Follow us on social media:
0:00 Tesla Wins 1st Autopilot Lawsuit Involving Fatal Crash
1:04 Toyota Slashes EV Sales Forecast
2:20 Automakers Oppose U.S. Steel Acquisition
3:32 Ford F-150 Lightning Heading to Switzerland
3:56 Elon Musk Shares New Cybertruck Details
5:04 Rivian Owners Now Have to Pay to Use Charging Sites
6:06 Porsche Launches Bug Bounty Program
6:37 VW Holding Off on New Battery Plant
6:57 Renault May Delay EV Unit IPO Again
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
TESLA WINS 1ST AUTOPILOT LAWSUIT INVOLVING FATAL CRASH
Tesla has faced a lot of scrutiny over the safety of its Autopilot driver assistance technology but the company just won its first trial involving a fatal crash in California. The lawsuit alleged that Autopilot caused a Model 3 to suddenly veer off the highway at 65 MPH, strike a tree and burst into flames, all within a matter of seconds. The driver was killed in the crash and two other passengers were seriously injured. The suit also claimed that Tesla knew the technology was defective when it sold the vehicle. But Tesla claimed the accident was due to driver error and said it was unclear if Autopilot was engaged at the time of the accident. And the jury agreed and ruled that the vehicle did not have a manufacturing defect. Tesla is facing several other similar lawsuits in the U.S., so this is a big victory for the company.
TOYOTA SLASHES EV SALES FORECAST
Toyota reported its earnings for the latest quarter and the numbers are rock solid. The company sold 2.4 million vehicles globally, up 13% from a year ago and that includes its Daihatsu and Hino subsidiaries. That helped its revenue grow 24% to $76 billion. It’s net income nearly tripled to $8.6 billion and its operating profit hit $9.6 billion, more than double what it was a year ago. And while its sales are going strong, the company is walking back its BEV forecast for the year. Toyota originally estimated it would sell 202,000 BEVs but now it only expects to sell 123,000 in the current fiscal year, which is a pretty shocking drop. But if you include all of its electrified vehicles, it expects to sell 3.9 million this year, a 42% gain. Hybrids account for the overwhelming majority of that figure. The company says electrified vehicles will account for 37% of its total sales, up from 30% last year.
AUTOMAKERS OPPOSE U.S. STEEL ACQUISITION
Automakers are once again voicing their displeasure about steelmaker Cleveland-Cliffs proposal to buy U.S. Steel. If the acquisition goes through, it will give Cleveland-Cliffs, already the largest automotive steel supplier in the U.S., control of more than 50% of the auto steel market in the country. So the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a lobbying group that represents most major automakers in the U.S., sent a letter to Congress and other federal agencies saying the merger will increase costs for the industry “for both materials and vehicles.” The Alliance also says the takeover will give Cleveland-Cliffs 100% control of e-steel production in the U.S., which is used to make electric motors, and that will likely lead to higher costs for EVs as well.
FORD F-150 LIGHTNING HEADING TO SWITZERLAND
Ford is launching the F-150 Lightning in another country in Europe. The company announced it will be available to order in Switzerland starting this month. Earlier this year, Ford started selling the electric pickup in Norway. The Lightning will only be available in limited numbers in Switzerland and it ain’t cheap with a starting price of nearly $140,000.
ELON MUSK SHARES NEW CYBERTRUCK DETAILS
Speaking of electric pickups, Elon Musk dropped a few more details about the Cybertruck on comedian Joe Rogan’s podcast. The highlight of the experience was Rogan shooting the Cybertruck with a bow and arrow and leaving nothing more than a dent in the door, while the arrow was destroyed. Musk says at the reveal event at the end of the month, Tesla will unload a full Tommy Gun clip into the Cybertruck to show that it’s bulletproof. And even with those heavy stainless steel body panels, the Cybertruck weighs about 6,000-7,000 pounds depending on the setup, which is roughly the same as the Ford F-150 Lightning. One of the heavier setups will likely be the Beast Mode version Musk talked about, which he says will do 0-60 MPH in under 3-seconds. But the pace at which Tesla pumps out Cybertrucks won’t be that fast. Musk says Tesla aims to build about 200,000 a year. And with over a million pre-orders that means some customers will have to wait 5+ years to get their truck.
RIVIAN OWNERS NOW HAVE TO PAY TO USE CHARGING SITES
Rivian owners are about to lose access to free public charging. The EV startup announced it will start making owners pay to use its charging sites, called the Adventure Network. It did not say what it would charge, likely because it varies so much by area, but rates from other providers typically hovers around $0.30 per kWh. And at that rate it would cost $30+ to “fill up” an empty Rivian battery at its Adventure Network. The company currently has about 30 fast charging sites in its network with the aim to increase that to 600 over the next two years. I’m sure the free fast charging was a nice perk, but Rivian needs to start turning a profit and this will help it do that. And aside from its Adventure Network, the company is also building out 10,000 Rivian Waypoints, which are Level 2 chargers at popular locations, and next year owners will get access to 12,000 Tesla Superchargers.
PORSCHE LAUNCHES BUG BOUNTY PROGRAM
Porsche is launching a bug bounty program to try and find cybersecurity issues in its products and digital services. Basically, Porsche will pay hackers to find vulnerabilities in its systems and then it can fix those before they could potentially become a problem. It can be an effective way of discovering issues without a ton of investment. Tesla has been doing this for a long time and has reportedly found some big vulnerabilities this way.
VW HOLDING OFF ON NEW BATTERY PLANT
With demand for its electric vehicles lower than expected, Volkswagen is holding off on making a decision about a new battery plant. CEO Oliver Blume said because of market conditions, including a slow ramp up of the BEV segment in Europe, there is no reason for it to pick a new site for a battery plant right now.
RENAULT MAY DELAY EV UNIT IPO AGAIN
And the slower EV ramp up in Europe could push back the timeline for Renault taking its new EV division public again. It originally wanted to do an IPO with Ampere this month, but moved those plans to next spring. Renault is hoping for a valuation of up to 10 billion euros, but if forecasts put that number closer to 6 or 7 billion euros, Renault might not go ahead with the IPO next spring.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for making Autoline a part of your day.
Thanks to our partner for embedding Autoline Daily on its website: WardsAuto.com