Monthly Archives: December 2019

What to watch for in 2020, Changes in GAM email distribution list

Here are 10 trends and developments that are bound to have a big impact on clean transportation and other sectors — including the presidential election, European emissions rules, and what’s next for car sharing and autonomous vehicles.

1. No continuation of federal EV tax credit
The federal tax credit for purchasers of electric vehicles is ending for automakers selling the highest volumes and hitting their caps on allowable sales — and it appears that won’t be extended. The cap is at 200,000 units sold by brand of battery electric vehicles with a $7,500 tax credit. Tesla and General Motors have already passed that mark, and just had their pleas for extension ignored by the Trump administration and Congress in the new federal budget. Nissan will be next in line, followed by Ford and BMW. Automakers and EV advocates will need to turn to state incentives. The Top five sales states in EV sales during 2018 — California (about 45 percent of total), New York, Washington, Florida, and Texas — have their own state incentives that will have to be tapped into more.

2. Trump campaign clear about environmental and energy issues
The Trump administration continues to campaign for 2020 re-election, regardless of the president’s impeachment. The odds are that the US Senate, with its Republican majority, will not vote to remove Donald Trump from office — making him the third US president after Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton to be impeached by the House but failing to reach the two thirds (67 votes) needed to be removed from office. Trump says he’s ready to continue on as president, and the Democrats are continuing to wend their way through candidates. For now, Joe Biden is the leading candidate, according to polls taken of regular voters.

As for the policies, Democratic candidates aren’t mentioning specific issues like the EV tax credit or incentives for fleets to acquire alternative fuel vehicles. As for taxing carbon emissions to get businesses to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Julian Castro, John Delaney, and Andrew Yang, support it. On extending a cap-and-trade program such as the one started years ago in California, only Tom Steyer is endorsing it for now. As for the Trump campaign, you can review the campaign website and see that the administration will continue it’s crusade to gut environmental regulations, softening fuel economy and emissions rules, and denying climate change exists — statements that can be validated and detailed by environmental groups. Here are a few of the Trump 2020 campaign website statements………

“President Trump and his administration acted aggressively to increase exports of energy resources to the global market. This allowed financing for coal and fossil energy projects………. President Trump has approved the infrastructure and provided the resources needed to unleash oil and gas production in the US……… The Trump administration reversed President Obama’s moratorium on new leases for oil and gas development on federal lands………. President Trump rescinded President Obama’s costly Clean Power Plan and instead has proposed the Affordable Clean Energy Rule……… The EPA has rescinded President Obama’s methane emissions rule that would cost American energy developers an estimated $530 million annually……… 
The EPA is reviewing a rule that if rescinded would relax costly fuel standards and save $340 billion in regulatory costs……… President Trump announced his intent to withdraw the US from the unfair Paris Climate Agreement.”

3. Long-anticipated emission rules starting in Europe
Light-duty vehicle manufacturers will see more stringent emissions standards take effect in Europe in the new year with a phase-in period extending into 2021. Automakers will have to sell a lot more hybrid and electric vehicles in European Union member countries or they’ll pay costly fines, a situation similar to China. Scientists say that about 20 percent of Europe’s carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases come from light-duty vehicles, and heavy-duty trucks add to that emissions share even more. Shareholders worry that profit will be hurt as these green cars can’t be sold at higher prices than conventional gasoline and diesel models, which means they won’t be profitable until battery costs come down. The regulations will eventually cover heavy-duty trucks, albeit with a longer timeline. In Europe, commercial trucks will have to emit 30% less greenhouse gases by 2030. The US will have to continue to wait and see how the Trump administration is ruling on light-duty vehicles and later on medium- and heavy-duty vehicles — though it certainly will be at a less strict standard.

4. Going from NAFTA to USMCA
The House of Representatives voted Dec. 19 in favor of a new trade deal replacing NAFTA. The new United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) was passed by an overwhelming bipartisan vote of 385 to 41, with a large majority of Democrats approving the deal — a day after House Democrats voted to impeach the president. The Senate plans to ratify USMCA next year, potentially after it holds a January trial on whether to remove Trump from office. According to the new USMCA rules, 75 percent of car or auto parts need to have originated in a country partnership. Under NAFTA’s rules, the floor was 62.5 percent. Additionally, 70 percent of a car’s steel and aluminum purchases must be made in North America.

