Unsold Chinese EVs Are Piling Up At Ports

Photo: STR/AFP (Getty Images)
Photo: STR/AFP (Getty Images)

Good morning! It’s Wednesday, April 17, 2024, 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: Ports Are Filling With Unsold Cars, Mostly From China

We’ve all heard the stories recently about electric vehicles sales falling short of expectations. Companies like Tesla have seen sales slow in recent years and automakers such as Ford have even slowed production of their own electric models. Now, we’re seeing what’s happening to the unsold cars that are out in the world already: they’re piling up at ports.


Across shipping hubs in Europe, unsold electric cars are filling storage spaces, with some automakers even looking to rent extra warehousing space to keep their shiny new cars shiny and new, reports Automotive News. As the site explains:

Several automakers have leased large areas in the ports for vehicle imports that so far have no customers for the cars. Logistics companies are also renting additional parking spaces outside the ports.

“This situation currently affects all European ports where large quantities of vehicles arrive,” Gert Ickx, spokesman for the administration of the Belgian ports of Antwerp and Zeebrugge, told Automotive News Europe sister publication Automobilwoche.

The issue has been exacerbated by the rise in exports of Chinese electric vehicles, which are sitting in shipping hubs unsold while people argue over whether or not they pose a national security threat.

The Chinese EVs being imported into places like Europe have also been hampered by reduction in subsidies for electric car sales. Automotive News reports that a cut in EV subsidies in Germany has hit sales, leaving many cars stuck on docks with nobody to buy them.

Movement of vehicles around global shipping hubs is also being impacted by a shortage of heavy goods vehicle drivers, with fewer on hand to drive the cars out of ports and onto their next destinations.

2nd Gear: Toyota Recalls 135,000 Prius Cars Over Faulty Doors

After wowing us all with the slick new looks of its all-new Prius, Toyota is left red-faced after being forced into its first recall for the top-selling hybrid just a year after the new model went on sale. The recall follows a string of manufacturing issues for the Japanese automaker, which included accusations of falsified safety certificates at one of its subsidiaries.

The Prius recall has so far only been called for Prius cars sold in Japan, but has already impacted more than 130,000 units, as Reuters reports. The recall came after issues were found with the door handles on certain Prius cars. As Reuters explains:

Toyota Motor has recalled more than 135,000 Prius hybrid cars in Japan and suspended taking new orders for the model due to a problem with rear door handles.

The cars being recalled were manufactured between November 2022 and April 2024, according to a transport ministry filing. No accidents have been reported due to the fault.

It was not immediately clear if Prius cars sold outside Japan were also being recalled.

An assembly line at one of Toyota’s plants in Japan was also suspended while quality control checks on the Prius went on. However, Reuters reports that this line is once again operational, but is only producing Corolla models at this time.

3rd Gear: Maserati Will Go All In On EVs By 2028

The push to electrification is sweeping the planet’s automakers, with companies like BMW, Ford and even Rolls Royce all now offering swanky new EVs to customers. Now, the electric revolution is coming to the world of luxury Italian supercars, as Maserati has outlined its bold plans to go electric.

The Italian automaker says it will offer a fully electric lineup by 2028, two years ahead of the impending gas-powered car ban that will sweep Europe, reports Motor Authority. The company says it will have electric options available for all its models by 2028, but may take longer to phase out the gas-powered variants of these cars. As Motor Authority explains:

Maserati CEO Davide Grasso told Motor Authority the automaker will be ready to phase out gas-powered car sales by 2028, but it will be up to the markets. The executive noted certain markets are moving at different speeds with consumer adoption of electric cars. The automaker will offer the choice between gas-powered and electric-powered cars for whatever timeline makes sense.

Maserati is known for its trademark V8 soundtrack, but the engine will be dead at the Italian automaker this year. By the end of 2025 every Maserati will either be electric or offer an electric powertrain option.

The pledge to go all-electric by 2028 comes as Maserati added a new EV to its lineup. The GranCabrio Folgore was announced earlier this year and brings an 800-volt powertrain and 180 mph top speed to the world of electric convertibles.

4th Gear: Land Rover Uses Old Hybrid Batteries To Power Homes

On the subject of EVs, have you wondered what can happen with all of the used electric car batteries when they reach the end of their lives? Well Land Rover has a solution as it’s using old cells from hybrid Range Rover models to create power packs that could run your house.

The British automaker has found a way of using the old batteries from seven hybrid Range Rover cars to create a power pack that can keep the average British home running for close to a month, reports Automotive News. As the site explains:

Jaguar Land Rover has developed a mobile energy storage unit for sale in partnership with U.K. startup Allye Energy using used batteries from plug-in hybrid Range Rover models, the two companies said on Tuesday.

The companies said a single Allye MAX Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) uses second-life batteries from seven Range Rover and Range Rover Sport plug-in hybrid vehicles and can store 270 kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy, or enough to power a British home for close to a month.

As well as having the capacity to run an average house, the charging packs can also be used to top up nine plug-in hybrid Range Rovers and can be charged up themselves at a normal EV charging station.

It’s hoped that power packs such as these could one day replace things like diesel generators at remote work sites, reports Automotive News.

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