Plus, stay tuned because later in the show I’ll tell you what Stellantis are saying about which EV batteries will make smaller, cheaper EVs possible.
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Walmart’s First In-House EV Charging Station Debuts
Walmart seems to have quietly launched their network of self-branded Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station, located at the Cross Roads, Texas Supercenter. This initiative follows Walmart’s promise made last year to install EV charging stations at numerous U.S. locations.
The new charging station is now listed on Plugshare.com which says “cannot be activated with ChargePoint card or app currently. You need to download the Walmart app”. The chargers are free at the time of recording. On Jan 6th Plugshare user “Shayne” wrote: “4 150kW stations that actually work! Don’t let the text on the screen confuse you, scan the QR code, and use the Walmart app to charge for free”.
The Chargepoint Express+ units are indicated 200kW, and given the Chargepoint power modules are 40kW each, it would be a fair assumption that each power block has 5 power modules for 200kW and 500amps on the CCS side.
Each dispenser has a CCS1 and a CHAdeMo cable. Are these NEVI funded? I can’t find mention of it but the location seems to be right on a highway and would qualify.
Walmart’s announcement in April indicated plans to equip “thousands” of its stores across the U.S. with EV charging facilities. The strategic placement of Walmart stores makes this initiative significant, as over 90% of Americans live within 10 miles of a Walmart store or Supercenter.
Sainsbury’s Debuts Smart Charge: An In-House EV Charging Network
Sainsbury’s introduces Smart Charge, its proprietary electric car charging brand. The initiative makes Sainsbury’s the first UK supermarket to own and operate a charging network. Plans include installing 750 rapid chargers at over 100 stores by the end of the year, aiming to be among the top five ultra-rapid charger providers in the UK.
The press release today says 200 chargers are active at 20 locations, including supermarkets in Harrogate and Richmond, featuring convenient contactless payment options. But I counted more, more in a sec.
They say most chargers will offer speeds up to 150kW. Select locations will feature even faster 300kW chargers, catering to high-performance EVs like the Porsche Taycan and Kia EV6 which can take more power.
Their charging partner is Kempower. I notice they have also bought the domain smartcharge.co.uk. On the FAQ’s section is says: “CCS2 connectors can be found at all of our charging hubs and most of them also offer CHAdeMO connectors.” There is also a map with 23 stations highlighted. Clicking on each site pops up the address, how many stalls there are, how many are in use and free, and how many are CCS and CHAdeMO. It clearly says the power is max 150kW and the price is 75p per kWh.
Polestar 4 SUV Rolls Out in China
Polestar, the premium EV brand backed by Geely and Volvo Cars, starts delivering its SUV, the Polestar 4, in China. The launch experienced a slight delay, missing its initial December schedule.
Official delivery ceremonies kicked off in six Chinese cities from today January 13, although the first vehicles are already with customers. The Polestar 4 is available at 43 Polestar Spaces across 21 cities in China, with test vehicles already in stores. The model was first introduced at the Shanghai auto show on April 17, 2023, with prices ranging from RMB 349,800 ($48,830) to RMB 533,800.
Notably, Tesla also reduced prices for most of its Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in China recently. On November 16, 2023, Polestar adjusted the starting price of the Polestar 4 to RMB 299,900, excluding some previously included benefit packages.
Polestar’s Q4 Performance: Solid Polestar 4 Launch and Global Delivery Figures
– Yesterday Polestar also reported its global delivery data for Q4 2023. – In the fourth quarter, Polestar achieved approximately 12,800 vehicle deliveries, including 880 Polestar 4 units in China. The total deliveries for the year reached around 54,600 vehicles, marking a 6% increase from 2022.
The company anticipates its gross profit margin for the year to be roughly at break-even. The Polestar 4 has seen a positive reception in China, and the increase in its production marks a significant achievement. Polestar 4 is set to begin deliveries in Europe and Australia shortly, with Polestar 3 deliveries expected by summer.
Tesla Slashes Prices in China for Model 3 and Model Y
Tesla reduces prices by up to 6% for its Shanghai-manufactured vehicles to sustain its dominance in China’s premium EV market. The entry-level Model 3 now costs 6% less whilst the M3 LR is 4% less. The starting price for the Model Y is adjusted down 2.8%
These price cuts follow Tesla’s reported sales increase of 15.7% in December in mainland China, reaching 75,805 units.
The refreshed so-called ‘Highland’ Model 3 has not materially boosted sales since October 19the in the highly competitive Chinese EV market.
