LUCID EV TECH SET TO POWER FUTURE ELECTRIC ASTON MARTINS
Aston Martin on Monday announced a supply agreement and long-term strategic partnership with California’s Lucid Group, through which Lucid will provide the UK performance-car maker with “select powertrain components” for upcoming electric vehicles. Aston said that it will continue to look to Mercedes-Benz AG for internal combustion engines, hybrid systems, and electric/electronic architectures, so this may effectively enable the Aston Martin to pick and choose whatever’s best for a given scenario. But it did confirm that Lucid’s “cutting edge powertrain technology” will be paired with Mercedes’ electronic architecture in a near-future family of electrified Aston Martins.
Specifically, Lucid detailed, the agreement includes the company's twin-motor drive unit, battery technology, and its Wunderbox charging hardware, plus technical support from the company in integrating it all—with the sum of contracts in excess of $450 million. As detailed by Aston Martin parent Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings, the agreement effectively gives Lucid a 3.7% share of Aston Martin.
The niche UK automaker is in the midst of a pivot that will make its core range of vehicles “fully electrified” by 2030, with 20% of its fleet electrified by 2024. Aston pointed to its upcoming platform that’s due to underpin an entire future model range of electrified vehicles, including grand-touring models, SUVs, sports cars, and supercars, with the first models on that platform due for launch in 2025. Prior to that, Aston is due to deliver its first plug-in hybrid, a supercar called Valhalla, in 2024. “The supply agreement with Lucid is a game changer for the future EV-led growth of Aston Martin,” said Aston Martin executive chairman Lawrence Stroll. “Based on our strategy and requirements, we selected Lucid, gaining access to the industry’s highest performance and most innovative technologies for our future BEV products.”
The Aston Martin agreement marks the first high-profile agreement in which an established automaker is jumping to use Lucid’s technology, which centers around the in-house development of a very energy-dense, efficiency-focused EV powertrain and the systems around it. The propulsion tech is one of the core pieces of value for the company, and it's hinted that multiple companies had expressed interest in using it. Lucid’s motor design is especially a standout for its compactness, efficiency, and power density—even versus Tesla—and the company has said that it can scale up production.
Lucid supplied battery packs for previous seasons of Formula E, and it now supplies front motors for the Gen 3 Formula E cars of the current season, helping to make the cars lighter and more agile.
Aston Martin has had some false starts in shifting to electric over the past decade. It planned to release a fully electric model, called the RapidE, which aimed for performance and lightness over emphasizing a large battery and long range. But troubles in first partnering with China’s LeEco, the backer of Faraday Future, delayed the project. Despite later turning to Williams Advanced Engineering, the project was canceled. Aston’s current push to produce EVs was announced in 2021.
Lucid is due to deliver the Air Sapphire electric performance sedan, claimed to be the most powerful sedan in the world, later this year. That model boasts a 0-60 mph time of less than two seconds, a 0-100 mph time below four seconds, and a top speed over 200 mph—likely enough to exceed the Tesla Model S Plaid on the track, let alone in handling.
Source: Green Car Reports
INFINITI TEASES EVS, NEW STORE DESIGN AT DEALER MEETING TO DOUBLE SALES
A stale product lineup and uninterested consumers dragged Infiniti's U.S. sales into a multiyear slump that reached a new low last year. But the chronically underperforming Japanese luxury brand is promising a shift out of reverse. On Wednesday, Infiniti laid out a bold comeback plan for its frustrated U.S. dealers to increase sales to 100,000 vehicles by mid-decade — more than twice the 46,619 the company sold in 2022.
Source: Automotive News
AUDI'S EVs AND RS CARS WILL REVIVE BRAND, VW GROUP CEO SAYS
Volkswagen Group CEO Oliver Blume has promised to revive the fortunes of Audi after admitting the brand’s lineup was “lagging the competition,” particularly when it came to electric vehicles. As part of a shakeup at the Audi, which also includes the Bentley, Lamborghini and Ducati marques, the brands have been reclassified as “progressive” in an effort to speed up change at the group, Blume told investors at VW Group’s Capital Markets Day on Wednesday.
LITHIUM PRODUCERS WARN GLOBAL SUPPLIES MAY NOT MEET EV DEMAND
Lithium producers are growing anxious that delays in mine permitting, staffing shortages and inflation may hinder their ability to supply enough of the battery metal to meet the world’s aggressive electrification timelines. Once a niche metal used primarily in ceramics and pharmaceuticals, lithium is now one of the world’s most in-demand metals given aggressive EV plans from Stellantis, Ford and other automakers.
