This week’s automotive headlines – 2 April 2022
02 April 2022
Autovista24 looks at some of the biggest headlines in the automotive industry from the past seven days. In this week’s round-up, Volkswagen (VW) Commercial Vehicles is back in the black, Germany and Spain’s hydrogen infrastructure expansion plans, Ford releases inaugural human rights report, JLR reveals sustainability targets, and Lucid Air owners can charge for free in Canada.
Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles ends financial year on a profit
VW Commercial Vehicles (VWCV) has reported it is back in the black a year earlier than expected, highlighting a profit of €73 million. This reflects an upswing from losses encountered by the carmaker, amounting to €454 million in 2020. This year’s profit comes amidst continuing negative effects triggered by COVID-19, ongoing semi-conductor supply difficulties, periods of production downtime and fewer vehicles being shipped. VWCV delivered 359,500 vehicles to customers last year, which was down on the previous year’s 371,000 vehicles. Despite this, the improvement of VWVC’s bottom line totalled 527 million euros. ‘There were several logical consequences from the market situation in 2021 that had a positive influence on our result,’ affirmed Michael Obrowski, management board member for finance. ‘These included fewer sales support and very strong used car business once again, and another key factor in the positive result was the high expenditure discipline as well as cost optimisation in our brand. They made the impressive turnaround possible ahead of schedule.’
Hydrogen refuelling infrastructure expanded in Germany
H2 Mobility Deutschland has announced a €110m investment round. This was provided by new shareholder Hy24, plus Air Liquide, Daimler Truck, Hyundai, Linde, OMV, Shell, and TotalEnergies. The investment will be used to upgrade the existing hydrogen refuelling network in Germany, as well as adding to the existing 90 stations operated by H2 Mobility. The aim is to expand the hydrogen refuelling network in Germany to 300 stations by 2030, with over 200 large-scale refuelling stations capable of meeting the demand for zero-carbon, heavy-duty and long-haul transportation across Europe. ‘Green hydrogen will become a game-changer on the journey to replace fossil fuels in transport and to reduce our dependency on extracting resources from our planet’s surface,’ said Nikolas Iwan, managing director of H2 Mobility. ‘I am excited that we can combine the skills of H2 Mobility with the significant capital raised in this round to accelerate the transition to green hydrogen in mobility and transport.’
Ford releases inaugural human rights report
Ford has released its first ever human rights report alongside the company’s second annual integrated sustainability and financial publication which marks its 23rd year of sustainability reporting. Whilst the report generally focuses on plans to produce more than two million electric vehicles (EVs) by 2026, making half of its annual sales volume electric by 2030, the new human rights report is a standalone entity and a first for Ford and the automotive industry in the US. ‘This year, Ford will publish a human rights report,’ confirmed Ford executive chair Bill Ford. ‘It will examine how our materials are sourced, where our products are manufactured and how our labour standards measure up. I am proud of the progress we have made over the last two decades and look forward to our continued accomplishments.’
New Spanish-based hydrogen production project planned
Wyoming-based renewable fuels company Raven SR has announced plans to construct a waste-to-hydrogen production facility in Aragón, Spain. The project is slated to become operational in 2023 and will produce 1,600 metric tonnes of renewable hydrogen per year. It will use approximately 75 tonnes of organic solid waste per day, and follows on from the opening of a subsidiary plant, Raven SR Iberia, in Zaragoza. ‘As we advance the commercialisation of renewable hydrogen and synthetic fuels produced from waste, we are well-positioned in Europe by launching operations here in Aragón, which is at the forefront of developing the new hydrogen economy for the energy transition,’ commented Raven SR CEO Matt Murdock.
JLR’s 2030 sustainability targets
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has confirmed it is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, spanning all operations, by 46% come 2030. Additionally, the carmaker stated that average vehicle emissions will be cut by 54%, including a 60% reduction throughout the use phase of its vehicles. The measures have been approved by the Science Based Targets Initiative and underline the company’s pathway to a 1.5°C emissions reduction in line with the Paris Agreement. The latest emissions target outlined by JLR is complimented by a plan to achieve net-zero across its supply chain, product, and operations by 2039, as part of the Reimagine strategy. To further underpin its climate aspirations, JLR has introduced a new role of sustainability director. Rossella Cardone has been appointed to drive its transformation and support executive director, strategy and sustainability, François Dossa
Charge your Lucid Air for free in Canada
EV manufacturer Lucid has used the opening of its newest sales location in Tronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre, Canada, to announce a two-year complimentary charging policy for customers in the country. Collaborating with EV charging infrastructure suppliers Electrify Canada, those who reserve a Lucid Air by 30 June 2022, will receive two years of free charging on the network’s 150kW and 350kW chargers. ‘Opening a studio at the largest shopping destination in Canada will help us elevate the brand in Canada as we continue to expand in North America,’ said Zak Edson, Lucid’s vice president of sales and service. ‘We are looking forward to seeing the longest-range EV driving, and charging, on Canadian roads soon.’