Resources for building a realistic bridge to clean transportation becoming the new normal

The executive order signed Thursday by President Joe Biden sets admirable targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fighting climate change. Half of all new vehicles sold in 2030 are to be zero-emissions vehicles, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid electric, or fuel cell electric vehicles (see news section below for more details).

Fleets and trucking companies are setting ambitious clean
vehicle targets that could lead the way.

But I have some questions for Biden:
—Will automakers actually fulfill this order, and what happens if they don’t? (The answer seems to be no, since it’s been described as a nonbinding goal.)
—Can we expect the saying from the 1989 movie, Field of Dreams, to be fulfilled? “If you build it they will come,” being that saying. If automakers do roll out half their available new vehicles as ZEVs, will there be enough purchases to make it profitable and long lasting? Will the charging and fueling infrastructure be enough?
—Could there be other ways to reach these big picture targets?

As I’ve written about before, it’s likely going to take much longer to hit that admirable target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fighting climate change. The good news is that the needed elements are already here, and key players in the clean transportation arena will continue to lead the way.

There is a period of transition before those wonderful targets can be met — with fleets, individuals who own zero emission vehicles, charging/fueling infrastructure builders and suppliers, vehicle makers/OEMs, technology partners and suppliers, clean fuel and energy suppliers, government agencies, and associations and research centers, already playing a key role in the development of clean transportation as, eventually, the new normal.

Here’s hoping that vaccinations continue and the latest surge in Covid-19 delta and other variants begin a rapid decline, with vehicle emissions reductions following right behind. In the meantime, getting familiar with and connected to the vast resources in clean vehicles and fuels might be a good way to spend some of our downtime.

WARNING: Some of the publications I list below will be cutting off your free access to viewing articles and websites. They’re looking for paid subscribers, or free access to members of their group. Of course, you can always search for other sources of the news they’re reporting.

Nonprofit Organizations (NPOs) & Consulting Firms:

Most all stakeholders in clean transportation are very familiar with CALSTART, but here are a few interesting facts. The founders say two forces created the organization in 1992 — defense and aerospace spending was being cut, leaving quite a few talented people without their jobs; and increasing interest in cutting back air pollution in the US, which was the force behind the California Air Resources Board setting targets for the sale of zero-emission vehicles. Now the nonprofit consortium has offices in New York, Michigan, Colorado and California. The NPO is dedicated to the modernization and adoption of clean vehicles. The group’s focus has expanded to global through its Drive to Zero program, with the vision of supporting the role zero-emission trucks will play in reaching collective Paris Agreement goals; more than 270 member companies and partners worldwide are participating. You can get on that project’s newsletter list, and sign up for the CALSTART Compass newsletter that covers newsworthy projects, studies and reports, and events.

Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA)
Established in 1989, EDTA is a cross-industry trade association promoting the advancement of electric drive technology and electrified transportation. Members cover the gamut in the electric drive value chain: OEMs, battery and component manufacturers, utilities, charging infrastructure developers, and others. They follow a three-prong strategy by emphasizing the economic, national security, and environmental benefits of displacing oil with electricity in battery and fuel cell-powered vehicles. They would like to see the U.S. to adopt an aggressive five-year plan that catalyzes growth with significant, long-term investments in market expansion and accelerates technology development and deployment. You can join a list for weekly updates and analysis of news developments. There’s also official statements such as what EDTA leaders think of President Biden’s executive order on zero-emission vehicles.

International Council on Clean Transportation
The ICCT started up in 2001 and now has offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Berlin, and Beijing. Its mission is to improve the environmental performance and energy efficiency of road, marine, and air transportation, to benefit public health and mitigate climate change. The organization has provided research, analysis, and data for environmental policymakers. One of its studies has provided a global comparison of the life-cycle greenhouse gas emissions of combustion engine and electric passenger cars.
One of the more interesting parts of its history is the role ICCT played in “dieselgate.” The ICCT had commissioned researchers at West Virginia University to test Volkswagen diesel car emissions in 2013. The following year, the NPO alerted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board that the models displayed much higher levels of nitrogen oxide emissions than permitted by law. In September 2015, the EPA announced that the German automaker could be liable for up to $18 billion in penalties. That came from charges that VW had been using software on almost 500,000 VW and Audi 2.0 liter diesel cars sold through the 2009 and 2015 model years that circumvented EPA emissions standards.

