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0:08 BYD Could Outsell Tesla In 2023
0:56 EV Demand Caught Lithium Miners by Surprise
1:41 Wyoming Wants to Ban EVs
2:49 MG Outsells Mitsu & Hyundai In Australia
3:31 MG Cyberster Concept
4:13 Volvo To Make a Minivan?
5:28 Americans Don’t Plug in Their PHEVs Enough
6:32 Opel Astra PHEV Rated At 213 MPG
7:30 Beware the Ides of March
8:20 Win $100,000 From Chevrolet
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
BYD COULD OUTSELL TESLA IN 2023
Chinese automaker BYD is on a tear. It sold a record 1.8 million vehicles in 2022, more than triple from the previous year. 911,000 of those were fully-electric vehicles. And if it’s able to continue to boost sales like this, BloombergNEF says that BYD could overtake Tesla in global BEV sales this year. Tesla delivered 1.3 million vehicles last year and Bloomberg expects its sales to grow another 30% to 40% this year. The Model Y will also be the top-selling EV globally in 2023. But BYD will be hot on Tesla’s heels throughout the year and the race will depend heavily on pricing strategy.
EV DEMAND CAUGHT LITHIUM MINERS BY SURPRISE
Sales of EVs are growing far faster than a lot of experts expected. Especially the companies that mine lithium. Consumption doubled in just the last two years and caught lithium miners flat footed, which is sending prices soaring. The total value of lithium sold hit $35 billion in 2022, up from just $3 billion in 2020. Now there’s a global rush to open new lithium mines. So prices are expected to fall about 8% this year because production should increase anywhere from 22% to 42%. But if the miners can’t mine it fast enough, the analysts warn that prices will continue to rise.
WYOMING WANTS TO BAN EVs
But maybe this will slow down lithium demand a bit. While many countries, states and cities want to ban the sales of new ICE vehicles, Wyoming wants to ban the sale of EVs. In fact, it wants to ban them by 2035. The sponsors of the legislation say the oil and gas industry has created countless jobs and generated revenue for the state. And they say that Wyoming doesn’t have enough of a charging infrastructure. Wyoming is the 8th largest oil producer in the U.S.
MG OUTSELLS MITSU & HYUNDAI IN AUSTRALIA
Holy moly. MG, the classic, iconic British brand, which is now owned by SAIC, outsold both Hyundai and Mitsubishi in December in Australia. It was only a narrow margin, but it’s the first time a Chinese brand has ever done that. It came in at #5 overall on the monthly sales charts. However, that was only for one month. Hyundai and Mitsubishi outsold MG by roughly 25,000 units each for the full year. Even so, this is a sign of things to come. And maybe this is too. Kia outsold Hyundai for the full year in Australia, and that was an industry first.
MG CYBERSTER CONCEPT
But moving back to MG. In 2021, it showed off this wild looking, quad-motor EV concept, called the Cyberster. However, like so many concepts, the production version is much more toned down. Renderings show a much more modern design. We see a little Jaguar F-Type mixed with some Mazda Miata and Fiat 124. We even see a little nod to its British heritage in the taillights. Like some MINIs, they look a bit like the Union Jack flag when put together, which again was more pronounced in the Concept car. The production Cyberster is expected to launch sometime in 2024.
VOLVO TO MAKE A MINIVAN?
Volvo is going to make a minivan? It sounds weird to say, but a slide showing Volvo’s electrification plans for China has an MPV entering its lineup. It will be based on the wild-looking but luxurious Zeekr 009. And for those that don’t know, both Volvo and Zeekr are owned by Geely. The 009 is made on Geely’s SEA platform for electric vehicles and features a 100-kWh battery and either rear- or all-wheel drive with up to 544 horsepower. It’s said the Volvo version will get its own design and should launch by the end of the year.
AMERICANS DON’T PLUG IN THEIR PHEVS ENOUGH
Americans who drive PHEVs don’t plug them in as often as the EPA thought they would. That’s according to the ICCT, the International Council on Clean Transportation. It says PHEVs run on battery power anywhere from 26% to 56% less than the EPA expected. And gasoline consumption in those cars may be 42% to 67% higher. The ICCT got its data from Fuelly.com, where owners self-report their fuel economy, and from the California Bureau of Automotive Repair, which collects data from the OBD, or on-board diagnostics. The ICCT recommends that the EPA lower the benefits to automakers for having PHEVs in their fleets. And it wants the EPA to mandate a minimum electric driving range for PHEVs, just like California did. The ICCT also studied how PHEVs are used in Europe and found that the results there are even worse than in the U.S.
OPEL ASTRA PHEV RATED AT 213 MPG
Even so, Europe has one of the coolest PHEVs we’ve come across: the Opel Astra Sports Tourer 1.6L Turbo. Chris Thomas, who was on Autoline After Hours last week, got to drive it and provided us this report. The Astra Sports Tourer is about the size of a Ford Focus station wagon. It will do 0 to 100 kilometers an hour in 7.3 seconds. And it’s rated at a stunning 213 miles to the gallon based on the WLTP test. That’s only 1.1 liters of gasoline consumption for every 100 kilometers driven. And it only emits 25 grams per kilometer of CO2. Of course, all this assumes that it gets plugged in all the time. It’s priced at €40,000, which includes taxes, but does not include any subsidies.
BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH
Will used car prices start to go up again in March? That’s what a lot of industry experts think is going to happen. And here’s why. Most people lease a car for three years and then those cars go into the used car market. Millions of them, every year. Or at least that was the case until Covid hit. That’s when new car sales plummeted as automakers closed assembly plants and then got hit by the chip shortage. So that means there will be millions of fewer cars coming off lease and going into the used car market. And we’ll see the impact of this starting in March, which will be the 3-year anniversary of when the pandemic hit the US. So let’s keep our eyes open to see if this actually happens.
WIN $100,000 FROM CHEVROLET
Want to win a hundred grand? Chevrolet just rolled out a contest called “Lead Dream Chaser” as part of the launch of the new Chevy Trax. The winner gets $100,000 and a Chevy Trax for three months to pursue their lifelong dream or passion project. If you’re interested, just visit ChevyDreamChaser.com and submit a short video about yourself, your dream and how you’ll use the Trax and the money to pursue your dream. Better get going. The contest opened on Friday and you’ve got 30 days to get your video in.
But that brings us to the end of 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.