Saturday, 29 February 2020

This tiny electric car looks like a washing machine and costs just $6,600

The Citroën Ami was designed with as few unique parts as possible. The front uses the same body parts as the back and even the doors are exactly the same.
(CNN)French automaker Citroën has unveiled the Ami, a tiny electric car that's designed from the outset to be as cheap as possible. The car isn't very fast and it looks a bit like a washing machine, but it only costs €6,000, or the equivalent of about $6,600.
It would be hard to get a good used car at that price, but the two-seat Ami is barely a car. In fact, Citroën refers to it as a "non-conformist mobility object." It has a top speed of just 45 kilometers an hour, roughly equal to 28 miles per hour. It's powered by a 6 kilowatt, or 8 horsepower, electric motor. For that reason, though, the Ami can be driven by kids as young as 14 in France, or 16 in many other European countries, without a license.
The Ami is built using as few unique parts as possible. For instance, the body parts used for the front end are exactly like those used in the back. Also, the right door is exactly like the left door. That means the driver's side door hinge is at the front while the passenger side door hinge is at the back.
There's only a minimal gauge cluster. An app in the driver's smart phone, placed in a holder high in the center of the dashboard acts like the central display screen in other cars showing things like driving range and navigation. There's also a cupholder behind the steering wheel.
Since it's a lightweight car with a small battery intended mostly for use in cities, the Ami has a range of only about 70 kilometers, or 43 miles, per charge. On the plus side, though, it can be fully charged in only three hours using a household electrical outlet.
The car will be available for sale at Citroën dealers or buyers can order it directly on their smartphones. Citroën has made arrangements with the French electronics and appliance store chains Fnac and Darty to show the Ami in some of their stores.
Besides buying the car, shoppers will also have the option to lease it for €20, the equivalent of $22, per month. It will also be available through Free2Move, a car sharing company operated by Citroën's parent company, PSA, at a cost of €0.26 per minute with a €9.90 monthly subscription, roughly the equivalent of $11.
The two-seat Ami can be driven by teenagers without a license in certain countries.
Last year, Citroën celebrated its 100th anniversary at the Geneva Motor Show with the unveiling of the Ami One concept car, which was the precursor for this new production version.
    Citroën executives explained at the time that the brand's strategy for tackling the electric vehicle market was not to start with expensive cars and work their way down in price, as Tesla has done, but to do the opposite: starting with cheap electric cars and moving up from there. Along with PSA's other brands, Citroën plans to make future car models available in electric, plug-in hybrid and pure internal combustion versions.
    Citroën will begin accepting order for the Ami on March 30 in France and, a few months later, in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium and Germany.

    Thursday, 27 February 2020

    Tesla Sinks on Weak China Registrations Before Brunt of Virus

    Tesla Sinks on Weak China Registrations Before Brunt of Virus
    Tesla Inc. shares fell after China registration data indicated a significant sequential slowdown in demand before the electric-car maker started feeling the brunt of any impact from the coronavirus.
    Registrations of new Tesla cars plunged 46% to 3,563 in January from December, according to state-backed China Automotive Information Net, which gathers industry data based on insurance purchases. Of the January registrations, 2,605 were for cars built in China.
    While Tesla had bucked the trend in China’s waning electric-car market in the previous two months, the January drop shows that the U.S. brand isn’t immune to challenges the broader industry is facing. China’s car market probably is headed for a third straight annual decline as the coronavirus outbreak exacerbates a slump started by an economic slowdown and trade tensions.
    Tesla shares dropped as much as 6.8% shortly after the start of regular trading. The stock had soared 86% this year through the close Wednesday, partly driven by optimism about the company starting to produce Model 3 sedans at a newly built plant near Shanghai.
    In total, deliveries of new-energy vehicles in China from carmakers to dealerships tumbled 54% last month, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, an industry body.
    Tesla began delivering locally built Model 3s to customers in China last month, seeking to boost volumes amid rising competition from the likes of BMW AG and Daimler AG, which are also bringing out new electric cars. The sedans assembled domestically qualify for tax exemptions and subsidies the company has missed out on in the past.
    The locally manufactured models helped Tesla’s January registrations increase from just 853 a year earlier.
    The timing of China’s Lunar New Year complicates year-over-year comparisons in the first months of 2020. The holiday fell in January this year and in February in 2019.
    But business has ground to a halt this month due to the coronavirus, and automakers are expected to come up well short of last year’s sales levels in February. Deliveries to dealers this month are set to slide about 75%, resulting in about a 40% drop in the first two months of 2020, according to the China Passenger Car Association.

