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Automakers Unite to Challenge Tesla with a New EV Charging Network
Seven leading automakers have announced the formation of a new company that will provide electric vehicle (EV) charging in the U.S. A move is seen as a challenge to Tesla’s dominance in the EV market.
The group includes General Motors, Stellantis, Hyundai Motor and its Kia affiliate, Honda, BMW, and Mercedes Benz. These brands represent about half of U.S. vehicle sales but a small share of the EV market.
The new joint venture aims to roll out 30,000 chargers in North America, starting along major highways and in cities.
They plan to leverage federal and state investments in public charging with their own public and private funding to quickly develop and implement this new network.
The network will be equipped with multiple DC fast chargers accessible to all EV drivers, regardless of whether their vehicle uses the Combined Charging System (CCS) or the North American Charging Standard (NACS). However, there’s no mention of CHAdeMO compatibility.
The automakers did not specify their individual or collective investment amounts but stated they would be open to additional investment or participation from other companies, including those outside the auto industry. The carmakers will initially invest at least $1 billion.
The venture will cost multiple billions of dollars, considering the cost of fast-charging machines, which can range from less than $100,000 to more than $200,000 for the most powerful versions.
The White House has praised the deal, stating it’s an important step forward and will create new union jobs for installation and maintenance.
Tesla, which accounted for more than 60% of U.S. EV sales last year, has the largest network of fast-chargers with almost 18,000 Superchargers. Tesla has also announced plans to open part of its charging network to EVs from rivals to be eligible for a share of funding from $7.5 billion in federal subsidies.
The new charging company will support both Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) and the rival Combined Charging System (CCS).
The CEOs of the seven auto brands believe that a charging network built out like gas stations with restrooms, food service, and retail operations would support a faster EV rollout.
As of July 2023, there are 32,000 publicly available DC fast chargers in the U.S., serving 2.3 million EVs.
The network will be powered by 100% renewable energy and offer Plug & Charge capabilities for compatible vehicles.
Work on the new fast charger network will begin later this year, with the first stations expected to open in the U.S. next summer. Canada’s first stations will come at a later stage. The 30,000 chargers promise is the number installed by 2030, so that’s a 6 year window. If we straight-line it, that’s 5,000 chargers per year or around 400 chargers in the ground per month, every month, for 6 years.
The name for the charging network is yet to be decided.
The new charging network promises to offer a seamless integration with participating automakers’ in-vehicle and in-app experiences, including reservations, intelligent route planning and navigation, payment applications, transparent energy management, and more. The new network will integrate seamlessly with each automaker’s in-app and in-vehicle features, rather than forcing customers to use third-party tools and payment systems, as is the case with some existing public charging infrastructure.
The coalition includes two automakers that have already announced they would equip their EVs with NACS connectors from 2025 – General Motors and Mercedes-Benz Group. The others are evaluating Tesla’s NACS connectors on their vehicles.
The automakers expect their charging stations to meet or exceed the spirit and requirements of the US National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program, and aim to become the leading network of reliable high-powered charging stations in North America.
The joint venture is open to adding other partners. Among major automakers, Ford was a notable absence from the announcement on Wednesday. The company said in a statement on Wednesday that it would continue to invest in its own network, which allows Ford owners to charge from a variety of providers with one mobile phone app.
The partnership also does not include Volkswagen. The company is a majority shareholder of Electrify America, one of the largest fast-charging providers.
Tesla’s V4 Superchargers Deliver Up to 350 kW
Tesla has revealed some technical specifications of its fourth-generation Superchargers. In a planning submission for a UK location, Tesla stated that the charging power of the V4 Superchargers can reach up to 350 kW.
According to a tweet by TeslaOwnersUK, Tesla plans to build a charging park with a total of 36 charging points in the northern car park of the Swindon Designer Outlet. Sixteen of these charging points are to be ultra-rapid V4 superchargers (350 kW) with an additional 20 AC charging points for longer stays in the shopping center.
When the world’s first location with the new V4 Superchargers was opened in the Netherlands in March, Tesla had not yet made any statement about the maximum charging power. A type plate was photographed on one of the columns that indicated 250 kW as the maximum output power – as well as 500 volts as the maximum voltage and 631 amps as the maximum amperage. Later, another type plate was photographed, indicating a “Rated Voltage” of 1,000 VDC and a “Rated Current” of 615 amperes.
It has now also been confirmed that Tesla’s new fast charging stations have a card reader and a small display – the first photos of this appeared around the Goodwood Festival of Speed in mid-July.
