A Mid-Year Look at the State of the Clean Transportation Sector

These strange times continue as another Covid variant surges, war continues in the Ukraine, tensions in Washington continue as more comes out on the January 6, 2021 Capitol attack, and the cost of fuel and food (and just about everything else) stays high. But it’s not stopping a return to usual for most of us, with summer travel going strong and a few other upward market trends taking place. So, let’s take a look at the state of things..……….

Last week, Musk started making comments about his disappointment with Twitter for letting bots get in the way, as the company can’t verify its figures on the spam accounts. Musk says that Twitter hasn’t given him the information he needed to evaluate the deal.

Why buy Twitter?
The saga continues with Tesla CEO Elon Musk getting sued in a Delaware court by social media giant Twitter for ending a binding $44 billion merger agreement to buy the company. The board is upset that Musk now “refuses to honor his obligations to Twitter and its stockholders because the deal he signed no longer serves his personal interests.”

Infighting with former President Donald Trump has also been a mess for Musk to clean up; or at least to give the impression he’s winning or won’t settle for Trump’s brand of humiliation. Musk has taken his usual route of one upping an enemy in a debate, suggesting that 76-year-old Trump should “sail into the sunset.”

So the question becomes: Why would Elon Musk want to buy Twitter?

Certainly, the publicly traded social media company did have a market cap of around $50 billion back in April, when this acquisition deal became public — and which helps explain the $44 billion bid price. And yes, Musk has access to the funding with the most recent personal net worth placing him at about $237 billion, the richest person on the planet.

Musk has certainly enjoyed holding the platform he’s had on Twitter for years with over 100 million followers — way more than the estimated 60 million Trump had. But what real value does Twitter have to offer? Twitter makes the bulk of its revenue through advertising fees to partners. Advertising income accounts for over 85% of the company’s annual revenues last year, according to an analyst report. Data licensing agreements accounted for approximately 14% of Twitter revenues.

As for the business sectors we’ve known Musk to be in, Tesla has had a choppy performance year but it still stays up in market value and sales. For the second quarter, production and deliveries took a sizable hit, even with two new factories in Berlin and Austin starting to ramp up production. Analysts are not happy with the production results which are down about 55,000 units from strong performance in the first quarter.

The 10 Bestselling EVs in the First Quarter:

  1. Tesla Model Y
  2. Tesla Model 3
  3. Ford Mustang Mach-E
  4. Tesla Model X
  5. Hyundai Ioniq 5
  6. Kia EV6
  7. Tesla Model S
  8. Nissan Leaf
  9. Kia Niro
  10. Audi e-Tron

Source: KBB

The company has a stable presence in battery packs, energy storage, solar panels, and fast chargers. Autonomous vehicle services are still on hold, but Tesla may be more ready than other companies to enter the space when it opens up on the testing and safety regulations side.

His original business (after a few other deals like co-selling PayPal) was SpaceX, which started up in 2002. There are plenty of big contracts coming in, and the privately held space-launch company is looking very good with its Starlink product. It offers high-speed, broadband internet in remote and rural locations around the world. For now, 34 countries are getting satellite internet access through Starlink. Another big step: at the end of June, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) granted the company authorization to use its Starlink satellite internet system on vehicles in motion — including cars, trucks, boats, and aircraft.

All of these business ventures make much more sense than Twitter. Perhaps Musk and a few other entrepreneurs are seeing the full possibility in social media. Finding tangible, measurable, actionable achievements is another matter.

Fun facts about EVs:
Beyond Musk and Tesla, here’s a look at the global and national electric vehicle market……….
>There were 66.7 million new vehicles sold worldwide last year, and 6.9 million were plug-in hybrid or battery electric light-duty to heavy-duty electric vehicles — making up 10.34% of the total new vehicles sold globally last year. That’s a significant benchmark level to pass.
>As the Statista chart below illustrates, it took five years for global EV sales to have a solid base for annual sales — and growth has been in big steps each year since then.
>Cumulative global EV sales reached 18.6 million last year, with 95% being light-duty vehicles and 5% heavy-duty vehicles.
>China sold 51% of them last year with 3.5 million units sold, 2.3 million were sold in Europe, and the US came in third with a record high of 667,731 units sold.

Events are starting to come back At the end of its final day in May, ACT Expo 2022 surpassed the previous year’s event by more than 3,000 attendees; more than 8,500 industry stakeholders signed up for this year’s event. That’s a very good sign industry events are seeing a comeback — with 2020 seeing only a few online conferences and last year seeing the return of a few live events, but with much lower attendance than usual. 

