Thursday, 31 May 2018

2018 Outlander PHEV Named New England Best Green Winter Vehicle

The all-new 2018 Outlander PHEV, a halo vehicle for the brand, offers both fuel efficiency and rugged capabilities. As a parallel hybrid, it brings together the superior efficiency of an electric vehicle, the stability and handling provided by Mitsubishi’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system and the utility of a crossover. The S-AWC system was modified specifically for the Outlander PHEV's unique twin electric motor configuration to allow maximum performance, tractability and safety -- especially in harsh weather conditions. The Outlander PHEV also comes standard with DC Fast Charging capability, which makes it the only Plug-in Hybrid CUV on the market with that ability.*
During the competition, NEMPA members tested and evaluated numerous vehicles throughout the winter months in the New England area to determine which vehicles offer the best winter driving in the region. The Outlander PHEV and other winning vehicles were chosen for their superior winter-specific features and were found to offer a safe and enjoyable ride.

Mitsubishi Motors North America, Inc., (MMNA) is responsible for all research and development, marketing, and sales for Mitsubishi Motors in the United States. MMNA sells sedans and crossovers/SUVs through a network of approximately 360 dealers. MMNA is leading the way in the development of highly efficient, affordably priced new gasoline-powered automobiles while using its industry-leading knowledge in battery electric vehicles to develop future EV and PHEV models. Mitsubishi has been producing cars for over 100 years. For more information, contact the Mitsubishi Motors News Bureau at (888) 560-6672 or visit
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is a global automobile company based in Tokyo, Japan, which has a competitive edge in SUVs and pickup trucks, electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Since the Mitsubishi group produced its first car more than a century ago, we have demonstrated an ambitious and often disruptive approach, developing new vehicle genres and pioneering cutting-edge technologies. Deeply rooted in Mitsubishi Motors’ DNA, our brand strategy will appeal to ambitious drivers, willing to challenge conventional wisdom and ready to embrace change. Consistent with this mindset, Mitsubishi Motors introduced its new brand strategy in 2017, expressed in its “Drive your Ambition” tagline – a combination of personal drive and forward attitude, and a reflection of the constant dialogue between the brand and its customers. Today Mitsubishi Motors is committed to continuous investment in innovative new technologies, attractive design and product development, bringing exciting and authentic new vehicles to customers around the world.
NEMPA is unique among regional motor press organizations. Its media members represent all six New England states, reaching one of the largest populations in America. NEMPA's automotive writers and talk show hosts influence consumers who are in the market to buy cars and trucks in order to cope with the region's punishing weather conditions. Winning vehicles are chosen on how they meet specific needs of New England drivers during winter.

Cuomo announces $250 million initiative to expand electric vehicle infrastructure

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced a $250 million initiative on Thursday, which he says will expand electric car infrastructure across New York. 
Cuomo says the program, Evolve NY will increase the number of charging stations across the state in key areas and will help make electric vehicles more user friendly.
"Electric vehicles started in Buffalo in 1902," said Lieutenant Governor and former Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul. "I'm proud of that history, and now we're moving away from gas vehicles again and toward the future of electric vehicles.
The program will also seek to create private sector partnerships through 2025.
According to the governor, the New York Power Authority will commit $40 million for the first phase. 

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

BMW 530e iPerformance is the First Car With Wireless Charging

Production for the German automaker’s wireless charging option is scheduled to begin this July and can be ordered now as a leasing option for the BMW 530e iPerformance. It will initially be offered in Germany, followed by the U.K., the U.S., Japan, and China.
As its name suggests, BMW Wireless Charging allows plug-in hybrid owners to simply park their car over a base pad and charge the battery without the need for cables. The package consists of an Inductive Charging Station called a GroundPad, which can be installed either in a garage or outdoors. Then there is the CarPad, which is fixed to the underside of the vehicle. The transfer of energy between the GroundPad and CarPad is contactless and is conducted over a distance of about 3.15 inches (8 centimeters).
BMW says its Wireless Charging system has a charging power of 3.2 kW, which enables the batteries on the 530e iPerformance to be fully charged in about 3.5 hours. Its efficiency rate is around 85 percent.
To help the driver accurately park over the pad, the car and the charging station uses a WiFi connection to communicate with each other. An overhead view of the car is shown on the onboard Control Display, with colored lines to help guide parking. BMW says driving over the GroundPad will not damage it in anyway, allowing it to be used outdoors as well.
The concept isn’t that different than wireless charging for phones and toothbrushes, offering convenience of not having to hook up a plug-in hybrid for a charge. Once the battery is fully charged, the system will automatically switch off.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

