The White House has kicked off the electric vehicle charging station subsidies, Stellantis is extricating a part of itself from its crosstown rival, and Honda’s motorcycle-making business doesn’t want the trend toward electrification to transform it just yet. All that and more in The Morning Shift for Wednesday, September 14, 2022.
1st Gear: Here Are Your Charging Stations
President Biden will announce Wednesday that the first $900 million toward electric vehicle charger installations across the country has been approved, the White House says. The President will make this announcement in Detroit, as he’s in town for the North American International Auto Show where the new Mustang will be revealed tonight.
The federal government has reportedly increased its purchasing of EVs for its fleet, in kind. From Reuters:
Congress approved nearly $5 billion over five years to give grants to states to build thousands of electric vehicle charging stations. At an appearance at the Detroit auto show, Biden will also announce that U.S. government purchases of EVs have risen dramatically.
In 2020, less than 1% of new federal acquisitions were electric, which more than doubled in 2021 and in 2022 “agencies have acquired five times as many EVs as all of last fiscal year,” the White House said.
Biden signed an executive order in December directing the government to purchase nearly all EV or plug-in hybrid electric models by 2027. The U.S. government owns more than 650,000 vehicles and purchases about 50,000 vehicles annually.
This initial wave of chargers will cover 35 states, and there are terms the states will have to agree to to receive grants. Stations will have to be spread out along highway corridors every 50 miles, and situated no more than one mile off the highway.
2nd Gear: Stellantis Doesn’t Want Anything to Do With GM
Did you know General Motors owned approximately $920 million worth of shares in Stellantis? Soon Stellantis will buy them back, per Reuters:
American-Italian-French automaker Stellantis NV said on Tuesday it will buy back shares worth about 923 million euros ($919.31 million) from General Motors Co.
Stellantis said it would buy back about 69.1 million common shares, or about 2.2% of the company’s share capital.
General Motors currently holds this stake in Stellantis in warrants, which it will convert into equity shares for Stellantis to purchase on Thursday, according to the statement.
As warrant shares, GM’s stake didn’t carry voting rights — so it’s not like the General had to power to sabotage Stellantis from the inside or anything like that. The source stems from GM’s sale of Opel and Vauxhall to PSA Peugeot Citroen in 2017. Years later, PSA would of course become part of Stellantis. This is how everyone ends up owning a little bit of everything.
3rd Gear: Cars Are Out, “Electromobility” In
Volkswagen’s Thomas Ulbrich is spearheading a “New Mobility” division at the German automating giant that will combine the efforts of ID electric vehicle development with software engineering, the company announced Tuesday. From Automotive News:
In the new role, Ulbrich will be responsible for VW’s current ID battery-electric cars and future models that will be based on VW Group’s new, highly scalable SSP platform, including the VW brand’s upcoming full-electric, self-driving car being developed under the Trinity project.
Ulbrich will also join the supervisory board of Cariad, VW’s software unit, tasked with ensuring close cooperation between Cariad and VW brand’s development division.
VW brand CEO Thomas Schaefer said the restructuring is aimed at creating a strong foundation for “systematically driving forward the company’s transformation toward a software-oriented mobility provider.”
With the new division, “we are bundling the strategic action areas of electric mobility and software, thereby increasing our pace of innovation,” Schaefer said in a statement on Tuesday.
Ulbrich earned this role after “saving” the ID.3, which was beset by software issues early in its release — the same glitches and general instability that in part led to former CEO Herbert Diess being pushed out of the company. Volkswagen’s found out the hard way: If you want to be viewed and valued like a tech company, you need to do the work of a tech company.
4th Gear: Honda Doesn’t See Need to Spin Off Two-Wheeled Business Yet
These days it seems like every automaker is enamored with the idea of spinning off its EV manufacturing business for a stock market boost. Honda is making a significant push into the world of electric motorcycles, but it’s not ready to do the same yet, per Reuters:
Honda, which dominates the global market for motorcycles, on Tuesday said it would launch more than 10 electric motorcycle models globally over the next three years, aiming to achieve carbon neutrality for two-wheelers by the 2040s.
The Wall Street Journal, citing managing officer Yoshihige Nomura, later reported that Honda was considering taking the electric motorcycle unit public.
“Electrification is a long road and we are discussing a variety of options without excluding anything from consideration. However, we have no plan to separate the electric two-wheeler business into a new business unit to be listed on a stock exchange,” Honda said in a statement.
Motorcycles, niche as they are, have not historically garnered attention from investors. The potential for electrification is apparently changing that, though Honda seems to believe it’s too early to reshuffle the corporate deck yet. Are you surprised? It is pretty conservative, as far as automakers go.
5th Gear: Aptiv Buys Intercable
No, Intercable is not a company that competed with or was subsumed by Cablevision in the ’90s. Rather, it’s an Italian maker of high-voltage busbars and battery tech — which means it’s a hot commodity these days. Aptiv will buy Intercable for $600 million, per Automotive News:
The bolt on of the Bruneck, Italy-based manufacturer of busbar and battery cell technology would bolster Aptiv’s high voltage power portfolio and strengthen its standing in Europe.
The deal, expected to close before the end of the year, is for an 85 percent equity stake in the company, according to a Tuesday statement. The Mutschlechner family will retain 15 percent ownership in the company they founded in 1972.
“The combination strengthens our position as a full system supplier for electric vehicle manufacturers,” Aptiv CEO Kevin Clark said in the release. “In addition, Intercable’s differentiated technology design and manufacturing capabilities enable a more efficient and cost-effective vehicle assembly operation for our customers.”
Intercable Automotive Solutions will operate as a standalone unit of Aptiv. The company’s customers include Volkswagen, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo and Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi.
You may be best familiar with Aptiv through its driverless Lyfts peppering Las Vegas, especially around the time of the Consumer Electronics Show in early January of every year. Welcome to the modern era of auto manufacturing, where plenty of companies you’ve never heard of before that nevertheless build hugely necessary components make headlines on the daily.
Reverse: The Soviets Take the Lead
Neutral: I Can’t Help But Like the Jeep Recon
Everyone’s comparing the Recon to the Wrangler, but to me it’s a better-looking Bronco, and I’m a huge fan. Which is unusual for me because I’m pretty fatigued by all the trucks lately. This one doesn’t look like it’s going to murder me, so maybe that has something to do with it.