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https://www.reuters.com/article/us-...la-for-profitable-electric-cars-idUSKBN1EY0GG

Mary Barra promises (there's that word again) to make money selling EVs by 2021, which would make it the first automaker to do so. A big part of that equation seems to be to build in China, along with new battery tech that uses much less cobalt, the priciest material used in Li-on batteries. Doesn't help cobalt mainly comes from the Democratic Peoples Republic of Congo.

Sounds like the GM EV onslaught is about to commence very shortly! An EV cash generation engine, as opposed to a cash incineration engine. :D

RE: building in China - why not? Apple makes billions manufacturing iPhones in China, so in that sense GM is becoming more like Apple with this move. Better to partner with the Chinese anyways instead of them just stealing the IP outright. At least by collaborating with China, GM gets something out of the deal (cheaper labor, etc...). Tesla is also rumored to have plans of a China factory(s) as well.

With the Cheeto administration, it seems the US has ceded leadership of the EV movement to China anyways. =/
 

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I suspect BEVs for the NA market will be assembled in NA unless the volumes are small, as in the case of the CT6 hybrid. It's not as if GM is short on production facilities.

I also think a big part of being profitable in BEVs is selling at higher price points. The way to do that is to sell vehicles with much higher utilization rates, like robotaxis.
 

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Here is other interesting nuggets from the article:

"GM has more capital for electric vehicle development because of Barra’s decisions to sell money-losing European operations, exit other unprofitable markets and invest in a new generation of highly profitable, petroleum-fueled large pickup trucks, launching later in 2018.

The automaker now has more than 1,700 engineers, designers and researchers working on batteries and electric vehicles, many of them at the GM Technical Center in Warren, Michigan, where the company opened a dedicated battery research center in 2009, a week after it filed for bankruptcy reorganization.

Automotive experts say GM’s battery and EV group is one of the largest in the world, rivaled only by Toyota Motor Corp in Japan and Daimler AG in Germany.

Toyota has patented more battery technology in recent years than GM, although its focus has been mainly the Prius family of hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles, rather than on pure battery-powered cars like GM’s Bolt EV.

GM was issued 661 U.S. patents on battery technology from 2010 through 2015, the latest that such data is available from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, trailing only Toyota’s 762 battery patents among global automakers."


Toyota. The silent public-saying-they'll-never-build-an-EV company quietly doing even more EV R&D than than GM. Hmmmm.

And Daimler AG....another quiet one....no wonder VW and BMW are amping up their game.
 

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I'm glad I bought the Bolt before GM cheapens it by using less cobalt in the battery.
 

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If GM is struggling to do this, I can't see a snowball's chance of Tesla being able to make a "mainstream" electric car profitably. Beats me how many people think they're the cat's meow....
 

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“There’s a lot of stuff that we choose not to patent because we don’t want to make it visible” before the new technology goes into production, Fletcher told Reuters.
An element of intrigue.......
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/GM-ELECTRIC/0100609P0NF/index.html

Interesting how few patents Tesla has (55 compared to GM's 661).

Seems like Bob Lutz is right when he says there is no Tesla "secret sauce", and they don't own anything the other players don't have access to.
Also note how Panasonic's patents have seemingly stopped in their tracks, while LG Chem's has skyrocketed.
 

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Jina, Jina, Jina, Jina,

Why is that always the answer for profitability??

Slave labor rates?
No EPA?
No FDA?

We could have all of that here!
 

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An element of intrigue.......
That's SOP. You want to protect what you are doing while revealing as little as possible about how you do it. Much is held under the category proprietary information AKA trade secrets.
In my area of chemistry the holy grail is a "composition of matter" patent as that is a strong fence around a technology. The process parts of how to make the composition are mostly held as proprietary information .
 

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That's SOP. You want to protect what you are doing while revealing as little as possible about how you do it. Much is held under the category proprietary information AKA trade secrets.
In my area of chemistry the holy grail is a "composition of matter" patent as that is a strong fence around a technology. The process parts of how to make the composition are mostly held as proprietary information .
I know you didn't mean to be a buzzkill. Anyway, that is interesting and educational, so thanks.
 

