[Insights] EV Development Faces New Challenges, Porsche CFO Suggests Delay in European Ban on New Fuel Cars

Porsche’s Chief Financial Officer Lutz Meschke has stated in a media interview following the conclusion of the Macan EV unveiling on January 25, 2024, that Europe’s initial plan to ban the sale of new fuel cars by 2035 may be postponed, as reported by Bloomberg.

TrendForce’s Insights:

  • Prolonging the Battle and Gradually Narrowing the Gap with Chinese Automakers through Trade Barriers

In March 2023, the European Union passed a ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars starting from 2035.

Due to opposition from Germany and Italy, after coordination, the European Union agreed not to ban models using synthetic fuels. Range anxiety of electric vehicles continue to affect the willingness of end consumers to purchase cars, becoming the biggest obstacle to the growth of electric vehicle sales.

Coupled with China’s electric vehicle market, which accounts for over 50% of global BEV sales, nurturing Chinese automakers led by BYD, who continuously lead in the technical level of the the battery system, the electric drive system, and the electronic control system compared to Europe, America, and Japan.

Not long ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk stated that without trade barriers, Chinese automakers would destroy the vast majority of their competitors. Whether this statement is exaggerated or not, trade barriers currently serve as the most effective means for Europe and the United States to prevent the continued growth and expansion of Chinese automakers, as exemplified by the United States’ IRA legislation and the European Union’s anti-subsidy investigations.

Delaying the implementation of the ban on the sale of new fuel cars can synergize with trade barriers, allowing consumers to maintain distance from Chinese-made electric vehicles. This approach provides breathing space for European automakers and US and Japanese automakers in the fuel car market.

With the Dual Strategy of Western and Japanese Automakers, Taiwanese Manufacturers Need Greater Flexibility in Planning

Assuming the postponement of the ban on the sale of new fuel cars, automakers in Europe, the United States, and Japan may simultaneously pursue synthetic fuel technology based on traditional fuel car frameworks while continuing to develop electric vehicle technology.

However, this dual approach, which does not favor one technology over the other, is likely to affect the allocation of resources for electric vehicles. During the era of internal combustion engine vehicles, dominated by Western, Japanese automakers, and Tier 1 suppliers due to various constraints such as patents and technological barriers, it has been challenging for Taiwan to access system-level supply opportunities.

In the era of electric vehicles, Fukuta Elec & Mach Co.’s all-in-one electric drive and control system has entered Mazda’s range-extended electric vehicle supply chain, while Foxconn has launched an electric vehicle manufacturing platform to vie for opportunities in complete vehicle manufacturing from carmakers. Consequently, Taiwan is gradually moving from Tier 3 and Tier 2 to Tier 1.

If automakers in Europe, the United States, and Japan adopt a dual strategy, Taiwanese manufacturers’ opportunities in the electric vehicle field may face reduction or fiercer competition.

Apart from continuously strengthening relevant technologies in the electric vehicle domain, Taiwanese manufacturers also need to enhance the commonality and modularity of their product lines to adapt to the ever-changing industrial regulations under geopolitical shifts.

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(Photo credit: Pixabay)

Please note that this article cites information from Bloomberg.


[News] Six Companies, Including BYD and CATL, are Included in the U.S. Procurement Ban List

The U.S. lawmakers is reportedly attempting to further drive the “decoupling” of the Pentagon’s supply chain from China. According to sources cited by Bloomberg, the U.S. Congress has prohibited the Pentagon from procuring batteries produced by six Chinese companies, including CATL and BYD.

Additionally, the other four battery manufacturers set to be banned are Envision Energy, EVE Energy, Gotion High-Tech, and Hithium Energy Storage Technology. Based on the report, of the top 10 battery suppliers in the world, just three are non-Chinese companies.

It is noted that this regulation is part of the “2024 National Defense Authorization Act,” passed on December 22, 2023. However, commercial purchases, such as Ford’s procurement of batteries from CATL in Michigan and Tesla’s sourcing of batteries from BYD, are temporarily exempt from these measures.

