Study says China will lead global mobility market, Looking at real range for electrified vehicles

China will lead electrified mobility market:  China will drive the global market forward for mobility services, according to a new study by IHS Markit, Reinventing the Wheel: Mobility and Energy Future. Much of that will come from being by far the largest auto sales market in the world, with the consulting firm forecasting 28 million new vehicles to be sold there next year versus 17.1 million in the second largest global market, the U.S. Didi Chuxing is leading the way in that market for growth in app-based mobility services, as Uber and Lyft have done in the U.S. Electrified vehicles and development of autonomous vehicle technology will also play a part in China and other markets. China had more than 234,000 new energy vehicles (all-electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles) sold from January through September 2017, compared to over 140,000 unites in the U.S. market.

Robotaxis has become the buzzword among automakers and media on shared autonomous mobility services, and Nissan could be taking a leading role in the new and emerging segment. Nissan will launch a field test in Japan next year, expanding its autonomous vehicle program launched a few years ago and preparing for vehicle production by 2022. It will compete with what’s been started by Waymo this year, and by Lyft in Boston, and Renault in France. Nissan will be working with technology development company DeNA, and will operate the test project near the automaker’s headquarters in Yokohama.

Looking at real range in federal fuel economy report:  One of the more interesting parts of the federal report released last week, the 2018 Fuel Economy Guide, focuses on the range rating given by the Environmental Protection Agency. Here are the leaders in battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, along with the three commercial market fuel cel vehicles:

BEVs:
Tesla Model 3 (long range edition): 310 miles
Tesla Model S (AWD – 90D): 294 miles
Chevy Bolt: 238 miles
Tesla Model X (AWD – 75D): 238 miles
BYD e6: 187 miles

PHEVs: (total range from battery and gasoline engine combined)
Toyota Prius Prime: 640 miles
Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in Hybrid: 630 miles total range
Kia Optima Plug-in Hybrid: 610 miles
Ford Fusion Energi Plug-in Hybrid: 610 miles
Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid: 590 miles
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid: 570 miles
Chevy Volt: 420 miles
Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid: 340 miles

Fuel cell vehicle range:
Honda Clarity: 366 miles
Toyota Mirai: 312 miles
Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell: 265 miles

Driving range has been a critical issue for these vehicles, especially BEVs. It’s been less of a concern in other countries where short trips and use of other transportation modes is common. Drivers in the U.S. are more dependent on vehicles with a driving range of 300 or more miles in between fuel station stops or charging sessions.

Ford outlines China strategy, Comments on EPA biofuels decision

Newsworthy:   Ford Motor Co. outlined the next phase of its expansion in China yesterday, with 50 new Ford and Lincoln models going to that market by 2025. There will be at last 15 new electric vehicles under these brands, and the separate Zotye-Ford joint venture will offer a range of affordable all-electric vehicles under a new brand. Sport utility vehicles will be emphasized, with eight new utility vehicles being rolled out under the 50-vehicle launch. Connectivity will play a greater role, with all Ford and Lincoln vehicles in China connected through either embedded modems or plug-in devices by the end of 2019. As for autonomous vehicles, Ford will tap into its board member presence of Chinese company Baidu’s Project Apollo. The Apollo Open Platform will facilitate the development, testing, and deployment of autonomous vehicles, the company said………… Electric bus manufacturer Proterra announced yesterday that Yosemite National Park will add two Proterra Catalyst buses to its fleet. It will be the first U.S. National Park to permanently add zero-emission buses to its shuttle fleet, offering its visitors a modern, ecologically-friendly transportation option, Proterra said. Beginning service in late 2018, the Catalyst buses are expected annually to reduce 887,000 lbs. of greenhouse gas emissions and save approximately $150,500 on maintenance and operating costs for the national park………… Volkswagen AG’s Moia mobility service division yesterday unveiled a six-seater, all-electric minibus that will be deployed in Hamburg during the second half of 2018. The EV will be rolling out globally after the launch, Ole Harms, chief executive of the division, said on Monday at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in Berlin. Harms expects services using Moia minibuses to replace 1 million cars across European and U.S. cities by 2025. It will start with 200 units and will scale up to about 1,000 in the following years; drivers of the electric minibus will be offered by Moia, as well as the service being offered to fleet operators and municipalities, he said.