Gladstein Neandross & Associates (GNA)
Since its founding in 1993, GNA has been offering a blend of technical, funding, creative, and strategy development services to public- and private-sector clients spanning the clean energy and advanced transportation sectors. Its projects have earned national awards and recognition from agencies and associations, including the South Coast Air Quality Management District, Coalition for Clean Air, and the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition. Organizing events like Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo over the past decade have made GNA more visible and significant in the clean transportation sector. Other events put on by GNA have included California Dairy Sustainability Summit, Renewable Gas 360, Rethink Methane Symposium, High Horsepower (HHP) Summit, and NGV Industry Summit.

Propane Education & Research Council
PERC provides leading propane safety and training programs and invests in research and development of new propane-powered technologies. Its programs benefit a variety of markets including transportation, agriculture, commercial landscaping, residential, and commercial building. PERC came to be when the U.S. Congress passed the Propane Education and Research Act (PERA), which was signed into law in 1996. PERC’s operations and activities are funded by an assessment levied on each gallon of propane gas at the point it is odorized or imported into the U.S. PERC has been committed for several years to promote propane autogas through research projects, government and industry liaisons, and public education. Take a look at the Comprehensive Compliance Handbook, which offers a variety of regulations, codes, and standards that apply to the propane industry systems that you install and service to effectively comply with requirements that can apply to your business in your jurisdiction. You can subscribe the the e-newsletter to stay current with the latest propane news, stories, videos, and more.

NGV America
Natural Gas Vehicles for America is a national organization dedicated to the development of a growing, profitable, and sustainable market for vehicles powered by natural gas or biomethane. It represents more than 200 companies, environmental groups, and government organizations interested in the promotion and use of natural gas and biomethane as transportation fuels. Member companies produce, distribute, and market natural gas and renewable natural gas across the country; manufacture and service natural gas vehicles, engines, and equipment; and operate fleets powered by clean-burning gaseous fuels. Resources offered to those interested in natural gas vehicles include information on numerous federal and state grant opportunities that assist fleets in transitioning to the clean fuel. The VW Trust Action Center provides information the Environmental Mitigation Trust, which states and territories may use to invest in transportation projects that will reduce NOx emissions. It’s annual conference and trade show will be taking place Oct. 19-21 in Phoenix. You can also check out NGV news and insights.

RNG Coalition
RNG Coalition is a non-profit organization dedicated to the sustainable advancement of renewable natural gas (RNG) as a clean, green, alternative and domestic energy resource — and as a key component and partial solution to addressing global climate change. The coalition has seen its efforts pay off, with hundreds of RNG projects either operational, under construction, or in development in North America. Job creation has been very good with RNG production facilities creating five-to-seven times more jobs than an equivalently sized petroleum refinery. More recently, stakeholders have found that hydrogen generators can use RNG or biomethane to create renewable hydrogen (RH2), providing similar opportunities for farmers and local communities to create clean, storable energy, while reducing waste, decarbonizing, and making use of existing infrastructure. The NPOs annual conference, RNG Summit, also known as the U.S. Federal Fly-In & Policy Forum, took place May 11, 2021, in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Plug In America
Plug In America is a non-profit, supporter-driven advocacy group that has a long list of accomplishments contributing to making electric vehicles a viable, appealing choice for US car owners. The organization helps consumers, policy-makers, auto manufacturers and others to understand the powerful benefits of driving electric. That comes through practical, objective information for making their best choices when buying a plug-in electric vehicle that fits their lifestyle. Plug In America founded National Drive Electric Week, the world’s largest celebration of the plug-in vehicle, which brought together over 180,000 attendees across 324 events in 2019, across all 50 states. As reported recently, the organization’s PlugStar Program is nationally recognized for educating consumers and dealers. Last year, the NPO conducted its first annual survey of EV consumers—both drivers and those considering an electric vehicle. A more recent effort has been encouraging members to tell Congress to support President Biden’s full $174 billion EV investment.

American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE)
ACORE is a national NPO that unites finance, policy and technology to accelerate the transition to a renewable energy economy. Founded in 2001, ACORE works to unite finance, policy and technology to accelerate the transition to a renewable energy economy. Members are active in renewable energy technologies and constituencies, including developers, manufacturers, top financial institutions, major corporate renewable energy buyers, grid technology providers, utilities, professional service firms, academic institutions, and allied nonprofit groups. Serving these communities includes convening key stakeholders, facilitating partnerships, educating senior officials on important policies, publishing research and analysis on pressing issues, and undertaking strategic outreach on the policies and financial structures essential to renewable energy growth. For more on upcoming events, click here; and go here for a newsletter sign up.

