel’s market power as a monopoly utility would crowd out private investment, ultimately slowing EV growth. Despite these concerns, Xcel Energy believes that their charger network will spur more EV adoption, creating demand for even more chargers and help to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
Xcel’s proposal is part of a larger $333 million ratepayer-funded plan to boost EV adoption in Minnesota, which includes chargers at multi-family homes and electric school bus adoption. The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will decide this year how much of Xcel’s proposal will become reality. Currently, the state falls short of its goal to have EVs make up 20% of Minnesota’s passenger vehicle fleet by 2030. Xcel estimates that it needs to own and operate 1,470 new fast-charging ports in the state, while the current number of EV fast-charging ports in Minnesota is approximately 300, with Tesla owning about two-thirds of them.
While Xcel’s plan to install a large number of EV fast chargers in Minnesota has been met with opposition, the proposal shows the importance of public charging infrastructure in driving EV adoption. Building out chargers during the early adoption phase of electric vehicles is economically tricky, as costs are high and profits low. However, as more consumers adopt EVs, there will be a greater demand for public chargers, creating an opportunity for investment in charging infrastructure.
TWO-THIRDS OF PLANNED EUROPEAN BATTERY PRODUCTION AT RISK, ANALYSIS SHOWS
New analysis by Transport & Environment (T&E) has revealed that over two-thirds of planned lithium-ion battery production in Europe is at risk of being cancelled, delayed, or scaled down. The T&E report suggests that unless Europe offers accessible incentives and streamlined permitting, Tesla in Berlin, Northvolt in Germany, and Italvolt near Turin could lose the greatest volumes of their slated capacity as they weigh up investing in the US instead. The T&E study assessed 50 gigafactories announced in Europe, equivalent to battery production capacity for 18 million electric cars. It found that 68% of these factories are at high or medium risk of disruption or loss.
The report highlights the need for EU-wide financial support to scale up battery production and faster approvals processes to compete with American subsidies. Europe’s global share of new investment in Li-ion battery production dropped from 41% in 2021 to just 2% in 2022, according to BloombergNEF. Battery investment in the US and China continues to grow, and European companies have already signalled expansion in America. The T&E report argues that Europe must act urgently to prevent losing its battery manufacturing sector to American subsidies and China’s years of dominance.
EV CHARGER CYBERSECURITY
Electric vehicle charging infrastructure could be a cybersecurity weak point, with vulnerabilities being found in the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) that could enable a distributed denial-of-service attack or theft of sensitive data, according to energy-network cybersecurity firm Saiflow. Meanwhile, outdated Linux versions and unnecessary services were identified by the Idaho National Laboratory in a survey of EV charging vulnerability research. In addition, charging stations were found to be open to attack through adversary-in-the-middle and services that are exposed to the public internet. Hacktivists also demonstrated the potential for disruption by targeting charging stations near Moscow in 2021.
The US currently has fewer than 51,000 Level 2 and DC Fast charging stations, while there are more than 1.5 million electric vehicles registered as of June 2022, meaning that there are 11 vehicles for every public charging port. To address this, major players in the EV charging sector have significant expansion plans, with the Biden administration aiming to increase the number of chargers to 500,000 by 2030.
Phil Tonkin, senior director of strategy at Dragos, warned that most EV chargers can be considered an Internet of Things technology, but they are one of the first to have control over a significant amount of electrical load. He noted that EV chargers are vulnerable to attack and should be implemented with care. The government should make standards and best practices available to companies to prevent cybersecurity weaknesses, said Brian Wright, a Sandia cybersecurity expert.
PHIL ROBERTS / ELECTRIC FUTURE
PORSCHE OF THE VILLAGE CINCINNATI
AUDI CINCINNATI EAST
VOLVO CARS CINCINNATI EAST
NATIONAL CAR CHARGING ON THE US MAINLAND AND ALOHA CHARGE IN HAWAII
DEREK REILLY FROM THE EV REVIEW IRELAND YOUTUBE CHANNEL
OCTOPUS ELECTRIC UNIVERSE – GLOBAL PUBLIC CHARGING MADE SIMPLE WITH ONE APP AND ONE MAP.
LEASEPLAN ELECTRIC MOMENTS – PROVIDING ALL THE TOOLS AND GUIDANCE EV DRIVERS NEED
DAVID AND LISA ALLEN
JUKKA KUKKONEN FROM WWW.SHIFT2ELECTRIC.COM
BATTERY REPORTS FOR EVS AT RECURRENTAUTO.COM
ALEXANDER FRANK @ https://www.youtube.com/c/alexsuniverse42
ANDY NANCARROW AND LILIAN KASS
COLIN HENNESSY AND CAMBSEV
IAN (WATTIE) WATKINS
JAN FROM EMOBILITYNORWAY
JOHN VAN DEVOORT
JON AKA BEARDY MCBEARDFACE FROM KENT EVS
LAURENCE D ALLEN
NEIL E ROBERTS FROM SUSSEX EVS
PETER & DEE ROBERTS
REALTORS CHOICE PHOTOGRAPHY
ROB FROM THE RSTHINKS EV CHANNEL ON YOUTUBE
THE PLUGSEEKER’S EV YOUTUBE CHANNEL
THOMAS J. THIAS