Today’s Pickup: Volkswagen announces aggressive EV expansion plans

A Volkswagen dealership in Berlin, Germany. ( Photo: Wikimedia Commons )

Good day,

Volkswagen AG secured $25B worth of battery supplies as part of its aggressive electric vehicles play, the German automaker announced today in Berlin. VW, the world’s largest carmaker, will equip 16 separate factories to produce electric vehicles by the end of 2022, a huge expansion from the three EV plants it currently has.

CEO Matthias Mueller said that VW will roll out a new electric model “virtually every month” for the next year. “This is how we intend to offer the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the world,” Mueller said. Volkswagen AG predicts an operating margin between 6.5% and 7.5% of revenue for 2018 after achieving an operating margin of 7.4% in 2017.

Did you know?

The Small Business Optimism Index neared an all time high at 107.6 in February (the record high is 107.8, set in the mid-1980s), the highest level reached in over 13 years.


“After April 1 you will be put out of service if you’re supposed to have an ELD and you do not. If you are currently required to prepare a paper record, you have to have an ELD. It’s as simple as that.”

-Bill Mahorney, chief of Compliance and Enforcement Divison at FMCSA, speaking during a webinar yesterday

In other news:

FedEx to announce quarterly earnings today

Analysts expect FedEx to report EPS of $2.83 after markets close today. (Stock News Times)

XPO Logistics CIO Mario Harik to speak at Home Delivery World 2018

Harik will discuss the critical role of technology in enhancing the consumer experience in an on-demand economy, at 12:15 p.m., April 18, at the AmericasMart Center in Atlanta, GA. (Nasdaq)

The Port of New Orleans wants a second container terminal

Port of NOLA officials are in the early stages of planning to build a second container terminal; AECOM Technical Services is conducting evaluations of a 675 acre greenfield site. (American Shipper)

Maersk forecasts North American container trade growth

The Danish container line predicts U.S. container trade growth of 2-4%; Canadian growth should exceed 7%. (Maritime Executive)

Union Pacific announces $127M capex in Arkansas

The funds will go toward maintenance of rails and bridges as part of Union Pacific’s overall $3.3B capex in 2018. (Union Pacific)

Final Thoughts: 

There are a couple of major stories in electric vehicles today. The first is that this morning Volkswagen AG finally unveiled its ambitious plans to expand into the EV space. VW has a production target of 3M electric vehicles annually by 2025, and they’ve secured deals with suppliers including Samsung, LG Chem, and Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd. for batteries in Europe and China.

Reuters reported that Tesla’s switch to a magnetic motor using neodymium in its Model 3 Long Range car has created upward price pressure on the rare earth metal, the supply of which is virtually entirely controlled by China. The other Tesla cars, like the Model X and Model 3 Standard, have induction motors, which use comparatively more copper. In 2015, China banned neodymium exports, which caused manufacturers to shun the metal. The market for the neodymium-iron-boron magnet used in the motors is now worth $11.3B, with demand for the magnets accelerating at 8.5% CAGR from 2010-7.

Hammer down everyone!

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John Paul Hampstead, Associate Editor

John Paul writes about current events and economics, especially politics, finance, and commodities, and holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Michigan. In previous lives John Paul studied Shakespeare in London and Buddhism in India, but now he focuses on transportation and logistics in the heart of Freight Alley--Chattanooga. He spends his free time with his wife and daughter herding cats, collecting books, and walking alongside the Tennessee River.