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The answer is a big bet on combining proprietary battery technology, a low-cost, flexible vehicle design and high-volume production mainly in China, according to six current and former GM and supplier executives and six industry experts interviewed by Reuters. If GM can meet Barra’s ambitious profitability target, then it will house two different businesses by the mid-2020s: A traditional focus in North America on trucks, sport utility vehicles and cars fueled with petroleum, and a global electric car company centered in China, branching into pay-per-use services such as robotaxis.

China's leadership wants to make China the premier EV manufacturer. They will do everything they can to make this happen. Manufacturer incentives, consumer incentives, disincentives on gas vehicles.



Meanwhile the US almost removed buyer incentives, and is looking at watering down EPA MPG requirements.


I suspect Jina is indeed laughing at us.
 

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Jina, Jina, Jina, Jina,

Why is that always the answer for profitability??

Slave labor rates?
No EPA?
No FDA?

We could have all of that here!
Taxes and over-regulation? "The Cheeto administration" is working on it.

Now let's try to brush off our post-holiday depression, eh?
 

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Looks like we'll be producing Cobalt ourselves along with Democratic Republic of the Congo, mainland China, Zambia, Russia and Australia.

http://polymetmining.com/northmet-project/overview/
https://minerals.usgs.gov/minerals/pubs/commodity/cobalt/mcs-2017-cobal.pdf

Congo (Kinshasa) continued to be the world’s leading source of mined cobalt, supplying more than one-half of world cobalt mine production. With the exception of production in Morocco and artisanally mined cobalt in Congo (Kinshasa), most cobalt is mined as a byproduct of copper or nickel. In 2016, global cobalt mine production decreased, mainly owing to lower production from nickel operations. Growth in world refined cobalt supply was forecast to increase at a lower rate than that of world cobalt consumption, which was driven mainly by strong growth in the rechargeable battery and aerospace industries. As a result, the global cobalt market was expected to shift from surplus to deficit. China was the world’s leading producer of refined cobalt and the leading supplier of cobalt imports to the United States. Much of China’s production was from ore and partially refined cobalt imported from Congo (Kinshasa); scrap and stocks of cobalt materials also contributed to China’s supply. In 2015 and 2016, China’s State Reserve Bureau purchased cobalt for its stockpile. China was the world’s leading consumer of cobalt, with nearly 80% of its consumption being used by the rechargeable battery industry.

Identified cobalt resources of the United States are estimated to be about 1 million tons. Most of these resources are in Minnesota, but other important occurrences are in Alaska, California, Idaho, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. With the exception of resources in Idaho and Missouri, any future cobalt production from these deposits would be as a byproduct of another metal. Identified world terrestrial cobalt resources are about 25 million tons. The vast majority of these resources are in sediment-hosted stratiform copper deposits in Congo (Kinshasa) and Zambia; nickel-bearing laterite deposits in Australia and nearby island countries and Cuba; and magmatic nickel-copper sulfide deposits hosted in mafic and ultramafic rocks in Australia, Canada, Russia, and the United States. More than 120 million tons of cobalt resources have been identified in manganese nodules and crusts on the floor of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans.
 

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That's SOP. You want to protect what you are doing while revealing as little as possible about how you do it. Much is held under the category proprietary information AKA trade secrets.
In my area of chemistry the holy grail is a "composition of matter" patent as that is a strong fence around a technology. The process parts of how to make the composition are mostly held as proprietary information .
Exactly. Some people equate development to number of patents. I work in product development. We don't have many patents in our department. Much of what we do is trade secret and the resources needed to reverse engineer these secrets would be enormous. Patenting is only useful on items that are easy to reverse engineer and won't qualify as prior art.

Patents are only as good as your companies ability to defend them. They also tell your competitors exactly what you are doing. It's often very easy to get around someone else's patent and it's quite an art to write a solid patent.
 

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China's leadership wants to make China the premier EV manufacturer. They will do everything they can to make this happen. Manufacturer incentives, consumer incentives, disincentives on gas vehicles.
Meanwhile the US almost removed buyer incentives, and is looking at watering down EPA MPG requirements.
I suspect Jina is indeed laughing at us.
And there you have it, the 900 pound gorilla in the room is China (sometimes pronounced Jina).
Jina is doing all these things and more, and they are going to hand us our heads if we don't stay in this game with our domestic market.
We need to be thinking now about extending the EV tax credit and the other things needed to push this ball down the field.
Not to mention the fact that electrification of vehicles is the way we are going to clean up our transportation energy sector.
So doing this thing is just the right thing to do.
 
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