Electric buses will make up half of market by 2025, Midwest EVOLVE and Clean Cities supporting EV adoption in region

China dominating electric bus market:  Electric buses are becoming a major force in global vehicle electrification, with China playing a big part in its future. Nearly half of the municipal buses on roads worldwide will be electric by 2025, according to a report from
Bloomberg New Energy Finance. That will mean last year’s 386,000 units sold will go up to 1.2 million in the next seven years. Strong domestic support and aggressive city-level targets will mean China accounts for 99% of the world’s battery-powered buses by 2025, the report said. Last year’s electric bus sales dropped from 115,700 sold in China in 2016 to 89,546 last year due to policy changes and incentives being cut back during that time. This year will see changes as policy from national and local/city governments start to collide, according to a Clean Technica report. Hydrogen fuel cell buses will see an increasing trend as Chinese governments provide more support and subsidies. The Bloomberg report is taking a more optimistic view overall on electric bus growth with China supporting electric buses aggressively.

Two Chinese bus makers are dominating the domestic market – Yutong and BYD. BYD is the leading electric bus manufacturer, and Yutong is the largest overall bus manufacturer in the country. The EV manufacturer not long ago supplied 20 electric coaches to two Macao tourism enterprises in China. BYD continues to be active in other global markets, including supplying buses in the U.S. to transit districts. The Chinese company just announced it will supply 11 BYD ADL Enviro200EV single deckers operated by Go-Ahead London for the Transport for London. They’ll be similar to other BYD electric buses already on London roads operated by Go-Ahead London.

Renewable CNG case studies:  The U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory and Energy Vision released two case studies of successful projects utilizing renewable compressed natural gas (R-CNG) from anaerobic digesters capturing biogases coming from decomposing organic waste. One case study looks at Fair Oaks Farms, an Indiana dairy cooperative with roughly 36,000 cows, where biogases power its milk tanker trucks. The other study explored the Sacramento BioDigester, the first food-waste digester in California to turn commercial organic waste into R-CNG vehicle fuel using anaerobic digestion.

Midwest EVOLVE and Clean Cities bringing more EV experience to the region:  Midwest EVOLVE and its Clean Cities coalition partners are rolling out events offering a hands-on experience to test drive electric vehicles available locally, to help consumers and fleets make sound purchase decisions. One of these will be taking place February 10-19 during the 2018 Chicago Auto Show, where attendees will have the chance to test drive vehicles such as the all-new 2018 Nissan Leaf, 2018 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, and 2018 Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV. Chicago Area Clean Cities Coalition is hosting the test drives in partnership with the Midwest EVOLVE program. The American Lung Association is a key sponsor to Midwest EVOLVE. The Clean Cities partners include Twin Cities Clean Cities Coalition, Chicago Area Clean Cities, Clean Fuels Ohio, Earth Day Coalition, Greater Lansing Area Clean Cities, North Dakota Clean Cities, South Shore Clean Cities, and Wisconsin Clean Cities.

A few of these Clean Cities coalitions active in Midwest EVOLVE will be hosting their own events this year. Clean Fuels Ohio is highlighting electric vehicles at auto shows throughout Ohio. Wisconsin Clean Cities recently announced the debut of The Electric Room at the 2018 Greater Milwaukee Auto Show, representing the first all-electric vehicle display in that auto show’s history.The Electric Room will feature the latest in electrified vehicles and charging stations. The Greater Milwaukee Auto Show is taking place Feb. 24 through March 4.

Tesla Model 3 leads electric vehicle sales in January, Fuel prices climbing up

Tesla Model 3 leads plug-in sales:  The Tesla Model 3 is now the top selling plug-in vehicle in the U.S., even if Tesla is still behind on its original production forecast from last year. The 1,875 sales total for the Model 3 for January comes from Inside EVs. It’s based on about 860 units being sent to customers at the end of the quarter, which are expected to be counted as deliveries in Q1 2018. The company also said that it was reaching a production rate of 1,000 units per week following the end of Q4 deliveries. The Toyota Prius Prime took the second spot at 1,496 units sold; the Chevy Bolt came in at 1,177, the Tesla Model S had 800 units sold in January, and the Chevy Volt had 713 vehicles sold. Plug-in vehicles had a better January in the U.S. than the overall light-duty vehicle sales market. Autodata Corp. reported a 1% increase at 1.15 million new vehicles sold last month. Inside EVs estimates that battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle sales went up about 10% from last year, with 12,116 units sold in January 2018 compared to 11,004 in January 2017.

