No Results Found
The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.
The big news of the week, apart from the impact of Trump’s trade war on the EV sector, must be the first documented fatality associated with the autonomous driving program in the USA. In an incident, a week short of a year after Uber had to suspend its self-driving program due a to a non-fatal crash in Tempe Arizona, the raid-hailing company became the first self-driving permit holder involved in a fatal crash. The crash itself is well documented now, and I wish to extend my condolences to the family of Elaine Herzberg. With the incident, self-driving cars are hyped up in the press, and the reality of the technology is sinking in for the general public. Questions related to the safety of the technology, how it will impact insurance companies and premiums, job security for people making a living out of transport services and the future of auto companies are becoming more frequent in social discussions, but let’s keep the focus on the safety aspect related to the UBER crash for the moment.
The arrival of autonomous cars came surprisingly fast for most people, and they don’t realize that there is already a huge fleet of self-driving cars on public roads all over the globe. Most people don’t even realize that companies such as GM plan to build the first commercially available self-driving cars as early as next year, while Waymo will roll out a fleet of self-driving taxis later this year. It si also not widely known that testing over millions of miles has already resulted in various crashes. One of the best-run self-driving programs must be the program run by the Californian Department of Motor Vehicles (CA DMV) where 52 companies have already received permits to test self-driving cars on public roads since 2014. The CA DMV requires permit holders to file disengagement reports showing the number of times humans had to take over control of the test vehicle. Based on reports filed autonomous vehicles of Waymo (Google) and GM has already been involved in 50 crashes since the start of reporting in 2014.
UBER though is not a permit holder in California, the company’s permit was suspended in February 2017 where its vehicle ran a red light, barely missing a pedestrian. The company was also cited for not and not following proper permitting procedures. Shortly after this incident, UBER temporarily halted its pilot project after a crash in Arizona. UBER found that the crash was caused by the other vehicle. UBER’s self-driving program is also held up in courts as Waymo claims the company stole some of its secrets.
Coming back to the facts surrounding the incident of March the 18th where UBER’s Volvo XC90 SUV struck Elaine Herzberg, 49, at about 10 p.m. local time in Tempe Arizona. The Tempe police department released the video of the crash, showing both the inside and outside view. Police Chief, Sylvia Moir told the San Francisco Chronicle that preliminarily it appears that UBER was not at fault largely because Mrs. Herxberg did not cross the road at the crosswalk. Chief Moir was quoted saying “It’s very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode” — self-driving or human-driven — “based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway.” With this viewpoint, I agree, but the question is since its an autonomous car equipped with LiDar and Radar, its suppose to pick-up obstacles even in the dark. Looking at the inside view UBER’s self-driving program becomes even more questionable. The view shows the engineer, which is supposed to disengage the vehicle in case of the system failing, clearly not doing his work and most probably engaged with his cellphone. UBER took another fail-safe out of the testing by reducing the number of engineers overseeing the system in the car from two to one. A New York Times reporter got hold of internal UBER report showing that its program was not as successful as its competitors. The reports showed that drivers have to disengage the UBER system on the Volvo XC90 SUV more frequently than its peers. UBER set itself a goal of one disengagement per 13 miles on its path to offer commercial self-driving ride-hailing by the end of 2018 but failed to even reach this rather easy target. From the table below more than half of the participants were able to exceed 13 miles per disengagement.
WIthout the benefit of the technical report of the crash, it seems that UBER’s self-driving program is more at fault than self-driving technology. Already Waymo’s CEO said that he believes that the company’s vehicle would have detected Mrs. Herzberg and reacted to avoid an accident. The incident how unfortunate it might be will add to the improvement of the technology and regulations for testing and operating such programs around the world. It is expected that the implications for UBER will be felt for some time as its partner companies will re-evaluate its involvement in the self-driving pilot.
Although most companies continued undeterred with their pilot programs, Toyota announced that it would temporarily suspend its self-driving program in California and Michigan so its drivers could “emotionally process” the accident.
A report by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), “Utilities and Electric Vehicles: Evolving to Unlock Grid Value“, concluded that most utilities are not prepared for the expected change in demand on the grid. Based on the latest forecast for EV demand by Bloomberg New Energy Finance SEPA believes electricity consumption will grow from a few terawatt-hours (TWh) a year in 2017 to around 118 TWh by 2030. The California Energy Commission (CEC) filed a report last week, called “California Plug-In Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Projections” which sets out the number of chargers needed in the State by 2025. The report also looks at the load impact of EV chargers on the grid, whereby it is expected EV chargers can add up to 1 GIG demand in peak time, supporting the SEPA report.