More significant events are coming up:

The Mobilize California Summit is considered to be the SoCal region’s premier fleet modernization, alternative fuels, and workforce training event – where industry and education intersect – to collaborate on existing and emerging technologies, trends and training tactics. Offering information-packed sessions, prominent national and regional speakers and the latest technologies, this event is where government fleets, industry and academic leaders examine the current and future trends in clean transportation and logistics to improve workforce training, as well as curriculum development. It’s taking place July 21-23, 2022, at South Coast Winery & Spa in Temecula, Calif.

ITS World Congress 2022, taking place Sept. 19-22, 2022 in Los Angeles, CA, exploring “Transformation by Transportation”, is the global event that brings together world leaders, practitioners, policy makers, researchers, and private industry to advance and unite the intelligent transportation systems (ITS) industry.

AltWheels is one of the premier annual event promoting alternative and sustainable transportation solutions for fleet managers. This year on Monday, Oct. 3, 2022, the organizers will combine the expanded reach from its virtual event over the past two years with the benefit of in-person networking, live ride-and-drive experiences, and expanded opportunities for reaching your target audience. This year’s AltWheels Fleet Day will serve as the NAFA October meeting and gathering of northeast Clean Cities representatives. Organizers will be announcing the theme, keynote speakers, and panel topics as the event gets closer. It will take place at Four Points By Sheraton in Norwood, Mass.

Obama and Biden administrations too connected to Big Oil? Frontline, PBS’ investigative reporting program, has shown a three-part special on the power of Big Oil companies to block efforts to reduce climate change. While Republican administrations are reported as being too supportive of Big Oil, two Democratic presidents are called out for also being too sympathetic to fossil fuel.

The first part of the Frontline series takes Exxon-Mobil to task for funding substantial studies over the years that have turned into distorted sources for the oil industry to make the case that there’s no real evidence global warning and climate change are taking place beyond typical historic patterns. Fossil fuels can’t be blamed, they said. That’s taken apart by former executives who participated in those studies, and who need to be honest about what really happened.

The Obama and Biden administrations are taken to task in the third episode for not taking elimination of fossil fuels seriously enough. They’ve called onto classic economic arguments on how fossil fuels are a necessity for the U.S. to move forward. Obama is seen speaking to the necessity of natural gas as a domestic fuel that’s cleaner than petroleum and coal, and protects the U.S. from foreign oil import instability.

More recently, Biden has taken the argument that the U.S. must be protected from oil and gas market instability — especially during Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine. That’s cut off the supply of Russian oil, which the U.S. had been preferring over OPEC nations imports. More recently, Biden has not liked seeing Saudi Arabia continuing its strong alliance with Russia. The U.S. president had hoped to lower oil prices by convincing Saudi Arabia to increase production.

Biden had also previously announced that the U.S. would be releasing its fuel reserves that have been kept stored to avoid the petroleum supply drying up and instigating a gasoline and diesel price hike. Other countries were encouraged to do so, as well.

Both presidents have been supportive of EV tax incentives, manufacturing grants for clean energy and EV manufacturing, and other progressive initiatives. Biden and future Democratic presidents will be pressured by a wing of their own party, environmental groups, and others, to say no to Big Oil.

Time to contact your senator to support EVs
Plug In America is encouraging fans of electric vehicles to contact their U.S. Senators to support an expanded EV tax credit. A federal EV tax credit has been integral to stimulating EV sales by reducing the difference in total price by up to $7,500 compared to gas-powered vehicles. An upcoming Senate spending bill is offering the opportunity to see this incentive supported and to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions by putting more EVs on our roads. Contact your US Senator using the form below! You’ll just need to provide a few pieces of information to connect you with your elected officials. Click here to tap into the organization’s site for getting these letters done.

What’s happened with high gasoline prices?
AAA reported that the highest U.S. gas prices ever recorded took place last month:

6/14/22: Regular Unleaded $5.016
6/19/22: Diesel $5.816

This week, those prices have come down to $4.631 for unleaded gasoline and $5.611 for diesel despite increase in demand. Prior to last month’s spike, the highest previous regular unleaded gas price had been recorded at $4.11 a gallon in July 2008. Analysts think that these high fuel prices have been helping to sell more EVs this year.

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