Newsflash: straks instappen in een Tesla voor €39.000


+++ The president of FRANCE , Emmanuel Macron, announced a new scheme for electric vehicle subsidies, prioritizing lower-income households that want to step into the electric era. More specifically, EV subsidies for lower-income families in France will rise to €7,000 and fall to €5,000 for all other buyers, instead of the standard €6,000 that currently applies to all EV buyers. This change will help sustain the prices of electric models amidst the rising costs of raw materials like cobalt, lithium and nickel. For a good measure: the China-built Dacia Spring, the cheapest electric car in France, has seen its price rise by 11 percent in 2022. Additionally, low-income families will soon have access to a new “social leasing” program, allowing them to lease an EV for as low as €100 per month. Pre-orders for the cheap leasing will start in the second half of 2023, with the first deliveries scheduled for early 2024. Macron said: “We have an industrial strategy in place for people to buy more and more French cars”. The president hopes for a local production of 2 million EVs in 2030, stating that France “must wake up” in order to compete with the US or China. The only EVs that are currently produced in France are the Renault Zoé, Mégane E-Tech, Kangoo E-Tech, Opel Mokka-e and the DS 3 E-Tense, with all other models assembled elsewhere. This is subject to change in the future as both Renault Group and the French arm of Stellantis (Peugeot, Citroen, DS) plan on producing more vehicles in France. Starting in 2024, the Renault 5 and the next-generation Renault Scénic E-Tech will be produced in Douai alongside the Mégane E-Tech. In 2025, the Renault 4 will be produced in Maubeuge alongside the Kangoo E-Tech. As for Stellantis, its CEO, Carlos Tavares, said that their French-made EVs will soon double from 6 to 12, adding that “We said that Stellantis was going to protect the European and particularly French automotive industry”. +++

+++ GERMANY has approved a plan to spend €6.3 billion over the coming 3 years to rapidly expand the number of electric vehicle charging stations on its roads. The plan is part of Germany’s push to have zero net emissions and hopes to eventually increase the number of charging stations around the country by 14 times. That would see the volume of chargers grow from 70.000 now to 1 million by 2030. The government intends to use these funds to focus on installing chargers in small communities and underserved municipalities. The ultimate goal is to make EV ownership more attractive. “Our goal: to accelerate the expansion of charging infrastructure, simplify the charging process and thus make it easier for people to switch”, said Federal Transport minister Volker Wissing in a statement. In addition to the funds, the government also said it would work to speed up the approvals process for building charging stations. The European nation, which is home to automakers like BMW, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz that are working to transition to electric vehicle production, aims to increase the number of EVs on its roads from the 1.5 million that are currently in use to more than 15 million. The plan has drawn mixed reactions from industry associations, which have previously complained that the government has not kept up with the expansion of EVs. The German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), for example, said that this marked an important step towards an electric future. The BDEW energy and water business association, on the other hand, called it expensive window dressing that would lead to more planning and state control. The federal government, though, hopes that this move will make EV adoption more attractive to consumers. Wissing, meanwhile, said that the country is expecting exponential growth in the EV market. “We know that electromobility is ramping up rapidly, so we have to be quick”, said Wissing. “There has to be a positive experience associated with EV ownership”. +++

+++ New MINI boss Stefanie Wurst confirmed that a convertible model will join the all-new Cooper range, due to launch in 2024, and that it will be ‘coming home’ with production in the United Kingdom at the Oxford factory. So far only petrol and electric versions of the new hatch (set to be called ‘Cooper’ with ‘Cooper’ becoming a model name rather than trim level) had been confirmed. But now Mini has also said that a petrol convertible will join the UK-built line-up. Only petrol Coopers will be built in Oxford, in 3-, 5- and Convertible forms. A new all-electric Cooper will be built in China with identical looks and dimensions to the UK-built models, but sitting on its own platform, developed in conjunction with Chinese car maker Great Wall. Only a 3-door version of the all-electric Cooper will be made, with the new Aceman crossover (previewed by September’s Aceman concept) taking care of 5-door duties. The current Convertible is made in the Netherlands, but production there will cease with the introduction of the new model. Mini in Oxford will then focus solely on internal combustion-engined Coopers for the rest of this decade, meaning it will stop making the existing electric Hatch, which currently accounts for 1 in 2 cars built at the plant. Wurst also confirmed bold expansion plans for Mini including a new petrol and electric Countryman model (bigger than the current car) set to be built in BMW’s plant in Leipzig. Hot John Cooper Works models were also very much part of her plans, with JCW versions of electric and petrol MINI Coopers confirmed. +++

