Happy New Year’s Eve Eve, Autopians! It’s a slow news day and I’m calling it early for the staff today because they more than earned an end-of-year break after building up this incredible car publication over the past eight months. Also, I may need to send an extraction team to recover David and Jason later, because that operation feels like it’s going increasingly sideways.
In the meantime, for 2022’s final Morning Dump, we have news about the Chinese auto industry’s rise in Europe; our allies in that continent being none too happy about our Inflation Reduction Act; and the e-bike boom we’ll see even more of in 2023. Let’s do this!
China’s European Boom
The car you see above is a 2023 MG EV4. Looks pretty slick, doesn’t it? It’s not a bad deal, either; for an entry-level price of 28,420 Euros in Germany, you get 217 miles of EV range on Europe’s WLTP cycle, 10 to 80 percent fast-charging in 35 minutes, and a package that competes with the Volkswagen ID.3. Also, a high-performance version with 443 horsepower is coming next year too for about 39,000 Euros.
We equate MG with vintage roadsters in America, but these days the brand is owned by China’s SAIC and production happens there as well.
Cars like this are why the Chinese automakers had a pretty successful year in Europe, according to Automotive News. EVs in particular are booming there:
Europe’s Mad Over The Inflation Reduction Act
Lately, we’ve been talking a lot about the revised new car (and used car, now) EV tax credits implemented under the Inflation Reduction Act. If you’re up to speed, you know the goal is to localize the EV supply chain so America doesn’t cede total battery and production dominance to China (see above!) But it also means that for cars to qualify for tax credits, they have to have “final assembly” done in North America.
Naturally, this is bad news for European automakers. (And Subaru, and Toyota, and Hyundai/Kia… you get the drift.) Earlier this month, French president Emmanuel Macron visited President Joe Biden and said, bro, we are straight-up not having a good time over this stuff.
More or less. And in French, one assumes. You get the idea.
On Thursday night the commission welcomed new US guidance indicating EU companies could benefit from the commercial clean vehicle credits under the IRA, saying it reflected “constructive engagement” by the two sides. However Brussels stressed it remained concerned by discriminatory provisions affecting other clean vehicles.
Responding to the new US guidance, Dombrovskis said: “We welcome this important first step, which is the outcome of our fruitful discussions with the US. EU companies should now be able to take advantage of the US Commercial Clean Vehicle Credits. However, we will continue talks within our joint task force regarding other aspects of the IRA where we have important concerns.”
The other focus is on requirements that battery components be sourced from the US or its trade partners. While the EU does not have a trade deal with the US, Dombrovskis hopes that the geographical scope of this can be drawn sufficiently widely to include the bloc.
“There are some openings, there is some work ongoing but we are not quite there yet,” said Dombrovskis.
The Quiet E-Bike Revolution
“The level of ridership has almost doubled or more every year since 2015,” said Mike Radenbaugh, the founder and chairman of Rad Power Bikes. “And we see no slowing of that in the years forward as we look at fuel prices increasing and other challenges to transportation only getting worse.”
This trend is in large part due to the variety of options that have entered the market. Some are built specifically for certain jobs such as food delivery, others are designed to fold up or built with extra seats for kids.
Now, they’re being used as a convenient micro-mobility transportation option for those who don’t want the inconveniences and costs that come with a car.
“There is a major convergence happening in which bike tech is quickly catching up to automobile tech. There are more connected bikes hitting the market everyday,” Will White, co-founder of Mapbox, an online map provider, told TechCrunch. “Bikes are already starting to ship with integrated ADAS features like radar for rear-vehicle detection, but this is just the beginning. Soon, we will start to see more technology to provide safety and comfort for riders, including AI-equipped cameras for hazard detection, and smarter turn-by-turn navigation that guides riders on the most comfortable route out of harm’s way.”
White said safety and security are the top concerns for prospective e-bike buyers. Aside from alerts to danger on the road, features like navigation to avoid dangerous roads and asset tracking to deter thieves and enable recovery of stolen bikes will help to spur greater adoption.