The Royal Mail joined other postal companies in testing electric vehicles as part of their fleets. The Royal Mail this week announced a pilot program with nine range-extended electric vehicles supplied by British Autonomous Electric Vehicles start-up Arrival. UPS and Arrival entered into a similar arrangement in May where the privately owned company will test 35 electric postal delivery vans in London and Paris. The Royal Mail operates a fleet of 49,000 vehicles through-out the UK. The pilot program will operate 3.5, 6 and 7.5-ton electric vans from its Mount Pleasant depot in London, tasked with the collection of mail from large sites. The electric van has a pure electric range of 100miles (160km) at which point a generator will charge the battery, similar to the BMW i3 REx technology. The Arrival electric van includes an Advanced Driver Assistance System and is autonomous ready. Previously the Royal Mail contracted with Peugeot to buy a 100 pure electric vans. Arrival is based in Banbury and previously know as Charge Auto is instrumental in the creation of the Roborace which forms part of the Formula E Championship.



Audi unveils its electric supercar

In Week 31 Audi teased images of its latest concept EV, the PB19 e-tron supercar. The Audi PB18 e-tron was unveiled this week during the Pebble Beach Automotive Week in Monterey, California. The PB18 represents the German company’s vision for a future high-performance sports car. The PB18 e-tron is equipped with a 95kWh solid state battery, wireless charging and three electric motors making it a quattro. The PB18 e-tron’s electric motors are positioned one in front and two the rear delivering up to 150 kW to the front axle and 450 kW in the back. The maximum output of the supercar is 500 kW, and with boosting the driver can temporarily mobilize up to 570 kW. The combined torque of up to 830-newton meters (612.2 lb-ft) allows acceleration to 62mph in ~2 seconds. The driver’s monocoque can slide from a center position for racing to a side position for everyday use and easy entry. For the specifications and dimensions of the Audi PB18 e-tron click here.

Kalashnikov takes aim at Tesla

The Russian arms manufacturer Kalashnikov revealed a prototype of its concept electric vehicle the Kalashnikov CV1 this week. According to Kalashnikov, they see the CV1 as a contender to Tesla. Kalashnikov is best known for the AK47 assault rifle, the most prolific rifle in the world and preferred by warlords and drug dealers across the globe. Looking at the specs provided by Kalashnikov they should shop around for battery technology, a 90kWh battery that only delivers 217 miles sounds like 2010 technology. You can’t miss the charging port at the rear of the car. From my own military experience, the AK47 was an indestructible weapon which you could fire after digging it up from the ground; only time will tell if the CV1 will live up to the same standard. Kalashnikov did not elaborate on production plans or when a final product will be unveiled.

Let’s hope that the CV1 kills fewer people than the AK47. For fear of being shot I will not comment on the looks of the car which is touted as a retro EV. For all the specs of the Kalashnikov CV-1 Concept EV click here.


Hyundai Kona EV EPA ratings and price updates

The Hyundai Kona EV received its official EPA rating this week. The US EPA rated the range of Kona 64kWh long-range version as 258 miles (413km) which is much lower than the WLTP rating of 300miles (482km). The EPA set the efficiency of the Kona EV at 120MPGe, or 108MPGe for highway use and 132MPGe in city use. The Kona EV uses 28kWh of energy over 100miles, which is 17.9kWh/100km. According to my calculation, the Kona EV charge cost is 2.5c a mile.

Hyundai also set the pricing for the Kona EV in the UK at £33,995 before subsidy on the long-range version and £29,495 on the base model. To see how the Kona compares to other EVs in terms of price and range check out the updated price lists for the US, UK and EU markets. I have also updated the efficiency ranking with the latest EPA information.

NIO ES6 pricing

The Chinese EV start-up NIO set the pricing for its second EV, the NIO ES6 mid-sized SUV this week. The NIO ES6 will be available from early next year between ¥180,000 and ¥200,000. NIO set itself a goal to sell 60,000 ES6 and ES8 models in 2019, competing directly with Tesla.

Traum brings three EVs to market in 2019

The Chinese auto brand Traum launched in 2017 announced that it will bring three EVs to market in 2019. Traum, which means “Dream” in German is from the Zotye stable and focus on SUVs and crossovers. Traum will start its EV lineup with the MEET 3 crossover followed by the MEET 5 in H2 2019. Traum’s EV powertrain has a range between 400km and 500km, and its battery lifecycle will range between 800,000 km and 1,000,000 km. Traum will also offer a plug-in version of the SEEK 5 which will have a range of 50miles (80km) and combined fuel consumption of 3L/100km. Traum uses the MEET series designation for its coupe’s and crossovers while the SEEK designation covers SUV models.