Next phase of biofuels:  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement on Thursday on the Renewable Fuel Standard volumes brings to an end a long-awaited and embattled regulatory question for biofuel producers and advocates and the oil industry. Here are a few details on the decision:
*  2018 targets require fuel companies to blend 19.29 billion gallons of renewable fuels into the nation’s gasoline and diesel supply, up slightly from the 19.28 billion gallons required for 2017. That breaks down to 15 billion gallons of conventional biofuels like corn-based ethanol, in line with 2017, and 4.29 billion gallons of advanced biofuels, up from 4.28 billion in 2017. For 2019, the agency set a target for biodiesel at 2.1 billion gallons, unchanged from 2018.
*  “Maintaining the renewable fuel standard at current levels ensures stability in the marketplace and follows through with my commitment to … upholding the rule of law,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a press release.
*  “We think this action is bad for U.S. manufacturing and American consumers,” said Chet Thompson, president and CEO of American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers. He said the EPA’s final decision showed it was “bowing the knee to King Corn.”
Biofuels groups such as Renewal Fuels Association praised the decision.
*  National Biodiesel Board and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa were disappointed to see an increase in biodiesel levels not included in the new rule.
*  Clean Energy Fuels was pleased to see that renewable natural gas was included as an advanced renewable fuel. “Last week the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) upheld its commitment to the Renewable Fuel Standard, and particularly renewable natural gas (RNG), thereby giving the market a clear sign of confidence which will result in its continued growth. This action sent a very positive message to those who produce, sell and consume RNG,” said Clean Energy Fuels President and CEO Andrew Littlefair.

GM ready to roll out profitable EVs by 2021, Will Elon Musk’s superstardom be enough for Tesla to overcome hurdles?

Newsworthy:  America’s largest automaker is poised to solve the quandary automakers face on making profits building and selling electric vehicles. General Motors CEO Mary Barra yesterday told investors at the Barclays Global Automotive Conference in New York that the company in 2021 will be launching a new, flexible platform for electric vehicle launches that will bring down costs and increase profits. The new EV platform will accommodate multiple sizes and segments, to be sold by different GM brands in the U.S. and China, she said. A new battery system will bring down costs 30% cheaper than the battery pack used in the Chevy Bolt, Barra said. The automaker will be building at least one million EVs a year by 2026, with most going into China to comply with new energy vehicle regulations. Last month, GM said it planned to launch 20 new electric vehicles by 2023, but did not provide details………… Clean Energy Fuels Corp. announced yesterday that Dallas Fort Worth International (DFW) Airport awarded Clean Energy a renewable natural gas (RNG) fueling contract for the airport’s vehicle fleet with its Redeem brand of RNG. The airport sees using the clean fuel as a way to potentially reduce its fleet emissions by about 70%…………… Daimler will be entering the electric bus market by end of 2018 with the beginning of series production of the all-electric Mercedes-Benz Citaro E-CELL. It will use modular lithium ion battery packs that can be tailored to each customer. The company thinks that by 2030, 70% of all newly-registered urban buses will have emissions-free drive systems.

State of the Company:  It’s been a year of mega-celebrity status for Tesla CEO Elon Musk – being recognized more than Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, and Richard Branson combined. He’s been on the cover of Rolling Stone this month, as head of both SpaceX and Tesla, reaching rock star status. People Magazine was interested enough in his breakup with actress Amber Heard, who finalized her divorce from actor Johnny Depp in January. “I was really in love, and it hurt bad,” Musk said.

Musk continues to tease fans over the Thursday night unveiling of the electric semi-truck. The latest tweets have said it will “blow your mind clear out of your skull and into an alternate dimension.”

Reality has kept him out of the alternate dimension, with Tesla just announcing its largest quarterly loss ever and a three-month Model 3 manufacturing delay.

There’s also been an employee lawsuit over the working environment at its Fremont, Calif., production plant. An African-American employee is seeking a class-action lawsuit against the company, where he calls the production floor a “hotbed for racist behavior,” where the suit claims black workers regularly face harassment.

The Tesla chief continues to take on extra projects like the Boring Company digging up an underground train tunnel in Los Angeles, developing the Model Y electric crossover, Autopilot software, and the Buffalo, N.Y.-based solar panel factory – all the while directing SpaceX flights to Mars and working to establish Tesla’s role China.

