Li Auto


[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] Is this China Automaker Building a Team for In-House SiC Power Chip?

Recent reports suggest that Li Auto, a Chinese new energy vehicle company, is currently building a team in Singapore dedicated to the R&D of SiC power chips. On LinkedIn, Li Auto has posted five recent job openings in Singapore, including roles like General Manager, SiC Power Module Failure Analysis/Physical Analysis Expert, SiC Power Module Design Expert, SiC Power Module Process Expert, and SiC Power Module Electrical Design Expert.

In terms of power devices, electric drive systems in current 400V models typically employ Si IGBT, while 800V models mostly utilize SiC MOSFETs. This choice enables higher power density, leading to smaller and lighter equipment.

SiC, known for enhancing the driving range of electric vehicles and improving charging efficiency, finds widespread application in components like main inverters, on-board chargers, and DC/DC converters.

Recognizing the potential, Li Auto is among the many new energy vehicle makers incorporating SiC into their products.

As of August last year, Li Auto had launched the construction of power semiconductor R&D and production base in the Suzhou High-tech Zone. The base aims to initiate sample production in the first half of 2023, officially beginning full-scale production in 2024, with an ultimate annual capacity of 2.4 million SiC power modules. This marks Li Auto’s strategic move into the independent industry landscape for the next generation of high-voltage electric drive technology.

To achieve higher efficiency on the high-voltage platform, Li Auto is opting for SiC power modules over traditional IGBT. At the 2023 Auto Shanghai in April, Li Auto unveiled an 800V fast charging solution featuring an 800V high-voltage electric drive system built on SiC technology, enabling a 10-minute charge for a range of 400 km.

Li Auto’s next-gen SiC power module, integrating multiple components into the motor controller design, compresses the controller’s volume to within 4L, boasting a high power density of up to 62 kW/L. This reduces the volume and weight of the electric drive system, further optimizing the vehicle’s spatial layout and energy consumption.

In addition to Li Auto, the all-new NIO ES6, also showcased at the 2023 Auto Shanghai, incorporates SiC power modules and is equipped with a the second generation high-efficiency e-drive platform.

Furthermore, Hongqi, FAW Group’s premium auto brand, latest electric E202 SUV debuted at the 2023 Auto Shanghai. Based on the FMEs architecture 800V SiC charging platform, it requires only 5 minutes of charging for a range of 300 km.

Notably, Huawei recently introduced the new DriveONE 800V high-voltage SiC motor platform, focusing on better performance for electric vehicles. With high-voltage SiC technology, this motor platform achieves a rotation speed of up to 22,000 rpm and a maximum efficiency of 98%. Huawei’s latest SiC motor release is anticipated to open a new page in the electric vehicle industry.

The integration of SiC power devices into electric vehicles represents a significant trend in the development of the new energy vehicle industry. Leading automakers are poised to invest more resources in the research and development of related products, ultimately attaining independent control over core technologies.

(Image: Li Auto)


[Insights] Hyundai Defies Headwinds with 1.52 Billion Groundbreaking for Electric Vehicle Plant

In May 2023, Hyundai announced a local investment of KRW 2 trillion (approximately USD 1.52 billion) to establish an EV factory in South Korea, with a groundbreaking ceremony held on November 13. The factory is expected to be completed in 2025, with electric vehicle production set to commence in the first quarter of 2026.

The initial production capacity is planned at 200,000 vehicles per year, focusing on electric SUVs under Hyundai’s premium brand, Genesis.

TrendForce’s Insights:

  1. IONIQ 5’s High Cost-Performance Welcomed in the North American Market, Serving as a Pillar for Hyundai’s Electric Vehicle Endeavors

The IONIQ 5, built on Hyundai’s E-GMP platform, boasts an 800V charging infrastructure and a 3.5-second acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h, all priced around USD 40,000. In comparison to other 800V competitors in the North American market, such as the Audi e-tron GT, Lucid Air, and Taycan, which are priced at approximately USD 80,000 to 100,000, the IONIQ 5 stands out with competitive features.

South Korea demonstrates a significant level of self-sufficiency in the strategic components of electric vehicles. Battery suppliers Samsung SDI and LG Energy Solution (LGES) rank among the world’s top ten battery suppliers.

Additionally, Hyundai Mobis stands as South Korea’s largest automotive parts supplier, offering a comprehensive product line that includes various components in electric motors and controls. With robust support from a powerful supply chain, this enhances Hyundai’s market competitiveness.

According to Hyundai North America’s reported sales figures for August 2023, the IONIQ 5 and IONIQ 6, both built on the E-GMP platform, collectively sold 5,235 units in the North American market. This reflects a remarkable 245% growth compared to the same period in 2022.

The year-to-date total sales of the IONIQ 5 and 6 reached 28,000 units by August, showing a notable 63% growth compared to the same period last year. It’s noteworthy that these achievements were made without the benefit of the USD 7,500 subsidy under the “Inflation Reduction Act.”

The success of the IONIQ series has bolstered Hyundai’s confidence in making this platform a core element, facilitating the development of related models and further investments in the electric vehicle business.

  1. IONIQ Temporarily Pauses Entry into Chinese Market Amidst Intense Homogeneous Product Competition

With the rise of local Chinese automotive brands and the trend toward electrification, Hyundai’s sales in the Chinese market have plummeted from 1.14 million vehicles in 2016 to 250,000 vehicles in 2022, as per data released by the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.

In 2021, Hyundai sold its first factory in Shunyi to Li Auto, and in June 2023, Hyundai announced plans to sell two more of its remaining four plants.