Chinese ride-hailing company Didi Chuxing and Chinese EV start-up CHJ Auto announced a JV partnership 51% owned by Didi to develop smart electric cars. Didi operates the worlds largest fleet of EVs on its platform which stood at 260,000 EVs and PHEVs as at November 2017 according to the company. Didi targets to operate one million EVs by 2020. Didi is co-owned by Tencent which is a shareholder in Tesla and Weima mentioned in our story #5 below.
CHJ Auto also announced that it secured around $500 million in a Round B fundraising. The company is to launch an $8,000 city EV this year with battery swapping capabilities.
According to an interview by Auto Market Online with VW China CEO Joachim Heisman at the Geneva International Motor Show, the SAIC VW JV company is to construct an EV plant in China to produce the Volkswagen I.D. series. The first two vehicles to be assembled at the plant is a compact crossover and sub-compact crossover. Production of the two vehicles with an expected range of over 400km is expected to start in 2020 for a 2021 launch in the country. The SAIC EV plant will be VW’s second EV factory, following on a 100,000 unit plant it is constructing with JAC.
Bloomberg reported that Chinese start-up WM Motors is exploring a potential listing in New York, despite recent trade tensions between the two countries. WM Motors CEO, Freeman Shen, who headed up Volvo in China see’s the company in a global light, signaling that it intends to take on other EV producers such as Tesla. WM Motors is to bring its Weima EX5 SUV to market this year and will compete head-on with the Tesla Model X but at a much lower price of only ¥200,000 which is less than a quarter of the Model X price.
The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.
Its all about batteries this week as announcements about battery production took center stage in EV related news.
The expected demand for electric vehicles is spurning a rush to bring battery plants online to profit from the disruptive technology. CEO of market leader LG-Chem, Park Jin-soo, told reporters at a meeting at the company’s head office on the 11th of March that the Korean manufacturer sees a 40% rise in revenues over the next two years. Mr. Jin-soo sees that half of the $9.3 billion expected rise in revenue will be from batteries.
VW announced that it already agreed on partnerships to a value of €20 billion with European and Chinese battery manufacturers in support of it’s “Roadmap E” electrification program.
The Croatian high-performance EV company Rimac and Camel Group, the largest battery manufacturer in Asia, agreed to invest $158 million in the creation of a company that will produce 50,000 EV batteries and engines per year for electric cars and buses. Rimac will acquire 40% of the JV company, Zhongke Luo Rui Technology Co. through the investment of €5 million in cash, knowledge, and technology. The balance of the capital investment will come from Camel Group. The plant will be constructed in Xiangyang, a city in China’s central Hubei province. Camel Group became the second largest shareholder in Rimac Automobili after founder Mate Rimac by investing €30 million in 2017 to support the development of the Rimac C_Two hyper-car unveiled earlier the month at the Geneva International Motor Show.
GSR Capital, a Chinese private-equity company, will invest $500 million in National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS) through a convertible loan. The funds will be used to build a battery assembly line at NEVS plant in Trollhattan, Sweden. The plant will have a capacity of between 400,000 and 500,000 battery packs per annum.
Mercedes Benz announced the creation of its 6th battery factory in Bangkok Thailand. Mercedes Benz and its local partner Thonburi Automotive Assembly Plant (TAAP) will jointly invest €100 million by 2020 in the existing assembly plant and e new battery assembly line.
Panasonic held a ceremony at its plant in Dalian, China, commemorating the first shipment of prismatic-type automotive lithium-ion batteries. The Dalian plant is Panasonic’s first in the country and batteries will initially be shipped to the Chinese and North American markets.
The Korean battery manufacturer SK Innovation broke ground on its $780 million 7.5GWh battery plant in Komarom, Hungary this week. The plant will be the size of 60 football pitches and will be completed by H2 2019 and production will only commence in 2022. Mercedes is said to be one of the first customers of the plant.
Volkswagen CEO, Matthias Müller, this week expanded on the German automaker’s e-mobility program “Roadmap E.” At the Group’s Annual Media Conference in Berlin Müller announced the Group would assemble electric cars at 16 locations around the globe by 2022 as it accelerated its e-mobility plans over the last couple of months. The Volkswagen Group targets 3 million EV sale per year by 2025 from 80 new electric models across its various brands. Volkswagen Group will add to its current portfolio of 8 EVs in 2018 by bringing three pure electric cars and six plug-in hybrids to market by the end of the year. The program will pick up speed in 2019 when there will be a new electric vehicle “virtually every month” according to Müller.
Volkswagen’s huge investment in its electrification plans by no means mean that the company is turning its back on diesel-powered vehicles as it will invest €90 billion over the next five years in its conventional vehicle portfolio. Müller said, “We are making massive investments in the mobility of tomorrow, but without neglecting current technologies and vehicles that will continue to play an important role for decades to come.” The continued commitment to diesel goes against convention as its rival Toyota announced this week that it would phase out diesel engines from passenger cars in Europe from 2018.
