I’ve been spending this week running around in an electric car and, it’s fair to say, that an electric car offers a ton of advantages over a regular gas-powered car for many people. But you know what also offers a ton of advantages over a regular gas-powered car and works for basically everyone? A hybrid. And 2024 is going to be the year of the hybrid. Hear me out.
This morning your beloved Autopian website is going to be in full force at the LA Auto Show with, I think, the largest number of journalists on hand. Our stand is going to be amazing and we’re going to have interviews/podcasts with some of the biggest names in design and engineering out here.
We’ll also have news from our own stand, with an announcement from Dutch supercar company Zenvo that hits pretty close to home. Also, would you like an update on the UAW strike? Yeah, let’s do that. And, finally, uh, Nikola is in LA and will have some news to maybe counter the news that’s, uh, already out there.
Everything’s Coming Up Hybrid
The MotorTrend Car of the Year is, like Peter Pan, only as real as you want it to be. If you all clap if you believe then, yeah, it’s real. If you don’t care, then it, like most awards, is meaningless. Because I agree with MotorTrend and because it serves my rhetorical purposes, I’m going to lead off today’s The Morning Dump with the news that the 2024 Toyota Prius is the MotorTrend COTY. Way to go, Tinkerbell.
Here’s what MT said in its review:
The new 2024 Prius then is sign of the times. It’s a well-designed and largely well-engineered hatchback, with improved efficiency and performance over the outgoing car and comparable compacts. It’s a taste of that inevitable EV life without asking its drivers to meaningfully change their daily habits.
The transition to EVs isn’t quite as terrible as everyone has made it out to be, with both growth in infrastructure and sales, but high costs are definitely keeping consumers out of the market and there aren’t a lot of solutions to that in the short-term.
One solution to that in the short term? Getting people used to electrification through hybrids, which need smaller batteries and, generally, dramatically reduce the need for fossil fuels. Even better, plug-in hybrids need almost no fuel if they can be plugged in regularly at home and they also encourage people to build out more EV infrastructure.
Do you want more proof that 2024 is going to be the year of the hybrid? Well, look at the excellent Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid or, perhaps, the fact that the best-selling car in America is going hybrid only with the 2025 Toyota Camry Hybrid.
Ok, ok, not enough for you?
Edmunds sent us over some data this week on hybrid market share and it’s a doozy.
Year-over-year, hybrid market share (6.5% to 11.4%) has increased much more significantly than EVs (6.0% to 7.5%)
Market share for EVs has almost doubled according to Edmunds data, compared to a much smaller increase for EVs. I think this shows both the strength of the hybrid market (and the number of choices) and the shakiness of the EV one right now.
You want to see some other crazy data from Edmunds? Yeah, yeah you do. In October of this year, the average transaction price for a new car was $47,753 according to their data. The average EV transacted at $59,064. The average gas-powered car transacted at $47,417. The average hybrid? Just $42,259.
And this isn’t because of discounting. The average incentive for an EV last month was $2,601, for a gas-powered car it was $1,031, but for hybrids it was only $394. Now, obviously part of this reason is that the most popular hybrid vehicles are economy-minded cars like the Prius, Civic, Accord, et cetera and not pickup trucks (though hybrid pickup trucks are coming). I also think that this product mix is why they’ll be successful.
It’s a challenging macroeconomic environment for both dealers and buyers and the lowly hybrid is the perfect eat-your-cake-and-have-it-too type vehicle, offering green credentials in attractive body styles with improved efficiency for only a small premium over a gas-powered car.
2024! Year of the hybrid! You heard it here first.
Zenvo Gets A US Dealer… Galpin
When we were at The Quail in Monterey this year one of the cars we decided to check out was the 1,850 horsepower Zenvo Aurora. We all dug the hyper hypercar, with its hybrid powertrain (see?!?) and its mechanically-flipping gauges:
They’re so satisfying.
But that was it, we thought. We checked out a cool hypercar. Had a nice conversation. Moved on.
So it was a fun surprise this week when we noticed there was a Zenvo display inside the Galpin Hall of Customs where the Autopian booth is located. Why is that? I’ll let today’s press release explain:
On the West Coast, Zenvo have partnered with Galpin Motors, the number 1 Ford dealer and one of the most famous motor groups in the world having been established in 1946. With a substantial showroom set up in LA where they also manage another 12 manufacturers including Porsche, Aston Martin and Lotus. Galpin Motors will provide unrivalled support for Zenvo customers on the West Coast.
Zenvo LA will be managed by President/CEO of Galpin Motors and President of Galpin Auto Sports, Beau Boeckmann, plus his elite sales team as the dealership’s only hypercar brand. Discussing Galpin and Zenvo’s new partnership, Beau commented: “When I first saw the Zenvo Aurora, I fell in love. It’s the most beautiful hypercar I’ve seen in a while. And when I learned about the technology, the bespoke V12 engine, and the unbelievable performance, I was hooked. We are incredibly excited to represent Zenvo for the West Coast!”
So I was talking to Beau yesterday as we set up the stand and he confirmed that this all came together after we did that video. Come by and see the cars at the show if you haven’t already, they look great. Also, if you’re a bespoke hypercar manufacturer you should definitely book a video with The Autopian. Good things happen.
The UAW Deals Will Probably Pass
For all the hand-wringing lately over the close votes at some UAW plants, it does seem like all three deals are going to pass.
Why has GM been lagging? There’s an entire story in the Detroit Free Press this morning that’s worth reading, but here’s what jumped out at me:
At Fort Wayne, UAW Local 2209 Shop Chairman Rich LeTourneau told the Free Press the reason for the rejection there was that traditional members — those hired before 2007 — wanted the bigger wage gains to come in the first two years of the agreement rather than waiting for the total 25% gain across 4.5 years.
They also wanted a bigger contribution to their pensions, LeTourneau said. The contract is offering a $5 gain to the pension multiplier. It is presently $54 so it would rise to $59. That means for someone who worked at GM for 30 years, their pension would rise from $1,620 a month to $1,770 a month. Some considered it too small of a gain, LeTourneau said.
For those members who are currently “in progression,” LeTourneau said they wanted the pension reinstated and retiree health care, neither of which happened in this contract.
This is how deals are made. They’re not equally good for everyone and this deal, in particular, seems to shade a bit more towards workers in parts warehouses.
Nikola Founder Looking To Get Probation
The opening of this year’s LA Auto Show will include a breakfast and keynote from Nikola, the troubled electric Semi truck maker. This comes as its founder, Trevor Milton, seeks probation following multiple guilty verdicts on wire and securities fraud stemming from statements he made about Nikola’s technology.
In a Tuesday night court filing, lawyers for Milton said he should get probation at his Nov. 28 sentencing, in part to care for his ailing wife.
The lawyers said there was “not a shred of evidence” that Milton had ill intent, and any misstatements resulted from his “deeply-held optimism and belief” in his Phoenix-based company.
The lawyers distinguished Holmes’ case by saying Theranos, which promised to run many medical tests on one blood drop from a finger prick, was not a “real company with real products,” and that Holmes’ lies put people at medical risk.
The old: We’re-not-as-bad-as-Elizabeth Holmes defense has to work, right?
The Big Question
We’re all out here at the LA Auto Show, what do you want to see?