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Volkswagen To Make Two EVs With XPeng Technology
Volkswagen Group has formed a strategic partnership with Xpeng, a leading Chinese EV manufacturer. This collaboration involves Volkswagen investing around $700 million to acquire a 4.99% stake in Xpeng, which also gives them a seat on Xpeng’s board.
This partnership, termed a “technological framework agreement,” will kick off with the joint development of two mid-size EVs exclusive to the Chinese market. These vehicles, under the Volkswagen brand, are expected to hit the market by 2026.
This move will bolster Volkswagen’s EV offerings in the crucial Chinese market, supplementing their existing line-up of ID models built on the VW Group’s MEB platform.
The new models will not replace any current models from either brand.
Volkswagen is developing a new platform, SSP, to succeed MEB. However, due to software issues, the launch of this platform has been delayed. The new Xpeng-based models will help bridge this gap.
Xpeng, established in 2014, has a growing portfolio of premium EVs, including the G9 SUV and P7 saloon, available in China and several European countries. They recently launched a new SUV, the G6, built on a new bespoke platform, SEPA 2.0, which supports an 800V electrical architecture and rapid-charging at rates of up to 480kW.
I understand the two midsize battery-electric models will be based on the platform that underpins Xpeng’s G9, a midsize electric crossover SUV. These new EVs will also incorporate Xpeng’s advanced driver-assist software.
Also worth mentioning XPeng’s market performance in China has been limited, with the company delivering just over 120,000 electric cars in 2022 and not exceeding 10,000 units per month so far this year.
This collaboration follows a similar partnership between Audi and SAIC, MG’s parent company, to build China-exclusive cars using platforms provided by SAIC.
I think this is a clear indication of the rapid changes and intense competition in China’s auto industry.
This is a win for XPeng because they will be able to recognize “Technology Service Revenue”, with contributions likely to increase as milestones are achieved and volumes increase. This new stream is recurring and likely highly profitable, rather than a one-time royalty or technology transfer.
By choosing Xpeng, Volkswagen provides important validation of the technology, especially in ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems), which could open the door for other OEMs using the hardware and software suite. The deal marks a turning point in China’s automotive industry, shifting from learning from foreign manufacturers to innovating its own technology. The partnership could also aid Xpeng’s push into Europe and other global markets.
Lucid Motors Teases Its $250K Air Sapphire EV
Lucid Motors announced that its high-performance EV, the Lucid Air Sapphire, will be available soon.
The vehicle boasts over 1,200 horsepower, outperforming even Tesla’s Model S Plaid.
The Lucid Air Sapphire is powered by a new twin rear-drive unit with incorporated torque vectoring, developed in-house. This technology, in conjunction with a single-motor front-drive unit, delivers over 1,200 hp, making the Sapphire the most powerful electric sedan ever produced and the most powerful sedan in the world.
The Lucid Air Sapphire has nearly 200 more horsepower than the Tesla Model S Plaid. It can accelerate from zero to 60 mph in under two seconds, zero to 100 in under four seconds, and complete a standing quarter-mile in less than nine seconds.
Lucid Motors has stated that the Air Sapphire is just the beginning and represents an entirely new performance-focused brand within Lucid. The company initially said the performance EV would be offered as a limited-production model and would be first available in the US and Canada starting in the first half of 2023. Prices for the Sapphire start at $249,000.
Tesla Accused of Manipulating Vehicle Software to Show Longer Range Estimates
Tesla, known for its impressive EV range estimates, is under scrutiny following a Reuters report suggesting that these numbers might have been inflated and customer concerns about them silenced.
The investigation revealed that Tesla formed an internal team to identify and cancel service appointments related to battery performance and range. Customers who booked service visits to check battery health reportedly received messages stating their vehicles were fine and that Tesla wished to cancel their appointments.
The report alleges that Tesla manipulated its vehicles’ range software to project more generous distances than were accurate. The software would show more accurate range estimates when the batteries were below a 50-percent charge. The vehicles also had a range buffer that allowed around 15 miles of driving after the range estimate reached zero.
It’s important to note that Reuters couldn’t confirm whether Tesla continues this practice today. The alleged range manipulation took place in Tesla’s early days, when it offered only the Roadster and Model S.
Tesla has faced legal action in South Korea because its vehicles lost more than a quarter of their range in cold weather. However, it’s worth noting that temperature extremes impact the ranges of all electric vehicles. Other factors such as driving style, road conditions, terrain, and use of the vehicle’s climate controls can also reduce range.
Recurrent, a company that provides vehicle range data, found that even in summer, the 2021 Tesla Model Y, which advertises a range of 326 miles, barely hit 250 miles and averaged closer to 200 miles.
In contrast, Recurrent found that the in-dash range meters of other automakers, including Ford Mustang Mach-E, Chevrolet Bolt, and Hyundai Kona, were more accurate.
Tesla’s Giga Berlin Expansion Hits a Roadblock
Tesla’s plans to build a battery factory in Grünheide, Brandenburg, have been halted by the Water Management Department of the Brandenburg State Office for the Environment (LfU).
