Listen to “AD #2829 – Nissan's Major Restructuring Plan; AIWAYS Develops "Sandwich" Battery for Safety; Cobalt Production Coming to America” on Spreaker.
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0:07 Nissan’s Major Restructuring Plan
1:03 U.S. April Sales Drop Off
2:39 AIWAYS Develops “Sandwich” Battery for Safety
3:29 Electric Garbage Truck Saves $10K in Fuel
4:09 Cobalt Production Kicking Off in North America
4:53 The Benefits of Locally Sourced Materials
6:01 U.K. Registrations Hit All-Time High
6:53 Top Supercars on Instagram
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NISSAN MAKES MAJOR RESTRUCTURING PLAN
Nissan was struggling before the virus crisis. And now it’s taking drastic action to revamp the company. Reuters reports it’s going to start cutting back in markets where it can’t make money, like Europe and India. Instead, it will focus on China, Japan and the U.S. In the U.S. and Japan, Nissan needs to speed up its product cycle. It’s average model is 5 years old and it wants to bring that down to about 3.5 years. It’s also going to chop down fleet sales. In China, Nissan will start designing vehicles specifically for that market, which will require a repositioning of its Venucia brand. It’s estimated Nissan could need to shut down more than 14 assembly lines for its new plan, which would cut annual production from 7 million vehicles down to 5.5 million.
U.S. SALES IN APRIL DROP OFF
U.S. new car sales were slammed in April. Ward’s reports that automakers sold 707,000 new cars and trucks, almost half of what they were a year ago. The SAAR, or seasonally adjusted annual rate, came in at only 8.5 million. A year ago it was at 16.4 million. Sales of passenger cars fared the worst. They were down 58%, while trucks were down 41%. As a result, the truck segment accounted for almost 78% of all vehicles sold. Interestingly, luxury and premium brands fared the worst last month. Audi, BMW, Cadillac, JLR, Porsche and Tesla all saw their sales fall by more than 60%, while the overall market fell 49%. Here’s our Autoline Insight. People in the luxury segment can easily postpone buying or leasing a new car. For them it’s a discretionary purchase, not a necessity. That will probably change once things start to get back to normal, but for now it’s the luxury brands that are suffering the most because of the crisis.
AIWAYS DEVELOPS “SANDWICH” BATTERY FOR SAFETY
Chinese EV startup AIWAYS developed new battery technology that makes it safer in accidents. The battery features a “sandwich” structure, which separates the dry and wet areas of the cell. By placing an isolation plate between the battery module and cooling plate, it makes it impossible for leaking coolant to enter the battery module after an accident. And to help its efficiency, its battery management system uses algorithms to monitor power consumption. Drivers get feedback to modify their driving behavior to extend battery life. AIWAYS’ 63-kWh battery provides a 400 kilometer or nearly 250 miles of range based on the WLTP cycle.
BYD ELECTRIC GARBAGE TRUCK SAVES $10K IN FUEL
Chinese automaker BYD posted this short video on YouTube of one of its electric garbage trucks operating in California. It even features an extendable robotic arm that picks up the bin, dumps the garbage in the truck and puts it back in place. The truck is powered by a 178-kWh battery that provides an 80-mile range. And it’s equipped with two, 201 horsepower electric motors and has a top speed of 56 MPH. Compared to a diesel-powered garbage truck, BYD says using its truck could save around $10,000 in fuel costs and $3,000 in maintenance annually.
COBALT PRODUCTION KICKING OFF IN NORTH AMERICA
A Canadian company in Ontario called First Cobalt, plans to start making cobalt sulphate for EV batteries in North America by the end of this year. The idea is to provide an alternative to China for cobalt supplies. Even so, the raw material will be cobalt mined in the Republic of Congo in Africa. Reuters reports that First Cobalt will refine enough cobalt sulphate for 350,000 electric vehicles with today’s cathode construction. But battery companies are working on reducing the amount of cobalt in cathodes to cut cost, so in the near future, First Cobalt could be producing enough material for 700,000 EVs.
You have to wonder if that Canadian plant will end up attracting battery manufacturers to Ontario. Bob Galyen, a battery expert who we recently had on Autoline After Hours, explains why it’s so advantageous to have locally sourced materials.
“A few years ago I did a study in China on what percentage of raw materials that go into batteries are. At that time 45% of all the raw materials that went into the battery were from the local city. 65% were from the local province. 95% were from within the country of China, and only 5% were imported from offshore. So where ever you put these big factories, it’s a great thing for the local provinces or cities, because a lot of it is localization, because you don’t want to ship large quantities of bulk materials to build these things because they consume enormous amounts of raw materials.”
U.K. REGISTRATIONS HIT ALL-TIME RECORD
Strangely enough, there are more cars on roads in the U.K. than ever before. The number of registered vehicles on the road topped 40 million for the first time. That includes a 2.7% increase of light commercial vehicles to 4.5 million units. Green cars also saw a big increase. Sales of hybrids, plug-ins and BEVs grew 26% last year, although they only make up 2.2% of the overall market. By comparison diesels fell about 1% while gasoline-powered vehicles were up by 1.2%. With more people choosing lower emission vehicles, CO2 pollution was its lowest on record, not counting the drop in traffic due to the virus crisis.
TOP SUPERCARS ON INSTAGRAM
If you’re looking to boost your Instagram following start sharing more pictures of the Lamborghini Aventador. With so many people liking, sharing and posting their favorite supercar on Instagram, compare-the-market-dot-com wanted to find out what the most popular model is. And according to its data, the Lamborghini Aventador is the most hashtagged supercar on the social media platform. In fact, Lamborghini sits in 3 of the top 5 spots. The Audi R8 and Ferrari 458 are also very popular. The biggest surprise for us is that Porsche f. Mailed to rank in the top 30. Especially when the Dodge Viper sits at number 22. Did your favorite supercar make the list or was there another snub?
But that’s it for today’s show, thanks for watching and please join us again tomorrow.
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John McElroy is an influential thought leader in the automotive industry. He is a journalist, lecturer, commentator and entrepreneur. He created “Autoline Daily,” the first industry webcast of industry news and analysis.