Nissan and Infiniti launching six EVs:  Nissan and its Infiniti luxury brand will represent half of the 12 EVs that CEO Carlos Ghosn committed to last year for the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance. Toshihiro Hirai, Nissan’s corporate vice president for powertrain and EV engineering, said that Nissan will be rolling out four all-electric vehicles and Infiniti will launch two all-electrics over the next five years. Like the Nissan Leaf, these new models will be battery electric vehicles. They won’t be utilizing the company’s new E-Power system, which uses a small gasoline engine to generate power for an electric motor.

Fuel prices climbing up:  Gasoline prices have gone up in the past week in several states. The national average is at $2.605, according to AAA. A year ago it was $2.270, and it’s up from $2.490 a month ago. Diesel is at $2.998, up from $2.509 a year ago and $2.893 a month ago. As for the price of a barrel of oil, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil has gone up from $53.01 on Feb. 6, 2017 to $64.73 today.

Hawaii and California have the highest gasoline prices, at $3.391 and $3.344, respectively. Hawaii is usually one of the highest, with the additional cost of shipping petroleum to the islands built into the cost. California is usually higher than the national average, but prices have been spiking up in the past few months. Starting in November, California motorists have been paying 12 cents more per gallon for gasoline and 20 cents more for diesel. This came from state tax increases being used to improve road conditions.

New vehicle sales haven’t been affected by fuel price increases yet. Trucks were up 8% in sales last month while cars were down 10.8% with small and mid-size cars down even further. Hybrids and plug-in vehicles were up in sales last month, but they still only make a small percentage of total sales – hybrids at 1.91% and plug-ins at a little over 1% of total U.S. light-duty vehicle sales in January. The University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute has seen the sales-weighted average fuel economy in new vehicle sales hover around the 25.0 to 25.3 mpg mark for several months.

But fuel prices are expected to go up this year. Average prices could climb by more than 10%, in the near future says Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis at Boston-based GasBuddy, which monitors fuel prices across the U.S.  One OilPrice.com analyst predicts that the price of a WTI barrel of oil will go up from its current $64.73 to about $70 a barrel in the near future.

Gas pump prices have always made for a strong argument to consumers and fleets over buying more fuel-efficient vehicles including hybrids, plug-in vehicles, and alternative fuel vehicles. It was weakened in the summer of 2014 with falling pump prices. That argument will become stronger as fuel prices continue to rise.

 

Hyundai Ioniq Electric tops Greenest list for second year, Nikola opening $1 billion plant in Arizona

ACEEE releases Greenest and Meanest lists:  The Hyundai Ioniq Electric has taken the top spot on the Greenest List for the second year in a row, achieving the highest-ever
Green Score of 70. Last year, the Ioniq Electric topped the list with the then-highest-ever Green Score of 64. Winners of the award issued annually by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) earn a high Green Score rating based on an environmental damage index (EDX). The index estimates pollution from vehicle manufacturing, the production and distribution of fuel, and vehicle tailpipes. ACEEE found that what makes this year’s award winner and others on the top ranking stand out is affordable, efficient, tech-smart vehicles that are now on the market, offering consumers plenty of options for buying a greener vehicle. The Ioniq was acknowledged for bringing high efficiency in a practical size. The Mercedes-Benz Smart Fortwo Electric Drive, BMW i3, Kia Soul Electric, Ford Focus Electric, and Honda Clarity also took places among the greenest vehicles on the market. ACEEE also issued the Meanest List leaning toward large SUVs, loaded pickup trucks, heavier medium-duty vehicles, and European luxury cars that are the least friendly to the environment. The Mercedes Benz G550 took the lowest score of 19.

Confusion over J.D. Power acquisition:  Leading automotive analyst company J.D. Power has been facing an uncertain future since its 2016 acquisition by Hong Kong investment firm XIO Group. J.D. Power employees say they have limited knowledge about where XIO’s funding came from, with some advisors to XIO having received contradictory accounts. A month into the sale to XIO Group through an offshore private equity fund in the Cayman Islands, seller S&P Global Inc. admitted that it was unsure about who owned the firm and the source of its funding, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Cayman Islands doesn’t require firms to publicly disclose their investors. XIO acquired J.D. Power from S&P Global on Sept. 7, 2016, for $1.1 billion. J.D. Power is facing challenges many media and research companies have undergone in the past few years as the marketplace faces historic changes.

