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0:08 Toyota Won’t Run Olympic Ads in Japan
0:46 Rivian Delays Start of Production
1:14 Tight Inventory Helps Dealers Post Big Profits
2:32 Automakers Moving Away from Rare Earth Metals Used in EVs
3:21 Largest Rare Earth Mine Located in U.S.
4:44 Xpeng Slashes P5 Pricing in China
5:20 Tesla Launches Full-Self Driving Subscription Service
7:08 Toyota Unveils All-New Aqua Hybrid
8:10 BMW Reveals Wild New Electric Scooter
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
TOYOTA WON’T RUN OLYMPIC ADS IN JAPAN
The summer Olympics start in Tokyo in four days. But most Japanese don’t want to see the games take place because of a Covid outbreak that’s racing through the country. So Toyota, a major sponsor of the Olympics, will not run any TV ads in Japan supporting the games. And none of the company’s execs will attend any events or ceremonies. Back in April, Akio Toyoda, the CEO of the company, actually ran with the torch to help promote the games. But now Toyota is worried about a public backlash if it continues to promote the Olympics.
RIVIAN DELAYS START OF PRODUCTION
The chip shortage has wreaked havoc on most automakers and now it’s Rivian’s turn. The EV startup is delaying production. It planned to start building its electric pickup, the R1T, this month, but has pushed that back to September. It’s also delaying production of its electric SUV, which was supposed to start in August. It’s being pushed back to the fall but Rivian didn’t provide a specific date.
TIGHT INVENTORY HELPS DEALERS POST BIG PROFITS
While automakers and suppliers are getting hammered by the chip shortage, car dealers never had it better. With tight inventory, dealers don’t have to do much wheeling and dealing and are charging premium prices. Because car buyers are doing more of their buying online, dealers cut their sales staff. And because demand is so high they slashed their advertising. That’s why AutoNation, the largest retailer in the U.S., saw its profits jump 37% in the second quarter compared to last year, And last year they were up 177% from the year before.
AUTOMAKERS MOVING AWAY FROM RARE EARTH METALS USED IN EVs
With tensions between China and the West mounting, Reuters reports automakers are moving away from using rare earth metals used in magnets in electric motors. China dominates the rare-earth supply chain. Plus, automakers are concerned about rising costs and damage to the environment from mining rare earths. Based on data from JATO Dynamics, automakers that account for nearly half of all global sales, have plans to or are already reducing use of rare earths in EVs. And by 2030, IHS Markit says non-rare-earth electric motors will increase nearly eight-fold. However, there’s a trade-off, EVs with rare-earths have a longer range.
LARGEST RARE EARTH MINE LOCATED IN U.S.
Did you know the United States actually has the largest rare earth mine in the world? That was one of the topics on Autoline This Week when we looked into the supply chain needed for electric vehicles. Here’s what Jack Lifton, an expert on rare earth mining told us.
“We have one producing mine in the United States. MP Materials is running it. It’s the old Molycorp mine in California. It is actually the world’s single largest mine producer of rare earths and one of the primary rare earth deposits in the world. But it’s entire output goes to China for Chinese industry, and they’re booked to sell this for several years. They say they’re in development of a total supply chain for rare earth permanent magnets, but at this point in time the United States has no capacity to refine rare earths, no capacity to make rare earth metals or alloys. So we’re entirely dependent actually on Chinese imports for rare earth permanent magnets. They dominate this industry.”
XPENG SLASHES P5 PRICING IN CHINA
Xpeng, the Chinese EV maker, has got Tesla in its crosshairs. Tesla recently cut the base price of the Model 3 in China to about $39,000. So Xpeng priced its P5 sedan at just under $25,000, or about $14,000 cheaper. On top of that, higher trim levels of the P5 come with LIDAR to enhance its ADAS system. Last month Tesla sold about 33,000 cars in China while XPeng sold just over 17,000.
TESLA LAUNCHES FULL-SELF DRIVING SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE
Tesla launched its Full-Self Driving subscription service for customers in the U.S. It costs $199 a month or $99 a month for owners who have the Enhanced Autopilot package. That’s $1,200 to $2,400 a year, which is a bit pricey. Owners can also pay $10,000 upfront to buy it outright. The service is only available for vehicles equipped with the Full-Self Driving computer 3.0. Owners without it have to pay $1,500 to upgrade. Despite its name, the Full Self Driving option is not fully autonomous. Tesla warned owners that the current features still “require a fully attentive driver, who has their hands on the wheel.”
TOYOTA UNVEILS ALL-NEW AQUA HYBRID
Toyota is launching an all-new version of the Aqua in Japan, which was sold elsewhere as the Prius c. It still has some of that funky hatchback styling and now features a large trapezoidal grille. Based on Toyota’s New Global Architecture, the Aqua is powered by a 1.5L gas engine that drives the front wheels, while there’s also the option for electronic all-wheel drive. Speaking of electricity, it’s equipped with an all-new high-output bipolar nickel-hydrogen battery pack, which Toyota claims it’s the first to use as a drive battery. Not only is it more compact than the previous battery, it also has nearly twice the output. That helped improve fuel efficiency by about 20%. Customers can buy the new Aqua at dealerships in Japan starting this weekend or it’s available for lease through a car subscription service.
BMW REVEALS WILD NEW ELECTRIC SCOOTER
Let’s stick with new product for the moment and talk about BMW Motorrad’s wild-looking new scooter, called the CE 04. Taking design inspiration from some of its past concepts, the CE 04 is fully electric and is meant for busy cities. There’s a single electric motor, which comes in several different outputs. The most powerful setup of 31 kW or 42 horsepower is able to provide acceleration from 0 to 50 km/h in 2.6 seconds, while maximum speed is 120 km/h or 74 MPH. Depending on the setup, range varies between 100 and 130 kilometers or 62 to 80 miles, which is provided by an 8.9 kWh battery pack. And to make the CE 04 as easy and safe to ride as possible, it’s available with stability and traction control and ABS. It also features a 10 and a quarter inch display screen that’s large enough to show navigation. The scooter will make its public debut at the Munich auto show in September, where it will be joined by two other fully electric motorcycles from BMW Motorrad.
Can EV batteries get recycled quickly and profitably? Yes they can, according to Licycle. That’s the Canadian company that was selected by General Motors and LG Chem to provide them with recycled battery materials. Ajay Kochhar, the CEO of Licycle, will be our guest on Autoline After Hours this Thursday. So join John and Gary and learn how Licycle can remove one of the barriers to EV adoption.
And that’s a wrap folks. Thanks for watching and we’ll be right back here again tomorrow.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.