The new rules also require that a certain percentage of vehicles imported duty-free must be made in a place where employees make an average of $16 per hour. But the critical question remains to be seen — if the new agreement will force enough changes to shift production of vehicles from Mexico to the US. While the U.S would likely replace some of its duty-free imports with its own production, it will still need to rely on more expensive imports. It will cost automakers nearly $3 billion over the next ten years, according to budget projections made by the Congressional Budget Office. And it won’t face the reality of globalization of automotive manufacturing and distribution, and that new vehicles sold in the US already display a mix of foreign-made parts and components. As for now, General Motors and Ford support the new USMCA rules, as does the American Automotive Policy Council, which lobbies for Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler. Labor unions had been pushing for the bill, too, to protect domestic workers.

5. Tesla bucking downward sales slump in China
While new vehicle sales in China — including electric vehicles — continued to see a downward slide in November, Tesla broke that cycle with a 14-fold gain in new-vehicle registrations. Registrations of Tesla vehicles climbed to a five-month high of 5,597 in November, compared with 393 vehicles sold a year earlier. The China-built Model 3s are set to start at about $50,000, slightly cheaper than imported versions. Tesla thinks it can lower that price by 20 percent or more next year as it starts using local components and parts, reducing costs. There’s much at stake for Tesla as China accounts for about half of the world’s electric-vehicle sales — and with the company seeing the country becoming its largest global market after the US. The electric carmaker needs to see another burgeoning market as EV tax incentives will be going away soon in the US for Tesla and other makers.

6. New EVs that are gaining the most interest
In recent weeks following the LA Auto Show and announcements on 2020 product offerings, a few electric vehicle models have been getting much of the attention. One interesting question is will Tesla’s new Cybertruck will cannibalize sales of the upcoming Tesla Model Y crossover SUV………. Electric truck maker Rivian has raised $1.3 billion for the R1T pickup in a new financing round led by T. Rowe Price. Prior investors including Amazon, Ford, and BlackRock participated in the deal. Amazon, of course, will be buying a lot of the trucks………… Ford’s Mustang Mach-E electric SUV was very hot at the LA Auto Show. It will start arriving in late 2020, and Ford will only make 50,000 units globally in the first model year……….. The 2022 Fisker Ocean crossover SUV can be secured with a $250 down payment. It will offer 250 to 300 miles of range and will feature recycled materials from the ocean……… Volvo and its Polestar subsidiary will only be sending out its Polestar 2 electric car to select dealers in the network. It’s so popular that dealers in Illinois are fighting the Polestar Automotive USA’s plans to limit the dealer distributions…………. Watch for battery- and hydrogen-powered commercial trucks and buses to make a splash in 2020.

7. The latest in autonomous vehicle regulations
Autonomous, light-duty trucks can now be used for commercial purposes on public roads in California. The state’s Department of Motor Vehicles announced the proposal this month, which outlines a permitting process for companies wishing to test or deploy driverless trucks for commercial use. The new rule only applies to autonomous vehicles weighing less than 10,001 pounds — Class 1 and 2 trucks that would include minivans, pickup trucks, utility vans, and step vans. This would be ideal for delivery companies………. At the moment, all autonomous vehicles undergoing testing must have a few controls in place, those being steering wheels and backup drivers. General Motors wants to roll out a small fleet of autonomous vehicles that don’t have these two things. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it will have a decision soon on the automaker’s request.

8. Will female CEOs carry over to automakers?
Enterprise Holdings announced earlier this month chief operating officer Chrissy Taylor would take on the role of chief executive in a planned succession. Taylor, the granddaughter of company founder Jack Taylor, will take the wheel on January 1. She’ll replace Pam Nicholson, the No. 23 person on the Fortune Most Powerful Women in business list who had served as CEO of the car rental giant since 2013. They join Hertz president and CEO Kathryn Marinello, making for two of the three US car rental conglomerate chiefs. In the auto industry — US and global — General Motors CEO Mary Barra is the only woman to run one of these companies. For now, it’s still a boys club — although women make up a third of the technology team on Ford’s Mach-E.

9. Car-sharing continues to be a tough business
Daimler and BMW have called it quits on Share Now, its joint car-sharing unit. A low adoption rate was citied. Share Now will exit the North American market and cease operations in London, Brussels and Florence, at the end of February. Another sad story also came this month, that BlueIndy will cease operations four years after the electric-car-sharing program arrived in Indianapolis. Members of the car-sharing network were told by email that financial reasons were behind the closure. The collaboration with the City of Indianapolis will end on May 21, 2020. BlueIndy said in a news release that 11,000 members took about 180,000 rides over the course of four years, but “Indianapolis drivers have been slow to adopt alternative transportation options and car ownership remains extremely high.”