The display can now also be seen on the columns of the fourth V4 location, which was opened in Graz, Austria. For the time being, there seem to be six V4 columns, but the location is to be extended by further fast charging points at a later date.
Nissan Agrees to Invest Up to $660m in Renault’s New EV Maker
Nissan Motor and Renault have finalized an agreement over the review of their capital relationship. Renault’s stake in Nissan will be reduced to 15% from 43%, the same level as Nissan’s stake in the French automaker.
Nissan has confirmed that it will invest up to €600 million in Renault’s new electric car division, Ampere. This investment is part of the final agreements for the realignment of the manufacturer alliance announced in February 2023, which is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2023 after regulatory approvals are received.
Nissan’s investment in Ampere is in line with its electrification strategy and is expected to create multiple potential benefits and synergies that complement Nissan’s own goals and initiatives in Europe and other potential markets.
The investment allows Nissan to be a strategic investor in Ampere and to secure a seat on the board. However, the investment is somewhat smaller than had been suspected earlier.
The overall deal includes not only the investment in Ampere but also cooperations for Europe, Latin America, and India.
The 28.4% of Nissan shares that Renault wants to cede will be transferred to a French trust.
Nissan May Start Exporting from China as Sales Slump
Nissan Motor Co. is considering exporting vehicles from China to utilize the excess capacity in a market where rapidly declining sales are becoming a major concern and a drag on global profits.
CEO Makoto Uchida stated that Nissan has not yet decided on an export plan or determined a target market for China-made products. However, he emphasized that Nissan must consider new measures to shore up operations in China, where Nissan’s sales slumped 46% in the latest quarter.
International brands, including Nissan and other Japanese brands such as Mitsubishi and Toyota, are struggling in China, where they have trailed domestic competitors in meeting the booming demand for electric vehicles.
If Nissan begins shipping cars from China, it would join a growing group of international manufacturers using the country as a global export base. That trend helped China surpass Japan as the world’s top auto-exporting nation in the first quarter of this year.
Dacia Spring: A Leap Forward in Affordable Electric Mobility
Dacia’s Spring has already found 120,000 homes in Europe and has undergone significant improvements since its launch in 2021. The company now offers a 64bhp version with shorter reduction gearing and improved performance.
The Spring uses a battery with just under 27kWh of usable capacity. Despite this, the vehicle’s light weight allows it to achieve a comparable electric range to its competitors, up to 143 miles.
The Spring is a five-door A-segment hatchback with chunky-looking wheel arches and a modestly hiked ride height. It offers nearly 300 litres of boot space, more than some full-sized superminis.
The vehicle’s cabin quality is expected to improve with the 2024 facelift, similar to the leap seen in the current-generation Sandero compared to its predecessor.
CATL’s Profits Skyrocket by 63% Amid Global EV Sales Surge
CATL reported a 63% increase in quarterly profits. This significant growth is attributed to the global surge in electric vehicle sales and the stabilization of key material prices, such as lithium.
CATL’s net income rose to 10.9 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) in the second quarter, exceeding analyst expectations. The company’s revenue also saw a substantial increase of 56% to 100 billion yuan.
Tesla accounts for 12% of CATL’s revenue, other notable customers of CATL include Ford Motor Co., Volkswagen AG, Hyundai Motor Co., and Nio Inc.
CATL continues to expand its global market share in the EV battery sector.
E-Gap Powers Up: 60 Fiat Vans Ordered for Mobile EV Charging Stations”
Italian company E-Gap has ordered 60 E-Scudo electric vans from Fiat to serve as on-demand mobile charging stations for e-taxis and private electric cars. The service is also available in Munich, Germany.
E-Gap’s mobile charging service is currently operational in several cities across Italy, France, Spain, and Germany.
In addition to their vehicle batteries, E-Gap’s electric vans carry extra battery power and charging equipment. They travel to customers who need to charge their electric cars and taxis on demand.
Customers can schedule an appointment and specify a location via an app or phone call.
The battery used for charging other vehicles has an energy content of 130 kWh. Vehicles can be charged both AC and DC with up to 80 kW.
SK Signet and Francis Energy
SK Signet has signed a long-term EV charger supply agreement with Francis Energy, the fourth-largest owner of an electric vehicle fast-charging network in the U.S.
The initial phase of the agreement will see SK Signet supplying 1,000 400 kW EV charging dispensers to Francis Energy.
The partnership between SK Signet and Francis Energy will contribute to the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program.
SK Signet recently opened an EV charging manufacturing facility in Plano, Texas, capable of producing more than 10,000 ultra-fast chargers per year at full capacity.