I am not going to make a big issue about Tesla’s flip-flop on taking the company private this week. One interesting point that came out of the whole storm in a teacup is that it became known that EV start-up Lucid Motors is apparently in talks with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund to get funding of $1 billion. The Saudi’s have been looking at ways to decouple its economy from oil using its wealth fund to invest in new technologies and other ventures such as tourism. According to Reuters the discussions has already progressed to a term sheet being drawn up whereby the funding will be provided in phases, starting with $500 million. This is great news for customers waiting for the launch of Lucids’ elegant EV sedan the Lucid Air. Funding stalled apparently due to complication around a 20% shareholding owned by Jia Yueting, the controversial founder of Lucid competitor Faraday Future. According to court papers filed by EVelozcity founder and ex FF CFO Stefan Krause, Yeuting provided his shares in Lucid as security thereby sabotaging any fundraising attempts of Lucid.

NIO‘s IPO efforts in the USA is showing that investors are becoming soberer when looking at investing in EV start-ups. Initially, NIO was valued at $37 billion now it seems that the company can only raise around $1 billion through the IPO which sets the value closer to $8 billion. Rumors surfaced that the IPO will be on the 18th of September but was denied by NIO.

Youxia, the Chinese EV start-up that rose from the dead announced the completion of a $350 million B+ funding round fully subscribed by Gezhi Capital, giving the CEO of Gezhi the position of co-chairman and founder of Youxia. Youxia made grand claims in 2015 with its KnightRider-like Tesla Model S clone. The company will now finish its 200,000 unit p.a. assembly plant based in Huzhou, Zhejiang Province in May 2019. According to Youxia it already has 11,000 orders for its EV, the Ranger X.


On August 20 GWM officially launched its new energy vehicle brand first introduced at the 2018 Auto China in Beijing earlier this year. To date, GMW only has one EV and a plug-in EV, the C30EV sedan and WEY P8 PHEV SUV of which it sold nearly 6,000 units and 1,600 units respectively. The new GWM brand ORA is not just an auto manufacturer it is a mobility company as GWM pivots with the disruption caused by electrification, autonomous technology, and ride-hailing. In order to live up to this strategy, the ORA brand includes ORA Mobility which is funded to the tune of RMB 1 billion and based in Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei Province and Xiongan New Area. ORA Mobility has big plans, targeting 200 cities with a fleet of 200,000 electric vehicles servicing 150 million customers.

ORA stands for Open, Reliable and Alternative and is aimed at the young and upcoming city dweller. ORA is headquartered in Baoding, Hebei Province and will launch its first production model the ORA iQ360 (iQ5) at the Chengdu auto show on August the 31st. The iQ360 compact crossover is said to start with a post-subsidy price below ¥100,000 to compete with WEIMA and other compact SUV brands. ORA will launch four electric vehicles by 2020 with the ORA R1 subcompact following the iQ5 in January 2019 and the R2 in Q3 2019. ORA plans to open in 72 Chinese cities before the launch of the R1 and expand to 300 dealer floors in 2019. ORA is also co-operating with Suning, Jingdong and Shouqi Automobile to build a new retail model.

GWM is firmly focussed on autonomous driving and has AI teams in China, the USA, and India working on levels 4 and 5 autonomous technology. The GWM AI system is named “iPilot” and will progress from iPilot 1.0 to 3.0 (SAE Level 4) and iPilot 4.0 which will be completely autonomous (Level 5). The ORA EV platform is based on the ME platform on which it will develop micro and small cars, SUVs, and commercial vehicles. The ME platform supports L3 level automatic driving under urban road conditions and equipped with luxuries such as natural voice recognition, traffic congestion assistance, active braking and other functions.




A filing in China’s National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System showed that GOOGLE had registered a company in Shanghai 100% owned by its self-driving company WAYMO. The filing clearly indicates Waymo’s intent to enter the Chinese market. The Chinese subsidiary is named Huimo Business Consulting (Shanghai) Co and has a registered capital of RMB3.5 million. The nature of Huimo’s business according to the filling is the design and testing of self-driving vehicle parts and products, consultation of business, trade, logistics, supply chain and company management.

EV mobile app