The global consulting firm offers the ICF Climate Center which provides in-depth research and insights that help organizations establish clear, practical pathways forward through the combination of climate science and predictive analytics. For clean vehicles and fuels, the firm offers technical expertise and creative solutions to promote advanced technologies and alternative fuels across the transportation sector. For transportation electrification the company is fluent in the technology, infrastructure, and market forces to make the switch. With low carbon fuel standards, the consulting firm works with regulatory agencies in program design and implementation, and to assist fuel providers with understanding compliance options and market trends.


E&E News
E&E News publishes five daily newsletters tracking energy and environmental policies and rules, research study findings, the effects of climate change, and the political and legal battles being fought in these sectors. It is a paid subscription service, but you can get placed on a short-term reader list to see if it’s worth the time and money spent. It does offer in-depth research and analysis, and can be the only source available on some very important topics.

Green Car Congress
This publication is truly unique, and it does require that you stay open to learning about new, cutting-edge technology (with a few fundamentals from physics and engineering included). Mike Millikin started it up in 2004, and it’s been the only publication like it; except for occasional features and think-pieces in automotive, business, and science publications. Its subject matter has expanded in recent years — as have the automotive, transportation, and energy industries — to include connected and autonomous technologies, advanced batteries and energy storage, and a wide range of alternative, clean fuels and energy sources.

NGT News
NGT News (Next-Gen Transportation) has become the only publication like it, while a few years ago there was at least one direct competitor and a few weekly editions. This publication provides daily news updates read by fleets, OEMs, fuel suppliers, technology providers, and infrastructure developers staying informed on clean transportation. Staying current in this field requires a few topics — technology innovations, government policies, the regulatory structure, corporate developments, new vehicle/product launches, and r&d developments. A good publication for those wanting to stay informed on the wide spectrum of information.

Green Car Reports
Go to that site to see Green Car Reports’ Best Car to Buy 2021, first drive reviews of electric and hybrid vehicles, and coverage of how current green cars are holding up over time in sales, performance, and value. It’s a good consumer pub to read, with a few big picture/business items such as what’s happening in Washington, DC. The publication is owned by Internet Brands, which owns and operates other automotive publications such as CarsDirect, The Car Connection, Motor Authority, and Auto Credit Express. Green Car Reports gets to tap into that database of resources for covering new vehicles and technologies.

InsideEVs has its share of rivals for being the lead publication in the electric vehicle space. While I do check out Electrek and news features from Bloomberg, Reuters, Automotive News, and major media sources, InsideEVs is an excellent one-stop shopping site for me — the latest offerings, the competitive climate, what Tesla and its chief are up to, the charging infrastructure, government incentives and other developments in global markets, and the latest data and analytics on EV sales and other fascinating trends. Plus, all the details you probably want to know when shopping for EVs.

It’s a popular site in the US for cleantech news and commentary, with a focus on solar energy, wind energy, electric cars, and other clean technologies. It does offers some insightful data and analysis articles on electric vehicle sales, popularity of certain models and why that’s the case, and the demands that cleantech industries face overcoming regulatory hurdles, incentives that may be dwindling, power players in the war over climate change, and a few other relevant topics. You might learn how long it takes for solar panels to pay for themselves, and overcoming hurdles on the public’s perceptions of electric vehicles.

Transport Topics
What will come out of efforts to gain major funding and development projects from Washington, DC, on the nation’s highway and transportation infrastructure? Well, then go to this publications for in-depth coverage of the political and legal issues involved, and how it would be carried out across the country. Those reading this industry publication can read about the top for-more carriers and logistics companies, the world of intermodal transport, and what fleet operators are doing to comply with government environmental and energy requirements and corporate sustainability policies.
This is a fairly new publication that’s doing a very good job of covering the gamut on all things you might be wondering about trucks. That would cover autonomous trucks; commercial vehicles powered by electricity and other clean fuels; the state of retail sales for pickups, SUVS/crossovers, and vans; the business and fleet market; freight and logistics and some of the regulatory structure shaping it; new trucks product launches; trucking shows; and taking adventures in your truck or SUV and where you can find the necessary gear. Los Angeles Times veteran Jerry Hirsch became the editor in chief, and works with a team of other recognized journalistic names in the field. They do offer an effective mix of what the B2B and consumer reader communities would like to know more about.

