With automakers left and right announcing that some kind of supply chain or semiconductor shortage issue has disrupted or even halted their production, today is perhaps not the easiest time to try to be ramping up production of a massive electric truck like the GMC Hummer EV with a huge battery pack.
General Motors is currently reportedly able to churn out brand new electric Hummers at a rate of 12 per day, well short of what other manufacturers are capable of right now. The manufacturer does admit that the ramp-up has been slower than usual because they were dealing with a brand new vehicle built on an equally new platform.
GM says it’s taking this slow approach in order to make sure it can get the level of quality that it is looking for. Production is expected to increase noticeably in the second half of the year thanks to the start of cell production at the new Ohio battery plant (a joint venture between GM and LG Chem). Currently, the batteries needed to power the Hummer EV are being shipped by LG Chem, brought from outside the US.
The Wall Street Journal quotes a GM spokesman who referring to the 77,000 GMC Hummer EV orders and the slow ramp-up said
Our ability to satisfy that demand is only going to improve as we bring on vertical integration of battery cell production. You can expect to see hundreds of deliveries grow to thousands later this year.
GM and LG Chem will create a new jointly run battery factory to compliment the new Ohio facility, and they plan to build it in Spring Hill, Tennessee for a reported $2.3-billion and with a planned completion date sometime in 2023. With these two gigafactories, GM hopes to be able to fulfill its EV battery needs given that across all its brands, it plans to launch some 30 fully-electric models by the middle of the decade.
Eleven months after SpaceX submitted several applications, the FCC has given the company permission to connect moving vehicles to its constellation of Starlink internet satellites.
The license means that all United States Starlink users will now be able to legally receive internet service from their Starlink user terminals (dishes) while in motion on any land, sea, or air-based vehicle. For the many consumer and enterprise customers already experimenting with mobile Starlink service or at least using SpaceX’s new RV roaming service, the ability to use Starlink in motion should add even more potential use-cases and benefits and generally expand the service’s viability and competitiveness
Because Starlink’s performance – even when struggling – beats virtually all other satellite internet providers, the addition of in-motion use removes one of very few remaining reasons to continue using other service providers. While that applies more to enterprise and commercial users than individuals, it still means that other satcom providers will have even fewer legs to stand on as they attempt to defend against competition from Starlink.
Major prospective customers that are likely to take advantage of this FCC ruling include airlines and cruise providers, as well as individual Americans who want to improve internet connectivity aboard private aircraft, boats, recreation vehicles, and more. In fact, SpaceX has already signed agreements with flight charter provider JSX and Hawaiian Airlines, as well as cruise provider Royal Caribbean, which has already begun testing the service on at least one active cruise ship.
For flights, cruises, and all other vehicles traveling outside the range of SpaceX’s growing selection of ground stations, Starlink V1.5 satellites will need to create their own space-based network with onboard laser links, allowing communications to be routed through other satellites to ground stations – and thus the rest of the internet – located hundreds or even thousands of miles away. The FCC will have to improve a yet another license application before SpaceX can flip that particular switch.
SpaceX currently has more than 2400 working Starlink satellites in orbit, almost 2000 of which are likely operational and serving around half a million existing customers. 919 of those satellites are new V1.5 variants with laser links, and around 400 of those V1.5 satellites are still making their way to operational orbits.
The same FCC decision also authorized Kepler Communications to begin connecting moving vehicles to its much smaller satellite constellation.
Tesla’s layoffs continue as the company sees to reduce its head count by 10 percent, but they don’t seem to be restricted to salaried employees.
According to a Bloomberg news report citing people familiar with the matter, the EV maker has laid off about 200 hourly workers who processed data at its San Mateo office in California. The people were working on Tesla’s Autopilot team at the facility, which was shuttered.
The people working at the San Mateo office were employed in evaluating customer vehicle data related to the Autopilot driver-assistance features and performed data labeling. Many of them were data annotation specialists, all of which are hourly positions, according to one of the sources.
The work they did consisted mostly of labeling images for cars and the environment they navigate, such as street signs and traffic lanes, with the goal of improving Autopilot. That said, one source claims Tesla has continued to expand its Autopilot data-labeling teams at its office in Buffalo, New York, where staff doing the same role are paid a lower hourly rate than in San Mateo.
The company’s downsizing efforts have focused on areas that grew too quickly, with some human resources workers and software engineers being among those who have been laid off. In some cases, the cuts affected employees who had been with the company for just a few weeks.
The Rivian Adventure Network (RAN) launched its first fast chargers in Colorado and the company plans to open sites in California next.
The EV automaker plans to open three fast charging sites this week. Customers are just starting to share their experiences with the first Rivian Adventure Network site in Colorado.
Kyle Conner is one of the first customers to try the Rivian Adventure Network’s fast chargers. Conner visited the RAN site in Salida, Colorado, which opened to the public on Monday, June 27. He shared some details about Rivian’s DC Fast Charging network, noting that there were three dispensers per cabinet with an output of about ~300kW and the chargers had full 500A CCS capability.
According to Rivian, the first RAN sites are equipped with Level 3 DC fast chargers that initially provide over 200kW of power. Rivian drivers can get up to 140 miles of additional range at the new RAN sites after charging for 20 minutes.
