Germany says no to the EU’s combustion car ban, Polestar’s SPAC date draws nearer, AMG murders out the GLE. All this and more on 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.
Germany Rejects EU Combustion Car Ban
Just when it looked like the internal combustion era was truly about to end in Europe, in steps Germany to defy the ban. According to Reuters, Germany plans to reject the European Union’s proposal to ban all new combustion-powered cars by 2035, dealing a blow to the future of the proposal. As reported by the Associated Press, Germany’s Transport Minister Volker Wissing said, “We want to shape the transformation in a way that is technologically open,” further elaborating by stating that “This includes registering new cars beyond 2035 if they are powered exclusively with synthetic fuels in a climate neutral way.”
Honestly, a blanket ban seems a bit excessive, and synthetic fuels are certainly an interesting way of sidestepping a combustion car ban. They’re created without drilling and can often be burned in a standard combustion engine without the need for special modifications. The refining processes can be powered by sustainable energy, and the fuels claim to not emit more carbon emissions than the production process removes from the atmosphere, rendering the fuels climate-neutral. They are still very much experimental technologies, although early reports seem promising. Personally, I’m a fan of trying out this renewable fuel concept and seeing what happens. After all, it’s typically sensible from an environmental standpoint to stick with the car you currently own, and a source of cleaner fuel should prevent those who need a car but can’t afford an EV from falling into a chasm of sorts from a combustion car ban. The principles are sound, now let’s see it in practice.
Polestar SPAC Merger Draws Near
Just when it seemed like EV SPAC mania was finally over, Polestar leaps into the public market using this controversial reverse merger technique. According to Automotive News Europe, this method of going public will raise an estimated $850 million for Polestar and list the company on the NASDAQ. It’s expected that Polestar will merge with Gores Guggenheim SPAC on Thursday and that the stock’s ticker will switch from GGPI to PSNY on Friday. But wait, what is a SPAC and why is Polestar using this particular method to go public?
SPAC stands for Special Purpose Acquisition Company, or a shell company raising capital to merge with or acquire an existing company. SPACs have been fairly popular in recent years because they don’t require as much paperwork as filing for initial public offering (IPO) does. Lucid Motors went public via SPAC, as did Faraday Future. It’s worth noting that while SPACs do offer corporate advantages, they also come with risk for investors. One extreme case is that of Electric Last Mile Solutions, which went public via SPAC and has recently filed for bankruptcy according to Reuters.
It’s worth noting that I’m not qualified to give financial advice and that holding stock in any automaker would be rather immoral in my line of business, but it’s still worth informing people of the risks that come with investing. Whether you buy in or you don’t, it’s still a good idea to be informed. It’s also worth noting that a few SPACs have eventually bounced to near pre-merger heights and that this is a huge moment for Polestar, both in terms of raising capital and in terms of business development. As ever, it’ll be interesting to track stock value in a year’s time.
Hyundai and Michelin Commit To Three More Years
Good news from the tire world, Hyundai Motor Group and Michelin have committed to another three years of tire development for OEM applications. According to Hyundai Motor Group, this announcement comes hot on the heels of an existing five year partnership, and heralds a more focused partnership concentrating on EV tire tech. Bong-soo Kim, Vice President and Head of Chassis Development Center at Hyundai Motor Group seems quite confident in this arrangement, saying in a statement that “This partnership with Michelin will result in real innovations in tire technology, solidifying Hyundai Motor Group’s position as a leader in the smart mobility industry.”
The Michelin collaboration makes a ton of sense as Hyundai and Genesis have been strong proponents of Michelin rubber. The Genesis G70 sports sedan comes on PS4 tires, the Hyundai Elantra N sport compact comes on PS4S summer tires, and both the Genesis GV80 crossover and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 electric crossover roll on Primacy Tour all-seasons, the latter of which were specially-optimized to meet the Ioniq 5’s targets. While tire tech has always been important, there’s a chance it’s now more important than ever. See, take away engine noise and add the low drag coefficients EVs are known for, and suddenly the bulk of noise, vibration, and harshness (NVH) comes from the tires. Add in the massive weight of a long-range battery pack, and it seems like we’re entering an era that needs high-load index tires that are quieter and more comfortable than just about anything that’s come before. Honestly, the extension of the Hyundai Motor Group and Michelin tie-in is great news, and I’m excited to sample future offerings.
AMG Murders Out The GLE
Sure, BMW’s M division may be celebrating 50, but AMG is turning 55 and looks ready to rumble. In an act of celebration, the makers of often berserk Benzes are dropping a limited-edition version of the GLE mid-size SUV. While at first glance, a performance SUV doesn’t seem to honor the AMG Hammer or Die Rote Sau, the top-trim GLE Coupe looks a bit swine-like and definitely fits AMG’s heritage of making big, comfy things go quicker than they should go.
So what exactly does the Edition 55 treatment entail? Honestly, a whole lot of black. Black 22-inch forged wheels with special center caps, black trim, dark graphics above the sills, black chrome exhaust tips, and Obsidian Black Metallic paint are all present and accounted for here. Of course, buyers can swap out the black paint for Diamond White Metallic from Merc’s Manufaktur (nee Designo) line for a high-contrast option, but I suspect the murdered-out look will be quite popular. On the inside, Edition 55 models add some red to go with the black, with red-and-black leather on the seats and door cards, red contrast stitching on textile surfaces, red illuminated door sill plates, and plenty of carbon fiber. Finishing up the interior is a special Edition 55 emblem on the steering wheel, and topping everything off is a special indoor car cover. While we don’t know much about pricing for the Edition 55 treatment, it’s available both on the V8-powered GLE 63 and on the inline six-powered GLE 53 in SUV and coupe SUV bodystyles in limited numbers of 55 units each for America. Buyers can expect to take delivery later this year, although precise timing hasn’t been confirmed.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. I took some time yesterday to get the drivetrain refresh finished up on my 325i, and I’m wondering what you think the most underrated thing you can change on a car is? Maybe you like your sidewalls to do the flexing and your suspension bushings to stay put, maybe you enjoy the satisfaction of a well-weighted shift knob, or maybe you’re a huge fan of throwing LED bulbs in your dome lights. Whatever the case, I’d love to hear about your favorite little maintenance items and upgrades.
Lead photo credit: Ruben Holthuijsen, licensed under CC BY 2.0.