Of Course Tesla Is Pushing For Stricter Emission Laws

Of Course Tesla Is Pushing For Stricter Emission Laws

Good morning! It’s Wednesday, October 18, 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.

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1st Gear: Almost Nobody But Tesla Is Keen For Tough Emission Laws

The U.S. government is proposing tightening up its emissions regulations in a move that has outraged almost every American automaker. But now, Tesla is calling on the Biden administration to follow through with its plan, and even called for tougher measures than originally proposed.

According to Reuters, the government is currently planning to tighten up its Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rules, which would require automakers to average 58 miles per gallon across their ranges by 2032. But Tesla has argued that the rules don’t go far enough, as Reuters reports:

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in July proposed raising Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) car requirements by 2% and by 4% for trucks and SUVs annually between 2027 and 2032. Tesla wants the agency to finalize rules increasing stringency for cars by 6% annually and 8% for trucks and SUVs, saying it would best “conserve energy and address climate change.”

Unsurprisingly, this isn’t a position Tesla shares with the rest of the U.S. auto industry. Instead, companies that rely on the sale of gas-powered cars and trucks have called the targets “unreasonable” and called for “significant revisions” to the proposals.

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According to Reuters, a group of automakers including General Motors, Volkswagen and Toyota criticized the measures, warning that they were unobtainable and would cost the automakers billions in fines when they inevitably don’t hit the goals.

The group noted one of the big issues automakers face to meet these targets is the sheer number of gas-guzzling trucks they sell every year. According to Reuters, 83% of vehicles produced by Ford, GM and Stellantis are trucks. As trucks like the F-150 manage between 17 and 20 mpg on a good day, they’re dramatically pulling down company averages.

2nd Gear: Lucid Is Falling Short Of Its Targets

A company that definitely would be able to meet those emissions rules is EV maker Lucid, but right now I think it has other targets to worry about: its own production goals.

According to a report from Bloomberg, output at the opulent EV maker was down by 29 percent in the third quarter, which covered the three months to the end of September 2023. As such, doubt is now swirling around the company’s capacity to hit its targets of producing 10,000 EVs per year. Bloomberg reports:

The Newark, California-based company said in a release it built 1,550 EVs in the third quarter, down from 2,173 in the previous three-month period. Lucid’s deliveries rose to 1,457 vehicles in the quarter ended Sept. 30, up from 1,404 last quarter.

Lucid’s shares pared a drop of as much as 7.2% to trade down 2.8% to $5.13 as of 9:52 a.m. in New York. The stock is down about 25% this year.

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The lower production output last quarter means that the company has now assembled 6,037 cars at its plant in Arizona so far this year. For the company to meet it’s 10,000-car target by the end of the year, it would need to almost double the output it managed in Q1, when it produced the greatest number of cars so far this year.

3rd Gear: Stellantis Prepares For Union Talks In Canada

After ticking off Ford and General Motors, Canadian union Unifor is preparing to open talks with Stellantis about the future of its workforce north of the border. The union will launch its contract talks with Stellantis later today (October 18) and set a strike deadline of 11:59 p.m. on October 29.

According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, the union’s talks with Stellantis will follow a similar pattern to the precedents it set in talks with Ford and GM. As such, the union will bargain for wage increases, cost-of-living adjustments, pension gains, and the conversion of temporary workers to permanent employees. The Free Press reports:

“Our union is looking forward to this next, and final round of talks with the Detroit automakers to secure the terms of our Canadian pattern and to make important additional gains on various Stellantis-specific workplace issues,” Unifor National President Lana Payne said in the release. “We also have the added challenge of negotiating future product commitments for the Brampton Assembly plant that secures a future for all of our Stellantis members in the (electric vehicle) transition.”

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The Unifor union has already ratified contracts with Ford and GM in Canada. However, Stellantis has the largest Unifor-backed workforce of the big three, with the union representing more than 8,000 workers at its sites across Canada.

While Stellantis is now into its second month of strike action here in the U.S., the Jeep owner said in a statement that it was looking forward to “productive ongoing discussions with Unifor,” and added that it was “confident” the two sides would be able to reach an agreement.

4th Gear: Another Electric Truck Maker Bites The Dust

There’s bad news out of Sweden this morning as electric vehicle maker Volta has been forced to file for bankruptcy in the country, with similar measures set to follow in the UK as well. According to a report from Automotive News, the EV startup blamed “difficulties at suppliers” for its lack of funding.

Automotive News reports that the startup ran into difficulties after parts supplier Proterra called in the administrators in August. Since then, it has faced uncertainty over its supply of batteries that could be used in its trucks, which forced it to cut the number of trucks it was able to produce. Automotive News reports:

In a statement, the company’s board of directors said it had “not taken this course easily or lightly and is fully aware of the significant impact this will have on the organization’s dedicated workforce.”

The truck maker had raised around 300 million euros ($316 million) from investors and said it had an order book of more than 5,000 vehicles.

The company, which had been working towards mass production at a factory in Austria, was preparing to roll out its Zero electric truck. The Europe-specific truck was set to launch in 7.5 ton, 12t and 18t variants that promised up to 125 miles of range.

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