Good morning and welcome back to The Fast Charge, the electric motoring newsletter.
Lots of news in the last few days! From Dogecoin to EV car mechanics, the edition is quite wide-ranging today.
Do drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any feedback, questions or comments.
In the news…
PRICE WAR: Over the weekend, Transport & Environment, a Brussels based group that campaigns for cleaner transport, filed a report that claimed electric cars and vans will be cheaper to produce than fossil-fueled vehicles by 2027. It’s thought that decreasing battery prices plus dedicated EV factories will reduce the cost of manufacturing. This will mean very soon it will make more sense for people to buy electric than petrol, which could end up being more expensive.
HOWEVER: It is super news that EVs could soon be much more accessible. But I am hesitant to pop the champagne just yet. We cannot forget that soon lithium and nickel demand - key for producing an EV - will soon be greater than the supply. It doesn’t take a genius to realise that will lead to a price increase of raw materials. No wonder the Chinese are trying to corner off the market (see last week's FC).
E-MEERKAT: The average cost of insuring an EV in the UK is £45 less than the cost of covering a petrol or diesel car, according to a new analysis by comparethemarket.com. Research of annual premiums in the first three months of this year showed EV drivers were charged an average of £566, while petrol and diesel drivers paid £611. It’s thought that coronavirus lockdowns have played a part, as fewer claims are being made. However, comparethemarket.com have their own hypothesis, they believe: “Electric cars are typically less likely to be stolen and more likely to be recovered when they are, due to their limited range and because charging them is relatively time-consuming.” I can’t work out if this is good or bad!
NEW CENTRE: The chemical giant Johnson Matthey opened up a new Battery Technology Centre in Oxford last week. The firm plans to use the site to research materials that can be better used in EV production. The plant was opened by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng. Oxford isn’t exactly a place that needs levelling up but it’s still great that more jobs and new technology will be developed on British soil. Read more.
JOKES ON YOU: Elon Musk hosted Saturday Night Live at the weekend. The American comedy show often features celebrities but rarely a billionaire. Although, that wasn’t the record Musk was glad to break. He explained he is the first person with Asperger's to host the show, "or at least the first person to admit it." It must be terrifying for anyone to complete a comedic monologue to millions of people and credit to Musk for doing it. Throughout the show, there are a number of comedy sketches that he also featured in which mention Tesla and his plan for Mars. I personally didn’t find much of them funny but you can watch them on the SNL YouTube channel.
JOKES ON MUSK: During Musk’s performance on SNL, the carmaker’s Ford, Volkswagen, Volvo and Lucid Motors all ran adverts for their electric cars. It doesn’t look like Musk was aware of the advert. However, he did mention in his monologue that "I could say something truly shocking, like I drive a Prius." A slight dig at Toyota.
JOKES ON DOGE: In a final piece of Musk related drama. During his SNL performance, the joke cryptocurrency Dogecoin fell dramatically following a skit about it. Everyone expected it to go up as Musk has promoted it endlessly alongside Bitcoin. Well, just this morning Musk has tweeted a poll titled “Do you want Tesla to accept Doge?”. So far 77% say ‘yes’. Nearly 2 million people have voted.
CYBERPUNK: MG has unveiled plans to put its futuristic Cyberster roadster into production. The roadster, which looks like something out of Bladerunner with a face like a cobra snake, has received around 5,000 registrations of interest. MG hasn’t unveiled any specifications yet but it’s believed the range will be around 497 miles with a 0-62mph time of under 3 seconds. MG is owned by the Chinese firm SAIC. However, the two-seater will likely be made available in the UK, which is quite right seeing as the rear lights are shaped like a Union Jack. Read more on Autocar.
NEW CHALLENGER: Porsche has really shown the power of embracing EV’s in the last 12 months. Its Taycan EV is a thing of beauty that has translated into huge sales - and I say that as someone who often found Porsche models quite dull. But now the company has revealed it will be producing an all-electric Macan SUV in 2023 too. The car will enter the increasingly competitive electric SUV market. The Macan EV will use similar tech to the Taycan which should make it very sporty. The range is thought to be in the region of 300 miles but very few other details are known. It looks pretty good, though. The headlights are massive! See pictures on AutoExpress.
CAPITOL HILL: President Biden has made endless commitments about getting the US to go green with its cars. However, members of Congress believe it’s not fast or far enough. Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Andy Levin are currently moving a new Electric Vehicle Freedom Act through the American legislature. The act would ensure hundreds of thousands of charging points around the US were built within five years and shift government funding and tax breaks away from internal combustion vehicles. The cost would be well over the $15 billion Biden has already pledged.
E-ENGINEERING: The Gordon Murray Group (GMG), founded by former Formula One engineer Gordon Murray, is making a £300 million investment to produce EVs over the next five years. According to Autocar, the investment is going into EV architecture “designed for urban-oriented passenger and commercial vehicles.” Prototypes will be revealed soon but it’s thought the group is making a small SUV. GMG has also hired Richie Sibal, formerly of McLaren and Lotus, to head a dedicated electronics department. Read more on Autocar.
FIXED UP: A college in Wrexham has announced it will teach student mechanics to service and repair electric vehicles from September. According to the RAC, just 5% of the UK's 202,000 vehicle technicians are qualified to work on electric cars at the moment. As more EV’s enter circulation, surely this will be a valuable trade. I would not be surprised if more colleges follow swiftly behind! Read more on the BBC.
By Tom Riley