General Motors has teased for months that its upcoming electric pickup truck, the GMC Hummer EV, would gain an SUV stablemate at some point down the line. Now it’s finally here.
GMC offered the first real glimpse of the 2024 Hummer EV SUV on Saturday in a commercial that aired during the NCAA Final Four. The so-called “supertruck” is available to reserve now, and the first models will hit streets in early 2023, GMC said.
Like its pickup sibling that debuted in October, the Hummer EV SUV comes packed with features targeted at off-roading. Saturday’s LeBron James-narrated spot highlighted capabilities like “extract mode,” which lifts the vehicle by several inches at the push of a button, and “crab walk,” which turns all four wheels so the SUV can drive diagonally.
The Hummer EV SUV debuts with a roughly $106,000 “Edition 1” model that will be available in early 2023, and an available off-road package brings the Edition 1’s MSRP to just over $110,000. The Edition 1 will deliver up to 830 horsepower and a range of at least 300 miles, GMC said.
As with the pickup version, GMC plans to sell a series of more affordable Hummer SUV models following the Edition 1’s launch.
The EV2x and EV3x versions, which will cost $90,000 and $100,000, respectively, will hit the market in spring 2023. A base-model EV2 version will sell for $80,000 starting in 2024, offering at least 250 miles of range and up to 625 horsepower, GMC said.
Those high price tags mean that despite its promises of off-road capability, the Hummer EV SUV is more likely to steal shoppers away from a high-end Mercedes G-Wagen or Range Rover than from a rugged Jeep Wrangler.
GMC said it will release additional information about the new model on Monday.
GM shuttered the Hummer brand in 2010 amid rising gas prices and a global recession, but it’s given the gas-guzzling nameplate an unexpected second life as a brand for upscale, off-roadable, zero-emission vehicles. Hummer’s resurrection comes as part of GM’s larger electrification push.
The Detroit automaker announced in January that it won’t sell any gas-powered vehicles after 2035. In November, it said it will commit $27 billion toward the development of electric and autonomous vehicles.
As Tesla works to get its mammoth new factory in Germany up and running by the summer, disturbing delicate reptile habitats may be the least of Elon Musk’s worries.
After sparring with locals over everything from water supply to deforestation, there may be an even larger threat looming: Germany’s largest union.
Tesla hasn’t made many friends of labor activists in the US, and the 2.2-million-strong IG Metall isn’t likely to go down without a fight, experts told Insider. A prolonged battle over contracts with the group – which wields considerable political influence and social capital – could derail Tesla’s ambitious plans for the European market.
A standoff over contracts
Virtually every car company operating in Germany is a member of an employers’ association, and IG Metall – which represents metalworkers in the auto industry and other sectors – negotiates industry-wide contracts with the group instead of bargaining with each company individually. That system gives the country’s unions considerably more negotiating power than their US counterparts, which vote to unionize plant by plant.
But there’s a catch – joining the association isn’t required by law, it’s only customary. And Tesla has made every indication it’s not interested in following that deep-rooted norm.
The carmaker has caught heat for union-busting tactics in the US – the National Labor Relations Board ruled in March that Musk must delete an anti-union tweet and reinstate a fired employee who was part of an organizing drive – and it has signaled it’s not keen on working with unions in Germany either.
Tesla ignored a letter from IG Metall inviting a dialogue last year. And it went to great lengths to pacify disgruntled union members at Tesla Grohmann Automation, an engineering firm it acquired in 2016, without entering the industry’s collective agreement. Instead, the carmaker fended off a strike by giving workers a deal that was comparable to the industry-wide wage (plus stock options).
It could try to pull the same play at Gigafactory Berlin.
The stakes are high for IG Metall
But IG Metall likely wants to avoid that scenario at all costs, Stephen Silvia, a professor at American University whose research focuses on comparative labor relations, told Insider.
Allowing a massive non-union plant to build cars in Germany would set the dangerous precedent that companies don’t need to engage in collective bargaining, he said. It would also mean thousands of members would potentially go without the contractually enforced job security, wages, and benefits the rest of the industry enjoys.
