Since it’s a Memorial Day shortened week, we’ll have a shortened newsletter. The big news this week was Elon’s trip to China. He landed on Monday US time, but he was wheels down first in Beijing and NOT Shanghai, which meant he had a very important date with someone in the central government and sure enough – a pic with him meeting with Foreign Minister Qin Gang surfaced shortly after wheels down in PEK. The expectation that he would come was set when Blume, Källenius, Mary, Farley and others recently visited over the last few weeks. There’s a ton of coverage on his trip so I won’t get into too much here, but I will summarize a few of the reasons for why I think he’s there:
To reassure the Chinese govt he’s communicating the importance of a productive relationship between the US & China to the Biden Administration.
Discussing the timing for rollout of FSD in China, perhaps with both Beijing and Shanghai being the inaugural cities.
Meet with battery suppliers to ensure a linear supply of cells for his factories, especially in the US (and whenever MexicoCityGiga comes online).
Let the Chinese govt know that the rumors about building a MumbaiGiga doesn’t change the fact that ShanghaiGiga and the China market are Tesla’s most important.
Check on progress of the revamped MIC M3 and knock down any potential barriers to a smooth, successful launch.
CHINA EVs & MORE Lei is going to be on the left coast this week so China EVs & More live show will be hosted on Twitter Spaces at 9am EST on Friday (June 2nd). For those that can’t join the live show, I invite you to listen to our recorded China EVs & More episodes at this site. And as always, we appreciate any feedback that will make the show better. Also, if there are any companies you want our thoughts on, let me know. I’ve just posted episode #110 and we’ll get #111 posted this week as well if not #112. Apologies for getting behind but we’ll make up for it. TESLA - While Elon is glad handing in China …Tesla is prepping the opening of a flagship store in Thailand. The flagship store will be placed in Bangkok and could be open as early as mid-June. We know Tesla needs to find other markets to dump excess capacity on since BerlinGiga opened up last year, so ASEAN could be the perfect place to do that. I can’t help but think that means a Model 2 is closer than ever to coming true, at least for China and other parts of Asia. - Ford to use (some of) Tesla’s Supercharging network in the US. HUGE boost for Ford vehicles and another way Tesla is affecting the EV sector. Tesla’s Supercharging network is a HUGE difference-maker for those keen to purchase an EV. See below post re: charging station user experience. NEWS THAT GOT OUR ATTENTION THIS WEEK - Local Detroit is covering China EV Inc. Stop the presses! In the last few weeks, we’ve seen articles (the other post below) specifically highlighting Chinese EVs and the China EV Industry and the very real and imposing threat it creates for the US automotive industry. What I’ve been talking about for the last several years is really starting to bleed over to many western outlets and journalists, finally. If they didn’t want to listen to me, it seems they are now heeding the warnings from folks like Elon (see below post), Farley, Tavares, and former VW Group CEO Diess. One major oversight from the author – no acknowledgement about how Tesla was started in the US. - GM EVs that won’t make it to the US. I was interviewed for this article that focused on GM, their products and why the EVs they currently sell in China won’t ever make US shores. One of the vehicles highlighted was the Wuling Hongguang Mini EV. There are several reasons this wouldn’t make it to the US I post this as more proof that the journalists that cover local Detroit and the state of Michigan are now also opening up to the machine that is China EV Inc. - Uber just launched some autonomous delivery robots to supplement their human Uber Eats delivery team. And maybe look to replace many of them when the time is right? These robots come from Serve Robotics and they’re capable of L4 autonomy. Since they operate on sidewalks, speeds will be throttled to ensure the safety of pedestrians. First autonomous deliveries are planned for Los Angeles, then other cities later this year. TRENDING ON SOCIAL MEDIA - Elon endorses BYD (and China EV Inc. to a larger extent) How else, via Twitter. Years ago during an Bloomberg interview he bashed BYD but his tune has changed significantly since. - As EVs move into the mainstream, the charging experience needs to be one step ahead. Outside of my friends that own Tesla’s, the people that I know curious about moving over to an EV are hesitant because of the lack of charging or the lack of reliable charging. As for someone who recently moved back to the US, I was keen to lease an EV but the apartment that I moved into, one that is less than 3 years old and is branded as a ‘luxury’ apartment complex has NO charging stations on any of its 8 floors of adjoining parking. On top of that the first floor, where the retail stores are located also have NO CHARGING. The closest charging stations are a mile away at a mall. Suffice it to say, that I decided against an EV. I got an ICE on a 2-year lease. That means, I’ll be waiting a bit before I pull the trigger on my first EV. I hope articles like this continue to highlight the gap between anxiety and boring when charging your EV. - Pony to launch a non-safety driver robotaxi pilot in Shenzhen. If we’re keeping score, that’s Cruise, Baidu Apollo and Waymo with the only non-safety and perhaps Zoox with non-safety driver pilots? Let me confirm and let you know next week. This gives me a reason to head back to Shenzhen the next time I am in China. INTRODUCING - The $309K Faraday Future Launch Edition. For a fully refundable $5K you can get in line to purchase one of only 300 special edition FF91s! How it’s different (assuming better?) than its competitors, is unclear. WOW. That’s an eye watering price for an EV that was promised years ago from a company who, at every corner hasn’t been able to prove that they get anything past the finish line. Oh, and controversy follows the founder of the company, so much so that he’s not welcome back in China, his home country. BY THE NUMBERS - $1 Trillion. Nvidia briefly joined that exclusive club yesterday. Only 9 other companies in the world have been a part of it and there are only 5 that currently sit above that valuation. And China also plays a bit of a role in Nvidia getting to that stratospheric valuation. _________________ This weekly newsletter is a collection of articles we feel best reflect the happenings of the week or important trends that have effects on the global automotive and mobility sectors. We also provide a point of view that we hope educates and sparks debate. The Sino Auto Insights team