India Delays Plan to Roll Out 10,000 Electric Cars to 2019

(Bloomberg) -- India has pushed back a deadline to put thousands of battery-driven cars on the road by nearly a year, in a setback to its ambitions of having electric vehicles comprise about a third of its fleet by 2030.
State-owned Energy Efficiency Services Ltd., which is responsible for procuring electric cars to replace the petrol and diesel vehicles used by government officials, will roll out the first 10,000 vehicles by March 2019, Saurabh Kumar, the agency’s managing director said. EESL issued its first tender for 10,000 cars in September. It planned to roll out 500 cars by November and the rest by June.
“The need for building more charging points for 10,000 electric cars and states being slow in taking deliveries are the reasons for the delay,” Kumar said in a phone interview. There are about 150 cars in the capital New Delhi and about 100 in southern Andhra Pradesh state and other provinces as of now, Kumar said. Of the about 200 charging stations built for these cars, over 100 are in Delhi.

Driving Demand

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration is aiming to have more than 30 percent of vehicles run on electricity by 2030 in a bid to lower air pollution and curb reliance on fossil fuels. Cheap fossil fuel-driven cars and an absence of state subsidies for electric vehicles make purchases by the government and companies critical for EV sales, according to BNEF, which expects EVs to comprise about 7 percent of sales in India by 2030.
““These tenders are the largest drivers for EV demand” during the next three to five years, according to Allen Tom Abraham, a BNEF analyst in New Delhi. “If these large procurement programs falter, auto-makers would prolong any plans they have to introduce mass market EVs in India.”
Tata Motors Ltd. and Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd., which had emerged winners in EESL’s first tender for electric cars, didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. The government agency issued a second tender for 10,000 cars earlier this year.
“I have demand for 19,000 cars today and if I don’t get more, there won’t be a third tender,” Kumar said.

Monday, 28 May 2018

Electric Car Sales Set To Accelerate As Costs Fall And Production Scales Up

The electrification of the transport system is set to accelerate in the late 2020s, with electric buses leading the way, a new report claims. Electric vehicle sales will surge thanks to tumbling battery costs and increasing scale in manufacturing.
Bloomberg New Energy Finance says that sales of electric vehicles (EVs) will reach 11 million by 2025 before racing to 30 million by 2030 as they become cheaper than petrol and diesel vehicles, up from just 1.1 million last year. By 2040, sales will have doubled once again to 60 million, which will be more than half of the market (55%). Electric cars will be 28% of the total market by 2030, while 84% of buses will be electric.
The transition will be led by China, which will account for half of sales in 2025, before falling back to 39% by 2030. Electric buses will dominate the market even earlier, by the late 2020s and here China is even more dominant – of the 300,000 e-buses on the road today, 99% are in China.

This rapid growth means that oil demand for passenger cars is set to peak as early as 2022, just four years away, at 24.2 million barrels per day before declining to less than 16mpd by 2040. In the mid-2020s, sales of internal combustion engine cars will also start to fall as their cost advantage over EVs disappears and then goes into reverse. By contrast, the EV surge will require 2,000TWh of power in 2030, leading to a 6% increase in global electricity demand and displacing more than 7mpd of oil demand.
It will also lead to a significant increase in demand for lithium and cobalt, which are vital raw materials for battery production. Supply constraints for these two metals, along with the speed of the rollout of charging infrastructure and the rise of shared mobility – most of which will be electric –  could slow the market’s growth.
Salim Morsy, senior transportation analyst, said: “While we’re optimistic on EV demand over the coming years, we see two important hurdles emerging. In the short term, we see a risk of cobalt shortages in the early 2020s that could slow down some of the rapid battery cost declines we have seen recently. Looking further out, charging infrastructure is still a challenge.”

