GMC Hummer EV Production Ramp-Up Slow, Currently At 12 Per Day

GMC Hummer EV Production Ramp-Up Slow, Currently At 12 Per Day

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.

SpaceX wins FCC approval to connect Starlink satellites to moving vehicles

SpaceX wins FCC approval to connect Starlink satellites to moving vehicles


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.

The FCC authorization can be read in full here. [PDF]

SpaceX wins FCC approval to connect Starlink satellites to moving vehicles





Tesla uses its electric semi truck to deliver Superchargers to Laguna Seca racetrack

One of the rare Tesla Semi electric trucks came out of hiding this week to deliver pre-assembled Superchargers to the Laguna Seca racetrack in California.

With the Tesla Semi program being delayed by 3 years at this point, the automaker rarely publicly uses the electric semi-truck.

The company only produced a handful of them at a facility in Nevada and it has yet to bring it to volume production as it waits on higher volume availability of its 4680 battery cells.

However, Tesla has always said that it would be its own best customer when it comes to the Tesla Semi and it is already putting the few electric trucks it has to good use.

We have seen the automaker use its Tesla Semi electric truck to deliver Model 3 vehicles to customers in the past.

Now Tesla shared footage of using the electric truck to deliver pre-assembled Superchargers at the Laguna Seca racetrack in California:

Earlier this year, we reported on Tesla using pre-fabricated Supercharger stations to accelerate the deployment of the fast-charging stations.

In one case, Tesla managed to deploy a new Supercharger in just 8 days thanks to delivering the chargers in a pre-fabricated system with both the charging stalls and cabinets on concrete footings.

Also, it’s interesting that the automaker is building a station at the Laguna Seca racetrack.

The track is popular with EV owners and especially owners of performance Tesla vehicles in California who can’t push their vehicles to their limits on public streets.

Tesla owners have often used the racetrack as a benchmark for the top performance versions of the electric vehicles, like breaking the EV record with the Model S Plaid last year.

It will be super useful to have a fast-charging station at the track since electric vehicles perform best when they have a high state of charge.

And now for what might have been the first time, the charging station to charge electric vehicles was delivered by an electric vehicle: the Tesla Semi electric truck.


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Tesla Closes San Mateo Office, Lays Off 200 From Autopilot Team

Tesla Closes San Mateo Office, Lays Off 200 From Autopilot Team

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.

Prior to the cuts, the San Mateo office had about 350 employees, but some had been transferred to a nearby facility in recent weeks. The unnamed sources claim the majority of those who were let go were hourly workers. That seems to contradict Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s stated plans to cut 10 percent of salaried staff while increasing hourly jobs.

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.

Tesla Model S Plaid

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.

After a surge in hiring in recent years that increased its headcount to about 100,000 employees globally, Tesla has started to trim its ranks. Earlier this month, Elon Musk said layoffs would be necessary in an increasingly shaky economic environment. He said that about 10 percent of salaried employees would lose their jobs over the next three months, though the overall headcount could be higher in a year.

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.

Tesla did not comment on the report.

Rivian Adventure Network launches first fast chargers in Colorado and California

Rivian Adventure Network launches first fast chargers in Colorado and California


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! 

The Teslarati team would appreciate hearing from you. If you have any tips, contact me at maria@teslarati.com or via Twitter @Writer_01001101.

Rivian Adventure Network launches first fast chargers in Colorado and California





Is it better to buy or lease an electric vehicle?

Is it better to buy or lease an electric vehicle?

Electrek is brought to you by Autonomy.com, the cheapest, fastest, easiest way to get a Tesla Model 3. If you have a credit card, you can reserve a Tesla now. Learn more and get $500 off for a limited time (See Terms).  

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.

Table of contents

Electric vehicles: The lease versus buy dilemma

Perhaps it was the Tesla Model X Plaid, or that new Ford F-150 Lightning that caught your eye. Maybe its the mouth watering prices and lease options of Fisker’s two new upcoming EVs. Whatever your reason for considering a new EV, we’re glad you’re here.

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.

electric vehicle lease buy
A lease option page for a Tesla Model 3 / Source: Tesla.com

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.

Pros

  • 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!

Cons

  • 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
  • You usually don’t get to see the benefits of state or federal EV tax credits
    • 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)
Fisker Ocean 2022
The upcoming Fisker Ocean, starting at an MSRP of $37,499 / Source: Fisker Inc.

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.

Pros

  • 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

Cons

  • (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.

Good luck!

EV lease resources

Resources for buying an electric vehicle instead of a lease


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