    Wednesday, 26 February 2020

    Panasonic Plans to Cut Ties With Tesla on Solar Cell Manufacturing

    A person driving a blue Tesla Model Y

     Tesla's (NASDAQ:TSLA) electric-car business has been growing rapidly, this hasn't been the case for the company's solar business. After hyping up its plans for solar products following the acquisition of SolarCity in late 2016, the new business has floundered. This remains the case even recently, with megawatts of solar deployed in the fourth quarter of 2019 falling 26% year over year. 
    It's not surprising to hear on Wednesday, therefore, that Panasonic Corporation is cutting its ties with Tesla when it comes to solar cell manufacturing at the company's Gigafactory in Buffalo, New York.
    "Panasonic Corporation will begin to wind down U.S. production of photovoltaic cells and modules at Gigafactory New York in Buffalo, NY, in line with the global solar strategy led by its Life Solutions Company," said Panasonic in a press release on Wednesday morning.
    By May of this year, Panasonic solar manufacturing operations at the factory will end. The Japanese company will leave the factory entirely by September 2020. Panasonic's decision to cease operations at the factory is part of its broader plan to streamline its global solar operations, the company said.
    Importantly, Panasonic noted that "according to Tesla," the change won't impact Tesla's growth plans for its solar business.

    Panasonic's planned departure from Tesla's Gigafactory in Buffalo comes as the electric-car company seems to be once again investing in its solar business.
    In Tesla's fourth-quarter update, management said production of its solar roof product had been ramping up. In addition, Tesla said it had partnered with several roofing companies to help install solar roofs.
    The company also recently launched a solar rental service for its solar panels, in which customers in limited markets can pay as little as $50 per month to have a solar system installed. The subscription system includes a warranty and support, has no installation fees or long-term contracts, and can be canceled anytime. 
    Finally, while Tesla's solar deployments were down year over year in Q4, they were up 26% sequentially. Indeed, Tesla's quarterly megawatts of solar deployments have increased sequentially for two quarters in a row.
    In 2020, Tesla believes its solar deployments will return to growth on a year-over-year basis. The company said in its fourth-quarter update that it expects solar deployments to grow "at least 50% in 2020."
    To support its growth plans, Tesla also said in its fourth-quarter update that it was hiring hundreds of employees at its factory in New York. It's unclear, however, if Tesla will now need to hire even more employees in light of Panasonic's departure or if the automaker was already planning for the Japanese company's potential exit. Nevertheless, Panasonic said in its press release on Wednesday that it is going to support Tesla in its hiring efforts to find qualified applicants from within Panasonic's impacted workforce.

