Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 27 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 27 2017

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TOP EV NEWS #1 – DAIMLER AND BAIC TO DEVELOP EVs IN CHINA

Daimler and Chinese BAIC Motors this week agreed to increase the investment in the Sino-German Joint Venture, Beijing Benz Automotive Co (BBAC), to manufacture electric vehicles. The partners agreed to a further investment of 5 billion yuan (655 million euros / $735 million) at a signing of the heads of agreement in Berlin in the presence of German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping. The investment by the German automaker is a further commitment to electric vehicles as it implements the aggressive electric vehicle strategy. BBAC is the localization of the Mercedes-Benz brand and will see its first electric vehicle rolling off the production line in 2020.

In June 2017 both partners agreed to strengthen their strategic collaboration through investments for New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) in China. As part of the investment agreement, Daimler announced its intention to acquire a minority share in Beijing Electric Vehicle Co., Ltd. (BJEV), a subsidiary of the BAIC Group, with the purpose of strengthening strategic collaboration with BAIC in the NEV sector.

The investment will be used to extend the BBAC plant in Beijing, established in 2005 and already Daimler’s largest Mercedes-Benz passenger car production hub, to become a BEV production hub in China. The establishment of a BEV production hub will commence with the building of an eBattery factory, which would be Daimler’s first foreign location of its global battery production network. Daimler plans to invest one of the ten billion euro earmarked for its electric vehicle strategy in the global battery production network for Mercedes-Benz vehicles. The network already includes the site in Kamenz, Saxony, built in 2010, where a second state of the art battery factory is being built with an investment of around 500 million euros. Mercedes-Benz will source the cell for its battery plant in Beijing from Chinese suppliers.

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 27 2017 daimler battery china

TOP EV NEWS #2 – ELON MUSK SHOWS TESLA MODEL 3 SN1

Tesla‘s Elon Musk announced last Sunday that production of the Tesla Model 3 would commence on Friday the 7th of July, two weeks ahead of schedule. Late Saturday evening Elon posted a tweet showing two pictures of the historic vehicle with serial number one that came off the production line. According to Elon Musk, the rule at Tesla is that the first person to pay the full price will get the first Tesla Model 3 SN1. He responded to a tweet that he has the first Roadster and Model X but not the first Model S. The average sales price for a Tesla Model 3 is estimated to be around $50,000 before incentives.

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 27 2017 tesla model 3 sn1

TOP EV NEWS #3 – JUNE EV SALES POWER AHEAD IN TWO KEY MARKETS

Electric car sales in the USA and Norway showed healthy gains over the same period in 2016. US EV sales increased 16% over that of June 2016 while in Norway sales jumped 62% for the same period. Electric vehicle sales in Norway now stands at a record 42% of new vehicle sales. Total US EV sales for the year so far stands at around 90,000 units, 39% more than in the first half of 2016. Read our detailed breakdown of EV sales for H1 2017 in Norway and the USA by clicking on the following links.

Summary of EV sales in Norway H1 2017

Summary of USA EV Sales H1 2017

TOP EV NEWS #4 – DONGFENG TO FOCUS ON EVs & SUVs

The state-owned Chinese automaker Dongfeng, a top four vehicle producer in China, which primary strategy has historically been the production of localized cars of various international auto companies such as the PSA Group, Hyundai, Honda, Nissan, and Kia. The company’s in-house developed vehicles are sold under the Dongfeng Fengshen brand which up to now had little EV models. On the 3rd of July, the GM of Dongfeng Fengshen announced during the unveiling of its AX4 SUV that the company will focus on SUVs and EVs from now going forward. The GM, Mr. Lui Hong, did not specify if the vehicles will be based on the new AX4 SUV, AX7 or the E70.

TOP EV NEWS #5 – VW DEVELOPING ROBOTS TO CHARGE EVs

VW and robotics firm Kuka this week signed a new co-operation agreement to develop robot-based innovations for all-electric and autonomous automobiles. The new agreement will expand the existing e-smart Connect project which includes a practical and user-friendly solution for charging high-voltage batteries of electric vehicles pictured here charging the VW GenE research vehicle. The Kuka developed charger is a charging solution developed for parking garages.