The company plans to leap five-fold in production by the end of next year — from about 100,000 electric vehicles expected to be produced this year to 500,000 next year. That will be led by the new Tesla Model 3. The upcoming Model Y crossover is expected to also play a key role in the company hitting its second grand target — producing 1 million new vehicles per year starting in 2020.

To get there, Tesla has to make it through a rite of passage on a few pivotal challenges:

  • Achieving profitability for the first time
  • Scaling up production 10 times within three years
  • Opening up more vehicle manufacturing and battery production plants
  • Worker relations as union organizers put on the pressure
  • Establishing a presence in China and Europe

Musk’s superstar status may not be impressive enough to maintain strong relations with major investment bankers. Tesla’s stock price has taken a major hit this year, and investors wonder if the company will need to make another junk-bond offering. Model 3 production and delivery will need to be steady to meet the expectations of most investors, who count on the Model 3, and later on with the Model Y.

 

For Today: Ford and Zotye create JV in China, AutoMobility LA coming up later this month

Ford creating JV with Zotye:  Ford Motor Company and Chinese automaker Zotye signed an agreement to establish Zotye Ford Automobile Co., Ltd., a new 50:50 joint venture that will offer a range of stylish and affordable all-electric vehicles for consumers in China under a new local brand. If it achieves regulatory approval, the new JV will design, build, market and distribute all-electric passenger vehicles for the Chinese market. The Detroit automakers already has JVs in place with Changan Ford Automobile Corporation, Ltd. and Jiangling Motors Corporation. Ford will continue working closely with each of its JV partners to develop and manufacture new energy vehicles to meet rising consumer demand in China during the impending electrification phase of the Chinese auto industry.

SJ Airport bringing in electric buses:  Electric bus maker Proterra announced that the San Jose City Council has approved the purchase of 10 Proterra Catalyst E2 battery-electric transit buses and related charging infrastructure for use at the San Jose International Airport. It marks Proterra’s first airport electric bus deployment in the San Francisco Bay Area. Scheduled to be placed in service in late 2018, the buses will be designed and built in California at Proterra’s Los Angeles County manufacturing facility. “These electric buses can help us significantly reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions, and represent a step towards our aspiration that an electric engine power every shuttle and bus on San Jose’s streets,” said San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo.

AutoMobility LA will kick off LA Auto Show:  AutoMobility LA is bringing together leading technology companies, automakers, designers, entrepreneurs, government officials and more at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Nov. 27-30, 2017. Debut vehicles will be shown right after at the 2017 LA Auto Show, which will be open to the public Dec. 1-10. The AutoMobility LA conference will feature more than 50 thought leaders across several panels, discussions, and keynote addresses. The Top 10 Startups challenge sets ten startups apart from thousands of newcomers, earns them a tremendous amount of media exposure, and places their products/services on AutoMobility LA’s global stage. Automakers are expected to conduct more than 50 world-class debuts at the event. BMW will be making nine debuts during its press conference, including two global debuts. Porsche will launch the global reveal of the Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid Sport Turismo. Green Car Journal will announce the winner of the 2018 Green Car of the Year award. The 2018 nominated models include the Honda Accord, Honda Clarity, Hyundai Ioniq, Nissan Leaf, and Toyota Camry. The announcement will take place at the LA Convention Center on Thursday, Nov. 30, at 8:00 a.m. PST inside the Technology Pavilion.

 

For Today: Tesla preparing to build EVs in China, DOE funding extreme fast charging

Tesla readying for China plant:  Tesla, Inc., yesterday reaffirmed that it’s been in talks with the Chinese government to set up shop in a free trade zone in the Shanghai region – without indicating whether an agreement has been met. Those talks were reported to have been underway earlier this year. Tesla would still have to pay the 25% import fee that it’s had all along in China, but the company would have costs reduced not having to ship the cars into that market. It would also allow Tesla to stay true to its identity of being an independent operator by avoiding the traditional joint venture with a Chinese automaker that Tesla’s competitors have been doing for years. China is becoming more flexible to grow its local EV market and remain No. 1 globally, to clean up air pollution in its growing cities, and to free up the nation from foreign oil imports. The electric carmaker has been moving in this direction in recent years, with CEO Elon Musk thinking that it’s the most significant market in the world for company growth. The company now has a 5% stake from Chinse internet company Tencent Holdings, which should support Tesla’s strategy in that market.

