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Rivian and Lucid can’t grow fast enough to make anyone happy

The auto industry’s two lovable EV startups aren’t burning the world as fast as investors and analysts hope, Tesla can build a battery factory with CATL, and a Toyota factory in Russia has fallen back the hands of the state, as they tend to be today. All that and more in this sixth edition of Morning shift for March 31, 2023.

Number 1: It’s never enough

It’s hard to be a Rivian or a Lucid. You’ve got a great product — when it works, anyway. The product is so good that everyone expects you to just ignore the giant Tesla for a short time, which companies have been making cars for a long time, a lot longer than you even think. are struggling to do. Analysts shook their heads in disapproval when you set realistic goalsand they shake even harder when you’re not seeing them.

Which brings us to today’s main story, courtesy of auto newscited new data from Cox Automotive to suggest that neither company will satisfy investors by the end of the first quarter:

Electric vehicle maker Rivian Automotive is trying to scale up its Illinois plant to produce 50,000 vehicles this year, but Cox Automotive estimates first-quarter deliveries at just 8,145, up 1.1 percent. compared to the previous quarter.

Luxury electric vehicle maker Lucid Motors is growing at a faster pace, but Cox expects to deliver 1,344 vehicles between January and March. This represents a 27% increase over fourth quarter of 2022, but it’s been a slow start for Lucid to meet its 2023 guidance of 14,000 Air sedans.

Two startups are cutting costs and laying off workers a year and a half after their first deliveries in the fall of 2021. Both have seen their share prices drop about 70% in the past 12 months. .

Rivian said it had enough demand, but couldn’t solve the production problems at its Illinois plant, which has a capacity of 150,000 units a year. Lucid said it needed to raise brand awareness to increase its backlog.

The last paragraph there makes it pretty clear that these companies are facing different issues. Rivian can’t build trucks and SUVs fast enough, while Lucid says it “solved production” and can’t find enough people to buy what it makes. For Rivian, the manufacturing hurdles are obviously due in part to external forces, but also down to vehicles that are a bit too complex and over-engineered for volume production, according to consultancy firm Munro & Associates.

Lucid, on the other hand, hopes the forthcoming Gravity SUV will be the product that gets the brand on the buyer’s radar and doesn’t need it another round of layoffs. There’s no doubt the Air is a nice sedan, but it’s just that – a sedan – and perhaps also one that’s too expensive for its own good, at least at launch. Maybe it should start with the SUV.

2nd device: Tesla and CATL

Now, Tesla is reportedly looking to build a joint venture battery factory with CATL, the world’s largest EV battery maker. Each Bloomberg:

The EV maker has discussed plans regarding Amperex Contemporary Technology Co., Ltd. with the White House in recent days, people who requested anonymity disclosing private conversations said. According to some, Tesla representatives have been seeking clarity on the Inflation Reduction Act rules the Biden administration is finalizing this week. Rohan Patel, the company’s senior director of global public policy, was among those involved in the discussions, one of the people said.

Tesla wants to pursue a deal similar to the one that Ford Motor Co. announced last month in Michigan with the battery maker, known as CATL, to build a plant wholly owned by the American automaker, the source said.

Representatives for Tesla, CATL and the White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Patel didn’t respond either.

CATL shares rose as much as 2.3% in early Shenzhen trading on Friday.

The story goes on to address the criticism Ford received for its arrangement with CATL from senators Joe Manchin and Marco Rubio, who argued that it allowed the Chinese battery maker to benefit from US subsidies. Ford countered that concern on the grounds that it would take full ownership of the plant and that CATL would not receive a dime from taxpayers’ money.

Despite that, nothing in the Inflation Reduction Act prevents Chinese companies from building factories in North America and receiving the same treatment as companies coming from anywhere else, as long as their products meet the criteria for raw material origin. But don’t worry – Senator Marco Rubio was see it that such impartiality is patched out of the bill.

3rd gear: BMW doesn’t want any part that’s not mine

Much Today’s carmakers are investing in mining companies to secure the raw materials needed for battery production, but BMW wants to be different. It says it will get the supplies it needs through improved battery efficiency and radical recycling. From Reuters:

BMW is taking a different approach, focusing on creating demand through car production and relying on partners with more expertise to build the large-scale infrastructure needed for electrification. chemical.

