Monthly Archives: January 2018

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.

GM wants to start robotaxi service in 2019, Study looks at cost of fueling gasoline-powered cars versus electric

GM asks for approval of electric, autonomous rides by 2019:  General Motors could be launching public ride-hailing services in autonomous vehicles as early as next year, according to a petition filed with NHTSA. GM has asked for a Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards waiver on 16 rules covering vehicles with human drivers but that don’t apply to self-driving cars. If granted, GM could launch as many as 2,500 autonomous vehicles a year starting in 2019. The automaker described the “Cruise AV” self-driving vehicle in the filing, which is based on the Chevy Bolt and includes fourth-generation AV technology from its Cruise Automation subsidiary. It includes five Lidars, 16 cameras, and 21 radars for safety and functional, efficient driving. GM says its would be a type of robotaxi providing ride-hailing services. GM’s Maven carsharing division and its investment in Lyft could provide channels for bringing these electric, autonomous rides to customers.

Federal report on fuel economy:  A federal government report said that 2016 model year vehicles hit a record 24.7 miles per gallon, just 0.1 mpg increase, according to the Environmental Protection Agency . It’s projected to reach 25.2 mpg for the 2017 model year, the study said. The increase for the 2016 model year came with a few automakers buying credits to meet federal requirements. Volvo and Jaguar Land Rover have emission deficits but still have three years to reach the compliance level. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had the biggest deficit but had credits saved up to meet the federal requirements. Dan Becker, director of the Safe Climate Campaign, said that the 2016 fuel economy improvement fell far short of the 1 mpg target that the Obama-era rules called for and that vehicle technology is available for vehicles to meet the standard.

Gasoline Vs. electric:  Michael Sivak and Brandon Schoettle of the University of Michigan’s Sustainable Worldwide Transportation just authored a study comparing the costs of driving electric and gasoline-powered vehicles in the U.S. overall and by individual states. The fueling cost for charging electric vehicles is only half the cost of internal combustion engine vehicles, according to findings. The study found that the average fuel cost for operating a typical new gasoline-engine vehicle in the U.S. is $1,117, with a maximum of $1,509 in Hawaii and a minimum of $993 in Alabama. The current average annual cost of driving a typical new battery electric vehicle in the United States is $485, with a maximum of $1,106 in Hawaii and a minimum of $367 in Louisiana.

 

ACT Expo themes announced, VW creates e-mobility division

Core themes announced for ACT Expo:  Organizers of the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo announced the core themes for this year’s event, to be held April 30-May 3 at the Long Beach Convention Center. The six core agenda themes planned for the 2018 ACT Expo are: trucking efficiency for reducing the cost burdens of a trucking fleet; connected vehicle technologies; commercial electric vehicles; alternative fuels; urban mobility through congested, polluted cities; and goods movement. Keynote speakers and panelists will explore issues such as fuel efficiency improvement strategies and drivetrain electrification will be key focal points, set against the backdrop of increased use of alternative fuels, innovative powertrain solutions and economic and environmental fleet sustainability. The ACT Expo show floor will give attendees hands-on access to the wide range of advanced clean transportation solutions available.

BYD SkyRail:  BYD has launched an autonomous driving system for its monorail – BYD SkyRail in the city of Yinchuan in northwest China. The system, a BYD creation, is combined with Huawei’s proprietary 4.5G eLTE technology to offer seamless connectivity that allows data to be transmitted securely, while ensuring a safe ride for passengers. It signifies an upgrade for the SkyRail which was first made public in October 2016. At level 4, the vehicle is now fully autonomous and capable of performing safety critical driving functions.

Ford accused of cheating on emissions report:  Ford’s F-250 and F-350 Super Duty diesel pickups sold from 2011 to 2017 are releasing emissions as much as 50 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide pollutants, according to a lawsuit filed by drivers. This took place after Ford rigged at least 500,000 of the pickup trucks to cheat on emissions test, according to the suit. German supplier Robert Bosch GmbH has also been named in the suit. Bosch has been accused to covering up the actual emissions while working with partner Ford Motor Co. “The vehicle’s own on-board diagnostic software indicates emission control system to be operating as Ford intended, even though its real world performance grossly exceeds the standard,” attorney Steve Berman, a managing partner at Hagens Berman, said in the complaint.

