Listen to “AD #3538 – BYD's Sodium Battery Doesn't Use Lithium; Toyota Losing Money in U.S. Market; AM Radio On the Way Out” on Spreaker.
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0:00 Toyota Losing Money in the U.S. Market
1:17 Ford Credit Launches Ad Campaign
2:20 Mine Waste a Great Source for EV Materials
4:00 BYD YangWang Targets Mercedes G-Wagon
5:01 Who Needs Lithium? Not BYD’s Sodium Batteries
6:31 New Renault 5 is All Electric
8:14 Toyota Tacoma Gets Hybrid Option
9:05 Amazon Operating 3,000 Rivian Vans
9:40 Genesis Unveils GV80 Coupe Concept
10:17 AM Radio on the Way Out
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
TOYOTA LOSING MONEY IN U.S. MARKET
Last year General Motors, Ford and Stellantis all posted very strong profits in North America. In fact, for Stellantis it was an all time record. But for Toyota it was a disaster. Even though Toyota’s sales and revenue went up last year, it lost over half a billion dollars, $558 million to be exact. Toyota made a $4.1 billion profit in 2021 but then its earnings fell off a cliff. It blames the soaring cost of raw materials and its investments in its digital transformation for the losses. But it seems to us that all automakers faced the same issues. Other Japanese automakers also struggled in North America. Honda and Nissan saw their sales and profits drop, but they did not lose money. The first quarter of this year as a whole will likely be tough for Toyota. It reported that North American sales fell 9% for the first three months.
FORD CREDIT LAUNCHES AD CAMPAIGN
The Ford Motor Company could always count on its financing and leasing arm, Ford Credit, to deliver at least a couple of billion dollars in profit. But thanks to a big drop in production because of Covid and the chip shortage, Ford Credit is financing far fewer vehicles. And dealers have far lower floor planning costs because cars and trucks get sold so quickly instead of sitting on their lots. As a result, last year its revenue dropped by a billion bucks. So for the first time since it was created in 1959, Ford Credit is going to start marketing itself directly to consumers. It created a new logo, banner ads and even a video that it will be posting on social media. It’s also going after commercial customers under the banner of Ford Pro FinSimple, and later this year will launch what it calls Lincoln Financial Services to go after people who want to buy Lincolns.
MINE WASTE A GREAT SOURCE FOR EV MATERIALS
Where are we going to get all the raw materials we need to make motors for electric cars? Well one significant source could be what they call tailings–the waste material that’s thrown away after mining. Mining companies in Sweden, South Africa and Australia are extracting rare earth minerals from mining debris. Six projects are underway that will process materials from mineral sands, fertilizer and iron ore operations, which will produce 10,000 metric tons of material by 2027, or the equivalent of 8% of demand for those materials. RMIT University in Australia estimates that there are 16.2 million tons of rare earths in 325 mineral sand deposits worldwide. Extracting rare earths from mine waste is also quicker to set up than a new operation, because the stuff has already been pulled out of the ground. It just needs to be processed.
BYD YANGWANG TARGETS MERCEDES G-WAGON
Last year, Chinese automaker BYD created a new upscale EV brand called YangWang and here’s its first vehicle, called the U8, an electric SUV that’s designed to take on the Mercedes G-Class. Its wheelbase is 160 mm or about 6-inches longer than the G, but overall it’s 502 millimeters or about 20-inches longer. It’s powered by four electric motors that combine for 1,100 horsepower and the U8 is able to move from 0 to 100km/h in just 3 seconds. It ain’t cheap though. The starting price is over $116,000. But it’s a relative bargain compared to the G-Class which costs $60,000 to $116,000 more than the U8 in China.
WHO NEEDS LITHIUM? NOT BYD’S SODIUM BATTERIES
Last week Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said the world doesn’t have enough lithium to make all the batteries that are needed for electric cars. But what if batteries didn’t need any lithium? BYD is going to launch an entry level EV called the Seagull that is reportedly going to be the first EV with a Sodium-ion battery, which doesn’t use any lithium. These batteries are less energy dense and charge slower, but Sodium can be found just about anywhere and is cheaper, and Sodium batteries are easier to make, they don’t burn and they don’t mind cold weather. The Seagull is a wedgy, little electric with angular styling that’s priced between $11,000 and $15,000. Power comes from either a 55 or 75 kW motor, which is roughly 75 and 100 horsepower. There’s two battery packs available; 30 kWh and 38 kWh, which deliver 305 km and 405 km, respectively, of range on the Chinese test cycle. That’s 190 miles and 250 miles. The larger pack is LFP or Lithium Iron Phosphate, and CarNewsChina reports the other pack will use BYDs new Sodium-ion chemistry.
NEW RENAULT 5 IS ALL ELECTRIC
The iconic Renault 5 is making a comeback, but this time it’s all-electric. It rides on the automaker’s new CMF platform for B-segment vehicles that’s been modified to accommodate a 400-volt electric drive system. So, it’s a converted ICE architecture, which shares 70% of its parts with the Clio and Captur. But it also has upgrades over Renault’s previous B-segment EV, the ZOE, like a new multi-link rear suspension, a lighter 4-module battery, instead of 12 modules and a more compact power distribution center that lowers the overall weight of the drive unit. That unit features an asynchronous electric motor that doesn’t use any rare-earth metals. With those upgrades it claims the new Renault 5 will be 30% cheaper to manufacture than the ZOE. The first 9 prototypes are currently doing endurance testing and fine tuning.
TOYOTA TACOMA GETS HYBRID OPTION
Toyota offers hybrids on practically its entire lineup, except the Tacoma. But that’s about to change. For the first time ever the Tacoma will be available as a hybrid. Toyota shared this teaser image of the all-new 2024 mid-size pickup with its iForceMax badge on the bed. That’s the name Toyota gave the new hybrid system on the Tundra. In that truck an electric motor is mounted in the bell-housing of the 10-speed transmission, sandwiched between a twin-turbo 3.5L V6. That setup makes 437 horsepower and 583 lb-ft of torque. Toyota says stay tuned for more on the Tacoma.
AMAZON OPERATING 3,000 RIVIANS
Amazon now has 3,000 Rivian electric vans in its fleet, up from 1,000 last November. That’s still well short of the 100,000 vans Rivian will deliver to Amazon by 2030. Last month, the Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon would only buy 10,000 vans this year. The vans in operation are delivering goods in 500 cities across the U.S. and have delivered more than 75 million packages.
GENESIS UNVEILS GV80 COUPE
Luxury brands just can’t seem to get enough of their fastback SUVs and Genesis is the latest to join the trend with the GV80 Coupe Concept. But admittedly, this is a very slick-looking vehicle with the brand’s signature grille and two-bar lighting that wraps around the front and rear. And is anyone else getting Clark Plaid vibes from a Golf GTI with the seats? I know I am. Genesis says the GV80 Coupe Concept “serves as a statement of intent for the future.”
AM RADIO ON THE WAY OUT
This is the beginning of the end of AM radio in cars. Electric motors in EVs interfere with AM signals unless the radio is shielded. But a lot of automakers are finding this as a good excuse to get rid of the cost of AM. Ford, BMW, Mazda, Polestar, Rivian, Tesla, VW and Volvo already got rid of it in their EVs. And now the Detroit Free Press reports that Ford will drop AM radio in its ICE vehicles as well starting next year. But it will still offer AM radio in its commercial vehicles. The company says many AM radio stations stream their broadcasts with apps and owners can still listen that way. But former employees at FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, say that AM radio is far more dependable in emergencies than streaming.
And that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for joining us.
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