Don’t want to do business with Elon Musk? The answer to that conundrum may soon be “too bad.” Now that both Ford and General Motors are moving to Tesla’s charging standard and getting access to its vast charging station network, that could soon become the norm—and now Stellantis is looking at the situation as well.
Welcome back to another edition of The Autopian’s morning news roundup. Also on our showroom floor today: What happened at Toyota’s contentious shareholder meeting in Japan, more challenges for Rivian, and are we at Peak Oil yet?
Stellantis Eyes Tesla’s Charging Too
Yes, I’m as tired of the morning roundup being dominated by Tesla news as you are. But you have to admit the charging thing lately is a Very Big Deal. Ford, General Motors and Tesla together make up something like 70% to 80% of the EV market in America, so them going with Tesla’s NACS plugs may spell doom for the non-Tesla CCS plugs that the rest of the market has relied on so far.
I think it’ll take one more big domino to fall for that to happen—for Tesla’s NACS to be the plugs the market will end up using. I figured it might be Volkswagen or Hyundai, but now Stellantis is looking at things too.
Note that this statement is very noncommittal, but the vibe is that they at least seem interested. Via Reuters:
Automaker Stellantis said on Tuesday that it continues to evaluate Tesla’s charging standard after Ford Motor Co and General Motors said they were adopting it.
“At this time, we continue to evaluate the NACS standard and look forward to discussing more in the future,” Stellantis said in a statement to Reuters, referring to Tesla’s charging design, the North American Charging Standard (NACS).
“Our focus is to provide the customer the best charging experience possible. Our Free2Move Charge brand will offer seamless, simple solutions whether at home or on-the-go through partnerships with charging providers,” it said.
It’s hard to say what will happen here. CCS chargers are effectively the standard in Europe and Stellantis’ 14 brands operate more globally than GM or Ford, but there’s nothing stopping the automakers from tailoring their plugs to the biggest markets; even Tesla plugs are CCS in Europe. But largely, when it comes to fueling or charging, the approach automakers take is “You deal with it.” For EV charging, that “you” more and more is looking like Elon Musk.
Toyota Shareholders Back Toyoda
After spending the weekend at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Akio Toyoda found himself in the hot seat this week over a surprisingly contentious shareholder and board meeting at Toyota. A small group of investors, citing concerns over the company’s EV strategy and climate lobbying, said they’d oppose Toyoda’s ascension to the board chairman seat and the appointment of Koji Sato as CEO. This is the first resolution proposed in 18 years, which should give you a sense of how uneventful Toyota board meetings are.
But shareholders say Toyoda and Sato are their guys, reports Reuters. And the timing of that aggressive new EV plan—as I called it yesterday—may have helped things along, although the likelihood of their appointments getting spiked was always fairly low:
The meeting came a day after the world’s biggest automaker by sales volume announced a road map for EVs involving solid-state batteries and radical production changes, in the strongest signal of its intention to grow its battery EV market share and boost its share price.
“Japanese people like Toyota and I think they support Akio,” said 61-year-old Tadashi Imai, an individual shareholder who said he has held stock in the company for about a decade.
“Toyota’s announcement yesterday about the solid-state batteries rollout by 2027 sent the shares up 5 percent. That is really impressive, 5 percent.”
I am still trying to figure out if a proposal was made on an electric MR2 or not. If not, it should have been. Do I have to do everything myself?
Rivian Gets Punted Off The Nasdaq
It’s tough out there these days for the EV startups. Lucid and Rivian both have seen production problems, concerns over demand and in Rivian’s case, a pretty major recall last year. While they show immense potential, some investors are starting to get fed up—and the current weird economy and tight capital market isn’t helping.
Neither is the fact that Rivian just got kicked off the Nasdaq-100. Here’s Quartz to explain:
Nasdaq is dropping Rivian because it shrunk too much.
The electric carmaker will lose its spot on the Nasdaq-100, which comprises 100 of the largest non-financial companies listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange, on June 20, Nasdaq confirmed yesterday (June 13).
The EV stock is being booted because it has had a weight of less than 0.1% for two consecutive months on the market-capitalization-weighted index, where companies with growing stock prices yield higher influence. The biggest companies on the New York-based index Microsoft and Apple, both of which have a roughly 12% weightage.
JPMorgan Chase analyst Min Moon, who had warned that Rivian was on the verge of getting kicked off two weeks ago, also correctly predicted its replacement: ON Semiconductor (Onsemi).
Nasdaq will sell all the shares it holds in Rivian and replace them with On Semiconductor’s shares. This could deal another blow to the struggling, money-draining EV company.
Profitability may be a ways off for Rivian, and its next new product, the R2, isn’t due out until 2026. The trucks are great, so here’s hoping the company can find a way to rally.
Peak Oil: Coming Soon?
You know, I feel like I’ve been hearing predictions about “peak oil”—the point where demand for petroleum hits an apex and then begins a presumably permanent decline—the whole time I’ve covered cars. Only now, as we stare down a potentially zero-emission future, does it seem to be really looming. Here’s Bloomberg looking at this concept:
By 2027, electric vehicles will force a reversal to the era of rising demand for oil used in transportation, according to a new forecast by analysts at BloombergNEF. For areas outside of transportation — such as plastics, petrochemicals, manufacturing and agriculture — oil demand will continue to rise with no end in sight. But by 2029, BNEF expects the stark shift to EVs to outweigh all else and bring total demand to its apex.
Oil analysts have spent years grappling with the impact from the transitioning to electric vehicles, and have often been proven wrong. Small differences in assumptions about EV adoption can shift predictions by years. But a growing consensus is emerging that peak oil for transportation is within sight. Four charts from BloombergNEF’s 2023 EV Outlook show where demand has already entered terminal decline and where lingering uncertainty remains.
By the way, things had been trending this way for a minute:
Electric vehicles on the road right now are already displacing demand for more than 1.5 million barrels of oil a day. Battery-powered options are becoming competitive with internal combustion in more categories, and each new segment narrows the market for future oil sales. Global sales of cars powered by oil peaked six years ago, and the handoff to batteries is accelerating. Last year saw EV sales increase 62% worldwide — nearly doubling in China, Australia and Japan, and more than tripling in India and Southeast Asia.
Also, that study puts peak internal combustion engine sales at… 2017. Which already happened, if you’re bad at math or calendars. Welcome to the great upheaval.
Settle a debate we had in Slack this morning: is Elon Musk the new Henry Ford? Both redefined manufacturing (perhaps Tesla’s greatest trick is building EVs profitably), both revolutionized and kick-started their industries, both were inherently bad at releasing new products—Ford had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the Model A—and both have, uh, controversial takes. To put it gently. What do you think?