For Today: September sees great electrified vehicle sales, Green Commuter bringing Tesla Model X carsharing to LA

September plug-in sales:  Hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and battery electric vehicles had a strong U.S. sales month in September over August and September 2016. BEVs had their highest month ever, beating out the previous leading month of December 2016. Tesla led the way with the Model S and Model X doing exceptionally well and the Chevy Bolt having its highest month ever. On the plug-in hybrid side, the Toyota Prius Prime led the category at 1,899 in September, versus 1,453 for the Chevy Volt. BEVs came in at 13,421 units sold in September, versus 7,719 for plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.

Solar leading renewable source:  Solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity grew at a fast rate last year and is expected to be higher in capacity growth than any other renewable technology in the world by 2022. PV capacity grew by 50% last year, according to a market analysis and forecast report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). This year, solar power plant additions are higher than that of the other leading global energy power sources – wind, coal, natural gas, and nuclear. For those concerned about where energy comes from, solar is starting to catch up with the most polluting energy source out there, coal. “We see renewables growing by about 1,000 GW (gigawatts) by 2022, which equals about half of the current global capacity in coal power, which took 80 years to build,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director.

Green Commuter offering Model X shared rides:  An electric vehicle carsharing service utilizing the Tesla Model X just opened in Los Angeles. Green Commuter has brought its service offering vanpoolers the opportunity to lease the electric SUV for daily commutes during typical hours, and to offer the EVs for carsharing by individuals or companies for fleet replacement the rest of the time. The startup company launched a 20-vehicle car-sharing program in Chattanooga last year, and implemented its vanpooling program in Los Angeles earlier this year. Users download the Green Commuter app, where they can rent a Model X by the hour or weekend. “Angelenos understand the impacts of congestion; L.A.’s bad traffic is an enormous waste of time and carries high human costs in terms of public health and the environment. Ridesharing and carsharing with electric vehicles brings tremendous benefits in terms of reduced traffic and improved air quality, while providing mobility and commuting savings to its users,” said Gustavo Occhiuzzo, CEO of Green Commuter.

For Today: GM and Ford move the electrification revolution a few steps further

A well-known automotive market analyst last year told me that he expects sales of battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles to make up 10% to 15% of U.S. new vehicle sales about a decade from now. That will mean that plug-in vehicle sales will have a real impact on manufacturing, marketing, infrastructure, and aftermarket products and services. The days of early adopters have come to an end, and the next phase is beginning – as made evident yesterday by announcements from General Motors and Ford Motor Co.

GM plans to launch 20 new electric vehicles by 2023. Two new all-electric cars will come out in the next 18 months. Whether that’s coming from upcoming fossil fuel bans in several countries, the popularity of Tesla, China’s new energy vehicle market, launching the Chevy Bolt, the emergence of other long-range all-electric vehicles, and a long list of EVs in manufacturer product pipelines, the future is here now.

“General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” said Mark Reuss, GM Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain EVP. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles through no-compromise solutions that meet our customers’ needs.”

The automaker is also developing hydrogen fuel cell technology as part of its zero emission vehicle drive. One of these is the Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure (SURUS), a four-wheel drive concept vehicle that runs on fuel cells. These provide power to electric motors, making it an ideal ZEV platform for delivery trucks, ambulances, and other applications. Yet EVs will be gaining most of the automaker’s focus and support.

Ford is on track to deliver 13 electrified vehicles over the next five years. Seven have been announced, including a 300-mile range crossover EV that will come out in 2020.

Sherif Marakby, Ford’s head of electrification and autonomous vehicles, said that the automaker will increase the number of all-electric vehicles it will offer, but did not provide details.

Ford is establishing an internal team its calling “Team Edison” to study and develop battery electric cars.

“We see an inflection point in the major markets toward battery electric vehicles,” Marakby said. “We feel it’s important to have a cross-functional team all the way from defining the strategy plans and implementation to advanced marketing.”