Moreover, IG Metall stands to lose bargaining power with other automakers if it can’t get Tesla to play ball, said Arthur Wheaton, an automotive industry expert at Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations. It’s especially crucial that IG Metall preserve all the sway it can at a time when carmakers are pivoting to EV production, which, Wheaton said, requires roughly 30% fewer workers than traditional auto manufacturing.
“It’s all about labor density,” he said. “Every plant that opens that’s not unionized hurts [IG Metall’s] power.”
The union can make life difficult for Tesla
Given the stakes, IG Metall is likely to employ a whole menu of strategies to bring Tesla to its side. And there’s no guarantee that any of it will bear fruit. Amazon, for example, has for years resisted calls from Germany’s service-sector union, Verdi, to recognize collective bargaining agreements.
Silvia, who has spoken to the union about its plans, anticipates a public relations campaign and protests to exert political and social pressure on Tesla to “be a good corporate citizen.”
“It’s very difficult to force a completely unwilling company,” Silvia said. “They’ll just have to make [Tesla’s] life as uncomfortable as possible.”
IG Metall could also organize rolling strikes, though there are restrictions on how long they can last and when they can occur. Grey-area “guerilla actions” – like slowing down work at a Tesla supplier where IG Metall might have members – may also be in the union’s playbook, Silvia said.
IG Metall may also try to influence Tesla’s leadership from within. The carmaker will be required by law to allow Gigafactory Berlin employees to form a works council – a group that represents the interests of the factory’s workforce – and IG Metall could make sure it’s stacked with members, according to Silvia.
Wheaton, however, thinks IG Metall’s main weapon for putting the squeeze on Tesla is blocking the completion of the factory altogether. IG Metall could work with environmentalist groups to slow down construction, he said.
Since beginning work on Gigafactory Berlin in early 2020, Tesla has faced setbacks from environmental activists and regulators over issues like deforestation, water usage, and the well-being of wildlife surrounding the construction site. And it has encountered delays over procedural problems having to do with work permits and deposits.
The stakes are high for Tesla, too
The carmaker likely wants to avoid any more stumbles as it looks to get the plant, which forms the cornerstone of its European strategy, online by July. Tesla aims to eventually build 500,000 European-market cars per year and produce its next-generation battery cells at the facility, and a protracted struggle with IG Metall could impede those plans.
Getting the factory up to speed as quickly and as smoothly as possible is critical for Tesla as it works to scale production worldwide and defend its market share from a growing number of EV-making rivals, most notably German automaker Volkswagen.
Tesla did not return Insider’s request for comment on whether it is open to joining the collective wage agreement.
IG Metall, for its part, said it’s approaching Tesla as it would any other manufacturer looking to open up a facility in Germany. Union representatives did not respond to Insider’s request for an interview but the chairman of IG Metall Berlin Jan Otto told Insider in an emailed statement that he doesn’t “feel any frustration towards Tesla and the new Gigafactory in Grünheide.”
“It is our job to organize people and negotiate collective agreements once we have reached more than 60/70% of the workers. In the past, we have organized thousands of workers in new and old companies,” Otto continued. “Tesla is a big player, but for us, it is just another company.”
Tesla on Friday announced better-than-expected car sales for the first three months of 2021, despite major production and supply-chain headwinds.
The electric-car maker delivered 184,800 vehicles in the first quarter, topping Wall Street’s expectations. The carmaker sold 182,780 of its Model 3 and Model Y, along with 2,020 of its higher-end Model S and Model X. Tesla does not break down its sales by individual model.
Tesla said it saw strong demand for the Model Y in China and that it will continue to speed up production of the refreshed Model X and Model S.
Shares of the automaker sank slightly, about 0.5% in extended trading Friday, though most major stock exchanges were closed for Good Friday. The stock sold off just shy of 1% on Thursday in the lead-up to the announcement.
Overall production numbers came in at 180,338, Tesla said. Both figures could change slightly, about 0.5%, as paperwork is finalized.
The carmaker faced major headwinds in the first quarter including a global shortage of semiconductors that has kneecapped auto manufacturing worldwide, idling production lines and forcing automakers to build cars without certain components as they await chips.
In January, Tesla CFO Zach Kirkhorn warned of obstacles Tesla would face in the first quarter, including the semiconductor issue.
