Electric Vehicles

Electric Vehicles (125)

More American car shoppers are researching Tesla vehicles in response to the automaker’s price cut announcement on Jan. 13, according to Edmunds, an online car shopping resource that generates more than 20 million visits every month. According to Edmunds data for the week ending on January 15, 2023:

  • On-site shopper consideration of Tesla vehicle pages on Edmunds jumped to 4% of all researched brands compared to 1.9% the week prior, which analysts note is nearly at parity with the brand’s spike in on-site shopper consideration that was generated in March 2022 when gas prices skyrocketed.
  • The Tesla Model Y became the second most researched vehicle on Edmunds (behind the Honda CR-V), up from 70th place the week prior.
  • The Tesla Model 3 moved up 36 spots to become the 11th most researched vehicle on Edmunds.

“Consumers have grown accustomed to price hikes and the expectation to pay over MSRP for quite some time, so a discount this generous or easy to comprehend was understandably welcomed by car shoppers,” said Jessica Caldwell, Edmunds’ executive director of insights.

Edmunds analysts conducted a deeper dive into Tesla appraisal, pricing and days-to-turn data in the aftermath of the price cut announcement. Edmunds data reveals:

  • Appraisals jumped as current Tesla owners sought real-time updates on the effect the cuts have on the value of their vehicle. According to Edmunds data from January 13, 2023 (the day Tesla announced its price cuts), Tesla appraisals through Edmunds’ free online appraisal tool more than tripled in volume, climbing to 3.1% of all vehicles, compared to 0.8% the day prior.
  • Tesla list prices dropped across the board. In the first 17 days of January, prices of 2020 model year or newer used Teslas dropped 24.5% since their peak in June 2022. In June 2022, Teslas listed for an average price of $76,626 compared to $58,657 this month. List prices for all 2020 model year or newer used vehicles industry wide dropped 11.6% during the same time period.
  • Used Teslas were already lingering on dealer lots before the announcement — and are expected to sell even slower as price cuts affect their residual values further. Days to turn (DTT) for used Tesla models climbed from a low of 24 days in June 2022 to 39 days in December 2022 (on par with the industry average of 39 days in December). Edmunds analysts note this slowdown is the result of a unique combination of factors driving down residual values and demand, including car flippers jumping into the market as used prices hit their peak, followed by a drop in used values and interest rate hikes, controversy surrounding Elon Musk’s Twitter acquisition, and incentives introduced by Tesla in November and December. Edmunds analysts expect DTT for used Teslas will only continue to rise through January.

“The Tesla price cuts will affect consumers quite differently depending on which side of the news they sit,” said Ivan Drury, Edmunds’ director of insights.

The new J.D. Power EV Index will be an analytics tool to track the growing EV market in the United States. Each month, the index will arrive at one number (on a 100-point scale) to make it easy to understand the progress to parity of EVs with traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. The sub-category numbers will represent all the roadblocks to parity. On Jan. 17, the EV Index score is 47 (based on the most recent available data from November 2022), with some categories improving and others declining during the 12-month pilot period. The EV Index score and accompanying analysis will be available monthly.

“Vehicle electrification has industry leaders grappling with billion-dollar decisions, and hyper-detailed data and analytics will help guide their decision making,” said Elizabeth Krear, vice president of electric vehicle practice at J.D. Power. “We’ve created a smart and dynamic way to capture how the EV marketplace is performing in relation to gas-powered vehicles, and the index provides a heightened level of detail never seen before in this arena.”