Here’s my take on a few trends and developments to watch for:

  • Battery electric vehicles will likely win out over plug-in hybrids in the next decade. While the Chevy Volt and Toyota Prius Prime will continue to do well, automakers tend to use plug-in hybrid variations of existing models as a way to transition car owners over to plug-in vehicles. EV range will be getting better, and all-electric vehicles are easier to maintain and keep in operation than internal combustion engine vehicles and plug-in hybrids. They use a lot less parts and components and are easier to maintain. Tires and brakes have to be replaced but there isn’t much else to changeover, given that the electric drive train is well made for EVs that are strong in sales.
  • Tesla is playing a leading role in public perception and experience with the technology. The Tesla Model 3 is expected to play a leading role in mass adoption, but the upcoming Model Y electric crossover will be built at mass scale, too. There will be other models coming out including the semi truck aimed at buyers of heavy-duty commercial vehicles. Tesla’s stock performance continues to stay strong and validates that institutional and individual backers believe in the business model. (As a side note, GM and Ford stock prices did well after announcing strong September sales and serious electrification campaigns.)
  • German automakers may be just as important as Tesla in moving the product development and sales trend forward. Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW made big announcements a year ago in the wake of the “Dieselgate” scandal, and with growing pressure from German regulators and from a few other countries. Tesla was taking the lead in the luxury EV side, but an impressive list of pre-orders on the Model 3 opened up the playing field. The product pipeline is covering the bases from Tesla-competitive automakers – electric sedans, SUVs and crossovers, and luxury vehicles.
  • Car buyers want to see realistic, real-world numbers on per-charge driving range, charging time, fast charging, option and trim levels, resale value forecasts, top speeds, horsepower, and torque. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency range ratings are gaining more confidence than the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), with the NEDC using a very different cycle analysis and much longer range.
  • Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles won’t reach mass adoption, with EVs winning out. They won’t be going away, with automakers such as Toyota, GM, Honda, Hyundai, Daimler, and BMW committed to the technology. They’ll probably stay at a low level in passenger vehicle sales with a few of the automakers going over to military and commercial vehicle applications. But the barriers will be hard to cross – having enough fueling stations, the cost of the technology and sticker prices coming way down, and finding broad support and trust in the technology. The typical pump price for fueling with hydrogen isn’t known yet, and concerns are being expressed on how expensive it will be to collect and extract hydrogen from natural gas and other sources; and to deliver it by truck and pipelines to gas stations. The ZEV aspect makes hydrogen fuel cell vehicles very attractive, but where is the hydrogen coming from? And EVs are getting cheaper and better all the time, along with the charging infrastructure.
  • Countries adopting fossil-fuel bans will likely have to back off those holistic mandates. It’s much more likely to take several more years (another half century?) before ZEV adoption becomes accepted at that level. It will be tied into radical transformation in how we drive and get around town. An integration of autonomous vehicles, mobility services, and electrification will be behind it, but that is going to take decades to meet thorough testing and safety standards, insurance and liability issues, and to gain enough confidence and trust to reach mass scale. I expect that governments will go back to mandating a certain percentage of new vehicle sales meet their mandates; incentive programs will probably have to be deployed in China and other markets.
  • There’s also the issue of fleet and commercial vehicles used in transport, delivery, and moving employees and customers from Point A to Point B. Fleets are likely to integrate the fuels and technologies – with trucks and buses powered by renewable natural gas and renewable diesel, electrification, and propane and natural gas; and hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and all-electric passenger vehicles used by law enforcement agencies, administrative vehicles, and other functions. Fleet operators make decisions based on economic and environmental factors, along with functionality and ease of use, as do consumers.