GreenBiz is a must read, along with CleanTechnica and Environment + Energy Leader, for professionals working in the sphere of sustainability. Read all about net zero policies, resilient supply chains, enforcing ESG standards, carbon credit trading, how industries are decarbonizing, the critical role cities are playing, and the best in corporate sustainability practices. Green vehicles will also get a bit of coverage here, such as one of the field reporters attending a specialized conference and trade show. Its conference has been well attended with a lot of name speakers, such as Bill Gates at the February online conference.

Environment + Energy Leader
Formerly known as Environmental Leader, this publication changed its name to address what other professionals in the field (including clean transportation) understand — reducing greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles, power stations, production plants, waste management, and more, is essential. Then there’s all the energy needed to keep it running — and the total lifecycle of how the energy is generated and what it all means. It’s more of a B2B publication than its direct competitors, offering details on how global governments are regulating and working with corporations and NPOs to carry out emissions and energy mandates; and deals being made between companies to advance the business model and profitability of sustainability in all the forms it takes.

Fleet Forward
Bobit Business Media launched this publication about three years ago to address the growing interest fleet professionals have in the future of transport — autonomous, electric, connected, and shared rides. Other topics being covered in this publication include smart cities, new technology breakthroughs, connected fleets, fleet management as a service, and the latest in green trucks that fleets are deploying. The fleet manager’s business model is always being addressed, such as saving in energy and operating costs; safety issues with self-driving vehicles; predictive maintenance practices; and what automakers have to say about the future of their product offerings and incentives being offered to fleets. One of its sister publications is Charged Fleet, which tracks the latest in electric vehicles and hybrids that fleets can consider.

Biofuels Digest
This is the Bible for all things biofuels, and its founder, Jim Lane, is a known figure for anyone tracking the subject matter. It’s being run by Nuu Media that includes Biofuels Digest, The Daily Digest, and the Weekly Circular. These publications track the bioeconomy and all its implications — from the corn growers versus oil companies though the federal Renewable Fuel Standard and state regulations for ethanol in gasoline; advanced biofuels that may be sidetracked and others that are succeeding; investments in decarbonizing projects for meeting climate change mandates; biogas pipelines that are being built, and many other highly technical articles to read. Parent company Nuu Media also produces online media, conferences, webinars, data services and original streamed content, focused on the advanced bioeconomy.

Charged Electric Vehicles Magazine
Charged continues to be a glossy magazine and internet publication that covers all things electric. It’s designed like a Car and Driver for electric vehicle buyers. It also digs into the business of EVs, with profiles of startup carmakers and technology supplier partners they’re working with. It’s a good one for how-to guides and technical descriptions of all that goes into electric drivetrains, electrical systems, battery packs, and chargers. It’s more consumer and car focused, but you will find profiles of electric truck makers as well that are providing delivery trucks, heavy-duty freight haulers, and utility applications. You’ll also be viewing advertisements from OEMs and suppliers to the business; it is a marketplace for those doing business in the EV space.

Waste Dive
Waste Dive provides in-depth coverage and analysis on subject matter that spreads its reach over a wide range these days. It’s not all about picking up and hauling trash in a clean vehicle. This publication digs into refuse collection and transfer, recycling, organics, zero waste, landfills, policy, and more. It’s owned and operated by Industry Dive, a media company that says it reaches more than 11 million decision makers in more than 20 of the world’s most competitive industries. Other publications in the group cover smart cities, supply chain, transport, and utility.

Seeking Alpha

Want to follow companies that have stock tickers? Just enter them on Seeking Alpha and you can get email announcements that something new was just posted by an investor or market analyst explaining why Elon Musk pushed back Tesla’s Cybertruck deliveries to 2022; and similar analysis of other companies. Some of these companies get very little attention; perhaps you’ll just be receiving a brief summary of their quarterly earnings meeting. But there are millions of passionate investors out there who post commentaries, or at least read them and post comments. The best part is hearing about something first on Seeking Alpha and digging into it. That could provide more information on what’s happening in the Chinese and European electric vehicle markets.

Market Data on Energy and Fuel:

Global Energy Statistical Yearbook 2020

See how energy consumption has been utilized, and how it’s changed in recent years, by country. The measure in the first graph is millions of tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe), which is used to describe the energy content of all fuels. China, of course, was the world leader last year, with the US ahead of India by more than double the amount. You can also see how it measured over the past 20 years; and much more from the Enerdata Yearbook — including share of renewables in electricity production.

