France plans to tie EV rebates to household income, Electric Mini production will leave England, Renault plans 400 kW charging stations. All this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
France To Tie EV Rebates To Income
One of the big problems with EVs is that they are mostly quite expensive for anyone who doesn’t have what used to be luxury car money. Reuters reports that France aims to change that by taking a slice out of EV incentives for higher-income buyers and beefing up EV incentives for shoppers with lower incomes.
In an interview with business daily Les Echos before visiting the show, Macron said EV subsidies for lower-income households would rise to 7,000 euros ($6,826) next year from 6,000 euros, while falling to 5,000 euros for other French buyers.
While France has another fabulous plan to offer dirt-cheap 100 euro-per-month EV leases, some buyers just want the equity and security of actually owning their car. Tying some incentives to income is a great way of helping shoppers realize that dream of equity. However, there’s a chance that not all EVs will be treated equally.
Asked about boosting subsidies for European-made EVs, as the United States has done with its recently-passed Inflation Reduction Act, Macron told Les Echoes he had favoured this approach for years.
“I strongly defend a European preference,” he said.
Ah, more protectionist trade talk. Right.
Mini Moving EV Production Out Of The UK
The announcement follows confirmation by Mini boss, Stefanie Wurst, last week that a convertible model will join the all-new Mini Cooper range – due to launch in 2024 – and that it will be “coming home” in 2025 with production in the UK at the Mini Oxford factory.
The Mini convertible is currently built exclusively in Born, Netherlands, so bringing production back to the UK makes sense from a tooling perspective. In addition, an electric version of the Countryman crossover will be built in Germany, so the future of Mini production in The Netherlands is uncertain. Will EVs ever come back to Mini’s Oxford plant? Possibly, although Wurst said to not expect any timeline yet.
“Oxford is not geared up for electric vehicles,” she said. “It will need renovation and investment.” Asked when electric Minis will return to Oxford, she said: “There is no date.”
Given the traditional seven-year model cycle, it wouldn’t be surprising to not see any new electric Mini models made in Oxford until 2030 or so. On a positive note, Americans are now able to buy new three-door Minis with manual gearboxes again, something that’s a little more my speed.
Renault Announces 400 kW Charging Stations
It was only a matter of time before car manufacturers other than Tesla hopped into the DC fast charging game. Automotive News Europe reports that Renault’s Mobilize division is launching a new network of charging stations that is expected to pack some serious power.
Mobilize stations will be able to supply up to 400 kilowatts of power. The brand says that a stationary storage system will be able to deliver 600 kW of simultaneous power, even when several cars are charging at the same time, to limit the impact on the power grid.
It also allows drivers to receive the best price for electrical power, Mobilize says. The storage system includes “second life” EV batteries and photovoltaic cells.
Considering only a handful of current EVs are compatible with 350 kW DC fast charging, 400 kW may seem like overkill. It’s certainly futureproofing, but how long will it be until we see EVs that can take advantage of 400 kW charging? More useful are these proposed stationary storage systems as they can pull energy from the grid during off-peak hours and potentially pass cost savings on to drivers. In any case, expect these chargers to pop up just off of major highways in France, Italy, Belgium, and Spain, with more countries planned in the future.
Hyundai To Break Ground On American EV Factory
Given how tensions have built between South Korea and America over EV tax credits, it’s not surprising to hear that Hyundai is moving quickly on U.S. EV assembly plans. Reuters reports that the South Korean automaker will break ground on a massive new plant in Georgia later this month.
Hyundai plans to begin commercial production in the first half of 2025 with an annual capacity of 300,000 units. The Oct. 25 groundbreaking for the Hyundai Group “metaplant” in Savannah, Georgia is part of the Hyundai Group’s “commitment of $10 billion by 2025 to foster future mobility in the U.S., including production of EVs,” the company said.
While the name “metaplant” sounds abominably stupid, a plant in Georgia should help Hyundai qualify for EV rebates under the Inflation Reduction Act. It’s a good play considering talks regarding EV rebates between South Korean and U.S. officials are still ongoing. A concrete commitment to U.S. manufacturing may sway American lawmakers into an interim solution. In any case, Hyundai expects to spend $5.5 billion on this new factory, so the brand best get cracking if it’s targeting 2025 production.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. It’s Monday, so I hope that everyone had a really lovely weekend. To kick off the resumption of the work week, let’s play a bit of a game. Imagine that the 25-year import law on cars gets magically struck down this afternoon. What are you bringing to America?
Lead photo credit: Mini