More Chevy Bolts coming off assembly line: General Motors will be building more Chevrolet Bolts later this year to meet rising global demand, said CEO Mary Barra on Wednesday during a CERAWeek energy conference speech in Houston. The company declined to clarify specific numbers. Last year, GM reported selling 23,297 Bolts in the U.S. Barra said that the Lake Orion, Mich., assembly plant can be easily adjusted to build more Bolts. Barra also called for expansion of the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicle purchases. GM vehicles will be seeing that incentive phase out later this year unless the cap is lifted. The automaker’s commitment to zero-emission vehicles – battery electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles – will stay in place regardless of changes to federal fuel economy standards, Barra said.
Shareholders backing generous pay package for Musk: Two of Tesla’s largest shareholders are supporting a move to reward CEO Elon Musk with a compensation package valued at $2.6 billion, to keep him around for several more years. Baillie Gifford & Co. and T. Rowe Price Group Inc., which combined own about 14% of Tesla stock, appear likely to go that way during a March 21 special meeting of the board. It comes from a compensation plan proposed in late January offering Musk 20.3 million stock options that will be carried out in 12 increments if market-value measures and other financial goals are met. The company would have to reach about $650 billion in market value for the full award to come through, which equates to about a 12-fold increase in current market valuation. It’s a much larger version of compensation Musk received in 2012 for hitting company targets. Musk currently owns about 20% of Tesla. He and his brother Kimbal Musk, a company director, won’t be voting on the plan during the March 21 meeting.
European makers compete with Tesla at Geneva auto show: The Geneva International Motor Show, which started this week and runs through March 18, has become a showcase for automakers to take on Tesla for electric vehicle sales. It follows close behind the Tesla Model S beating the Mercedes-Benz S class and BMW 7 series in European sales for the first time. This year will see even more pressure as the Tesla Model 3 in higher production numbers than the Model S and Model X.
Volkswagen unveiled the I.D. Vizzion concept car, an all-electric midsize sedan scheduled to launch in 2022 and will be sold as the flagship model for the I.D. electric subbrand. Its Audi division is showing off its E-tron Sportback, and its Porsche brand revealed the Mission E Cross Turismo, a new concept version of its upcoming Mission E all-electric car. The Cross Turismo will be a crossover with all-wheel drive and plenty of cargo capacity.
Jaguar’s I-Pace all-electric crossover will be launched this year. At $70,495, including delivery charges, it will be directly competing with the Tesla Model X, which starts at $79,500, excluding shipping. Deliveries to the U.S. will begin during the second half of 2018, Jaguar said.
Mercedes-Benz is displaying the EQC electric SUV, which will be the automaker’s first production battery-electric vehicle. It will also be the fist of its models under the new all-electric EQ subbrand.
British luxury carmaker Bentley unveiled its first plug-in vehicle, the Bentayga Hybrid, during the show this week. The company hailed it as the world’s first luxury plug-in hybrid model. It’s powered by an advanced electric motor with a new-generation V6 gasoline engine.