Monthly Archives: August 2018

California and Trump administration officials meet on clean car rules, AltCar coming up in October

Fuel economy and emissions rule:  California clean air regulators met with Trump administration officials on Wednesday to work on resolving their conflict over clean vehicle emissions and mileage standards. The Trump administration had set off protests and lawsuit filings with its Safer and Affordable Fuel Efficient Vehicles rule that would freeze the mpg and emissions rules at 2020 levels through 2026. It would also take away California’s power to set state emissions rules — which is being followed by a dozen other states and the District of Columbia. Officials said they agreed to hold future meetings to work out the national fuel economy and greenhouse gas emission standards. California Air Resources Board chair Mary Nichols last month told Reuters that she sees a “window” to making a deal this fall.

NIO going public:  Chinese electric-vehicle maker and Tesla-rival NIO Inc. launched a U.S. stock sale that could raise up to $1.32 billion and bring its market valuation up to about $8.5 billion. That would happen before the startup has generated any substantial revenue. The Shanghai-based company is planning to list on New York Stock Exchange in about two weeks.

Lyft also going public:  Lyft has started the process for an initial public offering in an effort to beat Uber to the public markets, sources said. The ride-hailing firm has hired IPO adviser Class V Group LLC to guide Lyft management, said people familiar with the discussions who asked not to be identified. Banks will be pitched as financial backers as soon as September with the listing targeted for March or April. In another story, Toyota Motor Corp. announced a $500 million investment in Uber to jointly develop autonomous vehicle technology. The ride-hailing giant will integrate Toyota’s Guardian autonomous technology into Toyota Siennas for use in Uber’s ride-hailing network.

AltCar Expo coming in October:  The 13th annual AltCar Expo & Conference will be held Oct. 12-13, 2018, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. This year’s conference will focus on California’s trailblazing commitment to alternative technology transportation, infrastructure and energy. “AltCar has become the most nationally respected event for industry, municipalities and general public that showcases the latest products, news and information for alternative technology vehicles and infrastructure,”says California State Senator Fran Pavley.

On Friday, Terry Tamminem, CEO, Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, will make opening remarks. Panel topics include legislative issues, “Current and Ongoing OEM Commitments to Alternative Technology Vehicles,” and “Alternative Technology Transportation – ‘No Turning Back.’” Friday will feature the Industry & Fleet Conference, and the Expo and Ride & Drive is open to industry and the public. Those attending the Friday speaker panels can find an early bird discount here.

 

Hyundai Kona Electric joins 200-mile plus club, CALSTART hosting Drive-to-Zero event on commercial vehicles

New member to 200-mile plus club:  The Hyundai Kona Electric received a rating of 258 miles per charge in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s rating. For MPGe figures, it was given 132 city, 108 highway, and 120 combined. The range rating puts it in a small league with above 200-miles per charge vehicles that includes the Chevy Bolt, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model S, and Tesla Model X. The Kona Electric is powered by a 64 kWh battery that has a 150 kW and 395 Nm electric motor (front-wheel drive), and a top speed of 104 mph. It has 100 kW CCS Combo DC fast charging capability.

Lucid Motors finds $1B investor:  PIF, the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund that may be helping Tesla go private, may also be investing more than $1 billion in Lucid Motors and its high-performance electric models. According to sources familiar with the matter, that would be $500 million at fist and cash injections later based on goals being met. CEO Elon Musk has said that PIF may be investing up to $72 billion in taking Tesla off the stock market into a private company. PIF has already agreed to other investments including $45 billion into a giant fund led by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp. that will be funding several new mobility technologies.

Getaround raising funds:  Car-sharing/car rental firm Getaround is taking on Hertz and Avis with its “peer-to-peer car-sharing model. It’s been enough to raise $300 million from an investment round led by SoftBank. The car rental company has raised $400 million since its founding, with Toyota having previously made an early investment in the startup. Using the Getaround app, users can search for cars parked near them to choose one for a ride. The account is set up with the customer’s drivers license and credit card, and the app allows the user to unlock the door from their phone. These cars will be provided by other car owners who join the Getaround network and want to make side income off their car when they’re not using it.