Nikola opening Arizona plant:  Hydrogen fuel cell truck maker Nikola Motor Co. plans to build a $1 billion, one million-square-foot facility outside Phoenix to assemble its trucks. The company will be moving its R&D and headquarters to Arizona in the near-term future, and hopes to have the transition completed by October 2018. While the plant is being built, the first 5,000 production models will be manufactured at its facility in Crossville, Tenn. Nikola said it has received 8,000 pre-orders for its two trucks, the Nikola One, a sleeper cab, and Nikola Two, a day cab.

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance beats Volkswagen and Toyota for No. 1 in global sales, Diesel tests on monkeys and human puts VW back under spotlight

Alliance now largest automaker:  The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance bumped Volkswagen Group out of the top spot as the world’s largest seller of light-duty vehicles during 2017. That was made up of 10.61 million new vehicles sold last year with Nissan bringing in 5.82 million, Renault 3.76 million, and its Mitsubishi subsidiary (acquired in 2016) selling 1.03 million. VW came in at 10.53 million and longtime winner Toyota Motor sold 10.2 million. CEO Carlos Ghosn has pledged to tap into economies of scale and double savings by 10 billion euros ($12 billion) by 2022. That assumes annual sales will rise to 14 million vehicles. Sharing parts and consolidating platforms is the foundation it’s being built on, as it usually cuts r&d and manufacturing costs. The Alliance will be rolling out 12 new all-electric models using common platforms by 2022, Ghosn said late last year. Plug-in hybrid models will also be utilized, coming from Mitsubishi’s experience with the Outlander PHEV. Two other utility plug-in hybrids will be coming to market over the next two years. The alliance companies have collectively already sold more than a half million plug-in electrified vehicles.

Uber supporting anti-trafficking groups:  Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is looking for ways to pull the ride-hailing giant out of the quagmire, this time encouraging drivers to be aware of human trafficking that may be transported in their vehicles. When drivers log into the app, they’re instructed on how to spot victims of trafficking and best ways to report it to police and anti-trafficking support groups. One of these, Polaris, is Uber’s partner in the campaign. Human trafficking has become of major concern to non-profit groups and government agencies around the world, including the U.S. Khosrowshahi has been working at improving relations with Uber drivers and the public. Drivers can now receive tips, which was always an edge Lyft had over Uber; they can also call a hotline when they have questions.

Veloz launches EV awareness campaign:  Veloz, a new California-based nonprofit organization supporting the electric car movement, has hired Division of Labor, an advertising agency headquartered in Sausalito, Calif. The two are working together to develop, test, and provide a strategic plan for a brand-inclusive outreach campaign that will inspire Californians to drive electric. Veloz is taking an approach emphasizing the fun, emotional, and significant benefits EV drivers will experience by driving electric. Made up of industry experts to bring public and private sectors together supporting EV adoption, the group thinks that sales will only go up substantially if consumers know about good purchase choices they can make. A strategic planning phase will continue through May, followed in the summer by implementation of the campaign. As with other initiatives in California, a portion of the campaign budget will go to reaching multi-cultural populations, low-income, and disadvantaged communities.

VW fires chief lobbyist as scandal continues:  Volkswagen fired its chief lobbyist, Thomas Steg, today in response to reports that the company and two competitors had sponsored tests that exposed monkeys and humans to toxic diesel fumes. The company had come under scrutiny again last week after The New York Times reported that VW, BMW, and Daimler had funded an organization called European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT) to carry out the tests. These methods used in the U.S. were wrong, unethical, and repulsive, VW CEO Matthias Mueller said Monday. The study had been conducted in 2014 to defend diesel following reports that diesel car fumes were carcinogenic. The EUGT study had been dissolved last year. This news was revealed right after Germany’s KBA automotive watchdog has detected illicit emission-control software in Audi’s latest Euro-6 diesel models. KBA has ordered a recall of these 127,000 vehicles, putting more pressure on parent company VW to comply with government mandates in the U.S. and Europe.