    Tuesday, 25 February 2020

    Electric Motors Market by industry growth, forecast to 2024

    Feb 25, 2020 (AmericaNewsHour) -- Given the significant role these electromechanical devices play during the conversion of electric energy into mechanical energy, electric motors market players are distinctly emphasizing on developing products compatibility with microcontroller and microprocessors that are used in the steering, throttle, and braking technologies. Shifting focus toward achieving better stability and working, is further expected to leave a rendering impact on electric motors industry. Industry experts further anticipate DC motors to catapult remarkable proceeds, given the high usage of these motors in chassis and powertrain applications. The fact that the electric car models are significantly turning the prominent mechanical systems including engine cooling systems, power steering, and transmission actuation into electric drives will generate magnificent demand for electric motors market in the ensuing years.
    Automotive companies have been vying with one another to increase vehicle production, thereby providing a lucrative avenue for electric motors industry expansion from OEMs. Quoting an example, the renowned automotive giant, Volkswagen, apparently aims to sell more than 2 million electric car sales by 2025. Recently in 2017, Nidec acquired the electric motors and power generation business unit from Emerson Electric Co., with an intention to expand its product pipeline. In effect, the numerous efforts undertaken by OEMs to consolidate their presence in electric motors market is likely to help augment the product penetration across diversified geographies.
    Analysts deem the stringent regulations toward curbing CO2 emissions to be a pivotal factor influencing the electric car makers to phase out conventional IC engines and embrace electrification. Reports claim that the emission generated by electric vehicles is less than half the CO2 released by fossil fuel vehicles of same weight and performance standards. One of the boldest commitments toward bringing forth zero-emission versions of vehicles has been taken by Volvo Cars. Reportedly, the company will go 100% electric from 2019. Volkswagen was another major in the electric motors industry, who plans to attain a sales target of 2 to 3 million electric cars by 2025.
    The company is offering around 80 new electric vehicles spanning all its sub-brands and groups which include Audi, Bugatti, Bentley and the home brand. Experts further predict the attractive governmental and promotional activities focusing on decarbonizing transportation to accelerate the adoption rate of these vehicles. For instance, the Indian government initiative to mandate vehicle electrification by 2030 is further compelling the automobile OEMs to gear up for the same. Estimates claim electric motors market from OEM to account for more than 80% of revenue share by 2024.
    The prominence of these products in the EV business sphere is vividly coherent. As per statistics recorded by the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, electric motors are responsible for nearly 70% of the total power usage by manufacturers in the United States, and literally 25% of the national power usage. In this regard, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has granted a funding of close to USD 25 million to the Marathon Motors division of the Regal Beloit Corporation, a well-acclaimed player in electric motors market. The intent of the benevolent gesture was apparently to enable the firm to develop high quality, high standard, and exceptionally innovative electric motors, in a bid to save energy and raise the overall competitive factor among electric motors industry players in the United States.

    Sunday, 23 February 2020

    Your Guide To Tesla Extended Warranty Options

    tesla ext

    The last time we saw the Rimac C_Two, it was cruising casually through some undeniably gorgeous scenery in an artful-but-short teaser video. Rimac released the clip to mark the electric hypercar’s transition to more aggressive prototype testing, and as this new video shows, the aggressive phase has kicked up a few more notches.
    The clip features a pair of development prototypes hammering a race track, exploring two very different aspects of performance. One car is focused on suspension and handling, fine-tuning the C_Two’s nuances with updated suspension components. The mission for car number two is aerodynamics, analyzing and adjusting and the C_Two’s active aero components for optimal performance. Neither car shares the same system – the active aero prototype doesn’t have an upgraded suspension and vice versa – so each component can be monitored and adjusted without data getting crossed up.
    Judging from what we see in the teaser video, good progress is being made. The cars look quick on the track, and it seems Rimac is devoting considerable time to ensuring the C_Two can take corners with gusto. Additionally, the video explains that having the car be docile and easy to drive at slower speeds is important as well, despite having nearly 2,000 horsepower (1,491 kilowatts) for all four wheels to manage. We don’t see much slow-speed action in this clip, but admittedly, the action does take place at a race track.

    Tesla’s extended warranty plans are not available for all models.

    tesla ext

    Tesla has become synonymous with “electric car,” and for good reason: it is currently the world leader in electric vehicles for the road. While Tesla models win praise for performance and range, quality history has not been stellar.
    That’s one reason to strongly consider buying an extended warranty for a Tesla model. Another is that, while a Tesla does not have a conventional internal combustion engine or transmission, it has a highly sophisticated electric powertrain and a plethora of onboard electronic and computer technology. It is simply one of the most advanced vehicles in production today. And advanced tech usually means expensive repairs when things fail.
    Tesla offers an extended warranty, which it calls an Extended Service Agreement, but only for the Model S and Model X, not the Model 3, the company’s entry vehicle. While third-party warranties are available, not all companies cover luxury brands or electric vehicles, or, if they do, coverage may not be available for all models in the range. In our research of the best warranty companies, we learned that the popular provider CarShield offers protection for Tesla models. You can ask them for price quotes and sample contracts.