As per IJIWEI’s report, the U.S. government has long been eyeing the Chinese new energy vehicle supply chain. Previously, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen argued that China’s new energy vehicle industry posed a threat to the “national security” of the United States.

At the end of 2023, a document was signed, stipulating that from 2024 onwards, all electric vehicles produced in the U.S. are prohibited from using Chinese batteries. The signing of this document is evidently unfavorable for companies in the electric vehicle battery industry looking to expand into the U.S. market.

According to the conditions for electric vehicle subsidies under the U.S. IRA Act, starting in 2024, the use of battery components produced by entities from “Foreign Entity of Concern” (FEOC) countries is prohibited. In 2025, the prohibition extends to the use of key minerals processed or recycled in FEOC countries. FEOC encompasses China, North Korea, Russia, and Iran.

The U.S. Department of Energy, in December 2023, released a notification of a proposed interpretive rule, requesting comments to define FEOC, covering overseas subsidiaries of Chinese companies and overseas enterprises with more than 25% ownership by Chinese state-owned enterprises.

However, given the current distribution of the battery supply chain, completely bypassing the Chinese battery supply chain in the U.S. is challenging. Even if feasible, it would come with substantial costs. The result could be a short-term inability to reduce vehicle prices, further impacting the gradually weakening demand for electric vehicles in the United States.

TrendForce indicates that the combined sales of BEVs and PHEVs in the United States totaled approximately 1.46 million vehicles in 2023. Due to the requirement that many vehicles must meet local assembly criteria in the U.S. to qualify for subsidies, numerous models lost subsidies in 2023.

It is expected that in 2024, various automakers will increase the proportion of local assembly, expanding consumer options to stimulate demand. However, stringent conditions for battery adoption could become one of the variables affecting the growth of electric vehicle sales in the United States.

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(Photo credit: Pixabay)

Please note that this article cites information from Bloomberg and IJIWEI.


[News] Intel to Launch New Automotive AI Chips, Competing with NVIDIA and Qualcomm

On January 9th, Intel unveiled its latest automotive AI chips, entering into direct competition with rivals NVIDIA and Qualcomm in the automotive chip market. In a bid to strengthen its position, Intel also announced the acquisition of automotive chip company Silicon Mobility.

Reportedly, Intel stated that Silicon Mobility, a French startup, specializes in designing System-on-a-Chip (SoC) technology for controlling electric vehicle motors and in-car charging systems, along with software. The acquisition amount was not disclosed by Intel.

As per Reuter citing from Intel’s automotive business chief Jack Weast, he has indicated that, intel’s new automotive system on a chip products will adapt the company’s recently launched AI PC technology for the durability and performance requirements of vehicles.

Weast further clarified, “Intel will not require automakers to use advanced driving chips designed by its former Mobileye unit, he said. Instead, automakers can have Intel incorporate their own chiplets to enable specific functions into the Intel system at a lower cost.”

Intel’s chips designed for infotainment systems are already integrated into 50 million vehicles. As the automotive chip market continues to expand, the demands on chips are increasing, covering technologies such as autonomous driving, upgradable in-car system software, and complex dashboard displays amid strong competition from NVIDIA and Qualcomm.

Weast has addressed ahead of the CES technology show in Las Vegas that Chinese automaker Zeekr will be the first automaker to use Intel’s AI system on a chip to create “an enhanced living room experience” in vehicles, including AI voice assistants and video conferencing. Zeekr, an electric vehicle brand under the Geely Holding Group, is a customer of both Intel and NVIDIA.

Intel will try to separate itself from rivals by offering chips that automakers can use across their product lines, from lowest-priced to premium vehicles, Weast said.

According to Reuter, Weast addressed reporters in a conference call before the announcement at the CES technology show in Las Vegas, stating, “Intel has done a pretty terrible job communicating our success in automotive, We are going to change that.”