+++ The mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, said Thursday that production of MOSKVICH vehicles will restart in December at a plant that was sold by Renault more than 6 months ago. Plans to relaunch the Moskvich brand (which is Russian for resident of Moscow) emerged in May when Sobyanin said that the plant would be nationalized in order to preserve the jobs of the people who worked at the facility. The plant, renamed the Moscow Automobile Factory Moskvich, has since stood idle, something that the mayor blames on the wider automotive market. “The automobile industry has seriously flopped this year, but nevertheless, I hope that we can launch the Moskvich plant in December with the help of the Industry and Trade Ministry”, Sobyanin is quoted as saying by Interfax. The plant, meanwhile, said it hopes to produce 600 cars this year, including 200 EVs. It claims that Moscow has all of the necessary expertise to become the center of an electric vehicle industry. Those production numbers are just a foretaste of what is to come, however, as the plant expects to be able to pick up speed next year and to produce 50.000 vehicles in 2023. The factory will be the recipient of 5 billion rubles ($81 million USD at current exchange rates) in investments from Moscow and Russian truckmaker Kamaz. The decision to relaunch Moskvich followed Renault’s exit from the market, which was itself precipitated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The French automaker, which had been a majority stakeholder in Avtovaz, reportedly sold its Russian assets for just 1 ruble ($0.016 USD), albeit with the option of buying back its stake over the next 6 years. “Today, we have taken a difficult but necessary decision and we are making a responsible choice towards our 45.000 employees in Russia, while preserving the Group’s performance and our ability to return to the country in the future, in a different context”, said Luca de Meo, Renault Group CEO, at the time. “I am confident in the Renault Group’s ability to further accelerate its transformation and exceed its mid-term targets”. +++

+++ Just before RENAULT unveiled the production version of the R5 EV, it reminded everyone of the historic R5 Turbo with an EV version. New reports suggest that there’s at least one big wig at the French automaker with a big desire to bring the bombastic car to production. That big wig is none other than Renault CEO Luca de Meo. Speaking to 2 different mediums on the side lines of the Paris Auto Show, he’s made it clear that he wants to make the Renault 5 Turbo 3E a production vehicle if he can just get the money to do it. DeMeo told that “The question is if we have the money to do it”. That might not seem very committal but he didn’t stop there. According to a different statement, he’s not just baiting the enthusiast community. “I am serious, we have found a technical way of doing something pretty close to the concept. You don’t have a roll bar etc, but we have the base to do it. The question is do we have the money to do it? We don’t have deep, deep pockets,” he explains. “Maybe we do crowdfunding?” he said. He’s very much joking about crowdfunding but ultimately, this is all about cash on hand. Cars focused on enthusiasts aren’t cheap to produce and typically don’t sell as well as those aimed at the general public. The Renault 5 Turbo 3E is certainly the former. It certainly won’t come with features like GoPros for headlights but if Renault brings this shape to production with anywhere near the 375 hp and 700 Nm of torque that it has as a concept, we feel confident that it’ll be one of the most desirable hot hatches ever built. As a person who would have an original R5 Turbo 2 over just about any other daily driver, I cannot tell you how hopeful I am that this thing makes it to production. No, it won’t have the rattly, almost diesel-like turbo noises of the original, but it’ll be faster, more exhilarating, and it’ll look just as good at the same time. +++