For Today: New York incentives driving up plug-in vehicle sales, SpaceX preparing to take passengers to Mars starting in 2034

New York incentives helping sales:  The state of New York’s $2,000 rebate program on plug-in vehicles has helped sales spring up 74% this year. Signed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and launched on March 21, the rebate program has helped plug-in electrified vehicle sales go up from 1,476 to 2,574 units year-over-year. Most people are receiving rebates of $1,100 or more, with $3 million having been set aside by the state to fund the program through participating dealers (with Tesla not qualifying for the incentive program). More than 40% of the funds have gone to Toyota Prius Prime purchases, with the Chevy Bolt coming in second at 12%, and the Chevy Volt and Ford Fusion Energi each getting 10% of the funds. It’s all part of Gov. Cuomo’s move to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030. The state is also supporting growing its public charging infrastructure – from about 1,700 chargers currently available to about 3,000 in 2018.

New offerings expected to help EV sales:  Bloomberg just published a think piece on why electric vehicles have achieved an historic year of notoriety, with the technology being seen as reaching mass market in the fairly-near future. A listing of strategically planned EVs in the next few years helps paint the picture. That product lineup includes: Audi coming out with the e-tron Quatro luxury electric SUV in 2018; it will be followed by Sportback coupe in 2019, and a third vehicle, yet to be named, by 2020. Porsche will roll out its Mission E electric sports sedan in the next couple of years, with production starting in 2019. BMW will put out a dozen new EVs by 2025, starting with an electric Mini in 2019, an X3 subcompact SUV in 2020, and 10 more by that year. Daimler will roll out the EQ sub-brand of all-electric cars, with 10 new vehicles coming out by 2022. Volvo has committed that all new models launched in 2019 or later will be offered only as hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or battery electric versions. Beyond the Model 3, Tesla will begin building the Model Y small SUV in 2019 or 2020.

SpaceX going to Mars:  Elon Musk’s SpaceX company will be taking a cargo load to Mars in 2022 and a manned mission in 2024. A decade later, passengers can take trips to Mars, the company’s CEO announced Friday. The company has shrunk the size of the spaceship to make the intergalactic journey. Construction of the new ship will begin the first half of next year, he said, and it will be able to carry up to 100 passengers. SpaceX thinks it will be available to also carry passengers around the world in ultra-fast flights – such as New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes. SpaceX is one of several companies planning on taking trips to the red planet. Lockheed Martin Corp. announced its own plans for a manned Mars journey on Friday. Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space travel startup is also designing a ship that will be capable of trips to Mars. Virgin Galactic founder and billionaire Richard Branson thinks that Mars should be colonized and his intergalactic division can provide transportation.

For Today: China raises bar on new energy vehicle targets, Toyota joins up with Mazda and Denso to form EV joint venture

New energy vehicle rules:  China has set 2019 as the first year for automakers to meet new energy vehicle sales targets, with the bar raised to 10% of annual sales that year. That’s two percentage points higher than an earlier proposal for next year, and applies to automakers selling at least 30,000 vehicles in that market. A credit system will be in place for sales of all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which is expected to offer a similar credit trading structure in place with California’s zero emission vehicle program where automakers can trade credits. China’s industry ministry announced the new regulations Thursday, along with news that the level will rise to 12% for 2020. The national government wants to support China’s leading role in EV sales, and to prepare for a long-term ban on fossil-fuel vehicles announced earlier this month. Global automakers this year have been requesting that China soften the mandates for new energy vehicle sales.

Electric buses in the UK:  BYD electric buses reduced about 900 tons of CO2 pollution in London after a year in service. Operated by Go-Ahead London for Transport for London, the fleet of 51 single decker buses serve Go-Ahead’s Waterloo depot on routes 507 and 521. The electric buses have been manufactured by the BYD ADL electric bus partnership. There are now 157 BYD ADL single deck electric buses in service for London operators. BYD ADL also announced that a ceremony was held this week by Liverpool City Region Bus Alliance to bring in a fleet of 12 BYD ADL Enviro200EV buses. The electric buses will be operated by Arriva Merseyside and begin service later this month on the City Centre Circular Routes 26 and 27, known as The Belt.

