Plus, stay tuned because later in the show I’ll tell you what StoreDot are saying about when their next generation cells will be in cars.
I’m Martyn Lee and I go through hundreds of articles, feeds and stories a day, so you don’t have to.
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Reuters: Tesla Berlin Halts Production Due to Red Sea Supply Disruptions
Tesla’s Berlin factory will pause most car production from January 29 to February 11 due to component shortages caused by transportation disruptions in the Red Sea. The crisis in the Red Sea, triggered by attacks on ships by Iranian-backed Houthi militants, is impacting Europe’s largest economy, including Tesla.
Tesla is the first company to publicly announce a production interruption due to these disruptions. Other companies like Geely and Ikea have also reported delivery delays. The conflict has led to shifts in transport routes, notably affecting the Suez Canal, a key maritime path for Asia-Europe trade. Tesla specifically mentioned the longer transportation times from Asia, particularly China, as a significant factor causing supply chain gaps.
Sam Fiorani, an automotive industry analyst, highlights Tesla’s reliance on Asian, especially Chinese, battery components, which are transported through the Red Sea, as a vulnerability in their supply chain. The situation is compounded by Tesla’s ongoing labor dispute with Swedish trade union IF Metall, leading to sympathy strikes affecting Tesla component production.
Shipping companies are rerouting vessels via South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope, adding about 10 days and $1 million in extra fuel costs to journeys from Asia to Northern Europe.
Tesla Megapack Powers Up to Replace Hawaii’s Final Coal Plant
A Tesla Megapack battery system has been activated to take over from Hawaii’s last operational coal power plant. The project, named Kapolei Energy Storage, is situated in Oahu’s industrial western region and features a substantial 185MW/565MWh Tesla Megapack setup.
The Megapacks, integral to this transition, arrived in Hawaii in late 2022, coinciding with the state’s final coal shipment for its last coal plant, which was shut down in September of the same year. Plus Power, the owner and operator of the battery system, has officially declared the project operational.
– The installation includes 158 Tesla Megapack 2 XL battery units, designed to perform load shifting and provide fast-frequency response services to the Hawaii Electric grid.
The Tesla Megapacks used in this project are equipped with lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery cells.
Tesla’s Sales Surge Nears Audi’s Global Figures
Tesla Inc. nearly surpassed Audi, a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG, in global vehicle sales in 2023. Audi maintained a slight lead with 1.89 million vehicles sold, compared to Tesla’s 1.81 million.
Audi’s 17% sales increase was fueled by strong demand in China, Europe, and the U.S., reversing a three-year sales decline. Challenges for Audi included part shortages and transitioning to electric vehicles (EVs). Audi recently scaled back its EV expansion to ease pressure on production and dealerships.
Tesla exceeded expectations in Q4 deliveries but remained behind China’s BYD Co. in overall EV sales. Tesla outsold the combined total of fully electric vehicles from Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz in the same period.
Porsche Macan EV Excels in Edmunds’ 70-MPH Range Test
Edmunds conducted an informal 70-mph range test on the Porsche Macan EV, with even the highest trim exceeding 300 miles on a single charge. The Macan EV, co-developed with Audi, is set to feature a 100-kWh battery pack and 800-volt architecture. Edmunds admits their test wasn’t perfect but at mostly highlway speeds they covered 325 miles.
The upcoming Audi Q6 E-Tron will be the first Audi model to use this new battery system. Porsche’s Macan EV battery is lighter and more energy-dense than the one used in the Taycan, enhancing its efficiency.
The EV can charge at a rapid rate of up to 270 kW. With a low coefficient of drag of just 0.25, the Macan EV is touted as one of the most aerodynamically efficient SUVs, aided by features like an active rear spoiler and air flaps.
Every version of the Macan EV is expected to achieve a minimum range of 311 miles according to the European WLTP cycle.
Mercedes-Benz Sees Significant Boost in EV Sales for 2023
Mercedes-Benz Passenger Cars experienced a notable increase in electric vehicle (EV) sales, with battery-electric models comprising 11% of total sales last year. When including plug-in hybrids, their share of total sales rose to 19%.
