Good morning and welcome back to The Fast Charge, the electric motoring newsletter.
It feels like EV news is pretty quiet at the moment, perhaps because of the Easter weekend, but there are still some juicy items. One such is the new Hummer EV being unveiled. I don’t normally get excited about American cars but it’s the first EV I’ve read about that feels like it’s genuinely trying to be fun and appealing to the un-persuaded petrolheads.
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In the news…
COOKIE CRUMBLES: The company LG used to be the pinnacle of technology. Only about 10 years ago, playgrounds were packed with children carrying the infamous LG Cookie smartphone. It was one of the first readily affordable touchscreen mobiles on the market which made it instantly popular. The problem was, it wasn’t really very good. Not only was the touchscreen surrounded by more plastic than a snared fish, but it also wasn’t really a touchscreen at all - you had to click into the screen to prompt a response. And, therefore, LG quickly fell behind other manufacturers. However, despite this, over the last decade, LG has continued making phones resulting in losses of nearly £3.3 billion. But not any longer. LG has now announced it will close its smartphone business in order to focus on making components for EVs. This increasingly feels like the go-to strategy for many struggling businesses!
WEEKEND RUINED: Scott Morrison, the Australian Prime Minister who keeps coming under criticism for doing sod all on EVs, has become a meme. In 2019, Morrison said in a speech that electric cars would “end the weekend”. He claimed an EV was “not going to tow your trailer, it’s not going to tow your boat.” Well, since 2019 the popularity of EVs has increased immensely and, as the Morrison government still does very little, a group of Aussie motorists have started a new trend of taking pictures of their EV while claiming it has totally ‘ruined the weekend’. It’s very similar to the ‘thanks, Obama’ meme. Perhaps infantile, but I thought it was amusing!
MUSK RUSH: The shares of Tesla has risen by 7% after reporting it delivered 184,800 vehicles and produced 180,338 cars in the first quarter of 2021. This is an increase on the 180,570 deliveries they did in the previous quarter. Some had expected deliveries to drop, especially due to recent semi-conductor supply issues around the world. Though great growth, there are numerous concerns about Tesla getting drawn into a ‘new cold war’ between America and China. One commentator suggested they might become an ‘inverse Huawei’ - lots of their sales come from Chinese buyers. As I’ve said before, Musk is desperately trying to keep everyone happy.
LUCID CHAT: The Guardian published an interview with the Chief Executive of Lucid Motors, Peter Rawlinson, a few days ago. The main take away from the conversation seemed to be Lucid is desperate for a manufacturing partner - potentially Honda, Hyundai or Toyota - which otherwise might put them years behind competitors. That’s despite the projected $4.6 billion they will receive through a spac listing shortly. One item that was interesting in the interview is Rawlinson’s praise for Tesla - despite being a rival. Not only is Rawlinson very open about following the Tesla business model, but also he suggests they have “the best electric technology in production today.” Sharpen your elbows man!
OUTRAGEOUS EV: GMC has finally unveiled their new Hummer EV collection - both an SUV and a pick-up truck. As you can imagine, being Hummer, it is packed full of all the gimmicks and gadgets you’ll never need. Though, that doesn’t mean you won’t want them. Like many EVs coming out at the moment, the new Hummer models come with a good range of over 300 miles, up to 350 kWh fast-charging capacity - meaning you can add 100 miles in 10 minutes - and all the trimmings and assists you expect in a modern car. But, what sets this car apart is how it has shunned the ‘cushy electric’ persona and stayed true to its AK-47, in-your-face, Dan-Bilzerian attitude.
First off, let’s talk power. The Hummer’s basic model comes with 830 horsepower while the pick-up comes with 1,000 - that’s hypercar territory. 0-60 takes just 3 seconds. However, while that’s great, you’re probably not ever going to be doing top speeds in a Hummer, you should be driving over rattlesnakes somewhere in a desert. That’s what they’ve built these Hummer’s for, so to aid the raw power GMC has installed 17 cameras (18 on the pick-up) to give drivers a full HD surround view of the vehicle. How you’ll be able to monitor these cameras is beyond me, but if you do see on one of them that you’re stuck, the Hummer can rise by 6 inches with a special ‘extract mode’ to give you more clearing space. But, perhaps the most fun, the Hummer EV’s will come with ‘crabwalk’ mode. In essence, all four wheels can turn up 10% enabling you to drive diagonally. This might help when off-road or more likely when stuck in a city - which presumably happens a lot in an enormous car.
There are stupid parts to the new Hummer too, such as the ability to remove roof panels - that seems totally unnecessary - and, also, much like other EV models, the eye-watering price - the SUV will cost over $100,000. With a sum like that, you might be better off buying a Rolex that can work on the moon - the only difference is the latter will appreciate in value.
By Tom Riley