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0:00 Tesla Facing Stiff Competition from BYD
0:52 Top 5 NEV Sellers in China
1:22 Energy Crisis Could Cripple EU Production
2:20 Geely & Renault in Talks to Combine Engine Ops
3:50 New Record for Fastest Accelerating EV
4:51 Michigan Suspends Carvana’s Dealer License
5:32 GM Developing Energy Storage for Charging
7:10 VW Wants More Car Building Robots
8:19 Digital License Plates Get the OK in California
9:02 Renault’s Mobilize Reveals New Twizy-Like Vehicle
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
TESLA FACING STIFF COMPETITION FROM BYD
Tesla is Number One in the world when it comes to selling EVs. But it’s starting to feel the heat from BYD, at least in China. Tesla delivered a record 88,000 Chinese-made Model 3s and Ys last month. But BYD delivered 95,000 BEVs, taking the sales crown for electric cars in China in September. Like Tesla, BYD is vertically integrated and makes its own batteries. But unlike Tesla it has not faced major production disruptions this year. And now BYD is expanding into Europe, where it also hopes to surpass Tesla in EV sales. So the race is on.
TOP 5 NEV SELLERS IN CHINA
Here are the top 5 automakers selling NEVs, or new electric vehicles in China, which include plug-in hybrids, fuel cells as well as EVs. BYD topped the list with a total of over 200,000, followed by Tesla at 83,000, then that Wuling Mini EV at 52,000, then Geely with 39,000 and, finally, Guangzou at 30,000.
ENERGY CRISIS COULD CRIPPLE EU PRODUCTION
Uh-oh! Here’s a troubling forecast. S&P Global Mobility is warning that Europe’s energy crisis could slash vehicle production by 40%, or nearly 1 million vehicles, per quarter through the end of 2023. It says the cost per vehicle for production has jumped to between 687 and 773 euros, up from just 50 euros prior to the energy crisis. S&P says this will put a strain on smaller suppliers and it will impact all automakers globally since European suppliers export parts around the world. S&P originally forecasted that European quarterly production would reach 4 to 4.5 million units next year but now it says it could drop to as little as 2.75 to 3 million units.
GEELY & RENAULT IN TALKS TO COMBINE ENGINE OPS
Here’s an interesting development. Two years ago Volvo spun off its engine operations to Geely, which formed a new engine company called Aurobay. Then this year, Renault announced it’s splitting the company into two parts, one for electrics and one for ICE cars. And now the Wall Street Journal reports that Renault is talking to Geely about possibly combining their engine operations together. That sure would make a lot of sense. It would give those companies a lot more scale in piston engines. And that makes us wonder, who’s next? As legacy automakers pivot to electric cars, at some point they’re going to have to wind down or spin off their engine operations. And it would probably be a smart idea to do that sooner than later.
NEW RECORD FOR FASTEST EV ACCELERATION
The Lucid Air Sapphire and Tesla Model S Plaid have got nothing on this EV. It just set the record for world’s fastest accelerating electric car with the blistering time of 1.46 seconds from 0-100 km/h. It was created by a group of German students that call themselves the GreenTeam. The vehicle features four wheel hub motors that combine for 241 horsepower. That may not sound like a lot, but this is a small, lightweight vehicle. Here’s a picture of it next to a Porsche Taycan. It weighs just 381-pounds thanks, in part, to a carbon fiber body and small, 7.67 kWh battery pack. I’ve watched videos of people saying it physically doesn’t feel good to do hard pulls in the Model S Plaid, so I can’t imagine what this must feel like.
MICHIGAN SUSPENDS CARVANA’S DEALER LICENSE
Carvana’s giant car vending machines certainly grab people’s attention, but soon you may see the dust start piling up on the vehicles inside. Michigan suspended Cavana’s dealer license last Friday after continued violations. The state had previously fined the company two times for vehicle title delays and other issues, but it kept getting the same complaints, so it made the move to suspend Carvana’s license. I heard a news report this morning that Carvana is still operating as normal in certain parts of the state even though it’s not supposed to, so we could see more fines coming.
GM DEVELOPING STATIONARY STORAGE FOR CHARGING
General Motors is expanding its Ultium batteries beyond vehicles. The automaker is jumping into the energy storage business for both home and commercial applications. It’s creating a new division called GM Energy that will offer products and services for bi-directional charging, vehicle-to-home and vehicle-to-grid, stationary storage, solar, microgrid and hydrogen fuel cell applications. It will also offer services to sell energy from vehicles and storage batteries back to utilities during peak hours. GM says a number of companies have already signed on to use its energy products as well as to help test and develop them.
VW WANTS MORE CAR BUILDING ROBOTS
Even though assembly plants are chock full of robots, they’re mostly for welding and painting. Final assembly is still a very manual operation. So Volkswagen wants to dramatically increase the amount of automation it uses for its next generation of electric cars, from 5% today to as much as 30% in the future. VW will rely heavily on modular assembly, where big chunks of the vehicle are assembled off-line, then put together to make the whole car. Giant castings, like Tesla’s gigacastings are part of the plan. No doubt that will include a battery pack with the seats mounted on it to make the floor assembly like Tesla does. But VW says it will also have a modular roof assembly, and we can’t wait to see what that will look like. Unfortunately, we will have to wait. The next-gen BEV will not go into production until 2026, and we expect Tesla to be far ahead of where it is right now by that time.
DIGITAL PLATES GET OK IN CALIFORNIA
It seems like everything is going digital when you can even get a digital license plate. You may have heard us report on these a few times over the last 5ish years, but they’re making news again today as California just ended a trial period for the plates and will make them legal throughout the state. But they’re not that cheap. They cost $20/month or you can shell out a little over $215 for a 4-year subscription. You’re essentially paying for the message on the plate because you only own the physical plate itself. We’ve got to believe one of the main selling points is the ease of getting new tabs.
CITROEN AMI GETS COMPETITION FROM RENAULT’S MOBILIZE
Renault’s mobility company, Mobilize, just revealed a tiny, wild looking concept that’s like a new generation version of the Twizy. Called Duo, it’s an all-electric quadricycle that comes in two versions. One has a top-speed of 45 km/h or about 28 MPH that can be driven by drivers 14 and up without a license, depending on the country. The other is a 80 km/h or 50 MPH version that does require a license and has a range of 140 kilometers or 87 miles. The vehicle was designed to be made with 50% recyclable materials and that 95% of it can be recycled at the end of its life. The Duo will be available on subscription or long-term leases in Europe by the end of next year. And in 2024 a cargo version, called the Bento, will be available.
Was that gorgeous Buick Wildcat concept car just done to tease us, or is it indicative of the future look of Buick? That’s what we want to ask Bob Boniface, the head of Buick design, when he joins us on Thursday for Autoline After Hours. Joe Dematio from Haggerty and Greg Migliore from Autoblog will also be on the show, and we invite you to join us to discover where Buick is headed.
But that’s the end of 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.