10. Impact of sulfur emission rules on fuel prices
With the International Maritime Organization (IMO) ready to release its regulation on sulfur emissions on January 1, concerns are being raised over the impact on fuel prices and the economics of transportation. The ocean shipping industry accounts for 90 percent of global trade, and the IMO’s international mandate to reduce “bunker fuel” sulfur content in marine fuel oil from 3.5 percent to 0.5 percent is expected to have a major impact. That will go for maritime shipping and trucking.

According to an IMO analysis at Wood Mackenzie, the global refining system is not equipped to produce the volumes of low sulfur fuel needed to power the world’s shipping industry by the time the regulation goes into effect. While there are existing stockpiles of low sulfur fuel available, the consulting firm expects that existing supply will likely not be enough to buffer global reserves until supply eventually catches up with demand. That consumption rate was about 3.5 million barrels a day from the global maritime sector in 2018. The shipping industry can be turning to diesel products instead of bunker fuel as the supply runs out and bunker fuel goes up in price. Higher prices are expected to be carried over to the trucking industry and other segments. That increased demand would bring higher diesel prices globally, having a profound impact on the trucking industry — especially in the US where trucking provides the lion’s share of freight transportation from these ships to buyers.

Changes at GAM reader subscriber list
Green Auto Market has stopped working with its distribution partner, and the subscriber box will be changing. Until that’s done, new subscribers or those with changing email addresses will need to contact the editor at jlesage378@gmail.com to be placed on the new email distribution list.

Republic Services gaining more recognition in sustainable transportation, Uber releases jarring sexual assault numbers

Republic Services, Inc., just became a member of California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition after several years of adding NGVs to its fleet and making gains in recycling and waste disposal. The company joins Waste Management, Inc., and other refuse companies, in showing the leadership role these companies can make in clean transportation, renewable fuels, and waste-to-energy projects.

Fleets with refuse trucks are among the largest private fleets in the country; bringing in natural gas makes a real difference in reducing carbon emissions and fuel costs. In Fleet Owner’s Top 500 Top Private Fleets (which tracks heavy-duty vehicles), refuse fleets (under the “Sanitation” category) make up three of the top 10 largest fleets, with Waste Management, Inc., at No. 4 and Republic Services at No. 8. Waste Connections & Operating Co., No. 9, is not running NGVs. The refuse company uses fuel efficient vehicles and is deploying energy conserving practices.

In Fleet Owner’s top 500 private fleet rankings, as of April 2019 there were 18,652 total vehicles in Republic Service’s fleet — 148 tractors, 18,504 trucks, and 947 trailers. In the company’s 2018 annual report, it was reported that 20 percent of its fleet operated on natural gas — which could theoretically put that number out to about 3,600 trucks running on compressed natural gas (CNG) and some of these NGVs on renewable natural gas (RNG). However, the latest data from the company states that the number of CNG-powered trucks would be somewhere between 2,200 and 3,100 or more units (with 3,100 running on “alternative fuels”). The Phoenix-based company’s fleet is spread out over 41 states.

The annual report said that in California, the vast majority of Republic’s fleet runs on natural gas — with more than 90 percent utilizing renewable natural gas (RNG). RNG has the lowest carbon intensity of all commercially available fuels, according to the company. Overall, using CNG provides the company with a competitive advantage in communities with strict clean emissions standards and initiatives.

The company’s fleet is making a gradual conversion over to natural gas and that will continue. In 2018, about 13 percent of the replacement vehicle purchases were CNG vehicles. By the end of 2018, the company operated 37 CNG fueling stations.

Waste Management, Inc., has been carrying the lead — and playing a very visible role — in sustainable fleet operations for the refuse industry. The company also belongs to California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition and other organizations. NGVAmerica’s board of directors includes Marty Tufte, Waste Management’s corporate fleet director; and the company has been a major sponsor at NGVAmerica’s annual meeting and industry summit.

In Fleet Owner’s top 500 private fleet rankings in 2019, there were 32,056 total vehicles in Waste Management’s fleet — 1,000 tractors, 31,056 trucks, and 2,600 trailers. At the end of 2017, the company reported it had 6,536 NGVs in operation, with 38 percent of its routed collected trucks running on natural gas, and 80 percent of new vehicle purchases going to NGVs.

