Why your next Domino’s pizza delivery may arrive in a GM Chevy Bolt EV

Domino’s will roll out 800 custom-branded 2023 Chevy Bolt electric vehicles at locations across the U.S. in the coming months.

Domino’s

Domino’s Pizza will be rolling out a fleet of 2023 Chevy Bolt electric vehicles, 800 of the GM EVs in total across the U.S. in the coming months, as it looks to not only reduce its environmental impact but also attract new delivery drivers.

The pizza chain restaurant has previously set a goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, and CEO Russell Weiner said optimizing how it delivers pizza is key.

“Domino’s was founded in 1960 as a delivery company, and we go to bed every night and wake up every morning saying ‘how can we get better?'” Weiner told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on “Mad Money” last week. “This is a way we can get better; better service for our customers and better for the environment.”

The Chevy Bolt EV will provide the company with zero tailpipe emissions and lower average maintenance costs than nonelectric vehicles, as well as a reduction in fueling costs, according to Domino’s. The new vehicles, which have a 259-mile range, will be custom-branded with Domino’s logos.

An initial 100 vehicles have been arriving at select franchise and corporate stores across the U.S. in November, with the additional 700 arriving over the coming months. Domino’s had 6,643 stores across the U.S. as of Sept. 11, with 402 of those being corporate locations.

The adoption of this fleet of EVs is not the first time Domino’s has looked to optimize how pizza is delivered.

In 2014, the company introduced the DXP delivery vehicle, a custom-build Chevrolet Spark that featured a built-in warming oven and special compartments to hold items like sodas.

Domino’s has also been piloting driverless delivery with robotics company Nuro, delivering pizzas with an autonomous on-road vehicle at the chain’s Woodland Heights location in Houston, Texas. Other start-ups, such as Refraction AI, have been testing autonomous vehicles suited for pizza delivery.

Domino’s has also looked to move beyond traditional car delivery, launching an e-bike delivery program in 2019 at stores in major metropolitan cities like Baltimore and Miami. It now delivers pizza by electric bike and scooter in 24 international markets.

EVs help finding new workers

Rolling out the new fleet of GM EVs also is expected to help the company with its driver recruitment efforts.

“It just allows us to tap into a different driver pool,” Weiner said. “If you think about today, what we do is hire folks with cars, but that’s getting really competitive with what’s going on.”

There are many people who work in Domino’s stores or potential workers who have driver’s licenses, and Weiner said, “all they need is a car… it’s a great way for us to bring in incremental labor at a time when that market is tight.”

While some of the company’s stores require delivery driver applicants to use their own vehicle, some do provide a car.

Weiner said that the company’s hiring metrics including applications and new hires per week are back to pre-Covid numbers, but he added, “there’s still gaps to fill, and that’s part of why we’re doing things like this to bring the inflow and give a few more options.”

On the company’s third quarter earnings call with analysts on Oct. 13, Weiner said staffing remains a constraint, “but my confidence in our ability to solve many of our delivery labor challenges ourselves has grown over the past few quarters.”

Domino's CEO on the company's purchase of over 800 Chevy Bolt EVs for pizza deliveries

EV battery firm Britishvolt averts immediate collapse with short-term funding

Charging points for electric vehicles in London, England.

Jon Challicom | Moment | Getty Images

LONDON — U.K.-based electric vehicle battery firm Britishvolt said Wednesday it had secured short-term funding, a move that will enable it to stave off administration for the time being. The company said its employees had also agreed to a pay cut for November.

In a statement published by Sky News, the firm said: “While the weakening economic situation is negatively impacting much business investment at present, at Britishvolt we are continuing to pursue positive ongoing discussions with potential investors.”

“In addition, we have also received promising approaches from several more international investors in the past few days.”

“The result is we have now secured the necessary near-term investment that we believe enables us to bridge over the coming weeks to a more secure funding position for the future.”

“To further reduce our near-term costs, our dedicated employee team has also voluntarily agreed to a temporary salary reduction for the month of November.”

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

Britishvolt is looking to build a gigafactory in the county of Northumberland, northeast England. The company has received backing from mining giant Glencore, among others.

So-called gigafactories are facilities that produce batteries for electric vehicles on a large scale. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been widely credited as coining the term.

Britishvolt, which attracted attention due to its bullish plans, had previously said its plant would have the capacity to produce more than 300,000 EV battery packs each year.

In January of this year, it said the first phase of the gigafactory would begin production in the fourth quarter of 2023 or the start of 2024.