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 27 2017 vw robots chargingThe Volkswagen Group is planning a strategic e-mobility offensive in the course of realigning its drive strategy. By the end of 2018, more than ten new electrified models will be launched on the market. A further 30 models will follow by 2025. These will be all-electric battery-powered vehicles. In parallel, Porsche will manage the ongoing expansion of infrastructure for quick-charging stations. The Volkswagen Group is providing a vision for autonomous driving of the future with the “Sedric” concept car. Audi recently established Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH for self-drive systems. This company is carrying out work for the entire Volkswagen Group.

 

KUKA AG is one of the biggest providers of intelligent automation solutions and is the world’s leading manufacturer of production plants in the automobile industry. The Group’s own Research Department headquartered in Augsburg lays the technological fundamentals for innovations in industrial production and service robotics.

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 25 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 25 2017

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TOP EV NEWS #1 – TESLA EXPANDS FOOTPRINT IN ASIA

Tesla is aggressively targeting Asia for expansion. Last week we reported on Elon Musk’s tweet about the US company’s efforts to enter the Indian market. Musk in his TED interview in May eluded to Tesla pursuing the signing of up to five Giga factories by year-end. Rumors that Tesla will establish a factory with the Shanghai Municipality was quashed byAutomation Instrumentation company, Shanghai Lingang Holdings Ltd. The company denied any contact with Tesla related to a China-based factory as the news created a spike in the Chinese company’s share price. Tesla in the meantime responded with the following press statement:

“in order to better serve the China market, Tesla is exploring the possibility of establishing a Chinese manufacturing plant with the Shanghai municipal government. Based on the previous communication, by the end of this year, the localization plan will be more clear. Tesla has been committed to cultivating China market. At the same time, in order to better serve the market all over the world, we are constantly assessing the potential factory location in the global area. Although we expect that most of the production will be completed in the United States, we need to set up factories overseas to ensure more local consumers can afford our products.”

Tesla is looking to establish local production in world’s largest market for electric vehicles to escape the 25% import duty on its models. Tesla also this week began delivering the Model S 90D in South Korea announced the launch of the Model X in Indonesia.

Other Tesla headlines this week saw the announcement of the start of the production of the Model 3 battery cells and the resignation of its Autopilot Head, Chris Lattner. Chris Lattner joined the company barely six months ago. Both Chris and the Tesla cited that he did not fit the company’s culture.

TOP EV NEWS #2 – CHINESE AUTOMAKERS GEAR-UP TO BATTLE TESLA

SAIC, the state-owned top four Chinese auto manufacturer and CATL, top lithium battery manufacturer, this week established two joint venture companies in a bid to challenge Tesla’s dominance in the EV and Battery sectors. CATL and SAIC will play to their strengths in the separate JVs with CATL focusing on battery technology and SAIC on drive train development.

In a similar vein, BYD, the top selling EV manufacturer in China for two years running has spun its battery division into a separate entity allowing it sell batteries to other Chinese and international auto manufacturers.

TOP EV NEWS #3 – NEWS RELATED TO SELF-DRIVING CARS 

Ford this week publicly presented its autonomous Ford Fusion Hybrid we reported on at the end of last year. The self-driving Fusion was put through its paces at the University of Michigan where it successfully navigated daily traffic conditions at a top speed of 25mph.

The French PSA Group announced that it plans to have a Level 3 self-driving vehicle by 2020 and introduce semi-autonomous DS 7 Crossback next year. The PSA systems are called ‘Traffic Jam Chauffeur’ and ‘Highway Chauffeur’.

Audi started testing Level 3 autonomous vehicles in New York. Audi calls the technology ‘Audi Highway Pilot’.

Texas signed a bill authorizing testing of self-driving cars on public roads.

French self-driving manufacturer Navya announced the establishment of a US-based plant in Michigan and aims for the start of production by the end of the year.

TOP EV NEWS #4 – AUDI & VW CONFIRM EVs FOR PRODUCTION

Two VW Group companies this week confirmed the production of exciting concept vehicles introduced recently.

Audi announced that it will start producing the Audi e-tron Sportback EV at its Brussels plant from 2019 while VW’s Chairman, Dr. Herbert Diess confirmed that it will produce a version of the of the I.D. Buzz unveiled last year. The I.D. Buzz will join the I.D. Crozz in production and compete with Tesla‘s expected Type II people carrier.

