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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 Thursday 14th September, Martyn Lee here and I go through every EV story so you don’t have to. 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.
BMW M3 SET TO ELECTRIFY WITH QUAD-MOTOR POWER
The legendary BMW M3 is gearing up to go fully electric. Frank Weber, BMW’s product development chief, confirmed the M3 EV with a global launch slated for 2027. Underpinning this new iteration is BMW’s cutting-edge Neue Klasse platform, set for a 2025 release. This revolutionary platform is crafted to harness the prowess of four distinct electric motors, summing up to a formidable one megawatt – a staggering 1,340 horsepower. Not just power, the Neue Klasse promises to elevate performance metrics with 30% more range, 20% swifter charging, and a 25% surge in overall vehicle efficiency.
IONITY AND VILLAGE HOTELS TEAM UP FOR UK CHARGING
Ionity has forged a partnership with the Village Hotels chain in the UK, setting the stage for high power charging (HPC) hubs across 33 designated locations. These sites will feature a combined total of 380 ultra-rapid charge points, welcoming both hotel guests and the public. Every hotel location will be equipped with twelve charge stations, all following Ionity’s standard pricing, and standard practice of using 350kW chargers. With the complete network planned for full operation by the close of 2024, the first will debut in April 2024.
EU EYES TARIFFS ON SUBSIDIZED CHINESE EVS
The European Commission has launched an inquiry into potential tariffs on Chinese electric vehicle (EV) imports, suspecting that state subsidies keep their prices artificially low. As global markets become saturated with these cost-effective EVs, European carmakers face a challenge.
Their mission? To develop affordable electric cars and curb China’s lead in producing consumer-centric models. A testament to China’s rapidly growing market share, the China Passenger Car Association reports a 31% increase in auto exports this August, following a staggering 63% surge in July.
Chinese EVs are also making their mark in Europe. This year, 8% of new EVs sold in the region were from Chinese brands, rising from 6% last year and 4% in 2021. Nio’s founder emphasized the advantage Chinese manufacturers hold, suggesting a 20% cost benefit over competitors like Tesla, primarily due to China’s dominance over supply chains and raw materials. However, he also warned of possible protectionist policies from foreign governments that could challenge their export growth.
UAW’S EV TRANSITION: MORE THAN JUST BATTERIES
At first glance, the “Every auto job a good job” sign might seem unrelated to electric vehicles (EVs). However, the highlighted blue “EV” underscores the industry’s pivotal shift to electrification.
This change reverberates through current contract negotiations. While the primary discussion revolves around wages, benefits, and job security, the EV transition’s shadow looms large.
The United Auto Workers (UAW) demands substantial hikes, citing automaker profits and CEO salaries as justification. They’ve sought over 40% raises, a reintroduction of pensions, and specific job security measures.
Contrarily, automakers emphasize the financial strain of transitioning to EVs. Still, the silver lining of this shift is the surge in battery plant jobs. Federal incentives spur the establishment of these facilities across the U.S. The UAW, however, faces challenges, notably the rise of joint venture plants between autoworkers and external companies, complicating unionization.
Additionally, many such plants are nestled in the right-to-work Southern states. Highlighting the government’s commitment, the Biden administration announced a $15 billion fund on Labor Day. Aimed at converting traditional auto plants to EV-centric facilities, the initiative particularly favors unionized, high-wage companies.
TESLA’S INFLUENCE LOOMS OVER UAW-GM TALKS
Despite not being directly involved in the United Auto Workers’ (UAW) negotiations with General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis, Tesla’s non-unionized stature remains a dominating presence. The UAW’s aim to seal profitable deals hinges on the backdrop of Tesla’s competitive edge, especially as it contemplates unionizing Tesla’s workforce. As the clock ticks towards the expiration of UAW’s contracts with the Big Three—GM, Ford, and Stellantis—by Thursday midnight, industry experts, including those from Evercore ISI and Wedbush Securities, anticipate an 85% chance of a simultaneous strike. Such a move might cost a whopping $5.6 billion, even pushing Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio towards a quarter-long recession.
