Listen to “AD #3443 – Firestorm Over EV Credits; Lamppost Chargers Have Lowest Carbon Footprint; Durant Guild Unveils Its Lineup” on Spreaker.
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0:08 U.S. EV Credits Create a Firestorm
1:09 Canada Kicks Out Chinese Lithium Miners
1:54 Automakers Suspend Twitter Advertising
3:27 BMW 7-Series Offers Hands Free L2
4:12 Durant Guild Unveils Its Lineup
5:08 NIO Battery Swapping Stations Surging
6:23 EV Lamppost Chargers Have Lowest Carbon Footprint
7:11 Wuling, Baojun Corner Cheap EV Segment
8:26 MINI Opens Stick Driving School
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
U.S. EV CREDITS CREATE A FIRESTORM
Those EV subsidies that are part of the IRA, or Inflation Reduction Act, are turning into a political hot potato. The EU, South Korea and Japan are all complaining that it leaves their EVs at a competitive disadvantage in the US market. The EU and Japan want their EVs exempted from rules that require the vehicles to be made in North America and their batteries made in the US with materials sourced from the US and its allies. South Korea is asking for a 3-year exemption until it can meet those requirements. And it’s not just foreign governments that are complaining. The Ford Motor Company is asking the U.S. Treasury Department to interpret the rules more broadly so that it can import Chinese-made LFP batteries from CATL. Ford says that if the rules are interpreted too strictly, very few EVs will qualify for the EV credits.
CANADA KICKS OUT CHINESE LITHIUM MINERS
Canada isn’t messing around when it comes to minerals for EVs. The Canadian government is kicking out three Chinese companies from mining lithium in the country. The companies must sell their assets because the government is now classifying lithium as a “critical mineral” and is limiting foreign investment in it and other EV minerals. Not surprisingly, the Chinese government was not happy and was critical of the decision and called on Canada to reverse it. Canada says it’s open to foreign investment but “will act decisively when investments threaten our national security and our critical minerals supply chains.”
AUTOMAKERS SUSPEND TWITTER ADVERTISING
When Elon Musk took over Twitter it triggered all kinds of complaints, hand-wringing and full-throated editorials all over the world. It also prompted General Motors and the Volkswagen group to at least temporarily suspend all their advertising with the social media platform. GM and VW say they’re taking a wait-and-see approach in case Twitter becomes an epicenter of hate speech and controversy. Ford says it suspended its advertising on Twitter before Musk took it over. We think another reason why automakers may not want to support Twitter is because Musk is a direct competitor with Tesla. But it’s not just automakers. Other corporations suspended their advertising too, last Friday, Musk complained that Twitter saw a massive drop in revenue, which he blamed on activist groups pressuring corporations.
BMW 7-SERIES OFFERS HANDS FREE L2
BMW is expanding its hands-free driving feature to the U.S. and Canada. Considered a Level 2+ system, it will first be available on the all-new 7 Series. The technology consists of a number of on board sensors and high-definition maps provided by partner HERE, which are used to help the vehicle know exactly where it is. The system can be used on interstates and highways up to 85 MPH or 130 km/h and it will even display roads where it will work on the navigation screen. BMW says the next steps will be to launch the technology in more vehicles and then expand the Level 2+ system to all road types.
DURANT GUILD UNVEILS ITS LINEUP
We can now officially say that the Cadillac Celestiq is the first vehicle that will be offered by the Durant Guild. If you hadn’t heard, the Durant Guild is GM’s new entity exclusively for China that will offer GM’s most exclusive models and will connect with possible customers through a dedicated digital community. These vehicles will not be built in China, rather imported, and while we don’t know the exact lineup we do have a pretty good idea. At the China International Import Expo auto show that’s going on right now the Durant Guild also has the Hummer SUV and Corvette Z06 on display. And it says its portfolio will include full-size SUVs and pickup trucks. Based on previous releases about the Durant Guild, we also think that includes the Cadillac Escalade and Chevy Silverado.
NIO BATTERY SWAPPING STATIONS SURGING
And let’s stick with China for the moment. As you could probably guess, Chinese automaker NIO is one of, if not the, leader of battery swapping for EVs. It’s done 14 million battery swaps to date and now has the ability to do up to 30,000 a day. And it seems to be doing a good job of expanding the stations. In June of 2020, it had 135 swapping stations in China. Today, it has 1,200, which is up from 900 in May of this year and NIO plans to have 4,000 swapping stations worldwide by the end of 2025.
EV LAMPPOST CHARGERS HAVE LOWEST CARBON FOOTPRINT
A number of cities across the globe are installing EV chargers in lampposts to expand charging in urban areas where space is limited. Not only does it add more locations where drivers can plug in, it’s also more environmentally friendly. According to a study conducted by Sustainability Analytics and commissioned by lamppost charging operator ChargeLight, the carbon footprint of manufacturing and installing a lamppost charger is up to 88% lower than a standard charger. That’s because the infrastructure is already in place retrofitting lampposts into chargers which means fewer materials are required, and that helps lower emissions. But the downside is users will have to deal with slower charging rates.
WULING, BAOJUN CORNER CHEAP EV SEGMENT
Wuling, which makes the hot-selling $4,500 Mini EV in China, is consolidating its position as a force to reckon with in low cost electric cars. Its new model, the $5,000 Air EV that we previously reported on, is now officially on sale in Indonesia, where it already has 4,000 orders. Later this year it will start exporting them to Egypt and India and Wuling is going to sell them in other markets as well. This could help it emerge as an EV powerhouse. Wuling is part of the SAIC-General Motors joint venture, which also includes the Baojun brand. And that brand is moving more upscale. It just came out with a version of the Kiwi EV called the Strawberry Bear that is aimed at young women. The car features a pink motif, with graphics of strawberries and a bear called Lotso who was a character in the movie Toy Story 3. Baojun is charging $15,500 for the Strawberry Bear, even though it’s not much bigger than the Mini EV. And even though it has a relatively modest price, it could have a decent profit margin.
MINI OPENS STICK DRIVING SCHOOL
Vinyl records are making a comeback, so why not manual transmissions? If you ever wanted to learn how to drive a stick shift, Mini has you covered. It just opened a driving school in California to teach people how to operate a clutch and move a shift lever. The school is open to all drivers and you don’t have to be a Mini owner to sign up. At the end of the curriculum, participants will be tested on a timed course to test their knowledge. The school opens in the first quarter of next year but we don’t know what they’re going to charge yet.
And that wraps up today’s show, thanks for tuning in.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.