In comparison, BMW Group’s EV sales reached 376,183 units in 2023, marking a 74.4% increase from the previous year and accounting for 14.7% of their total sales. Mercedes-Benz’s growth in EV sales is nearly parallel to that of BMW.
Volkswagen sold approximately 394,000 fully electric vehicles in 2023, but these only made up 8% of their total sales.
Hertz Reduces EV Fleet, Reinvests in Gasoline Vehicles
I told you on yesterday’s podcast about Hertz selling Tesla’s which they were defleeting and I hypothesised about whether it was natural turnover of rental stock or something else. Typically as soon as I published, Hertz issued more details about the move. They will sell 20,000 electric vehicles (EVs), equating to one-third of its U.S. EV fleet, and will increase its investment in gasoline-powered cars.
The EV sale process started last month and is expected to continue throughout 2024, as stated in a regulatory filing by Hertz. Hertz anticipates a $245 million non-cash charge in its fourth-quarter financials, mainly due to increased net depreciation expenses from the EV sale.
Hertz’s shift marks a reversal from its previous strategy focusing on EVs, which were expected to fetch higher prices and retain value.
Hertz CEO Stephen Scherr mentioned in October that the company would scale down its EV fleet, which previously constituted 11% of its total fleet, with Teslas making up 80% of this segment. The decision is partly based on higher repair costs for EVs compared to gasoline cars, impacting Hertz’s profitability.
Hertz’s stock value dropped by 4.2% to $8.95 at market close on Thursday, following a 32% decline last year. The company reported sustained high expenses related to collision and damage for EVs, influencing the decision to reduce the EV fleet. For the fourth quarter of 2023, Hertz is set to recognize around $245 million in additional depreciation expenses due to the EV sale.
Previously, in April 2022, Hertz had announced plans to purchase up to 65,000 EVs from Polestar over five years, following an order for 100,000 Teslas by the end of 2022.
Hertz’s used car platform currently lists over 700 EVs for sale, including models like BMW i3, Chevrolet Bolt, Tesla Model 3, and Model Y crossovers. This strategic pivot highlights a decreasing demand for EVs in the U.S., with a mere 1.3% increase in EV sales in the last quarter of 2023.
StoreDot Unveils First EV with Groundbreaking XFC Battery Tech
StoreDot, an extreme fast charging (XFC) company, is set to display the first-ever electric vehicle (EV) equipped with XFC battery cell technology in 2024. This showcase is a collaboration with automotive manufacturer Polestar, marking a significant step towards wider adoption of XFC technology in the EV industry.
StoreDot aims to expand its global manufacturing capabilities by strengthening partnerships with various automotive and manufacturing entities. The company’s ‘100inX’ product roadmap indicates significant progress, with XFC cells capable of charging 100 miles in just 5 minutes expected to be ready this year.
Further advancements are planned, with the goal of reducing charging time to 4 minutes for 100 miles by 2026, and to an impressive 3 minutes by 2028.
Lucid Group Faces Decrease in Quarterly Production and Deliveries
Lucid Group reported a decline in both deliveries and production in the fourth quarter, leading to a record low in share prices. Lucid’s vehicle deliveries decreased by approximately 10%, down to 1,734 vehicles in the quarter ending December 31, from 1,932 in the same period the previous year.
Lucid’s production saw a significant drop of about 31% to 2,391 vehicles in the quarter, aligning with its revised annual target of 8,000 to 8,500 units. The company had reduced its initial production forecast from over 10,000 units, citing a need to align production with deliveries.
Lucid’s shares, which are backed by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, fell by approximately 38% in the previous year. Despite these challenges, Lucid’s fourth-quarter deliveries and production showed growth compared to the preceding three months.
Abarth 600e Set for 2025 Debut as Most Powerful Electric Hot Hatch
Abarth’s upcoming electric hot hatch, anticipated to be named the 600e, is slated for release in 2025 and will be the most potent model in the brand’s history. The 600e is expected to feature a 237bhp powertrain, significantly more powerful than the Abarth 500e.