The competition hurdles for legacy automakers are accentuated by a significant cost gap. While Tesla’s labor costs for vehicle production hover around $45-$50 per hour, Detroit’s giants expend between $64-$67. Ford, which boasts the highest UAW-employed workforce, faces a tightrope. Its CEO, Jim Farley, remains committed to a sustainable future, emphasizing deals that don’t jeopardize growth and profit-sharing. All the while, Tesla’s outspoken CEO, Elon Musk, continues his critique of the UAW, underscoring recent union scandals and advocating for a union-free work environment.
TESLA UNVEILS POWERWALL 3 SPECS
Tesla has officially introduced the Powerwall 3, showcasing its specs on their website. While retaining its energy capacity at 13.5 kWh, the notable upgrade is in its power capacity, now at 11.5 kW. This new model boasts an integrated solar inverter, accommodating up to six solar inputs. Distinguishing the Powerwall 3 from its predecessor, Tesla emphasizes its design as an all-encompassing solar and battery system tailored for households. It offers enhanced power within a single unit, primed for easy expansion to adapt to evolving needs. This integrated solar inverter ensures optimal solar efficiency. However, Powerwall 2 remains versatile, suitable for existing solar systems or new setups with different inverters. Tesla’s approach seems clear: Powerwall 3 for new solar systems and Powerwall 2 for augmenting current installations.
TESLA BOOSTS MEXICO FACTORY INVESTMENT TO $15 BILLION
Tesla is significantly upping its investment game in Mexico. The state governor recently unveiled that Tesla and its partners are channeling $15 billion into an under-construction factory over the next two years. This figure stands in stark contrast to the initial $5 billion announced by Mexican officials. Elon Musk had kept the cards close to his chest regarding the specifics of Tesla’s investment, but Nuevo Leon’s Governor, Samuel Garcia, clarified that the commitment has now tripled. It’s noteworthy that Tesla’s announcement follows in the wake of other automobile behemoths like BMW, General Motors, and Ford. These giants have already signaled their intent to amplify electric vehicle production in Mexico.
TESLA LAUNCHES BRAKE UPGRADES FOR MODEL S AND X
Tesla’s enhancing its braking game in the US for the Model S and Model X Plaid. Owners can now acquire higher thermal capacity (HTC) brake pad kits for a $750. Those with a penchant for flair can opt for the Red Caliper Kit at $2,700, which not only boasts the HTC brake pads but also a vibrant red finish for calipers on front brakes and corresponding covers for the rear. These upgrades promise a superior pedal feel, more consistent braking, and a reduced brake fade. For the track enthusiasts, the Model S Plaid offers a comprehensive $20,000 Track Package. This package incorporates carbon-silicon carbide rotors, premium one-piece forged calipers, and specialized brake fluid, setting the car up for some intense track action.
VINFAST’S SELF-PURCHASE STRATEGY
Vietnamese automaker VinFast sold about 11,300 electric vehicles this year, with most going to its own associated brand ‘Green and Smart Mobility’. This taxi enterprise, like VinFast, operates under Vingroup’s umbrella. The intricate web deepens with Pham Nhat Vuong, Vingroup’s former chairman, controlling an astounding 99.7% of VinFast stocks, leaving a scant 0.3% for market trading. This control was evident when VinFast’s share value peaked at $93 on August 28th, skyrocketing its market cap to around $215 billion. Such a scenario, where a company primarily sells to itself and has its shares majorly held by one entity, places VinFast in a distinctly rare automotive industry position.
RENAULT’S E-TECH TRAFIC TRANSPORTER SET FOR EUROPEAN DEBUT
By the end of 2023, Renault is poised to roll out its all-electric Trafic van across eight European destinations, including its home ground, France, as well as the UK, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, and Germany. This versatile transporter will be available in both three panel van configurations and two double cab styles. Under its hood, the Trafic is powered by a 90 kW motor, harmoniously combined with a 52 kWh battery, offering a substantial WLTP range of up to 297 kilometres. Charging solutions vary between a 7 kW single-phase AC to a more robust 22 kW AC. Notably, this electric workhorse can carry a hefty payload up to 1.1 tonnes and exhibits a towing strength of nearly 920 kilograms.