World Energy Outlook

The International Energy Agency seems to be the leading source on global oil production and alliances between countries on energy supplies; and a major player in getting those alliances worked out. Published annually, its World Energy Outlook is a highly cited source on global energy developments. Its World Energy Model, a large-scale simulation tool, was developed by the IEA over a period of more than 20 years. It’s been designed to replicate how energy markets function. It’s a valuable tool for analyzing energy types and forecasts for demand, production, and pricing.

Alternative Fuels Data Center

Interested in seeing how retail fuel prices have fluctuated in the US since 2000 — including gasoline, E85, CNG, LNG, propane, diesel, and B20 and other biodiesel combinations? If you go see the US Dept. of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center, you can adjust the parameters such as the timeframe and the fuels included in the graph. You can also see recent data on how these fuels have been in average prices over a quarterly period. Viewers can then go into sections on specific alternative fuels to learn much more about them and they’re utilized, and data on how they’re performing. Clean Cities Coalitions have tapped into this data collection for reports and public information campaigns over the years; and its a very good source for staying current on fluctuating trends.

Short-Term Energy Outlook

Here’s a good place to look at how the major energy types are performing, and some predictions on where they may go if certain economic factors go as expected. It’s provided by the US Energy Information Administration. WTI crude oil and Brent crude oil dollars per barrel data is shown, along with gasoline, diesel, heating oil, natural gas, and electricity. You can look at how these indices have fluctuated in the US in recent years. There’s always new energy reports and charts being placed on this site. One of the recent ones has been Forecast Sensitivity of Carbon Dioxide Emissions to Temperatures.

Alternative Fueling Station Locator

Here’s another valuable, useful data tool from the US Dept. of Energy. This site now allows you to slice and dice the data to find out a whole lot. You can break out stations by biodiesel (B20 and above), compressed natural gas (CNG), electric, ethanol (E85), hydrogen, liquefied natural gas (LNG), and propane autogas (LPG). It does cover both the US and Canada. Did you know there are 881 public CNG stations, 53 hydrogen stations, and 1,863 propane stations available? Also there are 49,448 electric vehicle pubic charging stations (Level 2 and DC/fast charger) that offer about 119,000 charging outlets. While studying the map it looks like Canada has about 10 percent the size that the the US offers in charging stations, which is roughly the same population ratio between the two countries.

S&P Global Market Intelligence

S&P offers one of the most respected consulting firms in energy and fuel consumption and forecasts. When you visit this site, you’ll see renewable energy forecasts, U.S. solar and wind projects, and the most recent power forecast. That study includes data and analysis of battery storage costs, growth of renewable power and battery storage, a forecast of natural gas prices, projected generation and capacity balances by energy type, and a forecast analyzing reserve margins of major power markets.

Stay tuned for more coverage of upcoming signifiant clean transportation events in the next edition. As for what’s coming up soon…………

CALSTART Policy Update — a members-only webinar will take place tomorrow, Wednesday, Aug. 11, at 9:00 am Pacific time. The organization will provide an interactive update on federal and state clean transportation policy. Hear about the recent and exciting progress on funding for clean vehicle and infrastructure incentives in California and Washington, D.C., CALSTART’s policy priorities, and new federal proposals for US Battery Leadership.

The 10th annual Green Transportation Summit & Expo (GTSE), which will take place Aug. 16-18 in Tacoma, Wash., is the region’s premier clean transportation convening event. With this year’s theme of Reflecting + Refocusing on a Resilient Future, particular attention will be given to recent events affecting our communities and livelihood. GTSE’s partnership with the U.S. EPA’s West Coast Collaborative and Mobilize California Summit brings stakeholders key to reducing heavy-duty diesel reductions in significant fleets across the continent. For the safety of all attendees GTSE currently plans to require masks at all times during the event, regardless of vaccination status, with the exception of meals. As the situation with COVID-19 is changing daily, the event organizers are closely monitoring the response by healthcare and government officials to ensure the protection of stakeholders.

ACT Expo
ACT Expo is taking place Aug. 31 to Sept. 2 at the Long Beach Convention Center in Southern California. Revival of investments in advanced clean commercial vehicle technologies and fuels are making a comeback, with special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC, investments in the industry grabbing headlines throughout this past year.. ACT Expo’s opening panel will offer attendees a good look at funding opportunities and significant projects taking shape. More on ACT Expo in the next edition of Green Auto Market.

