TOYOTA CHIEF SCIENTIST: NOT EVERYONE SHOULD DRIVE A BATTERY EV
Governments should incentivize reducing emissions, not pick which technology to do it
Many people are passionate about climate change, but not everybody should drive a battery electric vehicle as a means to combat it, Toyota Motor Corp Chief Scientist Gill Pratt said on Thursday at the Reuters Events Automotive Summit.
Pratt's comments, during a discussion on electric vehicles, appeared to amplify remarks made over the past year by Toyota President Akio Toyoda. Toyoda and other company officials have said that electric vehicles will play a greater role in reducing emissions, but other solutions should be used, Toyota's gasoline-electric hybrid models or hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles.
At Thursday's conference, Pratt said Toyota believes in "diversity of drivetrains" to give customers different tools to reduce CO2. "It's not for us to predict which solution is the best or say only this will work," he said. Government incentives should be aimed at reducing carbon emissions, not picking which car technology is the best way to achieve those goals, Pratt added, in a reference to proposed bans on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, including hybrids, as a means of achieving carbon neutrality.
Toyota was among major automakers that supported the Trump administration in its attempt to bar California from setting its own zero-emission requirements, but the company dropped that support earlier this year.
Toyota has said it plans to invest $13.5 billion through 2030 on EV batteries, but so far its plans to roll out new battery electric vehicles (BEVs) seem relatively modest compared with those of U.S. automakers General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co, which are spending around $30 billion each through 2025 to electrify more of their vehicle lines. Toyota executives continue to tout the merits of the company's hybrid vehicles, which have been on the market for more than 20 years, and the company has long explored hydrogen fuel-cell technology.
STELLANTIS ANNOUNCES SECOND N. AMERICAN BATTERY PLANT WITH SAMSUNG
The maker of Jeep SUVs and Ram pickup trucks on Friday announced plans for a second joint venture to build a second battery plant in North America — this time with Samsung SDI. Stellantis NV and the Korean manufacturer said, after entering into a memorandum of understanding that is subject to regulatory approvals, they are planning for a launch of production starting in 2025. The lithium-ion battery plant will have an initial annual capacity of 23 gigawatt hours with the ability to increase that to 40 gigawatt hours in the future.
Source: The Detroit News
GM, FORD RESULTS REFLECT CHIP SHORTAGE'S VARYING IMPACTS ON SECTOR
General Motors Co and Ford Motor Co are likely to show investors both the positive and negative financial impacts of the global semiconductor chip shortage when the U.S. automakers report third-quarter results on Wednesday. GM and Ford have had to bring some assembly lines to a halt for lack of semiconductors, and contend with rising costs for other parts and raw materials as well as shipping. Lost production and rising supply-chain costs put pressure on profit margins. However, GM and Ford have been able to offset that pressure thanks to strong demand for their lucrative full-size trucks and SUVs, which has allowed them to cut back on discounts and maintain strong profits.
CAN AUTOMAKERS THAT LOST U.S. SHARE IN CHIP CRISIS WIN IT BACK?
Automakers tend to jealously guard their market share because once it's gone, it can be extremely difficult to win back. Yet with the microchip shortage stirring the sales race this year, a question is starting to emerge: If Toyota Motor North America and Hyundai-Kia keep picking up market share as they have this year because they have vehicles to sell and others don't, are they, with their high customer retention rates, likely to give it back when inventories normalize?
Source: Automotive News
IHS PRODUCTION OUTLOOK: BAD NOW, RECORD HIGH IN '24
IHS Markit says just more than 13 million light vehicles will be built in North America in 2021, a year that has been crippled by a global shortage of microchips. That would be down 0.2 percent from last year, when auto factories were closed for months in the spring because of the pandemic. Production will rebound next year, IHS says. After that, IHS projects a steady increase to a record 18.2 million in 2024.
