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0:07 GM Denies Spark EV Battery Rumors
0:35 Hyundai Showers Jose Munoz with Promotions
1:27 Car Dealers Need Cyber Training
1:59 Thieves Go After Scooter Batteries
2:41 Automotive CEOs Paid Handsomely
3:46 China EV Startups Stumble in April
4:13 NIO Readies ET5 for Production
4:35 Weak Yen a Bonanza for Japanese OEMs
5:13 F-150 Lightning Gets Power & Range Updates
7:45 BMW 4 Series Heavier Than Tesla Model 3
8:35 Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Review
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
GM DENIES SPARK EV BATTERY RUMORS
Have you heard about all those reports on social media that General Motors will no longer supply replacement batteries for the Chevrolet Spark EV? Well, none of them are true. GM says there’s just a temporary disruption in the supply of those batteries. No surprise there. What isn’t getting disrupted these days? GM says it remains committed to providing replacement parts, including batteries, to Spark owners who need them.
HYUNDAI SHOWERS JOSE MUÑOZ WITH PROMOTIONS
Jose Muñoz used to be one of Carlos Ghon’s top lieutenants at Nissan. Then, when things fell apart at Nissan, Hyundai snapped him up and it sure likes what he’s doing. Muñoz is getting a bunch of promotions and additional duties. He was in charge of North and South America for the company. He’s keeping that but also getting Europe, India, the Middle East and Africa. Moreover, he’ll be in charge of all sales, service, and product planning for the entire company. And they’re also putting him on Hyundai’s board of directors. Hyundai says he’s getting all these promotions because Muñoz consistently delivered successive months of record sales and profits for Hyundai and Genesis despite supply chain disruptions and the COVID-19 pandemic.
CAR DEALERS NEED CYBER TRAINING
Cybersecurity is a big problem that’s not going away. So the Federal Trade Commission is telling dealers they need to follow detailed procedures and use specific criteria to protect consumer data. They also have to provide formal employee training programs, and have third party audits to make sure their vendors are following the same procedures. Car dealers collect a mountain of customer data and the concern is it could be stolen and used for identity theft.
THIEVES GO AFTER SCOOTER BATTERIES
And speaking thieves, now they’re going after batteries in electric scooters. 12 people were arrested recently in Milan, Italy for stealing 700 batteries from e-scooters. And it’s harder to steal them than you think. The batteries have extensive coding and software interfaces. If you don’t get that right, the batteries are useless. So these are pretty sophisticated thieves. The battery cells are dismantled and sold on the black market or to the reconditioned second-hand market. The batteries are estimated to cost 1,000 euros each, so that’s makes them an attractive target.
IT’S GOOD TO BE A CEO
Car company CEOs may not make as much money as Elon Musk, but the pay is pretty good. GM’s CEO Mary Barra made $29.1 million last year. Ford’s Jim Farley made nearly $23 million last year while Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares took home $21 million. That’s in short term compensation for Mr. Tavares. His long term pay could be worth as much as 80 million bucks.
CHINA EV STARTUPS STUMBLE IN APRIL
Chinese EV startups have been one of the bright spots in the Chinese market, even with chip shortages and COVID lockdowns. But last month they saw sales drop nearly 40% compared to March. Leapmotor did the best of them, with deliveries of just under 9,100 cars. Then came XPeng and Hozon, then NIO and NETA round out the list of the top 5 NEV startups.
NIO READIES ET5 FOR PRODUCTION
Speaking of NIO, it started pre-production of its ET5 sedan at a new manufacturing plant in China. The ET5 is kind of like NIO’s version of the Tesla Model 3. It’s a mid-size sedan that’s said to have up to 1,000 kilometers or over 620 miles of range and deliveries kick off in September.
WEAK YEN A BONANZA FOR JAPANESE OEMs
The Japanese Yen is sinking fast. It’s the lowest it’s been in 20 years, only 130 yen to the dollar. And that is a bonanza for Japanese automakers because their exports are a lot cheaper. That’s helped to COVID disruptions in China, as well as parts shortages. While all Japanese OEMs are benefitting, Mazda and Subaru stand to gain the most because they depend more on exports. But cheap currency cuts both ways. The cost of importing raw materials is skyrocketing for Japanese automakers.
