Listen to “AD #3216 – UAW Changes Election Process; Renault Holds Hackathon to Reduce Carbon Footprint; Toyota Taps BYD's Blade Battery” on Spreaker.
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0:07 Inventory Levels Up Slightly in November
0:45 UAW Changes How it Elects Leaders
1:15 Renault Holds Hackathon to Help Reduce Carbon Footprint
3:06 Toyota Developing BEV w/ BYD’s Blade Battery
4:20 Top Chinese EV Startups
4:52 BEVs As a Percent of Total Sales
6:16 Magna to Supply Mercedes with Hybrid DCT
6:40 Bosch Starting Silicon Carbide Chip Production
7:19 VW Taigo Goes on Sale in Europe
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
INVENTORY UP SLIGHTLY IN NOVEMBER
Looks like we’re seeing a glimmer of hope that the chip shortage is easing up a teensy-weensy bit. Wards Intelligence reports that new vehicle inventory in the U.S. rose by 29,000 vehicles in November compared to the month before. Mazda is running with the tightest inventory, only 7 days. But the Fiat brand is an outlier, with 185 days worth of inventory. So if you know someone shopping for a car but can’t find anything, tell them to visit the nearest Fiat store. Sounds like they’ve got plenty of vehicles on the lot.
UAW SWITCHES TO DIRECT VOTE FOR LEADERS
In a historic move, United Auto Workers threw out the old way they elected their leaders. They overwhelmingly approved a new way. They’ll now be electing their leaders directly, instead of electing delegates who would then select the leaders. This is all part of the settlement that the U.S. Justice Department forced on the Union as part of its corruption prosecution. That led to 16 UAW officers being convicted and put in jail.
RENAULT HOLDS HACKATHON TO ACCELERATE DECARBONIZATION
Every automaker and supplier is trying to slash its greenhouse gasses. And Renault just used a clever way to do it. It held an industrial decarbonization hackathon. It brought in around 100 people with all kinds of backgrounds, including energy, digital, industry and even students, who were then broken up into 13 teams and given three days to come up with a way to reduce emissions at Renault’s industrial sites. It picked four winners and the top prize went to a team who’s idea is to develop a digital platform that would optimize the start-up and shutdown periods of paint drying ovens, which would reduce electricity use and save an estimated 230,000 euros a year. Renault says it will start deploying the winning solutions from the hackathon as early as next year.
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TOYOTA DEVELOPING EV WITH BYD’S BLADE BATTERY
Toyota was right when it said some markets just aren’t ready for EVs yet, but you can’t drag your feet on electrics when it comes to China. And it looks like Toyota is starting to catch on to the fact that it needs to pick up the pace in China. So Reuters reports that Toyota is joining forces with its Chinese joint venture partner BYD to develop an affordable EV. It’s said to be a small sedan, slightly bigger than a Corolla, that will launch next year and could sell for under $30,000, which would place it under other popular EVs. One of the real enablers for the project is BYD’s lithium-iron phosphate Blade Battery. It’s a cell to pack system, so each battery cell acts as its own support beam. That gave Toyota the interior space it wanted, which it was struggling to achieve on its own. Interestingly, Toyota executives visited BYD’s headquarters in 2017 and after driving several of their vehicles “were all kind of floored” at the level of design and quality. If it was good enough to “floor” Toyota four years ago, what’s it like now?
CHINESE EV STARTUP BEV SALES
So what about all those Chinese EV startups? How are they doing? Xpeng is leading the pack and growing faster than anyone else. It sold over 15,000 BEVs last month. Next up is Li Auto, which delivered over 13,000. Then comes Nio, with Hozon hot on its heels. They delivered over 10,000 BEVs. And Leap Motor rounds out the top 5, with sales topping 5,000 units.
BEVs AS A % OF TOTAL SALES
OK, back to the ‘States. Which traditional automaker in the U.S. is doing the best at selling EVs? One way is to look at sales, but that puts small car companies at a disadvantage to big ones. The big guys have a much bigger customer base and far more dealerships all across the country. So let’s look at EVs as a percent of total sales at each company. And when you do that Porsche shoots to the top of the list, with over 14% of its sales being all electric. Jaguar is far behind, but second on the list. Then comes everyone else, some within a few fractions of a percent of each other. But it sure does put these EV sales in a different perspective.
MAGNA TO SUPPLY MERCEDES WITH HYBRID DCT
A quick update on some supplier news here. Magna will supply Mercedes with hybrid dual-clutch transmissions for the automaker’s next-generation compact and mid-size vehicles that launch in 2025. And in the coming months, Magna says it will launch two other hybrid dual-clutch transmission programs for other global automakers.
BOSCH GOING TO MAKE MORE SILICON CARBIDE CHIPS
Meanwhile, Bosch announced it’s starting to make silicon carbide semiconductor chips this month in Germany. Next year, it will start producing a second-gen version of the chips. Silicon carbide chips take a lot longer to produce. While foundries can grow a 6-foot cylinder of silicon in two days, it takes a week to grow a 4-inch cylinder of silicon carbide. But they’re more efficient in power electronics and that’s why automakers want them. Bosch expects the market for silicon carbide chips to increase 30% annually to $2.5 billion by 2025.
VW TAIGO GOES ON SALE IN EUROPE
Here’s a little more info on the all-new Volkswagen Taigo that we didn’t have when we first reported on it back in late July. The crossover is available at dealers now in Europe with a starting price tag of a little over 19,000 euros. VW says it hopes to tap into new customer groups within the small car segment with the Taigo.
But that wraps up today’s show, thanks for watching and we’ll see you again on Monday.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.