Millions of data points are aggregated into six specific categories to make up the EV Index:

  • Interest—This factor measures the potential commitment to purchasing an EV based on online behavioral data. The Interest score is 32, up 8 points from a year ago in the pilot phase, due largely to the growing number of EV models available or soon coming to market.
  • Availability—This factor measures the proportion of new-vehicle buyers who have an EV purchase option that meets their buying needs, reflective of factors like price, manufacturer origin, segment and other inputs. The Availability score is 30, up 12 points year over year due largely to the ongoing introduction of EV models into new and important segments.
  • Adoption—This factor measures the proportion of new-vehicle buyers who purchase an EV, relative to those with a viable substitute meeting their needs. The Adoption score is 22, down 4 points from a year ago primarily because the expansion of EV model availability is outpacing EV retail share.
  • Affordability—This factor measures the total cost of ownership of an EV compared with the ICE segment average (after tax credits, rebates, incentives, operating costs and residual values—for both purchase and lease transactions). The Affordability score is 84, down 12 points year over year as EV prices have increased and 15 models were disqualified beginning in August when the Inflation Reduction Act’s North America manufacturing criteria kicked in. The Affordability score is expected to change dramatically based on January 2023 data as the manufacturers’ volume cap is lifted, but vehicle price thresholds and income limits are factored into the purchase of an EV. Leasing, which is currently at 10%, also is expected to grow because the criteria is less restrictive for leasing.
  • Infrastructure—This factor measures the availability, location, speed, and quality and reliability of EV charging compared with gas stations for ICE vehicles. The Infrastructure score is 27, down 4 points year over year primarily because the volume of EV units in operation is outpacing the rate of reliable charger installations.
  • Experience—This factor measures owners’ overall satisfaction with their EV, including appeal, quality, durability, range and the sales and service experiences, as compared with an ICE vehicle equivalent. The Experience score is 89, down 2 points from a year ago due largely to declining satisfaction with the EV sales experience.

It’s anticipated that more than 1 million new electric vehicles will be sold in the United States this year, setting a record. Manheim volumes generally reflect new-vehicle sales, with a time lag of about three to four years, and the company has been preparing for increased EV sales for several years.

In 2021, Manheim invested nearly $100 million in facility, innovation, and process improvements to deliver a more connected client experience. EV infrastructure and initiatives were a key piece of this investment. Efforts underway include a Manheim- and Cox Mobility-trusted battery health score poised to lead the industry in measuring battery health and safety equipment and training for 850 EV technicians.

Through the third quarter of 2022, Manheim processed 144,000 EV and hybrid units, representing around 3.0% of the volume. There are already more than 700 chargers across 67 Manheim locations that serve the roughly 16,000 EVs on auction lots on any given day.

Tesla has reduced prices on many of its models until at least March. The automaker’s cheapest model, the Model Y had a 20% reduction, making it eligible for the new $7,500 EV tax credit along with a $21,000 reduction in Tesla’s most expensive Model, the Model S Plaid ($190,000).

The Treasury Department and IRS released guidelines late last year that Tesla CEO Elon Musk disliked because the Model Y didn’t weigh enough to be deemed an SUV.

Tesla buyers demand refunds amidst protests at dealerships in China.

That means the vehicle is subject to the $55,000 price cap that applies to sedans, rather than the $80,000 limit for SUVs. 

Tesla also made major reductions in countries including Germany, the UK and France a week after its second round of cuts in China just since October. This year Tesla came up short on its projection for annual vehicle deliveries. The company's stock fell as much as 5.5% to $120.00 a share after the announcement . 

Last week, Bernstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi downgraded Tesla stock to a “sell rating,” citing the automaker's demand problem and that their models were too expensive to qualify for the new EV tax credit. “We believe Tesla will need to either reduce its growth targets (and run its factories below capacity) or sustain and potentially increase recent price cuts globally, pressuring margins,” Sacconaghi wrote in a Jan. 2 report. “We see demand problems remaining until Tesla is able to introduce a lower-priced offering in volume, which may only be in 2025." 

SparkCharge, the first company to create a mobile EV charging system and network, has launched its fleet services solution, the newest available from its mobile Charging as a Service lineup.

“SparkCharge was founded in part to expedite electric vehicle adoption and accessibility for everyone,” said Josh Aviv, founder and CEO of SparkCharge. “Electrifying a fleet doesn’t have to be expensive – our turnkey EV fast charging solutions allow businesses to make the switch from gas-powered vehicles to battery-electric, enabling them to be in compliance with green initiatives while lowering overall operations and maintenance costs.”

