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Tesla hits major battery-production milestone: This week in EVs

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— Here is your weekly Pro Recap of the past week’s biggest headlines in the electric vehicle space: Tesla reaches a production milestone; OSHA violations plague GM plant; and VinFast buys a battery company.

As always, users got these headlines at lightning speed. to secure an edge for your portfolio.

Tesla reaches battery production milestone

Tesla (NASDAQ: NASDAQ:) celebrated a significant production milestone Wednesday, announcing on X (formerly Twitter) the creation of its 20 millionth 4680 battery cell at its Texas Gigafactory.

In just four months, Tesla has effectively doubled its 4680 battery cell production, having previously disclosed reaching 10 million cells by the end of the summer. These high-performance cells, designed to enhance vehicle range, power, and durability, were unveiled during Tesla’s Battery Day in 2020.

While some Model Y vehicles have utilized these cells, they might be reserved for the upcoming Cybertruck.

Meanwhile, Tesla is challenging a $230 million legal fee claim by shareholder lawyers related to a dispute over director compensation.

Tesla calls this an “unwarranted windfall” and has sought approval for a fee not exceeding $64M. CEO Elon Musk’s separate $56 billion compensation was not part of this lawsuit.

In July 2020, the dispute was settled, with directors agreeing to reimburse Tesla $735M in a $919M deal. Shareholder lawyers are seeking 25% of this settlement, which Tesla argues is inflated and doesn’t reflect the company’s actual benefit from the deal, estimated at $295M.

The main discrepancy arises from stock options, valued at $458M, but Tesla clarified that these options couldn’t be exercised, highlighting a more modest advantage of approximately $20M due to reversing accounting costs. Elon Musk is not involved in this settlement.

Shares of TSLA ended the week down 1.6% to $251.12 after reaching a weekly high of $268.38 on Tuesday.

OSHA concerns plague GM and LG

In the wake of growing concerns about workplace safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has recommended imposing hefty fines of $270,000 on an Ohio joint venture battery plant operated by General Motors (NYSE:) and LG Energy Solution (KS:).

OSHA’s recommendation comes following the discovery of several violations, including inadequate safety training and failure to comply with federal guidelines for personal protective equipment usage. The JV, called Ultium Cells, has been instructed to adhere to OSHA’s directives, including installation of mandatory machine guarding and implementation of comprehensive worker training programs for hazardous energy control and emergency response procedures.

In response to OSHA’s recommendation, Ultium Cells released a statement affirming its commitment to prioritizing workplace safety. The company has requested a hearing with OSHA, indicating its willingness to engage in dialogue to address these issues.

Further complicating matters, OSHA has been conducting an ongoing inspection at the Ultium facility, prompted by a fire incident in June. The agency has also launched three separate inquiries, one related to workers’ exposure to chemicals due to a pressure gauge failure in August, which resulted in the leakage of battery slurry onto the plant floor.

Shares of GM ended the week down 3.1% to $29.66 after reaching a weekly high of $31.94 on Wednesday.

VinFast boosts position with VinES acquisition

Vietnamese EV maker VinFast (NASDAQ:) has strategically enhanced its position by acquiring a 99.8% stake in battery maker VinES.

This move is expected to ensure a stable battery supply for VinFast’s EVs despite initial increases in expenses.

The acquisition aims to optimize operating costs and elevate the technological capabilities of VinFast’s EV offerings, with an anticipated 5%-7% reduction in battery expenses.

Additionally, VinES’s founder, Pham Nhat Vuong, has committed to covering all interest payments tied to VinES’s current borrowings until 2027, demonstrating strong support for VinFast’s electric vehicle ventures.

Shares of VFS reached a weekly high of $8.24 on Friday before closing the week Friday with a price of $7.98.

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