New EV joint venture launched:  Toyota, Mazda, and Denso will be jointly forming a new company, EV C.A. Spirit, to develop electric vehicles. New production electric models are expected to come out in 2019 and 2020. Toyota will own 90% of the new company, and Mazda and auto parts supplier Denso will split the remaining 10%. It follows an August announcement by the two Japanese carmakers on joint EV projects and a $1.6 billion investment in a new U.S. plant. Denso is known for making key components used in electrical systems for EVs and inverters for hybrid vehicles. The company is working on an energy efficient air conditioning system for EVs.

For Today: Long-anticipated Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV going to dealers in December, Trump administration and EPA may make big changes to Renewable Fuel Standard

Outlander PHEV coming to America:  The 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) will be coming to the U.S. market starting in December with an MSRP of $34,595. The plug-in hybrid SUV has done extremely well in the European market, with the question of when the vehicle would come to America having been asked quite a few times in recent years. The all-wheel drive SUV is powered by a 2.0-liter gasoline engine and two electric motors, and features the company’s Super All-Wheel Control (S-AWC) system. It also comes with DC fast charging capability. Mitsubishi says the commemorative timing is right as the company celebrates its 100-year history, over 50 years of electromobility, and decades of four-wheel drive technology customized on the international rally circuit.

Vehicle-grid integration summit coming up:  Special thanks to 2GreenEnergy Editor Craig Shields for recommending attending the “EVs and the Grid” conference next month. Taking place Oct. 17-19 in San Francisco, this will be third time the summit will be taking place, bringing together stakeholders in vehicle-grid integration (VGI) and electrification of the U.S. transportation system. Attendees will include regulatory agencies, utilities, automakers, city planners, fleet owners, electric vehicle service providers, and charging station hosts. Timing is right as California’s three largest investor-owned utilities have laid out plans to invest over $1 billion in the state’s charging infrastructure. Stakeholders are still working out the arrangements on charger ownership, rates, available charging times, and other concerns.

EPA reviewing biofuel blend change:  The Environmental Protection Agency and the Trump administration are considering making a significant change to the Renewable Fuel Standards allowing ethanol exports to be added to annual biofuels volume mandates. If the new proposal becomes adopted, oil refiners would be saving hundreds of millions of dollars per year in compliance costs. Current rules only count fuels blended in the U.S. and doesn’t count ethanol that’s exported abroad in the required credits that come from either blending 10% ethanol into gasoline or buying credits from ethanol producers. Carl Icahn, who heads up refiner CVR Energy, has been pushing hard for changing the rules. He recently stepped down from is advisory role to the Trump administration after a wave of heavy criticism. His company, along with other major players like Valero Energy Corp., would be saving quite a bit in RFS credits that would no longer need to be purchased. Trump had backed the RFS and continuation of it in its present form while running for president; now he seems to be leaning toward the oil industry’s desired outcome. Biofuels advocate U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) also voiced concerns this week over recent action taken by the EPA that could reduce 2018 and 2019 renewable volume requirements (RVOs) for biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuel, and total renewable fuel under the RFS. Yesterday, the agency had published a notice of data availability (NODA) concerning potential reductions in these RVOs for 2018 and 2019. Grassley said that he is “very disturbed” about the action taken by the EPA, stressing it would be contrary to what the president promised.

For Today: Dyson joining electric vehicle race, California may ban fossil-fuel vehicles

Dyson launching EV:  British company Dyson, best known for home appliances such as its bagless vacuum cleaners, will be launching an electric car by 2020. The company will be investing about $2.7 billion in solid-state battery technology and designing the EV. It will be put together by a team of more than 400 employees, said founder James Dyson. It won’t be an affordable Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt, and Nissan Leaf competitor. Dyson said it will be an expensive car, and those interested will have to “wait and see” what it’s going to look like. Rumors have been floating about the company getting into the EV race for a few years now, which was clarified last year in a government document filing. The company’s sales have grown in recent years as it expanded its presence in Asia. That will be a big part of its EV launch.  “We see a very large market for this car in the far east,” Dyson said.