In the electric vehicle sector, the IONIQ 5 is built on an all-new electric vehicle platform, outperforming earlier models based on oil-to-electric conversion platforms in both overall efficiency and performance. With its affordable price, it presents a formidable challenge to equivalent models in Europe and the United States.

However, given China’s early development of new energy vehicle platforms and the completion of pure electric vehicle platforms by many domestic manufacturers, coupled with highly autonomous supply chains, IONIQ does not enjoy overwhelming advantages in China. Therefore, the initial focus on the European and American markets is a strategically sound decision.

As European and American automakers continue to establish pure electric vehicle platforms and competitors like Audi and Stellantis strengthen their technological exchanges with Chinese manufacturers, the advantages of the E-GMP platform will face challenges. To further enhance the economic scale of their products, the Chinese market remains a crucial challenge that Hyundai cannot ignore.


[News] Challenges Loom Over China’s Electric Vehicle Makers as NIO Announces Layoffs

According to Yahoo’s report, recent developments in China’s automotive industry, particularly the electric vehicle sector, have been a mixed bag. While some companies have reported impressive export performance and surging delivery volumes, the overall market has faced challenges due to weak consumer demand and intense price wars.

Even NIO, which had previously pledged to enhance efficiency without layoffs, recently announced a workforce reduction of approximately 10%, affecting around 3,000 employees. This unexpected move has sent shockwaves through the industry and suggests that a layoff storm may be approaching the Chinese automotive sector.

Amidst numerous recent developments in the Chinese auto market, the most widely discussed topic is the announcement by NIO’s Chairman, William Li, regarding a workforce reduction of approximately 10%, with specific adjustments to be completed by November.

NIO, known as a market favorite and listed in both the U.S. and Hong Kong, has been considered one of the leading players in China’s new force of automotive companies. However, it now finds itself in the challenging position of staff downsizing, signaling a potentially tough year-end for China’s automotive industry.

While NIO, XPeng, and Li Auto, often hailed as representatives of the new forces in China’s automobile industry, had been at the forefront, NIO’s performance in 2023 seems to be lagging behind its peers.

In contrast to Li Auto, which has seen ten consecutive months of rising sales figures this year, and XPeng, which achieved a 292% year-on-year increase in October and set its record for single-month deliveries, NIO’s performance has been more volatile. Since reaching a peak delivery volume of 20,462 vehicles in July, NIO has struggled to maintain a consistent delivery rate of 20,000 vehicles per month.

Additionally, NIO’s losses have continued to grow quarter by quarter, with the company posting over ¥20 billion in net losses over the past year. In the same period, Li Auto recorded nearly ¥2 billion in profits, while XPeng faced losses of nearly ¥10 billion. Consequently, NIO holds the distinction of being the leader in losses among the new energy vehicle manufacturers. NIO’s layoffs serve as a cautionary signal, highlighting the pressing need to cut costs and enhance efficiency.

Amid China’s economic slowdown and intensified market competition, NIO’s challenges represent just a microcosm of the broader Chinese automotive industry. It’s not just NIO; in 2023, several automotive companies have already begun layoffs or faced closures. Examples include Levdeo, which filed for bankruptcy; WM Motor, which already closed its doors; and Enovate, which announced a suspension of operations.

Furthermore, the chill in the market is also affecting automotive supply chain companies. An industry insider candidly revealed that except for BYD and Li Auto, most car manufacturers are in the process of downsizing, indicating that the Chinese automotive industry is currently experiencing a major shake-up and a fierce battle for survival.

(Photo credit: Pixabay)


[News] Global EV Penetration Spurred by US and China Policies

According to the news from Chinatimes, Tesla, the leading electric vehicle manufacturer in the United States, achieved a record-breaking delivery volume of 466,140 units in the second quarter of this year. Meanwhile, Chinese electric car companies like NIO and BYD have made strides in the European market, increasing their sales market share from 4% in 2021 to 6% in 2022, and now reaching an impressive 8% in early 2023.

The Biden administration’s implementation of the IRA Act is expected to drive a significant increase in sales for Tesla and other EV manufacturers. It is projected that the annual growth rate for EV sales in the U.S. could potentially reach 49% this year. In China, the growth is mainly attributed to the continuation of the government’s policy of exempting consumers from purchase taxes. The estimated growth rate for Chinese EV sales this year is around 26%. In Europe, there is optimism for countries like Germany, France, and the UK, where EV penetration is currently only at around 20%. There is potential for a 37% increase in sales this year in these regions.

According to the market insider says the global EV market has witnessed fierce competition in 1H23, with major manufacturers engaging in price wars to capture market share. For instance, Tesla’s best-selling EV, the Model Y, sold 889,000 units in 1H23, accounting for around 49.38% of the total annual sales of 1.8 million units. BYD, the top-selling electric car manufacturer in China, sold 1.2556 million units in the first half of the year, achieving 41.85% of its annual target of 3 million units. Another emerging Chinese EV brand, Li Auto, also achieved a sales target rate of nearly 50% in 1H23.

Leading electric vehicle manufacturers globally, including Tesla from the United States and NIO and BYD from China, have successfully increased their sales through a series of price reduction strategies and aggressive expansion into international markets. While short-term price reductions might impact profit margins and stock prices, the long-term outlook is promising. As these manufacturers enhance their market share, potentially even achieving “super dominance” in the market rankings, the excess market share can contribute to their competitive advantage and long-term profitability, enabling them to tap into other revenue streams beyond high market share dividends.

The market forecast indicates that electric vehicle sales in 2023 could surge to 13.32 million units, representing a growth rate of over 30% compared to 2022. The driving forces behind this growth remain centered in the United States, China, and the European countries including Germany, the UK, and France. (Image credit: BYD)

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