Ford recalling some electric models:  Ford is recalling the charging cords for more than 50,000 of its plug-in hybrid and battery electric cars sold in North America since they could cause fires in electrical outlets. The 120-volt charging chords came with certain 2012 through 2015 Focus all-electric cars and some 2013 through 2015 Fusion Energi and C-Max Energi plug-in hybrids. Ford reported that four fires had started in C-Max vehicles, but there no injuries. In three of the fires, owners had been using their own extension cord, which Ford had warned against doing. The fourth fire was inconclusive and Ford said it does not believe the fire was related to the cord. Dealers will be getting new cords for Ford owners to replace the first version; the new cords can sense high temperatures and shut off charging if necessary. Letters will be going out to owners starting next week.

CALSTART event next month:  CALSTART will host the “Global Commercial Vehicle Drive-to-Zero” workshop on Sept. 11 at the Bay Area Metro Center in San Francisco. CALSTART will launch a new seven-year program during the event aimed at dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 with a focus on global medium- and heavy-duty vehicle markets. It’s an affiliate event for the U.N. Foundation’s Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) supporting the Paris Agreement. Under contract with the California Air Resources Board (CARB), CALSTART has done an extensive analysis, validated by global OEMs, and identified which segments of the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle market could most rapidly transition to zero- and near-zero emission technology. The event next month will kick-off a multi-year partnership between CALSTART and those who share the vision of making commercial zero emission vehicles widespread by 2025. Visit this page to register.

SEC investigates legality of Tesla’s moves to go private, Electrify America ads say EVs taking personal mobility out of Stone Age

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.

 

States battling Trump’s fuel economy cut, CAR Management Briefing Seminar highlights

The Trump administration’s proposal to cap federal fuel economy rules at 35 mpg, instead of the original level around 50 mpg by 2025, has set off opposition from state governors and other leading stakeholders. California and 18 other states promised yesterday to fight Trump’s proposal to weaken fuel efficiency and emissions standards — and California will use every legal tool to fight back. Gov. Jerry Brown pledged to, “fight this stupidity in every conceivable way possible.”

“This is a huge setback for the industry, especially suppliers that create two thirds of all U.S. auto-related jobs. Automotive suppliers are making billion-dollars bets in high-efficiency vehicle technology. Today’s announcement is likely to provoke a long battle in the courts and create a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Meanwhile, suppliers in other countries will be racing ahead to help the rest of the world meet their obligations under the global climate accord,” said John Boesel, CEO of CALSTART.

Plug In America will be joining a lawsuit to defend the electric vehicle from the “devastating effects this proposal will have — not just on the EV market, but on clean air, national security, public health and the global climate.”

 

Center for Automotive Research (CAR) Management Briefing Seminars, held July 30-Aug. 2 at Traverse City, Mich.

Trade delegates from Canada and Mexico made the case for their countries not being enemies of the state. Stalled out North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations, newly imposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, and the Trump administration’s investigation into whether auto imports are a threat to U.S. security, have backed Canada and Mexico into a corner and derailed the NAFTA alliance.

Nissan is in a collaboration with NASA to develop what is billed as the “world’s safest traffic control system,” to get autonomous vehicles through busy intersections where humans and vehicles confusingly mix, or through pop-up construction zones where how to proceed may be unclear. Nissan has been emphasizing the human element. Informing Nissan’s traffic-control system is NASA’s Mars Control center and the U.S. Federal Aviation Admin. air-traffic control system.

Auto supplier Continental has been using the CAR seminars to showcase its latest biometrics technology, which lets drivers unlock and start their car with their face, fingerprint or voice commands — just like the newest cellphone. Continental’s tech is meant to provide an extra layer of safety for drivers and passengers. For example, someone would need to scan their fingerprint on a particular button or speak a password through a voice recognition system to start the car, even when they have a working key.

Toyota showed off the latest version of its hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered Class 8 commercial test truck. It’s an improved version of Toyota’s first Project Portal vehicle which began operation in April 2017 and has logged 10,000 miles (16,000 km) of real-world testing.

 

Oregon protects itself against a lawsuit attempting to block clean vehicle incentives: 

The Oregon supreme court ruled against a lawsuit filed by AAA Oregon/Idaho and the Oregon Trucking Association that challenged the state’s proposed funding mechanism for the electric vehicle (EV) rebate program. The state supreme court’s rulig againt the lawsuit allows the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program to move forward. The program offers two rebates — a rebate of up to $2,500 for the purchase or lease of any new electric or plug-in hybrid car with a base MSRP of $50,000 or less. The second rebate provides up to $2,500 to lower-income drivers and can be combined to provide $5,000 towards a new vehicle, or applied to a used electric car.