Ford working with Lyft:  Ford will be partnering with ride-hailing company Lyft to share information supporting acceleration of a commercial self-driving car service launch. It’s the third alliance the startup has formed following last year’s investment by General Motors; Waymo and autonomous software and hardware firm Drive.ai forged alliances with Lyft earlier this year. Lyft wants to be the first ride-hailing company to deploy self-driving cars by a major automaker, according to the company. Pilot programs should be launched fairly soon and fully operational by 2021. Ford said the partnership will be make self-driving rides available quickly and safely to customers using the mobile app. Ride-hailing giant Uber had been investing heavily in autonomous vehicle testing through automaker alliances. That’s been sidelined since explosive scandals have broken this year with co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick being replaced by former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Lyft is well positioned for growth in mobility services and deploying self-driving mobility services from the trial phase through commercial deployment.

California may ban fossil-fuel vehicles:  California may join up with China, the UK, France, and Norway in banning fossil-fuel powered vehicles. Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, told Bloomberg Friday that Gov. Jerry Brown is interested in exploring barring the sale of vehicles in California with internal combustion engines. The earliest ban would be a decade away and ties into the state’s campaign to battle climate change. The move would send shockwaves to automakers, which have already been working on meeting the state’s zero emission vehicle mandates in the world’s largest auto market. A more pressing issue for California has been how the Trump administration will be ruling on the fuel economy and emissions standards, and if California’s ZEV guidelines will be included.

For Today: More electric commercial trucks coming to market, Consumer Reports wants to see mpg window stickers on heavy-duty pickups

Commercial Vehicle Show includes electric options:  Volkswagen has added another electric vehicle to its product lineup through its truck division and jointly with Navistar International Corp. During the launch of the first-ever North American Commercial Vehicle Show in Atlanta on Monday, the two companies announced they’ll be jointly developing an electric medium-duty truck for the North American market. It will roll out as soon as 2019. These two companies forged an alliance earlier this year with VW investing $256 million for a 17% stake in Navistar. During a separate presentation, Daimler Trucks North America discussed its platooning efforts in North America; and how subsidiary Mitsubishi Fuso recently launched the all-electric eCanter Class 4 cabover, which the company will deliver to its first customers, including UPS, by the end of this year. The company also hinted that its Freightliner Cascadia and Western Star trucks will have electric versions in the future. Buyers of commercial vehicles are looking more seriously at electric trucks as federal fuel economy rules enter their next phase, and Tesla, Nikola, and Daimler make moves in this market.

Growth in electrified buses:  Buses powered by natural gas and propane autogas have opened doors globally for deployment of medium and heavy-duty electric drive buses of all types – including hybrids, plug-in hybrids, all-electric, and hydrogen fuel cells. Hybrid buses are expected to do better for now than plug-in buses, except for China, due to lower price premiums and lack of charging infrastructure. A new Navigant Research report analyzes the trends, including how fuel cell buses are expected to see further deployments as technology costs come down. Costs are also coming down in batteries, motors, and power electronics as volume increases for sales of plug-in hybrid and battery electric buses to fleets. Transit agencies have led the way, motivated to do so by new rules on emissions and reducing noise levels. Reducing operating costs is also helping sales increase with transit agencies.

Tracking mileage on heavy-duty pickups:  Consumer Reports is calling on the federal government to add heavy-duty pickups to its fuel economy ratings list. Its research team tested out three heavy-duty diesel trucks: Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD, Ford F-250, and Ram 2500. All three pickups were equipped with four-door crew-cab bodies, turbodiesel engines, and four-wheel drive. While being more efficient than they were years ago, they only achieved 14-15 mpg, which was 1-2 mpg less than their gasoline-powered light-duty counterparts. Contractors and other truck buyers rely on these heavy pickups to buy hundreds of thousands of them per year. The consumer publication wants buyers to be adequately informed.

