TOP EV NEWS #1 – EV GUINNESS WORLD RECORD ATTEMPT
Three brothers are attempting to break two Guinness World records while raising awareness for EVs and funds for Boys & Girls Clubs by traveling 18,000 miles to 30 Major League Baseball stadiums and watching a full game, all within just 28 days. Two of the brothers, Steve and Dave Ahart will complete the adventure in a Tesla Model 3 with Mike Ahart providing support. The Ahart’s hope to break the World records for “Fastest Time to Visit all Major League Baseball Stadiums” and “Longest Journey by Electric Vehicle (non-solar).” They further aim to get 10,000 people to pledge to take their first EV test drive and raise $1.2 million in total for the Boys & Girls Clubs chapters in each of the MLB cities they visit. Please support their cause at the epicevroadtrip.com.
TOP EV NEWS #2 – POLITICIANS GETTING TOUGH ON SLOW EV ADOPTION BY AUTO SECTOR
Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Peter Altmaier, on Monday, lashed out at the local auto sector for their reluctance to commit to investing their efforts in EVs. Minister Altmaier warned the countries large automakers which include BMW, Daimler, and the VW Group that they will be left behind by international competitors. Altmaier demanded automakers to except that electric vehicles are the future and implement reforms to set the course for an environmentally-friendly future of mobility. This is not the first time that German politicians spoke out against their sector, in August 2017 (Top 5 EV News Week 33/2017) German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that she doubted if German automakers were sufficiently innovative enough to progress the electric vehicle technology. Altmaier stopped short though of calling for a ban on diesel vehicles. A recent ruling by German courts gave cities the right to introduce driving bans on diesel vehicles.
In related news, coinciding with a visit by President Xi Jinping’s to the resort island of Hainan the Xinhua News Agency reported that China would use the island as a test case by being the first to ban the sale of fossil-fuel vehicles. No timeline was given in the report, but it read that China will control the number of vehicles in Hainan in “a scientific way.” The move follows on this weeks announcement by the Chinese Government it will remove the cap on foreign ownership on auto companies. EV producers gained the advantage as the rule will apply to them from this year while commercial vehicle manufacturers will follow in 2020 and passenger vehicle makers only in 2022.
TOP EV NEWS #3 – NEW EV MODEL WATCH
Honda announced that it would hold the world-premiere of a new concept electric car at the upcoming Beijing Auto Show this week. Honda states the car is developed exclusively for the Chinese market and that a production version is to build in the country by the end of the year.
Toyota will present plug-in hybrid versions of the Toyota Corolla and Toyota Levein in Beijing. The two sedan models are also exclusive to the Chinese market and will hit the road in 2019. Both Honda and Toyota announced publically that they do not believe the EV revolution will hold, focussing their efforts more on fuel cell electric vehicles.
Buick unveiled the Velite 6 PHEV and BEV and the Enspire EV Concept this week. The three cars will be on show at the Beijing Auto Show this week. Buick announced that the Velite 6 PHEV will be available for China only later this year while it still has to decide on a release date for the Velite 6 EV. For specs and more info follow the link.
BMW teased the BMW iX3 SUV in a Twitter campaign this week. BMW will unveil the first model in its altered EV strategy at the Auto China Beijing 2018 on the 25th of April. BMW is moving away from a dedicated EV series, the i-series, to having model ranges now include all drive types. The BMW iX3 SUV PHEV and BEV is undergoing testing currently and will be available in 2019.
Chinese EV start-up SiTech unveiled the first of its range of connected EVs, the DEV1, this week. The DEV1 offers an impressive range and lots of tech at a low price. Like most new Chinese EVs of late, the DEV1 also comes with face recognition for keyless entry. The car will be presented in Beijing this week.
BYD announced the unveiling of its new electric concept at Auto China, the E-SEED at Auto China Beijing 2018.
It’s clear that the Chinese Governments aggressive policy to support the adoption of EVs is paying dividends, and the rest of the world can jealously look on as all their favorite brand’s launch models exclusively for the Chinese market.
TOP EV NEWS #4 – MAHINDRA LAUNCHES EV ONLY LUXURY BRAND
The Indian multi-national company Mahindra-Mahindra and Italian based Pininfarina announced the creation of the worlds newest luxury brand called Automobili Pininfarina. The company will be based in Europe and specialize in the development of luxury electrified vehicles. Mahindra, which currently lies second in the Formula E championship will combine its technical experience with the legendary automotive design prowess of the Italian company. The new brand will launch its first vehicle, an electric hypercar in 2020.
Automobili Pininfarina will be led by Michael Perschke, as its Chief Executive Officer. Michael brings with him over 25 years of experience with premium German brands at both headquarter director-level as well as in various market roles. He was the Managing Director of Audi in India and a member of the Management Board of Volkswagen Group Sales India, from 2010 to 2013. Michael will play an instrumental role in developing the strategy for Automobili Pininfarina. He will be joined by Per Svantesson as Chief Operating Officer. Per brings with him relevant experience including his stints with the Volvo Group and NEVS.
TOP EV NEWS #5 – AUTONOMOUS NEWS FROM PAST WEEK
Recently Chinese deputy minister of Industry, Xin Guobin, warned the country risks falling behind in the autonomous vehicle sector. Up to now, guidelines are fragmented with individual companies like Baidu gaining approval to test vehicles while cities such as Beijing and Shanghai embarked on issuing local guidelines for self-driving tests. In this light the Chinese authorities this week laid out national guidelines for the testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads. According to the guidelines the no vehicle is allowed to be tested on public roads without being tested in non-public tracks. Once authorized vehicles will only be allowed to be tested on designated roads, and a test driver must at all times be behind the wheel. The minister also indicated that technologies required for autonomous driving such as 5G communication and intelligent roads should also receive attention.
According to an Autonews report Nissan and DeNa, a Japanese gaming company, plans to join forces in the development of self-driving taxi early in the next decade. In a previous article, we reported on the two companies running a test program on a 4.5km public road in Tokoyo.
Alibaba confirmed to China Daily that it is working on a Level 4 autonomous driving capable system, joining its local internet giants Tencent and Baidu and internationally Google. According to a McKinsey report, self-driving cars in China has the potential to become a $500 billion market.
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