Ethanol beats Big Oil:  President Donald Trump is keeping his campaign promise to ethanol-producing states by backing off proposed biofuel reductions recently announced by the Environmental Protection Agency. In a letter dated Oct. 19, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt said that the agency will keep renewable fuel volume mandates at or above proposed levels, reversing a decision to cut the mandates demanded by oil companies and refineries. It’s a big win for corn-growing states like Iowa, Nebraska, and Illinois, which are economically dependent on demand for corn-based ethanol. Companies such as PBF Energy Inc. and Valero Energy Corp. have been pleading with Trump to revise the costly mandate, and it at first appeared he would be going in that direction.

UK alliance for EV growth:  Automakers are working together in the United Kingdom to better educate car shoppers on the benefits of owning and charging electric vehicles. The Electric Vehicle Experience Center in Milton Keynes, north of London, will feature a multi-brand EV showroom. Sales pitches aren’t allowed, as it will be a showcase for explaining the technology to visitors. Funding participants include BMW, Kia, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Renault, and Volkswagen, along with Chargemaster, a UK-based supplier of charging stations. Chargemaster CEO David Martell said the showroom will be carefully watched, and could be repeated elsewhere in the UK if it works.

LG partners with Qualcomm:  LG Electronics is entering the self-driving car market through an alliance with Qualcomm to jointly research and develop autonomous, connected car technology. The two companies have opened a joint research center in Seoul, with another one slated by open in that city by the end of 2018. The partners will be focusing on fifth-generation wireless communications technology – called 5G – that will deliver data much faster than the current technology. The move supports the three major trends in the auto industry – electrification, autonomous technology, and on-demand mobility services. It will also tie into Qualcomm’s efforts to bring wireless electric vehicle charging as a mainstay to vehicles of the future.

DOE funding extreme fast charging:  The U.S. Energy Department today announced that up to $15 million will be available for research projects on batteries and vehicle electrification technologies to enable growth in fast charging. It includes electrification projects that will support the development and verification of electric drive systems and infrastructure for what it defines as “extreme fast charging” (400-kW). It’s being done through the DOE’s Vehicle Technologies Office (VTO), which funds early-stage, high-risk research to support improved vehicle efficiency, lowers costs, and increases use of secure, domestic energy sources. It’s part of a VTO-funded report that will be released today, where researchers at Idaho National Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory identified technical gaps to bring an extreme fast charging network to the U.S. The full report can be found on the VTO reports and publications page.

For Today: Plug-in vehicle sales up 80% in China, Amazon gets patent for drone EV charger

China EV sales strong:  China is seeing a very strong plug-in electrified vehicle market this year. During September, the market saw 59,000 plug-in vehicle sales, up 80% over September 2016. Year to date, China had 338,000 units sold, up 48% over the first nine months of 2016. Battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles made up 1.8% of new vehicle sales in the market, up from 1.5% a year ago. The top five sellers during September, in rank order, were the BAIC EC-Series, the Zhidou D2 EV, the BYD Song PHEV, BYD Qin PHEV, and Chery eQ. BYD took 19% of the “new energy vehicle” sales for the month, beating former leader BAIC, which had 15% of the share.

Model 3 seeing slower forecast:  Telsa, Inc., will be delivering 100,056 total vehicles in 2017, with 3,005 of them being Model 3s. It will be far from the original goal, which included ramping up to build 5,000 Model 3s per week in December. That forecast comes from investment firm Oppenheimer & Co., which also said that Model 3 manufacturing bottlenecks have been slowing down the original delivery forecast for the new electric car. The research note to Oppenheimer investors came from a New York dinner meeting with Tesla management. Executives reaffirmed that all the needed equipment for Model 3 production has been installed, and that the EVs are moving their way through the production line. Musk dispelled a recent report claiming that large portions of the Model 3 were being built by hand.

Amazon drone chargers:  Amazon has gained a patent that will allow the company to create a drone that can charge electric cars, including EVs that are still in driving mode and need more power to get to a charging station. The patent granted to the tech giant also includes a rooftop docking station that the drone can land on to stay connected with the EV and provide power while it continues the trip. It would mean working directly with automakers to be adaptable to the technology, or making aftermarket modifications. The product isn’t scheduled to be launched anytime soon, but it ties into Amazon’s overall strategy tied to drone delivery services. The company could see demand for the product, with sales of EVs increasing each year.

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: 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.