 

Blog-Week-25-VW-Group

TOP EV NEWS #5 – NEW BRANDS AND MODELS UNVEILED

This week was another bumper week for the EV sector as two new EV-specific brands were created alongside the usual flood of new ZEV models we are now getting used to.

Volvo created a high-performance electric vehicle company by rebranding its Polestar High-Performance Division. Volvo teased the new logo and announced the new management, under the leadership of its Design VP, Thomas Ingenlath, now Polestars CEO. Polestar will continue its engineering work under its old logo but will turn the sub-brand into an electrified global high-performance car company with the new branding.

Chongqing Sokon, one of the 15 Chinese companies with EV production certificates and owner of US based AC Propulsion this week acquired US AM General’s auto assets for $110 million. The acquisition includes the Hummer plant in Indiana and will be housed within its USA unit, SF Motors. Sokon has made a number of aggressive moves the last 12 months, including the signing of Tesla co-founder Martin Eberhard but so far has not made any clear indication of how all these actions will translate into a strategy.

CHJ Automotive announced during a Round A capital raising that it will create a new vehicle category for city application by bringing an ultra- compact two-seat EV to market in 2018 from its plant in Changzhou, Jiangsu province.

Zotye announced that its sixth and latest production facility, completed recently in Chongqing, will produce an electric SUV, the M12 or Zotye T300E as well as a PHEV MPV the seven seat B40.

Hyundai announced this week that it will produce 3,600 units of its Future Eco (FE) FCEV model.

Renault launched the upgrade to its MPV, the Kangoo Z.E EV. The new Kangoo has a 50% improvement in range from its 33kWh battery, allowing it to achieve a NEDS range of 270km (170miles).

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 15 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 15 2017

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TOP EV NEWS #1 – UBER TO BOOST ELECTRIC VEHICLE MARKET

Increased support by ride-hailing companies such as Uber and Ola are becoming a big impetus for EV sales globally. This week Uber launched a program to incentivize many of its drivers to switch to electric vehicles. The program, driven by Uber owned leasing company, Xchange Leasing targets leasing up to 10% of all vehicles in Oregon as electric vehicles by 2019. The program follows on similar efforts in other countries by the company. In London, Uber is building a charging network to support a fleet of 150 electric vehicles, in Cape Town and Johannesburg the company deployed a fleet of BMW i3s on its uberGreen platform. UberGreen projects are also piloted in Lisbon, Madrid, and Paris. Uber is estimated to employ over a million drivers globally via its platform, a target of 10% will add a 100,000 electric vehicles, or just under 5% of the current EV fleet.

Other ride-hailing companies, such as the Softbank backed Ola in India, started to include electric vehicles in their business models. Ola CEO, Bhavish Aggarwal last week announced a pilot project for a large-scale rollout of electric vehicles. Ola’s pilot project includes thousands of EVs and a charging network. An indication of the magnitude of the project can be gleaned from a statement by Softbank Chairman, Masayoshi Son, made in December 2016, saying that Ola will roll out a million EVs over a five year period.

TOP EV NEWS #2 – CALIFORNIA TO TAX ELECTRIC VEHICLES

Various states in the USA had recently levied taxes or fees on electric vehicle owners, and more are expected to follow. The trend, which some claim to be a bid to recover investments in electric vehicle adoption and infrastructure, or due to pressure from lobby groups opposing electric vehicles. The most recent, and most surprising have been California, which will start levying a fee on electric car owners from 2020. Almost 50% of all electric vehicles in the USA is sold in California, and the state has been a big promoter for the adoption of the technology. The fee will consist of a $100 registration charge and an annual tax based on the value of the vehicle.

The fee, which the California legislature says is to fill the gap it would lose from lost gasoline taxes, in our opinion will not have a negative impact on EV sales when it is introduced in 2020. By the turn of the decade, EV prices will be very affordable, and the total cost of ownership is expected to remain below that of combustion vehicles.

