The whole car world is trying to make up for lost time on EVs. That and more in The Morning Shift for June 16, 2021.
1st Gear: That’s A 75 Percent Bump From GM’s Initial Announced EV Investment
GM “pursues EV leadership” as Reuters puts it in an exclusive report. Spending is going up and two new battery plants are in the works. From GM’s release:
General Motors Co. announced today it will increase its EV and AV investments from 2020 through 2025 to $35 billion, representing a 75 percent increase from its initial commitment announced prior to the pandemic.
Today’s announcement builds on GM’s initial commitment announced in March 2020 to invest $20 billion from 2020 through 2025, including capital, engineering expenses and other development costs, to accelerate its transition to EVs and AVs. In November 2020, the company increased its planned investment over the same period to $27 billion.
GM mentioned it will be “accelerating Ultium battery cell production in the United States,” “commercializing U.S.-made Ultium batteries and HYDROTEC fuel cells,” “expanding and accelerating the rollout of EVs for retail and fleet customers,” and “safely deploying self-driving technology at scale.” More details are in the release.
This is all slightly funny in that GM did have total EV leadership in the late 1990s with the EV1 and squandered it, basically gifting the market to Tesla. Hell, Tesla builds cars in GM’s old factory, NUMMI. This is the great story of modern EV history.
2nd Gear: Polestar EV SUV Will Be Built In South Carolina
I will never fully understand the point of Polestar, a joint effort from Volvo and Geely, which owns Volvo. I guess I don’t need to. Either way, Geely/Volvo will be making EVs in South Carolina, where Volvo makes Volvos. From Reuters:
Polestar, the premium electric vehicle maker owned by China’s Geely (GEELY.UL) and Volvo Cars, will build its Polestar 3 electric SUV at Volvo’s U.S. plant in South Carolina starting in the second half of 2022, the brand’s chief executive said.
The Volvo plant in Ridgeville, South Carolina, near Charleston, currently builds the Volvo S60 sedan and will add the Volvo XC90 SUV in 2022, Polestar said on Wednesday. The annual capacity at the plant, which opened in 2018, will be 150,000 vehicles with the Volvo and Polestar SUVs added, a Volvo spokesman said.
The Polestar 3 will be built on the same electric premium platform, called the SPA2, as the XC90, Ingenlath said. It will compete with such models as Tesla Inc’s Model X SUV.
So Volvo will be making the XC90 in South Carolina starting in 2022, and also an electric version of it that will not be called a Volvo but a Polestar instead. Sure!
3rd Gear: Everyone Else Is Behind Volvo And VW In EV Transition
This is a strange study in that it lauds the work of Volvo and VW for transitioning away from electric cars without lauding, say, Tesla for already only making electric cars. I guess both are important. As Reuters reports:
Based on IHS Markit car production forecasts, according to the study from European campaign group Transport and Environment (T&E), Volkswagen and Volvo have “aggressive and credible strategies” to shift from fossil-fuel cars to electric vehicles.
Others like Ford Motor Co (F.N) have set ambitious targets, “but lack a robust plan to get there,” T&E said.
T&E said BMW (BMWG.DE), Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Daimler AG (DAIGn.DE) and Toyota (7203.T) rank the worst as they have low BEV sales, have “no ambitious phase-out targets, no clear industrial strategy, and an over-reliance in the case of BMW, Daimler and Toyota on hybrids.
My main takeaway here is that there are those companies with a lot of promises and plans to eventually go all-electric, and then there are the ones with firm dates and already-underway product rollouts.
4th Gear: Four New Stellantis EVs Coming
Speaking of, Stellantis is getting some more EVs underway. As a fan of the delightfully terrible Fiat 500e, I am excited at what low-impact EVs are gonna get cooked up. From Reuters:
Stellantis will produce four medium-segment electric vehicles, of different brands, at its Melfi plant in southern Italy from 2024, the UILM union said on Tuesday.
Italy’s Industry minister, Giancarlo Giorgetti, however, said in a separate statement after the meeting that Stellantis had yet to decide where it would build its third electric battery plant in Europe.
Stellantis, which already has two battery factory projects in France and Germany, has said adding gigafactories in Europe and the United States would be decided this year.
5th Gear: British Government Trying To Get In On This Whole ‘Making Batteries’ Thing
Brexit did a lot of work to kick the entire auto manufacturing sector in the UK in the ... plums? Whatever Brits call that general region. In any case, the UK government wants to figure out how to get some of these cool new battery things in production within the country, as the Financial Times reports:
Six companies are in talks with the UK about building so-called gigafactories for production of batteries for electric cars in moves that could secure the future of Britain’s automobile industry.
Carmakers Ford and Nissan, conglomerates LG and Samsung, and start-ups Britishvolt and InoBat Auto are in discussions with the UK government or local authorities about locations for potential factories and financial support, according to people briefed on the talks.
While Britishvolt has gone public with its project, the other companies’ discussions with the government or councils about gigafactories have so far been private. The plans by Nissan, the largest carmaker in the UK, were revealed by the Financial Times last month.
Reverse: Oh You Like Parachuting? How About Jumping Out Of A Spaceship At 20,000 Feet?
On June 16, 1963, aboard Vostok 6, Soviet Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova becomes the first woman to travel into space. After 48 orbits and 71 hours, she returned to earth, having spent more time in space than all U.S. astronauts combined to that date.
Valentina Vladimirovna Tereshkova was born to a peasant family in Maslennikovo, Russia, in 1937. She began work at a textile factory when she was 18, and at age 22 she made her first parachute jump under the auspices of a local aviation club. Her enthusiasm for skydiving brought her to the attention of the Soviet space program, which sought to put a woman in space in the early 1960s as a means of achieving another “space first” before the United States. As an accomplished parachutist, Tereshkova was well equipped to handle one of the most challenging procedures of a Vostok space flight: the mandatory ejection from the capsule at about 20,000 feet during reentry.
Neutral: Where Would We Be If It Wasn’t For The EV Drought Of The 2000s?
After the EV1 petered out but before the Tesla Roadster showed up, America was in kind of a holding pattern for electric cars. Where would we be if development had never stopped? What if we had kept our strong regulations even during the times of cheap oil?