Electric car makers are selling vehicles as fast as they can make them, but supply chain issues mean production remains at a standstill.
Tesla said Saturday it had delivered 310,048 new cars in the first three months of the year, slightly ahead of the number of customers handed over in the last quarter of 2021 and up almost 68% compared to the first months of last year.
“This was an exceptionally difficult quarter due to supply chain disruptions and China’s zero Covid policy,” CEO Elon Musk tweeted. Production at its Shanghai plant was on hold since March 28 because of the Covid lockdowns.
Car rental company Hertz is a keen power buyer, with 100,000 Teslas on order and news today that it will buy 65,000 cars of the Swedish electric car manufacturer Polestar over the next five years. It promised to offer the largest electric rental fleet in North America, and “one of the largest in the world.”
Our Big Read Weekend looked at the problems electric vehicle start-ups face in getting their production processes to work. “[Start-ups] I wanted to disrupt, but I didn’t know how to disrupt manufacturing technology,” said Polestar Board Member Karl-Thomas Neumann.
SUV and pickup truck maker Rivian has been forced to halve its production target to 25,000 for this year due to global supply chain issues. Luxury electric car maker Lucid pushed back the start of production last year by several months, saying it wanted its first car to be “just fine”.
In the UK, Arrival has halved its production targets this year but hopes to start making its electric vans by autumn thanks to its strategy of using fast-to-build micro-factories.
“The capital required is only $50 million for a micro-factory, so the economy is still working, and it allows you to react to demand instead of forecasting demand. [five years out]said Mike Ableson, a former General Motors executive who runs Arrival’s auto business.
The Internet of (five) things
#techFT brings you news, commentary and analysis on the big companies, technologies and issues shaping this industry’s fastest movement from specialists based around the world. Click here to get #techFT in your inbox.
2. Royal Mint UK NFT
The British government has presented plans for become a “global hub” for the crypto industry, proposing new regulations for stablecoins, a Royal Mint NFT, and a host of other measures to woo digital asset companies. Lex has been looking at Solana, the preferred blockchain technology for NFTs.
3. Five ways to fight information warfare
The Russian invasion of Ukraine provides a crash course in how to think about both accidental disinformation and deliberate disinformation. Tim Harford offers some simple instructions to follow when interacting with social media. Meanwhile, Reporting by Financial Times correspondents in Asia and Africa why there is noticeable support for Russia on social media in their regions.
4. VC sells e-bikes
Electric bikes are proving to be as popular as cars, with the market expected to reach $52 billion by 2028. Lex says venture capitalists get excited. For example, Seattle’s Rad Power Bikes recently raised a venture capital round that valued its business at $1.65 billion.
5. Stephen Wilhite, inventor of the gif, 1948-2022
Steve Wilhite, who died at the age of 74, was the computer scientist who invented the gif image file format in 1987. Traces of Tim Bradshaw the life of the “godfather of memes” and the history of the gif from its first use on CompuServe to its deployment in the war between Russia and Ukraine.
Upcoming tech week
Monday: NASA will hold a press conference to discuss the final stages of the test, called “wet dress rehearsal”, for its Artemis 1 rocket. The Artemis program aims to send astronauts back to the moon and establish a long-term lunar colony as a precursor to human exploration of Mars.
Tuesday: Manufacturer of telecom network equipment nokiawho recently reinstated its dividend, holds its annual meeting. Taiwanese electric scooter manufacturer gogoro is set to begin trading on the Nasdaq through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company.
Wednesday: Axiom (or Ax-1), the first fully private astronaut rocket mission to the International Space Station, is to launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Thusday: Samsung Electronics announces earnings guidance for the first quarter.
Technical tools — MoonSwatch has arrived
Never since the 1980s and 1990s has the launch of a new Swatch watch aroused such enthusiasm, writes John Gapper. the £207 watch that thousands lined up to buy last month is Swatch’s tribute to the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional, worn by American astronauts including Buzz Aldrin when he walked on the moon in 1969. The MoonSwatch , available in 11 colours, is a playful pastiche of a watch icon that sells for £4,200 or more. Read more