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0:00 UAW Strike Costs Ford $1.3 Billion
1:22 EV Demand Slowing Fast
2:59 GM Cruise Stops Driverless Ops
4:09 Renault & Valeo Develop Rare-Earth Free EV Motor
5:01 Hyundai Creates New Design Department
5:56 bp Orders $100 Million of Tesla Superchargers
6:42 Xpeng Shows Off VTOLs
7:40 Nissan Reveals Three SEMA Concepts
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
UAW STRIKE COSTS FORD $1.3 BILLION
For GM and Stellantis this is Day 43 of the UAW strike. Here’s the latest. Reports say there’s a flurry of bargaining at GM and Stellantis with the union. That could lay the ground for a quick resolution in a matter of days. But even a quick agreement doesn’t mean that production will resume quickly. Ford is already warning that it will take some time to get supply and assembly lines back up to full speed. And even then, there’s no guarantee that UAW workers will approve the new contract. Mack Truck and the UAW reached a tentative deal earlier this month, but that was overwhelmingly rejected by workers, and no agreement is in sight. Even so, the fact that the UAW president told Ford workers to go back to work before the contract was approved strongly suggests he believes they will vote in favor of it. And it’s no wonder Ford wanted to settle the strike as fast as possible. It says the strike is going to reduce its EBIT profit this year by $1.3 billion and that the new contract will end up increasing the cost of its vehicles by $850 to $900.
EV DEMAND SLOWING FAST
Now over to the EV segment, where automakers are starting to worry about the pace of customer demand. General Motors is delaying retooling an EV plant to make electric pickups, and it dropped its guidance for EV sales next year. Ford is delaying one of the battery plants it’s building in Kentucky with SK, and is cutting overall EV spending by $12 billion. Honda and GM gave up co-developing a low-cost EV. The CFO of Mercedes-Benz describes the EV segment as a “pretty brutal space.” And LG Energy Solution says that EV demand may not be as high as everyone thought a year ago. Here’s the problem. Even though the EV segment is still the fastest growing in the market, it’s not growing as fast as last year. Moreover, there are more and more electric models hitting the market, which is slicing up the pie into smaller pieces. Ford announced it lost $1.3 billion on EVs in the third quarter, but to help drive our point home, all the legacy automakers are losing money on their EVs. And the price war that Tesla triggered at the beginning of the year is only making things worse. So we may be at an inflection point, where OEMs are backpedaling on their EV plans and will put more effort into hybrids and improved IC powertrains until they can get their next generation electrics to the market and the public charging network becomes widespread and reliable.
GM CRUISE STOPS DRIVERLESS OPS
GM’s autonomous unit Cruise is having a rough week. On Tuesday, the company was forced to stop its driverless operations in California after the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles suspended its permits. It also accused the company of withholding video of an accident involving a pedestrian, which is being investigated by NHTSA. And now the company is halting all of its driverless operations across the U.S. In addition to San Francisco, Cruise had AVs operating in Phoenix, Austin and Houston. Cruise says it’s not related to any new incidents but it’s pausing its driverless operations in order to “rebuild public trust.” And to help do that Cruise says it will continue to operate vehicles with a safety driver on board.
RENAULT & VALEO DEVELOP RARE-EARTH FREE EV MOTOR
Renault is working with the supplier Valeo to develop a new generation of electric motor that will power its future EVs. Scheduled to come out at the end of 2027, they have targets of reducing the carbon footprint and size of the unit by 30%, while still making about the same power as Renault’s current electric motors. To reach those efficiency gains, the new motor generation, called E7A, is being built for an 800-volt electronic architecture and won’t use any rare-earth metals by ditching permanent magnets for a wound hairpin motor design. As a result, it will be able to make up to 200 kW or 268 horsepower and do it without using up more electricity. The new motor will be built at one of Renault’s factories in France.
HYUNDAI CREATES NEW DESIGN DEPARTMENT
Ford took all of its EV operations and put it under one division, run by one person, called Ford Model E. Toyota is doing the same with the BEV Factory. And now Hyundai is doing something similar with its design departments. It established the Global Design Division, which will be run by Luc Donckerwolke, the Group’s President and Chief Design Officer. It will encompass all design departments, including Hyundai, Kia and Genesis, and will be in charge of designing future EVs and mobility solutions, like Purpose Built Vehicles and eVTOLs. Each of the major design departments will still have their own person in charge of making sure that the cars look different from one another. But with the Hyundai Group already sharing a common EV architecture across its brands, it makes sense for more collaboration to make the process more efficient.
BP ORDERS $100 MILLION TESLA SUPERCHARGERS
Oil giant bp is making a huge investment in Tesla’s ultra-fast chargers for its bp pulse EV charging network in the U.S. The company announced it placed a $100 million order for the 250-kW chargers and will begin installing them next year, starting in Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington DC. The chargers will be compatible with both CCS and Tesla’s NACS connectors. bp plans to invest $1 billion by 2030 to build a charging network in the U.S. Globally, bp has installed more than 27,000 EV charge points and plans to boost that to 100,000 worldwide by the end of the decade.
XPENG SHOWS OFF VTOLs
China’s Xpeng not only makes electric vehicles, but it’s also developing flying cars and just revealed two new prototypes. The first one is a two-door coupe that features eight rotors on its hood that can fold in and out of the vehicle. It has transparent doors to increase visibility while flying as well as flush-mounted door handles and wheel covers to improve aerodynamics. The vehicle weighs 1,000 kilograms or about 2,200 pounds. It’s scheduled to go on sale next year with a starting price of $137,000. The other flying car Xpeng revealed is a modular concept that has a person-sized electric drone inside that can separate from the body. The vehicle looks like a combination of a van and truck and seats five people, while the drone seats two people and can be flown manually or automatically.
NISSAN REVEALS THREE SEMA CONCEPTS
Unlike Stellantis, Nissan doesn’t have to worry about a UAW strike and so it will be attending this year’s SEMA show in Las Vegas, which kicks off at the beginning of next week. And the thing I like about the vehicles Nissan is taking is that they’re not the crazy and wild stuff. While that’s cool, Nissan’s vehicles highlight the same kind of upgrades real owners will make. Like this Sentra with a prototype NISMO suspension, NISMO wheels and a tuned version of the car’s 2.0L turbo engine, which makes nearly 190 horsepower in stock form. Or a Frontier pickup fitted with actual NISMO off-road parts. And it’s even thinking about how to upgrade the new Rogue with more prototype off-road parts from NISMO. And if NISMO is anything like Jeep and Mopar, many of these prototype parts and pieces will become production components that you can buy.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for making Autoline a part of your day and I hope you have a great weekend.
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