TOP EV NEWS #3 – EVs AT THE NEW YORK AUTO SHOW

The New York Auto Show, from 14 April to 23  April, showcases all 30 electric vehicle models available in the state. Electric vehicles at the new York Auto Show 2017 includes the Plug-in Honda Clarity, Mercedes-Benz AMG GT Concept, and the Lucid Air, a luxury sedan which achieved an eye-watering 217mph on a recent test run.
New York recently announced a $2,000 rebate, totaling $55 million, as part of a $70 million incentive by Mayor Cuomo tp promote the adoption of electric vehicles. The state targets a goal of 40% emission reduction by 2030.

The BMW i3 was awarded the title as the World’s Best Urban Car, beating the Citroen C# and Suzuki Ignis.

TOP EV NEWS #4 – EVs AT SHANGHAI AUTO SHOW

The Shanghai Auto Show starts this week on the 21st and will run until the 28th of April. Electric vehicles at the show will include the Bentley EXP 12 Speed 6e, the Skoda Vision E-SUV Coupe, Buick Velite 5 PHEV which is based on the Bolt, the NIO EVE autonomous vision by NextEV, SAIC Roewe i6 compact, VW Concept SUV, and the Hybrid Kinetic H600. Also at the Shanghai Auto Show would be Isreali and Chery JV company Qoros, which will unveil the Qoros Model K-EV, built on the same hybrid electric powertrain as the Koenigsegg Regera supercar. Do you also find that the naming of the model is eerily similar to that of Tesla?

Volvo is also expected to unveil the Volvo XC40 at the Shanghai Auto Show, its latest PHEV SUV, which aims to compete with the Audi A3, Mercedes-Benz GLA and BMW X1.Volvo this week announced that it will produce its first electric vehicle in China, ready for the international market by 2019. Volvo is owned by Chinese automaker Geely since its acquisition from Ford in 2010. Geely last year launched a new brand, Lynk & Co, and accompanying model the Lynk & Co 01 SUV PHEV. Volvo will manufacture its new electric vehicle at the same plant as the Lynk & Co 01 SUV in southeast China. Volvo 90 and 60 series are also manufactured in China.

TOP EV NEWS #5 – APPLE TO TEST SELF-DRIVING CAR

Apple joined the growing number of companies authorized to test autonomous vehicles on California’s public roads. Tech companies have recently encroached on automakers territory, with 11 of the 21 companies on the list of permit holders authorized by the California DMV now being from the sector. Uber, a tech company, lost its permit in February 2017.

According to the permit Apple, based in Paulo Alto, is allowed to test three 2015 Lexus RX450h vehicles on public roads. According to the rules of the autonomous testing program, each vehicle should have two drivers, usually engineers, at all times in the vehicle.

It is not yet clear what Apple’s self-driving strategy is, news over the last two years have been conflicting, ranging from the company either following the Google route of not building car’s but only systems to the Tesla route, building an Apple iCar. The world’s most valuable tech company tagged its self-driving efforts as Project Titan.

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 14 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 14 2017

TOP 5 EV NEWS #1 – UK EV SALES Q1 2017 BREAKS RECORDS

UK EV sales for the first quarter 2017 set new records, mostly on the back of Tesla sales. The quarter’s sales bring EV’s contribution up to 1.4% of the total vehicle fleet. The UK sales for Q1, traditionally the best performing quarter for UK car sales, was closely watched as a new Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) comes into play from the first of April 2017. The new VED rules apply for all vehicles except zero emission vehicles (ZEV). According to the VED, Internal Combustion Engine vehicles (ICE) will be liable for a levy of £1,550 spread over five years on all vehicles priced over £40,000.

Electric vehicle sales for March, which contributed nearly 70% of the quarter’s sales, rose a below average 7% on a year-to-year basis, lower than the 8.4% for the total new car market. Total EV sales for the quarter was around 11,900 units, some 880 units more than Q1 2016. A deeper analysis of the UK electric vehicle sales showed a significant rise of the Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) component, rising 34%, or around 800 units in March from the year before. Most of the 800 units can be attributed to Tesla’s massive sales drive, which led to a record 25,000 units being sold internationally, of which nearly 900, triple February’s sales, was sold in the UK during March 2017.

The improved performance of BEV vehicles compared to Plug-In Hybrid Electric vehicles (PHEV), showing a decrease of 5% to just under 5,000 units, corrects a trend since 2016 which saw 3-in-4 electric vehicles in the UK being PHEV’s.