    How to maximize the life of your electric car's battery, according to science

    Not too hot, not too cold; not too charged, not too dead. Your car's battery likes it juuuuust right.
    Lithium-ion batteries are the Goldilocks of the electronics world. For the li-ion in your electric car, conditions can either be too hot or too cold, but li-ions prefer it juuust right.
    new report from the University of Michigan lays out the best ways to keep your EV's li-ion battery happy and healthy for the longest amount of time possible. With help from the Responsible Battery Coalition, researchers compiled these recommendations by analyzing academic reports as well as vehicle instruction manuals. They came out with nine actionable guidelines, which Electrek helpfully summarizes here.
    The report is a useful tool for EV owners, but it has a higher mission, too. Maximizing the life of a car's battery helps limit the environmental impact of these vehicles, since it means fewer cars getting retired and sent through a yet-to-materialize recycling process. On the other end of the production cycle, it could hopefully reduce the need for more resource-intensive li-ions being created in the first place.
    Most of the recommendations center around how to keep your car's battery happy in extreme temperatures, whether frozen or sweltering. Overall, owners should plug in their cars during these times, which will allow the battery's cooling or heating systems to run most effectively by using grid power. EV owners should also avoid letting their cars' batteries run down entirely, since that has a negative effect on battery life.

    Friday, 21 February 2020

    China Considers Extending Electric-Car Subsidies After Sales Slump

    China may extend subsidies for electric-vehicle purchases beyond this year to revive sales in the world’s biggest market, people familiar with the matter said.
    Policy makers have been discussing the possibility after China’s first annual decline in sales of new energy vehicles, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the talks are private. The drop in demand came after the government trimmed subsidies for buyers last July to help streamline the industry and make it less reliant on state support. Though the talks predate the emergence of the coronavirus as a global threat, the outbreak has piled more pressure on the auto industry by causing production halts and keeping people away from showrooms.
    Talks are at a preliminary stage and there is no guarantee the subsidies will be extended, the people said. As things stand, they are still set to be phased out at the end of 2020.
    Prolonging the handouts would be beneficial to local EV makers such as BYD Co., BAIC BluePark New Energy Technology Co. and NIO Inc. as well as the likes of Tesla Inc., which last month started deliveries from its new Shanghai factory, its first outside the U.S.
    ales of new energy vehicles including electric cars, plug-in hybrids and fuel-cell cars tumbled 54% in January from a year earlier and the wider auto market also shrank, according to China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Those figures were largely before the coronavirus outbreak took hold and led to city-wide lockdowns and production halts.
    The virus has brought the broader auto industry to a virtual standstill. China car sales plunged 92% during the first two weeks of February, according to the China Passenger Car Association. But the situation is expected to improve in the third week of February compared with the start of the month, PCA Secretary General Cui Dongshu said in an interview on Friday

    Thursday, 20 February 2020

    Electric car share is next for Rochester; city eyes late 2020 launch

    Abigail Solis enters Miocar at Highland Gardens in Visalia on Nov. 1, 2019. The electric car-share is available to all residents through a new Valley Air District initiative.

    Having a car share program is "the final planned service of the Rochester Shared Mobility Program," reads a request for proposals issued by the city.
    The goal is to launch in late fall/winter 2020, officials said. An operator would own, maintain and insure 10 electric vehicles for members to use, 24/7, and be placed in "a variety of socio-economic areas" for easy access. The operator also would have two charging ports.
    And members would be able to register, pay and reserve vehicles online and via a mobile application, as well as by other means for those without regular internet access. The city, too, might be able to utilize the cars to supplement its own fleet for general employee use, under an optional add-on included in the proposal request.
    The overall goal, however, is to improve transportation options for those without. One in three city residents live below the federal poverty line, and one in four households don't have a car, or access to one, according to the city.
    "Access to affordable and reliable transportation is an important determinant of economic status and quality of life," the request for proposals states. "Accordingly, the City views access to car sharing and other shared mobility modes, as an important means to reducing barriers to employment, education, health care, and other quality of life activities."
    The city has secured $560,000 in state and federal grants to assist with the project, and also would assist in marketing, identifying station locations, and would provide dedicated parking spaces for car-share vehicles.