Although Abarth doesn’t prioritize rapid acceleration for its electric models, the 600e’s power boost suggests a notable improvement in straight-line speed over the 500e’s 6.8-second 0-60mph capability. The focus for the 600e is enhanced mid-range performance, aligning with Abarth’s ethos of fun-to-drive vehicles.
In collaboration with Stellantis’ motorsport division, Abarth has developed a bespoke chassis for the 600e, distinct from the 500e’s PSA platform. The new model will be based on the modified eCMP platform, now called Perfo-eCMP, which includes a sportier suspension, unique EV-focused limited slip differential, advanced braking system with larger brakes, and Formula E-derived tires.
China’s NEV Fleet Surpasses 20 Million with BEVs Dominating
China’s new energy vehicle (NEV) ownership has exceeded 20 million, doubling from 10 million in just a year and a half. As of the end of 2023, China’s total NEV count stood at 20.41 million, representing 6.07% of the country’s overall vehicle ownership of 336 million.
NEVs in China encompass battery electric vehicles (BEVs), plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs), and fuel cell vehicles. BEVs constitute the majority, with 15.52 million vehicles, making up 76.04% of all NEVs in China.
Chinese Auto Exports Soar in 2023, Driven by EV Expansion
China witnessed a 63.7% surge in auto exports during 2023, while domestic sales increased by 4.2%. This export growth is part of Chinese automakers’ strategy to find new markets as the domestic economy slows. The country’s focus on electric vehicles (EVs), aided by government subsidies, has made China the world’s largest EV market, despite overall stagnant car sales.
Electric vehicles represented 24% of new car sales in China in 2023, a significant increase from 12% in 2021. When including hybrids, new-energy vehicles accounted for 36% of total car sales in China last year.
The Tesla Model Y emerged as the top-selling EV in China in 2023, with sales of 646,800 units, followed by the BYD Song sedan at 428,600 units.
REE’s P7-C: First Fully ‘X-by-Wire’ EV Certified in US with Potential $100K Incentives
REE Automotive’s P7-C electric truck, the first vehicle with complete steer-by-wire, brake-by-wire, and drive-by-wire technology, has received U.S. certification Following EPA and FMVSS approvals, initial deliveries of the P7-C chassis cab have commenced.
REE has started distributing its P7-C, featuring REEcorner and x-by-wire technology, to authorized dealers, including Pritchard EV in Iowa. The P7-C’s certification as a fully x-by-wire vehicle highlights its modular design, reduced parts and maintenance needs, and faster market readiness.
The P7-C is eligible for a tax credit of up to $40,000 per vehicle under the IRS’ Commercial Clean Vehicle Tax Credit. REE is also pursuing state incentives, potentially increasing total incentives to over $100,000 per vehicle based on the customer’s location.
Lower LFP Battery Prices Favor New Over Second Life Batteries
The cost-effectiveness of new lithium iron phosphate (LFP) batteries has increased, making them more appealing than reused (second life) batteries. Cactos Fleet Finland LP plans to purchase and manage battery energy storage systems (BESS) for commercial and industrial clients, offering a lease model that requires no upfront payment.
New LFP cells are now seen as more desirable due to their durability and reduced cost. While second life cells remain suitable for battery energy storage, the current pricing of new LFP batteries makes them a more cost-effective choice. Previously, the high cost of new lithium-ion batteries was a key factor driving interest in the second life energy storage market.
Seres and Skywell Debut in UK with New Electric Vehicles
And finally one for my UK listeners, two new EVs to pick from soon. Seres is launching its Seres 3 model in the UK in April, priced at under £30,000 (approximately €34,860).
The Seres 3, comparable in size to the Nissan Qashqai, features a 54 kWh battery, front-wheel drive, and a 120 kW motor. It offers a range of 205 miles (330 kilometres).
Seres, a subsidiary of China’s Sokon Group, has been selling the Seres 5 in Europe since March
- The Seres 5 initially had an 80 kWh LFP battery, which was upgraded in September 2023.
Skywell is set to introduce its ET5 model, a mid-size SUV, to the UK market in the summer. The Skywell ET5 will offer a range of 304 miles (about 489 kilometres), although its price has not yet been disclosed.
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