XPeng To Offer Cheaper Batteries. The EV Industry Continues to Mature.
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XPeng To Offer Cheaper Batteries. The EV Industry Continues to Mature.

Chinese EV maker XPeng is making a battery decision it hopes will give it a leg up on the competition.

By Al Root
Thu, Mar 4, 2021 12:13amGrey Clock 2 min

Batteries and battery- management systems are to an electric vehicle what a high-quality internal combustion engine is to a gasoline-powered car, so battery decisions can make or break an EV maker. Chinese EV maker XPeng is making a battery decision it hopes will give it a leg up on the competition.

XPeng (ticker: XPEV) is going to start selling LFP-battery-powered electric vehicles soon. China’s Ministry of Industrial Information & Technology recently announced that XPeng was using LFP batteries in vehicles.

LFP is short for lithium-iron-phosphate. Iron is the “F” in that acronym because its elemental symbol is “Fe.” Lithium-iron-phosphate batteries are a little cheaper than top-of-the line lithium-ion batteries, which contain elements such as cobalt and nickel.

LFP batteries are more cost-effective, but with a trade-off. They don’t pack quite as much punch as their more expensive cousins, so the range of the cars that use them is affected.

XPeng, in this case, probably doesn’t mind because most drivers don’t need 482 kilometres, or even 320 kilometres, of daily range. The benefit of a lower purchase cost, for many car buyers, far exceeds the downside of a lower per-charge range. The company will continue to offer vehicles with top-of-the line lithium-ion batteries as well.

It’s an interesting decision for investors to ponder. Offering different batteries in an EV is a little like offering different engines in traditional automobiles. In traditional cars, however, engine options are usually tied to horsepower and speed. In the case of EVs, battery options are more about range.

Billions of dollars are being invested in the EV industry to come up with more powerful, longer-lasting batteries. QuantumScape (QS), for instance, is working on revolutionary solid-state battery technology. QuantumScape doesn’t have sales yet, but it is one of the most valuable automotive suppliers in the world. That’s how important batteries are to the EV industry.

QuantumScape’s batteries will, holders of the stock hope, be less expensive for the same range as existing technology. Commercial offerings are years down the road, though. XPeng’s move is another way to offer less expensive EVs today.

A lower- end XPeng model P7 costs about 230,000 yuan, or about $35,000. With LFP batteries, that price might drop 20,000 to 30,000 yuan, or perhaps $3,000 to $5,000. XPeng declined to comment on new pricing for EVs with the less expensive batteries, but noted that the information will come out soon.

It feels like a sound strategic move and one that investors can expect other EV makers to copy. Car buyers are still learning how to buy EVs. Range and cost, compared with traditional cars, can be a mystery. As options such as LFP batteries proliferate, buyers will begin to feel more comfortable comparing EV models, just like they do when selecting what engine they want in their automobile.

XPeng stock was up 3.3% in premarket trading. S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up about 0.5%.

The rise might not be due to the batteries, though. XPeng stock has been on a wild ride lately. Shares dropped 11% Tuesday after investors digested news that deliveries in February were lower than in January. February, however, was affected by the Lunar New Year holiday. Monthly deliveries at Li Auto (LI) and NIO (NIO) dipped as well.

Year to date, XPeng share are down about 26% after finishing 2020 up almost 200% from the stock’s $15 initial public offering price.



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The sticky economic factor making an interest rate drop unlikely this year

It’s a key indicator in the RBA board’s decision making process, but it is proving difficult to move in the right direction

By Bronwyn Allen
Thu, May 30, 2024 2 min

The consumer price index (CPI) rose in April to an annual rate of 3.6 percent, which was 0.1 percent higher than in March, raising doubts about an interest rate cut this year as inflation starts looking stickier than expected. This is the second consecutive month of small rises, potentially indicating that Australia is experiencing the same stalled progress in bringing inflation down that is being seen in the United States, as both nations approach their central banks’ target inflation bands.

In Australia, the target inflation band is 2 to 3 percent, with the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) aiming to achieve the midpoint under its new agreement with the Federal Government following a formal review. In its interest rate decision-making, the RBA does not give as much weight to the monthly inflation data because not all prices are measured like they are in the quarterly data. On a quarterly basis, inflation has continued to fall. In the March quarter, the annual rate of inflation was 3.6 percent, down from 4.1 percent in December, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

CBA economist Stephen Wu noted the April data was above the bank’s forecast of 3.5 percent as well as the industrywide consensus forecast of 3.4 percent. He predicts the next leg down in inflation won’t be until the September quarter, when we will see the effects of electricity rebates and a likely smaller minimum wage increase to be announced by the Fair Work Commission next month compared to June 2023.

The most significant contributor to the April inflation rise were housing costs, which rose 4.9 percent on an annual basis. This reflects a continuing rise in weekly rents amid near-record low vacancy rates across the country, as well as significantly higher labour and materials costs which builders are passing on to the buyers of new homes, as well as renovators.

The second biggest contributor was food and non-alcoholic beverages, up 3.8 percent annually, reflecting higher prices for fruit and vegetables in April. The ABS said unfavourable weather led to a reduced supply of berries, bananas and vegetables such as broccoli. The annual rate of inflation for alcohol and tobacco rose by 6.5 percent, and transport rose by 4.2 percent due to higher fuel prices.

Robert Carnell, the Asia Pacific head of research at ING, said they no longer expect a rate cut this year after seeing the April data. Mr Carnell said an increase in trend inflation was apparent and “rate cuts this year look unlikely”. In the RBA’s latest monetary policy statement, published before the April CPI was released, it said: “Inflation is expected to be higher in the near term than previously thought due to the stronger labour market and higher petrol prices. But inflation is still expected to return to the target range in the second half of 2025 and to reach the midpoint in 2026.”

 

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