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0:07 Tesla Now Worth $1 Trillion
0:43 Tesla Model 3 Tops European Sales Chart
1:20 Canoo Taps Panasonic for Battery Supplies
2:02 Panasonic Reveals Prototype 4680 Cell
3:17 Volta Trucks Looking for Sales & Service Locations
4:14 Audi Launching RS 3 Sedan & Sportback
5:51 Mercedes Delays U.S. EQC Again
7:08 Can Single Motor Polestar 2 Boost Sales Performance?
8:52 Wild Porsche Raises Awareness for Good Cause
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
TESLA NOW WORTH $1 TRILLION
It’s a stunning historical landmark. Yesterday Tesla became the first automaker to hit a $1 trillion market cap. In fact, only 4 other companies are in the club: Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet and Amazon. Tesla’s stock is now over $1,000 a share. What triggered the jump was the announcement yesterday that Hertz is buying 100,000 Teslas for its rental fleet. Even Elon Musk was puzzled that the Hertz announcement goosed the stock price, since Tesla is already selling every car it can make.
TESLA MODEL 3 TOPS EUROPEAN SALES CHART
Tesla also set a record in Europe. The Model 3 was the best-selling vehicle in Europe last month, the first time an electric vehicle has topped the sales charts and the first time a vehicle built outside Europe took the top spot. Tesla delivered about 24,600 units in September, a 58% increase compared to a year ago. But we say be careful with these numbers. Tesla always backloads its sales to the end of each quarter, when it reports massive jumps. And if it holds to this practice we’ll see a big drop in sales this month.
CANOO TAPS PANASONIC FOR BATTERY SUPPLIES
EV startup Canoo selected Panasonic to supply batteries for its upcoming Lifestyle Vehicle. And it’s going to use a cell-to-pack design. Instead of placing battery modules in an enclosure that’s sealed and bolted into the chassis, Canoo integrates the modules directly into the structure. Canoo’s Lifestyle Vehicle will be built by contract manufacturer VDL Nedcar starting in the fourth quarter of 2022 and will be sold in both the U.S. and Europe. The model has an estimated range of 250 miles or a little over 400 kilometers and has a starting price just under $35,000.
PANASONIC REVEALS PROTOTYPE 4680 BATTERY CELL
Panasonic also showed off a prototype version of its 4680 cylindrical cell, the one Tesla will use. The 4680 battery capacity is five times larger than the previous 2170 cell. Panasonic plans to start trial production of the new battery in Japan by March of next year. It also said it has no plans to develop LFP or lithium-iron phosphate batteries. A number of automakers, including Tesla, are using that battery chemistry for lower priced EVs because they are significantly cheaper.
VOLTA TRUCKS LOOKING FOR SALES & SERVICE LOCATIONS
Volta Trucks, an electric commercial vehicle startup that’s headquartered in Sweden, will have its first transporter, the Volta Zero, on European roads sometime next year. To reach that goal, it’s now looking for sales and service locations in its launch cities of London, Madrid, Milan and Paris. The Volta Zero is a large vehicle designed for inner-city use with a range between 150 and 200 kilometer or 95 and 125 miles. It’s a unique design and, as you can see here, the driver sits in a central location with large glass windows all around to improve visibility. There are also two digital screens to replace the side-view mirrors and three displays in the middle, a quick glance away to provide the driver with the information they need. Volta says it currently has more than 2,500 pre-orders for the Zero.