In Waste Management’s 2019 sustainability report, the company reported having 7,944 alternative fuel vehicles, 132 natural gas fueling stations, and 130 landfill gas-to-electricity facilities. It also had 247 active solid waste landfills, and five active hazardous waste landfills.

Its landfill-gas-to-fuel plants convert landfill gas into RNG that can be used in its vehicles in the form of CNG or liquefied natural gas (LNG). It achieves the end goals of lowering fuel costs and reducing GHG emissions more than 80 percent compared to vehicles powered by diesel. As for converting over from diesel refuse trucks, the company reported it had 855 million diesel gallons displaced over the useful life of existing NGVs.

US Dept. of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center reports that natural gas powers more than 175,000 vehicles in the US and roughly 23 million vehicles worldwide. The advantages of natural gas as a transportation fuel include its domestic availability, widespread distribution infrastructure, fuel cost savings, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions over conventional gasoline and diesel fuels.

The cost of converting trucks over to NGVs or replacing diesel-powered trucks with new refuse trucks running on natural gas, and the cost of installing enough natural gas dispensers to keep these fleet vehicles fueled, has always been a hard sell for fleets seeking funding and support. Conventional diesel-powered refuse trucks can start at about $250,000, with pricing being reduced through fleet purchase incentives. Incremental costs for converting these vehicles over to CNG-powered could be about $40,000 per vehicle, according to a study; and that figure will vary based on government incentives offsetting that price. A new NGV can cost a fleet up to about 50 percent more than the cost of a conventional diesel-powered refuse truck, and that could be much less depending on available incentives. Natural gas fueling stations can range from $10,000 for a smaller fueling unit up to $1.8 million to build a new fuel station with several fuel pumps.

Fleets included in NGV studies are usually reaching operating cost savings in two-to-three years from these clean-fuel vehicles. Much of that comes from the stable, consistent price of natural gas compared to the higher and more volatile pricing for diesel. Diesel has been averaging a bit over $3 per gallon in the US lately, with the equivalent price per gallon for CNG at around $2.25. That gap can be widened by state and local programs bringing fleet fuel costs down for CNG, LNG, and RNG.

NGVAmerica said that there are currently more than 17,000 natural gas refuse and recycling trucks operating across the US, and about 60 percent of new collection trucks on order are powered by natural gas. Clean Energy Fuels reported that beyond Waste Management and Republic, Progressive (in Canada and the US) and Emterra (in Canada) have been bringing NGVs into their fleets for years.

The City of New York’s Department of Sanitation runs the largest municipal refuse fleet in the US, and decided to switch over to NGVs several years ago. That took place when the city of New York seriously took on its air pollution issue.

In October, Republic Services announced it will operate an additional 156 CNG-powered solid waste collection trucks serving customers throughout the country by the end of 2019, bringing the total number of vehicles running on alternative fuels to more than 3,100. It’s fleet is saving about 26 million gallons of diesel fuel annually.

Earlier this year, the company announced that it will utilize increasing amounts of Clean Energy Fuel’s Redeem RNG fuel across 21 states over the next five years. This is projected to reduce fleet emissions by roughly 250,000 metric tons of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent) per year.

In its 2018 annual report, Republic said that during that year, new landfill gas-to-energy projects came online, increasing the production of energy used to power homes, businesses and, in some cases, the company’s own vehicles.

In Waste Management’s 2018 sustainability report, the company said that it had four facilities that produce RNG: Altamont Landfill (Livermore, Calif.), Milam Landfill (St. Louis, Illinois.), American Landfill (Waynesburg, Ohio), and Outer Loop Landfill (Louisville, Kentucky). Collectively, they’re capable of producing enough RNG to fuel about 1,850 natural gas collection trucks.

Republic’s 2018 sustainability report said that the company’s fleet emissions had been reduced by three percent through the use of CNG and RNG. Things are looking up on the emissions and safety fronts, according to the report: “Our recycling and waste collection trucks are complex, high performance machines designed to be safe, comfortable and efficient. As we retire and replace older trucks, we are able to take advantage of advancements in alternative fuels in addition to safety technology and other modern efficiencies.”