The U.K. is looking to increase the number of electric vehicles on its road in the years ahead.

Authorities wants to stop the sale of new diesel and gasoline cars and vans by 2030. They will require, from 2035, all new cars and vans to have zero tailpipe emissions.

The European Union, which the U.K. left on Jan. 31, 2020, is pursuing similar targets.

Chinese EV stocks Nio, BYD, Li Auto, Xpeng fall sharply amid selloff

Nio began deliveries of its new ET7, an upscale electric sedan, on Monday, March 28, 2022.

Nio

U.S.-traded shares of Chinese electric vehicle makers were among those hit by a dramatic sell-off Monday, as investors soured on non-state-run Chinese companies following a weekend of dramatic political developments in China.

Shares of Li Auto were down nearly 19%, Nio’s were down 17%, and Xpeng Motors’ plunged 13% in afternoon trading in New York, while shares of larger BYD were down about 9%. Other prominent Chinese companies including Alibaba and Tencent Music Entertainment suffered similarly dramatic declines.

The sell-off followed a weekend in which President Xi Jinping appeared poised for an unprecedented third term as China’s leader after naming a series of loyalists to the Politburo standing committee, the inner circle of power in China’s ruling Communist Party.   

Under Xi’s leadership, China’s government has increased restrictions on speech and movement and tightened regulations on technology companies. Analysts see further constraints ahead, with Bernstein’s Mark Schilsky writing in a Monday morning note that Chinese stocks are now “uninvestable.”

Xpeng separately on Monday debuted a new version of its advanced driver-assist system, called XNGP. The new system, a direct rival to Tesla’s Autopilot, allows for limited hands-free driving in some urban environments as well as on highways.

GM’s 2024 GMC Sierra EV offers electric truck alternative to Hummer

2024 Sierra EV Denali Edition 1

Source: General Motors

General Motors unveiled its latest electric pickup, the new electric GMC Sierra, and began taking reservations for a fully-loaded $107,000 version, called Sierra EV Denali Edition 1, on Thursday.

The automaker expects to begin shipping the Edition 1 in early 2024 and to add lower-priced versions of the Sierra EV — starting at around $50,000 — later that year.

It says the pickup will offer buyers something different when it begins arriving at dealers, even though it shares much of its technology with GMC’s Hummer EV pickup and SUV and the upcoming Chevrolet Silverado EV.

One of the biggest differences between the GMC’s wild Hummer EV and the new electric Sierra might be the new truck’s traditional pickup shape. GMC brand chief Duncan Aldred said that’s part of GM’s strategy.

“It’s going to attract different customers, more traditional truck buyers, whereas the Hummer EV has been attracting people from all brands, people out of exotic sports cars, for example,” Aldred said during a media briefing on Thursday. “With the Hummer EV, we found that 70% of customers with reservations are new to EVs, and about 75% of them are new to the GMC brand.”

“This is going to have a different feel, really appeal to the loyalists,” he said.

2024 Sierra EV Denali Edition 1

Source: General Motors

Like the Hummer pickup and the Silverado, the GMC Sierra EV will have about 400 miles of range, fast-charging capabilities, and the four-wheel “crab walk” steering that has become a popular feature with early Hummer owners.

But unlike the Silverado, which will be offered initially in a “Work Truck” variant for about $40,000 with higher-priced versions to follow, GMC will lead with the most expensive version of its new Sierra EV.

2024 Sierra EV Denali Edition 1

Source: General Motors

Highlights of the Sierra EV Denali Edition 1 include a “max power mode,” which will deliver an estimated 754 horsepower and 785 pounds-feet of torque; a version of GM’s Super Cruise hands-free highway driving system that works with a trailer; 800-volt fast-charging capability that will add up to 100 miles of range in just 10 minutes with a 350-kilowatt fast charger; and some clever storage options that take advantage of the Ultium EV architecture’s flat floor.  

Echoing a popular feature of rival Ford‘s electric F-150 Lightning pickup, the Sierra EV will be able to serve as a mobile power source, with 10.2 kilowatts of power available through up to 10 outlets and the ability to power a home for several days during an outage.

2024 Sierra EV Denali Edition 1

Source: General Motors

Aldred said that while the Edition 1 is expensive, later Sierra EVs will be priced to compete with rivals like the Lightning, which starts at about $52,000. Another rival, the smaller Rivian R1T pickup, starts at $73,000.

“The average light-duty [internal combustion] Sierra today transacts at an average of $65,000, and the segment [average] is just below $60,000,” Aldred said. “That means we’ll be putting a Sierra EV into the heart of the pickup segment.”