FORD LIGHTNING GETS POWER AND RANGE UPDATES
Looks like Ford was a little over cautious when initially quoting specs for the F-150 Lightning. We’ve known for a little while that range will top out at up to 320 miles, which was more than the target 300 miles. But it will also have more power and capacity. The standard range version goes from 426 horsepower to 452 and the long range goes from 563 to 580 horsepower. Both also see payload come in at over 2,200 pounds, which is an increase of 235 pounds. Towing will be another important aspect of the Lightning and Ford is using the truck’s tech to give owners a little more confidence in real range estimates. It looks at data like speed, temperature, driving habits, even the truck’s Onboard Scales and uses that to provide a more accurate driving distance. The system gets better the more it’s used and can even draw on cloud data from other Lightning owners that may have driven the same route or operated under similar conditions. And one last bit of Lightning news. Ford revealed pricing for its Home Integration System, which allows an owner to power their home with the truck if the power goes out. It’s a little under $3,900 and includes an inverter, transfer switch and battery, but does not include installation. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration the average American home uses about 30 kWh of energy a day, so a fully-charged F-150 Lightning with the large 131 kWh battery could power a home, still using all its appliances, for about 4 days.
BMW 4-SERIES HEAVIER THAN TESLA MODEL 3
Electric cars are heavier than ICE cars because of those big, heavy batteries, right? Well, that’s not true when you compare the BMW 4-series to a Tesla Model 3. Both cars are roughly the same size, yet the Tesla is actually 32 pounds lighter than the BMW. We’re comparing the base model version of both cars. Even more stunning, the Tesla Model 3 is 1,000 pounds lighter than the electric version of that BMW, the i4. How did BMW get it so wrong? We’ve got a video about it that gets into all the details. And it’s all about scar tissue. You can find the link in today’s transcript or the description box.
JEEP GRAND CHEROKEE 4XE REVIEW
The Jeep Wrangler is a rugged off-roader that can go anywhere and do anything. But when it comes to sales, Chad Kirchner from EV Pulse.com says the Grand Cherokee is much more important to the brand. He recently got to drive the new plug-in hybrid version, called 4xe, in and around Austin, Texas and brings us this report.
For 2022, the Grand Cherokee got a significant update. New powertrains are on the menu, too. These are aimed at giving Jeep the green-focused features they need as gas prices soar and environmental restrictions tighten. All 4xe models are powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to an electric motor, which makes 375 horsepower and 470 lb.-ft. of torque.
For context, that’s more performance than the Grand Cherokee equipped with the Hemi V8. An 8-speed automatic sends power to all four wheels, and depending on model, there’s a low range mode for the ultimate rock crawling. This 4xe variant is rated to drive up to 25 miles on pure electricity. There are several controls in the Grand Cherokee to preserve battery life or to force the SUV to drive entirely gas-free. Ideally, these options let you save electric-only driving for the city and use the gasoline engine on the highway.
On the outside, the Grand Cherokee looks smart and expensive. Inside the Grand Cherokee is more Range Rover than the folks in England would likely care to admit. There’s real wood trim. There are plush leather seats that massage. The metal you see is — get this — really metal. Then there’s the presentation of the McIntosh audio system. Jeep uses McIntosh’s gothic font for the branding, and it’s the best factory audio system on the market, regardless of price.
So, the Grand Cherokee says Jeep. But does it actually, you know, Jeep? We headed up a difficult rock climbing trail in a Trailhawk 4xe to find out. With eLSD in the rear, 4-lo, a front sway bar disconnect and air suspension, the Grand Cherokee is one of the most capable SUVs we’ve driven off road.
Add in the fact that this 4xe does it in complete, electrically driven silence. That makes it easier to hear the spotter yelling at you and the experience of convening with nature all the better. It’s difficult to make off-roading look extreme on video, but trust us when we say this was a serious course. Nobody who buys a Grand Cherokee will attempt what we did on this ranch in Texas. But the fact is, they could. So, yes, it does say Jeep, and it does, in fact, Jeep.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe starts just shy of $60,000 and is eligible for the $7,500 federal tax credit. For more details on its tech, plus a comparison to its closest plug-in SUV competitors, click the link in the transcript or description box, or look for the EV Pulse channel on YouTube.
But that’s an end for today. Thanks for making Autoline a part of your day.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.