    Wednesday, 19 February 2020

    Germans divided over plans for Tesla electric car factory

    Trees are cut down at the determined site of the Tesla gigafactory near Berlin.
    German environmentalists and political leaders are at loggerheads over plans to build a Tesla electric car factory on the site of woodland outside Berlin, with the government casting doubt over the future of a project seen as key for its support of green technologies and regeneration in the east of the country.
    The economy minister, Peter Altmaier, said this week that delays could threaten the go-ahead of the so-called Gigafactory, which is expected to employ up to 12,000 workers making 50,000 electric cars a year.
    On Sunday a court orderforced a halt to an operation to clear 92 hectares of pine trees at the site in Grünheide, 24 miles (38km) east of Berlin.
    The environmental group Grüne Liga Brandenburg (Green League Brandenburg) said the US company was being given “preferential treatment” and should not be allowed to start felling trees until it had been granted full building permission.
    “To fell half of the forest when many aspects of this process are yet to be clarified seems fairly problematic, which is why we have asked the court to deal with it,” said Heinz-Herwig Mascher, of Grüne Liga. “It is not that we have something as such against Tesla as a company or its objectives. But we are concerned the preferential treatment they’re being given could set a precedence.”
    Grünheide residents are divided over the issue. The town, home in the 1920s to a Bakelite plastics factory, has repeatedly missed out on any big economic success in the decades since reunification.
    At pro-Tesla demonstration, locals said they were proud that an industry promoting a low-carbon future wanted to make its home in Grünheide. “We’ll be on the map for something positive and we might even get to test drive the cars,” said Elke, a gardener. “I also hope the factory’s presence will improve the local bus service.”
    Steffen Schorcht, the founder of a citizens’ initiative against it, said people felt “bulldozed” into accepting the project before basic questions had been answered. “Of course you always have to weigh up the economic interests with those of environmental protection,” he told Die Zeit. “It’s important to involve the locals in the discussion from an early stage, and that simply did not happen here. The people are supposed to feel blessed by the fact that Tesla is coming and bringing many jobs with it.”
    His campaign has raised concerns about chemical pollution and water use in a region that has suffered for decades from low rainfall. Tesla has said water consumption could be up to 372 cubic metres per hour, which some fear could drain the local lakes. “The politicians know how explosive this water topic is, and have tried to play it down, both to Tesla and the inhabitants,” Schorcht said.
    The local wing of the anti-immigrant AfD party has suggested the project will be of little benefit to Germans and that Tesla will seek to bus in lower-paid workers from nearby Poland.
    Among environmentalist concerns are the protection of bat colonies and ant hills. There are also worries about unexploded ordnance. Bombs and other munition weighing a total of 85kg from the second world war have been found at the site and detonated.
    Musk has addressed the environmental concerns, stating that Tesla’s water usage would be much lower on a daily basis than the “rare peak usage” quoted to German authorities. For every tree the company fells, it has promised to plant three more. “Sounds like we need to clear up a few things!” he said in one of many tweets about the plant.

    Tuesday, 18 February 2020

    As Bill Gates Picks Porsche Over Tesla, EV Choice Should Be Celebrated, Not Ridiculed

    Vienna Car Show Press Preview
    In a move as predictable as the astonishing acceleration of a Tesla, fans of the electric car brand have been up in arms over Bill Gates’ decision to buy something else.
    Speaking to technology YouTuber Marques Brownlee in an interview published this week, the Microsoft co-founder revealed he had recently bought his first electric car - a Porsche Taycan.
    When told about this by a Tesla fan on Twitter, Elon Musk said: “My conversations with Gates have been underwhelming tbh [to be honest].”
    Replies to the Musk tweet were predictably lacking in compromise from both sides of the Porsche/Tesla debate, and naturally a few cheap shots were fired for good measure.
    “You want to be underwhelmed? Call Tesla customer service,” suggested one person, with a Tesla owner chiming in: Tesla ownership is a nightmare, especially service, and since the scrapyards can’t sell salvaged parts my insurance rates are through the roof. Thanks Elon.”