This year in July, Republic expanded its sustainability goals over the next decade in Blue Planet: 2030 Goals. Along with working toward zero employee fatalities and reducing workplace injuries, two of the other corporate objectives will be to reduce absolute Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions 35 percent by 2030; and cultivate regenerative landfills that will increase biogas sent to beneficial reuse by 50 percent by that same year.

And in other news……..
Uber sexual-assault incidents:  Ride-hailing giant Uber just released its first-ever report featuring staggering statistics on sexual assaults and homicides involving Uber drivers and passengers. During 2017 and 2018, more than 3,000 people were sexually assaulted during Uber rides. About 42 percent of those reporting sexual assaults were drivers, and the most severe incidents were put upon passengers; 92 percent of people who experienced sexual assault involving penetration were passengers, according to reports. Women and female-identifying survivors made up 89 percent of the sexual-assault survivors. During 2017 and 2018, there were 19 fatal physical assaults occurring in a total of 18 incidents in relation to Uber; 8 were riders; 7 were drivers using the Uber app; and 4 were third parties (such as bystanders outside the vehicles).

Lyft also faces accountability for several sexual assault incidents committed during rides. These crises show the level of inadequacy in driver background checks, and the ability of non-Uber driers to manipulate the app and take rides. Some have been able to hide their identities when using the Uber app. The strict standards applied to other transportation industries will inevitably make it over to the ride-hailing apps.

Fleet EV study:  Find out what fleets think about bringing electric vehicles into their vehicle selector lists from a new study by consulting firm Mortenson. The adoption of zero and near-zero emission vehicles in public and private fleets is growing. The rapid change is causing fleet owners, policymakers, and public infrastructure experts to examine what clean technology means for them. Over 200 professionals were interviewed at the 2019 ACT Expo.

And a few more news briefs………

  • The 2020 Ford Escape Hybrid equipped with front-wheel drive beats out the segment with best-in-class EPA-estimated ratings of 44 mpg city and 41 mpg combined, according to Ford. The 2020 Escape Hybrid Titanium with front-wheel drive has an EPA-estimated rating of 37 mpg on the highway.
  • Elon Musk was cleared by the Los Angeles jury on the defamation lawsuit British caver Vernon Unsworth had filed over the Tesla CEO’s “pedo guy” Twitter comment.
  • California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced that the application period for the competitive Volkswagen Mitigation Trust Combustion Freight and Marine project funding is open. This solicitation is open to eligible owners of in-use freight trucks, switcher locomotives, ferries, tugboats and towboats throughout California.
  • Tesla said its Model 3 cars built in China will qualify for that government’s new energy vehicle subsidies.
  • Eighteen private-sector companies released Road Map to a US Hydrogen Economy that could support zero emissions transportation and significant economic gains.
  • Tesla said on its blog that the Model X won a 5-star rating from the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), which evaluates a car’s safety assistance features as well as its ability to protect adults, children, and vulnerable road users.

 

LG Chem and SK Innovation in battery legal battle, Gig Economy meets the Gilded Age

Battle over South Korean battery tech:  LG Chem and SK Innovation are each asking the US International Trade Commission to bar the other South Korean electronics company from supplying batteries to Volkswagen, GM, Ford, Jaguar, Audi, and Kia. The stakes are quite high, with one analyst predicting that country’s electric vehicle battery market will grow 23 percent a year to reach $167 billion in sales by 2025.

In America, the battle ensued when LG Chem filed a claim that SK Innovation won the Volkswagen contract fraudulently by receiving trade secrets supplied by ex-LG Chem employees who’d taken jobs with the smaller competitor. SK Innovation had won a contract to build batteries for VW’s ambitious EV product launch campaign, at the automaker’s factories in Germany and in Chattanooga. SKI also was able to start work on a new battery factory in Georgia, about 150 miles from Chattanooga, and another in Hungary. The trade commission is expected to make a preliminary ruling in June and issue a final decision next October.

Tesla, Uber & Amazon — The Gig Economy meets the Gilded Age:  What do Tesla, Uber, Amazon, Lyft, Instacart, and DoorDash have in common? They’re great to buy from, but you probably wouldn’t want to work for them as an independent contractor or employee.

We love the perks — Tesla’s fun-to-drive electric cars, belonging to Amazon Prime, cheap fare Uber and Lyft rides, having the annoyances of grocery shopping taken away by Instacart, and tapping into other efficient, affordable gig economy services. But we usually don’t like working for them — just ask around and search the internet.