CANADA SAYS PROPOSED U.S. EV TAX CREDIT COULD HARM SECTOR
Mulls Possible Challenge
Canada said on Friday that U.S. proposals to create new electric vehicle tax credits for American-built vehicles could harm the North American auto industry and fall foul of trade agreements, according to a letter seen by Reuters. Separately, a Canadian government source expressed confidence a solution would eventually be reached but said Ottawa might have to launch a challenge through the United States-Mexico-Canada (USMCA) trade deal. In the letter dated Oct. 22, Canadian Trade Minister Mary Ng told U.S. lawmakers and the Biden administration that the credits, if approved, "would have a major adverse impact on the future of EV and automotive production in Canada."
HERTZ BUYING 100,000 TESLAS IN $4.2 BILLION DEAL, MAKING EVs 20% OF ITS FLEET
In a major move both for Tesla and the rental-car market, Hertz has announced it has ordered 100,000 Teslas. The rental-car company's $4.2 billion order represents the largest single EV purchase to date, as Bloomberg noted this morning. Tesla Model 3 cars will start appearing in Hertz airport and other rental locations next month, and the cars will continue to roll out across U.S. and Europe locations through the end of 2022.
Hertz also announced today that customers who rent a Model 3 before February 1, 2022, who use the Tesla charging network will get free charging privileges. The announcement was later expanded to indicate all of the vehicles would be Model 3s.
A big part of this deal, of course, is that Hertz customers will get to use Tesla's expansive Supercharger network, and Hertz also said it will install "thousands" of chargers across the U.S. and Europe. The Hertz plan is to set up Level 2 and DC fast-charging stations in 65 cities by the end of 2022 and more than 100 by the end of 2023, although the rental company alluded to "semiconductor chip shortages or other constraints" as one reason that ambition could be delayed.
Hertz is also promising faster booking through an EV-specific function on the Hertz app. And, for now vehicles will not have to be fully recharged when returned.
Hertz provided Car and Driver with this list of cities that will get rental Tesla Model 3s by the end of 2021: Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Birmingham, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Fresno, Ft Myers, Honolulu, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Maui, Memphis, Miami, Minneapolis, Nashville, New Orleans, New York City, Norfolk, Oklahoma City, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh, Richmond, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa, Tucson, Tulsa, Washington, D.C.
Source: Car and Driver
GM ELECTRIC COMMERCIAL VEHICLE UNIT TO BUILD DEDICATED DEALER NETWORK
General Motors Co’s electric commercial vehicle business, BrightDrop, will build out a dedicated dealer network to drive growth, the unit’s head said on Tuesday. While Travis Katz, BrightDrop’s chief executive, did not disclose how many dealers will be in the network, he said it will be smaller than GM’s retail network and focused in urban markets. The locations will be tailored to serve fleet customers such as FedEx and Verizon, which GM supplies vehicles to by contract.
“The plan is we’re setting up our own BrightDrop-specific dealership network,” Katz told the Automotive Press Association in Detroit, adding that BrightDrop is talking to existing GM dealers but could use others as well.
BrightDrop is a key growth market for GM, which has said it plans to double revenue by 2030.
The No. 1 U.S. automaker sees global e-commerce revenue hitting $4 trillion in 2023 and growing to $7.4 trillion in 2029. GM executives have said they expect BrightDrop’s revenue to top $10 billion by 2030 with low-20% profit margins.
Asked if GM will spin off BrightDrop or seek outside investors for the business as it did for its Cruise autonomous-driving unit, Katz said there were no such current plans and GM does not need external capital to build the business. “Right now, the company is structured as a wholly owned entity and that’s how we’re running it,” he said.
BrightDrop is scheduled to begin selling its first vehicle, the EV600 van, this fall, followed by the smaller EV410 vehicle in 2023.
OCTOBER AUTO SALES FALL, DUE TO ONGOING COMPUTER CHIP SHORTAGE
The new-vehicle shortage, largely driven by a shortage of computer chips needed to run today’s cars and trucks, drags down U.S. auto sales for the month of October vs. a year ago. That’s three months in a row sales have fallen below the year-ago month, and the sixth month in a row the seasonally adjusted annual sales rate has fallen, forecasters said. Most automakers in the U.S. market report October sales on Nov. 2. U.S. car and truck sales combined are on pace to fall to about 1.1 million units in October, based on dealership results through the first three quarters of the month, according to a joint forecast from J.D. Power and LMC Automotive, published on Oct. 27.
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