Listen to “AD #3560 – White House Praises Tesla and Toyota; Kia to Double EV Leasing; Waymo Expands Robotaxi Service” on Spreaker.
Follow us on social media:
0:00 Volvo Joins the Job Cuts Club
0:51 Biden White House Praises Tesla & Toyota
1:40 EPA Allows e15 to Expand Gas Supplies
2:08 BMW EV Sales Booming
3:03 Freightliner Unveils Class 6 & 7 EV Trucks
3:52 Norwegian Green Hydrogen Coming to Michigan
4:35 Bosch Creates New Mobility Unit
5:20 Kia to Double EV Leasing
5:48 Kia EV9 Ships This Year
6:55 Waymo Expands Robotaxi Service
7:59 Citroen C4, Peugeot 2008 Share EV Updates
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
VOLVO JOINS THE JOB CUTS CLUB
What the heck are the car companies worried about right now that has them getting rid of so many employees? The chip shortage is starting to ease, inventory levels are building back up, car sales are decent and so are profits. Yet, GM, Ford and Stellantis are getting rid of at least a combined 10,000 employees through voluntary buyouts. And now it’s Volvo’s turn. It’s going to cut 1,300 white collar jobs, or about 6% of its workforce in Sweden. And it won’t stop there. Volvo wants to cut more jobs in its global operations as well as get rid of most of its consultants.
BIDEN WHITE HOUSE PRAISES TESLA, TOYOTA
Here’s something that we didn’t expect to hear. The White House is praising Tesla and Toyota for their work on electric cars. Reuters reports that John Podesta, a senior advisor in the White House, recently met with Toyota and said that with the company under new leadership, it’s now firmly committed to EVs. Podesta and another White House advisor also met with Elon Musk in January, which is when Musk opened up Tesla’s Superchargers to other brands of EVs. They describe Tesla as very open and workable and called it a great partner. Toyota and Tesla are not unionized in the US, so it’s unusual to hear the Biden White House praise non-union companies.
EPA ALLOWS E15 TO EXPAND GAS SUPPLIES
Gasoline prices should ease somewhat this summer in the U.S. The EPA issued an emergency waiver that allows e15 gasoline to be sold across the country this summer. e15 is gasoline with 15% ethanol, whereas most gasoline is e10. The EPA says e15 will stretch out supplies that have been disrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
BMW EV SALES BOOMING
BMW’s net profit plummeted 58% in the first quarter, which the company blames on higher raw material prices, sharply higher R&D spending, and higher sales and administrative costs. It posted a net profit of €5.1 billion compared to €12.2 billion last year. But last year it also booked a one-time €7.7 billion gain by taking over BMW Brilliance, its joint venture partner in China. Take that out, and BMW would have posted about a 13% increase in profits. One place the company is booming is with electric cars. Sales shot up 82% after growing 86% last year. They now account for 11% of all BMWs sold.
FREIGHTLINER UNVEILS CLASS 6, 7 EVs
Freightliner is expanding its electric truck line-up in the American market. The company unveiled its eM2 truck, which goes into production this fall at Daimler Truck’s plant in Portland, Oregon. Offered in both Class 6 and 7 versions, the trucks are powered by an ePowertrain from Detroit Diesel, which is now simply called Detroit. The Class 6 truck features a single electric motor that produces 190 horsepower and a 194-kWh battery that provides up to 180 miles of range. The Class 7 version has a dual motor setup that combines for 255 horsepower, a 291-kWh battery and a 250-mile range.
NORWEGIAN GREEN HYDROGEN COMING TO MICHIGAN
More green hydrogen is on the way, Norwegian company Nel will build a $400 million plant in Michigan to produce up to 4GW of Alkaline and PEM electrolyzers. Nel plans to build the plant in phases to make sure supply meets demand. The company says it looked at several sites across the U.S. but it chose Michigan because of financial incentives, its highly skilled workforce and cooperation with universities and research partners. But also, because the plant will be located near General Motors, who it is collaborating with to bring down the cost of its electrolyzer technology.
BOSCH CREATES NEW MOBILITY UNIT
The biggest automotive supplier in the world, Bosch, is shaking up the structure of the company. It’s creating a new stand-alone division, called Bosch Mobility, that will focus on software and mobility. By establishing it as a stand-alone unit, with its own board, Bosch wants it to move at a faster pace. By 2029 Bosch Mobility should generate more than $84 billion a year.
KIA TO DOUBLE EV LEASING
The Biden Administration provided a massive loophole for foreign automakers who’s EV’s don’t qualify for the $7,500 tax credit. As long as that EV is leased, it can qualify for the credit. So, Kia is going to put the pedal to the metal on EV leasing. Its lease rate is expected to jump from 15% today to 30-40% in another year or so.
KIA EV9 SHIPS THIS YEAR
One of the vehicles that Kia will push leasing with is the EV9, which launches in global markets before the end of the year. It will first ship the EV9 to the U.S. but Kia is making updates to its plant in Georgia to build the electric SUV there next summer. It also says the EV9 will lead the company into the software defined vehicle era. It has a more centralized computing system with wireless communication. This gives the EV9 expanded in-vehicle OTA capabilities that not only update core components but allow for convenience features to be added as well. That includes things like its hands-free Level 3 system, called Highway Driving Pilot. As well as features that you can purchase when you need or want them, like Remote Smart Parking Assist or Lighting Pattern, which allows the user to pick from 5 different display modes for the pixelated light clusters on the front. Kia says the updates will expand to other areas like entertainment, gaming and sound.
WAYMO EXPANDS ROBOTAXI SERVICE
We could start to see robotaxis everywhere next year. GM’s Cruise expects to expand dramatically. Waymo, too. Waymo announced it’s greatly expanding its autonomous ride hailing service in Phoenix. It’s now operating in 180 square miles of the metro area, which Waymo claims is the largest fully autonomous service area in the world. Anyone there can hail a ride with its app. It’s also giving more access to its approved customers in San Francisco, which it calls “Trusted Testers.” It’s waiting for a permit from California to start charging for rides without a safety driver on board. Waymo is currently serving 10,000 trips per week to public riders in both cities and by next year it expects that to grow to 100,000 trips. And at some point Waymo plans to offer its service in Los Angeles but it hasn’t set a date yet.
CITROEN C4, PEUGEOT 2008 SHARE EV PLATFORM
The main benefit of platform sharing is getting bigger scale so you can drive down costs. And with so many brands, Stellantis can really take advantage of that. And now it’s showing off how it can spread EV updates across its brands thanks to platform sharing. Peugeot is coming out with a new 2008 and Citroen is coming out with a new C4 and C4 X that share the exact same upgrades to their all-electric powertrains. They get a new, more powerful and efficient electric motor that produces 115 kW or 156 horsepower as well as a new, more nickel-rich battery. That pack is 54 kWh, which is bigger than the old 50 kWh pack, but the range jump is still fairly significant, going from up to 360 kilometers to 420 or 223 to 260 miles. Look for the new Peugeot and Citroens to go on sale soon.
That brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for tuning in and don’t forget to check out Autoline After Hours this afternoon at 3PM EST. Now, May the 4th be with you!
Thanks to our partner for embedding Autoline Daily on its website: WardsAuto.com
Seamus and Sean McElroy cover the latest news in the automotive industry for Autoline Daily.