In Salida, Rivian installed four Level 3 DC fast chargers and another four Level 2 Rivian Waypoints chargers. The site also had a pull-through charger for Rivian cars towing trailers. Connor noted that the Level 3 chargers were only for Rivian vehicles, but the company stated that the Waypoints chargers are available for use by any EVs through its smartphone app.
Rivian plans to open sites in California, specifically in Inyokern and Bishop, on June 28 and June 29. The company’s California sites will cater to Rivian adventurers who plan to visit nearby areas like Yosemite National Park, Sequoia National Forest, Mammoth Lakes, and Death Valley National Park.
“We designed Rivian charging to support electrified adventure, and these first sites demonstrate how we’re enabling drivers to responsibly reach some of the nation’s most breathtaking natural spaces,” said Trent Warnke, Rivian’s Senior Director of Energy and Charging Solutions. “In addition to scenic or off-the-beaten-path destinations, our fast charging rollout is designed to ensure travelers have places to charge along major transportation corridors coast to coast.”
Rivian plans to open more RAN sites in the future. Its initial goal is to install 3,500 fast chargers at 600 sites across North America.
Watch Kyle Conner’s visit to the Rivian Adventure Network site in Colorado below!
So you’ve made the wise decision to go all-electric and get yourself your first EV. Nice. With plenty of options hitting roads in 2022 and even more electric vehicles on the way, you may wonder if it’s a wiser move to start with a lease, or go straight for the buy. Great question, and one that many EV drivers have pondered including myself. Let’s dissect this dilemma to help you determine what might be the best option for you.
So hopefully you’ve got a model or two in mind, or maybe you’ve already narrowed down your ideal EV and have configured it all the way down to its powertrain and interior trim color. As you anticipate a potential purchase and delivery date, you at some point might ask yourself, “is it better to buy this electric vehicle, or lease it?”
Before we dig in, let’s be upfront about the answer – its subjective. There is no cut and dry, end-all be-all solution. A lease has its perks to some, while an EV purchase has many benefits in its own right.
Our goal here is to explore the benefits (and faults) of buying and leasing to help you better determine what might be the smartest route for you as you budget for your shiny electric vehicle. Let’s start with the EV lease option.
Consider an EV lease
The depreciation of traditional combustion cars just by driving off the lot has previously offered enough incentive to consider a lease. That’s not quote the same situation for EVs, but leases do still have their own perks.
With a booming used car market alongside a growing electric vehicle segment, leases offer a less commitment than buying, especially cash upfront. Plus, you’re only tied to that vehicle for 36 months at most, so if you get sick of it and want to upgrade to the latest model, you can do that; it’ll just have to be pretty deep into your lease term.
Alternatively, if you love your leased vehicle and don’t want to part with it when your term is up, you usually have the option to buy it, unless you’re driving a Tesla, then that might not be so easy. To that end, there’s a chance you end up making three years of payments on a car with nothing to show for it at the end.
Even if you do buy your lease at the end of term, you may end up paying more in the long run rather than making monthly purchase payments to start. It’s all a bit relative to be honest.
Usually pay a smaller downpayment, sometimes zero depending on the dealer
Lower monthly payment compared to buying
Things like routine maintenance and car washes can easily be negotiated into lease
When your term ends, you can buyout, turn in, or trade up to a newer EV!
Once you sign, you’re locked into lease term and it can be expensive to opt out
You often times have to pay the entire remaining balance on the lease
The lease company can collect on those since they own the EV, but you might be able to negotiate those credits into the lease to get yourself a lower monthly payment
Some automakers do not offer leases in certain states or countries
Limited mileage (usually up to 15,000 miles per year/45,000 miles per 36-month lease)
Consider buying an electric vehicle instead of a lease
Unlike the used combustion car bubble that will inevitably burst, EVs are built to hold more value over time. Since a majority of their parts are less mechanical and more computational, electric vehicles can be consistently updated using over-the-air (OTA) software updates.
This could entice potential electric vehicle customers to buy over lease, since there is less depreciation (at the very least slower depreciation) compared to gas cars. EVs new and old, remain high in demand.
While equity in a vehicle feels strange compared to the past, it could prove wise over time if you choose to buy an electric vehicle over a lease. That being said, it’ll cost ya… literally. An EV purchase usually requires a pretty significant downpayment to drive off in it. However, if you’ve got the cash, the more you pay up front the less you’ll pay over time. Plus you are paying toward complete ownership which is a huge perk.
Paying to own means eventually having an EV with zero monthly payments and/or the opportunity to sell used for cash back in your pocket
Battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) qualify for federal and state tax credits
Resell the electric vehicle whenever you want after you buy, not locked into a lease term
Unlimited mileage without penalty, drive as long and as far as you want
(Possibly) more money up front and generally a higher monthly payment
Must cover all maintenance out of your own pocket
So is it better to buy or lease an electric vehicle?
We already warned you above – we don’t have the answer. You tell us! It’s your decision after all. Now that you’ve measured some of the pros and cons of buying versus leasing an electric vehicle, you should be better informed to decide what option is best for you.
You still may not be totally sure, and that’s totally normal. We implore you to explore the growing world of EVs more. Here are some additional resources to help you see what’s out there, and whether it might be better to lease or buy.
EV lease resources
Resources for buying an electric vehicle instead of a lease