ZEEKR 001 FR SUPERCAR: INTRIGUING SPECS UNVEILED
The Zeekr 001 FR supercar is an electric powerhouse, driven by four motors delivering peak powers of 155 kW & 310 kW. Weighing 2,525 kilograms, it’s built for speed with a top limit of 280 kilometers per hour. Its energy is drawn from CATL-supplied Li-ion ternary batteries, although the exact capacity remains under wraps.
While a single-motor variant of the standard Zeekr 001 reaches 0 to 100 km/h in 6.8 seconds, the dual-motor versions slice that time to a mere 3.8 seconds.
Introduced officially on September 1, the Zeekr 001 FR stands out, boasting 1,265 horsepower and racing from 0 to 100 km/h in just 2.07 seconds. Eager customers can anticipate deliveries rolling out in October 2023.
FLORIDA MULLS $200 EV REGISTRATION FEE
In a bid to offset diminishing gas-tax revenues due to the rise of electric vehicles, Florida is deliberating on a new bill, known as SB 28. This legislation, proposed for the 2024 session, suggests an additional $200 yearly registration fee for electric vehicle owners, beyond the standard charges.
Historically, Florida has leaned on gas-tax funds to support transportation projects. However, a 2023 Senate analysis highlighted a potential downturn in motor fuel-based revenues, predicting a decrease ranging from 5.6% to 20% by 2040 due to the escalating adoption of electric vehicles.
GOOGLE ENHANCES ANDROID AUTO FEATURES
Android Auto is leveling up, with the addition of audio-only web conferencing features like WebEx by Cisco and Zoom. Earlier in May, cars equipped with native Android software, known as Google built-in, had already incorporated these along with Microsoft Teams. Google is now weaving in Prime Video for select models from Renault, Polestar, and Volvo with Google built-in. Joining the mix is the Chromium-based web browser, Vivaldi. However, all these apps, sourced from the Play Store, are operational only when the vehicle is parked. In a nod to those planning their road trips, The Weather Channel’s app will also be featured, including its “Trip View” functionality. For the tech-savvy driver, Google is selectively offering digital keys, available for specific Hyundai, Genesis, and Kia models in North America and Korea. However, this perk is reserved for those wielding compatible Pixel and Samsung devices.
CHINESE BATTERY TITANS BRACE FOR PRICE WAR IN EV SUPPLY CHAIN
China foresees an intense price showdown between its leading battery giants, CATL and BYD.
CATL holds 43% of the local market, with BYD, backed by Warren Buffett, at 30%, while competitors lag behind at 8.55%.
BYD is narrowing the gap with CATL in battery dominance, gaining 6.2% market share in 2023, while CATL lost 5.1%. A price rivalry is likely imminent as CATL strives to fend off BYD,.
BYD started with batteries and became China’s top EV producer in 2022. CATL pivoted from consumer electronics batteries to EV-centric products and has led since 2017.
A battery tech divide exists: BYD focuses on LFP batteries, known for durability and resilience. CATL leans towards ternary lithium batteries, lighter but with some safety concerns and higher costs.
BYD’s LFP cost-effectiveness also challenges CATL. BYD produces batteries for its own EVs, while CATL and others compete solely for customer contracts.
In 2022, BYD’s in-house production offered a 15% cost advantage over Tesla’s China-produced Model 3.
In 2023, BYD’s domestic LFP battery share rose from 37.1% to 43.6%, while CATL’s fell from 43.6% to 34.5%. BYD’s “blade battery” boasts safety and rapid charging.
CATL introduced the superfast charging LFP battery, Shenxing, promising 400 km range in 10 minutes.
Industry consensus suggests top battery producers’ price reductions will trigger consolidation.
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 NEVO.IE AND THE NEVO 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
RICHARD AT RSEV.CO.UK
JUKKA KUKKONEN FROM WWW.SHIFT2ELECTRIC.COM
BATTERY REPORTS FOR EVS AT RECURRENTAUTO.COM
JAN TORE GJØBY
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