Good morning and welcome back to The Fast Charge, the electric motoring newsletter.
In today’s edition… I reveal that Porsche has cancelled production of 300 UK bound Taycans due to the global chip shortage, Cornish Lithium sells out in 15 minutes, and the NHS goes electric.
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Revealed: Porsche Taycan orders halted by chip shortage
Porsche, the luxury German carmaker, is the latest part of the Volkswagen Group to feel the pinch from the global semiconductor shortage.
The Fast Charge can reveal that, in the last week, Porsche has cancelled build slots for around 300 new Taycan EVs which were destined for British buyers.
Build slots are periods of time when vehicles are actually produced by the manufacturer’s factory. This news will mean many orders will now be delayed by a month or potentially longer. New buyers will also have to join the queue behind them.
It’s not known whether it’s only the Taycan model and UK customers which are impacted by the latest shortage.
This news has upset many expecting buyers, some of whom have already been waiting for weeks for their cars to arrive. One user on the online Taycan Forum wrote: “2nd week August then September 2nd week and now October !!”
Another buyer received similar news of a delay: “I’ve just been told by [the] dealer that my car didn’t go into production last week (that was already the 2nd delay). No firm build date, so I’m going to be waiting for some time it seems!” They added: “I’m sure it will be worth the wait.”
The Porsche Taycan is currently one of the most popular luxury electric vehicles. Prices for models start from £70,000 and are seen by many as a competitor to the Tesla Model 3.
Despite only being launched in 2019, the Taycan is now almost Porsche’s most popular car. In the first three months of 2021, Porsche sold 9,072 Taycans which is just a margin behind the company’s iconic 911 which sold 9,133.
Up to this point, Porsche has stayed rather under the radar on its handling of the chip shortage. However, its CEO, Oliver Blume, did warn that it would impact production for months back in February.
Yesterday, Porsche unveiled that it had established a new EV battery facility as part of a partnership with German firm Customcells. This factory signifies a move away from depending on far-away supply chains.
On the Taycan cancellations, a spokesperson for Porsche told The Fast Charge:
“A significant shortage of semiconductor capacities is leading to various supply bottlenecks in many industries around the world (consumer electronics, computers, telecommunications etc.). Various parts and equipment of our vehicles are also affected. Porsche is closely monitoring the situation and reassessing it every day.”
“Since we are aware of this shortage, we have been working continuously and with high pressure in cooperation with the Volkswagen Group to keep restrictions as low as possible and to minimize the effects and possible delays. We currently assume that the supply of chips will continue to be strained in the coming months.”
There is good news on the horizon for buyers, though, as Porsche added: “We expect an improvement in the supply of semiconductors in the second half of the year.”
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Elsewhere in the news…
GOLD RUSH: Yesterday, the mining company Cornish Lithium, which is said to be sitting on a globally significant amount of lithium, raised £2 million in just 15 minutes. The company listed on Crowdcube, a crowdsourced investment portal, which any investor could buy into. Apparently, 1,000 rushed in to get a piece of the company. Elsewhere, Cornish Lithium also raised £4 million from bigger investors (are they called whales?). This now means the company is valued at around £80 million. It seems all the excitement about their findings has captured people’s imagination - no doubt spurred on by the EV wave. However, the company still doesn’t have a large-scale way to extract the lithium in question. Hopefully, this won’t be another Sirius Minerals - a mining company in Yorkshire that got investors very excited before burning out. Read more on City AM.
DEFIBRILLATOR: New research has found that half (51%) of NHS trusts have installed EV charging infrastructure on their sites for staff, patients and the wider community to use. Meanwhile, 43% plan to install charging facilities within the next five years or are in early-stage planning. These findings come from the energy firm Eaton who pinged off 173 Freedom of Information Requests to the country’s NHS trusts - 142 responded. Read more on Fleet News.
NEW FACTORY: Volvo Cars and Northvolt (a Swedish battery start-up) are setting up a joint project to build a new battery gigafactory in Europe. The cells produced will be used by Volvo as well as its premium brand Polestar. When the new factory is finished, it should be capable of producing enough batteries for 500,000 cars each year. Read more.
SMALL GIANT: I’ve mentioned on many occasions now China’s Wuling Hongguang Mini EV. It’s the tiny £3,400 car that is currently the most popular production EV on Earth - they are selling more of them than Tesla models. Well, the EV YouTube channel Fully Charged have finally got their hands on one and given it a road test. If you’re interested to learn more about the Mini EV, check it out:
By Tom Riley