BMW is going full throttle on electric vehicles; Tesla’s Game Changer: This Week in Electric Vehicles

By | September 18, 2023 – Here’s your weekly roundup of last week’s top EV headlines: BMW Electrifies Mini; Tesla on the verge of a breakthrough; and the UAW responds.

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BMW’s electrifying investment

In a bid to fully electrify its Mini brand by 2030, BMW (ETR:BMWG) (OTC:BMWYY) has announced a substantial investment of £600 million (£1 = $1.24) in its production facilities in the Kingdom United, and BMW’s Mini brand will produce two electric models – the 3-door Mini Cooper and the Mini Aceman compact crossover – at the Oxford plant starting in 2026.

BMW said the Oxford plant will transition to exclusively producing electric vehicles by 2030, with many of these vehicles destined for international markets.

The company also expressed commitment to incorporating European-made batteries into these upcoming models, but left the supplier decision open, stressing that it depends on market attractiveness.

This investment underlines BMW’s determination to electrify its offering, as well as the growing importance of electric vehicles in the automotive landscape.

BMW shares rose about 1.4% on the week in both Frankfurt and New York, with the former closing Friday at 97.51 euros and the latter at $34.64. Each is up more than 13% year to date.

Tesla’s production breakthrough

Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) is reportedly moving closer to using die-casting techniques — a revolutionary approach to electric vehicle manufacturing that aims to create nearly the entire underbody of an electric vehicle as a single unit — rather than the approximately 400 components required for the conventional method.

Terry Woychowski of Caresoft Global told Reuters that this development will be a game changer for the industry, saying: “It’s an enabler for steroids. It has a huge implication for the industry, but it’s a very challenging task.”

Anonymous sources in the reports suggest that this technique could potentially allow Tesla to develop a car from scratch in just 18 to 24 months, significantly exceeding the typical three-to-four-year timeline for such projects. If realized, this could put Tesla at the forefront of electric vehicle production, leaving competitors racing to catch up.

TSLA shares closed the week up 3.9% at $274.39, and are up more than 150% for the year so far.

UAW union stalemate begins

The United Auto Workers (UAW) union has launched a series of strategic strikes at specific plants, marking an unprecedented move in the labor dispute, after negotiations hit a roadblock between the management teams of three major American automakers.

The parties – UAW on one side and Ford (NYSE:F), General Motors (NYSE:GM) and Stellantis (NYSE:STLA) on the other – failed to reach an agreement on the new contract proposals by Thursday evening’s deadline .

UAW President Sean Fain called this tactic a “standing strike” that aims to disrupt the operations of all three automakers at once. The initial wave of strikes targets key facilities, including the Ford Michigan assembly plant in Wayne, Michigan, Stellantis Toledo Assembly in Ohio and General Motors’ Wentzville Assembly in Missouri.

“This strategy will keep companies in doubt,” Fain told workers during a Facebook live event. “It will give our national negotiators maximum leverage and flexibility in bargaining. And if we need to go all out, we will. Everything is on the table.”

A central issue in the dispute is the UAW’s demand for pay raises to match the 40 percent raises recently given to CEOs of the Detroit 3 automakers. The companies responded with pay raises ranging from 17.5 percent to 20% over four and a half years, which the UAW considers inadequate.

The situation remains fluid, with both sides seeking a solution.

Ford fell marginally on Friday, but was still up about 1.9% on the week, while GM and Stellantis were in the green on Friday and are up 2.2% and 4.5% respectively over the past five sessions.

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