Automakers are finally talking about affordable EVs, Elon Musk, and the Nissan Ariya is delayed. All that and more in The Morning Shift for April 5, 2022.
This is usually how it goes with pretty much every new product. They begin with the most expensive version — think of the original Tesla Roadster, or the Model S or X — and eventually something more affordable emerges, like the Models 3 and Y. The problem is that the Models 3 and Y aren’t really affordable either, and neither are any of its competitors.
Things were always going to get more affordable from here, though, it would just take time. To wit: GM and Honda announced plans on Tuesday to maybe do just that. We’ll only have to wait until 2027, at the soonest. The announcement expands a partnership on EVs between the two automakers that was previously announced in 2020, days into the pandemic.
From GM’s release:
The companies are working together to enable global production of millions of EVs starting in 2027, including compact crossover vehicles, leveraging the two companies’ technology, design and sourcing strategies. The companies will also work toward standardizing equipment and processes to achieve world-class quality, higher throughput and greater affordability. The compact crossover segment is the largest in the world, with annual volumes of more than 13 million vehicles.
GM and Honda also will discuss future EV battery technology collaboration opportunities, to further drive down the cost of electrification, improve performance and drive sustainability for future vehicles.
GM is already working to accelerate new technologies like lithium-metal, silicon and solid-state batteries, along with production methods that can quickly be used to improve and update battery cell manufacturing processes. Honda is making progress on its all-solid-state battery technology which the company sees as the core element of future EVs. Honda has established a demonstration line in Japan for all-solid-state batteries and is making further progress toward mass-production.
We need actual, affordable EVs, and the only real bummer here is that it doesn’t seem like we will see results for years, and also that GM and Honda seem fixated on compact crossovers. The Wall Street Journal, for example, says that, currently, the average cost for an EV in the US is $60,000. Just make a simple EV hatchback already and sell it in America for $25,000. I will buy it, I promise.
The Tesla CEO disclosed recently that he purchased a big stake in Twitter, and on Tuesday Twitter said that Elon would also be joining its board of directors.
From The Washington Post:
“Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board,” Twitter’s CEO Parag Agrawal said Tuesday in a tweet. “He’s both a passionate believer and intense critic of the service which is exactly what we need on Twitter, and in the boardroom, to make us stronger in the long-term.”
Musk, who took a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter, valued at $2.9 billion, is one of the platform’s most popular users. He has more than 80 million followers.
“Looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months,” Musk tweeted Tuesday.
Separately, Reuters says that Musk might have run afoul of the law with the disclosure, because it was not made soon enough.
Musk on Monday disclosed that he bought a 9.2 percent stake in Twitter, making him the site’s largest shareholder and triggering a rise of more than 27 percent in the company’s shares. The filing said March 14, 2022 is the date of the event that requires the statement.
U.S. securities law requires disclosure within 10 days of acquiring 5 percent of a company, which in Musk’s case would be March 24. A late report could lead to per-violation civil penalty up to $207,183, when adjusted for inflation, according to Urska Velikonja, a law professor at Georgetown University Law Center.
That’s a financial slap on the wrist for Musk, the world’s richest person with $302 billion net worth, according to Forbes, but the regulator could look into market manipulation allegations regarding the Twitter stock buy and seek harsher sanctions in an ongoing investigation regarding his Tesla stock sales, experts say.
“This is not really a gray area. He acquired it and didn’t file within 10 days. It’s a violation. And so this is a slam dunk case from the SEC perspective,” Adam C. Pritchard, a law professor at University of Michigan Law School, said.
This is all dumb bullshit that no one should care about but, lastly, I will direct your attention to the funniest headline I saw yesterday about it.
Renault would go from being one company that makes EVs and gas cars to two companies, one for EVs and one for gas cars. This sounds like something slightly more extreme but similar to what Ford did last month in separating its EV and gas car divisions.
The possibility of a transformational change was outlined in broad terms by the manufacturer in February, when CEO Luca de Meo said it was exploring splitting off its electrified powertrain assets as it moves toward a fully electric lineup in Europe by 2030.
But during a meeting last week with analysts, de Meo and new CFO Thierry Pieton provided more details, including timing and the potential involvement of a partner.
“The management team continues to conduct exploratory works in view to split the company into possibly two entities,“ Stifel analysts including Pierre Quemener wrote in a note. A so-called New Mobility company made up of electric vehicles and assets from its Mobilize car-sharing unit would be separated from the legacy assets, they said.
“The CEO added that the latter could be combined with the ones of a potential partner,“ the note said. “An IPO of New Mobility assets could be contemplated for 2023.“
A Renault spokesman declined to comment.
That’s because of the chip shortage, Nissan said Monday. The Ariya is an all-electric SUV that Nissan has great hopes for.
Nissan Motor Co is pushing back the release date of the electric Ariya B6 SUV again due to a global shortage of semiconductors and other supply chain disruptions, the Japanese automaker said in a statement late on Monday.
The Ariya, Nissan’s second EV-only model after the Leaf hatchback, will now go on sale on May 12 in Japan. The company had most recently flagged a late-March launch.
The Ariya was originally slated for a mid-2021 launch but was delayed by COVID-related chip shortages. Sales in Europe are due to start this summer and the United States in the autumn, Nissan has said.
The Detroit Free Press says that General Motors is spending billions in Canada for EVs, because apparently that’s all GM thinks about these days, how it can spend more and more of its money on EVs.
The automaker said Monday it is making a $2 billion investment in two plants there and the Canadian government is kicking in $259 million to contribute to the investment.
As part of the investment, GM will develop the first all-electric assembly plant in Canada at CAMI Assembly in Ingersoll, Ontario. GM will start building commercial electric vans there for GM’s BrightDrop subsidiary in December.
GM confirmed it will also expand production at Oshawa Assembly plant in Ontario to include the light-duty Chevrolet Silverado gasoline-powered pickup in the next few months.
The plant currently builds the heavy-duty version. GM will add a third shift to the plant and create 2,600 jobs as part of the expansion, GM said.
This is all, to be clear, a good thing, but not something I would’ve guessed from GM a few years ago, when it was still in cahoots with the Trump administration more or less.
I really cannot recommend The Aviator enough, if you haven’t seen it.
The delivery guys in midtown Manhattan have really upped their scooter game compared to before the pandemic. They zoom all over the place with such skill.