While the high-priced Edition 1 should generate strong profit margins for GM, the lower-priced versions will be key to the company’s plan to rapidly ramp up sales of EVs in the middle of the decade while remaining profitable. CEO Mary Barra has said that GM will transition fully to EVs by 2035.

General Motors will report its third-quarter results before the U.S. markets open on Tuesday.

GM’s Cadillac Celestiq EV costs $300,000 and is customizable

2024 Cadillac Celestiq

Cadillac

DETROIT – Cadillac is testing the limits of its brand allure and pricing power with the 2024 Celestiq – a large, bespoke electric car that will start at more than $300,000.

The vehicle – unveiled Monday night – launches the General Motors brand into the ultra-luxury segment against the likes of Bentley and Rolls-Royce. It’s something no American brand has successfully done in modern times.

Executives say the vehicle is more about creating a “halo car” that helps burnish Cadillac’s image, rather than fueling overall sales or profits. But, if successful, it could create a new two-unit business model for the company: one focused on hand-built, high-end vehicles and the other on mass-produced models.

“It is a brand builder. It’s a halo vehicle. It will lift people’s perception of the brand,” Rory Harvey, global vice president of Cadillac, told CNBC. “The business case has and continues to evolve, but it’s not just purely about the car. It’s about what it does for Cadillac and how it lifts the other Cadillac variants.”

2024 Cadillac Celestiq

Cadillac

Harvey declined to discuss the vehicle’s profit margins or whether the company plans to add additional hand-built models.

Customers will be able to customize nearly all aspects of the vehicle’s interior trim, exterior color and other nonmechanical elements. They’ll be able to work with designers and a Cadillac concierge to customize their vehicle.

“I don’t want to see this as a Mary Kay car, but the reality is, if you want to do an outrageous car, that’s the point,” said Michael Simcoe, GM vice president of global design, citing the unique “santorini blue” of the Celestiq unveiled Monday night.

Despite growing concerns around the demand for new mass-market vehicles due to rising interest rates and record prices, ultra-luxury buyers have continued to spend.

Low production

GM plans to only produce hundreds of Celestiq cars per year. It will only have capacity to build fewer than two vehicles per workday, Harvey said. The car will be sold globally, with the largest markets expected to be the U.S. and China.

The Celestiq will be available by request only, with “a significant deposit” needed to begin the build process, according to Harvey. Ordering for the car will start as early as later this year, followed by production beginning in December 2023, according to GM.

2024 Cadillac Celestiq

Cadillac

Tech

2024 Cadillac Celestiq

Cadillac

The Celestiq features five LED interactive displays, including a 55-inch diagonal screen spanning the front cabin of the car; a “smart glass roof” that includes customizable transparency options; and Ultra Cruise, GM’s next-generation advanced driver-assist system that the company has said will be capable of driving itself in most circumstances.

“When we started this process, the brief then we gave to the team was to develop the most epic Cadillac ever,” said Brandon Vivian, Celestiq executive chief engineer. “But the result is a vehicle unlike any other. … It’s a custom-commissioned celebration of the client’s individuality.”

Vivian said Ultra Cruise’s capabilities will build up over time. He declined to discuss how different the system will be compared with GM’s current Super Cruise system, which allows users to keep their hands off the steering wheel while driving on pre-mapped divided highways.

Ultra Cruise should be far more capable than the current system, as it’s expected to build on Super Cruise’s software and sensor suite by adding lidar, or light detection and ranging systems, that can sense surroundings and help cars avoid obstacles.

General Motors ramps up production of Cadillac Lyriq, company's first electric vehicle

Lucid EV production on track to meet 2022 guidance

Electric vehicle start-up Lucid on Sept. 28, 2021 said production of its first cars for customers has started at its factory in in Casa Grande, Arizona.

Lucid

Electric luxury vehicle maker Lucid Group confirmed on Wednesday that it remains on track to produce between 6,000 and 7,000 vehicles in 2022, in line with the more conservative guidance it provided to investors in August.

Lucid’s shares opened over 5% higher following the news.

Lucid said in a statement that it produced 2,282 vehicles at its Arizona factory in the third quarter. It delivered 1,398 vehicles to customers during the same period.  

Lucid has twice cut its production guidance for 2022. The California-based startup had originally expected to build 20,000 of its Air electric luxury sedans this year. It cut that target to between 12,000 and 14,000 vehicles in February, saying at the time that global supply chain issues had hampered its ability to obtain basics like glass and carpet.