Volkswagen’s commitment to diesel is underpinned by the company’s view that the technology produces only 80% carbon dioxide compared to that of gasoline vehicles. Auto manufacturers in the EU must lower their total fleet emissions by around 20% from 2016 levels to 95 grams CO²/km which Müller believes cant be done without including diesel.
Fortunately, it was just not all news about batteries and strategy this week; some automakers are about to unveil EVs ready for production in the next year.
Sokon announced that it would increase its investment in SF Motors to $200 million. Sokon will add $30 million to its wholly-owned subsidiaries’ capital structure in anticipation of the launch of its EV on the 28 of March 2018. The vehicle is expected to be launched in 2019.
AIWAYS teased its EV made of rigid steel and carbon fiber before the Beijing Auto Show which runs from 29 April to 4 May 2018. The EV designed by Roland Gumpert who also designed the Audi Quattro has a range of 600km (375 miles) and accelerates to 100km/h in under 3 seconds.
Historically sales for passenger vehicles take a hit during the Chinese annual new year’s holidays, 2017 was particularly bad for the Chinese EV market as the sales for electric cars dropped to around 7,000 units from over 40,000 in December 2016. This year was no different for passenger vehicles in general as sales declined 9.6% in February, but EV sales remained strong, reaching nearly 35,000 units which are 95% higher than February 2017. Electric car sales for the year to date now constitutes around 2% of all vehicle sales which is a 300% rise from year to date sales in February 2017. New models reaching the market this year so far is the two Yudo π1 models, the GAC Mitsubishi Qizhi, Chery Arrizio 3xe EV SUV, the Xpeng Identity showed at the CES 2018 and the Dongfeng S50 EV sedan and M5 EV MPV. With many more new models expected to be launched in the first half of 2018, we expect the Chinese EV market to explode even further this year.
The disruption caused by electric vehicles is in few companies so evident as in Ford. The American icon has been grappling with how it should respond to the changing landscape and after a false start and a change at the top resulting in the company having no new EVs to show for the foreseeable future. The company this week revealed its latest strategy which will see it replace 75% of its line-up by 2020 with a stronger focus on SUVs and trucks. The company’s new battery electric line-up of six EVs by 2022 will roll out in 2020 and start with a utility vehicle with a range of 300 miles. Ford is rethinking the current ownership model of gas-powered vehicles by making charging an effortless experience at home and on the road as well as offering full-vehicle over-the-air software updates to enhance capability and features. Ford vice president, Autonomous and Electric Vehicles, Sherif Marakby, said “Throwing a charger in the trunk of a vehicle and sending customers on their way isn’t enough to help promote the viability of electric vehicles, in addition to expanding our electric vehicle lineup, we are redesigning the ownership experience to ensure it addresses customer pain points that currently hold back broad adoption today.”
GM announced that it is moving into the production and commercialization phase of its autonomous version of the Chevrolet Bolt, the Cruise AV. GM’s autonomous vehicle subsidiary, Cruise, developed the world’s first production-ready vehicle built from the ground up to operate safely on its own with no driver, steering wheel, pedals or manual controls. I recently jokingly mentioned to friends that steering wheel manufacturers are going the way of the buggy whip, as evident from the picture of the GM Cruise AV on the cover of this weeks newsletter. GM will invest $100 million in its Orion and Brownstown facilities to bring the Cruise AV to market in 2019. The Orion Township assembly plant currently manufactures the Chevrolet Bolt EV while the Brownstown Battery assembly plant will be expanded to include the production of the Cruise AVs roof modules.
The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.
The Chinese Governments aggressive program to support (enforce) the adoption of electric vehicles, or new energy vehicles (NEVs) as its locally known, is paying dividends. With the implementation of strict EV production and sales targets approaching in 2019 various companies, such as GM have in the last couple of months announced China-specific EV plans. The latest international automaker to announced its China EV strategy is the VW Group, who this week announced the investment of €10 billion ($11.8 billion) up to 2025 to develop and manufacture NEVs in China. Reuters reported this week that the German automaker aims to sell 400,000 new EVs by 2020 and 1.5 million by 2025 along with its joint venture partners. The company aims to bring fifteen NEVs with a range of up to 600km to the Chinese market by 2020 and a further 25 after that. Although VW Group currently has around ten imported NEV models available in China sales of most imports except for GM and Tesla have been very slow.