For Today: Bill Ford called to lead emissions talks by former EPA official, Daimler Trucks testing platooning in U.S.

Calling on Bill Ford for leadership:  The former Environmental Protection Agency official who played a leading role in 2011 negotiating fuel economy and emissions standards has called upon Ford Motor Co.’s executive chairman Bill Ford to lead the dialogue on the midterm review and beyond. Former EPA official Margo Oge sees Ford, a longtime environmental advocate, well suited to help California, the federal government, and automakers negotiate any flexibility needed through 2025 and to set a road map for 2030. Automakers had been able to have the Trump administration reopen the 2022-2025 midterm review after it had been approved right before the end of the Obama administration. The former EPA official sees it as a win-win for Ford’s stock price and for resolving a difficult issue. “I believe if he does that, we will see the investor community respond with a stock price increase in Ford because investors are looking for companies that are not behaving like the traditional OEMs with competition from Silicon Valley, Tesla and China,” Oge said.

CARB on CAFE and emissions standards:  Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, said in an interview Friday that California is fine with reopening discussions on greenhouse gas limits for passenger vehicles through 2025. The state’s expectation is that the Trump administration will support the tougher targets that the state is seeking beyond 2025. California is willing to discuss reviving talks with automakers and federal regulators on “a whole laundry list of things they’ve (automakers) asked for.” Nichols said that “California remains convinced that there was no need to initiate this new review of the review and that the technical work was fully adequate to justify going ahead with the existing program, but we’re willing to talk about specific areas if there were legitimate concerns the companies raised — in the context of a bigger discussion about where we’re going post-2025.”

Uber kicked out of London:  Uber lost the right to do business in London as the Transport for London agency ruled that the ride-hailing company not “fit and proper.” The agency that oversees London’s subways, buses, and taxicabs has taken a measure expected to have much impact in Great Britain and with other cities. The company had been temporarily forced out a few market such as Delhi and Austin, Texas. The ride-hailing giant had also agreed to leave China through a deal made with its arch-competitor in that country, Didi Chuxing. Leaving a market as important as London is putting in new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in a tough position as the company recovers from founder Travis Kalanick leaving.

Daimler testing platooning in U.S.:  Daimler Trucks North America revealed that it has been testing platooning systems on test tracks and a few U.S. highways. The truckmaker reports that test results show how the new technology can improve fuel efficiency, driver productivity, convenience, and safety. The first step of platooning is called “pairing,” where two trucks travel in tandem at distances closer than what is possible under normal driving conditions; as you can see in the photo. Daimler Truck engineers are overseeing a pilot project on Oregon and Nevada highways in cooperation with state officials. The company is also testing braking on a closed track at its High Desert Proving Grounds in Madras, Ore. Daimler Trucks is getting ready for a fleet trial early next year. “Platooning holds the potential to offer significant fuel economy advantages, while assisting drivers,” said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO, DTNA. “To be sure, the platooning technology is not meant to replace drivers – it’s designed to help drivers.”

For Today: Companies back EV100 fleet electrification, California grants $900 million to clean vehicle programs

Taking fleets to EV100:  Ten companies have committed to making their fleets 100% electric vehicles at Climate Week NYC. Baidu, Deutsche Post DHL Group, Heathrow Airport, HP Inc., IKEA Group, LeasePlan, METRO AG, PG&E, Unilever, and Vattenfall this week committed to meeting the “EV100” campaign. Member companies will be transitioning from gasoline and diesel vehicles to EVs and a charging infrastructure by 2030. These companies will set out timetables for rolling over their fleets. They’re convinced it will help drive EV adoption, reduce costs, and make electric cars more affordable in markets around the world. It follows two other initiatives led non-profit organization The Climate Group – RE100, which seeks to accelerate the adoption of 100% renewable energy targets; and EP100, which aims to increase the number of companies doubling their energy productivity.

