From The Mobilist Inbox This Week

The $911 million blunder, postal vans, Norway’s electric origins

Photo: Oli Scarff/Getty

The $911 million battery replacement: Much talk among Mobilist readers over the last week has centered on a highly costly decision by Hyundai to recall 82,000 vehicles to replace a dangerously fire-prone battery made by LG. In a tweet, Mobilist reader James Frith put the cost of the 65 kWh batteries at roughly $11,115 each ($171/kWh) — almost $1 billion in all. That’s a gargantuan financial burden to be borne, and a wake-up call about battery safety given the industry’s steep coming scale-up. It could cause battery costs generally to go up — for added vigilance, engineering, quality control, and insurance. Hyundai will certainly want to put most of the financial onus on LG, and no doubt we have not heard the last of the fallout within the battery-making company as fault is placed.

Re-fleeting a combustion Postal Service: Oshkosh Defense has attracted much attention since it came from behind to snag the multibillion-dollar post office contract for up to 165,000 new mail delivery vehicles, just 10% of which will be electric. It beat Workhorse, an EV startup that had seemed to be the favorite. In this piece, Mobilist reader John Warner writes that the Postal Service missed a chance to create a 21st-century delivery fleet, and profiles the company that won.

How Norway became number one in EVs: The conventional wisdom is that Norway, where EVs are 80% of new cars sold, has deliberately positioned itself to pioneer electric mobility. Not true, writes Brayden Gerrard in this piece on the Medium platform. Norway’s fixation on electrics goes back to 1990, when it put incentives in place to try to salvage its struggling domestic automaking industry.

Editor at Large, Medium, covering the turbulence all around us, electric vehicles, batteries, social trends. Writing The Mobilist. Ex-Axios, Quartz, WSJ, NYT.

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