For Today: China joins other countries in banning fossil-fuel vehicles, Daimler cutting production costs to make EVs more profitable

China joins global trend:  China is becoming one of several countries stopping fossil-fuel powered vehicles on its roads. Xin Guobin, the country’s vice minister of industry and information technology, announced in a speech Saturday that regulators are working on a timeline for phasing out the sales and production of the gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. Norway, France, and the UK, are already going in that direction. Almost 80 percent of the global auto market is heading toward an eventual phase-out of petroleum-powered cars through government incentives and mandates. It’s a big job – with about 695,000 of 84 million new vehicles sold last year being electric; and with about a billon vehicles out on roads across the world now.

Ford Transit Custom PHEV tested in London:  Fleets took a look at the Ford Transit Custom plug-in hybrid van in the Cenex Low Carbon Vehicle 2017 event in Millbrook, UK. Ford will be testing 20 of these vans with fleets over a 12-month trials starting later this year. It will go 31 miles on battery only and 310 miles on electric and its 1.0-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine. It’s supported by the Transport for London agency with the Metropolitan Police and several city-based companies participating in the trial. “Seeing the PHEV Transits on the road is an exciting milestone, and we look forward to teaming up with our London partners and customers to explore how these vans can reduce emissions and operator costs in the city,” said Mark Harvey, Director, urban electrified van program, Ford of Europe.

Daimler cutting costs to make EVs profitable:  Daimler wants to cut production costs 4 billion euros ($4.8 billion) by 2025, and will channel funds into developing and manufacturing electric cars. CEO Dieter Zetsche and Frank Lindenberg, VP of finance and controlling Mercedes-Benz Cars, only expect to see half the profit margins now for EV compared to conventional internal combustion engine vehicles. That could break even, and EVs more price competitive, by 2025. Seeing battery prices come down will be a big part of it. More specifics were given on its electric fleet introductions – by 2022, there will be an electric version of every Mercedes model sold. It will be led by the new EQ electric brand, which Mercedes-Benz is overseeing. The Smart brand will stop selling vehicles with any internal combustion engines in 2020.

 

 

For Today: Renault-Nissan and Dongfeng forge EV venture, Ford and Domino῾s delivering pizzas through self-driving car

Renault, Nissan and Dongfeng forge JV:  The Renault-Nissan Alliance is preparing to enter the world’s largest electric vehicle market through a joint venture with a Chinese partner. The alliance has forged a JV partnership with Dongfeng Motor Group Co. to bring an electric SUV to market by 2019 through eGT New Energy Automotive Co., Ltd., the new company. The three companies have been in alliance for years with a shared factory already in place. It will tie into CEO Carlos Ghohn strategy to maximize economies of scale and become more EV competitive, along with Donfeng’s mission to bring “light, electric, intelligent, interconnected and shared” vehicles to the new energy vehicle market. China is in the process of becoming stricter on subsidies and watching out for another cheating scandal. The government is expected to soon announce a zero emission vehicle mandate similar to California’s. Whatever the government requires, automakers are not backing off China’s booming EV market.

BYD profit declining:  Chinese EV manufacturer BYD reports that its profit margin has slimmed this year since the national government has been cutting back on generous new energy vehicle incentives to consumers and automakers. Increasing market competition is also taking its toll. The company expects its net profits will drop up to 25% during the first nine months of this year, compared to shooting up nearly 79% last year. Vehicle sales fell 14.8 percent to 183,637 units sold during the first half of the year. BYD has been the world’s largest manufacturer of plug-in electrified vehicles over the past two years. As passenger cars decline, the company is benefitting from bringing out more electric buses and trucks – such as what’s being built now at its Lancaster, Calif., plant. “We have seen a sales recovery trend for BYD during the past few months, especially in Q2. In addition, BYD is pushing green public transportation in China and globally,” said Bill Russo, managing director at consultancy Gao Feng Advisory Co.

Ford and Domino’s self-driven pizza deliveries:  Ford Motor Co. and Domino’s Pizza are testing out delivering pizzas in a Ford self-driving car. They’re asking customers what it’s like to receive a pizza through a self-driving vehicle. Over the next few weeks, customers in Ann Arbor, Mich., will have the opportunity to receive their order from a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle. It will be manually-driven by a Ford safety engineer and staffed with researchers. Ford plans to begin producing self-driving vehicles in 2021 and will tap into the data from this test project.