Deep Dive on NIO, Cadillac's Time to Shine, VW's Substantial Bankroll - SAI Newsletter #23

One important announcement this week.

Please mark your calendars for Thursday, July 23rd 8AM – Noon EST. Sino Auto Insights is co-sponsoring – Mobility 2.0: The Quest for Mobility Supremacy.

It’s a virtual conference with panels and a fireside chat on electric, autonomous, connectivity, and urban mobility. There will be some killer panelists that should educate, inform, and entertain. Specific details to follow shortly.

Let’s get at it right away.


-   Tesla is going to be tough to dethrone – After another solid month of sales. Makes April sales which were not great, look like an anomaly, although this may say more about China’s recovery than Tesla’s dominant sales. If these Chinese EV Startups aren’t careful, Tesla’s lead may become insurmountable.

-   Tesla gets approval by the Chines govt. to use lithium-iron batteries for their China made Model 3s. Pros are: cheaper, don’t use cobalt – Cons: less dense which means that using the same number and size of battery cells would equal less range. That’s unless you’ve developed the technology (HW + SW) that can close that gap. Looks like they and / or their partner may have done just that. The rich keep getting richer.

-   The next set of unicorns? Forbes, with some help, predicts which startups have the most ambition & ability to get to that lofty valuation. This shouldn’t surprise anyone but mobility / transportation startups are nowhere to be found on the list so for those that work at these shops currently, it’s time to roll up those sleeves, put your head down and get to work making an amazing product or service since your time in the ‘investment’ spotlight has passed if you hadn’t already known that.


-   Triumph Motorcycles decides it wants in on electric bicycles. The high end of the e-bike market (>$3.5K) seems to be pretty crowded so I must be missing something because I can’t imagine that their market research ALL points to that being the ‘meat’ of the market and that the average e-bike consumer is willing to spend that much on one.

-   Nikola Motors all smoke and mirrors? That seems to be the case as the CEO is found to have exaggerated, some would call it lied, about the hydrogen-powered Nikola One’s capabilities. An easy way to put this to bed since he made those bold claims in 2016 is to roll out a prototype tomorrow and show us that it CAN indeed do what he said it could NOW. That’s not likely to happen though as he’s flaming Bloomberg on Twitter as opposed to pushing back on the story. I follow him on Twitter – He tweets A LOT. Like in so much that he probably doesn’t do enough REAL work. That probably reminds you of someone else in a pretty important leadership role …but I digress.

-   July 9th is confirmed to be the re-birthdate of the Ford Bronco. I know many people, including myself, are looking forward to this reveal. Let’s hope that Ford re-Does it right.

-   Ford Motor COO, Jim Farley already talking trash about how SUPERIOR the Bronco will be vs. the Jeep Wrangler. Stuff like this keeps the sector light AND interesting but coming from the COO – even better! Jeep owners, I AM CERTAIN are like ‘Bring it!’

-   For those car fanatics that appreciate some of the more unique cars that weren’t sold in the US, I have some good news for you, these cars have all turned or are all older than 25 years old! For those wondering what I am talking about, the US allows cars 25 years or older to be imported without having to meet safety / emissions standards. Who knew Holden made their own version of an El Camino!

- Lyft pledges to have 100% Zero Emissions vehicles by 2030. That’s 10 years away so it seems very doable and they seem to be the first notable transportation company to make this pledge so kudos to them. Actually, I think there may be one or two more that have also made similar pledges so if I find them, I’ll update in next week’s newsletter.


Lucid Air reveal scheduled for September 9th. Worth it to tune in and see if this is a viable competitor to Tesla’s stable of cars or just another ‘also-ran.’

-   Testing out new electric bicycle form factors. Check out the uber-expensive Civilized Cycles – Model 1. It’s what you’d get if a Trek road bike and a Vespa scooter had a baby. What makes it unique and I still haven’t decided if it’s in a good way or not yet, are the saddlebags that cover both sides of the rear tire. Oh and surprise! It’s not cheap – As in $6K expensive. Makes the Eeyo, which weighs 1 / 3 of the Model 1’s 75lbs, look like a total bargain!


This weekly newsletter is a collection of articles I feel best reflect the happenings of the week or important trends that have effects on the automotive and mobility sectors here and in the US, I also provide a point of view that I hope educates and sparks debate.

The  Sino Auto Insights team

EVs NIO – In the spotlight. I had a few conversations with Dan Xin Huang for this NIO deep dive he wrote and I give him a lot of credit for writing a well-rounded piece since over the last few months NIO seemed to make headlines in every weekly news cycle. I speak with journos pretty regularly and I know most would rather do longer, deep dives like these, and I also prefer reading these longer forms since it will normally educate me a lot more about the subject or industry.  He doesn’t get too much into the details of the bailout from the Hefei govt. so I feel there’s going to be a follow up to this article that’ll update on NIO’s post Covid-19 progress, especially as their newest investor begins to influence some of their business decisions. A must-read for those who want to know more about the China EV sector and one its main protagonists.   And the best part – I got the credit for calling out the NIO rule! #TheWireChina