Listen to “AD #3515 – Shareholders Sue Tesla Over FSD; Lithium Prices Could Plemmet; New Ford Ranger This Summer in the U.S.” on Spreaker.
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0:00 Shareholders Sue Tesla Over FSD
1:22 Stellantis Buys a Copper Mine
2:13 Range Rovers Can’t Get Insurance
3:33 EV Sales Slow in China
4:21 Lithium Prices Could Plummet
5:20 Nissan Adding More EVs
5:55 New Ford Ranger This Summer in the U.S.
7:12 U.S. Pedestrian Fatalities Up 5%
8:02 Mercedes E-Class Gets Eye-Popping Features
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
SHAREHOLDERS SUE TESLA OVER FSD
Tesla is running into problems with FSD, or what it calls Full Self Driving. Only this time it doesn’t involve a technical issue. The problem is with owners and shareholders. A shareholder group filed a class action lawsuit against the company saying Tesla defrauded them with false claims about FSD that hid the fact that FSD could create a serious risk for accidents. And owners are upset that Tesla now describes FSD as an SAE Level 2 system. Many of them paid up to $15,000 to get what was supposed to be at least a Level 4 system. There’s even a call for the company to offer refunds to owners who paid for it. Mercedes-Benz is already offering a Level 3 system for about $5,400, though it’s only available in Germany and Nevada at the moment and only works up to 40 MPH. Elon Musk promised that full autonomy would be available several years ago. And while that still could happen, some shareholders and owners are running out of patience.
STELLANTIS BUYS A COPPER MINE
Is there going to be a global shortage of copper in the next couple of years? Some people think so. Maybe that’s why Stellantis is investing $155 million to buy part of a copper mine. It’s taking a 14% stake in McEwen Copper, a subsidiary of Canadian mining company McEwen Mining. Starting in 2027, McEwen will produce 100,000 tons of copper cathode a year at a site in Argentina. The copper will be sustainably produced and the mine will achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2038. And not only will Stellantis use the copper for its own vehicles, it says it will supply copper to meet global demand which is expected to triple in the next few years.
RANGE ROVERS CAN’T GET INSURANCE
Land Rover has a big problem with the Range Rover in London. Insurance companies are refusing to insure them, or are charging an arm and a leg for a policy. It’s all because Range Rovers are a favorite target of thieves who know they can get good money for them, especially overseas. The editors at Autocar found that a typical Range Rover policy cost anywhere $5,200 to $7,200 with a $1,500 deductible. Land Rover is telling customers they should use their app which includes a ‘Guardian Mode’ that monitors the vehicle and provides an alert if the car has been unlocked.
EV SALES SLOW IN CHINA
Tesla’s sales are slowing in China. And it’s not just Tesla. All EV sales slowed down in China last month. Tesla sold a little under 11,000 vehicles last week, which was nearly double the previous week, but overall the pace this quarter is behind the 4th quarter of last year. So that could mean the effect of Tesla’s price cuts are wearing off. And there could be a number of other reasons why EV sales are slowing in China. Consumers could be waiting to see if more automakers will cut prices, which could certainly happen. Tesla is expected to announce a styling update for the Model 3 at its Investor Day tomorrow. And that could be why Chinese buyers are holding off from buying a new car.
LITHIUM PRICES COULD PLUMMET
But one thing is for sure, this current dip in EV demand is having an impact on lithium prices. Experts expect the price of lithium to drop to $34,000 a tonne late this year, down from over $53,000 right now. That’s 25% lower than what was previously forecast. When automakers rushed out to buy lithium supplies for future EVs, prices shot up by more than 6-times. But with new mines opening and EV sales in China slowing, there’s more supply than there is demand at the moment. Dropping lithium prices also allowed CATL, the biggest battery maker in the world, to start cutting battery prices. Add it all up and the price of EVs could come down, which would be good news for EV buyers.
NISSAN ADDING MORE EVs
Also good is that they’ll have more choices. Nissan now says it’s going to come out with more EVs than it originally planned. By 2030 it will introduce 27 electrified models, up from 23. 19 of those will be fully electric, which is up from 15 and its overall mix of electrification will be 55%, up from 50%. Nissan is having delivery problems with its all-new all-electric Ariya, so hopefully it will get those ironed out before the new models go into production.
NEW FORD RANGER THIS SUMMER IN U.S.
We’ve got some interesting production news from AutoForecast Solutions. Let’s start with Ford. It will start production of the next-gen Ranger pickup in Michigan this July. And BEV versions of the Ford Explorer and Lincoln Aviator will go into production in Canada in 2025. Maserati is forecast to start making a next-gen Levante in 2026, while BMW will build the all-new iX1 in China in 2028 and Chevy will produce the next-gen Montana small pickup in Brazil in January.
U.S. PEDESTRIAN FATALITIES UP 5%
Here’s a troubling trend. More and more people are getting hit by cars. In the U.S. pedestrian fatalities hit a 40-year high in 2021. And according to new data from the Governors Highway Safety Administration, 3,434 pedestrians were killed in the first half of 2022, up 5% compared to the year before. There are a number of factors causing this. Dangerous driving, which escalated during the pandemic has not gone away. Vehicles are larger and heavier than before – making them more likely to injure or kill a person. And lastly, roads are designed for fast moving traffic, and there’s subpar infrastructure, including crosswalks, sidewalks and lighting.
MERCEDES E-CLASS GETS EYE-POPPING FEATURES
Mercedes showed off its all new electronic architecture and operating system last week, what it calls MB.OS. But that won’t be out until 2025. Even so, parts of the system will debut this year on the new E-Class sedan. One thing that customers will notice is how it enables a new level of in-car entertainment, and can even turn your Benz into a mobile office. You can take Webex and Zoom calls when the car is parked, using a video camera on the top of the instrument panel and the center screen. Or, to take your mind off work you can play games like Angry Birds, or search for something else to play. You can stream YouTube videos on the screen as well… or even call up TikTok videos. When the car is not parked, all the action can switch to the front seat passenger with a screen that uses what Mercedes calls a Visual Shield, though others refer to this as shy technology. From the driver’s seat, you cannot see what’s on the screen even though the passenger can. That should minimize driver distraction. The system will do Google searches for all kinds of destinations, and set the nav to take you there. And if you don’t want to watch anything at all you can bring up Apple music through Dolby Atmos… and even set the ambient lighting in the cabin to pulse to the beat of the music.
But that’s a wrap for today. 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.