Toyota is spending billions on batteries, VW is confident that it will have billions to spend as well, and Lotus. All that and more in The Morning Shift for September 7, 2021.
The world’s biggest automaker has been weirdly hesitant on EVs, despite coming out of the electrification gate fast with the Prius all those years ago. But the company said Tuesday it would pour billions into batteries. It seems like that is in large part because Toyota thinks it has cracked the code of solid state.
From Automotive News:
Executives, in outlining the plans in an online briefing on Tuesday, said that Japan’s biggest automaker also expects to slash the cost of batteries by half in the second half of this decade.
Toyota is still on track to develop solid-state batteries by 2025, Chief Technology Officer Masahiko Maeda said, adding that it began test driving a working prototype last year.
The company is considering using the solid-state batteries not only in pure EVs but also in hybrid vehicles, if engineers can develop the right balance of power output and stability, he said.
Toyota also plans to commercialize a next-generation lithium ion battery in the second half of the decade that will make further advances in cost and performance for electrified cars.
“By establishing a system for both development and supply, we will promote the dissemination of electrified vehicles, including BEVs,” Maeda said, referring to battery electric vehicles.
The Wall Street Journal clarifies that this is $9 billion for production and the rest for research. Toyota also had some bullshit reasons for why it is late to the game.
Toyota has been slower than some competitors to bring an electric car to the market because it wants to offer consumers a good combination of safety, price and performance, said Masahiko Maeda, Toyota’s chief technology officer.
“There’s a trade-off. If we focus on safety, then performance suffers,” Mr. Maeda said. The company is trying to build its batteries so they retain 90% of their charging capacity after a decade, a target that is still elusive, Mr. Maeda said.
We saw Toyota’s bZ4X concept in April, and I hope Toyota’s upcoming EVs continue in that vein of being utterly normal.
Batteries are very hot right now, maybe you’ve heard. VW CEO Herbert Diess thinks they’re hot en0ugh to justify a massive expansion in production capacity for them, which will come at enormous expense. Anyway, VW says it will definitely have the money to build battery plants.
Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) is optimistic that there are sufficient funds, internal or external, to pull off its ambitious plan to build six large battery factories across Europe with partners by the end of the decade, its chief executive said.
“The required capital is available in the market. Northvolt has shown this,” Herbert Diess said on the sidelines of the IAA Munich car show.
Swedish battery cell maker Northvolt, in which Volkswagen owns a 20% stake, raised $2.8 billion in June in one of the biggest private placements in Europe this year that was led by four Swedish pension funds and OMERS Capital Markets. read more
“Today, the returns that can be earned with battery production are high. It is a demand-driven market and stays a demand-driven market for the foreseeable future,” Diess said.
If you are someone who has invested in VW-staked battery projects, maybe expect a call.
Diess in May said that parts of Volkswagen’s battery activities could be separately listed in an initial public offering.
Many people are happy to explain to you all of the reasons that hydrogen fuel-cell cars will never work, mainly that it is too expensive and that harvesting hydrogen is too resource-intensive. Hyundai looks at hydrogen and says, wow, looks good, sign me up.
At the Hydrogen Wave global online forum held today, the Group presented its plans to popularize hydrogen by 2040 through the introduction of new technologies and mobility solutions in transportation and other industrial sectors.
Further underscoring its pioneering commitment to clean sustainable energy for all types of mobility, the Group unveiled unprecedented plans that will see the electrification of all new commercial vehicle models – featuring fuel cell electric or battery electric powertrains, as well as the application of fuel cell systems – to all models by 2028. The daring strategy will put the Group at the vanguard of the commercial vehicle sector, in the process helping to reshape the industry and realize a sustainable clean future.
The Group’s central target to fully apply its commercial vehicle lineup with fuel cells by 2028 will make it the first global automaker to realize such ambitions for commercial vehicle transportation and will further help facilitate the transition to true sustainable mobility.
“Hyundai Motor Group’s vision is to apply hydrogen energy in all areas of life and industry such as our homes, work-places and factories. The goal is to make hydrogen readily used for everyone, everything, and everywhere,” said [Chairman of the Group, Euisun Chung] at the Hydrogen Wave online global forum. “We want to offer practical solutions for the sustainable development of humanity and with these breakthroughs, we aim to help foster a worldwide Hydrogen Society by 2040.”
I wish Hyundai all the luck in the world.
The legendary British automaker is going all-electric, with four new models, three of them to be built in Wuhan, China. Reuters said Tuesday that it is also opening dozens of new dealerships, er, showrooms, there as well.
[Lotus chief Feng Qingfeng] said Lotus, which is owned by Chinese firm Geely (GEELY.UL) and Malaysia’s Etika Automotive, will begin production at its Wuhan factory next year, producing around 2,000 compact SUVs.
The plant, which is still under construction, would ramp up to full production of 20,000 cars in 2023, Feng told Reuters in a telephone call from Hangzhou, where Geely is headquartered.
The cars will be positioned in a similar segment to rival Porsche (PSHG_p.DE) and higher than BMW (BMWG.DE) and Audi, Feng said. Porsche has said it sold 88,968 cars in China last year thanks to demand for its Macan compact sports-utility vehicle.
Feng said Lotus will open more than 20 showrooms next year, first targeting major cities like Beijing and Shanghai. It will expand the network further over 2023 and 2024 to include cities like eastern Suzhou and Ningbo for a total of 50-70 showrooms around the country.
Bet against Lotus at your own peril, as Geely’s prudent stewardship of Volvo has silenced many of its doubters.
Stefan Sielaff, who has held a lot of jobs in the automotive industry, is Geely’s new head of global design. Sielaff is replacing Peter Horbury, who sounds like he has a fun semi-retirement gig, speaking of Lotus.
From Automotive News:
Horbury, 71, hinted in an interview with Automotive News Europe in March that he was keen on switching to Lotus as he reduced his workload at Geely.
“I must say the Lotus projects that we have started, I am going to find it hard to let them go. They are so exciting,” he said. “You can imagine that having the chance to design a new Lotus is something I would like to stay with a little while longer.
Sielaff, 59, will oversee design at Geely’s namesake brand Geely Auto, as well as at Lynk & CO, EV brand Geometry and Proton. He will also support the development of Geely’s new premium EV brand Zeekr.
He will be based in Gothenburg, Sweden. He will not manage design for its Volvo and Polestar brands.
Sielaff’s appointment comes as Chinese automakers are increasing their push to appeal to more global markets, which present tougher competition than at home.
Donated to the Patriot cause after the outbreak of war with Britain in 1775, Ezra Lee piloted the craft unnoticed out to the 64-gun HMS Eagle in New York Harbor on September 7, 1776. As Lee worked to anchor a time bomb to the hull, he could see British seamen on the deck above, but they failed to notice the strange craft below the surface. Lee had almost secured the bomb when his boring tools failed to penetrate a layer of iron sheathing. He retreated, and the bomb exploded nearby, causing no harm to either the Eagle or the Turtle.
During the next week, the Turtle made several more attempts to sink British ships on the Hudson River, but each time it failed, owing to the operator’s lack of skill.
Never knew History.com could be so brutal.
I was on vacation last week and a nuclear bomb could’ve exploded and I wouldn’t have known, such were my efforts to avoid the news. And then I got back and the first thing I read was that Michael K. Williams died. Sigh.