Honda’s Electric Surprise: A New Sports Car to Debut This Year
Honda is planning to unveil its first electric sports car later this year, marking the 75th anniversary of the company.
The new sports car will be based on Honda’s latest e:n electric architecture, which will debut in the Honda e:Ny1.
By 2030, Honda plans to reveal 30 new electric cars based on this architecture, including at least two sports cars – an NSX successor and a new GT.
The new sports car could potentially be a Type R model, which would make it the second non-front-wheel drive car to carry the Type R badge after the NSX Type-R.
Honda plans to launch 30 new electric vehicles by 2030, with an annual production volume of two million units. The new range will include everything from small commercial vehicles to family SUVs and flagship sports cars.
Tesla’s Megacharger Emerges in Baker, CA, Ready for Cybertruck and Semi
Tesla has constructed a Megacharger in Baker, California, a significant route for goods deliveries between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. This high-powered charging station is designed for Tesla Semi trucks and could also be used to charge the Cybertruck.
The Megacharger is strategically located on Freeway 15, serving as a crucial transit point for goods deliveries.
It is speculated that the Cybertruck may come equipped with two charging ports – a North American Charging Standard (NACS) port and a megacharger port.
Audi’s Global Electric Car Sales Skyrocket in Q2 2023
Audi’s all-electric car sales in Q2 were particularly strong, with the German brand selling approximately 41,100 Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs). This figure represents a 59 percent increase from the same period last year and is close to the record level of 41,200 units sold in Q4 2022.
The main electric model in Audi’s lineup is the MEB-based Audi Q4 e-tron (including the Sportback version), a direct cousin of the Volkswagen ID.4 (and ID.5).
Porsche Eyes North America for Potential Battery Cell Factory
Porsche CEO Oliver Blume has confirmed plans for a large-scale battery cell factory. However, the carmaker seems to favor North America over Germany as the location for this factory.
According to the German publication Automobilwoche, Porsche has plans for large-scale battery production. The company plans to invest around two to three billion euros in the factory. It is unclear whether these investors are purely financial backers or if Porsche also wants to cooperate with technology or production partners from the battery sector.
Porsche is currently building its own battery factory near Reutlingen in Baden-Württemberg with its subsidiary Cellforce, in which it has since acquired a majority stake. The cells developed and manufactured there were initially only to be used in electric Porsche racing cars and a few high-performance road models.
Porsche Unveils Exclusive Charging Lounge in Germany
Porsche has taken its first steps towards building its own charging network in Germany. The carmaker has commissioned a pilot location offering a “brand-appropriate charging experience”.
The exclusive ‘Porsche Charging Lounge’ features six DC fast charging points with up to 300 kW capacity and four AC charging points with 22 kW each.
The HPC columns installed in Bingen are the Alpitronic Hypercharger HYC300.
By early next year, 400 kW per charging point should be possible with an upgrade which also allows for a different granularity in load management: the HYC400 has eight power modules with 50 kW each, which can be divided between the two charging points. In the HYC300, there are four modules of 75 kW each.
Access to the charging stations and the lounge area requires a Porsche ID, which must be linked to the car. If the number plate is stored in the Porsche ID, the barrier opens for the driver using automatic number plate recognition. The car’s registration number can be stored in the MyPorsche app. Alternatively, the customer can use a Porsche Charging Card or a QR code from the MyPorsche app to access both the site and the lounge.
End of Production Date Set for Renault Zoe
Renault has announced that it will cease production of its Zoe electric car on March 30, 2024. While it was known that there would be no new Zoe generation, the exact date for the end of production at the Flins plant has now been set.
The end of Zoe production will make way for a new generation of Renault electric cars, including the electric Renault 5, which will be unveiled as a production model later this year and produced from 2024.
To date, around 420,000 units of the Zoe have been produced since the start of production in 2012.
Geely’s Radar Kickstarts Global Expansion with Electric Pickups Export
Geely E-Pickup brand, Radar, has started its global expansion with the first batch of electric pickups for overseas markets rolling off the assembly line.
Its monthly sales exceeded 1,000 units in May and June respectively, securing a market share of over 84 percent as the best-selling NEV pickup brand in China
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 ELECTROVERSE – 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
ANDY NANCARROW AND LILIAN KASS
BRENDAN MCCARTHY AT NORTHFORK IRONWORKS
COLIN HENNESSY AND CAMBSEV
GARY A HAMMOND
IAN ‘STILL WATERS UK’ BENJAMIN
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