Tencent-Backed Electric Car Startup NIO Files for IPO

NIO the Chinese electric-vehicle startup backed by Tencent Holdings Ltd., has filed confidentially for a planned U.S. initial public offering, people with knowledge of the matter said.
The Shanghai-based carmaker has submitted an initial confidential filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. The share sale could raise around $2 billion, though preparations are at an early stage and the size of the deal may change, the people said.
NIO plans to take investor orders for the offering as soon as this summer or early autumn, the people said.
Selling shares could give NIO more firepower as it competes with dozens of other electric-vehicle startups in the world’s biggest automobile market. The company, founded by William Li and a group of other internet entrepreneurs, started selling a sports utility vehicle in December with a price tag of 448,000 yuan ($70,000) before incentives.
U.S. first-time shares sales from Chinese companies have raised $3.8 billion this year, easily on pace to surpass the $4 billion of deals during all of last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
A representative for NIO declined to comment.
NIO also counts Baillie Gifford & Co. and Hillhouse Capital among its dozens of investors. The company is sufficiently funded for its operations and mass production plans, Li saidin April. NIO was raising more than $1 billion in a new round of funding led by Tencent in November, people familiar the matter said at the time.

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Sweden's Uniti Says It Has Nearly $60 million In Orders For Its Electric City Car

Electric car sceptics say expensive batteries and range anxiety present a huge obstacle to their success and reckon a cheap, lightweight city car would be the best place to start.
Introducing Swedish start-up Uniti, which says its two-seater little electric car will cost just over $17,000 after taxes in Europe, and now has orders worth over $58 million. The Uniti weighs about 990 lbs. The passenger sits behind the driver. Uniti will launch the car next year and plans a 5-seater by 2020.
The two-seater Uniti One has a claimed range of about 180 miles. The company plans to produce up to 50,000 cars a year.
Uniti CEO Lewis Horne said the electric vehicle, developed as part of a three-year program, is made from recyclable carbon fiber and organic composite materials to reduce its environmental impact. Power comes from a 22 kWh battery and two electric motors producing a combined 40 hp, propelling the car from zero to 50 mph in 3.5 seconds.
There’s a head-up display of vital information and a big Tesla-like computer screen sits on top of the steering controls, which are operated electronically.
The company said customers can reserve a car now for a deposit of 149 euros ($170). Production will be at plant in Malmo, southern Sweden.

“We have a long way to go towards our production model, certification, and the delivery of our first cars, but the commitment the market has already shown for our product and our brand goes a long way to accelerate this process” said Lewis Horne, Uniti CEO, in a statement.
Uniti’s sales model skips the industry-standard dealership network, and instead, will sell directly from its website or via partnerships with shops. Servicing will be handled through established retailers throughout Europe.
To allay any range-anxiety fear, the Uniti One comes with an extra small battery which would provide about 20 miles of extra range and could be recharged in a local shop or bar in under an hour.
Uniti didn’t respond to questions about its experience in making cars, or whether it had received a crash test rating from the European  authorities.
In a Utube film, Uniti said its ambition is not to be the best in the world, but the best for the world.

Friday, 25 May 2018

China’s biggest electric car maker announces its global ambitions with a monorail in Brazil

BYD’s first monorail in operation in China's northern city Yinchuan.

One of China’s biggest electric car makers is increasingly looking for business outside China.
BYD, China’s biggest electric vehicle maker by sales, signed a 2.5 billion Brazilian real ($689 million) deal this week to build a monorail system in Brazil’s eastern city Salvador, the firm said Thursday (May 24). It’s the company’s biggest overseas monorail investment yet, according to a company spokesperson. Construction will start on the 20-kilometer (12 miles) route this year, and it’s expected to begin operations in 2021.
It’s the clearest sign yet of the car maker’s global ambitions to provide public transport to governments worldwide, as China’s booming electric car market becomes increasingly competitive. The firm has signed a slew of monorail deals with countries including the Philippines, Egypt, Cambodia, and Morocco. It is also in talks over eight monorail deals in North and South America, including the US, according to the spokesperson.
The deal comes at a critical time for the electric vehicle maker, whose profits have been undermined as China slashed generous state subsidies to electric vehicle makers starting last year. The firm attributed its 83% decline in net profits to $16 million in the first quarter of this year to the subsidy cuts.
The country still offers subsidies, but is raising the bar (paywall) for car makers. For instance, as of February, vehicles have to be able to travel 150 kilometers (93 miles) on a single charge to qualify, up from 100 kilometers in the past. The country plans to end the subsidies by 2020and instead use a system where car makers will earn credits based on range and efficiency.
Stella Li, a vice president in BYD’s Los Angeles office, told Bloomberg(paywall) she expects the firm’s overseas business to break even this year. BYD is “about to enter the harvesting stage, with the overseas business starting to make profit and even leading the company’s growth,” she told Bloomberg.
Li’s remarks reflect BYD’s aggressive overseas expansion in multiple areas, led by its electric buses, which it supplied to the city of Shenzhen’s all-electric fleet. The firm has been selling buses to countries like the US, Japan, South Korea, and Portugal. It also sells electric trucks to Brazil and electric taxis to Thailand.
Monorails make up an essential part of BYD’s global strategy. After debuting in Germany over a century, they were only able to occupy a very specific niche market, hauling tourists through parks and zoos, but are now filling a coveted spot in urban transport: cheap, fast and electric. That’s something BYD can provide with its core battery technology which it’s already using to build monorails for over 20 citiesat home.
Monorail systems are generally cheaper than metro. The firm says it costs some $30 million a kilometer on average to build a monorail in China, around one-third of the cost for a subway, and expects costs to be similar in Brazil. BYD will take 95% of the income generated by the Brazil project, such as advertisements, while the rest goes to the government, according to the spokesperson.
It’s doubtful the monorail projects can make a significant short-term difference to the firm’s profits. An analyst at brokerage Everbright Securities said BYD’s monorail business (link in Chinese) likely won’t have much impact for three to five years. The overseas monorails, most still under construction, are yet to generate revenue. According to the firm’s latest financial report, business at home contributed to 87% (pdf, p.3) of its 2017 revenue, a slight drop compared to that of 2016.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