“Specifically for Q1, our volumes will have the benefit of early Model Y ramp in Shanghai,” Kirkhorn said on a conference call. “However, S and X production will be low due to the transition to the newly architected products. Additionally, we’re working extremely hard to manage through the global semiconductor shortage as well as port capacity, which may have a temporary impact.”
In February, Tesla temporarily halted production at its Fremont, California, factory, and CEO Elon Musk attributed the break to “parts shortages.” Production stoppages aren’t uncommon for carmakers, and they’ve become more frequent as the chip shortage drags on.
Wall Street expects Tesla to sell more than 800,000 vehicles in 2021, with production capacity aided by new factories that are set to come online in Germany and Texas.
Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives said in a Friday note that he now expects Tesla to deliver more than 850,000 cars in 2021, as demand for EVs grows globally and as President Joe Biden signals a commitment to green infrastructure.
“We believe these delivery numbers are a paradigm and sentiment shifter for the space going forward. Its been a brutal sell off for Tesla and EVs, but we believe that will now be in the rear view mirror,” Ives said.
Volkswagen of America may not rebrand to “Voltswagen” after all, multipleoutlets report.
The brand – a subsidiary of Germany’s Volkswagen Group – announced plans Tuesday to rename its US operations “Voltswagen of America.” It said the brand’s battery-powered vehicles will have exterior “Voltswagen” badging, while its gas-powered cars will come with just the traditional VW emblem.
Now Volkswagen appears to be walking back the statement, according to multiple outlets citing sources familiar with the move.
The press release announcing the name change, published to VW of America’s website on March 30, was an April Fools’ joke, a Volkswagen spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal. The announcement was made up to drum up attention for VW’s upcoming electric vehicles, Reuters reported, citing three sources familiar.
The carmaker will officially retract the name change on Wednesday, multiple outlets report.
“We might be changing out our K for a T, but what we aren’t changing is this brand’s commitment to making best-in-class vehicles for drivers and people everywhere,” Scott Keogh, president and CEO of Voltswagen of America, said in a statement Tuesday. “This name change signifies a nod to our past as the peoples’ car and our firm belief that our future is in being the peoples’ electric car.”
CNBC initially reported the name change Monday, after a draft of Tuesday’s press release was accidentally posted to the brand’s website a month early. It was dated April 29, CNBC said, and was briefly online before being removed from VW’s website.
Volkswagen of America and Volkswagen Group representatives did not immediately return Insider’s requests for comment.
Volkswagen began delivering its first EV for the US market, the ID.4, in March. During a presentation in March, the Volkswagen Group laid out a wide-ranging strategy to overtake Tesla in the EV space. The plans included six European battery-production plants, new battery technology, and investments in charging infrastructure.
Despite being the most valuable automaker on the planet, Tesla has a relatively spare vehicle lineup as compared with other car companies.
The company – by far the most successful purveyor of electric vehicles – sells just four models: the Model S and Model 3 sedans along with the Model X and Model Y crossovers. Ford sells double that number of SUVs alone.
But Elon Musk’s automaker has grand plans to expand its offerings in the near future. A semi truck, pickup truck, supercar, and high-performance sedan are all supposed to arrive by 2022, and Musk has said an electric ATV, a $25,000 car, and a van are in the works as well.
Tesla’s Cybertruck caused a stir upon its reveal during a splashy event in 2019 – and not just because its supposedly bulletproof windows shattered on stage (twice).
The pickup’s unconventional design polarized onlookers, with fans describing it as futuristic and daring and critics saying it looked like something out of a primitive video game. Some wondered what its sharp corners might do to pedestrians in a crash.
Yet the Cybertruck has attracted more than 500,000 non-binding preorders, according to Musk. It will come in three configurations – single-motor rear-wheel drive, dual-motor all-wheel drive, and tri-motor all-wheel drive – and will offer up to 500 miles of range, according to Tesla.
Pricing will start at $39,990, Tesla said in 2019, and volume production will likely begin in 2022, Musk said in January.
When Tesla revealed the new Roadster in 2017 – aiming for a 2020 launch date – Musk said it “will be the fastest production car ever made, period.”