NGVAmerica’s Annual Meeting and Industry Summit
Registration is now open for NGV21, which will take place Oct. 19-21 at the Wigwam Arizona Resort in Phoenix. NGV21 is the only dedicated natural gas in transportation alternative fuels conference and show focused on the North American market.  On-road, off-road and everything in between will be featured, from traditional freight, refuse, and transit applications to growing marine, rail, and construction use. Stay tuned for more.

And in other news…………

Fuel economy and emissions executive order: Thursday’s announcement by President Joe Biden formalized what his administration has been promising all along, to reverse the Trump administration’s course and return to what had been implemented by then-President Obama. The nonbonding deal with most automakers also directs them to make up half their sales with zero-emission vehicles by 2030. That would come from battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell electric vehicles.

Biden’s plan requires 10 percent emissions reductions in 2023 and 5 percent every year after that through 2026. Trump’s standards ended with the fleet averaging about 29 mpg through a real-world fuel economy guideline. The Biden rule should be close to reaching the target set up in the Obama administration’s mileage requirement, about 37 mpg.

It’s part of the Biden administration’s plan to fight climate change to get Americans to switch over from fossil fuels to advanced, clean, renewable energy and fuel. The ZEV plan would be reliant on major investments by the federal government in charging stations and other infrastructure. Biden said that it’s also part of the country’s objective to compete with China, a leader in the electric vehicle market. 

The president made the announcement on the White House South Lawn, with a few zero-emission vehicles behind him. He was joined by executives from Ford, GM, and Stellantis, as well as leaders from the United Auto Workers union and members of Congress. 

It’s not yet clear on how the infrastructure bill will affect emissions and new passenger vehicles sold, with more changes expected to come as Democrats prepare comprehensive budget proposals. However, the infrastructure bill that was passed today in the senate does offer a few positive outcomes, according to U.S. PIRG. That includes “the largest-ever federal investment in public transportation. It invests in electric school buses. It reinstates the ‘polluter pays’ taxes for hazardous waste Superfund site cleanups,” said U.S. PIRG’s Chairman Doug Phelps in a statement.

In-depth study on the equity of EV charging:, the first location analytics and micro-targeting platform for the EV market and the Toyota Mobility Foundation, have some fascinating data to share on electric vehicle charging. Only 9.7 percent of households in US cities have access to a public EV charging station within a convenient quarter mile (or 5 minute) walk from home. Higher-income households live closer to charging in some large cities such as NYC and Chicago. However, in many US cities it is lower-income households who live closer to charging, in downtown areas and other public locations with significant t racial disparities to access EV charging.

That statement comes from a new report that provides a comprehensive analysis on access to EV charging in US cities, addressing dimensions including population coverage, wealth and racial disparities, and patterns of EV adoption. and Toyota Mobility Foundation are hoping that the Biden Administration and electric utilities that are planning to deploy public EV chargers prioritize an equitable rollout as well. 
You can download the report here.

More on Tesla truck: Delivery dates for Tesla’s EV pickup, the Cybertruck, have unsurprisingly been pushed back to 2022. The delay, first spotted by Inside EVs, was confirmed on the vehicle’s website, which now states production will begin next year. Late 2021 had been the initial target timeframe. Inside EVs thinks the delays have something to do with Tesla’s factory in Texas, where the Cybertruck is going to be manufactured.

New paper explores California transit agencies and ZEVs: CALSTART’s new white paper, California Transit Agencies Chart a Course to Zero Emissions: A Review of Proposed ZEB Pathways Under the Innovative Clean Transit Regulation, looks at key data found in the plans that outline a gradual shift to zero-emissions buses by 2040 as required by the California Air Resources Board’s Innovative Clean Transit (ICT) regulation. More than half of responding agencies (10 out of 19) plan to purchase FCEBs, and two additional agencies will consider both FCEBs and BEBs in their undeclared acquisitions. These and other observations of these plan can be found in the new paper.

Electric vehicle startups finding much support with SPACs the preferred model

Another sign that Covid-19 has taken a turn — at least on the economic level — is that electric vehicle startups are gaining traction again. Companies that have been flying under the radar for long periods have suddenly found generous deals from investors.

The Lucid Air all-electric sedan had been getting most of the attention for this startup.

But not all the news is good, and we won’t see any of these new EVs come to market this year. Here are a few interesting developments………

It’s all about SPACs
Special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs) have been growing at an unprecedented pace this year, with investors and private company owners seeing the business model as a win-win. EV startups are among a growing number of automotive sectors gaining SPAC backers.