BMW and Daimler forging JV for robotaxis, 15 transportation companies named to 2018 Global Cleantech 100

BMW and Daimler JV for robotaxi fleets:  It looks like BMW and Daimler may be merging their car-sharing divisions together to take on Uber and Lyft. A person familiar with the matter told Reuters that BMW has bought out its partner, German car rental company Sixt, from its joint venture that had backed the DriveNow car-sharing unit. The two automakers are talking about a new JV that would offer car sharing, ride-hailing, electric vehicle charging, and digital parking services. Daimler’s Car2Go has had a strong presence in Europe and the U.S., and DriveNow has been growing in these regions. Ride-hailing itself is expected to be a $285 billion segment by 2030 once self-driving ride-hailing services are in place, according to Goldman Sachs. A senior executive at one of the two German carmakers who declined to be named said the new JV “will create an ecosystem which can also be used for managing robotaxi fleets.”

California increasing EV goal and incentives:  California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed an executive order “to curb carbon pollution from cars and trucks and boost the number of zero-emission vehicles driven in California.” Brown’s plan had previously been to have 1.5 million zero emission vehicles on California roads by 2025; the governor now wants to see at least five million ZEVs in the state by 2030. That will be supported by a $2.5 billion plan, with much of that going to buyer rebates and the charging infrastructure.

Winners named for Green SUV, Luxury Car, and Connected Green Car:  Three automakers were handed green vehicle awards last week during the Washington Auto Show. The Kia Niro took Green Car Journal’s Green SUV of the Year. The small crossover initially debuted in a hybrid with 52 city and 49 highway mpg; a plug-in hybrid with 105 MPGe; and an all-electric version displayed earlier in the month at the Consumer Electronic Show with a production version expected to come out later this year. The Karma Revero was named Green Luxury Car of the Year. It has an aluminum spaceframe and powered by an electric drivetrain using two electric motors. It also comes with a solar roof to supply some of the recharging, and more of it through an onboard engine-generator. The Cadillac CT6 Plug-in Hybrid won the Connected Green Car of the Year category. The General Motors’ division flagship sedan travels up to 31 miles on battery power with an overall range of 430 miles and offers a high level of luxury and performance. It took the award category for its connectivity, driver assist systems, and on-board electronics.

Winners of Global Cleantech ranking:  Fifteen transportation companies made it to the prestigious 2018 Global Cleantech 100, produced by Cleantech Group. The Global Cleantech is based on recognizing the most innovative and promising ideas impacting the future from a wide range of industries. As for the transportation, here are the 15 that made the list:

Bla Bla Car – French carpooling online marketplace
Chargepoint – one of the world’s largest electric vehicle charging station suppliers.
Didi – Chinese ride-hailing company
eMotor Works – Developer of software and hardware to turn EV chargers into networked nodes of a cloud-connected, grid services platform
Gogoro – Developer of electric scooters and the necessary battery swapping infrastructure for their use
Lilium – Developer of a battery-powered, fan-propelled vertical takeoff and landing commuter aircraft
Lyft – one of the world’s largest ride-hailing companies
Moovit – An Israeli developer of a mobile app that aggregates real-time public transportation data
Nauto – is building a data platform for autonomous mobility that makes driving safer and fleets smarter.
Navya – French developer of a self driving electric vehicle capable of carrying up to 15 passengers
Nutonomy – a developer of autonomous car software
Otonomo – a developer of software to connect autonomous cars with each other and with digital infrastructures and exchange data in real time
Peloton – a developer of vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems for truck fleets
Proterra – an innovator in heavy-duty electric transportation, primarily electric buses
Visedo – a Finland-based manufacturer of heavy-duty hybrid and electrical drive trains

 

New compensation for Musk based on huge expectations for Model 3 sales, Be realistic about investing in cryptocurrency

Musk’s performance compensation:  Tesla, Inc., has announced a new compensation package for CEO Elon Musk this week based entirely on performance — and expectations that the company’s market valuation will be more than 10 times larger than it is today. The company announced that it has started a 10-year CEO performance package based entirely on the automaker’s market cap growing from the current level of $50 billion to more than $650 billion over the next decade. A similar program had been enacted in 2012, with Musk more than hitting the mark. A few market analysts at Seeking Alpha, and news media reports, have been waiving the flag about how realistic the company’s assessment of where it stands with Model 3 production, which will play a very large role in how the company is valued and whether Musk’s new compensation package will work.