Electric vehicles seen driving cobalt crunch by mid-2020s

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - The increasing popularity of electric vehicles may create a crunch for supplies of cobalt in the early-to-mid 2020s, miners and analysts say, adding that small operators trying to start up mines outside Africa could play a bigger role over time in satisfying demand for the metal used in rechargeable batteries.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) produces nearly two-thirds of the world’s cobalt as a by-product of its copper mines and is taking an increasingly confrontational stance toward foreign mining companies, including a new mining code that hikes royalties and taxes.
Human rights groups have said some cobalt from the Central African country could come from mines using child labor, raising additional concerns about sourcing within the industry and among buyers of the metal.
Cobalt is an important ingredient of current batteries and brokerage UBS described it in a report this week as “the commodity which could stall the exponential growth in electric vehicles.”
While supplies from Congo are expected to remain the most important factor in global supply for years, exploration and development companies at the 2018 Cobalt Institute conference in Las Vegas this week said potential buyers looking to lock in supplies were eager for projects in other countries.
“There’s going to be a big demand from organizations, end users and battery makers that will want to secure supply that’s non-DRC just because of all of the political risks to that supply,” said Brendan Borg, managing director of Celsius Resources Ltd (CLA.AX), an Australian mining company that hopes to begin production in Namibia by 2021.More than 100 companies mining or exploring for cobalt are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange, up from fewer than 30 in 2015, according to SNL Financial. The exploration companies, known in Canada as junior miners, are considering locations ranging from Indonesia to Namibia, Canada, and Idaho and Utah in the United States.
Those explorers will need more funds, though, to bring production on line.
“The industry needs to see more investments particularly in those exploration stage projects,” Caspar Rawles, an analyst with Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, said on Wednesday. Benchmark provides research for mining companies and manufacturers.
Demand for electric vehicles, using cobalt in batteries, could spark a deficit of cobalt as soon as 2022, he said.
At least 90,000 tonnes of additional cobalt will be needed by 2025 to meet demand, UBS said in the May note, basing its forecast on expectations that electric vehicle penetration will grow to 16 percent globally, up from about 1 percent currently.
Demand and supply were in balance at about 100,000 tonnes in 2017, UBS said, projecting an oversupply for several years turning to a deficit in the mid-2020s.
Sean Bromley, director of Pacific Rim Cobalt Corp (BOLT.CD), a Canadian company that hopes to begin drilling in Indonesia in the next couple of months, foresees a deficit in supply around 2020 or shortly thereafter.
“We think around 2020 (the EV market) will really begin to take off,” he said on Wednesday. “Seeing some of the battery companies’ expansion plans has reinforced this view, and speaking with commodity trading houses, they have indicated the same thing.”
Growing demand for the mineral has caused a spike in cobalt prices CBD0 on the London Metal Exchange to more than $90,000 a tonne, up from about $22,000 a tonne in February 2016.
That is driving lots of discussions, said Peter Campbell, vice president of business development at First Cobalt Corp (FCC.V), which recently announced the takeover of US Cobalt Inc and its exploration properties in Idaho and Utah. He said companies looking to secure supplies, in a sign of their need, were talking to junior miners as much as six years away from production.

