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Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening wherever you are in the world, welcome to EV News Daily, your trusted source of EV information. It’s Tuesday 1st August, Martyn Lee here and I go through every EV story so you don’t have to.
Trying a new thing so you know when to expect a show. We go live at 5pm UK, that’s Midday Eastern. Patreon supporters get the episodes as soon as they’re ready and ad free. You can be like them by clicking here.
Chevrolet Blazer EV Begins with the $60,215 RS AWD Model
General Motors has announced the commencement of deliveries for the Chevrolet Blazer EV to dealers, with customers getting them early August. The first model to be shipped is the RS AWD, priced at $60,215, with an estimated range of 279 miles. This model comes with a number of features, including gloss black trim, a heads-up display, heated front and rear seats, ventilated front seats, and animated exterior lighting.
The Blazer EV is available in three trims: luxury (LT), rally sport (RS), and super sport (SS).
The LT was due to be FWD 1LT, the 2LT was due to be FWD or AWD. The RS due to be FWD, RWD, or AWD. The SS was only due to be AWD.
I have recently talked about photos from the production plan in Mexico showing the factory crew alongside the first one off the production line.
InsideEVs.com, a reputable website, says that Chevrolet has confirmed to them that the base 1LT trim level of the 2024 Blazer EV, initially promised with a starting price around $45,000, will no longer be part of the lineup. The Blazer EV 1LT was initially planned to launch in the first quarter of 2024 as an FWD-only trim with a manufacturer-estimated driving range of 247 miles.
The quote in the InsideEVs article says: “”The 2LT is now our entry level trim. We do have more affordable variants coming in 2024, including 2LT with FWD. Customers could qualify for the full $7,500 IRA tax credit with the Blazer EV” from GM.
However as of today, the 1LT is still showing on their website as available in the line up. But when I click ‘Build And Buy’ onto the Bolt and EUV are available to order as of today.
The 2LT front-wheel drive (FWD) will now be the entry-level option for the Blazer EV. Pricing for this model has not been disclosed.
The most affordable trim launching this year is the Blazer EV 2LT all-wheel drive (AWD), priced at $56,715 ($1,395 destination included), which is almost $12,000 more than the originally promised 1LT model.
The RS RWD model is expected to have a range of 320 miles, which is showing on the Chevrolet.com home page as of today a GM-estimated, not EPA. Whereas the 2LT AWD model will have the same range as the RS AWD, they share 279 miles.
The Blazer EV SS, a sportier variant with a sport suspension and 557 hp is now scheduled to start production in Spring 2024. The SS model is expected to have a sub-4.0-second 0-60 mph time in a mode Chevy calls Wide Open Watts and will start at $65,996.
The timing for the remaining configurations, including the base versions of the 2LT FWD and RS, will be communicated closer to their scheduled launches in 2024.
Ora Funky Cat EV: Manufacturer Responds to Safety Concerns with Software Update
The ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club) identified a safety issue with the Chinese electric vehicle, Ora Funky Cat, during its auto test. The manufacturer, Great Wall Motor (GWM), has now addressed this issue with a software update.
The safety concern was that the charging plug could be pulled out while the vehicle was still DC charging, which could cause sparks and a burning smell.
GWM’s software solution has resolved this safety issue. Now, when the car is unlocked via the key, the charging process is also stopped. The ADAC has verified this solution by retesting the Ora Funky Cat’s charging behavior after the update.
GWM has announced that all Ora dealers across Europe will now apply this software update to all vehicles in stock. Customers who have already received their vehicles will be asked to bring them into the workshop for the update. The Federal Motor Transport Authority will also be informed about these measures.
Until the software update is applied, the ADAC advises users to ensure that the charging process is finished before pulling out the charging plug. Some charging stations and wall boxes also offer the option to stop the charging process. If this is not possible, users should pull out the charging plug as slowly as possible.
