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0:11 NIO Accused of Fraud
0:48 Americans Warming Up to EVs
1:27 Walmart Could Buy 20% of Canoo
2:57 Tesla Loses Top AI Executive
3:29 Lordstown Promotes Hightower to CEO
4:06 Trumpchi Goes Grille Crazy
4:41 Hennessey EV Boasts 400 HP at Each Wheel
5:22 Cadillac Celestiq Design Details
7:05 Meet the Honda ZR-V
7:55 Hyundai IONIQ 6 Bigger Than You Think
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
NIO ACCUSED OF FRAUD
A couple of American law firms are investigating NIO because they say the EV startup exaggerated its revenue and profits. And not by a little. They say NIO falsified its net income by up to 95%. NIO vehemently denies the charges, but it launched its own independent investigation. The Schall Law Firm and Bragar Eagel & Squire are reaching out to investors who have lost over $100,000 and it sure sounds like this could be a class action lawsuit in the making. NIO stock is down 63% from its peak last year.
AMERICANS WARMING UP TO EVs
China and Europe are leading the way in sales of electric cars, with the U.S. far behind. But Americans are warming up to the idea of owning an EV. In 2019 the AAA, or the American Automobile Association, surveyed households and found that only 16% of Americans were interested in electrics. Now, the AAA says that’s jumped up to 25%. And amongst millennials it’s 30%. The AAA says the main reason why more people are interested in EVs is the high cost of gasoline. But it’s also because more EV models are becoming available.
WALMART COULD BUY 20% OF CANOO
That deal between Walmart and Canoo is a little more interesting than we realized. The retail giant agreed to buy at least 4,500 electric delivery vans from Canoo with the option to buy up to 10,000. That order probably saved the company and its shares shot up 50% on the news. But part of that agreement means Canoo cannot sell vehicles to Amazon, one of Walmart’s main competitors. In fact, Canoo cannot do any business with Amazon or any of its subsidiaries. It also gives Walmart the option to buy up to a 20% stake in the EV startup at a price of $2.15 a share. Canoo’s stock currently sits around $3.50 a share. And that makes us wonder if Walmart might actually end up buying the whole company.
TESLA LOSES TOP AI EXECUTIVE
We’ve got some personnel changes to report here. Tesla is losing its top autonomous and AI executive, Andrej Karpathy. He gave no reason why he’s leaving the company. One Wall Street analyst says this may reflect problems that Tesla is having trying to bring full autonomy and robotaxis to the market. Reuters reports that Tesla will probably find his replacement within the company because it will be hard to find someone with his skill set on the outside.
LORDSTOWN PROMOTES HIGHTOWER TO CEO
Lordstown Motors is promoting its president, Edward Hightower, to CEO of the company. He’s replacing Daniel Ninivaggi, who will become executive chairman. Hightower is a former Ford and GM exec with an engineering background. Lordstown is planning to start production of its Endurance pickup in the third quarter with Foxconn. Edward Hightower was our guest on Autoline This Week and we’ll provide a link to that show in the transcript or description box below if you’d like to catch up on what he had to say about leading the company forward.
TRUMPCHI GOES BLING CRAZY
If you think Lexus and BMW have gone crazy with their front end grille design, check out this monstrosity from Chinese automaker Trumpchi, which is owned by GAC. Say hello to the M8, a 7-passenger MPV, with a gargantuan cascading grille with 10 vertical slats. And if that’s not nuts enough, there’s another version that’s equally as huge, but features horizontal bars, instead of vertical. Prices for the M8 range from about $26,000 to $38,000.
HENNESSY EV BOASTS 400 HP AT EACH WHEEL
Speaking of wild vehicles, Hennessey, the company known for taking sporty cars and making them even sportier, let us peek under the covers of its first EV. Codenamed Project Deep Space, it’s a 6-wheeled, 4-seater, teardrop-shaped EV that will have a 400 horsepower motor at each wheel, for a total of 2,400 horsepower. It’s aiming for the fastest 0-200 MPH time as well as a range of 620 miles or 1,000 kilometers. Production is supposed to kick off in 2026 and each one will cost 3 million bucks.
CADILLAC CELESTIQ DESIGN DETAILS
We’re getting a better look at the Cadillac Celestiq, the hand-built flagship EV that will cost over $350,000. If you look at the upper corners of this picture shot from the trunk, we can see it’s a hatchback and also note the unique material choices for the seats. Looks like the seat backs might even use real wood. Now take a peek at this view looking at the rear seats. There’s lighting on the door panel in an interesting pixelated pattern, the seat belt latches look like they’re incorporated into the hip bolster and we think those lines in the rear windows indicate they’re smart glass, which can change opacity at the push of a button. This will also be featured on the roof of the Celestiq. And don’t worry. There probably won’t be too many more teasers since it makes its public debut on the 22nd.
MEET THE HONDA ZR-V
Honda sure is making its naming structure more confusing. It has the CR-V and HR-V, but now it’s launching the all-new ZR-V in Japan. Zulu, Roger, Victor. Eagle-eyed viewers will recognize this almost exactly the same as the HR-V, but with a few minor differences. We notice a few tweaks to the front and rear bumpers and it features a push-button gear selector. The biggest change is under the hood. The HR-V comes exclusively with a 2.0L 4-cylinder engine. The ZR-V has either a 1.5L turbo mated to a CVT or a 2.0L engine that’s paired with 2 electric motors. Those are the same engine options as the new CR-V that we reported on yesterday. The new ZR-V goes on sale in Japan this fall.
HYUNDAI IONIQ 6 IS BIGGER THAN YOU THINK
Hyundai released a lot of the specs on the Ioniq 6, which goes on sale in South Korea and some European markets late this year and in North America in Q1 of 2022. Here are the basics. There are two battery packs available, 53 kWh and 77.4 kWh. The smaller pack with 18-inch wheels delivers 610 kilometers of WLTP range. That’s 379 miles. We expect the EPA range to be about 340 miles. Hyundai says it only uses 14 kWh of electricity for every 100 kilometers of travel. That translates into 4.4 miles of range per kilowatt hour, which would make the Ioniq 6 the most efficient EV available. While Lucid claims a version of its car is that efficient, those numbers are not backed up by its official EPA rating. The dual-motor AWD version of the Ioniq 6 comes with the larger battery pack, and while Hyundai did not divulge its driving range, it did publish its power output: 320 horsepower and 446 pound feet of torque. Don’t let the swoopy design trick your eye. The Ioniq 6 is quite a large vehicle. It has a 116-inch wheelbase. That’s more than the Hyundai Palisade. It’s 191 inches long, only about 5 inches shorter than a Palisade. And it’s 74 inches wide, which is a bit more than a Sonata. Thanks to its 800 v architecture, the Ioniq can be charged from 10% to 80% in 10 minutes using a 350 kilowatt charger. In South Korea it starts at $42,000 for the base model and $49,000 for the AWD version. There’s a lot more to this car and we’ll provide you with additional information in the days to come.
PETER BROCK ON AAH
Peter Brock is one of the most creative and influential automotive designers of the last half century. And he’s our guest on Autoline After Hours later today. My colleagues Gary Witzenburg and Lindsey Brooke will also be joining me for the show, so I invite you to join us for a fascinating journey with one of the legends of the industry.
And that wraps up today’s report, thanks for watching.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.