The Short Cut: Ford announces new EV plant in Valencia, and more
Nothing like a bit of industry scoops to start your weekend is there? Welcome back to The Short Cut, where you’ll find the latest hot topics in one place. This week we’ve got the latest on renting EVs and how a push for sustainability from EV consumers is changing mining for the better.
Ford announces new EV plant in Valencia
It was a tough competition, but Valencia won. Ford has chosen the city in Spain over a rival facility in Saarlouis, Germany. The plant in Valencia will only produce EVs that use the automaker’s in-house EV technology. This selection is part of Ford’s pivot towards electricity – a move that this will result in a sizeable amount of job losses, BBC reports.
As EVs are less in need of human involvement in their production, plants that don’t secure orders for EVs, such as the Saarlouis plant, are in danger of closure – especially once the EU’s ban on petrol and diesel cars starts in 2035. Ford has already let 12,000 workers go in Europe, with more losses expected to come. However, other plants in Germany, Romania and Turkey have already been selected for EV production.
Ford has announced its new EV plant in Valencia
The car rental industry is ready to move on
The transition from petrol cars to EVs in the rental car industry is beginning, CNBC reports. Hertz’s $4.2 billion deal with Tesla will see the rental car company gain 100,000 EVs by the end of 2022. Other companies have followed suit: Enterprise Holdings and Avis Budget Group are also investing in EVs for their fleet.
Hertz also says that it believes that 30% of its fleet will be EVs by the end of 2024, and in order to promote that, has even created a webpage on its website aimed at educating drivers about EVs.
Hertz is targeting corporate market with its EV strategy, a move that seems to be in line with the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) objectives that corporate companies seem to be adopting. To address the U. S’s lackluster charging network, rental companies are also building their own charging stations. A key part of the US government’s infrastructure bill, $7.5 billion is going to increasing the number of charging stations available.
China’s EV battery supply chain might be using forced labor
Chinese companies producing raw materials for EVs might be using forced labor. In a report by the New York Times, a mining company called Xingjiang Nonferrous Metal Industry was found to have employed Uyghurs in a work transfer program. The Chinese government has admitted to moving Uyghurs from the south of Xingjiang to the north in order to work, CNBC reports. Academic publications from China are claiming that these labor transfers are beneficial to stopping the “negative” impact of religion.
While China has denied many times that it enslaves or imprisons Uyghurs, the social media for Xingjiang Nonferrous posted that by educating its workers on “eradicating religious extremism,” they were helping them to become more patriotic. China has faced much criticism over its treatment of Uyghurs, with human rights groups believing that the Chinese government has detained more than one million Uyghurs against their will in the past couple of years in “re-education camps”. The report was published just as the Uyghur Forced Labour Prevention Act took place in the US, meaning that goods made with forced labor in Xingjiang will be banned from entering the market.
EVs are changing the mining industry
Mining has often been seen as a destructive force – ruining the natural environments around it. However, as the EV industry focuses more on sustainability, a shift has occurred. With consumers buying EVs with the environment in mind, the way materials are sourced is a part of that buying decision. In order to provoke change within the mining industry, big name automakers such as Volkswagen, BMW, GM, Ford, Tesla and Mercedes-Benz have all signed on to the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA), which will ask miners to undergo third-party assessments by the initiative.
By offering a gold standard for mining, IRMA will promote transparency and as a result, increase market value for minerals that are then mined in a responsible and sustainable manner. As sustainability moves to the forefront of the world, industries are held accountable. Read more about how mining is changing for the better, in this article by the Financial Times.
Mining is gaining more transparency, which is promoting sustainability.
Losing their crown? Study finds Tesla will no longer be top EV company by 2024
Tesla is on the way to being usurped as the EV leader by 2024. A new report by Bloomberg Intelligence has found that Volkswagen is likely to become the world’s biggest EV maker, with its production forecast to double to over 2 million EVs in the next couple of years. But with other competitors such as Ford and GM face soaring battery costs and production setbacks that hinder their attempts at making their mark, Tesla will probably remain the biggest EV seller in the US, Business Insider reports.
All that said, Tesla is going to put up a fight. Accounting for 75% of EV sales in the US in the first quarter of 2022, it won’t be easy to displace the EV company from its long-held spot at the top. Its Gigafactory in Berlin began shipping cars out in March, aiming to produce 500,000 per year. Volkswagen will likely remain focused on Europe for the time being, as its US sales only made up 10% of its total last year. As the tussle over the EV crown continues, Tesla’s once undisputed reign is looking more uneasy than ever.
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