Study sees PEV growth continuing:  A new study by Navigant Research sees North American sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) to continue their upward growth trend – 50% growth over 2016 sales. So far, PEV sales have grown tenfold since 2011; while the report doesn’t break out PEVs by vehicle type, the sales data probably includes both battery electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Growth is coming from California and other states adopting zero emission vehicle mandates, with some of them and other states in the U.S. offering incentive programs for purchasing them such as rebates. Positive demographics related to EV interest and adoption have also been helping sales, according to the study. Most buyers have been in urban areas with high levels of education and income, and driving patterns suitable for PEVs on the market. Navigant Research expects that demographic trend to decline, with buyers expanding to other demographic groups on a wider scale as PEVs become cheaper.

AB 134 adopted in California:  California’s legislature passed AB 134, bringing about $900 million in funding to the state for clean transportation initiatives. It was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown over the weekend. Of that total, $140 million will fund the Clean Vehicle Rebate electric vehicle incentives, EVsProject specifically targeted to low-income applicants, and $100 million will go to light-duty equity pilot projects. About $180 million will go to the state’s Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Project (HVIP). That program offers incentive dollars for the purchase of electric and fuel cell vehicles and ultra low-NOx natural gas technologies. Another $250 million is being directed to the state’s air quality management and air pollution control districts through the Carl Moyer Memorial Air Quality Standards Attainment Program. That state program started in 1998 and is aimed at helping fleets and individuals switch over to clean trucks, school buses, transit buses, and other vehicles.

For Today: Joint venture no longer required for electric carmakers in China, AeroVironment proving BMW and Mini-branded TurboCord EV chargers

Joint ventures no longer mandatory in China:  China will be making a huge change for automakers who want to build electric cars locally – setting up their own shops without having to forge a joint venture with a Chinese automaker. That will lower costs for companies like Tesla that have to pay steep tariffs to import their cars into China, and which choose to run their own factories similar to how they do it overseas. Foreign automakers will be able to go into free-trade zones to establish their factories. The country has 12 free-trade zones in Shanghai, Fujian, Guangdong, and Zhejiang. China will “actively implement the opening up of the new-energy manufacturing sector to foreigners, together with other departments under the direction of the State Council,” the nation’s Ministry of Commerce told Bloomberg. Other carmakers like General Motors, Ford, and Volkswagen, are tapping into JVs with Chinese makers to set up EV manufacturing subsidiaries.

LeEco using Faraday Future patents:  Parent company LeEco used some of Faraday Future’s electric vehicle design in LeEco’s LeSee electric car, according to patents filed with the U.S. government. A Faraday Future representative confirmed that two of its patents are being used in the development of LeEco’s electric car. The look and design will be used across the FF and LeSee brands. One patent will be used for the look of the exterior design and the other is for the steering wheel. The two companies have been quiet about their working relationship as parent company LeEco has gone through the wringer financially, including a failed $2 billion acquisition of Vizio. In July, FF walked away from its planned $1 billion factory in Nevada. The company has leased an existing factory in Hanford, Calif., as it seeks new investment funds.

AeroVironment working with BMW and Mini:  AeroVironment has been selected as the North American provider of BMW and Mini-branded TurboCord accessory electric vehicle chargers. The dual-voltage charger features a small and lightweight design with a convenient 20 ft. charging cord. That brings 120-volt and 240-volt charging to BMW and Mini electric cars. The TurboCord charger can be purchased with the EV at all North American BMW and Mini dealerships and online. It also integrates state-of-the-art safety features such as unit and plug temperature monitoring, automatic shut-off and a rugged, being waterproof, and submersible enclosure (NEMA 6p) that enables users to safely and reliably charge anywhere indoor and outdoor.