Tesla Increases Worker Wages Amid UAW’s Unionization Efforts
Tesla informs factory workers of upcoming pay raises as the United Auto Workers (UAW) union seeks to organize its U.S. plants. The UAW reports Tesla employees have been briefed on the raises, though the exact increase amounts are unspecified.
This strategy by Tesla follows UAW’s success in securing robust contracts with major Detroit automakers and its initiative to unionize nonunion auto facilities across the U.S. The raise announcement aligns with a pattern of pay increases at nonunion auto plants observed after the ratification of UAW contracts.
Specific roles at Tesla, including production workers, material handlers, and quality inspectors, are set for a “m arket adjustment” pay increase, as reported by Bloomberg News. Over 30% of workers at a Mercedes-Benz plant in Alabama have signed cards for a union representation vote, echoing a similar movement at Volkswagen’s Tennessee factory.
BMW i5 M60 Touring: Electric Performance Wagon Set for 2024 Launch
The BMW i5 M60 Touring, an electric M Performance wagon, is set to debut in February 2024. Technical specifics mirror the i5 M60 sedan, featuring a dual-motor, all-wheel drive system.
This model boasts a substantial 593 horsepower and up to 820 Nm (605 lb-ft) of torque when utilizing M Sport Boost or M Launch Control. Performance-wise, the wagon might slightly trail the sedan; the i5 M60 sedan achieves 0 to 62 mph in 3.8 seconds and tops at 143 mph.
The i5 M60 utilizes a lithium-ion battery with an 81.2 kWh usable capacity, placed in the vehicle’s underbody. Expectations are that the wagon will adopt the same battery, though its bulkier design could reduce range.
The sedan’s range is officially rated between 283 to 321 miles (455 to 516 kilometers) under the WLTP cycle.
Nissan Ariya Nismo: An Electrifying Performance Upgrade
Nissan unveils the Ariya Nismo, marking its first venture into electric vehicles influenced by NISMO. The model is built on the e-4ORCE platform, featuring dual electric motors and all-wheel drive.
Two versions are available: the Nismo B6 with a 66-kWh battery and the Nismo B9 with a 91-kWh battery. The B6 variant delivers 362 horsepower and 413 lb-ft of torque, while the B9 increases output to 429 horsepower and 443 lb-ft.
Nismo’s enhancements include a boost in power compared to standard Ariya models and a new driving mode for optimized input responses. Chassis modifications aim to enhance performance in sharp turns. The Ariya Nismo sports 20-inch wheels for improved traction and handling. It features unique sound engineering, creating an audio ambiance reminiscent of Formula E racing.
Stellantis Backs Tiamat in Advancing Sodium-Ion Battery Tech
Stellantis Ventures, part of Stellantis N.V., announces strategic investment in Tiamat, a French firm focusing on sodium-ion battery technology. Sodium-ion batteries offer cost efficiency and are devoid of lithium and cobalt, providing sustainability and material independence advantages.
Tiamat is the first to commercialize sodium-ion technology in an electrified product. Stellantis aims to secure EV material supplies until 2027 through global agreements and is diversifying into alternative energy storage technologies.
Partnerships include solid-state batteries with Factorial Energy, lithium-sulfur technology with Lyten Inc., and sodium-ion batteries with Tiamat. Originating from the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Tiamat plans to use the investment to build a sodium-ion battery plant in France. The initial focus will be on power tools and stationary storage, with an eventual scale-up for second-generation products suitable for Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs).
EU Inspects Chinese EV Makers in Tariff Probe
European Commission officials will inspect Chinese automakers BYD, Geely, and SAIC as part of an investigation into potential EV tariffs. The probe aims to assess if Chinese-made EVs are unfairly benefiting from state subsidies, potentially impacting European EV manufacturers.
The investigation, launched in October, is expected to last 13 months. Notably, non-Chinese brands produced in China like Tesla, Renault, and BMW are not included in the inspections. China has labeled the investigation as protectionist, heightening tensions with the EU. Responses from the European Commission, China’s commerce ministry, BYD, and SAIC are pending, while Geely refrained from commenting but emphasized its adherence to legal and fair market practices.
Inspectors have reportedly arrived in China, with inspections planned for January and February. The visits aim to verify responses from automakers to earlier questionnaires. Chinese EVs have gained significant market share in the EU, currently at 8% and potentially rising to 15% by 2025. These Chinese EVs are generally priced around 20% lower than their EU counterparts.
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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
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