GM and Autocar have announced they are collaborating on developing a range of zero-emission trucks. Initially, the focus will be on developing cement mixers, roll-off and dump trucks and over time they will introduce a range of refuse trucks and terminal tractors. Bear in mind hydrogen technology requires a shorter refuelling time and also has a greater range, thus some OEMs are beginning to prioritize hydrogen fuel cells in commercial vehicles. These trucks will leverage GM's Hydrotec scalable fuel cell technology and Autocar’s vocational truck expertise. GM has directed a substantial amount of capital to develop this fuel technology, as it strives to become a market leader in zero-emission commercial trucks. The first EVs will go into production in 2026 at Autocar’s factory in Birmingham (Alabama) and will be sold directly to customers.
Carmarthenshire, a county in Wales, has announced it has invested £1m into EV infrastructure. 130 charging stations will be rolled out throughout the county, with a particular focus on key rural areas/routes. 43 of the 130 charging stations will be rapid charging points. This is fantastic news, as Wales has set itself a target of having an EV charging point every 20 miles across the country, Carmarthenshire will have 1 charging point for every 7 miles. Hopefully, this will help spur other regions to ramp up their EV infrastructure. Bear in mind the Welsh government has been proactively looking at ways to decarbonise its tourism sector, as Wales in recent years has seen a surge in tourists. This has led to communities becoming concerned about the environmental impact, so investments in EV infrastructure will help ensure the sustainability of the tourism sector in this count(r)y.
Turkey, Europe’s 6th biggest auto market, has passed new rules that appear to be targeting Chinese EV OEMs. The Turkish Trade Ministry department has stated that companies importing EVs to Turkey must have at least 140 authorized service stations spread evenly across the country alongside opening a call centre for each brand. Many industry experts have interpreted these arduous requirements as targeting Chinese EV OEMs. Furthermore, importers only have until the end of the month to comply with these new rules. Importers from the EU and countries that have free-trade agreements with Turkey are exempt from these conditions.
Tensions between the USA and China are rising due to excluding Chinese EVs from USA EV incentives. Previously, the US Department of Treasury and Energy put forward rules that would limit EV buyers from claiming tax credits if the EVs contained battery materials from China (and other countries considered hostile). China’s Ministry of Commerce has responded by stating these potential rules are discriminatory and violate WTO rules. We hope these tensions get resolved as any geo-economic response by either party will impact the uptake of EVs.
Stellantis and Ample have announced they are partnering to bring Ample’s battery-swapping technology to Stellantis EVs in Europe. Battery swapping is becoming increasingly popular as it reduces charging time for drivers and eliminates anxiety over range. This project will kickstart in Madrid next year, with a fleet of 100 Fiat 500e’s within Stellantis’ Free2move car-sharing service. There has been no timeline given for this pilot project however if it performs well, then we envisage this being rolled out to other regions.
Shuttle Buses has announced it has placed an order for 1 Alexander Dennis Enviro100EV. This is a significant order, as it is the first independent bus operator to place such an order. Shuttle Buses is a very well-run independent bus company that has been excellent at unlocking grants, such as ScotZEB. Although it is unclear whether any grant capital was used for this transaction. This should help the operator retain, extend and win (new) routes in Ayrshire.
Nio is considering cutting more jobs, as the company has already announced cutting 10% of staff, however, it could increase this up to 20-30%. The company has stated that any cuts are for roles in non-core business units. The Chinese EV market is in a state of paradox, as it is the most competitive market in the world however demand for EVs is weakening due to macro-economic fluctuations. This is leading many (Chinese) EV OEMs to streamline their operations, with Nio leading the way. Only time will tell if this helps Nio survive and thrive in the (Chinese) EV market. We side with the experts who suggest that Nio’s management team is taking the necessary responsible steps to help scale up the company by becoming fiscally stronger and operationally optimised.
Renault has announced it will be utilising AI to help drive down (EV) manufacturing costs and production times from now to 2027. The company has projected that between 2023-2027 it is confident it can cut its production costs per vehicle by 30% for ICE vehicles and by 50% for BEVs. This would be a massive win for Renault, as this would mean that it can produce its Renault 5 (a full-electric small car) in 9 hours thus allowing it to compete with Tesla (& Chinese EV OEMs) in terms of production time and (over time) output.
Panasonic has announced it has signed a deal to buy silicon anodes, from Sila (a US start-up), to use in its EV batteries globally. This deal illustrates OEMs rearranging their supply chains so they can qualify and unlock US subsidies and incentives. Sila views silicon anodes as a method for the USA to overtake Chinese battery makers, as China predominantly uses graphite, as it has an abundance of the mineral. China has tightened exports of the mineral as retaliation to US-led restrictions on technology sales to Chinese companies. Thus, startups such as Sila, are providing a silicon (anode) solution to help curb reliance on China.
SoftBank has announced it has acquired a majority stake in Cubic Telecom, an Ireland-based IoT software provider for vehicles, by investing €473m. This represents a valuation of more than €900m and is the largest Irish software deal ever. SoftBank has a reputation and history for investing in hot niche markets and this deal represents the bank capitalising on the growing connected vehicles and OEM market globally.