Charge It: Rivian to Build Up Charging Network, Open to Public
Ask anyone who’s been behind the wheel of an electric vehicle lately about the state of public charging facilities and you’re likely to get an earful about broken facilities and wonky payment systems. Say what you like about Tesla (and we often do) but their original tack of building out a huge charging network ahead of dumping millions of EVs on America’s roads was the right call.
VinFast Lets Go Staff, Merges North American Operations
Building on yesterday’s report from Chris about hiccups in VinFast delivery, we bring news that the fledgling automaker is laying off numerous employees whilst also folding Canadian operations into its American business. Its chief financial officer also apparently flew the coop.
Tesla Drops Prices, Potentially Ramps Fleet Sales to Rentals
There’s never any shortage of topics to discuss about Tesla – whether it’s nattering about Musk’s behavior, the company stock price, or its hands-off driving aids allegedly causing a pile-up on a busy motorway.
This morning, a pundit tweeted they saw beaucoup de Tesla sitting idle at a Hertz location, suggesting the company may be stuffing rental channels in a bid to inflate sales. In quick succession, it then became clear that Tesla has slashed prices on all its models – big time.
Several New Nvidia Partnerships Announced at CES
Nvidia is a familiar name to gamers worldwide, but it’s increasingly becoming a common sight in the automotive industry. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, the company announced partnerships with significant suppliers and automakers.
Report: Middle America Just Isn’t Having EVs
Depending upon where you live, battery electric vehicles are either gradually becoming commonplace or rarer than a two-dollar gallon of gasoline. A new study from S&P Global has helped illustrate the current regional phenomenon, with an accompanying report that suggests it won’t be lasting forever due to the industry pivoting to build more mainstream EVs while the United States expands its charging network.
EPA Considering Tougher Emission Rules for Big Trucks
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will reportedly consider adopting new emissions rules for large trucks after Congress passed fresh incentives designed to accelerate the national adoption of zero-emission vehicles.
Faraday Future FF 91 Fancily Flails for Journalists at Monterey
Faraday Future was keen to show off its EV crossover during high-profile events at Pebble Beach a couple weeks ago. Nearly ready for production, Faraday says customers who have ordered the FF 91 could receive their vehicles by end of year. Given the CUV is so far along in its development, journalists were allowed to ride along in the super luxurious (and expensive) FF 91. Unfortunately, it didn’t go well.
Weird Wheels: GM Selling Tiny Convertible EV Via Chinese Lottery
With a majority of automakers snubbing the upcoming auto show in Detroit, there’s not likely to be much to talk about in terms of new product beyond the next-generation Ford Mustang. But there are interesting things happening elsewhere on the planet if we’re using interesting as a polite euphemism for strange.
General Motors’ joint operation in China, SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., is releasing a poverty-tier convertible that makes the long-dead Chrysler Sebring look positively decadent by comparison. Based on the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV – a boxy microcar that only measures 114.8 inches in length – the Cabrio will be a limited production convertible requiring Chinese customers to participate in a lottery.
GM Announces Nationwide EV Charging Network
General Motors has announced a national network of quick charging stations for electric vehicles to be installed at Pilot and Flying J truck stops. Managed by EVgo (a subsidiary of the South Korean LS Group), the network may be the final piece of the puzzle for GM to make good on its promise to go all-electric. It’s already spent oodles on development, created partnerships with global battery suppliers, and now has a glut of EVs on the way –a glut of product that GM is hoping will resonate with consumers.
Report: Some Automakers Abandoning AM Radio
An acquaintance of mine recently said he would never purchase an all-electric vehicle and offered up a reason I never heard before. “They don’t come with AM radio,” he said.
While this surprised me, shifting technological preferences have indeed started to change how automobiles and broadcasters interact. As an example, a gaggle of Mazda owners found their vehicles stuck tuned to National Public Radio this February after a local station transmitted an FM data packet that effectively froze the cars’ infotainment system amid the swap to next-generation broadband services. That transition has already caused some interesting problems for the industry and electromagnetic interference has likewise become the default explanation for automakers limiting your frequency band choice in certain vehicles. But it doesn’t explain why some companies are ditching AM radio outright. In fact, a little research has shown a lot of the explanations given by manufacturers leave a lot to be desired.