Tesla claims the four-seat supercar will sprint to 100 mph in 4.2 seconds on its way to a top speed of more than 250 mph. According to the EV maker, the Roadster will be able to travel 620 miles on a charge – farther than any EV on the market today.
Musk has also said he wants to equip the Roadster with compressed-air rocket thrusters to boost acceleration and, potentially, give it the ability to hover short distances. Needless to say, a flying Tesla probably won’t fly with regulators.
The new Roadster is priced starting at $200,000 and is slated to enter production in 2022.
Like the Cybertruck and Roadster, the Tesla Semi – the carmaker’s class 8 truck – has remained in vehicle-development purgatory since it was announced in 2017. Tesla initially eyed 2019 for the big rig’s launch, but later pushed that date to 2020 and finally to 2021.
Over the years, the prospect of a battery-powered tractor-trailer has attracted lots of attention from major retailers and shippers eager to spend less on fuel and maintenance. Tesla says the Semi will eventually be fully autonomous, meaning that fleet owners could theoretically run trucks for longer hours and save on labor costs.
Pepsi, Walmart, Anheuser Busch, UPS, and FedEx have all placed reservations for the Semi, which Tesla expects will cost $180,000 for a model with 500 miles of range. A 300-mile range truck will also be available for $150,000.
The regular Model S Plaid is available now and offers up 390 miles of range, a 200 mph top speed, and a 0-60-mph time under two seconds, according to Tesla. The automaker says the Plaid Plus will be even quicker to 60 mph and will travel more than 520 miles on a charge. Tesla says it will generate more than 1,100 horsepower from three motors.
The Model S Plaid Plus will run $149,990 and starts shipping in the middle of 2022.
Tesla has been steadily decreasing the price of its vehicles for years, but the EVs are set to get even cheaper in the near future.
At the company’s Battery Day event in September 2020, Musk promised that a $25,000, fully autonomous Tesla would hit the market “about three years from now.” Musk has admitted himself that punctuality isn’t his strong suit, so it’s fair to take that timeline with a grain of salt.
But Tesla appears to be making headway on the plans. The company aims to complete a research and development center in China that will develop the budget EV by the end of 2021, Tesla China President Tom Zhu said in a February interview with Chinese media.
The Cyberquad hit the scene as a last-minute, surprise announcement during Tesla’s Cybertruck unveiling. And we haven’t heard much about it since.
Tesla hasn’t discussed pricing, a launch date, or any specs. But some sleuthing by automotive journalist Bozi Tatarevic appears to have uncovered that the Cyberquad – at least the one shown during the Cybertruck event – shares a platform with the gas-powered Yamaha Raptor ATV.
Musk has floated the idea of a Tesla van more than once, most recently during a February interview on Joe Rogan’s podcast in which he said it’s possible the EV will have an array of solar panels on it. Before that, Musk said on a conference call in January that it plans to build a van “at some point,” but that it’s been held back by a lack of battery cell supply.
It’s possible that a future high-capacity Tesla would be used to shuttle passengers along networks of subterranean roadways built by The Boring Company, a tunneling firm that Musk also runs. A San Bernardino County transportation official let it slip in June that the county is working with Tesla on a 12-person van for a future Boring tunnel there, but Tesla hasn’t officially announced any such vehicle.
It’s hard to remember a time when “Elon Musk” and “electric cars” didn’t go hand-in-hand.
But back in the early 2000s, the dream of mass-market electric cars with long range and rapid acceleration was still a long way off for Musk, who had already cofounded and sold Zip2 and PayPal and was working on SpaceX. That changed with a fateful test drive in 2003.
At the behest of the person who would go on to become Tesla’s first chief technology officer, JB Straubel, Musk took a ride in AC Propulsion’s tZero, a tiny electric car that was built as a prototype. Musk was so wowed by the car he tried to get the company to commercialize it – it didn’t want to, which in part led to the birth of Tesla.
Here’s how the tZero led the way in electric cars, sparked Elon Musk’s interest, and inspired the Tesla Roadster.
The tZero was designed by a company called AC Propulsion, which in the early 2000s, was run by cofounder Alan Cocconi and CEO Tom Gage. AC Propulsion wasn’t an electric carmaker – it worked with car manufacturers to produce electric vehicle drive systems.
