EV Morning News: Tesla Superchargers, Powerwalls And More

We’re back for another installment of EV Morning News! We’re talking Tesla in Alaska, all-electric container ships, President Biden’s recent comments and more. You grab a cup of coffee and settle in for the news!  

Tesla  

We hear a huge amount of news about Tesla…there’s always something going on! The company has sold more than 2 million cars now. But we don’t hear about the other parts of their business as much. So we were surprised by the amount of Powerwalls that Tesla has installed. The number just hit a quarter of million units, with about 50,000 of those coming in the last half year. With each pack installed these days measuring in at 13.5kWh, that’s a lot of storage! Although earlier packs had much less storage, the total capacity would still be hugely impressive.  

Sticking with Tesla for another brief story, we wanted to head up to Alaska. It can get a little chilly up there and it’s quite remote. So we were delighted to hear that Tesla have opened their first Supercharger in Alaska. Four 250kW V3 stalls have been installed in Soldotna, just south of Anchorage. This addition nudges Tesla even farther ahead of the 30,000 units installed globally to date. Although there are no service centres or showrooms there, Tesla will still seek to have a presence in the market. With the addition of Superchargers, we hope that it will encourage more people to consider going electric! 

The electric container ship  

The Yara Birkeland has made its maiden voyage and we’re so excited to see things like this happen! It’s an 80 metre long battery container ship with some autonomous capability. Chemical company Yara International can load 120 20ft containers onto the ship to cover the Porsgrunn to Brevik route of about 10 miles which they reckon will avoid 40,000 diesel truck journeys per year. 

The boat has a 7MWh battery. It has an eco cruising speed of around 6 or 7 knots but can reach speeds of 13 knots when it needs to. It’s pretty powerful also, with two 900kW Azipull pods and two 700kW tunnel thrusters. Hopefully it’s the first of many of its kind! 

Bolt production jars with President’s comments 

We hate to keep coming back to it, but the Bolt issue is one story that keeps evolving. Initially, the Orion assembly plant was to take a three week break from mid-November, but in the last few days GM Spokesperson Dan Flores confirmed that production will cease for the remainder of the year so that they can concentrate on the recalls. However, if you read into the statement, it may well be a good bit into 2022 before we see production resuming. We really do hope that this story runs its course quickly and that GM get back on track. 

So amidst this news, we were a little surprised when US President made his remarks at the launch of GM’s Factory Zero in Detroit a few days ago. In his speech, he said ‘In the auto industry, Detroit is leading the world in electric vehicles’ and in addressing Mary Barra, GM CEO, he said ‘you did, Mary. You electrified the entire automobile industry’. Interesting comments that, ehhh, raised a few eyebrows in the EV world. 

Ford F-150 Lightning  

Let’s stay in the US for a moment, and talk about developments in Ford’s EV push. They have announced that they are about to hit 200,000 reservations for the F-150 Lightning. This is great news, and CEO Jim Farley reckons that more than 80% of these will be converted into sales. Pre-production models have been coming through since September, and Ford are now at the stage of looking forward to series production in spring time.  

But we don’t even think that the 200,000 thousand reservations paint the whole picture. There will also be a huge amount of people out there that are skeptical on EVs or are just holding back to see how the truck turns out. When they see their friends and colleagues riding in these things, see the speed, see them powering tools and see the frunk in action…they may well change over from combustion models. And remember the Ford F-series market adds up to around 1 million trucks per year, a big market! Ford’s biggest problem, we think, will be satisfying demand with production! 

Summary 

So there you have it folks…that was our quick run around the world hunting down the most interesting stories.  Let us know in the comments what you think! What do make of the Yara Birkeland electric container ship? And how did President Biden’s comment on GM stack up?

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