Fuel economy standards coming up:  The federal government’s re-examination of fuel economy standards will be strictly based on scientific data gathering and analysis, said William Wehrum, EPA assistant administrator of air and radiation in a speech at the Washington Auto Show. A deadline of April 1 is coming up for review of the fuel economy and emissions standards, which has been a hot topic during transition over at the White House. The EPA has been working to leave behind prior research methods and instead adopt more real-world conditions in an objective, fact-based methodology.

RNG growing in sales:  Clean Energy Fuels Corp. said that sales of it Redeem renewable natural gas (RNG) fuel offering grew by 32% in 2017, from 60 million gallons in 2016 to 79 million gallons in 2017. The 2017 volume from Clean Energy represents over half of the overall United States RNG production as reported by the Environmental Protection Agency through December, the company said.

Watching cryptocurrency:  Starting up a cleantech, clean transportation company and looking for some seed money? Bitcoin and other cryptocurrency has grabbed a great deal of interest in recent months in energy, automotive, technology, and other industries as a viable and growing source of capital. It’s based on a technology called blockchain, which keeps a database of every transaction and uses universal cryptocurrency as the commodity. Navigant Research just sent out a warning after studying date from CoinSchedule.com showing that 325 initial coin offering events last year raised $3.7 billon that is still being examined by the Securities and Exchange Commission on how to regulate this new currency. There’s also the fraud side of the business with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission recently filing complaints.

Stay on the lookout, warns Navigant Research: “The answer is that a yawning gap exists between announcing a project and treating the underlying technology seriously, just as there is a gap between announcing an initial coin offering (ICO) and having a real and sustainable product. Projects like this only help blockchain progress if the companies behind the announcements have a legitimate purpose beyond capitalizing on the world’s blockchain fever.”

Via Motors forges alliance with Geely for electric trucks, NYC may enact congestion fees

Via and Geely forge agreement:  Via Motors and Zhejiang Geely will be launching plug-in hybrids and all-electric commercial vehicles, starting with a medium-duty extended range electric truck. Via Motors now has an agreement with China-based Zhejiang Geely New Energy Vehicle Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Zhejiang Geely Commercial Vehicle Group. Geely is one of the largest automakers in China. The joint venture will tap into Via’s proprietary vehicle software and systems control technology “to meet the demanding duty cycle and performance requirements of commercial vehicles,” said Nathan Yu Ning of Zhejiang Geely Holding.

Cutting down cost of hydrogen:  Southern California Gas Co. is part of a partnership development team converting natural gas to hydrogen, carbon fiber, and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) to reduce the cost of hydrogen production. The partnership, which is being led by C4-MCP, LLC, a Santa Monica, Calif.-based technology business, will analyze offsetting hydrogen’s net costs with the sales of carbon fiber and CNTs. The U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and West Virginia University will be part of the federally funded project. It will create hydrogen for fuel cell vehicles, along with carbon fiber applications such as what’s being used in medical devices and building products. The technology is also credited with nearly eliminating carbon emissions from the methane-to-hydrogen process.

Waymo going to Atlanta:  Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving unit is adding another city to its testing roster, Atlanta. The company will run its Chrysler Pacifica minivans, but didn’t offer more details. The company began mapping downtown Atlanta last week for its test runs. Waymo has already tested ints autonomous minivans in 24 cities across the U.S. Most of its testing is taking place in Phoenix, Mountain View, Calif., Austin, Detroit, and Kirkland, Wash.

NYC may enact congestion fees:  New York City is preparing to become the first U.S. city to adopt charges for traffic congestion and air pollution from its crowded streets. The state’s “Fix NYC” task force could create an $11.52 charge for passenger vehicles, $25.34 for commercial vehicles, and between $2 and $4 per trip for taxis and ride-hailing companies. The price zone would cover Manhattan south of 60th street, and free entrance into Manhattan for drivers crossing all but two of the city-owned East River bridges. New York City would be joining other metros like London, Milan, Stockholm, and Singapore that have enacted similar charges. China is taking similar actions to address thick traffic congestion and severe air pollution. Manhattan is known for some of the worst traffic in the nation, with average speed in the Midtown area estimated to be at 4.7 miles per hour.

