Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 33 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 33 2017

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 33 2017

TOP EV NEWS #1 – MERKEL DOUBTS AUTO COMPANIES EV INNOVATION

German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week reaffirmed her commitment to having 1 million EVs on the country’s road by 2020. In an interview with German YouTuber Lisa Sophie, Merkel reportedly said that the country has not abandoned its commitment to its one million EV goal by 2020 but that not enough was done up to now, signaling a possible ramp-up of the country’s efforts in the next two years. Merkel did not accept all of the blame for the slow pace but laid some of the responsibility on automakers which she doubts were sufficiently innovative enough to progress the technology.

Merkel will meet with local government officials on the 4th of Septemeber to discuss emission targets and indicated that around $600 million would be made available to improve urban transport infrastructure.

Although EV sales in Germany skyrocketed this year, the country so far only has just over 100,000 EVs registered. German EV sales data released this week showed that at the end of July nearly as much EVs have been sold as for the whole of 2016. EV sales in Germany are expected to continue its strong performance, supported by initiatives such as that of Nissan which announced that it would offer a scrapping bonus of EUR2000 ($2,348) for buyers converting from ICE vehicles to its Nissan Leaf or a Nissan e-NV200.

In related news, Chinese EV sales data showed a 30% rise in EV sales for the year to date over the corresponding period in 2016. It’s wattEV2buy’s forecast that China will reach its target of 2 million registered EVs by 2020, and even exceed it as more models become available in the next two years. China is already standing more than 800,000 units of which 200,000 has been registered this year alone. It is our belief that the Chinese EV market is set to reach its one million EV milestone by the end of the year, in light of historically stronger second half sales.

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TOP EV NEWS #2 – INDIAN DIRTY POWER GIANT TO VENTURE INTO EV MANUFACTURING

The Indian power producer, JSW Energy, a thermal power producer with nearly 5,000 MW of capacity is set to shift its business to align itself with more sustainable energy offering. Although this strategy is adopted by most power producers JSW Energy’s shift is more radical, as it includes investing around $550 million in new businesses including the manufacturing of an electric vehicle by 2020. In an interview with the Hindu BusinessLine, JSW Energy’s CEO admitted that the company is venturing into a new competitive space but that it bets on the growth in the vehicle sector in India due to the expected disruption by EVs. The company is set to work with technical partners and have a 60% local content goal.

TOP EV NEWS #3 – EVs BOOSTED BY ADVANCEMENT IN TECHNOLOGIES THIS WEEK

As the rush to EVs starts to accelerate auto part companies are investing more and more in the development of new technologies, helping to advance electric vehicles. The Korean auto part company, Hyundai Mobis, this week announced that its the first South Korean company to develop a bi-directional on-board charger (OBC) for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) applications. Industry commentators have been quick to claim EVs V2G capability as a key attribute of the technology, but to date, no production vehicle comes equipped with the application as a standard feature. A contributing factor for the slow adoption of V2G technology is the slow development of software to optimise the charging / depleting of batteries so that drivers are not left stranded due to supplying the grid with power.

Other technology advancements unveiled this week include the German auto parts company, Continental, introducing a new lightweight wheel and braking concept for EVs. In a press release by the company highlighted the technology as follows:

  • A new division between wheel and axle: Continental presents the New Wheel Concept, which optimizes the braking system specifically of the electric vehicle (EV).
  • The design enables the use of a large aluminum brake disk and solves the problem of bad braking performance due to corroded brake disks.
  • The dual New Wheel Concept also reduces the weight of the wheel and brake and reduces service costs due to a lifetime brake disk and an easy brake pad change.

 TOP EV NEWS #4 – MORE EV DELIVERY VEHICLES

As the push for cleaner cities drives the EV revolution forward, we are seeing more and more electric delivery vans entering the marketplace. Gone are the days of an EV delivery van being associated with the defunct Azure Connect or the small Renault Twizy Cargo which hardly had enough space or range to cover the average daily distance for delivery vehicles of 65 miles. The past month has seen the introduction of production versions of the Daimler Fuso E-Cell and the new Renault Kangoo ZE. This week two more delivery vehicles made the front pages. Ford and Deutsche Post subsidiary, Street Scooter, this week introduced its first jointly produced E-Van, the StreetScooter Work XL in Cologne. The Work XL is based on the Ford Transit Van and has a load capacity of 20 cubic meters, a modular battery system that could be sized from 30kWh to 90kWh for a range of between 80km and 200km. The 22kW onboard charger allows for an average charging time of three hours. Each WORK XL could save around five tonnes of CO2 and 1,900 liters of diesel fuel each year. StreetScooter will assemble around 150 units by the end of 2017 at its Aachen plant and ramp up to 2,500 units by the end of 2018. The Deutsche Post DHL Group is the largest operator of electric vehicles in Germany with a fleet of 3,000 StreetScooter Work and Work L vans and 10,500 pedelecs.