VW e-mobility division:  Volkswagen announced that it’s creating an e-mobility division that will be part of the company becoming the leader in mass-production electric vehicles. Thomas Ulbrich will head the new division as he moves over after having been the brand’s production chief. The German automaker has named five core electric vehicle models as the first wave in its ambitious EV strategy. The I.D. hatchback will go on sale in Europe in 2020. The I.D. Crozz crossover will start sales in the U.S. the same year. The MEB platform will also be used by VW’s Audi, Seat, and Skoda brands.

Feds working with CARB on clean vehicle rules, Ford and Postmates testing self-driving deliveries

Working out fuel economy and emissions rules:  Federal officials met last month with California Air Resources Board members to work out differences in fuel economy and emissions standards. On Dec. 15, William Wehrum, head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Air and Radiation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration deputy chief Heidi King, and Mike Catanzaro, a senior White House aide, discussed goals with CARB officials on maintaining one set of national requirements for automakers in the cars they sell, according to Automotive News. Automakers have been asking the Trump administration to be lenient on fuel economy standards based on the realities of new vehicles being sold with gasoline prices staying low and consumers being more interested in trucks and SUVs. California has taken a more independent, stringent tactic on its zero emissions rules. “We’ve had productive conversations under way with CARB and I would hope those conversations continue to be productive,” Wehrum said. “I think a shared goal is to maintain one national program.”

AeroVironment’s TurboDX chargers:  AeroVironment introduced TurboDX, the company’s next-generation EV charging station for commercial, workplace, utility and residential customers around the world, during CES 2018 in Las Vegas. TurboDX includes 120 and 240 volt charging in a durable, reliable, fast, and safe solution adaptable to a wide range of users’ needs. It’s been certified by Underwriters Laboratory to North American UL Standards for safety and reliability. European variants are certified to IEC standards and bear the CE Mark. Chinese configurations have met CQC certification. An OEM-branded version of the TurboDX has begun manufacturing in China and will ship to customers starting this month.

Hydrogen stations in Japan:  A consortium of 11 companies have signed an agreement to scale up deployment of hydrogen stations and fuel cell vehicles in Japan. A new company will be started up in the spring of 2018 to develop refueling stations. The list includes Toyota, Nissan, Honda, financial institutions, and oil and energy companies including Air Liquide Japan. One of the targets will be to have 160 stations in place fueling 40,000 fuel cell vehicles by 2020.

Ford testing self-driving deliveries with Postmates:  During CES 2018 in Las Vegas, Ford Motor Co. announced a test project being conducted with the Postmates delivery service. City dwellers and workers can tap into the convenience of having deliveries made through a quick and easy process on their mobile device. It will support future efforts to deliver meals and store purchases to consumers though self-driving vehicles. Both the merchants and the consumers’ experiences will be explored during the test project.

In late August, Ford began placing a self-driving test car through a trial project with Domino’s Pizza. Domino’s Pizza employees carried out pizzas for delivery in a Ford Fusion Hybrid Autonomous Research Vehicle in an Ann Arbor, Mich., test project. Users were able to track the delivery through Domino’s Tracker mobile app.

Ford safety engineers and a few other researchers went on these delivery rounds to make sure it was being carried out safely and accurately. Consumer opinions about the Domino’s ordering and delivery experience were also tapped into.

Postmates is distinct in the market for delivering just about anything – fast food, restaurant meals, groceries, and hardware store items. Much larger companies, such as Amazon, and exploring deliveries and forging their own alliances in all these areas.

Last year, Uber created an alliance with McDonald’s to bring Happy Meals and other menu offerings to those who order it. Automakers see huge potential in forging alliances with technology companies and mobility services like Lyft. Consumers and employers are showing high demand for specialized mobility services that remain fast, efficient, and affordable. It’s much better than being stuck in traffic and looking endlessly for a place to park.