Report: Biden to Use Wartime Powers to Boost EV Battery Production
U.S. President Joe Biden is said to be considering utilizing wartime powers to spur domestic electric vehicle battery production. The administration reportedly wants to add the necessary raw materials to the Defense Production Act (DPA) penned at the start of the Korean War in 1950.
Originally designed to give the federal government more control of the U.S. economy (especially in regard to raw materials) throughout the Cold War, the law has also been leveraged by the Department of Defense to advance new technologies starting in the 1980s. In 2011, Barack Obama invoked the act to force telecommunications companies to provide detailed information to the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security. Donald Trump would later invoke the DPA to identify an array of products deemed critical to national security as the trade war with China heated up, and then again to spearhead domestic production of materials and goods pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Are Electric or Combustion Cars Better at Weathering a Winter Storm?
Following the Virginia shutdown of Interstate 95 that left countless people stranded in freezing weather overnight earlier this month, there was a surprising amount of news coverage making offhand comments about how victims would have been better off if they all were driving electric vehicles (Ed. note — there was also this Washington Post op-ed in which the author worried that an EV would be a poor vehicle to be stranded in And this Vice rebuttal to that article). While it seemed an inopportune time to advertise for EVs, it’s an interesting premise and encouraged Car and Driver to conduct a head-to-head experiment between a Tesla Model 3 and Hyundai Sonata N-Line to see who could keep the cabin warm for the longest period of time when stranded.
Realistically, you’d be better off in whatever vehicle is yielding the heaviest fuel tank or least-depleted battery when traffic stops. But there are other factors to consider. Idling an internal-combustion car for extended periods of time is not recommended and doing so when totally snowed in could potentially trap harmful exhaust gasses if the exhaust is not kept clear. Meanwhile, EVs are notorious for having their battery chemistry altered by colder temperatures. This is especially true if they lack the relevant thermal management systems, resulting in the maximum range being diminished by as much as 30 percent.
Toyota Nearing Federal EV Tax Credit Quota
Toyota Motor Corp. looks to be the next automaker that will have exhausted its allotment of EV tax credits for the U.S. market.
While the quota for $7,500 rebates has already been reached by Tesla and General Motors, Toyota is closing in with 190,000 plug-in sales of its own. The government has limited federally backed incentives to just 200,000 vehicles per manufacturer. Once the Japanese manufacturer reaches that limit, credits go into a cool-down period where it can continue benefiting from the full sum six months after the relevant quarter ends. From there, incentives will be halved for the next two quarters until the company is no longer eligible.
Chrysler Going Electric By 2028, Airflow EV Introduced
Stellantis has announced plans to shift the Chrysler brand to an all-electric lineup by 2028, presumably because it doesn’t know what else to do with it anymore. Though, considering the make’s long and storied history, the change almost seems fitting.
When the French bought up Fiat Chrysler Automobiles from the Italians in 2021, the namesake brand had already been losing steam under the Germans. But they were adopting the company after years of mismanagement from Americans, who had taken the marque from being arguably the most luxurious and technologically advanced the United States had to one that had to be saved from bankruptcy by government intervention on more than one occasion. Suffice it to say, Chrysler has enjoyed some of the sweetest highs and pathetic lows imaginable. But it always seems to rise from the ashes thanks to some innovative decision that ultimately helps redefine the industry — which is why Stellantis is leading its own EV offensive by reviving the Airflow name.
Toyota Announces EV Strategy, Readies $70 Billion for the Cause
On Tuesday, Toyota Motor Corp. announced a commitment of 8 trillion yen ($70 billion USD) toward the goal of achieving carbon neutrality someday. Though the concept of any multinational manufacturing entity totally nullifying their carbon footprint seems kind of laughable, so we’ll be referencing this as another electrification strategy — which is still a big deal considering how EV averse Toyota has been thus far.
Despite being an environmental trendsetter with the Prius Hybrid, Toyota has been hesitant to formally commit itself to transition its lineup toward being reliant on battery power. However, President Akio Toyoda has just proudly confirmed that the Japanese automaker would be earmarking the funds for exactly that purpose, noting that the brand (along with Lexus) would be spending the money through 2030 to make sure its global sales of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) reach 3.5 million vehicles annually. Though the most enjoyable aspect of the release was the direct manner it was presented, with Toyoda-san being impressively honest about modern automotive trends.