Tuesday Ticker: January 11, 2022

Toronto, Ontario ⁠— In this week’s Tuesday Ticker, Magna International announces a brand new EV centre, Volkswagen of America CEO complains that the automaker’s total-units-sold could be higher and General Motors partners with Qualcomm for a revamped Ultra Cruise.

Electric energy at Magna HQ

Magna International announced last week it plans to develop a new EV centre at its United States headquarters as it prepares for the launch of its electric powertrain system for trucks in 2025.

In a January 5 news release, the company said its U.S. headquarters in Troy, Michigan, would soon include “a specialized team” dedicated to preparing the company’s EtelligentForce powertrain for a North American release in 2025. The supplier also said the unit would focus on “other EV products,” though provided no additional details.

EtelligentForce, Magna’s battery-electric, four-wheel-drive powertrain system is designed specifically for pickups and light commercial vehicles. The company says it is capable of towing up to 14,500 lbs. and will use Magna’s eBeam technology that replaces traditional axles and accommodates “existing suspension and brake systems and avoiding the need for an expensive redesign of existing truck platforms.”

On Friday, Jan. 7, Magna International closed at US$85.58 per share on the NYSE, and $108.16 on the TSE. 

Could be higher, says Keogh

Volkswagen of America closed out 2021 with nearly 17,000 sales on its electric ID.4, but that number could be four times higher, according to CEO Scott Keogh. 

In the U.S., the automaker has more than 40,000 reservations but is under supply constraints as the cars are imported from Europe. 

“We could have sold four times that amount,” he told Automotive News. “What [U.S.] VW dealers are saying is that this is the most excitement they’ve had on the shop floor since we brought the Beetle back.”

Oh Snapdragon

Last week General Motors announced the next generation of its hands-free driver assistance system Ultra Cruise will be powered by “a scaleable computer architecture” developed by Qualcomm Technologies.

The new iteration of Ultra Cruise will be the first company to use the Qualcomm Technologies Snapdragon Ride platform for advanced driver assistance technology, said GM. 

Ultra Cruise’s compute, which GM says is about the size of two laptops stacked together, will be available in 2023 on vehicles including the ultra-luxury, fully-electric Cadillac CELESTIQ. 

“Despite its relatively small size, Ultra Cruise’s compute will have the processing capability of several hundred personal computers,” said Ken Morris, GM vice president of Electric, Autonomous and Fuel Cell Vehicle Programs. “It will take qualities that have distinguished GM’s advanced driver assist systems since 2017 to the next level with door-to-door hands-free driving.”

The Ultra Cruise compute will help power GM-developed ADAS software and features, including perception, planning, localization and mapping. These Ultra Cruise capabilities were developed in-house at GM engineering facilities in Israel, the United States, Ireland and Canada.

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