Nissan Says Its New Batteries Are ‘A Potential Bomb’

The Nissan Surf-Out solid-state battery concept

The Nissan Surf-Out solid-state battery concept
Image: Nissan

Nissan sure is so excited to tell you all about its new and improved electric car battery technology that, uh, could blow us all up. All that and more in The Morning Shift for April 8, 2022.


1st Gear: That’s One Way Of Putting It

I’m not sure the idea that better technology is what we need for more electric car adoption (Why are the goalposts of range always moving? Why is 600 miles of range critical when we already have 200? Or 300? Couldn’t we really survive with 100?) but Nissan does say it’s working on new solid-state tech and, well, it isn’t describing them as I’d expect. Here’s how Automotive News opens its article on the SS tech:

The engineering guru leading Nissan’s quest for solid-state batteries wants to disabuse people of the notion that solid state is inherently safer than today’s lithium ion packs.

True, next-generation solid-state batteries don’t have a flammable liquid electrolyte. But they do cram in a lot more energy, and that could make for some unpleasant fireworks if something goes haywire.

“Energy density is double, so you have a potential bomb that’s more dangerous,” said Kazuhiro Doi, corporate vice president in charge of advanced battery research at the Japanese automaker.

Haha … cool … I’m, uh, super excited … about five-ton EVs flying down the road on autopilot with “potential bomb” technology onboard!

2nd Gear: Everyone Is Googling Electric Cars

But not buying them, as the New York Times explains in a really wonderful article:

With gas prices painfully high and a series of climate reports underscoring the urgency of moving away from burning fossil fuels, more Americans are expressing interest in electric vehicles.

Google searches related to electric cars have skyrocketed, reaching a record number last month. On the automotive classifieds website, searches for electric vehicles increased 43 percent from January to February and a further 57 percent from February to March. And automakers are ready with encouragement: Almost all of the car commercials during the Super Bowl in February featured electric vehicles.

But the journey to actual purchases that put more electric vehicles and fewer gas-powered vehicles on roads in the United States has two major roadblocks: the supply of cars and infrastructure to charge them.

Electric cars — ever heard of ‘em?

3rd Gear: Ford E-Transit Making Deliveries

A big problem with some of our most desirable electric cars is that they hardly exist. Rivian, for example, has made a grand total of 3,568 vehicles. Total! Ever! Rivians are really wonderful, and drum up a lot of well-earned interest, but 3,500 trucks isn’t going to exactly cover America’s new car needs. We’re still a long way from really significant EV adoption, unless you live in the parts of California that are majority Tesla at this point.


In any case, what is starting to make deliveries (in Europe, at least) is Ford’s electric Transit van. From the Detroit News:

Ford Otosan, a joint venture between Ford Motor Co. and Koç Holding, is now shipping the all-electric E-Transit cargo van to customers in Europe, Ford said Thursday.

The launch of E-Transit production at Ford Otosan’s Gölcük plant in Kocaeli, Turkey, follows the February start of deliveries to customers in the U.S. from Ford’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri.

The move marks the start of mass production after customers in Europe had placed over 5,000 orders before the E-Transit began rolling off the assembly line in Kocaeli, Ford said.


Ford’s first big modern electric car program was an electric delivery van, the Ecostar. I love that we are all looking at the EV landscape of the 1990s and saying, “why don’t we just do that again?” Up next will be electric microcars coming back to market.

4th Gear: Volvo Puts A Pricetag On Russian Invasion’s Damage To Its Business At $423 Million

We know that Russia invading Ukraine has done serious damage to supply chains across European auto production, and sanctions have done yet more to factory operations in Russia itself. How much is this actually costing everyone? For Volvo trucks, it’s around $423 million, as Reuters reports:

AB Volvo (VOLVb.ST) expects its first-quarter operating income to take a hit from uncertainty caused by the Russia-Ukraine war and will set aside provisions worth 4 billion crowns ($423.2 million) to cover that, the Swedish truck maker said on Friday.


“In the first quarter 2022, assets amounting to approximately 4 billion crowns will be provided for and have a negative impact on operating income, primarily in the Financial Services segment,” it added.

Volvo in February suspended all sales, service and production in Russia, which last year accounted for about 3% of its net group sales of about 372.2 billion crowns.


5th Gear: Get Ready To See A Bunch Of College Basketball Players In Car Dealership Ads, I Guess

The NCAA has relaxed its rules on what college athletes can do for money, and dealership trade publication Automotive News wants its readers to know that means you, car dealers!

Ohio State University running back TreVeyon Henderson is among the top football players in the country, but at Ricart Automotive Group he’s just one of the “interns.”

Henderson, several of his teammates and other Ohio State athletes star in a series of advertisements that show them fetching coffee, pushing cars and being silly with group President Rick Ricart.

The “Rick’s Interns” videos are a byproduct of the NCAA’s June 2021 decision to allow student athletes to profit from the use of their name and image. Since then, Ricart Automotive and many other dealerships have begun leveraging the star power of collegiate sports standouts through promotional deals and compensating them in a variety of ways that previously would have broken NCAA rules.


I can only assume this means your ad breaks are about to be filled with college basketball players. I, myself, only watch black and white French cinema on my Criterion subscription, of course.

Reverse: We’re Going To Build So Many Bridges, You Guys

I am going to create a [works administration] that is so [progressive].


Neutral: How Are You?

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