[Chief Financial Officer Nicolas Peter] said that although BMW believes in recycling rather than mining as a way to extract key minerals and has a battery recycling facility through a joint venture in China, it does not see the need to develop its own large battery recycling facilities.

Instead, it will demonstrate demand for recycled raw materials through growing sales of electric cars and working with partners to recycle on a large scale, he said. “With the growth of our business, we are creating an incentive to invest – but we do not need to develop large recycling facilities for batteries on our own.”

BMW also believes that developing and delivering cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells will help ease the burden on the battery supply chain, although that seems quite optimistic at this stage.

Gear 4: Ford no longer needs Robotaxi exemption

Self-driving outfits like GM’s Cruise and Google’s Waymo need a license to run driverless taxis on public roads. Once upon a time, Ford invested in that game, too. But with Argo AI already dead for a minute, it eventually revoked petitions it had previously filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. polite car news:

In an announcement expected to be published on Friday, NHTSA said Ford withdrew its request in July 2021 for a temporary waiver of certain federal safety standards for vehicles equipped with the system. autopilot.

Ford has sought to waive seven safety standards to deploy vehicles that will be used to support mobility services such as carpooling and package deliveries, according to the petition.

Ford notified NHTSA in February of its decision to withdraw the lawsuit.

If approved, it would allow Ford to deploy up to 2,500 self-driving cars annually.

In a statement to auto newsFord spokesman Alan Hall said it was withdrawing the lawsuit as part of a strategic decision announced in late 2022 to focus more on developing advanced driver assistance systems for vehicles. privately owned vehicles, “diverging from developing Level 4 autonomous vehicles for commercial fleets.”

“As a result of this decision, we no longer need NHTSA to renew our waiver request to support Level 4 testing for Ford at this time,” Hall said.

Instead of creating robotaxis, Ford’s AI efforts today focus on ADAS . featureslike BlueCruise Level 2 technology, in consumer cars.

5th gear: Toyota has fewer factories

Toyota’s factory in St. Petersburg, Russia that built the Camry, and the RAV4 is no longer Toyota, as the government announced Friday that it now owns the facility. From Reuters:

“Toyota’s production site in St Petersburg… has been transferred to the state,” the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade said in a statement.

The company said in September it had decided stop vehicle production in Russia due to disruptions in the supply of key materials and spare parts.

“Toyota has confirmed that it has completed the transfer of its vehicle manufacturing plant to NAMI effective March 31, 2023,” Toyota said in a statement. “The agreement includes the transfer of full ownership of the factory buildings and land.”

Neither party disclosed the transaction fee, and Toyota declined to provide any further details about the deal.

About 80,000 sedans and SUVs have shipped by 2021, before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine begins in February 2022. No selling price has been made public, but if it’s something like renault And by Nissan In recent transactions with the Russian government, it is fair to assume that it is no larger than a euro but perhaps more than 0.012 of a euro. Anyway, that’s the value of a ruble today.

Reversed: McLaren F1’s gearbox overheats

On this day in 1998, Andy Wallace hits 240.1 mph in a McLaren F1 at Volkswagen’s Ehra-Lessien test track, setting an undefeated top speed record for a production car. A record I remember well, thanks to the announcer in need for speed. This is an excerpt from an old piece celebrate the achievement, written by our good friend Andrew Collins:

The car has been tested, tweaked, cranked up the rev limit to 1,000 RPM and is ready to hit top speed.

“I really didn’t know what to think, but the palms of my steering wheel were sweating profusely,” recalls Wallace.

Then, on March 31, 1998, he hit a top speed of 240.14 mph on the track at the Ehra-Lessien Proving Ground. And really, nothing could touch it until the Koenigsegg CCR and Bugatti Veyron appeared around 2005.

After running, Wallace only noted– “Transmission temperature reached 130 degrees [celsius]everything else is fine.

Neutral: Who do you have?

In my rush to write TMS yesterday morning, I had completely forgotten to recognize Baseball’s Opening Day, the only good, clear day of the year. The Yankees won and Cole looks great, so I have no complaints. Any and all baseball thoughts are welcome below.


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