 

Infiniti and Porsche committing to electrified vehicles, Bollinger Motors setting up shop in Detroit

Infiniti and Porsche electrifying offerings:  Product announcements last week from Nissan’s Infiniti luxury brand and Volkswagens’ Porsche division tap into consumer interest in electric luxury, performance cars and compliance with increasing government mandates. Infiniti aims to become the premier electrified brand in a five-year plan that will extend through 2022, said Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa. These new Infiniti models will either be all-electric or will use its “e-power” hybrid system. Infiniti said it will introduce its first all-electric vehicle in 2021. The luxury brand expects that more than half of its global vehicle sales will be electric vehicles by 2025. Half of all Porsche models will have some form of electrification by 2023, said North American CEO Klaus Zellmer last week while speaking at the annual Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. The product lineup will include model offerings that may include hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or battery electric drivetrains. It will include the Mission E all-electric performance car, which is slated to come out next year. While the sales success of the Tesla Model S and Model X have had their influence, Volvo is playing a role in the luxury/near-luxury market. In July 2017, the company announced that it will be electrifying all of its new vehicle offerings starting in 2019. Five all-electric models will come out between 2019 and 2021, three under the Volvo brand, and two under Polestar. Volvo Cars will also be tapping into an innovative subscription service to bolster sales support for its new Polestar performance electric brand.

Hedge fund for EV technology:  A UK-based investor is setting up a hedge fund backing companies offering products and services in electrified transportation. Will Smith, a former partner at CQS U.K., is starting the Westbeck Electric Metals Fund that’s expiated to start trading next month and raise about $250 million, according to Bloomberg News. Major automakers are looking into alternative funding sources to secure needed resources such as metals needed to produce electric car batteries. The fund is looking at investing in more than 200 companies, and has tapped into a former CEO of a lithium company as an adviser.

Motor City getting more EV plants:  Electric vehicle truck maker Bollinger Motors said it has plans move its operations from upstate New York to Detroit. Company founder Robert Bollinger visited sites in Detroit during last week’s auto show. Originally looking at property along the I-75 corridor, he decided moving inside the city would be a better move. One advantage would be locating closer to where “the talent” lives, as well as suppliers. Bollinger Motors, which unveiled its battery electric sport-utility/truck last year, will need a facility somewhere between 15,000 to 20,000 square feet to set up the assembly plant. One other EV makers has already chosen Detroit for its headquarters. The Detroit Electric Co., named after one of the original electric car manufacturers that closed its shutters during the Great Depression, has committed to set up a factory capable of producing about 2,500 vehicles each year.

Feds in talks with California on fuel economy rules, On-demand mobility a very tough business to succeed in

Feds changing fuel economy rules:  Federal efforts to coordinate fuel economy
standards between its departments and with the state of California will be clarified in weeks ahead. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Acting Administrator Heidi King said Tuesday at the Detroit auto show that a proposal would be released on March 30 with new fuel economy standards for light duty vehicles. President Donald Trump last year reinstated a review of NHTSA and Environmental Protection Agency rules for fuel economy and emissions to cover model years 2022 through 2025, which was part of his campaign to cut federal regulations. News of more talks between California and the Trump administration also came out this week. California Air Resources Board will be meeting in Washington this month with federal officials in an effort to reach agreement on phase two revisions that could sort out differences and avoid legal battles between automakers, the White House, and California.

Infiniti electrifying most of its upcoming cars:  Infiniti is joining Volvo and other near-luxury and luxury brands by electrifying its fleet by 2021 (with the exception of a few large SUVs). For these models, the company isn’t specifying whether it will include hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and batter electric vehicles in the electrified lineup. It will include BEVs that will have at least 200 miles of range, according to Infiniti and Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa. That range would be slightly farther than the new Leaf can go from parent company Nissan. “We are trying to position Infiniti as the premier electrified brand” as part of the five-year plan that will extend through 2022, he said.

On-demand mobility a very tough business to succeed in:  Another sad tale is being told in the less-than-a-decade old business of on-demand mobility. See Jane Go, a ride-hailing app for women riders transported by women drivers, closed its shutters on Tuesday, January 9.

“As a young start-up, we have been unable to secure the necessary capital funding to continue our operations,” wrote CEO Cassandra Miller in a note posted on Facebook. “I know discontinuing our service will be a significant loss for many that we serve.”

The service was created by Laguna Niguel, Calif., residents Savannah Jordan and her father, William Jordan, in 2016 to offer women a safer alternative in the ride-hailing market.

