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0:00 Polestar Reveals Future Product & Technology Plans
2:47 Fisker In Talks With 5 Automakers to Boost Production
3:26 Biden Backs UAW’s Unionization Efforts
4:41 BMW To Offer L3 Autonomous Driving in Germany
5:29 EV Growth Causes Palladium Prices to Plummet
6:02 Volvo Trucks Snaps Up Proterra’s Battery Business
6:31 VW To Offer Sub-$35,000 EV In U.S.
7:00 Ford Trucks to Test Fuel Cell Vehicles
7:33 Hyundai Opens Smart Mobility Hub in Singapore
8:14 GM Gets Access to Tesla Superchargers in China
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
POLESTAR REVEALS FUTURE PRODUCT & TECHNOLOGY PLANS
Polestar held its Polestar Day yesterday where it laid out the company’s plans and future technology. It will finally be adding another car to its lineup when the Polestar 3 starts rolling down the line at a Geely plant in China early next year as well as at Volvo’s U.S. plant in South Carolina in the summer of 2024. The 3 will be followed by the Polestar 4 with production starting in the second half of 2025. The model will be made at Renault’s plant in South Korea, which will be the first EV that plant has ever made. No word on how many examples it expects to build, but the plant has a capacity of 300,000 vehicles a year. This move comes from Renault’s partnership with Geely, which I thought was mostly an ICE partnership, but it will clearly extend to EVs as well. The 3 & 4 are going to be followed by the Polestar 5, which is based on the Precept Concept and also starts production sometime in 2025. Before we go on to the tech Polestar showed off, I just wanted to add a little side note that I think its naming is a little odd because the Polestar 4 will slot between the 2 & 3 in both size and price. Ok, onto the tech. The company says it’s testing bidirectional charging with the Polestar 3. Specifically, it talked about setting up a virtual power plant that can look at the total battery capacity of all its EVs that are plugged in, the demand on the grid and then charge or discharge the batteries. Tesla has been doing the same thing with its stationary storage or Powerwalls for years and its generated hundreds of millions of dollars for those that have opted into the program. Polestar is also working to bring more automated driving into the 4. It’s partnering with Luminar for Lidar and Mobileye for its Chauffeur platform, which it says will allow for eyes-off, hands-off driving on the freeway and eyes-on, hands-off driving for other environments. And the last bit of news is a couple of battery deals. Polestar is working with SK On for high-nickel battery cells and StoreDot for its extreme fast charging technology. Instead of a traditional lithium-ion graphite anode, StoreDot replaces it with nano-particles and other organic compounds to allow a battery to add 100 miles or 160 kilometers of range in just 5 minutes.
FISKER IN TALKS WITH 5 AUTOMAKERS TO BOOST PRODUCTION
While Polestar was able to nab a new contract manufacturer in Renault, Fiskers says it’s still looking for another partner to help make its next models. Its current model, the Fisker Ocean, is produced by Magna in Austria and it’s supposed to have a deal to build a smaller crossover, called the Pear with Foxconn in Ohio. But CEO Henrik Fisker says it’s in talks with 5 traditional car companies to get even more production capacity. As of September, Fisker had only made about 5,000 Oceans, so it will be interesting to see if it can support building more vehicles.
BIDEN BACKS UAW’S UNIONIZATION EFFORTS
Yesterday, we reported that the UAW is going to target all non-union autoworkers in the U.S. And it just received a big endorsement for that effort. President Biden said he “absolutely” backs the UAW’s effort to unionize Tesla and Toyota and said he wants all autoworkers to receive the same deal the UAW just made with GM, Ford and Stellantis. Biden made the remarks before a rally with UAW workers at Stellantis’ plant in Belvidere, Illinois. Biden also supported the UAW strike back in September, joining the picket lines. But even with the President’s support, it’s going to be an uphill battle. The UAW has unsuccessfully tried to organize the transplants for the last 40 years, which is why union president Shawn Fain said it is “going to find creative ways to get to workers.”
BMW TO OFFER L3 AUTONOMOUS DRIVING IN GERMANY
BMW announced it is going to offer SAE Level 3 hands free driving to its customers in Germany. The automated driving technology will be available in the new 7 Series starting next year and costs 6,000 euros or about $6,400. The system only works at speeds up to 60 km/h or 37 MPH on divided highways. BMW plans to roll the technology to other markets but did not say when it will. As you probably remember, Mercedes was the first automaker to offer Level 3 driving, which is also available in Germany as well as California and Nevada. And like BMW’s system, Mercedes’ DrivePilot only works at speed below 40 MPH.
EV GROWTH CAUSES PALLADIUM PRICES TO PLUMMET
Electric vehicles are one of the fastest growing segments of the auto market. And because consumers aren’t buying as many ICE vehicles, it’s driving down the price of palladium, which is used in catalytic converters. Spot palladium is down 45% so far this year and is now at $943 an ounce, which is a five-year low. A surplus is expected next year, which is causing the price to tumble. And if EV sales continue to grow, demand for palladium is expected to continue to drop.
VOLVO TRUCKS SNAPS UP PROTERRA’S BATTERY BUSINESS
Earlier this summer, Proterra, a startup that made electric buses and battery packs filed for bankruptcy because it was unable to reach manufacturing scale. And now Volvo Trucks will scoop up its battery business. The truck maker said it won an auction to buy the unit for $210 million as part of Proterra’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. Volvo says it expects to finalize the deal next year.
VW TO OFFER SUB-$35,000 EV IN U.S.
Volkswagen wants to sell affordable electrics in the U.S. Instead of scaling back the number of EVs for the market, VW says it wants to offer an electric model for under $35,000 in the next 3-4 years. It would have to be built somewhere in North America, likely the U.S. or Mexico, and VW will also look to source the batteries from the region so the vehicle will qualify for IRA tax credits.
FORD TRUCKS TO TEST FUEL CELL VEHICLES
Ford Trucks, the automaker’s international heavy-duty commercial truck brand that operates in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, is partnering with a German company called Quantron to study fuel cell technology. Quantron’s technology, including e-axles, high-power batteries, fuel cell stacks and energy management systems, will be tested in Ford’s F-Max vehicles starting next year. Ford Trucks is aiming to be zero-emissions in heavy-duty truck production by 2040.
HYUNDAI OPENS SMART MOBILITY HUB IN SINGAPORE
It sounds like the Hyundai Group may be making a similar move as Toyota. It’s opening the first of what it calls a smart urban mobility hub in Singapore. Basically, it will come up with new production methods and customer experiences. One specific example, it says production methods will be significantly evolved from traditional conveyor-belt manufacturing. To me that sounds very similar to how Toyota will have vehicles drive themselves down certain sections of the production line. No word on when Hyundai will start testing the system, but Toyota plans to launch it on its next-gen EVs in the next few years.
GM GETS ACCESS TO TESLA SUPERCHARGERS IN CHINA
Tesla isn’t just opening up its Supercharger network in the U.S. CarNewsChina reports that GM and its Chinese joint venture partner SAIC are getting access to Tesla’s charger network in China before the end of the year. EVs from Buick and Cadillac will be the first to be able to use them. While not as big as its network in North America, Tesla operates more than 1,800 Supercharger stations with roughly 11,000 individual chargers in China.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show and this week. Thanks for tuning in.
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