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#1 – First EV to finish Dakar

An electric vehicle finished the grueling Dakar Rally in South America for the first time this week. The Acciona 100% EcoPowered rally car finished the 5,600 miles after the third attempt at the title. The team sponsored by Acciona, a Spanish Renewable Developer, has spent five years fine-tuning the vehicle which includes a 100-watt solar panel and Tesla battery pack. The Acciona 100% EcoPowered has a 200 km (125 miles) range in race conditions powering a 250kW electric motor providing 800nm of torque. The vehicle achieves a top speed of 150km/h (94mph).

#2 – More Bullionaires flock to EV sector

Bloomberg reported that the JSW Group’s owner and Chairman, Sajjan Jindal, announced in Davos, Switzerland his intention to enter the Indian Electric Vehicle market by 2020. The metals tycoon expects the Indian government, like many other governments, will promote EVs once it’s more affordable. Although India has some large automakers such as Tata and Mahindra, which is a contender in the Formula E Series, the country is significantly lagging its neighbor China, the world’s largest EV market. India had only around 6,000 electric vehicles registered at the end of 2015.

#3 – Tesla not to blame for fatal crash 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration concluded its report on the fatal accident of a Model S in “autopilot” with a truck back in May 2016. The US NHTSA’s report exonerated the company and found no defect or reason for a recall. The agency’s findings collaborated the company’s claims at the time that the autopilot made driving safer, as it found that the crash rate of the Tesla decreased by 40% after introducing the Autopilot’s Autosteer feature.

The main conclusion of the report is:

  • Driver Assist Systems “require the continual and full attention of the driver to monitor the traffic environment and be prepared to take action to avoid crashes.”
  • Urges drivers to read all instructions and warnings before using the ADAS systems.
In other Tesla-related news, the company’s share price increased 4% after a Morgan Stanley report on sales for the anticipated release of the Model 3, putting some hurt on the big short positions entered in recent months against the company.

#4 – Panasonic extends partnership with Tesla

Panasonic announced it’s intention to extend it’s already a significant partnership with Tesla beyond just batteries, and in particular to autonomous technology such as sensors. The Japanese technology company’s strategy had changed markedly towards the auto sector after it’s initial partnership with the Tesla in the early 2000’s when the automaker was just a start-up.

#5 – EVs advancing at much greater pace than forecasted

A report just released by the Californian Air Resouces Board indicated that advancement in electric vehicle technology is happening at a much faster pace than anticipated five years back. The report highlights the efforts by Tesla and Chevrolet to bring affordable and long range vehicles to the market. The report found expanding charging networks, advancements in battery performance, decreasing cell costs, and the number of models available to the consumer as factors for the improved results. On the other hand, the Board states that not all automakers attack the challenges with the same vigor, with Honda and Fiat Chrysler named as company’s that just do the bare minimum to comply with regulations. We predict this will reflect in the various companies share prices five years from now when the next report takes the pulse of the sector.

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