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0:00 Ford Could Axe Thousands
1:05 IRA Causing Havoc in EU
1:58 Rivian to Make Electric Bikes
3:12 Lexus RZ 450e Faces Stiff Competition
4:11 Last V12 Ever From Lambo
5:06 Canoo Struggles to Launch Production
6:11 Toyota Tool Catches $500K Defects
6:57 Continental Develops EV Charging Robot
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
FORD COULD AX THOUSANDS
You’ve heard that old saying, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Well, after Ford lost $2 billion in 2022, Ford CEO Jim Farley slashed bonuses for top execs, including himself. And now he’s hinting that the company could slash engineering jobs. In a SiriusXM interview, Farley said “it takes us 25% more engineers to do the same work statements as our competitors.” And “I can’t afford to be 25% less efficient.” Last month, German union IG Metall warned that Ford is planning to cut 3,200 jobs in Europe. Farley wants to cut $2.5 billion in costs this year to turn earnings around. We think it will go beyond that. Ford has 6,000 more people than General Motors does, and that’s how many jobs we think will get cut.
IRA CAUSING HAVOC IN EU
That Inflation Reduction Act is creating havoc in Europe. Martin Lundstedt, the CEO of Volvo Truck says he’ll move more EV investments to the U.S. if Europe doesn’t come up with its own IRA. While a similar bill was proposed in the EU, not all EU leaders are on board. Some smaller countries worry the incentives will go to the bigger richer countries while others worry it could spark a trade war. The EU is holding another meeting this week, but if nothing happens, Volvo Truck says it will invest in the U.S., including a battery plant. Under the IRA, the U.S. will cover around $45 per kWh of a battery’s production costs, which Volvo says will “definitely change the equation.”
RIVIAN TO MAKE ELECTRIC BIKES
Uh-oh, is Rivian getting into mission creep? CEO RJ Scaringe told employees the company wants to build an electric bike, and a small number of engineers are already working on it. While it’s not clear if he’s referring to an electric motorcycle or a bicycle, the company does hold a number of patents for electric bicycle components and designs. Last year RJ Scaringe said the company has long-term goals to enter the micromobility business. But right now Rivian is struggling to make the trucks, SUVs and vans that it’s already sold to customers.
LEXUS RZ 450e FACES STIFF EV COMPETITION
A day after the U.S. changed its classification of electric SUVs and crossovers, which makes it easier for them to qualify for tax credits, Lexus opened the order books for its first fully electric crossover, the RZ 450e. It starts at just under $60,000. That includes standard all-wheel drive and 71.4 kWh battery pack, which provides up to 220 miles of range. There’s also a slightly more upscale version that has bigger 20-inch wheels, a lighting package and improved sound system, which adds about $5,000 to the price. The RZ is going to face some very stiff competition. The Tesla Model Y, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai IONIQ 5 and others all have lower starting prices, even when comparably equipped, and they have more range.
LAST V12 EVER FROM LAMBO
It’s the end of an era. Never again will a human being hear the sound of a brand new, naturally aspirated V12 scream to life at Lamborghini’s production facility. It built the final two cars that will ever have the engine. They’re a couple of one-offs, called the Invencible, which is a coupe, and the Auténtica, which is a roadster. As a celebration of its final naturally aspirated V12, they feature Lambo’s 6.5L engine, which generates about 770 horsepower and is mated to a 7-speed gearbox and all-wheel drive. The cars also feature interior styling that matches the exterior and 3D printed air vents for a little extra special touch. With its final V12s, Lambo paves the way for its first hybrid, which will debut in just a few weeks.
CANOO STRUGGLES TO LAUNCH PRODUCTION
It sure is hard to be an EV startup. Canoo says it’s issuing 50 million more common shares to raise about $52.5 million so it can start building vehicles. Investors didn’t like the idea of their shares being diluted and Canoo’s stock fell 10% on the news, after falling about 80% in the last year. But CAnoo did show some signs of life by signing deals with NASA, the U.S. Army and Walmart.
TOYOTA TOOL CATCHES $500,000 DEFECTS
Toyota came up with a simple testing tool that saves $500,000 for every defect it finds. The problem it was looking for is improper machining on the cam lobes of engines, which could cause chatter on startup. Its solution is an LED stream light that shines down onto the cam lobe, which bounces a pattern back onto a small white board. If the cam is good, it will bounce back in one continuous flood of light. If it’s bad, the light spreads out. Then the part is rejected, rather than potentially making its way through production, which would eventually cause the $500,000 full line shutdown.
CONTINENTAL DEVELOPS EV CHARGING ROBOT
Believe it or not some people forget to plug in their electric cars when they come home at the end of the day. So Continental teamed up with a startup called Voltario to develop an automated charging robot. The robot sits on the floor of your garage, so when you pull into the garage, the robot automatically positions itself directly under the connector that’s attached to the bottom of an EV. A direct connection is more efficient than using wireless inductive charging. It’s also designed for bi-directional charging so that you can sell the electricity in your battery back to your local utility in times of high demand. This is good for tight garages where there’s not much room, and where you might brush up against a dirty car as you try to connect a charging cable. Continental is exploring how to use the robot in public parking garages, at gas stations and factory areas.
But 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.