Lucid cut its guidance again in August, to between 6,000 and 7,000 vehicles for the year, citing logistics challenges as well as ongoing supply chain issues. At that time, Lucid said it had about 37,000 reservations for the Air.  

Lucid will report its full third-quarter results after the U.S. markets close on Tuesday, November 8.

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda talks EV skepticism, ‘happy dance,’ his legacy

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda speaks during a small media roundtable on Sept. 29, 2022 in Las Vegas.

Toyota

LAS VEGAS — Toyota Motor CEO Akio Toyoda last week simply stated what he would like his legacy to be: “I love cars.”

Just how the 66-year-old racer, car enthusiast and company scion will be remembered regarding his approach to all-electric vehicles compared to gas-powered performance cars, like the Supra, or hybrids, like the once-groundbreaking Prius, will play out in the years to come.

Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, plans to invest $70 billion in electrified vehicles over the next nine years. Half of that will be for all-electric battery ones. While it’s a substantial investment in EVs, it’s smaller than some competitors’ plans, and not as much as some would like given Toyota’s global footprint.

Despite criticism from some investors and environmental groups, Toyoda this past week doubled down on his strategy to continue investing in a range of electrified vehicles as opposed to competitors such as Volkswagen and General Motors, which have said they are going all-in on all-electric vehicles.

The plans could arguably cement Toyoda’s “I love cars” legacy or tarnish it, depending on how quickly drivers adopt electric vehicles.

“For me, playing to win also means doing things differently. Doing things that others may question, but that we believe will put us in the winner’s circle the longest,” he said Wednesday during Toyota’s annual dealer meeting in Las Vegas, which, by the way, was called “Playing to Win.”

Akio Toyoda with new Toyota Supra

Paul Eisenstein | CNBC

Toyoda, who described Toyota as a large department store, said the company’s goal “remains the same, pleasing the widest possible range of customers with the widest possible range of powertrains.” Those powertrains will include hybrids and plug-in hybrids like the Prius, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles like the Mirai and 15 all-electric battery models by 2025.

Aside from the EV plans, Toyoda discussed several other aspects of the company’s business last week during the dealer meeting and a small roundtable with U.S. media.

EV regulations and materials

Toyoda reiterated that he does not believe all-electric vehicles will be adopted as quickly as policy regulators and competitors think, due to a variety of reasons. He cited lack of infrastructure, pricing and how customers’ choices vary region to region as examples of possible roadblocks.

He believes it will be “difficult” to fulfill recent regulations that call for banning traditional vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2035, like California and New York have said they will adopt.

“Just like the free autonomous cars that we are all supposed to be driving by now, EVs are just going to take longer to become mainstream than media would like us to believe,” Toyoda said in a recording of the remarks to dealers shown to reporters. “In the meantime, you have many options for customers.”

Toyoda also believes there will be “tremendous shortages” of lithium and battery grade nickel in the next five to 10 years, leading to production and supply chain problems.

Carbon neutrality

Standing pat with dealers

‘Happy dance’

Dodge tries to convert its muscle car fans from V-8 engine to EV

Will Dodge's electric muscle car satisfy its die-hard fans?

Since the Dodge Charger was reintroduced in 2006, Dodge has been building a reputation for making muscle cars with big engines and bold and bright paint jobs.

But it plans to discontinue the gas-powered Challenger and Charger and the V-8 hemi engines that power some of the most popular versions.

Dodge’s recently debuted fully electric Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept is its attempt to retain the muscle car identity in an era when it’s becoming ever more challenging to sell a gas-guzzling sports car.

In fact, it’s becoming more challenging to sell a car at all. SUVs and trucks are taking over the American vehicle market. RBC Capital estimates that Dodge’s sister brands Jeep and Ram account for 50% of parent company Stellantis’ profits.

Meanwhile the many fans of Dodge’s powerful but fuel-thirsty muscle cars are making peace with the apparent end of an era.

Watch the video to learn more.

Toyota CEO doubles down on EV strategy amid criticism it’s not moving fast enough

A Toyota bZ4X on display at the New York Auto Show, April 13, 2022.

Scott Mlyn | CNBC

LAS VEGAS – Toyota Motor is standing by its electric vehicle strategy, including hybrids like the Prius, following criticism by some investors and environmentalist groups that the company is transitioning too slowly to EVs.