    Tesla fans criticized ill-fated iPod rival the Microsoft Zune, and highlighted the Porsche Taycan’s lack of range compared to Teslas. A sliver of respite came when Musk was asked if he can jump over a chair (complete with a gif of Gates famously doing so). “True, that was pretty impressive,” Musk admitted.
    If it’s possible to sweep Musk’s latest Twitter spat to one side for a moment, what we have left is a question for well-healed potential electric car owners: Tesla Model S or Porsche Taycan?
    True, they are of similar size and similar accelerative performance when the range-topping version is selected. Their batteries are also of a similar size, and the general layout - seating for five as standard, atop a skateboard chassis with an electric motor on each axle - is shared.
    But beyond that they are markedly different. Head to the top of each range and the flagship $187,610 Taycan Turbo S is considerably more expensive than the $99,990 Model S Performance. For that extra cash the Porsche buyers gets a unique two-speed gearbox and 800-volt architecture which promises more sustained high performance and faster charging.
    But listing difference isn’t really the point here - and it has already been done to death since the Taycan arrived last year.
    Instead, the growing breadth of choice in the electric car market should be welcomed with open arms, not ridiculed.
    As the largely soulless electric motor threatens to take away the character of flat-6s, muscular V8s, quirky V10 and buttery-smooth V12s, any manufacturer’s attempt to offer something different - something that isn’t a Tesla or a Prius - should be a sign of progress.
    Any buyer’s decision to go against the most popular option should be met with praise, intrigue, and a desire to learn why. Not dismissed as somehow being incorrect.
    The auto market is already one of the most diverse, offering everything from a Morgan 3-Wheeler or Caterham, to a Ford F-150 or Mercedes G-Class to buyers looking for a new car. The electric motor is poised to take away a great chunk of choice. So how about we all get along, respect the purchases of others, and be thankful for choice.

    Monday, 17 February 2020

    German Court Orders Tesla To Halt Work For The Berlin Gigafactory

    Tesla has been ordered to stop the felling of trees that it was undertaking for the development of its upcoming Gigafactory in Berlin. The American electric car maker was ordered to stop by the German court on the basis of a complaint put forth by a local environmentalist group.
    The complaint was submitted by Gruene Liga Brandenburg (Green League of Brandenburg) and the court was quick to temporarily shut down the land clearing operations. As Reuters reports, the court gave the ruling immediately as it would've taken only 3 more days to complete the work of tree-felling.
    Tesla has three factories in the world at the moment; two in the US and one in Shanghai. The plans for the new Gigafactory in Berlin were announced back in November last year by Tesla CEO Elon Musk at an event in Germany.
    The court said in a statement: “It should not be assumed that the motion seeking legal protection brought by the Green League lacks any chance of succeeding.”
    esla has bought 300 hectares of land to build the Gigafactory. For the project, the state environmental office of Berlin and Brandenburg has allowed Tesla to clear 92 hectares of forest land. But the company has not received planning permission for the Gigafactory.It has only got the green light to begin site preparations "at its own risk".
    In the wake of this order by the German court, pro-business lawmakers have warned that a legal battle against the Tesla Gigafactory could hamper Germany's image as being an ideal place to conduct business.

    Saturday, 15 February 2020

    Daimler doubles down on austerity as electric era beckons

    If investors needed further proof that the transition by German carmakers to electromobility will be painful, Tuesday's news conference by Daimler Chief Executive Ola Källenius certainly provided it.
    Despite another record-selling year for the firm's Mercedes brand, the luxury auto manufacturer announced its 2019 net profit fell by almost two thirds to €2.7 billion ($2.9 billion). In the fourth quarter, the Stuttgart-based company lost €11 million, compared with a profit of €1.64 billion in the year-earlier quarter.
    The firm said it had set aside an extra €1.5 billion in charges relating to the Dieselgate scandal that saw some 700,000 of its vehicles fitted with devices that could skirt pollution regulations. The figure is in addition to the €4 billion already announced, to deal with legal costs, recalls and fines.
    Källenius admitted the next three years would be "tough" for Daimler and promised to work "around the clock" to return the firm to a better footing. He said the company had introduced far-reaching measures to reduce costs, referencing the €1.4 billion austerity program announced last year.
    Electric investment is critical
    Daimler's woes are exacerbated by the huge investment it is currently undertaking in electromobility and autonomous transport, as it seeks to dethrone US rival Tesla as the king of the battery-powered-luxury-car market. But having previously underestimated the speed of the technological change, the German national treasure now faces a huge uphill battle.
    "Daimler has fallen behind, especially when it comes to the No.1 topic of the future: e-mobility," auto analyst Jürgen Pieper told DW ahead of the news conference. "It is actually in danger of falling out of the group of companies leading us towards this new future."
    Earlier on Tuesday, the firm restated its plan to undertake a "worldwide, socially responsible reduction of jobs," including the cutting of management positions. However, Källenius did not give specific figures. 
    A day earlier, the German business daily Handelsblatt reported that he would announce plans to cut 15,000 staff — a third more than announced last year — as mass electric vehicle production will require far fewer assembly workers.
    Although there was no mention of the higher figure in the news conference, Chief Financial Officer Harald Wilhelm estimated the total cost of the corporate restructuring would be around €2 billion.
    Daimler said it would also slash employee profit-sharing bonuses from nearly €5,000 to just €600. Investors, meanwhile, will see a dividend of just 90 cents per share versus €3.25 last year.

