Good morning! Welcome to The Morning Shift, your roundup of the auto news you crave, all in one place every weekday morning. Here are the important stories you need to know.
1st Gear: That’s $2,495 More Than A Tesla Model 3
Tesla and GM have already engaged in a bit of sniping over who will have the Cheapest and Goodest Electric Car For The Unwashed Masses, but price is the only quantitative way to win that genitalia-swinging contest. Since Tesla’s committed to offering the Model 3 at $35,000, that means the Bolt is actually a bit more expensive.
Of course, the Bolt is way further along and you’ll be able to get it quicker, but it doesn’t seem like the people plunking down deposits to get a Model 3 really cared about that to begin with.
Because both of these cars are electric vehicles, however, they require a bit of EV math. GM says the Bolt will actually cost $29,995 after a $7,500 federal tax credit, though that feels a bit like some executive just said “make it less than $30,000 after taxes,” and so it was.
2nd Gear: Tesla/SolarCity Lawsuits Build While Cash Drains
Speaking of Tesla, there are a whole bunch of shareholder lawsuits now pending over the deal to acquire SolarCity, notes Bloomberg. And while lawsuits are not unusual for any merger, this time it presents a few complications. Tesla and SolarCity’s boards are extremely closely intertwined, and this one is a bit more high profile than most:
“It will be very difficult for the courts to blow this off,” said James Cox, a professor at the Duke University School of Law. “It’s a high-profile case, it’s a self-dealing case. This gets a much deeper look than most others would.”
Tesla will oppose the lawsuits, the company said in an e-mailed statement. “Simply because someone uses litigation to try to delay an acquisition does not mean it will be successful,” the statement said. “At this point, it is not yet known if anyone will even end up pursuing such a request.”
At the same time, Bloomberg notes that SolarCity has been voraciously eating cash. It just got some more financing, but it’s still not a good look.
3rd Gear: GM And Canadian Union Sign A Deal
GM and the union representing its Canadian factory workers struck a deal just before midnight last night, averting a strike that seemed inevitable. The deal includes wage hikes and promises for future product lines, Automotive News reports:
The framework for a tentative contract between General Motors and Canadian union Unifor could result in hundreds of millions of dollars in investments at GM factories in Ontario, including new product commitments, raises for employees and full-time status for temporary workers.
The deal, reached late Monday at the Sheraton Centre hotel in downtown Toronto, includes investments and product commitments at GM’s Oshawa, Ontario, assembly plant and new production volume at the St. Catharines, Ontario, engine and transmission plant. The investments fulfill a key goal of Unifor, particularly at Oshawa, where no vehicles were slated to be made beyond 2019.
That’s fine, you’ll still get your cars.
4th Gear: Three Google Car Crashes In The Past Month
Three autonomous Google Cars undergoing testing in Arizona have been involved in crashes in the past month, but it’s not exactly cause for robo-apocalypse alarm just yet, the Detroit Free Press reports. In all three cases, the autonomous vehicle was not at fault:
In two of the accidents, Google’s drivers were manually operating the vehicles, and in the third, the Google vehicle was rear-ended while operating in autonomous mode, according to the Mountain View, Calif.-based company owned by Alphabet Inc.
One of the incidents involved a driver arrested on suspicion of drunken driving, which may actually mean this is the first incident of a drunk driver - autonomous vehicle incident.
History’s being made here.
5th Gear: Faraday Future’s Parent Company Just Raised $1 Billion
LeEco, the Chinese parent company of Faraday Future, has its own electric car in the works called the LeSEE. It takes a lot of money to develop a new car from scratch, so that’s exactly what the company did, according to Bloomberg:
China’s Le Holdings Co. has raised $1.08 billion to develop its electric sports car that has drawn comparisons to the Batmobile, the latest in a series of alternative energy vehicle investments even as the industry is set for a Chinese government shake-up.
When automotive startups die, it’s often not because they had a bad idea, but because they ran out of cash. This might be the thing that keeps LeEco running.
On this day in 1960, California hot rodder Mickey Thompson takes another shot at the world land-speed record. A few weeks earlier, Thompson had become the first American to travel faster than 400 mph on land when he’d piloted his Challenger I (a car that he designed and built himself) across Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats at 406.6 mph. This drive had made Thompson the fastest man on wheels, but not officially: In order to win a place in the land-speed record books, racers must make a return pass within the hour, and Thompson’s car broke down in the middle of his second run, necessitating a follow-up attempt.
Neutral: Will Anyone Buy A Chevy Bolt?
While people lined up to buy a Tesla Model 3, it doesn’t seem like anyone was lining up to buy a Bolt (except Woz). Now that we know it’s more expensive, and it doesn’t have a fast-charging network like the Tesla does, what would your reason be for buying a Bolt?