A key Harley-Davison exec is driving off into the sundown, automakers and suppliers are discovering that one of the best websites for factories within the U.S. are literally fairly restricted regardless of the abundance of house on this nation, and Toyota and Exxon are proposing cleaner gasoline. All that and extra on this Thursday version of The Morning Shift for April 13, 2023.
1st Gear: Strikes at Harley
Harley-Davidson Chief Monetary Officer Gina Goetter will go away the corporate on the finish of April to supervise funds at Hasbro of all locations, the bike maker introduced Wednesday afternoon. From Reuters:
Harley issued an announcement saying that Vice President, Treasurer David Viney will function interim CFO after Goetter’s departure on April 28.
Shares of the corporate have been down 2.8% in prolonged buying and selling after falling greater than 6% on Wednesday.
Goetter was appointed CFO in September 2020 and performed an integral function in Harley’s restructuring plan, referred to as “Rewire,” to section out much less common bike fashions and simplify its enterprise technique by catering to an older buyer base. […]
After reducing lots of of jobs in 2020, Harley has both overwhelmed or met Wall Road earnings forecasts lately, whereas navigating excessive inflation and provide chain constraints. The corporate benefited from sturdy demand for leisure purchases through the COVID-19 pandemic.
This comes after Harley completed off 2022 with some excellent news, some dangerous. The corporate noticed shipments rise by 18 p.c within the fourth quarter, in contrast with the identical interval a 12 months earlier. Nevertheless, that quarter was additionally the primary through which Harley’s electrical bike enterprise, LiveWire, was spun off on the inventory market from its conventional choices, in a transfer just like what Ford’s completed with its separate “Mannequin E” and “Blue” enterprise items. It wasn’t a sterling debut for LiveWire; the division offered simply 69 bikes over that span. Who would have guessed the Harley crowd could be averse to the idea of fresh mobility?
2nd Gear: The Seek for the Good EV Megasite
Positive, america is an enormous nation with plenty of land. However house isn’t the one consideration for each automotive firm or battery provider that desires to boost a brand new manufacturing unit this decade, as Reuters reported Thursday utilizing Volkswagen’s new electrical truck division as a case examine:
Volkswagen’s off-road model Scout Motors studied 74 totally different parcels of land throughout the U.S. final summer time because it hunted for a spot to construct a $2 billion meeting plant.
It shortly eradicated nearly all of them. In a single case, they discovered it might take six years to construct a wanted rail hyperlink. Others lacked entry to wash energy – essential for a undertaking for “inexperienced” electrical autos. Some didn’t supply sufficient close by expert labor.
“We have been hitting a deadline,” mentioned Scott Keogh, Scout’s CEO, so that they settled for a parcel in South Carolina that has all their desired options however is a bit smaller than they initially wished – 1,600 as an alternative of two,000 acres.
Scout’s scramble highlights a problem dealing with dozens of worldwide producers. Fueled by a mixture of hefty authorities incentives, a transition to new transportation and power applied sciences, and nationwide safety considerations about counting on distant suppliers, particularly in China, there’s a factory-building increase going down throughout the U.S.
However all that new development has an actual property downside. Extra particularly, a “megasite” downside. Whereas the U.S. has plentiful land, there should not that many locations to shortly plunk a billion-dollar-plus manufacturing unit.
Labor, infrastructure and power are typically fascinating for any manufacturing campus, however some firms have very particular wants. Contemplate Intel. Whereas Scout acknowledged a rail hyperlink as important for its megasite, very like Rivian (which can be referenced within the article), the chipmaker really required a plot that wasn’t too near passing trains, as a result of the vibrations they’d create would wreak havoc on manufacturing of nanometer-sized silicon.
Good old style promoting issues too, as South Carolina officers reminded Reuters. That’s the place Scout finally determined to base its headquarters:
The VW Scout plant, as an illustration, is located in clear view of a significant interstate freeway connecting South Carolina’s coastal areas to the higher Midwest. Which means placing the Scout title, being revived by VW after 4 a long time of dormancy, in sight of tens of hundreds of passing motorists a day.
“We’ve got lots of people who’re coming from the north or from the Midwest down that freeway that may drive proper by that facility as they go to the seashores of South Carolina and Georgia and Florida,” mentioned Harry Lightsey III, South Carolina’s secretary of commerce. “That was all essential.”
third Gear: Trucking Fuels of the Future
Battery-electric tractor-trailers are selecting up use, and consultants consider roughly 12 occasions the variety of them might be constructed by 2030 in contrast with hydrogen fuel-cell rigs. Nonetheless, truck makers say they’re not ready to spurn hydrogen but, as a Bloomberg story printed Thursday illustrates:
Battery-electric vehicles are already making an influence on the highway, with Volvo, Daimler Truck and Volkswagen’s Traton providing different-size fashions to logistics shoppers. DHL has put a number of of Volvo’s e-trucks to work on London streets. Germany’s DB Schenker in January ordered 100 electrical vehicles from Traton’s MAN model and has an settlement with Sweden’s Volta Vehicles for some 1,500 e-rigs. Danish delivery firm Maersk final 12 months ordered 300 autos from Swedish startup Einride for its US warehousing, distribution and transportation enterprise. […]
However don’t rely out gasoline cell vehicles simply but. Their drivetrains convert hydrogen into electrical energy that then powers the motor, emitting solely water vapor. A gasoline cell powertrain weighs much less, permitting the autos to drive longer distances with better hundreds and shorter refueling stops.