China slashes auto import tariffs in boost to BMW, Tesla

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - China will steeply cut import tariffs for automobiles and car parts, opening up greater access to the world’s largest auto market amid an easing of trade tensions with the United States.

Import tariffs will be cut to 15 percent from 25 percent for most vehicles from July 1, the Ministry of Finance said on Tuesday, adding that this was part of efforts to open up China’s markets and spur development of the local auto sector. A small number of imported trucks are taxed at 20 percent currently.
Import tariffs for auto parts would be cut to 6 percent from mostly around 10 percent, the ministry said in a statement.
The move will be a major boost to overseas carmakers, especially helping premium brands such as Germany’s BMW (BMWG.DE), electric car maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) and Daimler AG’s (DAIGn.DE) Mercedes-Benz close a price gap on local rivals.
“Benefits are huge for our business, especially Infiniti,” said a Yokohama-based executive at Nissan Motor Co Ltd (7201.T) referring to the Japanese firm’s premium car brand.
Another executive at the firm’s Chinese joint venture said it was “great news” but that the biggest beneficiaries would likely be German luxury carmakers, which also include Volkswagen AG’s (VOWG_p.DE) Porsche and Audi (NSUG.DE) brands.
“That’s just because of the volume of imported cars they sell,” the person said, asking not to be named.
Nissan did no respond to a request for comment.
Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T) said it would adjust retail prices for imported cars that benefited from the lower tariffs to provide Chinese consumers with “competitive” products.
BMW said it would look at its prices and said the move was a “strong signal that China will continue to open up”, while Audi said it welcomed the “further liberalization and opening” of the Chinese market.
A Shanghai-based spokesman for Ford Motor (F.N) said the U.S. carmaker welcomed the new tariff policies, but declined to comment further.
China’s high tariff on vehicles - versus a 2.5 percent U.S. levy - has been a key focus of U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration amid a simmering trade standoff between Washington and Beijing.
Trump has said the 25 percent tariff amounted to “stupid trade”, while auto industry leaders such as Tesla’s Elon Musk have said that Chinese restrictions on foreign auto makers created a skewed playing field.
China and the United States, however, made a breakthrough in trade talks after negotiations in Washington last week, stepping back from the brink of a global trade war and agreeing to hold further talks to boost U.S. exports to China.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

China Makes Good on Car Tariff Pledge

Tesla's charging network and store footprint in China.

China is officially making good on its pledge to reduce tariffs on car imports - and Tesla Inc.'s (TSLA - Get Report) sales in the People's Republic stand to win big from the news.
China's Ministry of Finance announced that import tariffs for most vehicles will be slashed from 25% to 15%. The tariff cuts become official on July 1.
That huge import tariff cut gives Tesla the ability to compete on a more even keel with Chinese electric car manufacturers, who have benefitted from the ability to sell their cars at lower prices in the domestic market. Tesla has already announced that it will lower its prices because of the change, cutting the selling prices of Model X and Model S vehicles by more than 6%.
That amounts to as much as a $14,000 discount on the company's priciest cars.
Tesla will begin implementing the price cut now.
The tariff announcement comes at a critical time for Tesla in China. China is already Tesla's fastest-growing market, thanks in large part to an aggressive policy of government mandates for electric vehicle adoption.
While Tesla's sales in China still make up a relatively small part of overall revenues, adding up to around 17% of sales in 2017, China's EV mandates and burgeoning population of wealthy consumers has the potential to quickly become Tesla's most important overall market.
As the world's largest luxury car market, China has in recent years had an increasing appetite for Tesla's pricey electric vehicles, which sell for a substantial markup over U.S. selling prices due to the increased costs of shipping and importing them into the country. But Tesla is moving fast to change that.
The company has already reportedly started hiring for a new Gigafactory in mainland China, an expansion made possible by China's other pledge that it will allow companies to have 100%-foreign owned factories for the first time ever.
Having a "Made in China" stamp on new cars meant for sale in China could also have the added effect of opening Tesla models to additional government subsidies meant for domestic manufacturers.
Between lower costs achieved by tariff reduction and eventually domestic production, and the planned introduction of Tesla's more mass-market-priced Model 3 to China next year, Tesla could reach significantly more Chinese consumers.
Simply put, Tesla's sales in China could explode in the next several years.
Both short-term and long-term, Tesla's technical price trajectory looks like it could finally be ready to make a move to the upside, after a sluggish start to 2018. Success in China plays into that long-term upside potential in a big way.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Tesla Model 3 misses Consumer Reports recommendation

Tesla Model 3 Long Range

The Tesla Model 3 fell short of a recommendation from Consumer Reports, the outlet said today. CR pointed out plenty of positive things, like its range, acceleration and handling. But, in the end, "big flaws" prevented the most affordable Tesla to date from earning the company's official recommendation.