Tesla Expands Its Portfolio with the Acquisition of Wiferion
Tesla has completed the acquisition of Wiferion, a German company specializing in inductive charging technology. Wiferion now operates as Tesla Engineering Germany GmbH.
The acquisition was first announced in June, and the purchase price is believed to be around $76 million. This figure is based on an entry in Tesla’s quarterly report under the category of “business combinations”.
Wiferion, founded in 2016, describes itself as “the leading provider of automated, contactless energy transfer in the industry.” The company primarily provides inductive charging devices for robots and electric vehicles. Since its charging stations hit the market in 2018, Wiferion has sold around 8,000 product units.
Although the company has been renamed, the URL and the logo on the website still reflect Wiferion’s original branding. It is not yet clear whether Tesla will continue to operate the new subsidiary under the old brand name for some time.
VinFast Initiates Construction of Electric Vehicle Factory in North Carolina
VinFast, a Vietnamese electric vehicle manufacturer, has begun construction of its first electric vehicle manufacturing site in the US. The site is located within the Triangle Innovation Point in Chatham County, North Carolina.
The plant, with a Phase 1 total investment of up to $2 billion USD, spans approximately 1,800 acres and is divided into five main production areas, including a body shop, general assembly, press shop, paint shop, and an energy center. Other functional facilities will also be present within the factory premises.
Initially, the factory will focus on building VinFast’s VF 7, VF 8, and VF 9 electric vehicles with an expected production capacity of 150,000 vehicles per year. The supplier base for components and materials will primarily be in the US, Vietnam, and a few other countries.
The VinFast electric vehicle manufacturing plant is expected to commence production in 2025, creating an ecosystem of suppliers and thousands of jobs. The state of North Carolina is funding the project with a total of 1.2 billion dollars.
VinFast and Black Spade Announce $27B Merger For August IPO
VinFast has announced that the SEC has validated its F-4 filing, marking a significant step in its proposed business merger with Black Spade Acquisition Company. This validation paves the way for VinFast’s planned IPO and public listing.
VinFast has an enterprise value of $27 billion and an equity value of $23 billion. Despite the company’s significant manufacturing infrastructure, early reviews indicate that its cars are not of production car refinement. However, VinFast is already ahead of other EV startups in terms of its manufacturing presence.
The Battery Crunch is the New Chip Shortage
The chip shortage has been a significant issue for the auto industry since the start of COVID, but a more significant problem is now emerging: the electric vehicle battery crunch.
Automakers are beginning to feel the impacts of the battery crunch, with constraints and other issues affecting the bottom lines of companies like Ford, GM, and Porsche.
These companies have pointed to delays, constraints, and expenses related to EVs and their batteries in recent financial results. These issues are causing them to fall short of their ambitious electrification targets and impacting their balance sheets.
GM CEO Mary Barra told investors that while the company is targeting building 100,000 EVs in the second half of 2023, one of its equipment suppliers is experiencing delivery issues that are constraining GM’s battery module assembly.
Porsche’s CEO Oliver Blume stated that hitting this year’s target would require a better battery situation.
Battery supply issues have been looming for a while, but as auto companies globally race to snatch up EV market share and spend billions to electrify, the challenges have manifested quickly.
Vitesco Technologies Supplies Honda with E-Drive
Honda is set to equip its new all-electric SUV model with the integrated axle drive from Vitesco Technologies. The drive, known as EMR3 (3rd generation, Electronics Motor Reducer), will be used in Honda’s new B-segment all-electric SUV, the e:Ny1.
The E-drive is a compact 3-in-1 unit integrating power electronics, an electric motor, and a reducer. Despite its compact size and low weight of only 76 kg, the axle drive achieves a peak output of 150 kW and 310 Nm of torque, allowing the vehicle to reach a limited top speed of 160 km/h.
The axle drive has proven to be a successful product for Vitesco Technologies, with more than three-quarters of a million units manufactured since 2019. It has been chosen for 8 vehicle brands and continues to see strong demand.
