Chinese auto giant Geely launches electric truck, its rival to Tesla’s Semi

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  • China’s Geely has launched a new electric semi truck named Hometruck.
  • Geely’s commercial vehicle group, Farizon Auto, plans to roll out the vehicles in 2024 and is also targeting international markets.
  • Geely’s hometruck launch comes as a number of automakers, from Mercedes-owner Daimler to Warren Buffett-backed BYD and Tesla, have announced their own electric truck.

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SHANGHAI – China’s Geely launched a new electric semi truck on Monday, as automakers try to bring new technology to the commercial vehicle market.

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Geely’s commercial vehicle group, Farizon Auto, plans to roll out the new Homtruck in 2024 and is also targeting international markets, division CEO Mike Fan told Businesshala in an interview on Monday.

“This product is designed and developed facing the global market,” Fan said, adding that the company will target Europe, Korea, Japan and North America with the new vehicle, according to a Businesshala translation.

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Geely’s hometruck launch comes as a number of automakers, from Mercedes-owner Daimler to Warren Buffett-backed BYD, announce their electric trucks. Tesla, which announced its own truck in 2017 called the Semi, has briefly delayed production of that vehicle.

The hometruck will have various power options including methanol hybrid and pure electric. The methanol-powered battery is a technology Geely has been investing in for a few years, and some of its models currently have this power option. Farrizone said the Hometruck’s battery can also be swapped out which reduces the need for charging.

The interior includes a shower and toilet, single bed, refrigerator, kitchen area and a small washing machine, the company said.

Completely driverless by 2030?

The Hometruck has been built with autonomous driving in mind.

Geely said the vehicle will be able to use some partially autonomous driverless features. And for longer journeys, the trucks will be able to communicate with each other to maintain safe speeds and distances.

Fan said Geely plans to introduce autonomous driving in three phases. By 2023, the company expects to have some partially driverless features with more advanced systems in 2026. Geely plans to achieve full autonomy in 2030.

“I’m sure the rules and standards for autonomous driving are in the process of being formed,” Fan said.

“Based on the market demand and the development demand of our own company, [Geely] As a company, some technologies must be developed and improved ahead of time. So that when the terms and conditions are ready, we can implement our technology in the market in time.”

Rising raw material prices, chip shortage

Automakers are also grappling with a jump in raw material prices and a global shortage of semiconductors.

Automakers are watching the price of lithium, which has hit a record high this year.

An October 29 report by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence said battery makers are beginning to pass on these price hikes to automotive companies “which could have a major impact on electric vehicles coming to market between 2022 and 2024.”

Jelly’s fan said rising raw material prices were affecting the company’s production volumes and margins as the automaker faces “increasing price pressure.”

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He called rising raw material prices a “period issue” which “will gradually subside.”

Fan also said that global chip shortages are limiting the company’s production volumes. But he also said that supply issues are “gradually being resolved” and companies are working on “alternative solutions” for the chips.

“So these two parts will play together to reduce chip crunch,” Fan said.

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