Crunchbase News, which tracks Silicon Valley and tech startups, just documented these 2021 deals and found that big-name investment and venture capital firms have gotten into it this year for the first time. SPAC may not get as much respect as initial public offerings, but it has gained quite a bit of credibility and support. The publication’s list includes electric busmaker Proterra; charger netwtwork EVGo; fuel-cell powered commercial truck maker Hyzon Motors; EV startup Lucid Motors; online used car marketplace Cazoo; electric scooter maker Bird; and DC faster charger company Tritium.

Autonomous vehicle companies and automotive suppliers are also reaping the rewards of going public by merging with SPACs, which are publicly listed investment companies. The latest one was Lucid Group, the company formed after Lucid Motors’ merger with Churchill Capital Corp IV (CCIV) and which is now a publicly listed company. Lucid has been best known for its all-electric Air sedan.

Lucid Group launched on Nasdaq on July 26, which the company said brought in $4.5 billion in capital. Class A common stock and public warrants are now listed under the new ticker symbols “LCID” and “LCIDW.” The capital will allow it to add 2.7 million square feet of additional space at the company’s greenfield factory in Arizona; some of that will go to adding a separate line for the Project Gravity electric SUV. Shares of Lucid Group climbed nearly 10 percent in their first day of trading on Monday, hovering around $26.50, while ending the week at $24.25.

The SPAC deal had been announced in February as the fog started lifting from the pandemic. Investors have been enthusiastic about these types of deals, allowing businesses to go through public combinations with shell companies and avoid traditional IPOs. Lucid had already invested $700 million in the greenfield plant, and had looked forward to bringing in more outside investments funds. In 2019, the California startup gave up majority ownership to Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund in exchange for a $1.3 billion investment.

Canoo, a startup with a plan to roll out an electric minivan in 2022, went public last December through a reverse merger with an SPAC. In June the company said it planned to build an assembly plant in Oklahoma that would open in 2023. Canoo is known for its “skateboard”, or a low-rise platform that bundles batteries and electric motors with chassis components such as as steering, brakes and wheels, on which a variety of vehicle body types can be built.

Last October, Fisker went public in an SPAC reverse merger with Spartan Energy Acquisition to net the company more than $1 billion. Outsourcing to other companies like Magna and Foxconn to do the engineering, and being less invested in assets, could help the company reach growth and profits. The Fisker Ocean electric SUV will start rolling off the assembly line at Magna’s Graz facility in Austria in November of next year.

Faraday Future had a revival from what looked like a near-death experience not that long ago. That was thanks to a SPAC deal with Property Solutions Acquisition Corp. that is providing the automaker with $1 billion. The company had gone through upheaval — abandoning a plan for a $1 billion factory in Nevada; but it has yet to build its first vehicle. Another difficulty: Its founder and CEO, Chinese billionaire Jia Yueting, filed for bankruptcy in 2019.

The company received much attention for showing off its alluring electric car, the FF91, with voluminous interior room, gigantic display screens and Tesla-competitive acceleration. But the audience will be very limited once the vehicle roll out, with pricing going from $120,000 to $200,000.

UK-based Arrival makes electric buses and vans using micro-manufacturing – an asset-light strategy. It recently went public via a SPAC merger, and partnerships have helped the startup move forward, Last year, it made an agreement with UPS to roll out an initial order of 10,000 electric delivery vehicles through 2024. This year, Arrival partnered with Uber to create a purpose-built EV for ridesharing, and more recently took an order of 3,000 EVs from LeasePlan, a major fleet management company.

It didn’t go well for Nikola
Nikola Corp. has tried out SPACs as an alternative method to finding the backing that it needed, but that took an ugly turn for the worst. Its former chief was indicted last week on three counts of criminal fraud over false claims he made about the company.

Nikola was able build support and interest by rolling out a number of zero-emission fuel cell electric concept trucks from 2016 to 2020. Trevor Milton, the founder and former CEO of Nikola, had been an articulate champion of the product. Milton had also become a billionaire after taking the vehicle maker public through an SPAC deal. The stock price had skyrocketed as the CEO made several claims about the company’s progress toward bringing its electric and fuel cell trucks to market.