Toyota also clarified its NEV plans for China this week. To date, the company only announced the introduction of two PHEV models for the Chinese market, namely the Corolla and Levin which is expected in 2018. In a press release this week Toyota announced that it would bring a new EV under its brand to China in 2020. It announced further that it would expand its Fuel Cell study in China to include commercial vehicles such as buses. Compared to Tesla, GM and VW’s plans Toyota’s seem very tame and summarises the claim by Toyota’s Chairman to German publication Der Spiegel this week. Mr. Takeshi Uchiyamada was quoted saying “Battery-powered cars with a long range are very expensive, and it takes a long time to charge them, such cars do not fit in our program.” He went further saying “Tesla is not our enemy and not our role model, I think it’s the German manufacturers that rather see Tesla as a competitor.”
In the meantime, Bloomberg reported that the Chinese Government is considering the extension of its EV production permitting program which was created to protect the market against an oversupply of EVs. The program allowed for only 15 EV production permits of which JAC was the last to receive in May 2017. The extension of the permitting program is rumored to commence in 2018 and based on recent comments is expected to allow wholly owned subsidiaries of foreign companies to partake.
Appart from plans to produce EVs for the Chinese markets some of the major international automakers this week clarified their EV strategy for other parts of the globe.
GM CEO Mary Barra told Automotive News that the US-based company would launch its next-generation EV platform in 2021 and hope to have EV sales of one million vehicles per annum by 2026. According to Mary Barra, the company aims for at least 20 EVs and FCEVs by 2023. The next generation platform will be modular, at least 30% cheaper and have a range of over 300 miles. The improved platform will have the battery cells integrated into the architecture.
VW Group announced in a press release that it would invest €34 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles by the end of 2022 in support of its Roadmap E strategy, the most comprehensive electrification campaign in the automotive industry. The plan will kick off with the shifting of the production of combustion vehicles away from its plant in Zwickau (Saxony, Germany) to allow for the increased production of electric vehicles on its MEB platform. Group CEO Matthias Müller said “We are reinventing the car. To achieve that, we are making targeted investments to provide the necessary funds from our own resources.”
According to Roadmap E around one in four new vehicles by VW Group will be a battery-only electric vehicle by 2025, which could mean up to three million e-cars a year. The Company is planning to electrify its entire model portfolio by 2030, which is more than 300 models. To this end, VW has invited tenders for one of the largest purchasing volumes ever, with plans to spend over €50 billion on battery cells.
Toyota and Suzuki this week signed a memorandum of understanding for the introduction of EVs into India. According to the MOU Suzuki will produce EVs for the Indian market and supply some to Toyota, while Toyota will provide technical support. The MOU is signed with the backdrop of the Indian Governments “Made in India” and aggressive EV programs.
The Japanese automaker Mazda is planning to launch electric vehicles (EV) with range-extender rotary engine technology in Europe and the United States from 2019 onwards, reports Nikkei Asian Review. Rotary engine technology, which was first developed back in 1967 by Mazda, can double the range of an electric vehicle and is based on triangular rotors instead of pistons and cleaner to comply with stricter environmental laws globally. Mazda will not be the first to use rotary engines as a range extender, BMW‘s i3 REx also uses rotary technology.
The much-anticipated launch of the Tesla Semi did not fail to impress and exceeded most expectations, it even helped Tesla’s share price jump $10, which looked more than a selling opportunity in hindsight. Elon Musk unveiled the truck with the acronym of BAMF (Bad Ass *&)%$#*) due to its insane performance when compared to conventional trucks. The market view prior to the launch was that the Tesla Semi would be able to reach a range of 300 miles on a charge, which is far short of the 500 miles announced by Elon Musk on the 16th of November. See the full specs and pictures here. Pre-orders was set at $5,000 with Walmart already announcing that it booked 15 Tesla Semi trucks.
Spicing up the launch was the new Tesla Roadster delivered from the trailer of the Tesla Semi on stage. The new Roadster is the fastest production car yet on paper with an acceleration to 60mph in just 1.9 seconds. The Roadster has a range of 620 miles from its 200kWh battery. See the full specs and pictures here.
Both the Tesla Semi and Roadster will be available from 2019.
In her presentations at the Barclays 2017, Global Automotive Conference in New York GM CEO Mary Barra gave a glimpse of GMs plans to monetize services embedded in its smart connected vehicles. According to Barra GM will launch a marketplace application in its connected vehicles which will be simpler to use than current smartphones. Like other carmakers, GM is exploring how it can gain value from its 13 million connected cars which create 3 petabytes of data per year.
FreshPatents.com reported that Ford Global Technology registered a patent for an off-road autonomous driving system. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USTPO) has granted Ford a patent for an off-road autonomous driving system. This could be handy functionality while farming or hunting. I can see a hunter call his truck to get him at a location after the hunt (if there is cell connectivity).
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, Renault–Nissan 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.