Biden’s 40 Percent EV Goal Just A ‘Pledge’

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Biden has been talking a lot about switching American carmakers (and buyers) over to EVs. A new report claims it will just be a “pledge,” whatever that means. All that and more in The Morning Shift for July 30, 2021.

1st Gear: You Think China Does “Pledges?”

Over in China, carmakers are required to meet new-energy vehicle mandates or face strict financial penalties. Here in America, we are politely asking for compliance, as Bloomberg Green reports:

The White House is negotiating to have automakers pledge that 40% or more of the vehicles they sell in the U.S. will be electric by the end of the decade, something the companies say will require the government to help promote the use of the cars.

A pledge on new car sales would be significant because while some U.S. automakers have promised to convert their model lineups to electric vehicles, they haven’t made any promises on volumes. Automakers are looking for support from the government in meeting those goals, such as subsidies or funding for charging infrastructure like that contained in a bill working its way through the Senate now.

How this is going to help anyone when we may or may not have a new president in a few years and nothing binding on the books, I don’t know.

2nd Gear: Renault Says It’s ‘Back From Hell’

The French company is not mincing words here, as Bloomberg reports:

The carmaker has “abandoned the approach of only looking for sheer growth,” Chief Executive Officer Luca de Meo said in a Bloomberg TV interview. “We are actually back from hell with this first semester.”

Renault swung to net income of 368 million euros ($437 million) during the first half, from a 7.4 billion-euro loss a year ago. Renault now expects shortages in semiconductors to cost the company about 200,000 vehicles this year, double a previous estimate.

Giving financial guidance for the first time in 2021, the company expects full-year operating margin to be roughly in line with the 2.8% achieved in the first half. That’s just short of its 3% target for 2023, although well below competitors.

“Sheer growth” sounds like a very Ghosn-era policy, so maybe we’ll go back to seeing some more interesting cars from Renault.

3rd Gear: Tesla’s Battery Voltage Reduction Suit Ended Up At Just $1.5 Million

I do not think that $1.5 million is going to make a huge dent in the finances of the most highly-valued automaker in the world! In any case, owners of some Model Ss will get a couple hundred bucks each, as Reuters reports:

Tesla Inc. has agreed to pay $1.5 million to settle claims a software update temporarily reduced maximum battery voltage in 1,743 Model S sedans, court documents show.

Owners of the vehicles will get $625 each, which is “many times the prorated value of the temporarily reduced maximum voltage,” according to the proposed settlement documents filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco.

[…]

The suit filed in August 2019 alleged Tesla released an over-the-air software update that reduced the maximum voltage to which batteries on some Tesla Model S vehicles could be charged.

A similar case in Norway paid about $16,000 to each owner, $163 million in total.

4th Gear: More Mask Mandates Back At Ford

It feels like yesterday that Ford was putting in its first anti-Covid protocols and making ventilators, and here we are again. From Automotive News:

Ford Motor Co. said Thursday it will reinstate a mask mandate for workers at facilities in Kentucky, two days after making a similar announcement for workers in Missouri and Florida.

The automaker informed workers the mandate will go into effect Saturday. Ford has two assembly plants in the state: Kentucky Truck Plant, where workers build the Super Duty, Expedition and Lincoln Navigator; and Louisville Assembly Plant, where workers build the Escape and Lincoln Corsair.

5th Gear: The Used Car Prices Spike But Not So Much Used EVs

Used car prices (to say nothing of marked-up new cars) are surging across the market, except in one area, as Bloomberg reports. Used EV prices seem to be hanging out, much to the chagrin of the author of this trend piece:

Hi all, this is Hyperdrive reporter Ira Boudway. I’ll admit to having a personal interest in today’s topic: used EV prices. I lease a 2019 Hyundai Ioniq EV. I’d love for it to have decent resale value when it comes time to return it to the dealership (or buy it).

Used car prices, as you may have heard, are skyrocketing. Last month, the average price hit a record $26,457, up more than 27 percent from the same time last year, according to automotive researcher Edmunds.com. The surge, a major contributor to inflation, is turning used-car lots, not known for their civility in the best of times, into Darwinian battlegrounds, with buyers and sales staff in feeding frenzies over slim inventory. All of which got me wondering whether used electric vehicles, historically known for their poor resale value, might be having a moment. Maybe this brutal market was causing people to reconsider a used Nissan Leaf as a way to get from A to B?

It turns out, not really. While EVs have made modest gains, resale values are not keeping pace with their combustion engine peers, according to Edmunds data — they remain the outcasts of the used-car market.

“We’ve definitely seen a lag between EV values and what the market is offering,” says Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds.com. “They have pretty much stayed the same over time.” The caveat here is that for many models, volume is fairly low, so while they’re relatively cheap, they can also be hard to find.

This is exactly the kind of content I want from Bloomberg, and I encourage you to read more of the author’s lament.

Reverse: Innovation Is A Ruse

Give me the car equivalent of a shovel.

Neutral: What’s The Farthest You’ve Gone In An EV?

I did NYC to Detroit and back once, but that was years ago. You?

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