The tZero ran on lithium-ion battery cells, which – thanks to their light weight – made the car surprisingly fast: it reportedly went from 0 to 60 in 3.6 seconds. The tZero also had a range of more than 200 miles.
While the tZero had an outwardly stylish design, its interior was described as “Spartan.”
A Forbes article from 2003 described the interior of the vehicle as “like a science project”:
“… most of the controls apart from the CD player are gadgets to monitor the battery and tiny 110-lb. motor. Drivers get an analog current meter, voltmeter, altimeter, and battery-voltage display with LED lights that measures temperature and charging limits.
Remember, though, this is more of an experiment than a traditionally appointed car. The tZero does not come with air-conditioning. And to lower its top and windows, you detach them and store them in the trunk.”
Only three tZeros were ever produced, and there is reportedly only one left in existence. One of the vehicles was incinerated in a garage fire in 2017, and it’s not clear what happened to the third.
Elon Musk came into the picture in 2003 after he was encourage to test drive a tZero.
Shortly after founding SpaceX, Musk was having lunch with satellite pioneer Harold Rosen and JB Straubel, who went on to become Tesla’s chief technology officer. Straubel suggested they take a ride in a tZero and Musk agreed.
“It literally didn’t have doors or a roof, or any airbags, or an effective cooling system for the battery and it was not safe and was very unreliable,” Musk on the Third Row Tesla podcast in February. “It needed to be babied by an engineer or … you couldn’t use it.”
Still, Musk was excited about the concept and tried to convince Cocconi and Gage to commercialize the car.
“I really pestered them a lot to commercialize the tZero, and they just did not want to do it,” Musk said.
Musk said he asked the team, “If you’re not going to commercialize the tZero, do you mind if I do it?” The team said yes, and introduced Musk to another group looking to do the same: Tesla Motors’ Martin Eberhard, Marc Tarpenning, and Ian Wright.
In 2004, Musk invested $6.3 million in Tesla. For the next four years, the company worked on its first car, the Tesla Roadster.
While the Roadster ended up only slightly resembling the tZero, it carried the DNA of the prototype car: it had the first lithium ion battery in a vehicle put into production, could go from 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds, and had a range of up to 300 miles.
China is cracking down on the use of Tesla cars by state personnel over security concerns posed by the vehicles’ cameras, multiple outlets report.
A directive from the military issued this week banned Tesla owners who live in military housing compounds from driving their cars onto state property, Bloomberg reported, citing anonymous sources familiar with the matter. The new restrictions on where Teslas can be driven also apply to personnel working at key government agencies and at state-owned companies in certain industries, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the rules.
The government told some agencies to instruct their employees to stop driving a Tesla to work, people told the Journal.
The new rules stem from concerns that cameras on Tesla’s vehicles could covertly record their surroundings without the Chinese government’s knowledge, both outlets said. Officials are also concerned that Tesla’s vehicles could gather sensitive data like a driver’s identity and their phone’s list of contacts, sources told the Journal.
Teslas, like many other new cars, have an array of external cameras that are necessary for the cars’ driver-assistance system, Autopilot. Like on other vehicles, the cameras can also help with parking and lane changes. The Model 3 and Model Y also have an internal camera mounted above the rear-view mirror that can capture video in the event of a crash or an emergency braking situation.
China’s State Council Information Office and Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
China is the world’s largest market for EVs and an increasingly crucial one for Tesla as it looks to drastically boost sales in the coming years. The company started production at its Shanghai Gigafactory in late 2019, less than a year after breaking ground. The EV maker now manufactures the Model 3 sedan and Model Y crossover at the factory.
In its ventures outside the US – both in Berlin, Germany, and in Shanghai – Tesla has largely played ball with authorities. But the company’s relationship with the Chinese government has gotten testy lately. The country’s regulators asked for a meeting with Tesla in February to discuss issues with its vehicles like battery fires and unintended acceleration.
BMW on Wednesday took the wraps off of its latest electric vehicle, the 2022 i4. The model will help pave the way for a new electric era for the automaker, which has largely sat on the sidelines of the EV rush over the last decade.
