GM has been encouraging dealers across the U.S. to enroll in a new plan to improve EV charging, Vietnamese automaker VinFast is considering an initial public offering in the U.S., and workers at an Ohio EV battery plant are voting to unionize. All this and more in The Morning Shift for Wednesday, December 7th, 2022.
In October 2021, General Motors announced an ambitious plan to try and double the number of high-speed EV chargers in America. It sounded solid, the automaker was going to work with dealers to identify sites that could benefit from improved charging infrastructure.
But now, more than a year after launching the program, GM has managed to recruit less than a quarter of its North American dealerships into the fold. In contrast, a similar service announced by Ford earlier in 2022 already has almost 2,000 dealers signed up, equating to two-thirds of its U.S. dealer network.
Regardless of the slower rate of adoption, GM is plowing ahead with the program. After “nearly 1,000” dealers enrolled, it has picked two locations in Wisconsin and Michigan to install its first community chargers. The sites will receive up to 10, 19.2-kilowatt level two charging stations. In a press release, GM said:
Ultimately, GM aims to install up to 40,000 level two charging stations across the U.S. and Canada through the program, nearly doubling the current number of public Level 2 charging stations. These charging stations will be available to all EV drivers — not just GM EV customers — and will deliver the most power available to a Level 2 charger.
Wheelers Chevrolet GMC in Marshfield, Wisconsin, and Young Chevrolet Cadillac in Owosso, Michigan, were the two dealers chosen to get their hands on GM’s first level two chargers. The company has also chosen sites in Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Ohio, and Washington to get their own chargers “in the weeks and months ahead.”
While the program was initially opened to Chevrolet dealers, GM plans to “expand to Buick, GMC and Cadillac dealers in January 2023.”
After only shipping its first cars to the U.S. in late November, Vietnamese automaker VinFast is betting big on the States with an initial public offering on the Nasdaq. VinFast plans to list shares on the U.S. stock exchange with the ticker symbol “VFS.”
Automotive News reports that the Vietnamese company said that the IPO was “initially slated for the fourth quarter of this year,” but that no firm timeframe has been discussed. According to the site:
For the IPO, the company said it will convert to a Singapore public limited company and will be known as VinFast Auto Ltd., while the number of shares to be offered and the price range for the proposed offering have not yet been determined.
Automotive News reports that VinFast’s Singapore-based holding company, the Vingroup conglomerate, filed for a confidential IPO with U.S. securities regulators. This came as the firm was preparing for its $4 billion investment to build a factory in North Carolina.
While the company initially eyed the fourth quarter of 2022 for the IPO, it added that it may be “delayed to 2023 due to market uncertainty.”
Another day, another new place you can buy a Tesla. This time, the American automaker is launching two models in Thailand.
Reuters reports that Tesla will begin selling two models in Thailand via its online channels, with deliveries set to begin across the country in 2023. But, the automaker will surely face stiff competition in the market, which remains dominated by internal combustion engine cars. Reuters reports:
The launch of two EVs with prices ranging between 1.7 million baht to 2.5 million baht (($48,447 to $71,205) comes as Thailand makes a push for EV adoption and production by offering tax cuts and subsidies.
The U.S. automaker plans to start selling its EVs in Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy via online channels, with deliveries set to start early next year. But it faces stiff competition from Chinese brands like BYD and Great Wall Motors, which have set up showrooms and distribution partners in recent years to reach customers and offer EVs with prices starting at 800,000 baht.
Tesla did not share sales targets for the region. But, according to Reuters, “about 7,000 new battery EVs” were registered in the first ten months of 2022, up from 2,000 last year.
Volkswagen has announced it’s plowing $484 million into its Wolfsburg plant in Germany as it gears up for mass EV production. Following the investment, the Wolfsburg plant, known as the home of VW’s sausage-making empire, will exclusively assemble EVs by “the end of 2033 at the latest.”
In order to do this, VW will start by retooling the plant to assemble the new ID.3, a cool little electric hatch that obviously won’t come to America. This electric model will begin leaving the assembly line in Wolfsburg from 2023.
Thomas Schäfer, CEO of the Volkswagen brand and group board member for the volume brand group, said: “Volkswagen stands for electromobility for everyone. And Wolfsburg will be part of this success story. Here at our main plant alone, we will be investing some €460 million by the beginning of 2025, getting the factory ready for the MEB.
“The ID.3 ramp-up is the first important step towards the electrification of our main plant. At the same time, we are working closely with the works council to bring a further electric model based on the MEB+ to Wolfsburg – this will be a high-volume model for the booming SUV segment. With these strong decisions and investments, we intend to bolster the competitiveness of this factory further and give the workforce a concrete long-term perspective.”
Meanwhile, back in the U.S., workers at GM and LG’s battery plant in Ohio are beginning two days of voting to decide whether to unionize. The poll of workers at the site came after a majority of employees signed cards authorizing the UAW to represent them.
Workers at the Ultium plant, which began producing battery cells for GM in August, have until the end of the day on Thursday to vote in the election. Results of the pole are expected on Friday. Reuters reports:
The vote is a crucial test of the UAW’s ability to organize workers in the growing electric vehicle supply chain.
UAW President Ray Curry said in October that “by refusing to recognize their majority will’ Ultium ‘has decided to ignore democracy and delay the recognition process.”
Reuters reports that an Ultium spokesperson said the venture “respects workers’ right to choose union representation and the efforts of the UAW to organize battery cell manufacturing workers at our Ohio manufacturing site.”
The Ohio site is the first of four Ultium facilities planned for the America. GM and LG are currently assessing sites in Indiana for another battery plant.
What Christmas movies are there with an automotive twist? I was thinking about this last night while settling down to watch The Polar Express for the 1,000th time. Sure, there are some good sleighs, trains, and parade floats in Christmas movies, but is there one with great cars?