Listen to “AD #3187 – Tesla Looking Very Impressive; BMW and Volvo Invest in Green Steel; Maverick Hybrid Beats EPA Estimate” on Spreaker.
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0:07 Tesla Posts Impressive Q3
0:48 Tesla Holding Back New Models Until Full Capacity
1:13 Other Details from Tesla’s Earnings Call
2:58 BMW & Volvo Invest in Green Steel
4:29 Kia Teaser is All-New Sportage
5:27 Chevy Corvette Z06 Teaser
5:43 Chevy Reveals Biggest/Most Powerful Crate Engine Ever
7:13 Improving ADAS with AI
9:02 More Cuts Due to the Chip Shortage
9:56 Ford Maverick Hybrid Beats Fuel Economy Estimate
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
TESLA POSTS IMPRESSIVE Q3
Tesla posted its 3rd quarter earnings and the numbers are extremely impressive. Revenue was up 57% over a year ago. Net profit of $1.6 billion generated a net margin of 11.7% which is the best in the business. And that happened even though the average selling price of Tesla’s cars went down due to a greater mix of Model 3s and Ys. Car sales were up 73% despite a chip shortage that is crippling production for all other automakers. The company generated $3 billion in cash and is paying down debt.
TESLA HOLDING BACK NEW MODELS UNTIL FULL CAPACITY HIT
In one way Tesla is starting to act like traditional automakers. It’s trying to minimize complexity by holding off on new models until it gets existing models up to full capacity. The Cybertruck will be the next model to launch, but that won’t happen until Tesla can be sure it has enough battery cells, according to Lars Moravy, Tesla’s VP of Vehicle Engineering.
OTHER DETAILS FROM TESLA’S EARNINGS CALL
Other tidbits from Tesla’s earnings call:
– It built 430,000 cars at the Fremont plant over the last 12 months, but thinks it can boost that by 50%.
– It thinks it can grow sales and production by 50% a year, with the ultimate goal of making 20 million cars a year–about the same as Volkswagen and Toyota combined.
– Tesla will switch to LFP cells–lithium iron phosphate–in all standard range cars. For now those cells will come from China, but Tesla plans to localize production in the US and Europe.
– It increased its number of service centers by 35%, and its mobile repair units by 40%.
– It doubled the size of the Supercharging network over the last year and a half and plans to triple it in the next 2 years.
– If you already paid for Full Self Driving and buy a new Tesla, that will be applied to the cost of the new car.
– One thing that was weird, though, is that Elon Musk was not on the earnings call with analysts. That makes us wonder if he is starting to step back from his day-to-day involvement in Tesla. Sure looks that way. Tesla is running so well right now that it’s going to free up Elon to work on other things.
BMW & VOLVO WORKING WITH GREEN STEEL
Not only are automakers trying to clean up emissions coming from their vehicle’s tailpipes, they’re trying to make manufacturing more sustainable as well. And there’s a new term you should get used to hearing, Green Steel or Fossil-Free Steel. This refers to steel that is made from renewable energy, like electricity generated by wind or solar, which means it doesn’t use fossil resources and produces much less CO2 emissions. In March we reported that BMW had teamed up with a company, called Boston Metal to source CO2-free steel and now it’s expanding its supply of the material even further. BMW will get supplies of steel produced with green power from a Swedish startup, called H2 Green Steel starting in 2025. The two companies are also setting up a closed-loop system to recycle excess material, like off-cuts from a press. And it turns out Sweden is a good place to produce Green Steel. It has high-quality iron ore, plenty of renewable sources and a major seaport. That’s probably one of the reasons Volvo is also more heavily involved with the steel. It teamed with another Swedish company, called SSAB, to make a huge load carrier for mining use, out of Fossil-Free Steel. While this is just a concept, Volvo says more vehicles and small-scale production will begin next year and mass production will follow after that.
KIA TEASER IS ALL-NEW SPORTAGE
Kia is teasing an all-new SUV for the U.S. market that will debut next week that it says will go on sale early next year, will have a range of gasoline engines and either front- or all-wheel drive. But it didn’t provide many more details. But if you’re like me, you might say, ‘hey, those headlamps look pretty familiar.’ And they should. This is the new Kia Sportage that was revealed globally earlier this year. So, that means we can tell you one of those engines will likely be a turbocharged 1.6L unit that makes roughly 180 horsepower and is mated to a 7-speed DCT. There will also be hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions available. One other tid-bit Kia did provide is that the new model will have a more off-road focused variant that has increased ground clearance, multiple terrain modes and beefier tires. We’ll learn more next week.
CORVETTE Z06 TEASER
Speaking of teasers, Chevy has this little teaser of the all-new Corvette Z06, which also debuts next week, that shows its magnificent engine redlines at 8,600 RPM. Again, more coming next week.
CHEVY REVEALS BIGGEST/MOST POWERFUL CRATE ENGINE EVER
But the heart-stopping performance from Chevy doesn’t stop there. It also revealed a new crate engine, code named ZZ632. You might have already thought it, but that 632 refers to the amount of cubic-inches of this engine, which makes it Chevy’s largest crate engine ever, and its over 1,000 horsepower and 876 lb-ft of torque also makes it the most powerful. No price was revealed, but the engines go on sale next year.
We invite you to join us this afternoon on Autoline After Hours when we’ll have the head of Cadillac design, Brian Smith, on the show, along with Tristan Murphy, the head of interior design at Cadillac. Henry Payne, the car critic from the Detroit News will also be on. So join John and Gary for some of the best insider news in the automotive industry.
IMPROVING ADAS WITH AI
ADAS or advanced driver assistance systems can be very helpful and prevent accidents. But they can also be annoying with all those warning buzzes and chimes. That’s why researchers at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada are performing a study on human driving behavior and using artificial intelligence to make the systems less intrusive. On Autoline This Week, Mark Crowley, an assistant professor of the machine learning laboratory at the University, shared some insight into the study.
(Clip from ATW #2524 can only be viewed in the video version of today’s show.)
CHIP SHORTAGE CONTINUES TO IMPACT PRODUCTION
Earlier in the week, we reported that Toyota is once again cutting production due to the chip shortage. But it’s not the only automaker being clobbered by it. Reuters reports that Volkswagen has only built 300,000 vehicles at its main plant in Wolfsburg, Germany so far this year, its lowest level since 1958. Over the last ten years that plant on average has produced 780,000 vehicles. And Reuters also reports that Renault will build 300,000 to 400,000 fewer vehicles this year because of the chip shortage. That estimate is up from the 220,000 vehicles it forecasted to lose back in September. And IHS Markit predicts that automakers will produce 11 million fewer vehicles this year because of the shortage.
FORD MAVERICK MORE FUEL EFFICIENT THAN ORIGINAL PREDICTIONS
Ford announced the EPA rating for the new Maverick hybrid pickup. It’s rated at 42 MPG in the city, 33 MPG on the highway and 37 MPG combined. And it has an estimated 500 miles of range. The hybrid setup consists of a 2.5L Atkinson cycle engine mated to a CVT and a lithium-ion battery. But good luck trying to get one. Ford says it expects the pickup to be fully reserved by early November and it won’t start taking orders again until next summer. But if you were lucky enough to reserve one, you should get it sometime in January of 2022.
But that’s it for today, thanks for watching.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.