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(Photo credit: Intel)

Please note that this article cites information from Reuter and Commercial Times


[News] NVIDIA’s Autonomous Driving Platform Adopted by Multiple Electric Vehicle Manufacturers in China

During CES 2024, NVIDIA announced that four Chinese electric vehicle brands will adopt its autonomous driving chip platform. According to a report from IJIWEI, this move has showed NVIDIA’s potential intention to expand in China, despite facing stricter export controls from the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The four automakers include Li Auto, Great Wall Motor (GWM), ZEEKR, and Xiaomi, all set to utilize NVIDIA’s DRIVE technology solution to support autonomous driving capabilities.

The NVIDIA DRIVE platform encompasses automotive sensors, computing platforms, hardware and software for autonomous driving development, as well as DGX servers for artificial intelligence (AI) training.

NVIDIA has stated in the release that Li Auto selected the NVIDIA DRIVE Thor in-vehicle computer, featuring two DRIVE Orin processors with a computing power of 508 trillion operations per second (TOPS). This setup enables real-time fusion of information from various sensors, driving advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), and a comprehensive autonomous driving system for all scenarios.

Furthermore, GWM, ZEEKR, and Xiaomi have adopted the NVIDIA DRIVE Orin platform to power their intelligent autonomous driving systems.

GWM mentioned that its autonomously developed high-end intelligent driving system, Coffee Pilot, based on the DRIVE Orin platform, supports intelligent navigation and assisted driving functions across all scenarios without the need for high-precision maps.

Xiaomi’s first car, SU7, will be built on a dual DRIVE Orin configuration, with the assisted driving system incorporating Xiaomi’s in-house large-language perception and decision-making model, adaptable to various roads nationwide.

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(Photo credit: NVIDIA)

Please note that this article cites information from IJIWEI


[News] Xiaomi’s Internal Discussions Reportedly Revealed – Potential Goals for the Automotive Division to Rival Porsche and Tesla

Recently, the information cited by Sina Technology indicates that during a recent internal event at Xiaomi, executives from Xiaomi’s automotive division disclosed that the team currently comprises 3700 members. Reportedly, their ambitious goal is to create a Dream Car that can compete with renowned brands like Porsche and Tesla.

According to sources, Xiaomi’s Automotive Vice President and Political Commissar of the Beijing headquarters, Yu Liguo, shared in a recent internal event at Xiaomi, saying, “Mr. Lei (Lei Jun, Xiaomi CEO) often tells us that only those who understand and love cars can make good cars. I believe that among the 3,000-plus people in the automotive department, we have indeed found a group of people who truly understand and love cars.”

Yu further stated that the Xiaomi Automotive Division, established nearly three years ago, currently consists of 3,700 individuals from diverse backgrounds, all sharing a common dream – to create a Dream Car that can rival Porsche and Tesla.

Reportedly, Yu also mentioned that in certain scenarios while driving, Xiaomi’s autonomous driving tests have achieved success, surpassing the current capabilities of Tesla. Although these conditions may not be typical for autonomous driving, they reflect the capabilities of autonomous driving.

On the other hand, Lei Jun further emphasized the importance of corporate culture in the internal event. He stated that Xiaomi has clarified its goals for the new decade this year – to become the leader in the new generation of global hardcore technology. If Xiaomi is to succeed in the next decade, it must have a team capable of fighting tough battles.

He gave an example that in recent years, Xiaomi has rapidly assembled large teams, whether in the chip department or the automotive department, reaching scales of two to three thousand people in a very short time.

To quickly unite everyone as one force, is not only on strategy and motivation but also on corporate culture, which may not be visible in ordinary times, and it is only when facing difficulties, dangers, or situations that require responsibility that it can fully manifest itself.

Previously, Lei Jun announced that Xiaomi would hold a technology launch event for its car on December 28. Lei Jun revealed that the development of Xiaomi’s first car involved a total of 3,400 engineers, with the entire R&D investment exceeding CNY 10 billion. It is noteworthy that he emphasized this event would focus on technology and not product launches.

Looking at his recent teasers on Weibo, the autonomous driving technology mentioned by Yu Liguo is expected to be featured in the technology release. Additionally, there is anticipation for the debut of Xiaomi’s self-developed operating system, HyperOS, in the automotive context.

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(Photo credit: China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology)

Please note that this article cites information from Sina Technology

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