The biggest issue

First, there was the matter of the brakes. CR tests the brakes over multiple stops from 60 mph, and the first attempt yielded a 130-foot stop, in line with Tesla's estimates. However, subsequent brake tests returned results as long as 152 feet, which CR said "was far worse than any contemporary car we've tested."
Consumer Reports even went as far as to borrow a second, privately owned vehicle (CR purchases all the vehicles it tests), which provided the same results -- a solid first stop, followed by a precipitous increase in stopping distance, even after letting the brakes cool overnight. The stops were about 21 feet beyond the class average overall.
"Tesla's own testing has found braking distances with an average of 133 feet when conducting the 60-0-mph stops using the 18-inch Michelin all season tire and as low as 126 feet with all tires currently available," said a Tesla spokesperson in a statement. "Stopping distance results are affected by variables such as road surface, weather conditions, tire temperature, brake conditioning, outside temperature, and past driving behavior that may have affected the brake system."
The statement also mentioned that over-the-air updates are capable of changing certain vehicle parameters. "Unlike other vehicles, Tesla is uniquely positioned to address more corner cases over time through over-the-air software updates, and it continually does so to improve factors such as stopping distance." It's unclear how a software update would improve what appears to be simple mechanical brake fade, but it could pertain to another related system.

Lesser, but still important factors

Consumer Reports also dinged the Model 3 for its center screen, which for the sake of physical simplicity has taken on a lot of responsibility. Moving the air vents? Head to the screen. Screwing with the wipers? To the screen. Adjusting the mirrors? Screen. CR said these types of interactions were complex and added to overall distraction.
It was also hit with the red pen over its "stiff ride, unsupportive rear seat and excessive wind noise at highway speeds." That last one is a tricky point for EVs, where the lack of noise from an internal combustion engine means every othersound is more prominent.
But it appears that the brakes were the only major factor preventing the Model 3 from earning's Consumer Reports' recommendation. "If the Model 3 had braking distances that were typical to its class, the score would be high enough for a recommendation despite the other shortcomings," said Jake Fisher, CR's director of vehicle testing.

BP invests in battery tech for 5-minute electric car recharges

One of the struggles with electric cars is how long it takes to recharge their batteries, even using the newest fast-charging systems. The Nissan Leaf's Quick Charge feature, for instance, takes 40 minutes to bring the battery back up to 80 percent capacity. But that could change soon, as BP is investing in a company that claims its electric-car batteries can be recharged in no more time than it takes to fill up a regular car with gasoline – as little as five minutes.
BP's $20 million investment in StoreDot is intended to push development of the company's flash batteries. The lithium-ion-based batteries are said to be capable of "ultrafast charging." They're set to be introduced in mobile electronics next year and, hopefully, in electric cars soon after that. In 2017, StoreDot said its batteries would be integrated in new electric cars "in the next three years."
Israel-based StoreDot hasn't revealed much about the technology behind its flash batteries, but says that they use "nano materials and proprietary organic compounds" instead of graphite. That apparently makes the batteries less flammable while also allowing  faster charge times. And the goal is not just to have small battery packs with the technology, as StoreDot says that five-minute charge would be enough to give an electric car 300 miles of driving range.
BP's investment in electric-car charging makes sense as the energy giant seeks to diversify its fuel offerings in the future; the oil giant predicts that the rise of EVs will hurt oil demand by 2040. The company already has 70 electric-car charging points at BP stations around the world. "We are committed to be the fuel provider of choice – no matter what car our customers drive," BP Downstream Chief Executive Tufan Erginbilgic said in a statement.
Porsche is also pushing fast-charging in preparation for the introduction of its Mission E electric car, though its system won't be quite as swift as StoreDot's. Porsche plans to launch a network of as many as 500 800-volt fast-charge stations across the US by the end of 2019. Those charges are powerful to juice up the Mission E with 250 miles of range in just 20 minutes, the company promises. Electrify America, the company established by Volkswagen as part of its Dieselgate settlement, is also planning to roll out fast chargers across the country, including at Target stores.