In the US, Chinese owned and Californian based EV start-up, Chanje, announced that it would introduce its first medium size fully electric delivery vehicle, the V8070 by the end of the year. The V8070, below on the right, has a 100-mile range with a 6,000lbs payload and 7.2kW onboard charger. Chanje has raised funding of $1 billion from various partners including Hong Kong-based FDG Electric Vehicles Limited which manufacturers the Yangtze EV in China.

top 5 ev news week 33 ford streetscooter xl

TOP EV NEWS #5 – NEWS FROM THE AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE SECTOR

As the race for electric vehicles hots up so it does for autonomous vehicles as car makers try and regain the edge it lost in the EV sector to tech start-ups. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), dead-last in the EV race, this week joined the BMW Intel self-driving car alliance as the company gears-up to produce self-driving cars by 2021. The BMW led alliance also includes Intel’s recently acquired Israeli tech company, Mobileye, Delphi Automotive, and Continental. Together the alliance will have 140 self-driving test vehicles on the roads by the end of 2017. Interestingly enough FCA is also a partner with Google’s Waymo where it developed and deployed autonomous Chrysler Pacifica minivans.

The Michigan Economic Development Corp funded American Center for Mobility announced that it will start operating its autonomous vehicle testing ground in December 2017. The converted Willow Run facility, first used for airplane testing, is a two-and a half-mile highway test loop. Michigan, which has been one of the pro-active states in self-driving development invested around $110 million in the conversion and expects to develop a second facility by 2019 to represent urban driving conditions.

US Chipmaker, NVIDIA, which led the push into autonomous technologies ahead of its competitor Intel, this week announced its investment in two-year old Chinese self-driving truck start-up TuSimple. The undisclosed investment by NVIDIA was part of $20 million funding round led by Sina, the Chinese Social Media company. TuSimple recently completed a Level 4 autonomous trip from San Diego to Yuma, Arizona.

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 30 2017

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 30 2017

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TOP EV NEWS #1 – FIVE NEW EVs LAUNCHED THIS WEEK

This week saw the launch of five new entrants to the electric vehicle market, three of which go on sale in the coming month and two available on pre-order.

The most anticipated release is, of course, that of the Tesla Model 3, which was held on Friday the 28th of July when the first 30 cars were handed over to their owners. The Tesla Model 3 is already sold out for the next year as over 400,000 people have placed the $1000 deposit for the pre-order. Tesla announced the specification and price of the Tesla Model 3 at Friday’s event. The mass-market EV is available in a standard and long range version, the standard with a range of 220 miles priced at $35,000 (before incentives) and a long range version for $9,000 more extending the range to 310 miles. A fully loaded Model 3 with all the bells and whistles will set you back around $60,000 before incentives. See the full spec-sheet here.

This week also saw the release of the first fully electric Sports Utility Truck, the Bollinger B1. The B1 is available on pre-order, but no price has been set for the no-nonsense all-electric SUT.

A German start-up Sono Motors unveiled its Solar EV, the Sion. The Sion has a range of  250km plus integrated solar that will provide a further 30km per day. The Sion is available for pre-order starting at €500 but only expected for release in 2019. The price for the Sion is set at €16,000 and excludes the battery which could either be leased or purchased at present value price of around €4,000. Production of the Sion is funded through a crowd funding campaign commencing on the 18th of August 2017 with test-drive events around Europe through to October 2017 to be held in 11 cities in 7 countries.

In China, the SAIC / GM / Wuling joint venture, Baojun launched its first electric vehicle, the Smart look-alike Baojun E100 city car. GAC also released its much anticipated GAC GE3 SUV BEV. Both vehicles will go on sale in August. The Baojun will sell for CNY35,800 ($5,300) and the GAC GE3 starting at CNY 150,000 ($22,200).

In related news, FIAT Chrysler and (former) EV naysayer, Sergio Marchionne, this week announced during an Investor event that all cars of its luxury marque Maserati would be electrified post-2019. Mr. Marchionne went further stating that half of Fiat Chrysler’s lineup, including Alfa Romeo, will be electric from 2022. The strategy will be formulated over the next year as the company enters its 3rd five-year plan in 2019.

Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 30 2017

TOP EV NEWS #2 – TOYOTA PERSUING SOLID STATE BATTERIES

A Reuters report lifted the veil on Toyota’s electric vehicle plans further this week. The Reuters report claims the Japanese automaker is developing a new electric vehicle platform, based on solid state battery technology to enter the market in 2022. The advantage of solid state battery technology is that it addresses range and charging shortcomings of current lithium technology.  A solid state battery can be charged in only a couple of minutes and has more storage capacity for longer range. Toyota, which has been lagging in the EV race is set to enter the EV market in China from 2019 with a mass market SUV based on the C-HR SUV. The C-HR EV will be developed using current lithium technology. Other automakers pursuing solid state batteries includes BMW who has set a 10-year plan to bring solid state EVs to market.

toyota-c-hr

TOP EV NEWS #3 – USA SELF DRIVING ACT PROGRESSING

The US House Energy and Commerce Committee this week advanced legislation designed to keep autonomous vehicles safe and promote the advancement of the technology. The self-driving act is billed as the PAVE Act, which expands the existing authorization of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to evaluate exemptions from federal motor vehicle safety standards only if there is no reduction in safety and increases the number of vehicles for which exemption may be granted. The exemption will help the advancement of the autonomous driving development by allowing the industry to collect data and help Government to recall self-driving cars for safety reasons. The act is becoming increasingly important as more and more companies and states get involved in the testing of self-driving technology. Ride hailing company, Lyft, this week announced that it formed a self-driving division and will establish a self-driving research facility, named Level 5 in Palo Alto, California.