Fleet owners and operators who use the service can log into the portal, enter their address, select the vehicles that need to be charged, select a date and time for the vehicles to be charged, and with the click of a button, energy is delivered to the vehicles.

SparkCharge offers the only 100% electric and grid-free portable fast-charging EV solution available today. Additional benefits of SparkCharge’s mobile CaaS for fleets include:

  • No CapEx: SparkCharge’s mobile CaaS doesn’t require businesses to install fixed infrastructure to charge EV fleets, removing the burden of high capital investment with specialized programs combining site design, energy deployment, software and service to make EV fleet operations seamless.
  • Speed to Market: The portable, turnkey EV charging solution can be up and running in as few as 14 days in some markets, compared to the years it takes to construct and install fixed charging units.
  • Flexible and Scalable Infrastructure: The SparkCharge network is built to scale to meet a company’s growing EV charging needs. It’s also designed to service EVs of all sizes and varieties and gives businesses freedom of where to place vehicle assets and allows fleets to charge vehicles in multiple locations at the same time. 

Honda and Sony unveiled their joint EV venture at the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) show in Las Vegas on Wednesday. The automaker and the electronics giant announced their 50-50 joint venture in March of last year. It brings together Honda’s experience in autos, mobility technology and sales with Sony’s imaging, network, sensor and entertainment expertise. Sony Honda Mobility chief executive Yasuhide Mizuno unveiled the venture's first high-tech prototype car, a mid-size sedan EV, called "Afeela.”

Yasuhide Mizuno, speaks during a press event at CES in Las Vegas.

In what may be a first, the emphasis with the Afeela has been on software and user interface technology as much as on driving dynamics and performance. “As safety and security are essential to mobility, we will integrate Sony’s sensors and the Honda safety along with other intelligent technologies,” Mizuno said. There are 45 cameras and sensors inside and outside the vehicle, some of which are used to detect the condition of the driver to help ensure alertness and safety.

The car’s front bumper has a narrow exterior display screen the company calls the media bar. It will allow the vehicle to show information and interact with people outside the vehicle. “At the heart of this mobility experience is the word ‘feel,’” Mizuno said. The car will come with a wealth of entertainment options, with a focus on sensing and interacting with people. Unreal Engine graphics (the company that brought the world Fortnight) is designing user interface graphics for the EV, tech that has already been used by other auto brands, including GM's Hummer EV.  

 

 

Claus C. Tritt is the new vice president of Medium Duty and Commercial Vehicle Sales at GreenPower, bringing along more than 36 years of experience. GreenPower Motor Co. is a manufacturer and distributor of zero-emission, electric-powered, medium and heavy-duty vehicles. 

“We are excited to add Claus Tritt to our executive team to lead GreenPower’s sales efforts in the medium duty and commercial line,” said GreenPower President Brendan Riley. “Claus brings the experience and knowledge to lead the continued growth of our EV Star platform of trucks and vans for the movement of both goods and people. He has already begun developing relationships with dealers and customers that will propel GreenPower’s sales forward in 2023 and beyond.”

After serving in an Airborne Regiment in West Germany, Tritt began his automotive career as a sales consultant for a Mercedes-Benz owned retail store. After holding differing roles in the sales, market and platform management areas of the company, he later went on to a leadership role in the fleet division of DaimlerChrysler in Auburn Hills, Mich. in 2003.

After 30 years of successful service with Mercedes-Benz, Tritt returned to the retail side of the automotive business, operating a luxury car dealership in Birmingham, Ala. Most recently he served in a sales and business development role at Canoo.

General Motors is recalling certain 2017-2023 Chevrolet Bolt EV vehicles. After a crash with seat belt pretensioner deployment, the pretensioner exhaust may ignite carpet fibers near the B-pillar, causing a fire.

The NHTSA campaign number is 22V930000.

The potential number of units affected is 111,242.

Dealers will install metal foil at the carpet near the pretensioner exhaust, and install a pretensioner cover as necessary, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed Jan. 30. GM’s number for this recall is N222383790.

