Marco Rubio Leads Effort to Block Clean Energy Credits from Automakers That Offshore Jobs

First Up 12/06/23

Marco Rubio Leads Effort to Block Clean Energy Credits from Automakers That Offshore Jobs

A group of Republicans led by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., are planning to introduce legislation that would prohibit automakers from benefiting from a wide range of federal incentives if they move to offshore domestic manufacturing. The Putting American Automakers First Act — on track to be introduced early next week by Rubio and original cosponsors Sens. JD Vance, R-Ohio, and Eric Schmitt, R-Mo. — would bar automakers from participating in 12 federal incentive programs if they offshore production, manufacturing or final assembly of their products for 10 years. The bill comes weeks after the largest U.S. autoworker union ratified new contracts with the "Big Three" American automakers. "Despite the recent negotiations resulting in big wins for autoworkers, automakers still have the upper hand," Rubio said in a statement to Fox News Digital on Thursday. "They can still undermine these deals by offshoring production to countries with cheaper labor," the Florida Republican continued. "This legislation would create a strong incentive for automakers to keep jobs right here in America and allow workers to share in the profits that they helped create." Click here for the full story.

Nissan, Mitsubishi Confirm Plans to Invest in Renault EV Unit Ampere

Renault's long-standing alliance partners Nissan and Mitsubishi confirmed plans to invest in the French car maker's electric vehicle unit Ampere and use it to develop EVs for the European market, the companies said on Wednesday. After years of contentious partnership, the announcement on Wednesday confirms that the new alliance between the three automakers is smaller and more pragmatic, focusing on regional cooperation, reports Reuters. Nissan and Mitsubishi confirmed they would invest respectively up to $647.46 million and 200 million euros in Ampere, which has been carved out from the rest of Renault and is due for a public listing next year. Nissan will become "a strategic investor" in Ampere, Makoto Uchida, CEO of the Japanese car marker told reporters, adding the company may use the EV unit's software and connectivity innovations in other markets outside Europe. "Developing electric vehicles all over the world alone would be very challenging," he said. Ampere will develop and manufacture an electric version of the compact Nissan Micra for the European market and a medium-sized electric SUV for Mitsubishi. Renault CEO Luca de Meo said Ampere will cut the costs for the Micra for Nissan by 50 percent. Click here for the full story.

Mercedes Adds Performance AMG CLE 53 to Revamped Coupe Lineup

Many expensive two-door, gasoline-powered, high-performance sport coupes are tough to sell these days, but Mercedes-Benz is not ready to quit the segment just yet. Instead, it is trimming its offerings for 2024. According to Automotive News, the AMG C-Class coupe and the AMG E-Class Coupe are being replaced by the Mercedes-AMG CLE 53, a swoopy two-door powered by a 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six-cylinder engine mated to a nine-speed paddle-shifted automatic transmission and standard all-wheel drive. The midsize coupe sports a plethora of high-tech hardware, including an electrically assisted compressor adding as much as 5.8 pounds per square inch of boost to the turbocharger's output. That helps the revamped engine deliver its 443 hp over a wider rpm range. It also boosts torque and sharpens the AMG CLE 53's throttle response. An additional jolt of power comes from the 48-volt mild hybrid system, which has an integrated starter generator in the transmission bellhousing. It adds 23 hp, helps propel the car at lower speeds, smooths the shifts and puts power back into the battery. Click here for the full story.

Consumer Reports: Nearly Half of Tested EVs Fall Short of Their Advertised Range

Time and again, American consumers say that one of the biggest barriers to entry to the EV marketplace is range. Compounding the potential for range anxiety in an EV purchase is the fact that estimates are just that, and many have found that their electric cars frequently offer less real-world range than advertised. To help keep them honest, Consumer Reports decided to evaluate the highway range of its EV test fleet and see just how far each of its cars would go until they just couldn't go anymore. According to Autoblog, the team tested EVs from the U.S., Korea, Japan and Germany and the best (and worst) performers just might surprise you. While CR breaks down its results very matter-of-factly, we're going to (somewhat arbitrarily) arrange them into three categories: those that convincingly beat their estimates (20 miles better than advertised or more), those that didn't (20 miles or worse than expected), and those that managed to fall almost exactly where CR expected (within 19 miles of their EPA figure). Click here to view the results.

China's Graphite Export Curbs a New Cloud Over U.S. EV Supply Chain

China's new restrictions on exports of graphite — a key material for electric vehicle batteries that the country has significant control over — is casting uncertainty on U.S. EV battery production. Effective Dec. 1, China requires export permits for certain graphite products, including high-end synthetic graphite and key forms of natural graphite that auto companies use to manufacture EV batteries, reports Automotive News. Graphite, which can come from natural or synthetic sources, is the main component in lithium-ion batteries' anodes, and accounts for more mass than the lithium, cobalt, manganese and other materials used in the cathode and elsewhere in the battery. "The amount of graphite needed to feed those gigafactory beasts is in the neighborhood of a million tons per year, and the current capacity is zero in North America at commercial scale," said John DeMaio, president of Graphex Group, a graphite processor with roots in Hong Kong. "It's a wake-up call as to where the supply-demand mismatch is for a very key, critical element in battery manufacturing." And the U.S., where getting a new mining permit is a challenge, isn't even in the game. It's hard to overstate China's market power in graphite. Click here for the full story.



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