VW EXEC: TOUCH CONTROLS ‘DID A LOT OF DAMAGE'
Volkswagen brand CEO Thomas Schäfer promised to make vehicles easier for drivers and passengers to use, saying touch-sensitive controls "did a lot of damage" to its relationship with customers. Schäfer said the updated cabin of the Tiguan crossover shows the brand's move away from controls that have been widely criticized as confusing and difficult to operate while driving. The Tiguan eliminates climate-control sliders and haptic steering-wheel buttons.
A SECOND LIFE FOR EV BATTERIES? DEPENDS HOW LONG THE FIRST IS
Global automakers have touted plans to re-use electric vehicle (EV) batteries when they lose power, but competition for battery packs and cell materials, and the appetite for affordable cars cast doubt on this part of the circular economy. An array of startups offers second-life energy storage using old EV batteries. In addition, carmakers from Mercedes to Nissan have set up their own second-life operations.
LORDSTOWN MOTORS FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY
Lordstown is the latest company in a crop of aspiring EV manufacturers that have so far failed to deliver on their promises to revolutionize the car market. Many raised billions of dollars during the SPAC trend of a few years ago—reaping sensational gains on their initial public offerings—only to have their valuations deflate as they struggled to launch factory operations.
Source: The Wall Street Journal
JEEP MAKER STELLANTIS SETS UP EV CHARGING UNIT TO SOOTHE RANGE ANXIETY
Stellantis NV, owner of the Jeep and Ram brands, is setting up a business unit focused on electric-vehicle charging as it prepares to roll out new fully electric models in the US next year. Free2move is one of many automaker initiatives created to speed up adoption of EVs in the US, where the charging network can be fragmented and unreliable.
VOLVO EVs WILL ADOPT TESLA CHARGE PORT, GET SUPERCHARGER ACCESS
Volvo is the first foreign automaker to announce the adoption of Tesla’s NACS EV charging standard. With a Tuesday confirmation, Volvo said that future Volvo models, starting in 2025, will get the NACS connector for North America. Volvo appeared to indicate that the upcoming $35,000 EX30 EV and U.S.-made EX90, which are both due to arrive for first U.S. deliveries before 2025, will still have the CCS interface. It said those models—as well as the XC40 and C40 Recharge already offered, will be able to be charged on the Tesla Supercharger network with an adapter that will be available in the first half of 2024. At that time, the Supercharger network will also be included in the Volvo Cars app.
The sheer number of additional charging options is the advantage this announcement brings to owners. Volvo drivers will have access to 12,000 Tesla Superchargers in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, the company said. Although it bears emphasis that in the U.S., while there are more Tesla connectors, there are more CCS locations.
Green Car Reports has reached out to Volvo to clarify how this will affect its plug-in hybrid models, which have been a significant and important portion of the lineup, topping 20% of U.S. sales for the past couple years in the transition toward full-electric vehicles.
Volvo doesn’t currently have any models that charge at 800 volts—a potential issue for automakers such as GM as Tesla’s current Supercharger V3 standard doesn’t allow that. V4 of the interface, which is just starting to arrive, will.
Volvo follows Ford, GM, and Rivian—all U.S.-based automakers—in adopting the NACS standard. It's shift that has acted as a wake-up call for the charging industry, which has, as a whole, failed to act quickly enough amid widespread technical issues and downtime. Volvo plugged into CCS in 2016 and was the last major European automaker that sells vehicles in North America to jump on the CCS bandwagon.
FORD AND CHEVROLET TOP LOYALTY RANKINGS; TOYOTA FALLS
Ford and Chevrolet topped S&P Global Mobility's 2023 loyalty ranking of mainstream brands for the first four months of the year, while Toyota fell to seventh place, the market research firm said Tuesday. The drop could be due to conquests by Tesla, with migrations to the electric vehicle maker up for almost every mainstream brand.
PORSCHE FLAGS €20 BILLION ELECTRIC, SOFTWARE PUSH AT FIRST AGM
Porsche AG will spend more than €20 billion ($21.9 billion) in the coming years to equip models including its planned new Cayenne sport utility vehicle with top-line electric and digital technology to bolster returns. The manufacturer is shifting to battery technology while making sure margins won’t sink, Chief Executive Officer Oliver Blume said Wednesday at Porsche’s first annual general meeting since going public last year. The company is targeting returns of more than 20% in the long term, compared with 18% last year.
AUTOMAKERS - EPA'S PROPOSED VEHICLE EMISSIONS RULES ARE UNACHIEVABLE
The Alliance for Automotive Innovation plans to tell the EPA that its proposal to significantly reduce vehicle emissions through the 2032 model year is "neither reasonable nor achievable in the timeframe provided." The alliance, representing a broad swath of the U.S. auto industry including most automakers, said the proposed rule is "so stringent" that it is "a de facto battery-electric vehicle mandate," according to a memo released Wednesday.
Source: Automotive News
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