+++ More than 300 American customers put down deposits on the ROLLS-ROYCE Spectre before even seeing it, according to the company’s CEO, Torsten Muller-Ötvös. The coupe is the company’s first-ever all electric vehicle and was unveiled to the wider public just this week. Naturally, though, Rolls-Royce customers were visiting the company’s Goodwood headquarters for private viewings of the car before it was officially unveiled. Muller-Ötvös, however, says that people were lining up to buy the Spectre, which he told was “the most perfect product that Rolls-Royce has ever produced”, before it was even ready to show off to well-regarded customers. “Once they have seen it here, they are delighted”, he said. “The order book looks strong”. The CEO declined to provide sales targets for the new EV, but it seems that the company, which delivered 5.586 vehicles in 2021, isn’t expecting it to be its sales leader. “In terms of proportion of sales, I would say Cullinan, our great SUV, is one column”, said Muller-Ötvös. “The second column is the Ghost, our great limousine. And then comes Spectre as the third column”. Despite being a 2-door coupe, the Spectre will still be focused on providing a luxurious driving experience, not a sporty one. The result of 2.5 million km of testing, the automaker worked hard to ensure that it would deliver a sumptuous experience. “It needs to be a Rolls-Royce first”, Muller-Ötvös said. “That means stability, brilliant quality, timeless materials, flight-on-land, silent propulsion. It carries all these genes Rolls-Royce is famous for”. The car should be pretty powerful all the same, with peak output of 585 hp and 900 Nm of torque. With a WLTP range of 520 km, it should also be capable of getting its customers to their destination with ease. +++

+++ TESLA ’s profitability could be about to go through the roof with the news that its next-generation EV platform should cost half as much to make as the current Model 3 and Model Y architecture. CEO Elon Musk dropped that incredible nugget during Tesla’s Q3 2022 earnings call when asked by investors about the development of the company’s still-secret small EV. Obviously, not all of that 50 percent production cost saving will be passed on to the consumers, but it should mean Tesla will be able to bring a small car to market for around €39.000 in the Netherlands, or possibly less, and still turn a profit. The least expensive car in Tesla’s current lineup is the massively popular €52.995 single-motor Model 3, but the new car’s sales potential will put even that in the shade. “It will, I think, certainly exceed the production of all other vehicles combined”, Musk said, but gave no indication when it might come to market. previously reported that the baby Tesla will offer a WLTP range of at least 400 km, which will be higher than the base-spec Volkswagen ID.3’s 350 km range. The exterior design should bear a strong family resemblance to the Model 3’s, but will feature a hatchback rear end instead of a sedan trunk. Musk also seemed unconcerned about a global economic downturn, despite claiming in June that he had a “super bad feeling” about the economy. “We’re in a good spot”, he said, claiming that buyers realized it wasn’t smart to buy a combustion-powered car because the residuals would be poor next to those of electric rivals. “I wouldn’t say it’s recession-proof, but it’s recession resilient because the people of earth have in large part made the decision to move away from gasoline cars to electric cars”. But it’s not just booming electric car sales that Musk thinks will help profits soar. He said Tesla would sustain a 50 percent annual growth rate averaged over several years, but the electric storage side of the business was forecast to grow at 150 to 200 percent annually. +++

+++ The world’s largest automaker by sales says it will produce fewer cars this financial year than it originally expected as parts shortages continue to hamper its manufacturing efforts. TOYOTA said Friday that it is suspending production on 11 manufacturing lines at 8 of its Japanese plants this November due to the impact of semiconductor shortages. Toyota previously said it expected to make 9.7 million cars during the 2023 financial year, however as a result of the plan it now expected output to be lower. The company did not say how far short it expects production to be. “Toyota would like to again apologize for the repeated adjustments to our production plan due to the parts shortage resulting from the spread of Covid-19, and for causing considerable inconvenience to our customers, who have been waiting for the delivery of vehicles, suppliers, and other parties concerned”, the company said in a statement. October’s statement is the second in as many months in which Toyota has revised its production outlook. In late September, the company said that similar parts shortages would shave 50.000 vehicles from its schedule in October. The company said then that it expected to produce an average of 900.000 a month between September and November. Toyota said Friday that it now expects to make approximately 800.000 units in November: 250.000 will be made in Japan, with the remaining 550.000 made overseas. Toyota sold 10.5 million vehicles in 2021, 1.6 million ahead of next-placed Volkswagen. Last year, Toyota dethroned GM as the best-selling automaker in the U.S. It was the first time since the 1930s that GM was not top of the tree, a result that left Toyota’s president Akio Toyoda quite literally dancing for joy. Last month, a spokesperson for Toyota told that while demand for its vehicles remained high, the company expects its U.S. sales to be flat or slightly down this year, as a result of supply chain problems that could persist into 2023. +++

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