Tesla, under the stewardship of CEO Elon Musk, has been taking a drubbing in 2022’s Q4. Two areas that look to spell trouble for Tesla in 2023 involve the public's confidence in Musk at the helm of Twitter and Tesla’s overblown autonomous driving claims. Since Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion in October, double its estimated value (at the time, Twitter's valuation continues to fall), Tesla has been in an intertwined free fall with the social media platform.   

On Friday, Tesla’s shares had fallen to $150, a two-year low, having lost 55% of its share value so far this year (compared with losses of around 18% for the S&P 500 index). This spurred Oppenheimer Analyst Colin Rusch to downgrade shares of Tesla to perform from outperform, saying he can no longer 

Within minutes of posting the poll, more than one million people had voted.

In what may turn out to be another Musk attempt to affect stock shares via tweeting, on Sunday the self-proclaimed chief Twit, posted one of his rule-by-decree polls asking the twitterverse: “Should he step down as Twitter's CEO?” He received a resounding yes and Tesla stock had a 2% bounce on opening trading Monday morning, providing more fuel to the fire linking Musk's behavior on Twitter and Tesla’s Q4 stock meltdown. Wedbush analyst Dan Ives in a note on Thursday described Musk's handling of Twitter and his selling off of Tesla stock to stem the wound as a “funding nightmare.” He accused Musk of treating Tesla as an ATM machine. “The nightmare of Musk owning Twitter has been an episode out of the Twilight Zone that never ends and keeps getting worse,” Ives said, noting that Musk signaled in April he was done selling Tesla stock. Musk sold another $3.6 billion worth of Tesla stock last week, totaling $23 billion sold this year. 

Adding another dimension to Tesla's confidence woes, prosecutors in Washington and San Francisco are deciding whether to bring criminal charges against the automaker, contending Tesla misled consumers, investors and regulators by making unsupported claims about its driver assistance technology’s capabilities. 

The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) launched the previously undisclosed investigation last year following more than a dozen crashes, some of them fatal, involving Tesla’s driver assistance system known as Autopilot, which was activated during the accidents, the drivers said.

 

The family of Walter Huang filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Tesla, saying the company's Autopilot feature is defective and resulted in a fatal crash on U.S. 101 in Silicon Valley on March 23, 2018

 

Beginning in 2016, Tesla’s marketing materials have touted Autopilot’s capabilities. Musk described the tech as “probably better” than a human driver and last week he claimed Tesla’s newest software would be an upgraded version to “full self-driving,” allowing customers to travel “to your work, your friend’s house, to the grocery store without you touching the wheel.” A video currently on the company’s website says: “The person in the driver’s seat is only there for legal reasons. He is not doing anything. The car is driving itself.”  

In what would seem a direct contradiction of all the Autopilot hype, Tesla’s website also explicitly warns drivers that they must keep their hands on the wheel and maintain control of their vehicles while using Autopilot. The Tesla technology is designed to assist with steering, braking, speed and lane changes but its features “do not make the vehicle autonomous.”

Because of Tesla’s warnings about over-reliance on Autopilot, the Justice Department may have an upward battle in building its case. Barbara McQuade, a former U.S. attorney in Detroit who prosecuted automotive companies in fraud cases, said investigators likely would need to uncover evidence such as emails or other internal communications showing that Tesla and Musk purposely made misleading statements about Autopilot’s capabilities.

The question remains will Musk step aside from Twitter? And will confidence in his ability to run Tesla rebound in 2023? Stay tuned.

 

Toyota Motor North America and Oncor Electric Delivery, a Texas-based electric transmission and distribution company, will collaborate on a vehicle-to-grid project, a technology that allows vehicles to flow energy from their battery back onto the electric grid. The effort will be led by Toyota’s Electric Vehicle Charging Solutions team, marking an important first collaboration with a public utility for Toyota in the U.S. around Battery Electric Vehicles.

The results from the research will allow Toyota and Oncor to be better prepared to support the broader EV charging ecosystem in the United States. Further, these efforts will allow Toyota to elevate the customer experience for Toyota BEV customers, accelerate efforts in carbon neutrality and provide advances in business opportunities.

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