Case in point:  An engineer working for Elon Musk’s SpaceX intergalactic travel company told me about the intensely demanding, stressful long hours he has to work. While Musk is still an icon for him as a pioneer in space flights and electric cars, he doesn’t see himself able to live that way for very long. As we’ve heard about from executives leaving Tesla, Musk expects employees to give their lives to the cause.

Another one: A woman working for Amazon told me about attempting to be reclassified from a part-time employee to full-time employee with benefits. She and her Amazon co-workers are expected to work extra hours and take on extra duties. But she’d received a company letter detailing, once again, why she didn’t make it to full-time status with medical coverage and other benefits. Like working for other prominent, well publicized tech employers, what at first seemed like a wonderful career opportunity can go upside down.

For independent contractors working for Uber and the big wave of mobile app-based startups since then, the initial motivating factors behind doing this kind of work have been waning for the past two years.

A few key developments have been taking shape. (See my blog for more………)

And in other news:
Chaotic trade climate:  President Donald Trump said a trade agreement with China might have to wait until after the US presidential election in November 2020, tarnishing hopes that their trade war would go away and its chaotic impact on trade deals and the economic climate. “I have no deadline, no,” Trump told reporters in London, where he was due to attend a meeting of NATO leaders. “In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal. But they want to make a deal now, and we’ll see whether or not the deal’s going to be right; it’s got to be right.”

Yesterday, Trump said he would hit Brazil and Argentina with trade tariffs for “massive devaluation of their currencies.” That was followed by a US threat to slap duties of up to 100 percent on French goods, from champagne to handbags, because of a digital services tax that the Trump administration says harms U.S. tech companies.

Turbulence in Hong Kong from the uprising that’s being suppressed by Chinese military has also been part of the upheaval. Automaker stocks seem to be underperforming lately over concerns that China could retaliate over U.S. legislation in support of the protesters in Hong Kong. “The legislation’s passage carries unfortunate timing for the US auto brands, which are also coping with 16 straight months of declining China auto sales,” notes Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Steve Mann.

Will 5G be here soon?:  For those wondering when 5G will be here to take our smart phones and cars to the next level, T-Mobile says it will be the first carrier to offer a nationwide network starting Friday. There are a few caveats, though. It will be using T-Mobile’s 600MHz spectrum that taps into airwaves like the ones used for 4G LTE and bundles them together to deliver faster speeds — offering “low-band” 5G. The company says it will be a precursor to a more robust network that will be made possible with the combination of Sprint’s vast airwave holdings — which made Sprint a direct competitor to AT&T and Verizon Wireless years ago. However, T-Mobile’s acquisition of Sprint still has to complete legal hurdles. The US Justice Department and Federal Communications Commission gave the merger the green light; but, it faces a lawsuit from several state attorney general, and that trial will start Dec. 9. T-Mobile is promoting the 5G launch with special prices on a new OnePlus phone and one from Samsung. The launch of 5G has been a very hot topic for those attending AutoMobility LA and CES in Las Vegas next month. It will have a lot to do with self-driving cars making it to the next level through its use of C-V2X, a communications technology using the same 5G networks coming to our phones. It will allow vehicles to communicate with each other, with traffic signals and with other roadside gear. It’s a key element of making cars safer, diverting traffic jams, and other benefits.

Reserving a Fisker Ocean:  Interested in getting one of the first Fisker Oceans to roll off the assembly line? Put down a $250 down payment by using this iPhone app, called Fisker Flexee. Coming in early 2022, the Fisker Ocean will be “the world’s most sustainable vehicle.”

Musk sued for “pedo guy” insult:  Tesla CEO Elon Musk will go on trial in a defamation lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court starting today based on his infamous Twitter post calling a British cave explorer a “pedo guy.” The jury will decide whether Musk committed a negligent act aimed at Vernon Unsworth, who helped rescue a group of boys trapped in a network of caves in Thailand in July 2018. Musk did apologize and deleted the post, but Unsworth sued Musk for damages, claiming his reputation was damaged by being baselessly branded as a pedophile. Musk plans to testify in how own defense for a trial expected to run about five days. Back in July 2018, Musk fired off a round of irate tweets after Unsworth criticized the Tesla and SpaceX CEO’s offer to help with the rescue mission by sending a mini-submarine built by SpaceX. Musk has said in court documents that “pedo guy” was a common insult “synonymous with ‘creepy old man’” when he grew up in South Africa.