Just as Facebook has inspired hundreds of social networking startups targeted to special interests, mobility services are seeing a wave of specialized services emerge. You can have your kids picked up and taken home after their music lesson. Someone else can do all your grocery shopping that will be delivered to your front door or kitchen. Meals can be delivered quickly and cheaply to you at home, work, or a social gathering. Then there’s always the Uber and Lyft model of having convenient, quick, affordable rides – taking away the hassles of being stuck behind the wheel in traffic and having to find a parking space.

Ride-hailing giant Uber has been the Facebook of mobility, following its beta launch in 2010 and San Francisco rides starting up in 2011. The past year has been a near-death experience for Uber, with newly hired CEO Dara Khosrowshahi now expected to revive the company.

Navigant Research recently published an analysis piece comparing the challenge Netflix faces competing with Disney to what companies like Uber and Lyft face compared to global automakers. Netflix is burning through a great deal of cash in creating its own catalogue of films and TV series to compete. Uber faces competition from companies like General Motors, Volkswagen, Daimler, and Ford, which are starting up and acquiring their own mobility service business units.

Green Auto Market Extended Edition subscribers this week can view a study on where 10 leading mobility companies stand with investors in the number of funding rounds and total funding amount raised so far. Companies reviewed include Airbnb, Didi Chuxing, DoorDash, Gett, GrubHub, HopSkipDrive, Instacart, Lyft, Postmates, and Uber.

Automakers spending $90 billion on electrification, Ford issues anniversary edition of Bullitt’s Mustang

$90 billion on EVs:  Ford Motor Co. on Sunday said it’s more than doubling its investment in vehicle electrification to $11 billion. It will be part of $90 billion that global automakers have committed to spending on electric vehicles, and that total is still growing. That will include at least $19 billion by automakers in the U.S., $21 billion in China, and $52 billion in Germany, according to a Reuters analysis. U.S. and German automakers said in interviews at the Detroit auto show that most of the investments are earmarked for China, where escalating EV quotes will be staring in 2019. Ford executives just announced that 40 electrified vehicles will be launched by the company by 2022 – 16 battery electric and 24 will be hybrid or plug-in hybrid.

Autonomous vehicle federal guidelines:  New federal guidelines will be introduced this summer, expanded to include autonomous trucking, infrastructure, transit, and other industries affected by self-driving vehicle technology. Transportation Secretary revealed the DOT’s plans during a Sunday speech prior to the start of the 2018 Detroit auto show. The Obama administration’s Safety Assessment Letters have been kept in place, asking automakers and tech companies to release information on testing their autonomous vehicles. Chao sees General Motors’ recent announcement launching a robotaxi fleet next year as being possibly viable. “With the rapid advancement of the self driving technology, this request is now a reality. We will view the petition carefully and responsibly,” she said.

50th anniversary of Bullitt’s Mustang:  Ford Motor Co. has launched a 50th anniversary edition version of the Ford Mustang in tribute to the most famous car chase scene ever. In the 1968 film “Bullitt,” San Francisco Police Department Lieutenant Frank Bullitt spots two mob hitmen in a 1968 Dodge Charger tailing him in his 1968 Ford Mustang GT. He ends up turning the table on the hitmen, and pursues them on a high-speed chase through the streets of San Francisco, as the muscle cars leap over hills. It ends with the Mustang forcing the Charger off the road and into a gas station, where it explodes in a fireball.

Bullitt star Steve McQueen’s granddaughter Molly appears in a short movie tribute that was introduced at the Detroit auto show. Molly drives her new third-generation Mustang through a parking structure, battling two men in a Dodge Charger for the final space. Molly guns the Bullitt to win the space with its upgraded 5.0-liter V8 engine that can go up to 475 horsepower and 420 lb-ft. of torque. It can reach a top speed of 163 mpg, an 8 mph increase over the latest Mustang GT.

She also gets to sit in the actual 1968 Ford Mustang GT that her grandfather drove. It was one of two versions of the Mustang used in the film. The stunt double version had been recovered in early 2017 in Baja, Calif. The other version that had been driven by the actor recently showed up again for the first time in nearly 50 years. Owner Sean Kiernan had inherited McQueen’s Mustang in 2014 from his late father, Robert, who had purchased it in 1974. Kiernan contacted the automaker in time for it to be shown alongside the 2019 Mustang Bullitt at the 2018 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.