    Tesla can cut down German forest for 'gigafactory,' court rules

    Logo des Elektroauto-Herstellers Tesla (picture-alliance/dpa/B. Pedersen)

     A German court on Friday announced its decision to allow US electric car giant Tesla to cut down trees from a forest near Berlin for its new "gigafactory," killing an appeal filed by environmental activists to protect the forest.
    Two German environmentalist groups had filed an emergency appeal to prevent trees from being cut down from a site in Grünheide, which is south-east of Berlin.
    Following an expedited proceeding, the court in Frankfurt an der Oder in the state of Brandenburg ruled in Tesla's favor.
    The court said the state Environment Office, part of Brandenburg's Ministry for Agriculture, Environment and Climate Protection, did not find grounds for the plaintiffs' concerns over environmental protection.
    The ruling allows the company to start the construction work ahead of schedule. Tesla began clearing the 92-hectare (227-acre) area of forest on Thursday.
    One of the groups that had sued Tesla, a Bavarian land and wildlife conservation association, called the car company's work to cut down the trees began as a "hit-and-run clearing of a forest area important for climate and species protection."
    Relocating five bats
    Tesla is constructing a large factory in the forest in Grünheide, with plans to begin manufacturing electric cars there next year.
    Following an outcry to environmentalist groups, the company had announced various measures to relocate wildlife from the affected area.
    According to German daily Tagesspiegel, Tesla will have to relocate "forest ants, reptiles, and five bats" from the area. The car manufacturer has also promised to hang 400 nesting boxes in the area to make up for the effect of deforestation on bird habitats.
    Successful relocation efforts would have to take place quickly, however, as bird populations are due to return to the area around March for mating season. Bats are also likely to wake from hibernation around the same time.

    Thursday, 13 February 2020

    Ford boss urges re-think on electric hybrid car ban

    Ford Europe boss Stuart Rowley in the 5 live studio.
    The boss of Ford Europe has raised concerns about a possible 2032 ban on petrol, diesel and hybrid cars.
    The date was suggested by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps as part of a range of potential dates the government was looking at.
    Reflecting on the announcement, Mr Rowley said: "Plug-in hybrids can be an important part of technology mix."
    He also called for more infrastructure investment for electric vehicles, including more access to chargers.
    The potential 2032 ban, announced by Mr Shapps in a BBC interview, brings the date forward from 2035. This date had already been brought forward from 2040. Last week, the government also stated it is bringing plug-in hybrids into the ban "for the first time".
    Speaking on Radio 5 live's Wake Up To Money, Mr Rowley called the target "hugely ambitious", adding: "Whether we are going to achieve 2035 or 2032, it's going to require huge investment and for us to work together as an industry, the government, cities and consumers to make this transition."
    Jim Holder, editorial director of Autocar publishers Haymarket Automotive, said: "Most manufacturers are spending hundreds of millions of pounds of investment, launching them [the cars] this year. All of a sudden they're having the rug pulled from under their feet.
    "Of course that is terrible business, but it also undermines what they're trying to achieve. They want a stepping stone technology towards fully electric cars. They understand that consumers on the whole are very interested in electric cars but they aren't buying them. Just 1.6% of car sales last year were fully electric."
    In a statement, the Department for Transport said that plug-in hybrids are not always used in zero emission mode, which is why they are including them in the ban.
    Mr Rowley also said that the government should focus more on investment into infrastructure. "Today very few people have the ability to charge an electric vehicle, whether it be at home or whether it be in public places.
    "The investment in the infrastructure is going to be critical, that requires government investment, cities to organise for that, and people to be able to install charging in their homes," he said.
    According to Zap-Map, a phone app that helps drivers find charging points, there are over 10,800 electric charging locations in the UK. About 25% of them are located in London, but, for example, just 3% are in Wales.
    Mr Rowley said: "We're putting 1,000 charging facilities at our plants and offices, and we're going to need to see more across the country, not just in the big cities."