TOP EV NEWS #4 – MERCEDES TO ENTER FORMULA E

While the 3rd season of the Formula E is ending this weekend in Montreal, Canada with Renault e.dams set to win it for the third season in a row, two racing car heavy weights this week announced that they would join the series in the 6th season from 2019. Porsche announced this week that it would quit the Le Mans race and join Formula E, following sister company Audi who left the well known 24-hour race in October 2016. The other automaker to join the Formula E circuit was Porsches’ German compatriot and recent Formula 1 champion, Mercedes, who also announced this week that it will join the 2019 series, leaving the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters to help with funding its participation in the emerging EV racing franchise.

TOP EV NEWS #5 – SHELL CEO BUYS INTO EVs

CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Ben Van Beurden, told Bloomberg in a televised interview that he is ditching ICE vehicles and buying an electric vehicle, all be it a plug-in hybrid Mercedes Benz S500e. The companies CFO already owns a BMW i3. Mr. Van Beurden said “The whole move to electrify the economy, electrify mobility in places like northwest Europe, in the U.S., even in China, is a good thing. We need to be at a much higher degree of electric vehicle penetration — or hydrogen vehicles or gas vehicles — if we want to stay within the 2-degrees Celsius outcome.” He went on saying “If policies and innovation really work well, I can see liquids peaking in demand in the early 2030s and maybe oil will peak a little bit earlier if there’s a lot of biofuels coming into the mix as well.”

The statement comes in the wake of the UK Government’s announcement that it will ban the sale of ICE and PHEV from 2040, joining countries like France, India, and Norway in such a move.

Shell is preparing itself for the shift away from fossil fuels by spending $1 Billion a year in its New Energies business unit.

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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

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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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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

 

 

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Top 5 Electric Vehicle News Stories of Week 52 2016

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TOP EV NEWS #1 – Ford debuts its autonomous vehicle

Ford debuted it’s next-generation Fusion Hybrid Autonomous development vehicle this week. The second generation of the vehicle sports more production ready controls and LiDar sensors on top of an improved computer hardware platform. Improved field of vision on the sensors allowed Ford to have only two sensors as opposed to four in the first generation. The second generation follows the first, introduced three years ago. The company aims to have an SAE Level 4-capable vehicle commercially available by 2021 for ride-hailing and sharing purposes. Ford will also expand its test fleet, currently operational only in California to its home state, Michigan.

TOP EV NEWS #2 – Lamborghini announces plans for PHEV

Lamborghini, a Volkswagen company, announced this week that it plans to include a PHEV version of its first SUV since the LM002, the Urus when its released in 2018. The auto manufacturer is also rumored to work on an all-electric vehicle, named the Vitola, which will use the Porsche Mission E platform.

TOP EV NEWS #3 – LeEco breaks ground for EV plant

The controversial LeEco announced the groundbreaking of its plant in the city of Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province China. LeEco is entwined between Faraday Future and the LeSee electric vehicle manufactured by LeEco. Both companies were founded by Chinese businessman Jia Yueting. Both businesses are known for making bold statements and big ticket announcements just to be followed by press reports of cash flow and funding problems. The announcement comes at a time when Faraday Future is battling to break ground on its plant in Northern Los Angeles. The company could not even pay the $21 million deposit to Aecon despite being offered $300 million by the local authorities for building the assembly plant there. LeEco has also partnered with Aston Martin on the RapidE, where it will help with the development of the zero emission technology. Faraday Future is said to hold the patents to the technology, but recent reports state that the technology is in fact held by a separate company in the Cayman Islands, creating insecurity for investors and borrowers..

TOP EV NEWS #4 – Missouri rejects Tesla license renewal

In another attack on Tesla by the old guard, as the State of Missouri rejected its dealership license renewal. The reason being a ruling by Circuit Judge Green in a case brought against the Missouri revenue department by the Missouri Auto Dealers Association for allowing the license in 2015. Tesla prefers to use a direct sales model due to the notorious inability of traditional dealers to sell electric vehicles. Tesla will be forced to close shop in the State come January the 1st 2017.

TOP EV NEWS #5 – A scramble for EV resources by miners

Miners are scrambling for “modern” resources such as lithium, nickel, and cobalt used in the electric vehicle manufacturing process. A reporter, Marcus Le Roux explored the various metals and their potential supply constraints and sources in the Australian. Most interestingly are the place which copper plays within the electric vehicle industry and the expectation that current lithium demand would rise from 16,500 to between 120,000 to 250,000 tons by 2025 to feed the 14 battery mega factories that are developed, mainly in China.

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