BMW’s first fully electric sedan (BMW calls the i3 a sedan but it’s really more of a hatchback), the i4 will deliver up to 530 horsepower and an EPA-estimated range of 300 miles, the company said. It will hit 62 mph in roughly four seconds.
For comparison, the base Tesla Model S – the model to beat in the high-end electric sedan segment – has a range of 412 miles. More than 500 horsepower in its top configuration gives the i4 more power than the M4, which appears to be its gas-powered counterpart in BMW’s lineup.
The i4 will hit the market in 2021, and BMW says a performance model is on the way. BMW has yet to release pricing details or additional specs for the car.
BMW, at one point a pioneer in the EV space with its quirky i3, has fallen behind some other legacy automakers when it comes to electrification. But it’s picked up the pace as of late.
In November, the brand unveiled its upcoming flagship electric SUV, the iX. It also launched an electric version of the X3 SUV, the iX3, but it’s not available in the US.
During a presentation on Wednesday, BMW followed in the footsteps of several other automakers by announcing an accelerated timeline for its EV program.
The company now plans to sell roughly 12 electric models by 2023 and aims to have electric cars account for at least half of its global sales by 2030. Mini, it said, will phase out gas-powered offerings in the early 2030s.
In 2025, BMW plans to launch a new EV platform called the “Neue Klasse” that will underpin future vehicles.
The Taycan, Porsche’s first EV, has been a hit so far. Riding on that popularity, Porsche introduced its much-anticipated wagon variant on Thursday.
Meet the 2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo, a car that Porsche calls a crossover in its press release but is most certainly a wagon. The Cross Turismo version of the Taycan is intended for slightly more utility; it has more cargo room than the sedan and additional ground clearance.
Four versions will be available at launch: the Taycan 4 Cross Turismo, Taycan 4S Cross Turismo, Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo, and Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo. There will not be a rear-wheel drive version like with the regular Taycan. All Taycan Cross Turismo models will come with a dual-motor setup and all-wheel drive.
Pricing starts at $90,900 before the $1,350 delivery fee. You can expect them at US dealerships this summer.
Keep reading to see more – as well as the two electric bicycles that Porsche’s also launching.
The 2021 Taycan Cross Turismo is the wagon version of Porsche’s Taycan EV sedan.
The Taycan Cross Turismo will come in four variants.
They are the Taycan 4 Cross Turismo, Taycan 4S Cross Turismo, Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo, and Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo.
It’s designed to be the more utilitarian Taycan.
Porsche gave it additional ground clearance and extra cargo room.
The Cross Turismo rides 0.8 inches higher than the sedan version.
The rear cargo space has been increased to 15 cubic feet in the Taycan 4 Cross Turismo and Taycan 4S Cross Turismo.
The 14.3 cubic feet in the Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo and Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo is the same as in the Taycan sedan, however.
Tesla on Thursday agreed to partner with a nickel mine in New Caledonia in an effort to secure more of the resource, which is key in the production of lithium-ion batteries in electric cars, Reuters reported.
Tesla is expected to become an industrial adviser at the Pacific island’s Goro mine, which is owned by Brazilian mining giant Vale and is a French overseas territory.
Reuters reported that the electric-car maker is set to help with product and sustainability standards and buying nickel for its battery production, an agreement with the New Caledonian government showed.
The move comes amid growing concerns about the demand for nickel, as the acceleration of electric-vehicle production could lead to low supplies.
This echoed his tweet from July: “Nickel is the biggest challenge for high-volume, long-range batteries.” Musk added that nickel production in Australia, Canada, and Indonesia is going well, but in the US it’s “objectively very lame.”
The agreement cited by Reuters showed that the new deal means a 51% stake in the Vale operations may be held by New Caledonia’s provincial authorities and other local interests. Trafigura is expected to hold a 19% stake – less than the 25% planned in the original sale agreement with Vale, the outlet reported.
Tesla won’t have a stake, just a partnership that will secure its electric-battery supply chain as it ramps up production. “Our task now is to complete any and all outstanding items to allow the transaction to formally conclude,” Vale said in an emailed statement to Reuters.
New Caledonia is the world’s fourth-largest nickel producer. The material is also mined mostly in Russia, Canada, and Indonesia.