Good morning! It’s Tuesday, June 20, 2023 and this is The Morning Shift, your daily roundup of the top automotive headlines from around the world, in one place. Here are the important stories you need to know.
1st Gear: Hyundai Is Considering Following Ford And GM
You wait all year for an exciting bit of electric vehicle charging news and then three come along at once. After Ford and GM announced their ambitions to adopt Tesla’s North American charging port on their EVs from next year, Hyundai has teased its own plans to pursue to port.
According to Automotive News, Jaehoon Chang, Hyundai’s CEO, said that the automaker is “consider making its vehicles more readily compatible” with the North American Charging Standard (NACS) that Tesla is pushing here in the U.S. According to the site:
“Jaehoon Chang, who is also Hyundai’s president, said the company would consider joining the alliance of automakers shifting to Tesla’s standard, but that it would have to determine that was in the interest of its customers.
“One issue, he said, is that Tesla’s current network of Superchargers does not allow for the faster charging Hyundai’s electric vehicles can achieve on other chargers.”
The Tesla port currently allows vehicles to charge up to 250kW at 17,000 sites across the U.S. However, there are charging stations on offer from the likes of ABB that offer up to 360kW of power for four cars simultaneously. These stations use the CCS port, which has been deemed the standard for EVs across Europe.
The other difference Hyundai will have to navigate comes down to the way its EVs work. According to Automotive News, cars like the Ioniq 5 use an 800-volt electrical architecture to allow for faster charging, while “Tesla’s Superchargers operate at a lower voltage.” As such, Chang said Hyundai would “consult with Tesla” to see if the automaker could tweak its charging systems for “Hyundai customers so they could charge faster.”
Interestingly, Hyundai isn’t the only automaker making moves towards Tesla’s charging standard this morning. EV startup Rivian announced it has “signed an agreement” with Tesla to adopt the NACS connector. From 2024, the automaker will offer adapters with its vehicles to allow owners to plug in at Tesla’s Superchargers. Then, from 2025, the port will be fully incorporated into its cars.
2nd Gear: Ex-Nissan Boss Carlos Ghosn Is Suing The Carmaker
Remember when ex-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn fled Japan in a guitar case while on the run from Japanese authorities? Well now, the former automaker exec is suing the very company that he used to head up for $1 billion.
Ghosn was arrested in Japan in 2018 and charged with financial misconduct. He denied the charge and claimed that his arrest was part of a ploy by his fellow Nissan bosses to block a merger. He fled Japan to Lebanon, where he has now filed a billion dollar lawsuit against Nissan. Reuters reports:
“The lawsuit filed on May 18 accuses Nissan along with two other companies and 12 named individuals of crimes including defamation, slander, libel and the fabrication of material evidence.”
A source close to the case told Reuters that a court session has been scheduled for September 18 to begin proceedings. However, when approached for comment, Nissan said “said the company will not be commenting on the matter.
After Ghosn fled Japan, three people involved in his escape were sentenced to four years and two months in prison by a Turkish court. But earlier this year, the case was retried, and all three were acquitted.
3rd Gear: Tesla Slashes $8,000 Off Its Cars
Electric car maker Tesla seems intent on winning the pricing war that it started when it began slashing the cost of its models. Now, the U.S. automaker is continuing the trend and has cut a further $8,000 off the cost of some of its cars.
According to Electrek, the company has slashed an extra $8,000 off its Model S and X cars across its inventory. The site reports:
“It results in brand-new Model S vehicles going for as low as $82,790 ($1,113 monthly for a lease or $1,307 loan payments).
“On top of that, Tesla is giving three years of free Supercharging for buyers who take delivery by June 30.”
The cost cut means this is the lowest price Tesla has sold its Model S at in quite some time. Electrek suggests this is because inventory of the flagship EV has “more than doubled over the last three weeks.”
As well as numerous price cuts from Tesla, the ongoing EV price war has also seen legacy automakers like Ford cut the cost of its Mustang Mach-E EV, and startup Lucid even dropped the price of its Air sedan.
4th Gear: Suzuki Wants Into The Flying Car Game
If there’s one innovation in the automotive world that is well overdue, it’s flying cars. TV shows and movies have long promised us these vehicles as a clear vision of the future, and now, there are countless startups promising to bring them into the real world. Even Suzuki is getting in on the action.
Reuters reports that the manufacturer of the perfect car has “reached an agreement” with electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle builder SkyDrive Inc to make “flying cars.” According to the site, the two companies will use a Suzuki Group factory in central Japan to make electric aircraft, with the aim of kicking off production in 2024. Reuters reports:
“SkyDrive will establish a wholly owned subsidiary to make the aircraft and Suzuki will help with preparations for the manufacturing, including securing talent, the automaker said.”
The move to enter production for the two companies follows the signing of a deal last year that saw them team up on the research and development of such craft. With Suzuki and SkyDrive now looking to kick off their aerial ambitions, they join the long list of companies promising that “flying cars” might finally be here. Along with Stellantis, United Airlines and even Renault.
Reverse: Union Strong
Neutral: How are you?
How are you doing on this fine Tuesday morning? I’m back in New York after a weekend in Montreal for the Canadian Grand Prix. The race was pretty good. Did you watch? I’m enjoying Alonso’s string of podiums this year, but do wish there was a bit more of a fight on for the win. P.S. New York bagels are better.