All indications are that UK EV sales will breach the 100,000 unit mark, shared with only 7 other countries within the next couple of months. Recent surveys in the UK showed that most vehicle buyers are negative towards diesel vehicles due to diesel gate, a spectacular own goal by big auto and that 85% of vehicle owners now consider buying an EV, subject to them overcoming these EV related misconceptions.

TOP 5 EV NEWS #2 – AUDI & PORSCHE TO CO-OPERATE ON EV PLATFORM

VW sister companies, Audi and Porsche, to accelerate their respective electric vehicle strategies, this week announced that they would jointly develop a shared electric vehicle platform allowing the automakers a faster route to electric, connected and autonomous technology. The partnership will last til 2025. The German based VW Group‘s electric vehicle strategy is built on its MEB electric platform architecture, while Porsche targets the delivery of its first electric vehicle, the Mission E by 2020 and Audi, an electric SUV based on the e-Tron Quattro by 2018. Both vehicles will have various degrees of autonomy as part of its offering.

TOP 5 EV NEWS #3 – FORD’s CHINA STRATEGY

In the same week where Ford was dethroned by GM as the USA’s number two automaker, due to Tesla taking the top spot, the company released a new electric vehicle strategy for its Chinese operations. Ford, suffering from a shareholder revolt due to its lack of a convincing electric vehicle strategy and declining sales on Thursday announced that it targets 70% contribution from EV’s of its Chinese auto sales by 2025. The first phase of the strategy will be to produce a PHEV early 2018 together with its Chinese partner, Changan, also known as Chana. The company aims to have a small electric SUV within the next 5 years, capable of a battery electric range of 280 miles / 450km. The company still lacks a proper global electric vehicle strategy and the current attempt is too little and too late.

TOP 5 EV NEWS #4 – MAHINDRA & SSANGYONG ANNOUNCE EV

The Chairman of Indian automaker Mahindra and Mahindra, Anand Mahindra announced at the Seoul Motor Show this week that Mahindra and its Korean subsidiary SsangYong aims to develop a luxury electric vehicle by 2019, targeting entry into Chinese and US markets.

TOP 5 EV NEWS #5 – NAVIGANT RESEARCH DISCOUNTS WAYMO AND TESLA AUTONOMOUS EFFORTS

Navigant Research placed Ford and GM at the top of its autonomous driving leaderboard, surprisingly far above Waymo (7th), the pioneer of autonomous driving. Waymo was only listed as a contender, and Tesla who has already clocked over 300 million miles in Autopilot (Level 2 Autonomy) did not make the Top 10 list. Waymo, not aiming to develop a car, but rather focusing on autonomous technology has partnered with Chrysler and Ford on testing autonomous technology. Making Navigant’s findings even more surprising to us is that Waymo performed exceptionally well compared to other automakers on the list when comparing across all permit holders allowed to test autonomous tech on Californias public roads. According to CA DMV regulations, each permit holder must annually file a disengagement report, reflecting the number of events where a driver essentially has to take over from the vehicle’s autonomous mode to either prevent a traffic incident or where the system fails. Waymo posted a record 0.2 disengagements per 1,000 miles in its 2016. For a breakdown of each permit holders testing in California read our recent blog providing detailed analysis

Navigant’s criteria are based on the following ten factors; vision, go-to-market strategy, partners, production strategy, technology, sales, marketing, and distribution, product capability, product quality and reliability, product portfolio and staying power. The Top Ten on Navigant’s list are Ford, GM, RenaultNissan Alliance, Daimler, Volkswagen Group, BMW, Waymo, Volvo/Autoliv/Zenuity, Delphi and Hyundai Motor Group.
Despite Tesla aiming to have a market ready Level 5 autonomous product by the end of the year, it is only listed as a contender. Tesla is criticized by some, for being too aggressive, using its customers as guinea pigs for its AutoPilot software. Not surprising though is that Uber features on the bottom end of the list, the controversial ride-hailing company has been in the news lately for losing its right to test in San Francisco, being sued by Waymo and a crash in Tempe, Arizona, temporarily halting its pilot program.

Why did Uber suspend autonomous vehicle program?

Why did Uber suspend autonomous vehicle program?

Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] this weekend suspended its testing of self-driving car technology after a non-fatal crash in Tempe, Arizona. The crash, caused by another vehicle when the driver “failed to yield” to Uber’s Volvo while making a turn. Two engineers were passengers in the front cockpit of the driverless vehicle. Uber decided to suspend the testing of its self-driving program in Arizona and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

The company already lost its license to test its autonomous vehicles in San Francisco in February, where the regulators came in possession of footage showing an Uber pilot vehicle running a red light, barely missing a pedestrian. In the incident, the company claimed that it was a driver error. The Californian DMV offered Uber assistance and a clear road to permitting the company and State could not agree on workable rules around Uber’s demand for its technology to be classified as SAE Level 3 automation.

Uber is Piloting retrofitted Volvo XC90 SUV’s and Ford Focus vehicles and recently announced a cooperation agreement with Daimler, where the German automaker will introduce and operate self-driving cars on the Uber network. Uber abandoned efforts to build its own vehicle early on, rather focusing on partnering and acquiring technologies to achieve its goal of a self-driving fleet for its network. Uber acquired autonomous trucking company Otto in 2016 and made a successful delivery of a consignment of beer before being blocked by the California DMV. Otto’s success is unfortunately mired in controversy as Google’s Waymo is suing the company for stealing its technology. 

One should think that there was no real need for a drastic move such as suspending the pilot program? Tesla did not suspend its autopilot software when a driver was killed in May 2016. Accidents by driver neglect are the kind of accidents that few drivers can escape and will continue happening while humans are in control of vehicles. The answer rather lies in Uber trying to clean up its act and restore its image. The company has been suffering from a stream of negative publicity lately, with its Chairman, Jeff Jones, a marketing expert hired to improve the company’s image resigned after only 7-months, confirming the rot at the company.

We hope that Uber get its act together and quickly resume its testing, after taking the necessary safety precautions, so humanity can benefit from safer transport in the near future.

Uber suspend autonomous vehicle program

A self-driven Volvo SUV owned and operated by Uber Technologies Inc. is flipped on its side after a collision in Tempe, Arizona, U.S. on March 24, 2017. Courtesy FRESCO NEWS/Mark Beach/Handout via REUTERS

 

 

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 10 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 10 2017

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ONE

Bloomberg printed an article this week named “The Electric Car Rush Started Too Early” following BMW‘s release of its financial statements, showing a profit margin of only 8.9%, which was the lowest since 2010.  The reason for the pressure on some automakers bottom line is the heavy investment required in research and development for the strategy shift towards new mobility trends, including autonomous vehicles, electric vehicles, connected (focus on secure), and shared mobility options. In BMWs case, the investment so far is $4.3 billion. The article also criticized EV’s real environmental cost by the hand of a graph (below) from the website shrinkthatfootprint.com showing that EV’s carbon emissions, when charged from coal, can be as much as four times higher than when charged from green sources such as hydro and other renewables.

TWO

Next EV‘s CEO announced this week that it plans to commercially launch an affordable Level 4 Autonomous electric vehicle in the USA by 2020. The model will be released under the company’s newly minted NIO brand. NIO is partnering with Israeli Mobileeye (camera-based autonomous systems), Nvidia (AI chip) and NXP semiconductors on the autonomous system.

THREE

The Mercedes parent, Daimler AG invested in ChargePoint, the operator of a network of charging stations. The investment is in line with the German automakers push into electric vehicles.

Another significant investment this week was by the Shanghai Listed Far East Smarter Energy Group in the UK based Detroit Electric. The investment totaling £1.5 billion will eventually lead to the creation of 400 jobs at the company’s Leamington Spa facility for the production of its SP:01 EV.

FOUR

Although light on new commercial electric vehicles the Geneva Motor Show this week offered some great eye candy in the form of new concept vehicles, which included:

Nissan announced the unveiling of the new version of its popular Leaf EV expected in September, with commercial sales shortly after that. The Leaf is expected to have a range of 200 miles and some autonomous driving ability through its ProPilot system.

Techrules from China unveiled their four wheels three seater production sportscar, the Techrules REn, which features range extender technology.

FIVE

On the regulatory front. In the east a ministerial meeting was called in India, chaired by the finance ministry to setting standards for the country’s electric vehicle future. In the west, the British Budget failed to give anything new to the electric vehicle sector. Some market observers expected guidance on emissions and carbon taxes. Chancellor Hammond did, however, confirm £270 for EV’s AI and robotics.

