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My 2022 Predictions, Tesla OWNs 2021, Zeekr x Waymo mashup - SAI Newsletter 01


Here we are – 2022! Happy new year! To those reading this newsletter for the 1st time, WELCOME. To those who’ve been readers for a while, thank you for your continued support. I took a look back at when I first pressed send and it was back on August 7TH, 2018. We still don’t advertise this newsletter and the format hasn’t changed much since the beginning, with the exception of the # of readers, but I am hopeful that we will be able to try some new things in 2022 that’ll keep things fresh and interesting so stay tuned! Also, for those that have suggestions on how to improve, as quite a few of you have in the past, please do email me your thoughts – I do take them into consideration. Alternately, you can add me to WeChat or WhatsApp at: 86 138 1167 2141. As for the 1st newsletter of the year – It’s prediction time. I will make some predictions about 2022 and on my last newsletter of 2022 in about 12 months, I will revisit these predictions and see how I did. These are meant to be fun and nothing else. Definitely not investment advice.

  • A Chinese smart EV will offer 10 LiDAR

  • A foreign legacy OEM (am thinking European) will invest in a China EV first company (notice I didn’t say startup)

  • We will get to 5M units of sales for 2022, but it’s gonna take lots of OT from the materials, sourcing, and logistics folks, and a bunch of help from Wuling, Tesla, and BYD

  • The average price of a robotaxi will shrink to <400K RMB. It’ll trigger many more pilots and other startups to enter the space.

  • The Detroit auto show WILL take place this September for the first time in over 3 years. AND I will be in attendance.

  • CATL will feel some growing pains

  • The Cadillac Lyriq & Ford Mustang Mach E will each sell >40K units

  • BYD will sell > 1.4M units next year

  • …so will Tesla

  • Waymo enters China market (through a back door)

We can’t start the month out without talking sales numbers and courtesy of Lei Xing, here they are:

As expected, most automakers outdid themselves and rallied to finish the year off strong. BYD wasn’t quite able to hit the 100K sales numbers for total vehicle sales but it got pretty close. We should make sure to mention that BYD’s total includes PHEVs, NEV, and ICEs. The other notables were XPeng and GAC who joined the 16K club. Li Auto barely missed out on joining the 15K club. No doubt they’ll hit that sometime in 2022. Lei and I are back at it on EVs & More – 01/06/22 Thursday, 9pm EST/01/07 Friday, 10am China local time. To join the room, you can follow me at: @sinoautoinsight and/or Lei at: @leixing77 For those that aren’t able to join, the EVs & More podcast is available wherever you grab your podcasts from. Most of our back pods are posted and the descriptions will be able to tell you what we discussed in that particular episode. TESLA NEWS - Tesla absolutely smashes 2021. We are talking just under 936,172 units or almost 2x what they sold in 2020. - How can the legacies compete with this? I’ve said this before but it’s worth noting again since I am highlighting it now. The legacies that produce orders of magnitude more vehicles than any of their EV first / startup counterparts were always bound to be bitten harder by the chip shortage. Where they scored ‘own’ goals is relying on suppliers to manage the relationships with chip fabs and thinking that these fabs would divert supply from their other, much larger customers in order to keep the OEMs whole. Second, software is the glue that helps integrate different hardware together to make a system and then systems together to make the whole. Tesla was able to swap out chips that weren’t available with chips that were, re-write the code to ensure compatibility, and integrate the new HW/SW into its system in order to keep the production lines running. Other EV first companies should be able to do this as well. The legacies can’t …yet. I get that the legacies are working tirelessly to close the SW expertise gap but as I’ve stated ad nauseum to Team Legacy – How are car guys going to be able to change processes, policies, cultures into a software-dominated product when they collectively don’t have the know-how themselves? We should see even more management shakeups at the legacies as they also come to this conclusion that more tech & SW-focused folks need to be making management/strategic/product decisions. As my boy Biggie once said, ‘..and if you don’t know, now you know.’ THE MOST INTERESTING THING FROM LAST WEEK - The Waymo Zeekr mashup. This has been announced and they’re working together but this is a lifetime away if we are looking at 2024 at the earliest possible year to see these things on the road. By that time, I see data privacy/security laws & policies crystalizing especially the ones that regulate data crossing any borders. I also see HW/SW becoming much more bi-furcated by that time so does Zeekr plan to have a ‘China’ tech stack and a ROW (rest of the world) tech stack? If this is gonna work, that’s what it may boil down to. We haven’t gotten to that point yet but with China EV Inc doing a full-court press on the European market, it’s only a matter of (short) time that this is brought up for debate and clarity. How will the US react to China EV Inc entering its market? Up till now, there are NO significant AV players in China from the US so could this be Waymo’s way of partnering their way in? Perhaps. We should also remember that Waymo wants to be platform agnostic so the Zeekr partnership may raise some eyebrows, it’s one of a number that they already have in place and at the end of the day, it’ll boil down to cost. If Zeekr doesn’t build these things locally, then how will it compete against locally manufactured competitors – it likely won’t be able to. Besides, it’s the software that Waymo wants to specialize in not the entire stack (although they ARE probably developing their own HW as well).

IN THE NEWS - Toyota jumping into the OS game. It’ll be called Arene. This was a make vs. buy decision and Toyota thought better than to hand the keys of about 10M vehicles/year give or take over to a technology company. That makes it formidable. Can they get it right? That’s debatable. - More details are starting to trickle out about EV startup BeyonCa and its grand ambitions, ambitions & vision driven by Weiming Soh, founder and CEO. Weiming has an interesting background and quite a few achievements under his belt while at Daimler & VW. According to Reuters, he was passed over for the top VW job in China because insiders thought his ideas were too radical. With Volkswagen struggling in China, perhaps that’s what they needed? TRENDING ON SOCIAL MEDIA - A Meituan Hesai mashup for autonomous delivery vehicles? You bet! Meituan’s average daily deliveries are 43.6M and covers 2, 500 cities! Holy cow! JUST THE NUMBERS - 70,625. That’s how many ID Series vehicles have been sold since their debut in March 2021. There are currently 5 models that wear the VW ID badge for FAW & SAIC. Since their original target, which I thought was pretty conservative to begin with, of 80-100K wasn’t achieved, I’d say 2021 for VW EVs was a disappointment. More importantly, how do they come back from this in 2022? - 752 miles. Michigan battery startup Our Next Energy said that it tested a Model S using its battery pack and was able to travel 752 miles before needing a recharge. That’s a gamechanger if they can commercialize it. INTRODUCTIONS - The BMW iX M60 – The EV version of an X5 M will run you a cool $160K in China but ONLY $105K in the US. - Merc EQXX – Unveiled at CES, it’s a concept that claims 621-mile range by optimizing the efficiency of everything on the vehicle. Drag, tires, heat dissipation, you name it. It doesn’t much look like any current Merc but what can be gleaned from this design study could prove fruitful for future vehicles. Hey, at least they’re trying, right? —— 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 automotive and mobility sectors here and in the US, we also provide a point of view that we hope educates and sparks debate.


The Sino Auto Insights

Sino Auto Insights is a Beijing, China-based market research and advisory firm that specializes in assisting companies analyze, strategize, and develop products and services that will shape the future of mobility and transportation. Members of our team have experience working in Detroit, Silicon Valley as well as here in China across multiple sectors and functions as entrepreneurs as well as working at larger companies like Apple, Google, Amazon, GM and FCA, and many others.

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Great newsletter Tu. Thanks for sharing all this info.

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