Listen to “AD #3207 – GM Opens Factory Zero; Hyundai and Kia Reveal New BEV Concepts; Toyota Wants More EV Credit” on Spreaker.
Follow us on social media:
0:07 GM Opens New Factory Zero Plant
0:51 Toyota Doesn’t Think It Gets Enough EV Credit
2:00 Subaru Reveals AWD Range of Solterra BEV
4:16 Fisker Unveils Production Ocean
5:33 Kia EV9 Debuts
6:23 Hyundai Reveals SEVEN Concept
6:56 Kia Pulls Wraps Off Sportage Hybrid
8:00 Waymo & UPS Expand AV Tests
8:31 Audi Still Wants in on Formula 1
9:08 NACTOY Finalists Announced
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
GM OPENS NEW FACTORY ZERO PLANT
General Motors took another step towards its electric future with the grand opening of its Factory Zero plant. GM spent $2.2 billion to renovate the former Detroit-Hamtramck plant to build the Hummer EV pickup and SUV, the electric Silverado and the Cruise Origin. To celebrate the opening, President Biden, Labor Secretary Marty Walsh and UAW President Ray Curry, joined GM CEO Mary Barra for a tour of the factory floor. GM says its plans to convert more of its existing plants to build EVs and by doing so it will save $15 billion in capital costs by 2030, instead of building all-new factories.
TOYOTA DOESN’T THINK IT GETS ENOUGH EV CREDIT
Just a few years ago Toyota was the darling of the environmental movement, but now it’s considered a pariah. The Sierra Club and the Environmental Defense Fund have attacked Toyota mainly because the automaker is promoting hybrids instead of electric vehicles as a better way to fight climate change. That criticism really stings. So Toyota held a press conference this week to lay out its case to the media. Cooper Ericksen, a group VP at Toyota, tells Autoline one reason the company doesn’t get the credit it deserves is that it does not show off future models. He says many competitors have laid out their EV product plans for the next 5 to 10 years, and that creates the impression that they’re ahead. He says Toyota will have 15 EVs coming by 2025, and plans to sell 2 million a year by 2030. “People need to stand back from this and watch how it plays out,” he tells Autoline. But he admits Toyota still faces a challenge. “We need to work on our messaging and continue the fight,” he says.
SUBARU REVEALS AWD RANGE OF SOLTERRA BEV
Do the new Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra look a lot alike to you? Of course they do. That’s because they’re essentially the same vehicle with only slightly different front and rear fascias. Both cars will probably start production at Toyota’s Motomachi assembly plant in Japan. Subaru, as you may know, is now part of the Toyota group, and that gives it access to Toyota technology, like the eTNGA platform for electric cars. Mazda is also part of the group, but Toyota executives in the U.S. tell us they are not aware of any plans for Mazda to share the eTNGA platform. While Toyota has not revealed the range of the all wheel drive version of the bZ4X, Subaru did provide us the number for the Solterra, which comes standard with all wheel drive. It has an estimated range of 220 miles.
And as long as we’re talking about Toyota we need to let you know that Mike Sweers, the executive chief engineer for the all new Tundra pickup truck will be on Autoline After Hours later today. That truck went through a major overhaul and we’ll be getting into the details of how Toyota developed it. Joe DeMatio from Hagerty will also be on the show. So join John and Gary for some of the best insights into what makes this industry work.
FISKER PULLS WRAPS OFF PRODUCTION OCEAN
Fisker revealed the production version of the Ocean SUV at the LA Auto Show yesterday. It starts at $37,500 for Sport trims, before incentives. The Sport comes in front-wheel drive and features a lithium-ion phosphate battery that provides 250 miles of range. The Ocean Ultra trim starts at $50-grand and the Ocean Extreme starts at $69,000. Both of those models are all-wheel drive and feature nickel manganese cobalt batteries. The Ultra has a range of 340 miles while the Extreme has more than 350 miles of range. All of the batteries are supplied by CATL. It’s got some cool features including California Mode, which lowers all the windows and retracts the sliding roof, to give it a convertible-like feel. And its 17.1-inch touchscreen can rotate from the default portrait setting, when driving, to a landscape mode, when the vehicle is parked. The Ocean will be built by Magna at its plant in Austria starting in November of 2022 with deliveries happening shortly after. You can reserve one now with a $250 deposit.
KIA EV9 DEBUTS
As promised Kia revealed the EV9, an all-electric SUV concept that features muscular styling. It’s a vehicle that looks ready to go off-road. And note a design tie to the Telluride with a similar silhouette. While this likely hints strongly at a production model, there’s a number of elements that are probably only for the concept, like a lack of door handles, huge one-piece sunroof, automatic roof rack and reconfigurable interior layout. But Kia’s philosophy of a solid exterior contrasted by an open interior should carry over and we expect so will a large display screen. If the EV9 makes it to production, Kia says we could expect a range of 300 miles and the ability to charge to 80% capacity in 20-30 minutes.
HYUNDAI REVEALS SEVEN CONCEPT
Now here’s a look at what Hyundai did with the same platform. The SEVEN Concept has a much more upscale look compared to the Kia and is highlighted by a distinct lighting signature up front and a very upright rear end with a mostly glass rear door. But like the Kia, it has an open and reconfigurable interior as well as the same range and charging stats. So, if you were given the option right now, which would you rather have, the Kia EV9 or Hyundai SEVEN?
KIA SPORTAGE HYBRID DETAILS
And in other Kia news, it revealed the hybrid version of the new Sportage. It features a turbocharged 1.6L engine paired with a 44 kW electric motor, which combines for 226 horsepower. The setup is available on either front- or all-wheel drive models and FWD models are targeting an EPA highway figure of 39 MPG. The Sportage Hybrid will arrive in the U.S. early next year.
WAYMO & UPS EXPAND AV TESTING PARTNERSHIP
Waymo is teaming up with UPS to test autonomous Class 8 trucks. Over the next several weeks, the semis will deliver freight between UPS’s facilities in Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston in Texas. The goal is to learn how the self-driving technology can improve safety and efficiency. This is an expansion of a partnership the two companies formed last year, with UPS testing Waymo’s autonomous Chrysler Pacificas to deliver packages in Arizona.
AUDI STILL EYEING FORMULA 1
Looks like Audi wants to get into Formula 1 racing as a way to promote its EV technology. As we reported recently, Audi made an offer to buy the McLaren Group, but according to Bloomberg it was shot down because the offer was too low. That’s not stopping Audi. It’s still going to explore possible tie-ups with McLaren F1 but could also look at other teams like Red Bull or Williams. Formula One has not announced plans to convert to full electric cars in the future, but Audi’s interest in getting an F1 team suggests that behind the scenes, that’s what the series is talking about.
NACTOY FINALISTS ANNOUNCED
The finalists for the 2022 North American Car, Truck and Utility of the Year were announced. The Honda Civic, Lucid Air and Volkswagen Golf Mk VIII are battling for Car of the Year. In the Truck category, the Ford Maverick, Hyundai Santa Cruz and Rivian R1T, made the final cut. And lastly, the Ford Bronco, Genesis GV70 and Hyundai IONIQ 5 are competing for Utility of the Year. The winners will be announced in early January but let us know in the comments who you think will win.
But that’s a wrap for today. Thanks for joining us and we’ll be right back here again tomorrow.
Thanks to our partner for embedding Autoline Daily on its website: WardsAuto.com
Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.