.

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 8 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 8 2017

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ONE

The disruption caused by the threat of electric vehicles is finally hitting home, and in no other week has pushback by the proxies of the affected parties been so prominent than the past week. The efforts to block the march of electric vehicles has reached new heights as old foes Big Corn, and Big Oil agreed to work together in defending the transportation fuel sector. Reuters reports the Renewable Fuel Association (AFR) and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) will target electric vehicle incentives to “level” the playing fields. We hope the AFR and AFPM remember all the subsidies and support they received over the years to “level” the playing fields. 

In the USA report by the Sierra Club, a respected environmental association, reported on the drive by various States to penalize electric vehicle owners. The report speculates that the efforts, already successful in ten States and considered in a further six, is backed by the Oil Industry. Only four States have been successful in blocking the attack. Penalties in the form of fees varying between $50 and $300 per year are levied on drivers. In a separate effort, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers asked the newly Trump appointed Environmental Protection Agency Tsar, Scott Pruitt, to withdraw the Obama era agreed on 54.5MPG emissions benchmark required by 2025. The AAM’s reasoning is that achieving the standard is too costly and that the consumer’s demand is not there to support such a stringent rule. Really? Our question to the AAM is how can the consumer demand something if the supply of something else is stuffed down their throats?

In Hong Kong, a mainstay market for Tesla, the Financial Secretary in his budget announced that the 20-year-old tax incentive for first time EV registrations would be scrapped, and the tax discount on electric vehicles be capped at around $12,500. The result is that the cost of a Tesla Model S could nearly double in price. The move is in a bid to limit overall car ownership.

TWO

Following on the news three weeks ago that Scotland Yard would acquire electric vehicles for operational purposes the Swedish Police announced the testing of electric vehicles to phase out all fossil fuel use by 2030. Ten cars are tested in three cities in the country. The test would be to utilize the cars as administrative vehicles.

THREE


Porsche
will unveil a powerful Panamera E-HybridVarious auto manufacturers this week teased their hybrid and electric vehicle lineup for the Geneva Auto Show to be held from the 9th to 19th of March 2017. The vehicles include:

  • The Chinese start-up Techrules will unveil its Supercar, the GT96;
  • Toyota will reveal it’s I-Tril concept, speculated to be a three-wheel city vehicle; and
  • Renault is said to reveal a new electric vehicle

FOUR

Waymo filed papers aginst Uber for stealing its Lidar technology developed in its self-driving project. The case relates to a former employee, Anthony Levandowski downloading files from Google’s servers before joining the autonomous trucking company Otto, which was acquired by Uber in 2016.

FIVE

SEAT, the Volkswagen-owned auto manufacturer will display an electric vehicle prototype at this week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. The vehicle includes it’s Digital Access technology, replacing a key with a mobile phone. The first pilot will kick-off at its factory in Spain, using employees. Connectivity and the Internet of the Vehicle are bringing the world of mobile ever closer to the auto sector.

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 5 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories Week 5 2017

ONE

Daimler and Uber announced a cooperation agreement where Daimler will introduce and operate self-driving cars on the Uber network. Uber abandoned efforts to build its own vehicle early on, rather focusing on partnering and acquiring technologies to achieve its goal of a self-driving fleet for its network. Uber acquired autonomous trucking company Otto in 2016 and made a successful delivery of a consignment of beer before being blocked by the California DMV.

TWO

Public opinion and consumer boycotts are driving the composition of President Donald Trumps advisory council with Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick this week resigning his seat on the council amid call to delete the Uber app. Some shortsighted Tesla owners are now also asking their deposits back for the Model 3 due to Elon Musk’s position on the council. Elon, this week in a tweet, explained that his position should not be seen as a support for Trumps policy’s but rather as an opportunity to influence the causes that Mr. Musk believes in, such as electric vehicles and his Mars project.

THREE

To support the new Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan’s efforts to combat air pollution in the city the London Metropolitan Police Service, also know as Scotland Yard launched a new green fleet of over 250 new energy vehicles by the end of the year. Tesla and other automakers have been approached to trail their new energy vehicles for front line operations as part of the first phase, which would eventually see the overhaul of Scotland Yards fleet of 4000 vehicles.  

