Nov 14, 2019

The bumpy transition toward electric vehicles

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Daimler announced over $1 billion in job cuts over the next three years on Thursday, citing the costs of moving the company toward a more climate-friendly product line and meeting EU emissions targets.

Why it matters: The German auto behemoth's announcement is a sign of how the wider industry's movement toward electric vehicles and automated technology will be a bumpy ride.

  • "Daimler has been burning through cash in the past few months as it grapples with the cost of electrification," the Financial Times notes.
  • The company has various climate and EV goals, such as having plug-ins and full electrics comprising over 50% of Mercedes-Benz car sales by 2030.

The big picture: It also comes amid sluggish global auto sales. The company, at an investor presentation Thursday, cited "headwinds" from trade disputes and "overall economic uncertainty."

What they're saying: CEO Ola Källenius said that the company's metamorphosis will have a "negative impact" on earnings in 2020 and 2021.

  • "The expenditure needed to achieve the CO2 targets require comprehensive measures to increase efficiency in all areas of our company. This also includes streamlining our processes and structures," he said in a statement.

Quick take: U.S. automakers are hardly immune from the climate and EV-related forces that are acting on Daimler — pressures that would grow stronger if a Democrat wins the White House.

  • As Axios' Joann Muller pointed out during the now-ended strike at General Motors, that dispute was in part a sign of how automakers' traditional business models will have to change.

Go deeper: Electric vehicles see both gains and growing pains

Go deeper

The electric vehicle shakeup hits Audi

Photo: Hauke-Christian Dittrich/picture alliance via Getty Images

More and more automakers are reckoning with the twin forces of a soft global auto market and the need to position themselves for a more electrified future.

Driving the news: Audi said yesterday it's cutting 9,500 jobs by 2025 as it seeks to boost earnings and navigate the "transformation of the automotive industry towards electric mobility and digitalization" — but it's also adding 2,000 jobs focused on electric vehicles and digital tech, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Go deeperArrowNov 27, 2019

California won't buy from automakers who side with Trump on emissions

Traffic backs up at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toll plaza along Interstate 80 in July. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California confirmed Monday that it won't buy new government vehicles from automakers who backed President Trump in his carbon emissions war with the state, the New York Times reports. GM, Fiat Chrysler and Toyota are among those set to be affected by the move.

Driving the news: The three big automakers and others announced in October that they were joining the Trump administration's side in litigation over its move to stop California from imposing emissions rules and, by proxy, mileage requirements that are tougher than federal standards, per Axios' Ben Geman.

Go deeperArrowNov 19, 2019

DHL to introduce zero-emission electric delivery vans in U.S. in 2020

The DHL StreetScooter in Bonn, Germany in May. Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd/picture alliance via Getty Images

Global shipper DHL will begin rolling out its zero-emission StreetScooter electric vehicle fleet in the U.S. next spring, as the firm works to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Reuters reported Monday.

Why it matters: Per the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the transportation industry contributed to 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 — and many delivery companies are working to get cleaner and greener by using electric vehicles.

Go deeperArrowNov 26, 2019