Whereas Volvo has six battery-electric vehicles on supply and offered greater than 4,300 of those autos since 2019, it’s additionally pursuing gasoline cells. The corporate final 12 months began testing hydrogen vehicles with 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) of vary that may be refueled in quarter-hour. Daimler Truck has completed related trials the previous couple of years.
From the skin wanting in, it actually looks as if when you think about weight, refueling (or recharging) time, and all of the power concerned, hydrogen makes essentially the most sense for vehicles, whereas battery-electric is finest fitted to passenger autos. Sadly, that’s probably not the best way any of this works, as a result of finally the one which will get the mandatory infrastructure first will win out. EVs can have the amount, so electrical vehicles it’ll be.
4th Gear: Toyota and Exxon
In one other different fuel-related story, Toyota and Exxon have introduced they’re working collectively to check low-carbon blends in internal-combustion engines. Additionally from Bloomberg:
The gasoline blends are constructed from cleaner feedstocks and will at some point minimize greenhouse gasoline emissions from inner combustion engines by as a lot as 75% in contrast with common gasoline, mentioned Andrew Madden, Exxon’s vice chairman for technique and planning, citing preliminary trial outcomes. The fuels proved appropriate with Toyota autos, elevating the prospect of a drop-in resolution that might compete with battery-powered automobiles in future.
The fuels are “very a lot on the take a look at section” and would require authorities coverage help earlier than turning into commercially obtainable, Madden mentioned mentioned in a Wednesday interview. They’re principally a mixture of present feedstocks like renewable biomass and ethanol produced utilizing cleaner processes, he mentioned.
“Having an answer for liquid fuels that we will use within the present fleet, having it within the type of coverage assemble the place we permit the market to innovate, is the bottom value option to decarbonize transportation,” Madden mentioned.
The one consideration the story doesn’t increase is value. Which is vital, as a result of artificial or low-carbon variations of petroleum may solely be a super Band-Assist for standard fossil fuels as long as they’re not prohibitively costly by comparability.
Perhaps that’ll be solved within the 2030s. Both manner, Toyota stays one of many solely automakers holding EVs at considerably of an arm’s size, so the Japanese automaker appears a super associate for Exxon. In any case, InfluenceMap did lately think about each among the many “5 most influential companies obstructing world local weather motion.”
fifth Gear: Cruise Should Develop
Basic Motors’ self-driving taxi arm Cruise is set to broaden its footprint this 12 months and no one can do something to cease it. From Automotive Information:
In 2023, Cruise goals to broaden its business operations, at the moment restricted to parts of San Francisco, Phoenix and Austin, Texas. It’s getting ready for quantity manufacturing of the Origin, an autonomous car with no steering wheel or pedals, at GM’s Manufacturing facility Zero in Detroit.
Cruise CEO Kyle Vogt mentioned the corporate is on monitor for — if not forward of — its objective to succeed in $1 billion in income by 2025.
Attaining that focus on will not be a certainty, although some analysts who comply with Cruise and GM say it’s an inexpensive objective. The corporate’s capability to transition from a cash-burning startup to a sustainable enterprise would characterize a major milestone for Cruise and the nascent robotaxi business, which has had a rougher path towards viability than many within the business anticipated.
“Nearly all of our power as an organization goes into scaling,” Vogt informed Automotive Information. “Determining the way to arrange new markets, crank up the amount of autos, prepare for the Origin, be certain that all of our help programs deal with that type of quantity. And so our metrics and reporting have began to resemble that of a enterprise working at scale.”
The metropolis of San Francisco pleaded with California officers to restrain Cruise and competitor Waymo to “a collection of restricted deployments with incremental enlargement” again in January. Hassle with that’s, you’ll be able to’t maintain your self as a enterprise on restricted testing. This is the reason shifting quick and breaking issues will at all times be the motto of Silicon Valley.
Reverse: Oh Typically, I Get a Good Feeling, Yeah
It was on this present day in 1997 — 26 years in the past — that Tiger Woods gained his first main, the Masters match in Augusta, Georgia. That is related to us, a automotive web site, as a result of it coincides with probably the most memorable but middlingly successful auto-athlete endorsement offers of the fashionable period.
Impartial: RIP Craig Breen
Rally followers all over the world are mourning the lack of the 33-year-old Irishman, who died in a testing accident in Croatia early Thursday forward of subsequent week’s World Rally Championship occasion. His co-driver, James Fulton, was unhurt. Our condolences exit to Breen’s family members.