Listen to “AD #3532 – Tesla Price War Jumpstarts Sales; Ford Breaks Out EV Finances; Who Needs Lithium When You Have Sodium?” on Spreaker.
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0:00 IRA Kicks Off EV Gold Rush
0:55 Ford Breaks Out EV Finances
2:08 Tesla Price War Jumpstarts Sales
3:28 Who Needs Lithium When You Have Sodium?
4:22 Izera EV Startup from Poland
5:19 Hornet Is First All-New Dodge Since 2011
7:41 BMW Sees Bright Future for New Hub Motor
8:27 Schaeffler’s Hub Motor for Municipal Vehicles
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
Sean is out on the media drive for the Hyundai Ioniq 6, so I’m filling in today and tomorrow. And now the news.
IRA KICKS OFF EV GOLD RUSH
When Volkswagen resurrected the Scout Brand it thought about hiring a contract manufacturer to build its electric pickups and SUVs–like Magna or Foxconn. But CEO Scott Keogh says they decided to build a brand-new factory in South Carolina because of the Inflation Reduction Act. The subsidies it offers are just so generous. Keogh even compares it to the 1849 California gold rush. Scout will build a $2 billion factory in South Carolina, which will start producing EVs in 2026 and have an annual capacity of 200,000 vehicles.
FORD BREAKS OUT EV FINANCES
Ford is making a gutsy move. It’s going to break out its financial reports by business unit, not by geographical region. Those business units are Ford Blue, the old ICE part of the company; Ford Model e, its EV unit; and Ford Pro, its commercial business. And that means Ford is going to lay bare the fact that it’s losing billions on its EV business. Ford Blue, the ICE unit is expected to make a $7 billion profit this year. Ford Pro is expected to come in with a $6 billion EBIT profit, nearly double what it was a year ago, while Ford Model e is expected to lose $3 billion. So why would CEO Jim Farley want to make everyone aware of how much money Ford is losing on EVs? Well for one thing, he wants Ford Model e to be run as a startup, and startups don’t make money until they hit scale. For another thing, this is going to put enormous pressure on Model e to show real progress year over year. By 2026, Farley expects Model e to be producing 2 million EVs annually and to generate an 8% EBIT margin.
TESLA PRICE WAR JUMPSTARTS SALES
You know that price war that Tesla kicked off in China? It seems to be really working. More than 34,000 China-made Tesla vehicles were registered in February, up 40% compared to a year ago and 25% higher than in January. The Model Y saw registrations spike 80% in February compared to January, but Model 3 registrations actually dropped 35%. Through the first two months of the year, Tesla has sold more than 61,000 made in China vehicles, up nearly 40% from a year ago. And when Tesla reports its first quarter earnings, we’ll have to see if the jump in sales more than offset the cut in prices.
WHO NEEDS LITHIUM WHEN YOU HAVE SODIUM?
Some people worry that there won’t be enough lithium to make all the batteries needed for all the EVs that the auto industry plans to build. But what if you didn’t need any lithium at all? Battery companies in China, the US and UK are experimenting with sodium-ion batteries in place of lithium-ion. Sodium is more plentiful and found in more places than lithium, it doesn’t burn and it doesn’t seem to be affected much by cold weather. Best of all, it’s cheaper. At scale, sodium-ion batteries would be half the price of lithium ion. The downside: they don’t have as much energy density, about 25% less than iron phosphate batteries. But they could be perfect for low-cost urban city cars, and Bloomberg New Energy Finance says that could help ease up demand for lithium.
IZERA EV STARTUP FROM POLAND
Everywhere you turn these days there seems to be another EV startup. Now, there’s even one from Poland. Meet the Izera electric crossover and hatchback. They were actually designed by Pininfarina and sit on an EV platform developed by Geely. If everything goes according to plan it will be built by a government backed company called Electromobility Poland starting in 2025. There’s not a lot of info available on the EVs, except that they will have a 250 mile range and will go from o to 100 kilometers an hour in 7 seconds. But what is so noticeable to us is the international aspect of this effort–a quasi-governmental Polish company wants to launch EVs using a platform that was developed in China, that were styled by an Italian design house that’s actually owned by Mahindra in India.
HORNET IS FIRST ALL-NEW DODGE SINCE 2011
The last time Dodge launched an all-new product was in 2011 with the Durango. So Dodge dealers must be doing backflips over the new Hornet, which gets them into the fastest growing segment in the market. The CUV is based on the same platform and body as the Alfa Romeo Tonale, but with some important differences. The base engine in the Hornet GT is a 2-liter turbo that generates 268 horsepower and 295-pound feet of torque. It’s mated to a 9-speed automatic and does 0-60 in 6.5 seconds. Or, you can opt for the Hornet R/T PHEV with a 1.3-liter turbo. It gets a front motor/generator with 44 horsepower and a rear e-axle with a 90-kilowatt electric motor. Put it all together and the R/T PHEV offers 388 horsepower and 383-pound feet. But wait, there’s more! What Dodge calls Powershot. Push a power button on the console, pull back both paddle shifters at the same time and floor it, and you get an additional 30 horsepower for 15 seconds. That knocks the 0-60 time down to 5.6 seconds. A gimmick to be sure, but it will get people talking about this car. The PHEV also delivers 30 miles of BEV range from its 15.5 kWh battery pack. Prices range from about $30,000 to $35,000 for the GT and $40,000 to $45,000 for the R/T PHEV. The GT should be arriving at dealerships now while the R/T comes later in the year.
BMW SEES BRIGHT FUTURE FOR NEW HUB MOTOR
Hub motors could provide designers a lot more flexibility when they’re developing new vehicles. They’d allow vehicles to be smaller and lighter without sacrificing interior room. And that’s why two developments from BMW and Schaeffler caught our eye. BMW is investing in a German startup called DeepDrive that developed an electric motor with a space age sound to it: a radial flux, dual rotor motor. It’s smaller, lighter and cheaper than today’s electric motors, but has high energy density. Even though BMW iVentures invested in it, DeepDrive is working with 8 of the top 10 automakers in the world and plans to be in production in 2026.
SCHAEFFLER’S HUB MOTOR FOR MUNICIPAL VEHICLES
Meanwhile, Schaeffler also developed a hub motor, but this one is aimed at municipal utility vehicles like road-sweeping trucks, compact vans and snowplows. Hub motors have all the drive components and brakes built right into them. They fit inside a 14-inch rim. So they eliminate the gearbox, drive shafts and CV joints, which reduces energy losses. Output ranges from 7 to 25 kilowatts, with bursts up to 60 kilowatts. And they’re available with 48 or 400 volts. Schaeffler is looking at higher voltage, too. Best of all, each hub motor can be controlled individually, in terms of power or even which direction they rotate. And conceivably that means that you could even eliminate the steering column, the steering rack and the tie rods.
NISSAN’S COLLERAN ON AFTER HOURS
Can old fashioned car companies really compete with the EV startups? That’s one of the topics we’ll be talking about today on Autoline After Hours. We’ve got Mike Colleran the vice president of marketing and sales of Nissan North America, Kalea Hall from the Detroit News and Charlie Vogelheim from the Flying Car coming on the show. And we invite you to join us when we go live at 3 pm eastern time today.
But that wraps up today’s report, thank for making Autoline Daily one of your regular stops.
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