The word is out, Covid has killed the car economy in China, at least temporarily. In Shanghai, no small town, there were no cars sold–Zero! For the month of April. That’s big news.
This story comes to us from several sources but I’ll link to a couple that typify the coverage. Like this one from CNN.
No cars were sold in Shanghai in April as zero-Covid policy hammers activity
“The biggest metropolitan area in China, home to 25 million residents, has been under a strict lockdown for seven weeks. Authorities have ordered people to stay at home and shut down many businesses, as they try to stamp out the city’s worst ever Covid outbreak.Although authorities announced Monday that they will allow “low levels of activity” in some areas, numerous residents told CNN that they had not been allowed to go outside their residential complexes.
The Covid restrictions had a severe impact on the city’s car market — almost all dealers were closed, and no sales were recorded at all, according to a statement from the Shanghai Automobile Sales Trade Association released on Monday.”
The city ranks No. 1 in overall car sales — about 736,700 newvehicles were sold in Shanghai last year, the most among all Chinese cities, according to statistics from the country’s main insurance regulator.It’s also a major manufacturing hub, home to auto producers like Tesla (TSLA) and Volkswagen (VLKAF), as well as major parts suppliers Bosch and ZF Group.
President Joe Biden ordered his administration to mandate vaccines for private companies with over 100 employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration was charged with developing the rule, and the Office of Budget and Management is currently reviewing it. The review process can take as long as 90 days.
Most truck companies have six trucks or fewer, according to the American Trucking Associations.
For mandate-affected companies, Biden’s decision may drive away employees at a time when America needs them most. The American Trucking Associations estimates that America needs 80,000 more truckers to meet transportation needs.
Recently, supply chain crises have left many Americans in need.
Polls by trucking publications Commercial Carrier Journal and OverDrive indicate that up to 30 percent of truckers will seriously consider quitting if required to vaccinate. If they quit, the consequences for America may be massive. US Transport estimates that 70 percent of American freight goes by truck.
They have been adding to that original order and now almost 3 years later and after the Tesla Semi program was delayed, Walmart has announced that it is expanding its Tesla Semi orders to 130 trucks:
“Walmart Canada is now reserving a total of 130 Tesla Semi trucks, making it one of the largest reservations of electrified trucks in the country. The move comes on the heels of Walmart Canada announcing a major $3.5 billion investment over the next five years aimed to generate significant growth in the business and is aligned with Walmarts global goal to target zero emissions by 2040 announced at Climate Week earlier this month.”
Tesla first started taking reservations with a $5,000 deposit per truck, but it later changed the listed deposit price to $20,000 for a “base reservation” of the production version and the full $200,000 for the “Founders Series” truck.
It means that Walmart would have placed over $2 million in deposits alone for the electric trucks and the total order could be worth over $20 million.
It makes this new order one of the biggest orders to date for the Tesla Semi….
Volkswagen ID.4 is enjoying a digital world premiere. This is Volkswagen’s first fully electrically driven SUV generating zero local emissions and is produced with a carbon-neutral balance. It will be launching into the world’s largest and most competitive market segment, the compact SUV class.
Volkswagen has unveiled its first fully electrically driven SUV, the ID.4. It offers the space, flexibility and all benefits customers appreciate about SUVs. This is the first mass-market electric product from the company and is a part of an USD 44 billion plan, which is one-third of the corporation’s planned expenses over the next five years in an “electric offensive” that will include developing the largest electric vehicle production network in Europe and carbon-neutral manufacturing.
Between the Nissan Z Proto, next Hyundai Tucson, and the Ferrari Portofino M, it’s safe to say we’ve had some pretty important news this week. However, the biggest of them all might not concern a new model debut as this week’s headliner could be an acquisition. We’re using “might” because nothing is official at this point, but Car Magazine is reporting the Volkswagen Group has decided to offload elite brand Bugatti to Rimac Automobili.
“The advanced new P400e Plug-In Hybrid perfectly balances performance with fuel economy and all-electric off-road capability,” senior manager for powertrain advanced engineering at Jaguar Land Rover, Iain Gray said in a statement. “The latest model also provides refined and powerful new in-line six-cylinder diesel engines that bring improvements in fuel economy and drivability. They join a comprehensive range of powertrain options for Defender.”
Honda had done hybrids but they’re now doing an all electric car…very tiny…but a car.
Most car companies, not just US auto-makers, but seriously most, are desperately trying to figure out how to make a bigger EV. Honda, who is entering the game a little later, is actually making waves by going small.
“The Honda e, released in Europe earlier this month, is a compact model meant solely for city driving.”
Tesla dominates the market currently, and wisely started with a luxury sedan. Of Course Tesla was a startup company that needed to ramp up production. Selling a high ticket item with limited run capacity made a lot of sense.
Honda has evaluated the market and found a niche they feel they can dominate with an EV given the unique limitations of current technology.
I one sense they are removing the gas bill from a market that typically already drives very efficient vehicles. In another sense they’re removing carbon emissions from a community that is most conscious of smog.
Starting in Europe is the no-brainer choice as they have the highest population centers and highest fuel prices. They’re also less dependent on personal vehicles for longer trips as the rail system already fits that bill.
It appears that the upcoming Lucid Air is poised to enter the market with a trump card against the kings of the premium electric sedan market today: the Tesla Model S and the Porsche Taycan. While the Model S boasts a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.23, and the Porsche Taycan stands with an impressive Cd of 0.22, tests of the Lucid Air at the Windshear facility in North Carolina have determined that the upcoming premium electric sedan has an industry-leading Cd of only 0.21.
The findings were announced by the electric car maker on Tuesday, with Peter Rawlinson, CEO and CTO of Lucid Motors stating that the company has been intensively focused on optimizing the Air’s aerodynamics. This should help the vehicle achieve its target electric range of 400 miles per charge, which should place it right on the level of the Tesla Model S’s EPA range and far above that of the Porsche Taycan.
Sure as night follows day, a limited-edition Lamborghini roadster will always follow a limited-edition Lamborghini coupe. It happened with the Reventón, Veneno and Centenario, and now it’s the turn of the spectacular Lamborghini Sián – the 807bhp hybrid (kinda) hypercar, of which just 63 examples are set to be built.
The Sián Roadster will be rarer still. Lambo is only building 19 and of course they’re all already sold, though no doubt a couple will pop up for auction soon enough. We’ll keep our eyes peeled.