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Supply Chain by the Numbers

- June 20, 2024


Supply Chain by the Numbers for June 20, 2024


Low Cost eCars Coming; Tough ROI for DC Roof Solar; ATA Tonnage Index Up Sharply in May; US Manufacturing Up Solidly for the Month

tG Q1



That is the price we will soon see for electric cars in the US, according to an article this week at the Transport Topics web site. “With signs of slowing growth in the premium EV market, manufacturers have been working on a substantial pivot from luxury to practicality. The $25,000 economy electric car is the industry’s new target, and a number of models are set to hit the road within a year,” the article said. As a comparison, even after price cuts, the country’s best-selling electric sedan, Tesla’s Model 3, starts at around $40,000. Other countries are already there. The Chinese BYD Seagull sells for about $10,000 there, the Dacia Spring starts at $20,000 in Europe, the Renault Kwid e-Tech costs $19,000 in Brazil, and the Kia Ray goes for $22,000 in South Korea. Tesla confirmed last week that three vehicles are in development, including a yet-to-be-named budget vehicle.



That is the amount of solar energy capacity in  megawatts that giant warehouse developer Prologis has installed on its buildings in recent years. That may sound like a lot, but the solar installations represent just 5% of the company’s buildings worldwide. That according to an article this week in the Wall Street Journal. The point of the article: costs for solar are high, and the ROI often unclear. “States where energy is expensive, solar will pencil out easier. Where energy prices are still cheap, it may not,” Vibhu Kaushik, global head of utilities and energy storage at Prologis, told the Journal, adding “You can come up with a handful of states across the US -you can count them on your fingers - that it actually pencils out.” Another factor: the ROI naturally from solar also depends on how sunny it is in a particular location.



That was the level of US manufacturing output in May as represented in the monthly index from the Federal Reserve Bank, which was released this week. That was up almost a full percentage point from an index score of 99.0 in April, as the index has seen scores hovering around the 99.0 level since February 2023, with no real growth, but not recessionary with declines either. The May level was also up, however, 1.0% versus May 2023. But at an index level of 99.8, it means US manufacturing is still now just below output in the baseline year of 2017 (index = 100) now seven years later. It is also well below the all-time high of about 108, reached in late 2007.




That was the sharp rise in May versus April in the American Trucking Associations monthly For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index, after decreasing 1% in the previous month, the ATA announced this week. Compared with May 2023, the index rose 1.5%, the first year-over-year gain in fifteen months. In fact, May was the first month since February 2023 that tonnage increased both sequentially and from a year earlier. ATA Chief Economist Bob Costello noted that “While there was clearly an increase in freight before the Memorial Day holiday, it is still too early to say whether this is the start of a long-awaited recovery in the truck freight market.” As a note, the For-Hire Truck Tonnage Index is dominated by contract freight as opposed to spot market freight.
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