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Thread: New Lower Priced Electric Cars Coming

  1. #136
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    Default Re: New Lower Priced Electric Cars Coming

    The auto industry is undergoing profound change..........


    GM is laying off 14,300 employees. It's shuttering five factories in the U.S. and Canada, and says that two more closings will be announced internationally. By next year, it will no longer make the Buick LaCrosse, the Chevrolet Impala, or the Cadillac CT6 sedan. It's even killing the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid.



    • Welcome to the modern car industry, which is full of bad news, report Axios' Felix Salmon in New York and Joann Muller in Detroit.

    The big picture: All the top-selling sedans in America — the Toyota Camry, Honda Civic, Honda Accord, Toyota Corolla, Nissan Altima, and Nissan Sentra — are Japanese.



    • Why it matters: American carmakers can't compete, and are giving up that segment of the market. Instead they're concentrating on trucks, SUVs, and crossovers, which have higher profit margins and growing demand.


    What's next? Almost certainly, even more job losses.


    • Car factories are at their most efficient when they run at full capacity. Right now America is capable of producing many more vehicles than there's demand for — roughly 3.2 million vehicles per year, according to Kristin Dziczek, vice president of industry, labor and economics at the Center for Automotive Research. (GM accounts for about 1 million of that.)
    • The logic of efficiency means that yet more factories are likely to close.


    President Trump's trade war and steel tariffs are costing the industry billions, including roughly $700 million in higher steel prices at GM alone. Very few big automakers have avoided problems:


    • Ford has already announced that it is effectively getting out of the car business. By 2020, it will no longer sell the Fiesta, Taurus, Fusion or Focus in North America. Only the Mustang will remain, along with a crossover called the Focus Active.
    • Tesla CEO Elon Musk told "Axios on HBO" that the entire company was "within single-digit weeks" of death — in need of layoffs or new financing — earlier this year.
    • Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn, after trying to push through a merger with France's Renault that neither company really wanted, is now sitting in a Japanese jail. A Nissan whistleblower told Japanese authorities that Ghosn was being paid tens of millions of dollars in undeclared income. (Wall Street Journal editorial: "The Ghosn Inquisition")
    • Fiat Chrysler is struggling after the death of its charismatic leader, Sergio Marchionne, who never achieved his longstanding dream of merging with GM.
    • Volkswagen, which has also seen a senior executive arrested, has set aside $30 billion to cover costs associated with its Dieselgate scandal.


    What to watch: The future of car-making might be grim, but stock market investors are excited about self-driving cars and mobility as a service.


    • That market logic is putting pressure on carmakers to pour billions into R&D. It's also driving strategic investments in everything from AI to electric scooters.
    • The result: A major secular employment shift away from unionized factory workers and Detroit middle-management lifers. Expect the United Auto Workers, still GM's largest shareholder with a $3.6 billion stake in the company, to remain extremely unhappyfor the foreseeable future.



    The rise of driverless delivery



    A new report suggests autonomous vehicles could deliver goods cheaper and faster — within an hour or two of ordering in some cases — and have a major impact on consumer behavior.
    The big picture: It's still unclear whether people will embrace self-driving vehicles, but the report by KPMG says one way it could happen is by lowering the cost of goods delivery, enabling e-commerce to take a larger bite out of brick-and-mortar sales and reducing the number of shopping trips people make.

    • That access to fast, low-cost delivery could make it irresistible to order even more stuff — and send profound ripples through the economy.

    Details: KPMG predicts goods will be delivered via AV fleets operating in "islands of autonomy" where, because of population density and regulations, deployment makes sense.

    • They envision orders for goods being filled using a combination of artificial intelligence and robots, then delivered via a fleet of AVs.
    • In some places, packages or groceries could be delivered right to your door. In more congested urban areas, they might be sent to a secure locker, the modern-day equivalent of a milk box.
    • Ford estimates AVs will drive down delivery cost per mile to around $1 from $2.50, but KPMG says delivery cost for small, single-package "bots" could be as little as 4 to 7 cents per mile.
    • Quick, low-cost delivery options could mean people cut their shopping trips in half and buy stuff online 1.5 to 3 times more frequently, the authors estimate by applying population projections to government data on today's shopping trips per household.

    "Our thesis is that consumer demand will go up because it’s so easy. It will be great for the economy."
    — Gary Silberg, KPMG's automotive sector leader
    Yes, but: People are wary of riding in self-driving cars, and the consumer demand for AV delivery is unclear.

    • KPMG studied Chicago shoppers' visits to Walmart, Costco and Target and concluded consumers are more likely to request delivery from their neighborhood Walmart and Target, but will still travel longer distances to go to Costco for the experience.
    • The authors think consumers might be more willing to take a risk on AV grocery delivery; if something goes wrong, they might lose just a few broken eggs.

    What's happening: A handful of automakers and AV tech companies are collaborating with U.S. retailers to explore autonomous goods delivery.


    What to watch: Smart retailers could have two choices — make delivery super-easy for their customers, or make their stores so inviting people will still want to make the trip.
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

  2. #137
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    Default Re: New Lower Priced Electric Cars Coming


    Who's funding an EV charging heavyweight







    ChargePoint, one of the world's biggest players in electric vehicle charging, said Wednesday that it has raised another $240 million dollars — an amount that approaches the nearly $300 million previously raised during its 11-year history.
    Why it matters: The money — and who it's from — signal investor and corporate confidence that EVs are an important growth market, even though today they're a tiny share of the global auto market.
    New investors include Chevron, utility giant power giant American Electric Power, and Singapore's sovereign wealth fund GIC.

    • Other investors in the latest round include the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Quantum Energy Partners.
    • Existing investors include BMW, Daimler, Siemens and power company Exelon.

    What they're saying: I chatted yesterday with CEO Pasquale Romano, who made the case that money from major institutional investors helps tell the story of where EVs are heading the market.
    “These are big funds,” Romano says. “They may lean into an emerging technology, but they are not going to lean into a speculative technology.”
    Romano emphasized how a number of automakers are readying to introduce new electric models.
    The intrigue: I don't know how much of the $240 million is coming from Chevron Technology Ventures (ChargePoint didn't provide a breakdown).

    • But the involvement of the U.S.-based multinational oil giant at all is interesting. Thus far big European majors including Shell and BP have been getting into the EV charging space, but this marks Chevron's first foray.

    The big picture: The California-based ChargePoint has a big share of the U.S. charging market and last year announced its expansion into Europe.

    • The company says it has over 57,000 independently owned public and semi-public charging spots, with customers spanning businesses, cities and more.
    • The latest funding round includes Daimler's truck and bus division, signaling how vehicle electrification is moving beyond passenger cars.

    Go deeper: Romano has more to say in this interview with Fast Company.
    As a general rule the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information.

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