SEC and Tesla: The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s provocative tweet Tuesday about taking the electric-car company private, according to two people familiar with the matter who’ve asked to not be named. SEC enforcement attorneys in the San Francisco office had already been gathering information on the company’s manufacturing goals and sales targets, with Musk’s tweet being added and investigated for its credibility. Tesla’s potential to go private comes during a turbulent period of hard-to-reach production targets for the Model 3. The company’s stock prices have jumped and fallen this week — up after his statement that he’s secured funding for taking the company private, and down 4.8% today to $352.45 as doubt grows over Musk’s company blog post on his goal to buy out shareholders at $420. The SEC said the inquiry is preliminary and won’t necessarily lead to anything more formal such as charges of wrongdoing.
The SEC has shown concerns over another matter regarding Tesla going private. On Wednesday, the SEC sent the company a subpoena regarding Musk’s Monday blog post that Saudi Arabia’s sovereign fund first approached him last year about taking Tesla private last year. Tesla could become one of around 200 investments made by Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s campaign to reduce its oil dependence and diversify its economy. Musk wrote that the country’s Public Investment Fund recently bought an almost 5% stake in Tesla, and were part of his recent tweet that his proposal to go private had “funding secured,” he said. The SEC is now facing new legislation signed this week by President Trump that expands the government’s authority to investigate and potentially block foreign takeovers of domestic companies. The federal government still has authority to examine foreign investments in U.S. companies even when its not a majority stake acquisition. If the Saudi Arabia sovereign fund comes through, it would be the second significant foreign investor in the electric carmaker. China’s Tencent Holdings Ltd. owns almost 5 percent of the company, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Ford and AVs: Ford Motor Co. has outlined the values and practices of its autonomous vehicle (AV) strategy in a new report, “A Matter of Trust.” The 44-page report covers Ford’s goals, philosophy, priorities and technical approach to AV development; and its provides details about its work with Argo, an artificial intelligence company that Ford invested in last year. The two companies have been researching communication between AVs and pedestrians through a partnership with Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Ford and Argo and also conducting pilot programs with Postmates and Domino’s Pizza studying customer interaction with driverless vehicles. Ford is the third company after Waymo and General Motors to release such a report.
BYD in Thailand: BYD has delivered 101 battery electric e6 hatchback cars to Bangkok, with another 1,000 more to come. The agreement with Thailand to export an additional fleet of cars moves BYD to the number one position in the country‟s market for all-electric vehicles. Bangkok‟s new e6 fleet will be utilized as VIP taxis and as part of a car sharing service. With just two hours of charging time, BYD cars are able to travel up to 400 kilometers (248.5 miles).
Bosch eCity Truck: Bosch solution makes electrical powertrains for delivery vehicles cheaper and more efficient. The market potential is huge in its local market — three-fourths of Germany’s commercial vehicles are vans. With its eCityTruck powertrain solutions, the German auto supplier offers “economical solutions for the electrification of light commercial vehicles weighing up to 7.5 tons. These solutions are easy to integrate and facilitate the rapid implementation of vehicle manufacturers’ electrification strategies.”
Electric scooter market: There’s a new mobility competitive battle to gain share with consumers who’d rather pay for a ride than own a car. Bird and Lime are two startups that offer electric scooter rentals in dozens of markets in the U.S. and Europe. These scooter services have Uber and Lyft beat on pricing. For example, in Los Angeles, Uber has a minimum fare of $5.60, while Bird offers just $1 plus $0.015 per minute in LA and other markets. Uber does have a partnership with Bird’s competitor Lime. The report is the first issues of The Rideshare Guy’s Mobility Report.
Ultra-low NGVs: Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) and Food Express, Inc. (FXI) announced the addition of 11 new ultra-low emission natural gas trucks to the FXI fleet. The company, with the assistance of SoCalGas, applied for and received $1.1 million in grant funding for the new trucks which started making deliveries this week. The company has an additional 35 trucks on order. Funding was received from the Prop 1B program administered by the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and the California Hybrid and Zero-Emission Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Program (HVIP).
Electrify America ad campaign: Electrify America, Volkswagen’s company investing in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and promoting the adoption of Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs), has launched its first-ever national advertising campaign leading into the fall television season. The integrated campaign kicks off with national TV broadcast, radio, and a website, www.Plugintothepresent.com. The advertising campaign, “JetStones,” used the theme song from two popular Hanna-Barbera cartoon, “The Jetsons,” and “The Flinstones,” in its TV and radio spots. The idea here is to bring personal transportation out of the Stone Age and into the future. The advertising spot features electric vehicles from six different car manufacturers to showcase a wide variety of EVs available in today’s marketplace.