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0:08 Global EV Sales Could Slow This Year
1:03 Tesla Slashes Prices in The U.S. & Europe
1:54 Honda & LG Energy Officially Form Battery Joint Venture
3:05 Mazda Shares MX-30 Rotary Range Extender Details
4:02 Buick Launches New Electra E4 EV In China
4:38 Toyota & Lexus Show Off Tokyo Auto Show Concepts
6:28 Sabic Solves Thermal Runaway for EV Battery Packs
7:18 Cadillac Reveals Final Design of LMDh Race Cars
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
GLOBAL EV SALES COULD SLOW THIS YEAR
Electric vehicles have been one of the bright spots in sales the last few years but according to BloombergNEF they’re expected to slow this year, compared to the last two. In 2020, automakers sold 3.2 million EVs globally, that jumped to 10 million in 2022, including plug-in hybrids. This year, Bloomberg expects plug-in sales to reach 13.6 million vehicles, with BEVs accounting for 75% of sales. China is expected to account for 8 million passenger EVs sold, even though it phased out subsidies. While the U.S. is estimated to hit 1.6 million plug-in sales. There are now 27 million EVs on the road globally and they’re estimated to pass 40 million by the end of the year, making them account for 3% of the total global fleet.
TESLA SLASHES PRICES IN THE U.S. & EUROPE
Tesla significantly cut the prices of its vehicles in the U.S. The Model 3 and Model Y saw prices slashed anywhere between 6% to 20%, depending on the configuration, which now makes some of them eligible for the $7,500 tax credit. The Model Y Long Range now costs about $53,000 down from nearly $66,000. And the Model 3 Performance now costs around $54,000 down from $63,000. Model S pricing was cut by $10,000 and the Model X is now $11,000 cheaper. But it’s not just the U.S., Tesla also significantly cut prices in Europe. While Tesla sales were up solidly in 2022, it did fall short of Wall Street and its own delivery target for the year.
HONDA & LG ENERGY OFFICIALLY FORM BATTERY JOINT VENTURE
Back in October, Honda and LG Energy Solution announced plans to build a battery plant in Ohio. And now the two companies have officially formed a joint venture to produce the lithium-ion batteries. Construction of the plant kicks off this year and they’re aiming to start mass production by the end of 2025. The plant will have an annual production capacity of 40 GWh and all the batteries produced by the plant will be for Honda’s EVs sold in North America. Honda and LG are investing a total of $4.4 billion in the joint venture.
MAZDA SHARES MX-30 ROTARY RANGE EXTENDER DETAILS
We’ve got some more details on Mazda’s rotary range extender. And the big news for us is that the engine will provide power directly to the wheels in certain scenarios, like the Chevrolet Volt. It’s a series plug-in hybrid setup with the new rotary engine positioned on the same axle as the electric motor. Mazda also slashed the battery size. The MX-30 EV comes with a 35.5 kWh pack, but the range extended version, which has a mouthful of a name – MX-30 e-Skyactiv R-EV – only comes with a 17.8 kWh battery. It’s rated at 85 kilometers or about 53 miles on the WLTP test cycle, while the pure EV version has about 100 miles or 160 kilometers of EPA range. But no word yet on price or availability.
BUICK LAUNCHES NEW ELECTRA E4 EV IN CHINA
Buick is getting another Ultium-based EV for China. It’s called the Electra E4 and we think it’s just a fastback version of the Electra E5, which recently made its debut on the market. It’s damn near the same size as the E5 and actually shares a stronger resemblance with the Electra-X Concept. The E4 is powered by either a single 180 kW electric motor that drives the rear wheels or two 180 kW units that provide AWD. Sales are set to launch in the second half of this year.
TOYOTA & LEXUS SHOW OFF TOKYO AUTO SHOW CONCEPTS
Toyota and Lexus have a couple of interesting concepts to highlight from the Tokyo auto show. Let’s start with the Lexus RZ SPORT CONCEPT, which could change a few minds about Lexus’ electrification efforts. Instead of one 150 kW motor in the front and one 80 kW motor in the rear like the production car, the concept gets two 150 kW electric motors. It’s also wider, longer and lower and features 4 full buckets seats and a custom aero kit. Now let’s shift to Toyota who took a couple versions of the Corolla, called the AE86, from the early- to mid-1980’s and converted one to hydrogen and the other to electric. The hydrogen version actually uses a 1600cc, twin cam, 16 valve 4-cylinder engine fed by two Mirai hydrogen tanks mounted in the trunk. The EV version gets its electric motor from the hybrid Tundra and its battery pack from the Prius plug-in, but more excitingly the car retains its manual transmission. The brands say their theme for this year’s show is “Leaving no car lovers behind.”
SABIC SOLVES THERMAL RUNAWAY FOR EV BATTERY PACKS
All week long we’ve been highlighting some of the best technology we saw at CES. And Sabic makes a very powerful case as to why its battery pack made from a material called Stamax, which is made from polypropylene, a flame retardant and glass fibers, is the ideal material for EVs. Polypropylene is inexpensive, glass adds strength and insulates the pack, and of course the flame retardant protects against battery fires. It can withstand temperatures of 1,100 degrees Celsius, or over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit for 5 minutes. And it does that without thermal blankets and mica sheets. The plastic pack also eliminates any welding or fasteners. So it offers lighter weight, lower cost and better protection against thermal runaway.
CADILLAC REVEALS FINAL DESIGN OF LMDh RACE CARS
Cadillac showed off the final design of its hybrid race cars that will compete in the IMSA and FIA World Endurance series. The liveries of the LMDh race cars are blue, red and yellow. They’re powered by a 5.5L V8 that’s combined with the LMDh hybrid system and is paired with a seven-speed sequential transmission. That setup cranks out 670 horsepower. The race cars make their debut later this month at the 24 Hours of Daytona. And they’ll also compete at the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
But that bring us to the end of today and this week’s worth of show. I hope you have a great weekend.
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Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.