Tesla Retreat from EV Charging Leaves Growth of U.S. Network In Doubt

First Up 05/06/24

Tesla Retreat from EV Charging Leaves Growth of U.S. Network In Doubt

Tesla’s abrupt decision to lay off its electric vehicle charging team and reduce its investments in public charging is a blow to the U.S. network, which has long relied on Elon Musk to build the bulk of the country’s fast chargers. The sudden layoffs last week left Tesla construction vendors uncertain whether to carry on with the charging projects they were building, though one vendor said the company has since confirmed that existing projects should continue, reports The Washington Post. Tesla owns and operates nearly two-thirds of the fast-charging ports in the United States and deploys more chargers each year than all other providers combined, according to the data firm EVAdoption. An unexpected retreat by Tesla could undermine the Biden administration’s pledge to rapidly expand the U.S. network. Many other automakers and companies are investing in U.S. charging, but none so far at the scale Tesla had been pursuing, analysts said. “If Tesla slows down, these other companies will pick up some of the slack but not all of it. Because Tesla just deploys charging stations at another level,” said Loren McDonald, chief executive of EVAdoption. Click here for the full story.

5 Key Takeaways from April U.S. Sales Reports

U.S. light-vehicle sales, after growing 20 consecutive months year over year, took a breather in April. Volume slipped 3.9 percent to 1.32 million last month compared to April 2023 with retail sales totaling 1.09 million and fleet volume of 229,000, down 17 percent and 17.4 percent of overall deliveries, reports Automotive News. David Oakley, head of automotive forecasting for the Americas at GlobalData, said the market continues to be decidedly mixed, with some automakers performing well and others struggling. U.S. light-vehicle sales were expected to drop about 2 percent in April, reflecting one less selling day than a year earlier and weaker fleet shipments. The market grew 5.6 percent in the first quarter. Here are some key takeaways from April. The seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales last month tallied 15.7 million, near the bottom of the range of forecasts — 15.6 million to 16 million vehicles — according to projections from J.D. Power/GlobalData, Cox Automotive and S&P Global Mobility. The SAAR tallied 15.41 million in March and 15.77 million in April 2023. While the market has steadily bounced back from the pandemic and chip shortage, it remains well below the peak years of 2015 to 2019. Click here for the full story.

Mercedes-Benz Doubles Down on High-Performance Open-Tops with New AMG CLE Convertible

Mercedes-Benz is betting on the niche world of high-performance convertibles. According to Automotive News, the 2025 Mercedes-AMG CLE 53 Cabriolet arrives in U.S. stores in the fourth quarter and is the brand's second racy open-top after the AMG SL roadster. Pricing for the new model was not disclosed but average transaction prices should graze six-figure territory. Mercedes' strategy to offer a convertible version of the AMG CLE is market-driven. According to Edmunds data, last year convertible variants accounted for 71 percent of two-door E-Class and 47 percent of two-door C-Class sales. Edmunds' analyst Ivan Drury predicts Mercedes should not have a problem moving the newest AMG. "E-Class Cabriolet customers are forking over more than $85,000," he said. "The AMG CLE 53 convertible's go-fast bits, aggressive looks and exclusivity will easily convince Mercedes' customers the premium is worthwhile." Mercedes in March launched a CLE coupe, describing the car as the largest in its segment. The automaker told dealers in 2022 that the two-door model would replace the C-Class and E-Class coupes. Click here for the full story.

Report Shows EVs Driven 20% Less than Gas-Powered Cars, Resulting in Higher Cost Per Mile

According to a recent report by iSeeCars.com, gasoline-powered vehicles that are three years old are driven an average of 12,813 miles per year. In comparison, EVs are driven 20 percent less, or 10,256 miles per year. Standard hybrid vehicles drive 12,471 miles per year, 2.7 percent less than gas-powered vehicles, and plug-in hybrid cars drive 12,199 miles per year. It’s worth noting that hybrid cars cost less than gas-powered vehicles, while EVs represent the most expensive option due to their higher upfront cost and lower annual mileage, reports CBT News. However, despite the lower cost of hybrids, hybrid owners use their vehicles almost as frequently as gas-powered car owners. Moreover, gas-powered vehicles cost 64.6 percent less per 1,000 miles than EVs due to their lower purchase cost and wider usage. Yet, plug-in hybrids cost 39.4 percent more per 1,000 miles than gas-powered cars. In the report, the least expensive alternative fuel car is the Honda Insight Hybrid, costing just $1,463 per 1,000 miles, followed by the hybrid Hyundai Ioniq at $1,813 and the Toyota Corolla at $1,857 per 1,000 miles driven. Click here for the full story.

Volvo Sees Continuing Sales Gains in April

Volvo Cars claims a 27 percent year-on-year lift in April global vehicle sales with hybrid and battery-electric vehicles forming more than half of the overall number. The automaker reports sales of 65,838 cars for the month with 26 percent made up by BEVs and 22 percent by hybrid products. According to Wards, total global sales for January through April amounted to 214,914 cars, an increase of 16 percent compared to the same period of 2023. In Europe, overall vehicle sales rose to 34,238 cars for April, up 65 percent compared to the same period last year. The all-electric EX30 compact SUV emerged as the company’s best-selling model in the region, contributing to a 76% increase in the sales of Volvo Cars’ electrified models compared to the same period last year. BEV and hybrid models accounted for 67 percent of all cars sold in Europe during April. Meanwhile, sales in the U.S. saw a 10 percent increase in April, totaling 10,604 cars. This growth was mainly driven by an 89 percent increase in sales of plug-in hybrid cars, now trending as one of the favorite choices of powertrain by consumers in that market. Click here for the full story.

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