Trouble began brewing last year when a report from Hindenburg Research made several allegations exposing deception by Nikola and Milton. The report had included several claims corroborated in previous reports from Electrek and Bloomberg. The company did respond to those claims, but its response failed to address and rebut these allegations.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan charged him on July 29 with two counts of securities fraud and one count of wire fraud. The former CEO pled not guilty to the charges later that day and was freed on $100 million bail. The US Securities and Exchange Commission also filed a civil suit against him for securities fraud.

In a statement, Nikola said that the indictment was against Milton and not the fuel cell electric truck manufacturing company. The company also noted that he had not been involved in the business since last year. The company had hoped to restore confidence and enthusiasm in its business model well beyond Milton, living up to its ambitious claims. One of those had been its goal to build 700 hydrogen fueling stations across North America by 2028. The hydrogen would be produced on site at each location. But now the very existence and future of Nikola Motors is in question.

What does chip shortage mean for electric vehicles?
The global auto industry has been particularly vulnerable to a shortage in chips, or semiconductor devices, that are behind the increasingly complex electrical and digital devices used in new vehicles. That comes primarily from entertainment systems, navigation systems, and sensors.

The pandemic increased demand for personal electronics, especially cell phones and laptops, that also require chips — throwing off the supply chain where production couldn’t keep pace with demand. Experts say that the chip shortage will greatly affect EV production, which puts startups in another sensitive situation.

This issue came up during Tesla’s second quarter earnings call. CEO Elon Musk said that the company has been able to switch to types of chips that are readily available, but that the chip shortage was limiting the company’s output.

Market analysts expect that the chip shortage will begin to ease in the third or fourth quarter of this year. However, it could take much of next year for these new chips to make their way through the supply chains to new vehicles being produced.

Three other EV startups to watch
Rivian: The electric truck maker startup has been been doing very in finding financial backers and corporate contracts, with Amazon being the most noticed. Ford’s support has been helping, too. There may be some type of IPO coming up soon. Rivian has been in talks with government officials about building a factory in the UK, near Bristol. That may involve a large state-support package. A delivery van version of its R1T electric truck has been delayed from June to the second half of this year to arrive with customers.
Lordstown Motors: This Ohio-based startup has been capturing interest in its Endurance L-1500 with in-wheel motors that can delver 250 miles of range and 600 horsepower. That interest is more tied to commercial customers than consumers. It will have a starting price of $52,500. Production is expected to start in September for initially reach 1,000 units. The company launched its own SPAC in October 2020 on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol RIDE. The company has been hurt by negative reports, and by conerns that having bought General Motor’s former massive (6 million square foot) Lordstown, Ohio, assembly plant was not a good idea.
Workhorse, as reported here recently, has been spending a lot of time in the delivery drone business. Its electric truck story fell out of grace recently by losing the U.S. Postal Service deal on the agency acquiring its battery electric vehicle delivery trucks. That’s meant a 70 percent drop in share prices from its all-time highs. Its product is still an unknown risk — electric trucks designed with hub motors, which offers potential benefits to fleets but has gone largely unproven so far.

And in other news…………..

Speaking of SPACs, they’re not always going to succeed: “Investors are perceiving EV charging businesses as highly promising investment_targets based on their long-term revenue projections, however the relevance of strategic investments in this area cannot be underestimated as has been displayed by the performance of recent SPACs.”

That comes from Charles River Associates new report, Investment in EV Charging Business. Eager buyers coming into the charging and e-mobility are making it tougher for startups and established suppliers to stay focused on the tasks at hand in the competitive landscape. But the opportunities are there.

Lyft’s role in autonomous vehicles: This Automotive News podcast features Jody Kelman, head of Lyft’s autonomous ride division, explores the suprisiding moves made by the ride-sharing giant that looked like it would be completely stepping out of the autonomous shared ride business. As podcast interviews tend to go, it offers a more interesting and personalized look at the issues. Kelman talks about the company’s new deal with Ford and Argo AI, offers insights gathered from driving data, and tells the story of her first ride in an autonomous vehicle.

Hydrogen coming to India? The use of hydrogen power for vehicle transport is an “interesting alternative” for India, especially as it would reduce dependence on lithium imports, the chairman of India’s top-selling automaker Maruti Suzuki said on Monday. R.C. Bhargava discussed the challenges with shareholders in the company’s annual report meeting as the company looks to meet stringent emissions targets; and as demand for lithium used in batteries soars worldwide. India would be following behind three other neighbors in the Asia Pacific region — Japan, South Korea, and China — which for years have been committed to bringing in more fuel cell vehicles and charging stations.