FOUR

 Faraday Future’s future remains a contradiction in terms as the company struggles to remain afloat. This week the company tried to allay fears about the future of its North Las Vegas plant. The company announced that construction would go ahead albeit on a much smaller scale in a phased approach. The new phased construction is in line with the company’s reduced model lineup down from 7 models to 2. The smaller lineup now only consist of the FF91 unveiled in January at the CES in Las Vegas and a crossover targeted at the Tesla Model X. It remains to be seen if the company can achieve its new goals amongst the challenges created by its financial position, including holding on to the necessary skills as the start-up keep on losing key executives.

FIVE

The California Department of Motor Vehicles released it’s 2016 Autonomous Vehicle Disengagement report this week. We reported earlier that a total of 20 companies were authorized to test the autonomous technology on the State’s public roads by the end of 2016. The Disengagement report reflects the number of events where a driver essentially has to take over from the vehicle’s autonomous mode to either prevent a traffic incident or where it fails. Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle program moved from Google to a stand-alone company Waymo, revealed its 2016 scoring in a blog post by it’s Head of self-driving technology. Waymo showed a marked improvement from its 2015 safety related disengages of 0.8 (341) disengages per 1000 miles to 0.2 (124) in 2016.

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 2 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 2 2017

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electric vehicle information wattev2buy

#1 – DIY EVs gets a boost

Looking to develop your own electric vehicle? Yes, you can, with Italian OSVehicle’s modular platform providing an open source hardware platform from as little as $12,000. Add to that George Hotz’s self-driving car kit which he plans to market through his company comma.ai at a price of $1,000, and you can build your own “ai-chauffeur” driven zero emission vehicle. The ability to use open source technology will lower the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs and hobbyists alike, providing further disruption to the auto industry.

#2 – Tesla poaches from Apple

Tesla bags two senior executives from Apple. The world’s leading electric vehicle manufacturer this month acquired Chris Lattner, responsible for Apple’s Swift application software head, and Matt Casebolt, senior director of Design for Apple’s Mac range and listed on over 50 Apple patents. Matt is filling the position of Senior Director Engineering, Closures and Mechanisms at Tesla, while Chris’s experience in leading an over 200 strong engineering team would stand him in good stead as Vice President of Autopilot Software.

#3 – USA DOT creates Automation Committee

The USA Department of Transportation this week announced the formation of an Automation Committee to oversee its self-driving policy, with Tesla, a clear leader in the sector not on it. Self-driving vehicles and electric vehicles are not necessarily mutually inclusive as the technology could be applied to all drive trains. However, the appointment of GM CEO Mary Barra as Co-Chair of the committee could be a clear indication of which tail is wagging the dog. GM recently opposed the new EPA emission requirements of 54.5 mpg by 2025. Follow the link for the complete list.

#4 – FIAT on notice for cheating on emission tests

Another one bites the dust as the Environmental Protection Agency this week put FiatChrysler on notice for cheating on its emission tests. Diesel Gate might be the best own inflicted wound by big auto fighting electric vehicles, forcing big brands such as Volkswagen and Mitsubishi to change strategy from pushing back to embracing the technology. Now Fiat’s CEO, Sergio Marchionne, who has been a fervent EV hater might be forced out or to change his stance.

#5 – Renault adds to its EV model range

Renault this week announced two more additions to its electric vehicle model range, both light commercial vehicles. Renault is one of the few automakers in Europe to commit early on to electric vehicles with models such as the Renault ZOE and Twizy. The two new models will be an improved version of the Kangoo ZE delivery van and a full-size commercial van, the Master ZE. Both vehicles will have an improved 33kWh battery pack and 7kW AC Charger.

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Autonomous vehicles – would you trust a car to drive itself?

Many people believe that the electric car market in its most basic form has gone past the point of no return and will be a major element of the automobile mass market going forward. This forward-thinking, forward-looking and technologically advanced industry is now looking towards the next development which for many will be autonomous vehicles. So, what is the general feeling about autonomous vehicles? Would you trust a car where you had little or no input?

Education, education, education

One of the main problems regarding the concept of autonomous vehicles is the fact that the general public have little or no experience in this particular area. How would it work? Is it really safe? Would there be a general override in the event of problems? (more…)