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Mar 21, 2023

On March 14, Tesla's Policy and Business Development Lead for California, Jennifer Cohen, notified the California Clean Energy Commission (CEC) that it will not be accepting the USD 6.4 million that was being made available to the EV company because of how its present Superchargers are formatted for payments.
“Unfortunately, due to unnecessarily cumbersome payment infrastructure requirements, we are unable to utilize this award," said Cohen.
Tesla was set to build four new Supercharger stations in California, collectively housing 420 individual stalls.
One of these would have been the world's largest at 164 stalls, and each of the four projects would have availed Tesla of USD 1.6 million from the CEC for the USD 6.4 million total.
Since the CEC's requirements includes that publicly funded chargers must have "multiple point-of-sale methods," including credit and debit cards, as well as payment via mobile apps, Tesla chose to not accept the funding.
The CEC also required 50% of the charge points to have CCS connectors, but Tesla already has a solution for that with its Magic Dock CCS adapter that it started to deploy at Supercharger stations to support non-Tesla electric vehicles.
Tesla will still build and deploy the foresaid Superchargers, which will be open to non-Tesla EVS, just without government funding.
(multiple sources on March 14, 2023)

Mar 20, 2023

The Chinese vehicle market got off to a sluggish start in the New Year. Light Vehicle wholesales were 1.65 mn units, which was a sharp contraction of 34% year-on-year. Passenger Vehicle wholesales dropped to 1.51 mn units, a decrease of 33% year-on-year while Light Commercial Vehicle wholesales plunged by 50% year-on-year.

While there were some weak months in the Chinese market last year, the reasons for January 2023’s decline were quite different, with the impact of the pandemic playing only a small part. The decline in sales in the first month of this year was caused by a combination of factors.

Firstly, this year’s Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), one of the most important holidays in China, fell in January. The 7–9-day long holiday had a significant impact on car sales and production. In addition, this was the first Spring Festival since the end of China’s “Zero COVID” policy, and the willingness of people to return to their home towns and to travel in general was much higher than in previous years.

Secondly, the temporary purchase tax cut on ICE passenger vehicle models and the decade-old new energy vehicle (NEV) subsidy programme both expired at the end of 2022. This led to considerable consumption being pulled forward. Also, the government has not announced any new preferential policies so far, hence there is a strong ‘wait-and-see’ atmosphere in the market. Tesla’s sudden announcement of price cuts in early January kicked off a price war between major new NEV manufacturers. This price war has continued until the present and has even spread from NEV focused OEMs to traditional ICE OEMs. And, it has further fuelled the wait-and-see mood of consumers.

In response to the falling sales in January, Hubei province teamed up with Dongfeng Auto and started to offer significant subsidies for vehicle purchases (across seven brands and fifty-six models). For example, the price of Dongfeng’s Citroen C6 model has plummeted. Dongfeng’s discount of CNY 45k is matched 1:1 by the Hubei government, resulting in the C6 price falling from CNY 210K (USD 30,400) to CNY 120K (USD 17,400). This news instantly disrupted the car market, as the subsidies were only available in Hubei, causing residents from all over the country to rush to the province to buy cars. Although many provinces have introduced local subsidy policies after the New Year, the hot car market in Hubei has caused several provincial governments to follow, and they are actively preparing to introduce similar subsidy policies. At the same time, OEMs also feel threatened because Dongfeng’s drastic price reduction broke the relationship between brands and segments. Because of this, multiple OEMs have begun to offer huge cut prices one after another. In the past few days, rumours have surfaced that BMW dealers are offering massive subsidies for certain models and that, for example, a BMW 1 Series will only cost CNY 120K (USD 17,400) compared with a normal price of more than CNY 200K (USD 28,900). This will undoubtedly squeeze the market for lower-end auto brands, leading to further price wars.

Although the provincial level subsidies are on their way, many organisations like local dealers and CAAM are calling for a national level subsidy to stimulate the whole auto market.

(LMC Automotive blog on March 17, 2023)

Mar 18, 2023

On March 15, Tesla shared details about Gigafactory New York and its Prefabricated Supercharger Units (PSUs) in a series of tweets.
The company’s plant in Buffalo, New York produces the next generation Superchargers and Semi chargers with a 2,000-person team.
Tesla said that over half of the more than 40,000 Superchargers that have been built across the globe so far have been produced at Gigafactory New York.
Tesla highlighted how its recent work on Prefabricated Supercharger Units (PSUs) had made a notable difference in the installation of its charging network, with buildouts now only taking days, not weeks.
With the Supercharger Network now being opened to non-Tesla vehicles, the need for more Supercharger installations has never been greater.
Tesla also mentioned that Gigafactory New York is currently producing Supercharger V4 units, the company’s next-generation rapid chargers.
The plant is also producing Megachargers, which are used for the Tesla Semi electric Class 8 truck with a 500-mile range.
During Investor Day 2023, Rebecca Tinucci—Tesla’s head of charging infrastructure—noted that “We are pre-building four post Supercharger units at Gigafactory New York”.
“We load them on a truck, we truck them to side, then we crane them into position,” Tinucci said, adding that the pre-built strategy saves the company 15% on Supercharger deployment costs.

(Tesla tweets and other sources on March 15, 2023)