Day: July 25, 2022

Car Industry

Electric Car Industry Doesn’t Have a Demand Problem


As (credit) card-carrying Americans, we’re used to getting what we want, when we want it: Amazon deliveries at terrifying speed. A ranch’s worth of Costco beef. Oddities on Etsy, and the night-whispered fantasies of Bring a Trailer.

This is part one of a two-part explainer on the electric car battery supply chain. Here is how the car industry painted itself into a corner. Up next is what it’s doing to knock its way back out.

With 200,000 reservation holders tapping toes in line, dreaming of dusting gasoline trucks, we may take the Ford F-150 Lightning as an example, illustrating just how badly many Americans wanted an electric pickup. So many that even Ford was caught off guard, and is racing to double Detroit production to 150,000 annual units by next year. Darren Palmer, Ford’s vice-president for electric vehicle programs, told me Ford also aims to roughly triple Mustang Mach-E production, to 150,000 yearly. That’s what happens when EVs go from short-range, compromised econoboxes to fully-realized marvels that make gasoline versions seem nearly obsolete, in everything from performance, pollution and NVH to ownership costs for fuel and maintenance.

ford lightning

Demand for the Lightning, Palmer acknowledges, “has shocked everyone,” with Ford cutting off further reservations for now.

“Even if we had a magic wand, we don’t have the mines and materials to supply these things.”

But there’s a problem: A looming shortage of lithium-ion batteries that threatens to make EV lines even longer, frustrate would-be buyers, and delay the transition from fossil-fueled transportation to cleaner, radically more-efficient means. It’s a disconnect between automakers’ rosy projections of EV sales and supply-chain reality; a Red Sea gap worthy of Charlton Heston, with no sudden miracles in sight. And it has everyone from Elon Musk to Rivian’s R.J. Scaringe sounding alarms, or suggesting things may

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Car News

Cadillac nears the end for gas powered models

“Some of those ICE vehicles that are scheduled to drop away in that ’25, ’26, ’27 time period, we might actually see them … extending their lives a little bit longer,” said Stephanie Brinley, principal automotive analyst at S&P Global Mobility. “The timing is so fluid.”

The cadence of Cadillac’s EV launches and internal combustion demise will depend on a variety of factors, said Jeff Schuster, president of global forecasting at LMC Automotive, such as the economy at launch time, infrastructure, battery availability and pricing.

“They can adjust any kind of build out and ramp up accordingly,” he said.

Cadillac will give its EVs names ending in “iq,” as introduced this year on the Lyriq. The Celestiq sedan is slated to go on sale next year, followed by electric crossovers and sedans from 2024 through 2026. The electric Escalade is expected to be called the Escalade IQ. Cadillac has trademarked the names Optiq, Symboliq, Ascendiq, Lumistiq and Vistiq.

Escalade IQ/IQL: Electric versions of the Escalade (to be called the IQ) and Escalade ESV (IQL) SUVs are expected in 2024 and 2025, respectively. They likely will be built at Factory Zero in Detroit.

Large electric crossover: A large electric crossover will launch in 2024. It is expected to be built at Spring Hill Assembly in Tennessee, alongside the Lyriq.

Lyriq: A freshen of the new midsize electric crossover, Cadillac’s first EV, is expected in late 2025. The update likely will center on software and feature changes. Most dealers began taking deliveries this summer. Cadillac opened the order banks for the 2024 Lyriq last month after the 2023 debut model sold out.

Compact electric crossover: Cadillac is expected to launch an electric crossover, similar in size to the XT4, in late 2024. It will be built at Ramos Arizpe Assembly in Mexico.

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Auto News

VW Group CEO Herbert Diess to leave company; Porsche boss

Diess’ future at Volkswagen has been in doubt on multiple occasions during his four-year stint as CEO, most recently late last year over clashes with the company’s powerful works council about his electrification strategy and management style.

His departure comes as the company is pushing to beat Tesla to become the world’s top electric vehicle maker, catch up on software and execute an IPO for Porsche.

Diess, in a LinkedIn post before the announcement of his departure, said: “After a really stressful first half of 2022 many of us are looking forward to a well-deserved summer break.”

“My focus will be on the customers, brands and products,” Blume said in a statement.

Diess, 63, becomes the latest in a long line of leaders undone by VW’s complex hodgepodge of power centers. Skirmishes between the manufacturer’s controlling shareholder family, trade union and the German state of Lower Saxony that holds a significant stake have undermined performance and ended careers.

“Herbert Diess has strategically geared Volkswagen group toward electromobility,” Wolfgang Porsche and Hans-Michel Piech, leaders of the family with majority voting rights at VW, said in a joint statement. “It is to his particular credit that the Volkswagen group today is in a strong position for further transformation.”

Diess was hired away from BMW Group in 2015, shortly before VW admitted to rigging millions of diesel vehicles to skirt emissions rules. He’s arguably pushed the most aggressive electrification effort among legacy car manufacturers, earning plaudits from the likes of Tesla Inc. boss Elon Musk.

Some analysts on Friday raised alarm about the management changes.

“The hope of the supervisory board must be for new group CEO Blume to have more success in guiding the software strategy of the group,” Bernstein Research analyst Daniel Roeska said in a note Friday. “However, it will

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