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0:07 Tesla Secures U.S. Nickel Deal
0:38 Tesla Has Record Month in China
1:09 VW Misses Chinese EV Sales Target
1:58 Tundra Gets New Top Model
2:44 Ford Teams to Make Motorhomes
3:09 Mitsubishi Reveals Tokyo Concepts
4:50 Using Sounds to Clean Sensors
5:29 3D Printed Antenna Improves ADAS
6:24 Solid State Lidar Prices Coming Down
7:12 Hand Held Battery Tester
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
TESLA SECURES U.S. NICKEL DEAL
Tesla is shoring up the raw materials it needs to make batteries for its electric vehicles. The EV maker just signed a nickel supply deal with Talon Metals, Tesla’s first U.S. nickel deal. Tesla chose Talon because it’s developing a way to mine nickel more environmentally friendly. But Tesla still needs to find a way to refine it since the U.S. does not have a nickel refinery. With more and more EVs hitting the market in the coming years, the price of nickel is expected to grow significantly over the next decade.
TESLA HAS RECORD MONTH IN CHINA
And speaking of Tesla, it sold a record number of vehicles in China last month. According to the China Passenger Car Association, Tesla sold nearly 71,000 made-in-China cars in December, that’s three times higher than a year ago and up a third compared to November. Reuters estimates that Tesla sold close to 475,000 made-in-China vehicles in 2021, which is close to half of the 936,000 cars it sold globally.
VW MISSES CHINESE EV SALES TARGET
And while Tesla is booming in China, Volkswagen is struggling to sell its electrics in the country. The automaker sold just under 71,000 of its ID electrics in 2021, which was short of its goal of 80,000 to 100,000 sales. VW blames the chip shortage and regional COVID outbreaks for missing the target. However, VW expects things to rebound and says it plans to double sales of its ID electrics in China this year.
TOYOTA HAS NEW LUXURY TUNDRA
Toyota has a new top-of-the-line version of the Tundra and thy name is Capstone. It’s only offered in one body configuration; CrewMax 4-door with 5.5 foot bed. Unique styling elements include the grille design, chrome accents and 22-inch wheels, the largest ever featured on the Tundra. The interior is highlighted by premium materials, its own unique color combinations and the biggest displays Toyota offers. The Capstone also comes standard with Toyota’s driver assistance system, called Toyota Safety Sense and its Towing Technology Package. The new truck starts arriving at dealers this spring and while it didn’t reveal price, this is not going to be a cheap pickup.
FORD PARTNERS TO MAKE MOTORHOMES
More people want to trek out into the great outdoors and Ford is going to help them. In Germany it’s teaming up to provide customer-ready recreational vehicles and motorhomes. Ford will supply panel van and stripped down chassis cab versions of the Transit and Transit Custom, which will then be converted by Erwin Hymer Group. The deal between the two companies starts this year and ends in 2024.
MITSUBISHI REVEALS TOKYO CONCEPTS
Speaking of camper vans, check out this one from Mitsubishi, which is an electric kei car that’s decked out with a bunch of camping gear. The vehicle is being shown off at the Tokyo auto show along with a number of other concepts. That includes another electric kei car, called the K-EV concept cross style, which is pouring on the Mitsubishi design language really strong. This is likely a vehicle it’s jointly developing with Nissan, who will also get its own version and should have a price around $18,000. And as we’ve been reporting, Mitsubishi is bringing back the Ralliart brand and showed off how that sporty character could be applied to a number of vehicles, including a dedicated concept, called the Vision Ralliart. I’m sure we’ll be seeing more from the Tokyo auto show, which kicks off this Friday.
We hope you enjoyed our coverage at CES last week. You can find our reports on our website under Autoline On The Road or on our YouTube channel. And here are some more of the technologies that caught our eye.
USING SOUND WAVES TO CLEAN SENSORS
How do you keep ADAS and autonomous sensors clean? Air jets or water jets and wipers are one way to clean them off. But TTP, a tech engineering company in England, has a more elegant solution. It uses ultrasonics. A ring around the perimeter of the sensor emits ultrahigh sound waves which atomize any water or condensation or dirt on the lens. TTP is working with Texas Instruments to develop the system, which uses very little power and could be run continuously in bad weather. TTP is even exploring whether it could be used on windshields, or at least part of the windshield in front of the driver.
3D PRINTED ANTENNAS IMPROVE ADAS
Lunewave is a US company that’s bringing down the cost of radar for ADAS with an antenna design that is 3D printed. It only uses 10 grams of material. And Lunewave says one 3D printing machine can make 350,000 radar antennas a year. The radar antenna looks like a mini Death Star. And because it is ball-shaped it can see in all directions, whereas flat antennas can only see in one direction. That means automakers can use fewer radar units on a car. Lunewave says a typical L2 ADAS system may need up to 12 radar sensors, but with its design only 2 to 4 are needed. So not only is it cheaper to manufacture, you need fewer of them. Lunewave says an unnamed Tier 1 supplier will start making these radars in 2024 for a L2 valet parking system.
SOLID STATE LIDAR PRICES COMING DOWN
Opsys is an Israeli startup that is slashing the cost of making Lidar for autonomous vehicles. It uses solid state technology with no moving parts or liquid inside. Instead it uses an array of lasers that turn on and off 1,000 times a second. The lasers are on a chip. When the laser beams hit an object they reflect back and are captured by a detection array. The Lidar unit is about the size of a credit card and could be integrated into the headlamps of a car. Opsys says it brought the cost down to less than $200 per sensor. Two Tier 1 suppliers in China, one in Europe and the SL Corporation in South Korea will be making these units, which will be in production late this year or in early 2023.
HAND HELD BATTERY TESTER
And lastly, Intrepid Controls unveiled this battery cell measurement and network testing hardware for automakers that use a wireless battery management system. Intrepid worked with the chip company Analog Devices to develop the unit. It monitors cell voltage, cell current, ambient temperature, cell/unit voltage, impedance, and temperature, and is compatible with many types of battery chemistries.
But that wraps up today’s show, thanks for joining us.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.