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0:00 Renault Splits Into 5 Companies
1:04 EV Startups Surge & Falter
2:22 BYD Could Overtake Tesla
3:58 Honda Launches China EV Blitz
5:55 Honda Unveils All-New Pilot
7:17 Tesla Handles Power Steering Recall w/ OTA
8:42 V2G Could Save California Grid
9:31 Citroen Starts Selling Used Parts
10:09 Kia Raises EV6 Price, Hyundai & Genesis Next?
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
RENAULT SPLITS INTO FIVE COMPANIES
Sit up and pay attention to what’s going on in France because Renault is on a roll. We already knew that Luca de Meo, the CEO of Renault, was going to split off Renault’s EV and ICE operations into two separate companies called Ampere and Horse. But now we’ve learned he’s also forming three other independent businesses: the Alpine sports-car brand, financial services and one that combines mobility and recycling. Today, De Meo officially entered into a strategic partnership with Qualcomm, which will help Renault develop software-defined electric vehicles that debut in 2026. And he formed a partnership with Google to handle all of the automakers cloud services. De Meo is also trying to convince Nissan to invest in Ampere and he’s clearly on a mission to completely revamp the French automaker.
EV STARTUPS SURGE AND FALTER
Two steps forward, one step back. That’s the story today of three EV startups. Foxconn just poured another $170 million into Lordstown Motors in exchange for a chunk of stock and two board seats. The two companies are going to scrap their existing EV development agreement and launch a new one that will develop an all new electric vehicle using Foxconn’s open-source platform. That’s a step forward. Meanwhile Amazon says it now has over 1,000 Rivian electric vans in its fleet that have delivered over 5 million packages. Amazon says it will have over 100,000 electric delivery vehicles by the end of the decade. That’s another step forward. But now for the step back. Arrival says it can’t raise the money it needs, and it can’t make a profit on its vans and buses. So it’s going to slash its workforce in the UK and move most of its business to the US where it hopes to take advantage of subsidies for commercial EVs. Arrival says it hopes those drastic actions will give it enough cash to continue until the 3rd quarter of next year.
BYD COULD OVERTAKE TESLA
Every car company on the planet has Tesla in its crosshairs. Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen have all bragged that their electric vehicles are going to outsell Tesla at some point. But an analysis paper from Global Data says BYD is probably in the best position to grab the global sales lead with EVs. The Chinese automaker makes its own long-format LFP blade batteries in a cell-to-pack layout. And it’s got the economies of scale that give it a cost advantage. In fact, Tesla is reportedly using BYD batteries at its plant in Germany. BYD also now outsells Tesla in China and it’s quickly expanding into overseas markets. Global Data says by the end of next year it could be in 40 markets outside of China. But even though it’s bullish on BYD it says that it remains to be seen if it can really overtake Tesla on the global stage.
HONDA LAUNCHES CHINA EV BLITZ
It looks like Honda’s EVs are going to have a lot more expressive styling in China. About a year ago it announced its new e:N brand for China and debuted a couple of production-ready electric SUVs, the e:NS1 and e:NP1. But it also showed off three more e:N concepts, the e:N Coupe, the e:N SUV and e:N GT, that featured more hard-edged design with very distinctive lighting. And at the China International Import Expo, an auto show that’s going on right now, Honda revealed a new e:N concept model, called the e:N2, that looks like an evolution of the original concepts. Notably, carrying over the hard edges and distinctive lighting. It’s built on the same platform as the e:NS1 and e:NP1, so we’d expect a similar layout. Those SUVs feature a 68.8 kWh battery pack supplied by CATL, a 201 horsepower electric motor and 510 kilometers or 317 miles of range based on the Chinese test cycle. Honda’s electric platform will also provide vehicles with RWD and AWD, but this iteration is FWD-only. The interior of the e:N2 is very minimalistic thanks to a hidden display screen that shines through the material on the dash as well as a large head-up display. And it’s highlighted by a rectangular steering wheel. But we’ll be interested to see how much of the concept shows up in the production car. When that will be exactly, we can’t say. But Honda says it will start making e:N vehicles at new plants in China by 2024 and will have 10 e:N models by 2027.
HONDA UNVEILS ALL-NEW PILOT
Speaking of new Honda’s, it also pulled the wraps off the all-new Pilot. It’s longer than the outgoing model, the track is wider too and it gets fresh styling. We think the upright, boxy front end with a big grille is reminiscent of the second-generation Pilot that was out from 2008-2015. While the rest of the styling is more rugged than before. Under the hood is an all-new 3.5L V6 mated to a 10-speed automatic, which replaces a 9-speed unit. Yes, the engine’s displacement is the same as before, and the horsepower and torque figures are about the same, but it features a unique block and cylinder heads. It’s actually more compact, which will improve efficiency. However, Honda isn’t revealing any figures yet. But it is sharing details about the all-new Trailsport version of the Pilot. Trailsport is Honda’s new off-road trim level and the Pilot Trailsport features a tuned suspension with a 1-inch lift kit, special spring rates and damper tuning as well as unique stabilizer bars. It also gets skid plates, all-terrain tires, a trail camera and off-road driving modes. No word on pricing yet, but the new Pilot goes on sale in the U.S. next month.
TESLA HANDLES POWER STEERING RECALL WITH OTA
You’d think that if a car company had a recall because of problems with the power steering, it would end up with tens of thousands of vehicles up on hoists. But not with Tesla. It had to recall 40,000 Model S and X vehicles built between 2017 and 2021 because the power steering could give out over bumpy roads. But all it had to do was send out an OTA that recalibrated the electronic power assist steering system. Tesla has issued 17 “recalls” this year covering 3.4 million vehicles, which sounds like a lot. But we can think of only one instance that required a physical recall, when 24,000 Model 3s needed a fix with the seat belts.
V2G COULD SAVE CALIFORNIA GRID
EV naysayers say the electrical grid can’t handle the transition to EVs. But according to experts, EVs can strengthen it, as long as vehicles have bi-directional charging capabilities. That’s where EVs can send energy back to the grid when it’s needed. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that the 14 million EVs expected to be on California’s roads by 2035 would be able to power all homes in the state for three days. But before vehicle-to-grid technology becomes more widespread, automakers, charging companies and utilities have to standardize the process and in the short term, large fleets would be a better application of V2G technology.
CITROEN SELLING USED PARTS
We told you earlier this year that Stellantis brands were going to start selling used parts to customers. And now it’s happening. Citroen is selling used body parts, lighting, electric parts and electronics, interior parts, engines, transmissions and suspension components. The used parts are all original and come from end of life vehicles that are dismantled by certified technicians. The service is available to customers in Europe and the parts can be ordered through the Citroen website. Best of all, the used parts are generally 70% less expensive than new ones.
KIA RAISES EV PRICES. HYUNDAI, GENESIS NEXT?
Speaking of expensive, it just got a lot more expensive to get behind the wheel of the Kia EV6. Kia is dropping the base trim level, what it called “Light,” and it’s making the “Wind” trim level the new base model, which has a starting price of $48,500. Not only is that $1,000 more than the “Wind” used to cost, but it makes the base model $7,000 more expensive than before. Customers do get more features, like more range, leather seats, and upgraded audio system and more. But with Kia now boosting EV prices, we think Hyundai and Genesis won’t be far behind.
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.