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0:07 OEMs Want Congress to Lift Cap for EV Incentives
0:42 China Considers Extending EV Incentives
1:26 Environmentalists Turning Against Toyota
2:12 Could Silverado Outsell F-150?
3:46 Michigan Approves Digital License Plates
4:32 Chevrolet Teases Blazer EV
5:03 Geely to Launch Luxury EV Pickup
5:39 BMW Tests Innovative Battery
7:12 Stellantis Leaving the ACEA
8:28 Porsche Cayenne Could Have Been a Mercedes
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
OEMs WANT US CONGRESS TO LIFT EV INCENTIVE CAP
Automakers are making massive investments in electric vehicles. And while publicly they’re gung-ho on EVs, behind the scenes they’re worried about selling enough of them. General Motors, Ford, Stellantis and Toyota want Congress to lift the cap on EV tax credits that gives consumers up to a $7,500 incentive to buy an electric vehicle. But that phases out once a manufacturer sells 200,000 EVs. GM and Tesla already hit the cap and Toyota and Ford are expected to hit it soon.
CHINA CONSIDERS EXTENDING EV INCENTIVES
Same goes for China. Even though it leads the world in EV sales, the government is worried they could slow down. So the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology is looking at extending tax exemptions for new energy vehicles or NEVs. China classifies battery electric, plug-in hybrid and fuel cell vehicles as NEVs. The tax exemption is set to expire at the end of the year. It was implemented in 2014 and has already been extended twice, after it was supposed to be eliminated. Thanks in part to those incentives sales of NEVs are up 111% compared to a year ago.
MORE ENVIRONMENTALISTS TURN AGAINST TOYOTA
Poor Toyota. It used to be the darling of the environmental community, what with all the pioneering work it did with hybrids. At one point the Prius was the go-to car for anyone who wanted to show off their environmental street cred. Not anymore. Now environmentalists are blasting the company for dragging its feet on electric cars. And that criticism is moving from the public arena to the financial arena. Reuters reports that European pension funds are criticizing Toyota for lobbying against regulations to fight climate change. And that led some investors to head for the exits. Toyota’s stock is down nearly 6% this week.
COULD SILVERADO OUTSELL F-150?
The Ford F-150 has been the best selling model in the American market for 41 straight years. But could this be the year it loses that title? GM CEO Mary Barra told shareholders that it’s selling every truck it can make. In fact, GM is increasing production to meet demand. Meanwhile, Ford seems to be struggling to get the chips it needs. And an industry source tells us that the light duty Chevy Silverado outsold the Ford F-150 the past three months. We don’t have the official numbers because GM only reports sales on a quarterly basis. But we will have the numbers at the end of this quarter and then we’ll know which truck is out in front.
MICHIGAN GOES WITH DIGITAL LICENSE PLATES
Everything is going digital and that includes license plates. Michigan just became the third state, behind California and Arizona, to approve digital plates. Some of the benefits include GPS location and customization. But while you’ll own the physical plate, the message and plate number are owned by the state. And a subscription is required to display the number. It’s not cheap either. The cheaper, battery-powered version is $215 per year or it can be leased for just under $20 a month. These plates are made by a company called Reviver. We talked with them 4 years ago and we’ll provide a link to that video if you’d like to learn more.
CHEVROLET TEASES BLAZER EV
Here’s our best look yet at the new Chevy Blazer EV. While it’s only providing this one image, we can see the front end looks like an evolution of the current Blazer and that it has a fairly shapely body. This is the SS model, so some features might not be seen on other versions, like scalloped out air vent behind the front wheels. The Blazer EV will be fully revealed in a little over a month and will be available in the spring of next year.
GEELY TO LAUNCH EV PICKUP
Rivian says it needs to delay the production of its SUV because it can’t get parts. Well, it better hope to get its production back on track because it’s about to get some more competition. And no, we’re not talking about the F-150 Lightning or Cybertruck or Silverado EV, for that matter. Gasgoo reports that Geely is going to launch a new sub-brand, called RADAR, that will make high-end electric pickups. It’s said they’ll compete with the Rivian R1T, with the first model expected to launch sometime this year.
BMW TESTS INNOVATIVE EV BATTERY
BMW has partnered with a company that could nearly double the range of its new electric SUV, the iX. It signed an agreement with Our Next Energy or ONE to build a prototype of the vehicle equipped with its Gemini battery technology. We did an interview with ONE about a month ago where we learned that it’s using a hybrid battery system. Some of the modules are designed for the high demand of everyday driving, while the others are more suited for energy storage and cruising speeds. This helps provide more range. The iX is rated by the EPA at up to 324 miles of range. But BMW and ONE are shooting for 600 miles of range. The different cell chemistries also allow for a reduction in expensive materials, like lithium, graphite, nickel and cobalt. The prototype vehicle is scheduled to be done by the end of the year.
STELLANTIS LEAVING ACEA
Wow, here’s a weird one. Stellantis is leaving ACEA. That’s the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. It’s the lobbying group for the European auto industry that’s been around for over 30 years and all the car companies and truck manufacturers in Europe belong to it. That’s because there’s strength in numbers when the industry needs to make its voice known in political circles. But Carlos Tavares, the CEO of Stellantis, wants to set up his own lobbying forum. He calls it Freedom of Mobility. And once a year it’s going to hold a conference with various stakeholders to identify, and I quote, “how to bring clean, safe, and affordable freedom of mobility for society in the face of global warming implications.” End quote. Here’s our Autoline Insight. Carlos Tavares is openly critical of how Europe is pushing so hard and so fast to transition to electric cars. He wants more leeway and a longer runway to get there. And that’s what we think this conference is all about: getting the EU to ease off its EV mandate, and allow automakers to use more hybrids and plug-in hybrids.
PORSCHE CAYENNE COULD HAVE BEEN A MERCEDES
And this one is even weirder. Porsche is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Cayenne, and it revealed that the project was originally going to be done with Mercedes-Benz. In fact, the Cayenne was going to be a derivative of the Mercedes M-Class. Even weirder, a minivan was seriously considered as an alternative to the SUV until Porsche USA shot that idea down. This was all happening around 1996. In the press release Porsche says it was working with Mercedes because it and Volkswagen were not yet part of the same group. But we need Porsche to explain that one because in 2011 Porsche became a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG. And that leads to another question. Why would Porsche talk now about how it came that close to developing a new car with Mercedes? Could it be because Porsche is likely to get spun off as a stand alone company and it wants to signal that it’s willing to work with other automakers who are not part of the Volkswagen Group? Guess we’ll have to wait and see.
And that brings us to the end of today’s show. 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.