China Sets Sail with Its First Battery-Electric Container Ship
China has launched its first battery-electric container ship, named 700 TEU, on the Yangtze River. The name 700 TEU signifies the ship’s capacity to carry seven hundred 20-foot containers.
The ship, currently referred to by its hull number N997, was floated at the shipyard in Yangzhou on July 26. The dry dock assembly began in March 2023, and the project was initiated in December 2022. Sea trials for the ship are scheduled to commence in late September, during which the power system will undergo thorough verification.
The ship uses 36 swappable batteries that can be exchanged en route, effectively solving the issue of range anxiety. The ship’s operator, Cosco Shipping Heavy Industry, revealed that each swappable battery unit is housed in 20-foot containers with a capacity of 50 MWh.
The vessel, powered by two 900 kW main propulsion engines, follows a 965-kilometer route along the Yangtze River. It is the first of two ships planned for this route.
The ship is 120 meters long, about 24 meters wide, and weighs 10,000 tons.
An intelligent control system on the ship ensures maximum efficiency by matching energy consumption to the ship’s needs. The ship’s speed is determined by factors such as the planned arrival time, currents, and remaining battery capacity.
Archer Aviation Secures a $142 Million eVTOL Contract with the US Air Force
Archer Aviation, an eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft developer, has expanded its partnership with the United States Department of Defense. The Air Force plans to acquire several Midnight eVTOLs from Archer.
The company, established in 2018, has already formed working relationships with United Airlines, Stellantis, and the US Air Force. Archer plans to manufacture the Midnight aircraft at a new facility in Covington, Georgia.
A newly signed contract worth up to $142 million involves Archer sharing additional flight test data, certification-related test reports, pilot training, and helping the Department of Defense (DoD) develop maintenance and repair operations under its AFWERX Agility Prime program.
The Air Force plans to use Archer’s Midnight aircraft for personnel transport, logistics, and rescue operations. Archer will continue to collaborate with the DoD under a Government Services Advisory Board formed by the eVTOL developer in May, which includes several retired Generals.
I recently spoke with the COO Tom Muniz, and was very impressed by their pragmatic and methodical approach to the technology and regulatory approval.
HiPhi Rolls Out Its Most Affordable Model, the HiPhi Y
HiPhi, the electric vehicle (EV) brand of Chinese premium EV maker Human Horizons, has started delivering its most affordable model yet, the HiPhi Y. The first deliveries took place in 21 cities across China on July 29.
The HiPhi Y was launched on July 15, following the ultra-luxurious HiPhi X and HiPhi Z. The HiPhi Y is available in four variants, with starting prices ranging from RMB 339,000 ($47,460) to RMB 449,000.
HiPhi’s product launch strategy mirrors that of local competitor Nio, which also started with a higher-priced model and followed up with lower-priced models aimed at a broader market. The HiPhi Y targets the same market segment as Nio’s new ES6.
The HiPhi Y is based on the NT 2.0 platform and is available in both single-motor and dual-motor versions. It measures 4,938 mm in length, 1,958 mm in width, and 1,658 mm in height, with a wheelbase of 2,950 mm.
As the lowest-priced model launched by HiPhi to date, the HiPhi Y is expected to help the company enter the mainstream premium EV market. According to HiPhi’s brand and communications manager Xu Bin, the HiPhi Y had received 2,000 firm orders and more than 50,000 purchase intentions about one week after launch.
Foxconn’s EV Consortium to Incorporate BlackBerry’s Software
Foxconn’s Mobility in Harmony (MIH) consortium has chosen BlackBerry to provide software and some services for its electric vehicle (EV) operations.
BlackBerry, a Canadian technology company, is known for its secure communication software and services. The company’s software will be a significant addition to the MIH consortium’s EV technology stack.
The MIH consortium, led by Foxconn, is a global open platform for the EV industry that aims to accelerate the development of EVs. The consortium includes a wide range of industry players, from automakers and suppliers to technology companies.
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