The expansion plans also include the production of battery cells, which was confirmed recently.
Tesla’s aim was to double its production capacity for electric cars and increase the battery storage production capacity from 50 to 100 gigawatt-hours per year.
The Water Management Department had previously rejected plans to build a battery factory and a process wastewater recycling plant, as both plants would be partly located in a water protection area.
Stellantis CEO: The Ideal Price for EVs is $25K
Stellantis CEO, Carlos Tavares, has stated that the “sweet spot” for affordable electric vehicles (EVs) is around $25,000.
Tavares believes that reaching this price point is crucial for preserving the company’s manufacturing footprint in the U.S.
He emphasized that the focus of discussions with the UAW (United Auto Workers) during this year’s negotiations should be on manufacturing affordable and profitable EVs.
The CEO stated that the volume of EVs Stellantis could produce in the U.S. depends on their ability to offer a $25,000 EV at a profit, which in turn relies on the total production costs achievable in the U.S. with their suppliers and within their own plants.
Citroën Ami 2023: A Speedier Version on the Horizon?
The Citroën Ami, currently limited to 45 km/h, might soon have a more powerful version capable of reaching 80 km/h.
In France, the segment of license-free cars is divided into two categories: light motor quadricycles, limited to a power of 6 kW (8 hp) and a speed of 45 km/h, and heavy motor quadricycles, with a maximum power of 15 kW (20 hp) and can reach 80 km/h.
The Citroën Ami currently falls into the first category, while its upcoming rivals, the Mobilize Duo and Seat Minimo, will be available in both configurations.
Mercedes EQV Gets an Updated Look
Mercedes-Benz Vans has announced a facelift for its mid-sized series, including the electric EQV and eVito models. The update focuses on design and equipment enhancements, but the drive systems remain unchanged.
The new design features a larger radiator grille. In the EQV, this is a closed “black panel” with an illuminated background. The rear also sees minor changes, including redesigned LED lights and a new chrome trim bar with Mercedes-Benz lettering for the EQV.
Inside, the EQV now sports a new cockpit inspired by Mercedes-Benz’s passenger car models, featuring two 12.3-inch widescreen displays in one unit.
Western Automakers Gear Up to Counter Chinese EV ‘Invasion’
Western automakers are concerned about the influx of affordable Chinese electric vehicles (EVs) in the European market. In response, Renault aims to reduce production costs for its EV models by 40%.
Renault’s finance chief, Thierry Pieton, believes that the best defense against price competition is to reduce their own development and manufacturing costs.
The targeted 40% reduction is set for 2027 onwards, but Renault’s CEO, Luca de Meo, expects to see significantly lower production costs from the second half of this year due to a decrease in raw material costs.
Chinese manufacturers like BYD and SAIC have capitalized on lower labor costs and local battery sed WebPilot
QuantumScape Working with Prospective Launch Customer in Automotive Sector
QuantumScape, a lithium-metal solid-state battery company, has announced that it is closely working with a prospective launch customer in the automotive sector for its first commercial product. This is the first time the company has revealed that it’s actively engaging with a launch partner.
QuantumScape has previously disclosed customer sampling agreements with six automakers and a stationary storage provider, as well as product tests with some of the largest consumer electronics players in the world.
The company’s Q2 Fiscal 2023 Letter to Shareholders also included the projection that its launch product, a ~5 Ah cell newly dubbed QSE-5, is capable of offering an unmatched combination of energy density and power performance of better than 800 Wh/L with the ability to charge from 10% to 80% in ~15 minutes.
QuantumScape’s technology platform is designed to pair with a variety of cathode chemistries, with the potential to significantly improve the energy densities of today’s Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) and Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP)-based battery cells by pairing those cathodes with Li-metal anodes.
Former Nikola Truck: Iveco Unveils Heavy Duty BEV
Iveco has unveiled its heavy electric truck, the Iveco Heavy Duty BEV, at the Truck Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. This model has an interesting history, as it was initially developed in collaboration with Nikola Motor.
In May 2023, Iveco announced that it would buy all shares of the joint venture from Nikola, and the company has been trading as EVCO (Electric Vehicles COmpany) since July. Nikola has effectively withdrawn from Eur ope, but in return, it has secured the license for Iveco’s S-Way technology for North America.
The Iveco Heavy Duty BEV has a battery capacity of 738 kWh and a range of up to 530 kilometers.
Chinese Kit Converts Classic VW Beetle To Electric For Just $2,000
A Chinese conversion kit available on Alibaba can transform a classic Volkswagen Beetle from the 1960s and 1970s into an electric vehicle for just $2,000.
The kit includes a 15-kilowatt (20-horsepower) electric motor, a controller, a charger, an accelerator pedal, and an add-on instrument cluster that can display the speed and the state of charge.
The motor is designed to bolt directly to the rear transaxle of the classic Beetle, a method used by specialist companies from the 1970s and 1980s.
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
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DAVID AND LISA ALLEN
JUKKA KUKKONEN FROM WWW.SHIFT2ELECTRIC.COM
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ANDY NANCARROW AND LILIAN KASS
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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