AUDI LAUNCHING RS 3 SEDAN & SPORTBACK
Audi is getting ready to launch the performance version of the A3 sedan and wagon. The RS 3 Sedan and Sportback feature a reworked version of Audi’s award-winning 2.5L turbocharged 5-cylinder engine. It now produces nearly 400 horsepower and about 370 lb-ft of torque, which is roughly 15 more lb-ft. That boost helps the car go from 0-100 km/h in 3.8 seconds, 3-tenths faster than before. And a new exhaust system with fully variable internal flaps, a first for the RS 3, means the engine is always singing its finest tune. Another first is a new torque splitter. It uses electronically controlled clutch packs with multiple discs on each rear axle to distribute torque between the wheels, rather than the old setup, which featured a multiple disc clutch upstream from the axles. It’s already pretty easy to spot an RS 3, but if you’re looking for specific design cues, the large air intakes and expressive colors are a dead giveaway. But they also feature unique bumpers with their own grille pattern design, air outlets behind the front tires as well as sport seats, carbon fiber trim and a number of RS logos. The RS 3 Sedan and Sportback go on sale in Europe at the end of the month with the sedan starting at 62,000 euros or about $72,000 and the Sportback at 60,000 euros or nearly $70-grand.
WHAT’S UP WITH THE MERCEDES EQC IN THE U.S.?
When Mercedes Benz unveiled its all electric EQC in late 2018, it said it would go on sale in the U.S. in 2019. Then, in 2019 it said it would go on sale in 2021. Now, in 2021 it says it will go on sale in 2025. So what the heck is going on? Here’s our Autoline Insight. The EV market largely yawned when Mercedes unveiled the EQC. It didn’t set any benchmarks in styling or EV technology. No doubt U.S. dealers told Mercedes they didn’t want the car. Now Autoforecast Solutions says the current version of the EQC will go out of production in Bremen, Germany in May of 2023. So that means the U.S. market will get the next generation, which hopefully will be a much more attractive vehicle when it comes out.
CAN SINGLE MOTOR POLESTAR 2 BOOST SALES PERFORMANCE?
Polestar hopes the introduction of the single motor version of the Polestar 2 will ramp up sales. Through the first 9 months of the year it only sold 1,700 cars in the U.S. market. The dual motor version of the car comes with over 400 horsepower and costs $61,000. The single motor version comes with 231 horsepower and costs about $45,000. Both prices are before any incentives. While the dual motor version was a rocket off the line and accelerated quickly at any speed, the single motor version is quick off the line but lacks the punch of its big brother in passing maneuvers. Both versions have the same 78 kilowatt-hour battery pack, which delivers 249 miles of range with the dual motor, and 270 miles with the single motor.
Even though the single motor version is $16,000 cheaper, the designers maintained a good looking interior thanks to the clever use of texture and fabric to create a visually appealing cockpit. The lower price will definitely open up the market to more customers but what Polestar really needs are more retail outlets, a CUV and a U.S. manufacturing base. That’s all happening. Polestar Is opening 15 retail stores this year, and it will build the Polestar 3 CUV at the Volvo assembly plant in South Carolina. The Polestar 2 is made in China meaning it gets hit with a 27.5% import tax. We estimate that building in the U.S. will save Polestar about $9,000 per vehicle.
WILD PORSCHE RAISES AWARENESS FOR GOOD CAUSE
Here’s a cool creation that’s raising awareness for a good cause. Renée Brinkerhoff, an amateur rally driver, has raced an old 1956 Porsche 356 A on six continents to shine light on the problem of child trafficking. And she’s now on the final leg of her world tour, a race across Antarctica. But that requires some special equipment. So, the rear tires were replaced with snow tracks and a pair of skis attached to the front that use a specialized brace and suspension system. Despite all the extra weight, the car shouldn’t sink because the skis were specially designed to compact the snow in front of the rear tracks. Weather permitting, the trek will start at the beginning of December and end before the year is out. And we commend Renee for racing for a good cause.
Over the last decade sales of Jeeps exploded worldwide as the model line expanded with cheaper models like the Compass and Renegade. Now the brand is going in the opposite direction with the decidedly upscale Grand Wagoneer and 3-row Grand Cherokee. So what’s coming next? Let’s find out on Autoline After Hours this Thursday when our guest will be Jim Morrison, the head of the Jeep brand. If you’ve got questions you’d like us to ask him, tweet them to us or drop an email to email@example.com.
And that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for joining us 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.