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Watts Up: EV news for the week of December 2, 2022


Last week’s biggest EV news has to be the official start of Tesla Semi deliveries, which were perfectly timed (intentionally or not) to drown out news that the electric car brand had been forced to cut fuel prices. prices in China and the United States. faced with declining site traffic and declining brand approval as a whole.

The ‘decreasing’ approval might actually underestimate it, as Tesla’s public approval rating has actually disappeared negative for the first time in company history, the electric automaker starting 2022 with a positive net score of 5.9%, then peaking in May at 6.7% before falling to -1.4% in November, while that Automotive News China reported that traffic to Tesla showrooms has dropped 50% in recent weeks.

As a truck, the Tesla Semi itself seems to be off to a good start. The company recently showed off a fully charged electric tractor-trailer making a “fully charged” 500-mile trip, on Twitter.

The first deliveries of the Tesla Semi go to Pepsi Frito-Lay, which is sort of the perfect partner for an electric semi, since bagged chip deliveries are more about moving a given volume of goods, rather than weight, allowing to a BEV truck to pull as many bags as a diesel without those same batteries putting the rig in general over any legal weight limit.

There seemed to be some sort of particular irony in Tesla announcing a driverless semiconductor at the same time the US government was also taking steps to crush a railroad union strike, but it seems like something the best and the brightest must settle, not me.

More Cybertruck news

The Semi wasn’t the only electric truck news to come out of Tesla’s press event. The company has added “megawatt charging” to the long list of capabilities of its ever-developing Cybertruck model, which now adds “fully charged in less time than it takes to fill a gas tank” to a long list of promises that already included bulletproof glass, bioweapon defense and amphibious capabilities with a starting price of $39,900.

Meanwhile, Tesla’s troubled electric truck rivals at Lordstown Motors have defied the predictions of a number of industry insiders – mine included! — and put their Endurance pickup into limited production, received EPA and CARB certification, and began deliveries of their mid-engine electric pickup.

The former GM-owned Lordstown, Ohio plant that builds the Endurance is now owned by Foxconn, which is also expected to build electric farm tractors and the upcoming sub-$30,000 Fisker Pear compact.

Yes, that Fisker

Yes, this is the same Henrik Fisker who designed the BMW Z8 roadster before going on his own to build high-end body kits for the Mercedes SL R230 in the early 2000s, before being hired by Tesla to working on the styling of the Model S and then being sued by Tesla for developing its own competing electric vehicle project in the form of the Fisker Karma (that 2008-12 period was absolutely savage VE time!).

In addition to the Foxconn-built Pear, Fisker is also launching the Magna Steyr-built Ocean electric SUV, but a recent report from Fisker’s short to Research on the fuzzy panda claims things might not be as rosy for Fisker as they’d like us to. make it believe.

The short version is that Fisker markets itself as an ‘asset-light’ automotive brand, from ‘Apple’ to Magna’s ‘Foxconn’, if you will, and often cites its large cash balance as proof that they’ve created a better business model. than other automakers. The problem is that this money could be completely tied up.

“We discovered that Fisker has significant undisclosed bank guarantees that set a minimum cash balance,” the Fuzzy Panda document reads. “Bank guarantees are at Magna and estimated to be ~$790-825 million…that’s Fisker’s entire current cash balance! »

The report also claims that Fisker tried to hide the fact that the EV platform they license was designed for a Chinese EV, reminding some of the Electric Last Mile Solutions (ELMS) debacle, in which another EV SPAC attempted to hide. their Chinese-origin vehicles – and, it should be noted, was also “unmasked” by Fuzzy Panda.

Other startups do better

If it seems like a lot of the news this week is about new brands, as opposed to ‘legacy’ brands, it could be down to their design – the legacy has all had its time to shine in Europe and at Los Angeles for the past few weeks, while we’ve been missing “Watts Up” on Fridays over Veterans Day and Thanksgiving weekend, so it could be called “smart” for these smaller brands of Wait until the noise has quieted down a bit.

One brand that definitely took this route was Walmart-backed Canoo, which this week delivered a prototype of its new Light Tactical Vehicle (LTV) to the U.S. military, under an awarded analysis and demonstration contract. to the company in July. 2022.

The Canoo LTV is called a “jack of all trades” in the official press kit, which claims the lightweight tactical vehicle can be converted from a pickup truck to a flatbed truck, cargo vehicle, “and more,” while promising that its convertible flatbed rig can be configured to “easily” carry standard-size plywood, building materials, and tactical gear or accessories (read: big-assed guns) for whatever the given mission requires.

“The LTV is another milestone proving the power of our technology and how it can be used, even in tactical situations,” said Tony Aquila, President and CEO of Canoo. “This is a winning algorithm for our customers and our business. »

In other news

In other EV news, Ford and Volvo spin-off Polestar have announced major production milestones for their first consumer electric vehicles, with Ford claiming to have built its 150,000th Mustang Mach-E and Polestar claiming its 100,000th sports sedan 2.

Meanwhile, another EV starter brand, Drako, has unveiled a new 2,000 HP all-electric Dakar-style rally raider from an EV complete with gullwing doors, a sub-2.0 second 0-60 MPH time. and the now required quilted leather seats and large touchscreen.

Finally, in the spirit of “if the mountain doesn’t come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain,” hydrogen fuel cell hypercar brand Hyperion has announced that since the U.S. government appears to be in no rush to deploying hydrogen infrastructure anytime soon, it will guarantee its well-heeled hypercar buyers a ready supply of H (and hydrogen too) in the form of a mobile hydrogen filling station with some of the best, atomic – the age of GM styling I’ve seen for decades.

It’s all vaporware and nonsense meant to generate eyeballs and deposits that will probably never lead to anything more than tax deductions, but I can dream, can’t I?

[Images: Screenshot of Tesla launch; provided by the manufacturers]

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