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0:08 ELMS Is 1st EV SPAC Startup to Fail
1:16 NIO Confirms Plans for U.S. Market
1:47 NIO Posts Big Operating & Net Losses in Q1
2:18 Tesla Wants 3:1 Stock Split
3:26 GM Defense Expands Outside U.S.
3:58 Consumers Warm Up to AV Shuttles
4:42 Honda 3-Wheel EV Scooter
5:16 BMW M2 Features Lots of Piston Power
6:56 AvtoVAZ Is Back in Production
7:38 Schaeffler Unveils Compact E-Axle
8:36 Lockheed & GM Headed to The Moon
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
ELMS IS 1ST EV SPAC STARTUP TO FAIL
Looks like Electric Last Mile Solutions, or ELMS, is the first EV SPAC startup to fail. At its peak in late 2020 it was trading at $14 a share and its market cap was $1.4 billion. Today it’s trading at 50 cents a share and the company is only worth $63 million. But soon it’s not going to be worth anything. The company is going to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and liquidate. That means its assembly plant in Mishawaka, Indiana could be available for other startups, and more on that in a minute. But ELMS ran into trouble when it struggled to import truck chassis from China. And shipping costs for those chassis soared because of a shortage of shipping containers triggered by the pandemic. Moreover, the founders, Jim Taylor and Jason Luo, were forced to resign earlier this year when the company accused them of improper stock purchases. ELMS is not the only EV SPAC startup that’s in trouble, and there could be others that will have to close up shop.
NIO CONFIRMS PLANS FOR U.S. MARKET
So could Chinese automaker NIO be interested in getting that assembly plant from ELMS? It could probably pick it up for pennies on the dollar in bankruptcy court. NIO confirmed it’s recruiting manufacturing specialists to build a factory in the U.S. and start selling cars in the American market. NIO’s CFO says it started a comprehensive study of the U.S. market and has formed a team dedicated to coming up with an entry plan.
NIO POSTS BIG OPERATING & NET LOSSES IN Q1
NIO also reported its first quarter earnings. It sold more than 25,700 vehicles, up nearly 30%, which brought in $1.5 billion in revenue, a gain of about a quarter compared to a year ago. However, it posted an operating loss of $325 million and a net loss of $265 million, which are both significantly larger losses from a year ago.
|NIO Q1 2022 EARNINGS
TESLA WANTS 3:1 STOCK SPLIT
Tesla is asking shareholders to approve another stock split. If they approve it, each shareholder will get three shares for every share they already own. Tesla says it wants to make its stock more affordable for retail investors. The stock, which currently trades around $700 a share, would drop to $233, but that could attract more people to buy the stock, which could drive the price back up again. That’s what happened in August of 2020 when Tesla did a 5 to 1 stock split.
GM DEFENSE EXPANDS OUTSIDE U.S.
General Motors plans to use its electric, autonomous and connected technologies for more than just passenger vehicles. GM Defense recently announced plans to expand into Canada and now it is creating a new unit called GM Defense International to build military vehicles for foreign countries. It says it’s exploring opportunities in Europe, the Middle East and the Indo Pacific region. And it plans to leverage GM’s next-gen technologies for its future defense vehicles.
CONSUMERS WARM UP TO AV SHUTTLES
Half the people that use an autonomous shuttle service in its first few months of operation are just there to see how it works. That’s according to a survey of riders who used an AV shuttle fleet run by Toyota and May Mobility in the state of Indiana. The tests began last year and will likely stop at the end of June. At first, 50% of the riders said they were there to check it out. But that soon changed and many used the service to go to work or school. One route was even able to increase rides by 90% over the course of the service and averaged about 50 rides per day. This suggests that people are more comfortable with the technology once they experience it.
HONDA 3-WHEEL EV SCOOTER
Speaking of mobility, Honda is launching a 3-wheeled electric scooter in Japan this year and then in parts of Europe and the U.S. in 2023. It features a unique balancing system that is said to make it stable from walking speed up to its top speed of 25 km/h or over 15 MPH. It can travel 30 kilometers or a little over 18.5 miles and fold up for easier travel or storage. The first version to launch will cost about $1,900.
BMW M2 FEATURES LOTS OF PISTON POWER
Fans of piston power and sporty driving will be happy to know that the new BMW M2 will make its debut this October. Now it’s in its final testing phases and recently hit the track in Austria. The car is still powered by a 3.0L turbocharged 6-cylinder engine. While BMW doesn’t give any performance numbers, it says it boasts a similar performance level to the current M2 CS, which is a sportier version of the car that makes 444 horsepower. It will also retain the option for either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. Other highlights include the same brake system as the M3 and M4, adaptive M chassis and carbon-fiber roof. Look for the new M2 to go on sale in April of next year.
AVTOVAZ IS BACK IN PRODUCTION
Russian automaker AvtoVAZ is making cars again, even though those cars are missing some important parts and components that can’t be imported. That’s because of the trade sanctions that were slapped on Russia because of its invasion of Ukraine. The car is the Lada Granta and is being made without traction control, passenger side air-bags or air-conditioning. It’s powered by a 1.6L engine that only produces 90 horsepower. And you can only get a 5-speed manual. But it costs just $13,200. Stripped-down versions of Lada’s other models are reportedly coming soon as well.
SCHAEFFLER UNVEILS COMPACT E-AXLE
Several automotive suppliers have sniffed out a lucrative niche for themselves in the EV segment by making e-axles. They allow automakers to pull the ICE powertrain out of a vehicle and bolt in an e-axle and battery pack. Schaeffler is the latest supplier to unveil its e-axle, but it’s taking it one step further. Whereas most e-axles include the electric motor, power electronics and transmission, Schaeffler includes the thermal management system. Packaging them into one integrated unit results in a smaller overall package. Schaeffler also uses extra heat from the power electronics and electric motor to heat the cabin when needed. And it makes a heat pump that automakers can add to their system that uses carbon dioxide as a refrigerant. Schaeffler says it’s also developing an electric beam axle for pickups and already has orders from several automakers for it.
LOCKHEED & GM HEADED TO THE MOON
Lockheed Martin and General Motors are teaming up to develop the next generation of lunar rovers for NASA. Most people are unaware that GM was heavily involved in the original lunar rovers that NASA sent to the moon in the 1970s. The new ones are going to be autonomous so that astronauts can spend more time doing science stuff instead of driving. And they’ll be designed to operate during nights that last for 2-weeks, and deal with temperatures that run at 260 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 280 below at night. GM will be contributing its battery and electric propulsion technology to the mission. Lockheed and GM have close ties. Linda Gooden, the former executive vice president for information systems from Lockheed sits on GM’s board of directors.
But that’s it for today, thanks for watching.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.