Roger Schreffler

Roger
Schreffler
Correspondent,
WardsAuto

Roger keeps tabs on the Japanese auto industry, specializing in coverage of manufacturing and advanced technology.

Articles
Battery Market Bulls, Bears Run Side by Side 
Hirohide Horio, executive managing director-Morita New Energy Materials, warns the removal of electric-vehicle subsidies, particularly in China, could substantially impact the battery-materials market, thus the profitability of both OEMs and battery suppliers.
Europe Sees 1.1 Million Electrified-Vehicle Sales in 2018 
Sales of battery-electrics and plug-in hybrids – so-called electric chargeable vehicles or ECVs – grew to 384,052 units, up 33% from 2017 levels, according to a European Automobile Manufacturers Assn. report issued in February.
LMC: Electrified Vehicles to Drive Battery Demand 
To supply a market of 60 million electrified vehicles, LMC estimates battery suppliers would have to put 38 plants, each having 35-GWh capacity, into operation. By comparison, the consultancy says Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory’s current capacity is 20 GWh of batteries.
China’s Great Wall Adding FCVs to Lineup 
China’s largest maker of SUVs and pickup trucks believes fuel cells are a better alternative than batteries for many of its vehicles. The reason: A majority weigh upwards of 3,300 lbs. and are not good candidates for full electrification.
Forklift Fuel-Cell Maker Eyeing Auto Industry 
Plug Power, despite being several years behind France’s Symbio and Germany’s StreetScooter in entering the auto market, has a longer history in fuel-cell technology. It claims a more than 90% share of the global market for fuel-cell-powered forklifts.
Supplier Valeo All-In on 48V Technology 
By adopting 48V technology, Valeo claims a 20% reduction in powertrain costs for two models it exhibited at the Paris auto show compared to higher-voltage systems.
EV Market Having Growing Pains, Expert Says 
Industry analyst Asad Farid notes most forecasters predict battery costs will fall as production scales increase, but he believes that reduction will be offset by higher material prices.
Report Underscores U.S. Beef Over European Imports 
In the 2018-2019 edition of ACEA’s “The Automobile Industry Pocket Guide,” the association reports the U.S. was the major export destination for EU-built cars in 2017 by a 5-to-1 margin compared with U.S. exports to Europe.
First-Half 2018 Hybrid, EV Sales Rise Globally 
Wards Intelligence projects global production of all-electric vehicles will grow to 1.35 million units in 2018, while hybrids, both standard and plug-in types combined, will reach 3.25 million, respectively up 42% and 18% year-on-year.
Automakers Lose in Full-Blown Trade War, Expert Says 
A Center for Automotive Research analyst says tariffs could cost FCA and General Motors up to $1.5 billion for each of two Mexican-built pickup trucks.
Japanese Import Sales Robust in First-Half 2018 
The Japan Automobile Importers Assn. attributes the first-half growth mainly to imports of Japanese cars and trucks from plants they operate in Asia including Toyota’s Hilux and Town Ace trucks from Thailand and Indonesia.
Toyota Stepping Up Production of Fuel-Cell Hardware 
Toyota plans to make 3,000 Mirais in both 2018 and 2019, up from 2,000 last year, and plans to raise FCV production and sales to 30,000 units in 2020, although it does not say whether all will be Mirais.
Aisin Develops Hybrid Drive for Automatic Gearboxes
The second-largest member of the Toyota supplier group has designed a 1-motor hybrid system to fit where the torque converter sits in the transmission assembly. The unit initially will be adopted in front-wheel-drive cars with 8-speed automatics.
Toyota: Solid-State Batteries Likely to Arrive in 2030 
“We believe that our biggest weapon for meeting fuel-efficiency and CO2 regulations, not just in Europe but globally, will continue to be (standard) hybrids,” Shinzuo Abe, Toyota’s powertrain general manager, tells WardsAuto.
EVs Easing Into Toyota’s Mostly-Hybrid Portfolio 
Toyota has mapped out an electrification plan that is not overly dependent on subsidies or creative accounting. By focusing on hybrids – gasoline cars that run in part on battery power – the automaker is sticking to a formula that has generated profits for more than a decade.
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