Onto doubles its delivery costs to £99

The latest news from the world of EVs

Hello and welcome back to The Fast Charge, a British EV newsletter.

In today’s edition… Tesla opens up its superchargers, Onto raises its delivery costs, and Clarkson goes green.

As ever, if you have any questions or thoughts, please do contact me at tomrileylondon@gmail.com.

In the last week…

ONTO INFLATION: The fledging EV start-up Onto, who only recently secured $175m in funding to expand, last night announced a new change to its operation. From January 2022, the cost of getting a car delivered or picked up will rise to £99.50 from £49.50. That means, should you get a car delivered for a minimum of 1 month, you shall have to fork out just under £200 in delivery fees as well as the monthly car cost. “This is not an easy decision to take,” explained Rob Jolly CEO and Co-founder at Onto in an email to customers. He added: “The current pricing is not sustainable for us as a business, especially as logistics costs are rising due to the driver shortage.” The cheapest monthly rate you can get for an EV with Onto is £339 – so the new delivery fees may certainly incentivise people to keep hold of one for longer. I personally am a really big fan of Onto. It’s a clever idea but, I do wonder if one of its USPs was for people to be able to try out EVs before buying one – especially at the higher end. But these new prices could put some off. Maybe not. Though it would certainly make me think twice.

OPEN UP: In a first step to what may eventually be commonplace, Tesla his week launched a pilot project in the Netherlands in which non-Tesla’s will be allowed to use 10 locations in its Supercharger network. This is the first time that Tesla has opened its charging stations to EVs from other companies and has been mooted for a long time. It will be interesting to see how it fairs as to determine the impact when (or if) something similar launches here. Read more.

BUDGET: Last week saw the latest budget by Chancellor Rishi Sunak. It was an interesting one, in the same 60 minutes where a green economy was being championed, he also seemed to do the opposite, such as by halving Air Passenger Duty on domestic flights and keeping fuel duty frozen – though, as I said last week, I do have sympathy with many caught up in this fuel crisis. Importantly for the world of EVs, there was no cutting of grants for low-emission vehicles. I did think it would be a strange one given COP26 ongoing and the recent £600m bonus for EV related funding, but I am still led to believe that the sword lingers.

ELECTRIC STORE: New data analysed by ZapMap and the RAC has shown that some 1,000 chargepoints have been installed at supermarket locations in the last 21 months. This takes the total number of supermarket charging locations to just over 2,000 in total. This means some 8% of all chargepoints across our great land are now nestled next to our grocery stores. I expect this number will only increase with all major supermarket brands announcing new partnerships in recent months. Mostly recently Waitrose pledged to build 800 with Shell. Read more.

SHELL SUIT: Speaking of Shell…As COP has arrived, an intense spotlight has been shone on those contributing to CO2 emissions. While it’s generally accepted, even by groups like the IEA and the EU, that we’ll need to rely on fossil fuels and unsustainable means during this ‘transition’, it seems some people have other ideas. One such person is Daniel Loeb who, through a hedge fund called Third Point, has built up a $750m stake in Shell. They are now proposing that the company be broken up – splitting the legacy operations of oil with the future business that leans green. Their concern is that you can’t have a business trying to pull one way and then the other simultaneously – it’s incoherent. It’s a nice idea – though surely it would make Shell more susceptible to further activist investors (?) – but, crucially, would it be beneficial to us at home? If you were to look at a company like BP, as I’ve covered before in-depth, they seem to be struggling to ride two horses of the energy transition. But, Shell on the other seems to have a better handle on it. I guess the question for Loeb and us is, could they do much better without shackles? I’m not so sure. I think Shell’s approach – which so far seems to be using its war chest to arm people that know what they are doing, such as its purchase of Ubitricity earlier this year or its development of hydrogen facilities with other partners, is sensible. Whereas, if they split, Shell would surely simply become a management company?

GREEN CLARKSON: While Jeremy Clarkson regularly attacks electric vehicles at every chance he can get, it seems his eldest daughter is not so convinced of her father’s ways. Or at least, is more easily bought off. Emily Clarkson, a writer and influencer, recently ‘partnered’ with Ford to promote the new Mustang Mach E. The video shared by Clarkson shows her and her partner travelling in their EV to Ireland including using various charging points along the way. “The fast chargers BLEW OUR MINDS”, wrote Clarkson in the supporting text. She added: “We were pleasantly surprised, incredibly relieved and actually SO excited at how easy it was to do that trip with electric power.” Well, what does her father think of all this? Jeremy wrote in the comments, “That’s a good video.” Dear reader, the video was not well made.

SHARES DOWN: It seems not even automotive manufacturers in China can escape the supply chain crisis. Reports from yesterday show that the EV company NIO – who many suggest will be a significant challenger in Europe – has not delivered nearly as many cars as expected thanks to the global shortage. In October, deliveries dropped by 25% and 65% when compared to September. Crikey! Their shares dropped by 5% on the news. Read more.

SHARES UP: In better automotive financial news, following the soaring success of Tesla’s stock last week, over in Sweden there was a similar, though much less dramatic story. On its debut last week, Volvo’s share price in Stockholm rose by a fifth. This puts the market cap at nearly $22-23 billion – up from the initial $18bn. It’s a long way from Musk’s one trillion but good news for a brand that has reinvented itself. Earlier this year, Volvo said it would go fully electric by 2030. Read more.

By Tom Riley