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda, who has built a corporate strategy around the idea that EVs aren’t the only solution for automakers to reach carbon neutrality, said Thursday the company will move forward with plans to offer an array of so-called electrified vehicles for the foreseeable future – ranging from hybrids and plug-ins to all-electric and hydrogen electric vehicles.

“Everything is going to be up to the customers to decide,” he said through a translator during a small media roundtable, a day after addressing the company’s Toyota dealers at their annual conference in Las Vegas.

Toyoda addressed the need to convince skeptics of the company’s strategy, including government officials focusing regulations on all-electric battery vehicles, saying the automaker will “present the hard facts” about consumer adoption and the entire environmental impact of producing EVs compared with hybrid electrified vehicles.

Since the Prius launched in 1997, Toyota says it has sold more than 20 million electrified vehicles worldwide. The company says those sales have avoided 160 million tons of CO2 emissions, which is the equivalent to the impact of 5.5 million all-electric battery vehicles.

Toyoda’s remarks echoed comments he made to thousands of Toyota dealers and employees on Wednesday, saying the company will play “with all the cards in the deck” and offer a wide-array of vehicles for all customers.

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“That’s our strategy and we’re sticking to it,” Toyoda, who has described himself as a “car guy or car nerd,” said in a recording of the remarks shown to reporters.

Toyoda doubled down on company expectations that all-electric vehicle adoption will “take longer to become mainstream” than many think. He said it will be “difficult” to fulfill recent regulations that call for banning traditional vehicles with internal combustion engines by 2035, like California and New York have said they will adopt.

Toyota executives, while increasing investments in all-electric vehicles, have argued such cars and trucks are one solution, not the solution, to meet tightening global emissions standards and achieve carbon neutrality. Toyota continues to invest in alternative solutions as well as hybrid vehicles such as the Prius, which combine EV technology with traditional internal combustion engines.

Toyota is in the best position to catch up with Tesla, says analyst

The company has said its strategy is justified, as not all areas of the world will adopt EVs at the same pace due to the high cost of the vehicles as well as a lack of infrastructure.

Toyota’s strategy has been criticized by environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, which has ranked the Japanese automaker at the bottom of its auto-industry decarbonization ranking the past two years.

Toyota plans to invest roughly $70 billion in electrified vehicles, including $35 billion in all-electric battery technologies over the nine years. It plans to offer about 70 electrified models globally by 2025.

Toyota plans to sell about 3.5 million all-electric vehicles annually by 2030, which would only be around a third of its current annual sales.

China extends EV tax break; Li Auto shares fall after delivery outlook cut

Li Auto warned that “supply chain constraint” would mean the company will deliver fewer cars than expected in the third quarter. Meanwhile, China has extended a tax exemption for new energy vehicles until the end of 2023 as it looks to spur growth for electric cars.

CFOTO | Future Publishing | Getty Images

Shares of Li Auto fell in pre-market trade in the U.S. on Monday after the Chinese electric carmaker cut its delivery guidance for the third quarter.

Meanwhile, rival electric car companies Nio and Xpeng jumped as Beijing announced an extension of tax breaks for electric car purchases.

Li Auto said that it now expects to deliver 25,500 vehicles in the third quarter down from a previous outlook of between 27,000 and 29,000 units. Shares of Li Auto were around 2% lower in pre-market trade.

“The revision is a direct consequence of the supply chain constraint, while the underlying demand for the Company’s vehicles remains robust,” Li Auto said in a statement. “The Company will continue to closely collaborate with its supply chain partners to resolve the bottleneck and accelerate production.”

China’s electric carmakers have faced a number of headwinds stemming from a resurgence of Covid-19 and Beijing’s continued strict policy of lockdowns to contain the virus. This “zero-Covid” policy has caused supply disruptions at factories across China and put pressure on the economy and consumer spending.

To help maintain growth for electric cars, China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and Ministry of Finance extended the period that new energy vehicles will be exempt from a purchase tax until Dec. 31, 2023. New energy vehicles include fully electric as well as plug-in hybrid cars.

Beijing has on several occasions extended the purchase tax exemption since the policy was first introduced in 2014 in a bid to spur demand. Along with other incentives, the policy has helped make China the biggest electric vehicle market in the world.

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Shares of Xpeng were more than 4% higher in pre-market trade while Nio was up around 1.6%.

Even as the market faces challenges, China’s electric car startups are continuing to launch new products this year to boost growth.

Last week, Xpeng launched the G9 sports utility vehicle, its most expensive car to date, to push into the higher end of the market. Li Auto will take the wraps off a new SUV called the Li L8 on Friday with deliveries expected to begin in November.