Accessibility, affordability, and advancements

Jumpstart your March with a dose of electric vehicle news, courtesy of Fluid Truck! 

From Apple’s surprising detour to affordable EV advancements and international news, we've got you covered on all things EV this month.

Apple pulls plug on EV project

A concept Apple electric vehicle. It is white, angular, and features the Apple logo on the tire rims.
Via Apple

After investing billions over a decade, Apple quietly ended its pursuit of an electric vehicle, originally intending to launch an autonomous model by 2024. Analyst Erik Woodring explains the strategic decision, stating that "Apple's EV/AV efforts were too far behind well-funded competitors to represent a viable path towards commercialization and product differentiation."

This decision follows a period of waning demand for EVs and a reevaluation by automakers. Apple now intends to pivot its efforts towards artificial intelligence, marking a strategic redirection in its innovation endeavors. 

Ford teases a budget-friendly EV

Rumors have circulated since 2021 about an affordable Ford EV, potentially materializing this year. Ford aims to introduce a competitively priced electric vehicle capable of challenging Tesla and Chinese EVs.

To streamline operations, Ford is establishing two distinct divisions: Ford Blue for gas-powered vehicles and Ford Model e for EVs. While each division will operate independently, they will also collaborate, along with Ford Pro, which caters to commercial and government clients with a range of vehicles and associated services.

Recent sightings of a "not-so-secret" Ford EV on the roads have fueled speculation that Ford is collaborating with Volkswagen on an affordable EV project specific to the European market.

While specifics regarding Ford's electric vehicle developments remain unclear, the company is actively pursuing affordable options.

China’s EVs disrupt the global market 

Electric cars manufactured by BYD wait to be loaded onto a ship at the international container terminal of Suzhou Port, in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province, on Sept. 11, 2023.
Electric cars manufactured by BYD wait to be loaded onto a ship at the international container terminal of Suzhou Port, in China’s eastern Jiangsu Province, on Sept. 11, 2023. Photo by AFP via Getty Images.

The cost barrier has long been a concern for consumers considering EVs, but Chinese automakers are aiming to change that narrative. With the introduction of Chinese electric vehicles to the market, American and European automakers are now under pressure to offer more affordable EV options to stay competitive.

President Biden has acknowledged the significance of these developments but has also voiced caution regarding Chinese vehicles. Consequently, he has directed the US Commerce Department to assess the potential risks associated with these vehicles. 

As a result, the timeline for the availability of Chinese EVs in the US remains uncertain.

New EV battery developments in the works

As batteries constitute a significant portion of EV costs, automakers seek ways to reduce production expenses to make EVs more affordable and accessible to wider masses. 

A revolution in electric vehicle batteries is underway, with various innovations challenging the dominance of conventional lithium-ion technology. 

With more than a dozen nations committing to this transition, the race for better car batteries intensifies, aiming to meet diverse requirements such as energy density, power, lifespan, temperature tolerance, safety, and affordability. 

  • Toyota aims to release a car by 2027–28 capable of traveling 1,000 kilometers and recharging in 10 minutes using solid-state batteries.
  • Chinese manufacturers plan to introduce budget cars in 2024 featuring sodium-based batteries.
  • A US laboratory has developed an air-powered cell with potential applications in aviation.

These advancements reflect a growing demand for EVs as global initiatives push for electric vehicle mandates by 2035.

As research explores various battery chemistries and designs, the future landscape of EV batteries promises to be diverse, offering solutions tailored to different vehicle types and applications.

The rise of green auto loans

Amid Tesla's projection of slower profits in 2024, the quest for wider electric vehicle adoption gains momentum, prompting both automotive manufacturers and governments to explore innovative incentives. 

Despite the persistent challenge posed by the initial costs of electric vehicles, the emergence of green auto loans presents a promising solution. These specialized financing programs offer advantageous terms such as reduced interest rates and extended repayment periods, empowering consumers to overcome financial barriers and embrace eco-friendly driving options.

Ford & Tesla power ahead

Closeup of a man wearing a jacket and plugging in his EV via the Ford + Tesla adaptor.
Via Ford

The lack of charging infrastructure stands as the second-largest barrier to EV access. However, a significant shift occurs this month for Ford EV owners as they become the first to access Tesla's extensive network of over 15,000 Superchargers.

Until June 30, 2024, Ford is providing a complimentary adapter to its existing EV owners. Following this period, customers will have the option to purchase the adapter for $230 directly from Ford's website.

The collaboration between Ford and Tesla to expand charging infrastructure signals a positive trajectory for the future of EVs. By leveraging Tesla's extensive Supercharger network, Ford EV owners gain greater convenience and accessibility.

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