State-Level EV Adoption Policies Are Working

A Polestar electric car prepares to park at an EV charging station on July 28, 2023 in Corte Madera, California.
A Polestar electric car prepares to park at an EV charging station on July 28, 2023 in Corte Madera, California.

Good morning! It’s Tuesday, September 5, 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.

1st Gear: EV Adoption Varies Greatly State-By-State

It would seem where you live is deeply indicative of electric vehicle adoption rates. While EV purchases are rising overall in the U.S., adoption is reportedly declining in the states that already had the lowest rates.

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J.D. Power expects the state-by-state divide to continue over the next decade. By 2035, the firm expects the U.S. to reach 70 percent EV retail share. EV share in California, today’s EV leader, will hit 94 percent, while North Dakota, which has the lowest EV adoption rate today, will reach 19 percent, J.D. Power said.

It’s no real surprise to find out that the charging infrastructure in California has vastly outpaced a state like North Dakota. California currently has 14,976 charging stations with 40,370 ports. On the other hand, North Dakota has just 88 stations with 187 ports.

But in some states, an EV that’s comparable to a consumer’s gasoline vehicle is nonexistent, driving down the adoption rate, J.D. Power said. Many residents in low adoption states purchase full-size pickups at relatively low price points. Today’s EV market doesn’t include a pickup within their price range, Krear said. The least-expensive electric pickup on the market is the Ford F-150 Lightning at $51,990 including shipping. That compares with the gasoline version, which starts at $35,830, including shipping.

In other states, such as New York and Texas, consumers can more readily find an EV in their preferred segment and in their higher price range.

EV affordability improved in the first half of this year, largely because of Tesla’s price cuts, J.D. Power said. Tesla’s average transaction price in June fell 18 percent from a year earlier to $55,106, according to Cox Automotive. But J.D. Power expects the average EV price to shoot up as automakers release new models, especially halo EVs that often come with a six-digit price tag. The electric Cadillac Escalade IQ starts at $130,000 with shipping.

The outlet says that around 80 percent of EV sales through July were in the premium segment, and 65 percent of those were Teslas. Overall, premium sales only account for 15 percent of gas vehicle sales.

2nd Gear: The “Baby” G-Wagon Is Coming

Mercedes-Benz says it is going to expand its G-Wagon lineup with a smaller version of the legendary off-roader, according to CEO Ola Källenius. It’s reportedly going to be both electric and “fun to drive — on and off the road.” From Bloomberg:

The current G-Wagon is among Mercedes’s most expensive and profitable models. A “baby” G-Wagon would compete with models like Ford Motor Co.’s Bronco and likely cost significantly less than the current version, which starts at around $139,000 in the US.

It’s unclear when the smaller G-Wagon will hit the market. Next year, Mercedes plans to start sales of the G-Class’s all-electric successor, the EQG.

The G-Wagon has, of course, been in production in one form or another since the late 1970s. Although it was first built as a tough, go anywhere off roader, it has become a status sybmol among the rich and famous. Bloomberg name dropped both Arnold Schwarzenegger and Kim Kardashian as well known buyers. With a cross section like that, it’s hard to argue with the G-Wagon’s success.

3rd Gear: A Kicks In The Nuts

Nissan is reportedly delaying the start of production for its next-generation Kicks crossover in Mexico by about six months, but it’s not for any reason you might think. The cause of the delay is actually because someone stole mold components from a local supplier.

Production of the new Kicks was supposed to start in December of this year. Now, it’s more than likely that it will not begin until about June of 2024. From Reuters:

“Due to an unexpected factor outside the company’s control, one of our new-model programmes has been slightly delayed,” it said in a statement. “We have no further details to share at this time.”

Nissan builds the Kicks at its Aguascalientes plant in Mexico for sale in the North American market. The model accounted for 8% of its U.S. sales last year, with about 54,000 units sold, the Nikkei said.

The outlet says that Nissan has declined to provide specifics on the incident, but it has confirmed the delay.

4th Gear: Tesla Says Chinese Firm Stole Tech Secrets

Tesla Shanghai has reportedly sued a Chinese firm over tech secret infringement and unfair competition disputes, according to Chinese state media. From Reuters:

The lawsuit against Bingling Intelligent Technology, a chip designer and auto parts maker based in Changzhou, Jiangsu province, will be heard in the Shanghai intellectual property court on October 10, according to the report.

Exactly what those secrets are, well, we don’t know. They’re secrets after all. The outlet reports that an investment fund unit of Xiaomi owns 11.9 percent of Bingling, citing Chinese business data platform Tianyancha,

Reverse: Built Ford Tough

Neutral: Always Check The Weather

People walk in the mud after torrential rain during the Burning Man event at the temporary settlement of Black Rock City, Nevada, United States, on Sept. 2, 2023.
People walk in the mud after torrential rain during the Burning Man event at the temporary settlement of Black Rock City, Nevada, United States, on Sept. 2, 2023.

Perhaps do not drive to a place that can get incredibly muddy when rain is in the forecast. I don’t know. Just a thought.

On The Radio: Jimmy Buffett - “Margaritaville”

One The Radio II: Smash Mouth - “All Star”

We lost two kings over the weekend. Safe travels, legends.

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