Tag: EVs

What Scares Healthcare Like EVs Scare Detroit


I’m thinking about electric vehicles (EVs)…and healthcare.

Now, mind you, I don’t own an EV. I’m not seriously thinking about getting one (although if I’m still driving in the 2030’s I expect it will be in one). To be honest, I’m not really all that interested in EVs. But I am interested in disruption, so when Robinson Meyer warned in The New York Times “China’s Electric Vehicles Are Going to Hit Detroit Like a Wrecking Ball,” he had my attention. And when on the same day I also read that Apple was cancelling its decade-long effort to build an EV, I was definitely paying attention.

Remember when 3 years ago GM’s CEO Mary Barra announced GM was planning for an “all electric future” by 2035, completely phasing out internal combustion engines? Remember how excited we were when the Inflation Reduction Act passed in August 2022 with lots of credits and incentives for EVs? EVs sure seemed like our future.

Well, as Sam Becker wrote for the BBC: “Depending on how you look at it, the state of the US EV market is flourishing – or it’s stuck in neutral.” Ford, for example, had a great February, with huge increases in its EV and hybrid sales, but 90% of its sales remain conventional vehicles. Worse, it recently had to stop shipments of its F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck due to quality concerns. Frankly, EV is a money pit for Ford, costing it $4.7b last year – over $64,000 for every EV it sells.

GM also loses money on every EV it makes, although it hopes to make modest profits on them by 2025.  Ms. Barra is still hoping GM will be all electric by 2035, but now hedges: “We will adjust based on where customer demand is. We will be led by the customer.”

In more bad news for EVs, Rivian has had more layoffs due to slow sales, and Fisker announced it is stopping work on EVs for now. Tesla, on the other hand, claims a 38% increase in deliveries for 2023, but more recently its stock has been hit by a decline in sales in China. It shouldn’t be surprising.

As Mr. Meyer points out:

The biggest threat to the Big Three comes from a new crop of Chinese automakers, especially BYD, which specialize in producing plug-in hybrid and fully electric vehicles. BYD’s growth is astounding: It sold three million electrified vehicles last year, more than any other company, and it now has enough production capacity in China to manufacture four million cars a year…A deluge of electric vehicles is coming.

He’s blunt about the threat BYD poses: “BYD’s cars deliver great value at prices that beat anything coming out of the West.”

The Biden Administration is not just sitting idly.

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