Not everything is good in EV Land.
Nine, a Chinese manufacturer of electric cars struggling to become the next Tesla
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have fallen on difficult times. A perfect storm with reduced government subsidies, uncertainty caused by the US trade war, and generally lower demand in China have forced the manufacturer to cut more than 2,000 jobs and vigorously "optimize" its operations by spinning off non-core businesses by yearend. The company's shares have fallen.
Unfortunately, Nio is not alone.
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In mid-October, the production of its LiveWire electric motorcycle stopped briefly due to problems with charging the vehicle using low-voltage outlets (those found in the home or garage).
Similar problems plague Volkswagen
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device Audi. In June, e-tron, its electric SUV, was forced to revoke because of a fire hazard. The company has recalled half of e-tron cars sold since the model was launched in April.
June was a month of recalls for Jaguar. The I-Pace model has had problems with regenerative braking, which can lead to increased delay between braking and the vehicle braking up, increasing the risk of a crash.
From vacuum to cars (almost)
Should I continue? What about Dyson? The British company is known for its fans and vacuum cleaners, but you may not know that it actually intends to become an electric car manufacturer. After spending $ 3.1 billion, Dyson scrapped the project, realizing it would not be commercially viable. Apparently, the automotive industry is very difficult to come by, with many sunk costs and significant capital costs.
One of the longest major strikes in the automotive industry in more than 20 years – the 31-day General Motors
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strike – concluded, with United Auto Workers union (UAW) and GM dealers reaching a preliminary agreement. What drove the strike was GM's transition from internal combustion engines (ICE) to EV. Electronic vehicles have fewer parts and can be assembled by machines. UAW fears electrification could result in the loss of 35,000 jobs as GM streamlines the production cycle.
Still, GM's Chevrolet sells a relatively inexpensive electric vehicle known as the Bolt. Nearly 5,000 were delivered in the third quarter. (In comparison, Tesla delivered around 80,000 Model 3s in the same time period.)
Finally, it's the Porsche – another unit of Volkswagen. Although Taycan, called by some (including me) a Tesla challenger, sells as hotcakes, the company has failed to compete for price with the Model S. A fully loaded Taycan Turbo S goes for $ 187,000, compared to $ 114,900 for the top trim Tesla Model S performance.
Porsche's attempt to address this was to release the Taycan 4S – a less exorbitant EV from $ 104,000. The range and acceleration of this model is not only the Model S, but also the much cheaper Tesla Model 3. Taycan is no Tesla killer, which shows how difficult it is to make an EV that is both performance and affordable. Unless you're Tesla, of course.
Asian automakers, on the other hand, have had less grief with EVs, even though they have been slow to roll out cars for the US market. The economical Nissan Leaf is a big seller, though the standard battery allows the car to travel just 150 miles between charges. A larger battery pack is rated at 226 miles range.
This year, Kia began selling the all-electric Niro, but only available in a dozen states. Toyota
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announced this year that it will put a great deal of pressure on electrification after focusing on fuel cells for years. The Prius hybrid car has been especially popular in the US Honda
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currently has only one electric vehicle for sale in the United States, but only in two states.
Back to Tesla: According to a Jefferies equity research document, it is the only company that does not share the accident of its competitors. In fact, Tesla will maintain the positive sum of growth and earnings for at least during 2019-2020, while other manufacturers still face high costs in EV production and try to offset losses by relying on gasoline and diesel sales.
Tesla's mission – "to accelerate the emergence of sustainable transport" – seems to be on the right track, and although the figures in the Jefferies paper are only estimates and estimates, the company has still been one of the few successful independent car makers and pioneers .
However, in this new age of electric cars, anything can happen, and Tesla has had moments of bankruptcy. EV Land, it turns out, is a difficult place to live.
Jurica Dujmovic is a MarketWatch columnist.