    NJ Electric Car Owners Have to Wait to Get Rebates Up to $5,000

    Electric cars charging
    Consumers hoping to cash in on New Jersey's new electric vehicle incentives will have to wait, but if consumers bought eligible vehicles since the law was signed last month, they'll qualify for the rebates of up to $5,000 once the application is ready, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.
    Murphy signed the legislation offering new incentives and setting lofty goals to get more electric vehicles on the road on Jan. 17, but the state is still developing an application for them.
    The Board of Public Utilities — the regulator creating the application — could have it ready by the end of June, Murphy said in a statement.
    The governor's statement comes as environmental groups said they faced consumers' questions about when they could start applying for the incentives.
    The new law calls for 330,000 electric vehicles by 2025 and 2 million by 2035. It also calls for boosting the number of charging stations by offering a $500 incentive for people to install their own at home and calls for New Jersey Transit to transition buying only zero-emission buses by 2032.
    The incentives are meant to be a one-time payment to the buyer or lessee of electric vehicles. The incentives are worth $25 per mile of electric-only range as rated by the Environmental Protection Agency. They’re worth up to a maximum of $5,000.

    Wednesday, 12 February 2020

    Czech carmaker's first electric SUV based

    Skoda Enyaq: Skoda Enyaq: Czech carmaker's first electric SUV based on MEB platform - Times of India
    Enyaq is set to be the name of Czech carmaker's first electric SUV based on the Volkswagen Group’s Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB) to be launched in series production.
    With its first all-electric SUV, ŠKODA is establishing a new nomenclature that combines the ‘E’ in reference to electromobility with the ‘Q’ that characterises the final letter of ŠKODA’s SUV family. With the new Enyaq, the Czech car manufacturer is taking another leap into the new era of electromobility in 2020.

    Stepping onto the era of electromobility in 2020, the name of the new Skoda Enyaq is derived from the Irish name ‘enya’, meaning ‘source of life’. Enya itself comes from the Irish Gaelic word ‘Eithne’, meaning ‘essence’, ‘spirit’ or ‘principle’. These different meanings allow different perspectives on the name of Skoda’s new SUV.
    The ‘source of life’ symbolises the car manufacturer’s entry into the new era of electromobility and is in line with the ŠKODA brand claim ‘Driven by inventiveness – clever ideas since 1895’. It represents a new beginning, which goes hand in hand with the temperament of the Skoda Enyaq and the Skoda engineers’ passion and innovative strength for the new electric SUV. ‘Enya’ is authentic, full of character and lively, easy to pronounce and remember and fits perfectly with the dawn of a new era in the company’s 125-year history.

    Hyundai grabs a paddle, partners with Canoo for future electric car platform

    Hyundai grabs a paddle, partners with Canoo for future electric car platform

    Talk about making a name for yourself quickly. Canoo, the Los Angeles-based startup formed in 2017, has earned a major partner in Hyundai Motor.
    The South Korean automaker announced on Wednesday that it will join forces with Canoo to co-develop a future electric car platform for Hyundai and Kia vehicles. The architecture will likely be an adaptable one with a so-called "skateboard" design, which houses all critical vehicle components. The big benefits to this kind of design are increased cabin space and lower overall complexity.
    Hyundai says the design pairs with any sort of cabin layout, which leaves the future platform open to numerous kinds of vehicles.
    When the platform is ready for production, the automaker expects it will help create a standardized manufacturing process that will help keep costs down. Meanwhile, the flexibility will help Hyundai meet quickly changing needs for car buyers and various countries ramp up regulations to taper CO2 output.
    The tie-up comes at a good time for Canoo, too. The startup unveiled its first vehicle, also called the Canoo, last year and opened a waitlist for the futuristic minivan... thing last month. The company won't actually sell the car directly to customers, but instead will provide it as part of a subscription service. Canoo promises the service will be "affordable," but that word is open for interpretation.
    The first subscribers will get their Canoo vehicles in 2021. Meanwhile, it'll be hard at work with Hyundai on the new platform. There's no timeline for when the architecture will be ready, but the automaker has $87 billion with a B ready to invest in electrification technologies through 2025.