Waymo and Cruise Allowed to Operate Autonomous Vehicles in San Francisco, Top Selling Global EVs

On August 10, Waymo and Cruise were approved to operate their paid robotaxi services 24/7 in San Francisco. That decision was made by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in a 3-to-1 vote. Members of the public were able to participate in a six-hour public hearing where they voiced their support and opposition to the autonomous vehicles (AVs). That followed several years, and tens of billions of dollars, with several companies investing heavily in developing and testing AVs — with very little hope until this vote passed through.

Waymo, owned by Alphabet, Inc., and Cruise LLC, owned by General Motors, are being allowed to operate their vehicles at any hour of the day throughout the city of San Francisco while charging for the rides. The commissioners urged the companies to address problems and concerns that were raised by San Francisco officials and residents. These issues included AVs blocking roads, causing traffic jams, and getting in the way of emergency vehicles. Commissioner Darcie Houck said that the comments were being taken very seriously in their decision. If further reports came of incidents, the CPUC could vote to limit the number of vehicles allowed on the roads, or companies’ permits could be revoked altogether.

Waymo operates Waymo One with 24/7 across 225 square miles of the Metro Phoenix area. Waymo One takes passengers from downtown Phoenix, to Scottsdale, to the East Valley, the company says. Riders can download the Waymo One app and take a ride in an all-electric Jaguar I-PACE, with no human behind the steering wheel.
Way One service started in December 2018.

The World’s Top Selling Plug-in Cars — 1st Half 2023
1. Tesla Model Y — 579,552
2. Tesla Model 3 — 279,320
3. BYD Song (BEV + PHEV) — 259,723
4. BYD Qin Plus (BEV + PHEV) — 204,259
5. BYD Yuan Plus EV (Atto 3) — 201,505
6. BYD Dolphin — 158,512
7. Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV — 122,052
8. GAC Aion S — 115,606
9. BYD Han (BEV + PHEV) — 96,437
10. GAC Aion Y — 92,034

In March, AAA published results from its annual AV survey. While survey respondents are open to partially-automated vehicle technology. They’re more apprehensive about fully self-driving vehicles. This year’s study found a major increase in drivers who are afraid, rising to 68% as compared to 55% in 2022. While automakers and their partners have made advancements in AV technologies, improvements will still need to be Mae to build public trust and knowledge about the technology, AAA said.

Source: InsideEVs

While the Tesla Model Y crossover SUV and the Tesla Model 3 small sedan are well known in the US market, here’s a look at the other top-selling electric vehicles in the global market — with Chinese maker BYD playing a major leading role………..

  • The BYD Song (a Chinese name, after the Song dynasty) is a series of compact crossover SUV developed by BYD Auto. 
  • The BYD Qin (pronounced “Chin”) is a compact sedan, available as an all-electric car, as a plug-in hybrid, and as an internal combustion engine vehicle.
  • The BYD Yuan is a subcompact crossover SUV, slotting below the BYD Song compact crossover. It is part of BYD’s “Dynasty Series” of production vehicles, and is named after the Yuan dynasty. It’s selling as the BYD ATTO 3 in Europe.
  • The BYD Dolphin is a battery electric hatchback produced by the Chinese manufacturer since 2021. A subcompact (B-segment) hatchback in its home country, the Dolphin is positioned above the Seagull in the Chinese market and part of BYD’s ‘Ocean Series’. It’s been exported to overseas market such as Europe, Australia, and Thailand since 2023 with lengthened dimensions to satisfy more stringent crash safety standards, and placing it in the compact or C-segment space.
  • The Wuling Hong Guang MINI EV is very cheap to buy — about $5,000 new. It’s not available outside of China, and its inspired competitive automakers to make similar models. It will be coming out in a cabriolet and a long-range version.
  • The Aion S is a compact electric sedan produced by Aion, a marque of GAC Group. It was unveiled at Auto Guangzhou of 2018. A new version, the Aion S Plus, was shown in 2021.
  • The BYD Han is a full-size/executive sedan manufactured by the Chinese automaker, available in an all-electric variant and a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) variant. It is the latest entry of BYD’s “Dynasty” series passenger vehicles, and gets its name from the Han Dynasty, which is considered to be the first golden age of Imperial China. 
  • The Aion Y is a compact electric crossover SUV produced by Aion, another model from GAC Group, since 2021. It was revealed as a concept at Auto Guangzhou in November 2020.

And in other news………..

Ford’s Farley on EVs: Ford CEO Jim Farley said the company is cutting back on its initial goal of building electric vehicles at a rate of 600,000 per year by the end of 2023. That will be moved into next year. A goal of 2 million by 2026 was delayed without an extension date provided yet, if at all. Ford is losing money on each EV it sells; but the plans are still there overall he said. The company’s plant in Cologne, Germany is ideal for launched the electric Explorer, he said. Another challenge has been delaying vehicle production to investigate thermal propagation, which build in countermeasures around fire. They needed a six-month delay “to get the engineering right,” Farley told NPR.

Nikola recall: Nikola is recalling all the 209 battery-powered electric trucks that had been delivered to customers due to an investigation into recent fires that found a coolant leak inside a battery pack as the cause. The electric and hydrogen-powered heavy-duty truckmaker is contacting all parties about it, the company said. The preliminary findings came from a third-party investigator looking into a “minor thermal incident” on one pack on a parked engineering-validation truck, the company said, adding that no one was injured.

What are the top selling global plug-in vehicles and what do forecasters think will be next?

From a U.S. market perspective, the Nissan Leaf has been taking a dive in sales in the past couple of years. Viewing it by global sales volume provides another perspective.

In 2016, the all-electric Leaf came in fifth place in the U.S. with 14,006 units sold. Leading the market were the Tesla Model S at 29,156, the Chevy Volt at 24,739, the Tesla Model X at 18,028, and the Ford Fusion Energi at 15,938 units sold. Globally, the Leaf followed close behind the Model S in 2016 with 50,931 units sold for the Model S versus 49,220 for the Leaf; and since its launch, the Leaf is the clear market leader for cumulative global sales, far ahead of the Model S and nearly double sales of the Chevy Volt, according to HybridCars.

Automakers take the U.S. market very seriously for launching and marketing a new technology like plug-in electrified vehicles. But it’s not all about the U.S., and some automakers have given other markets more weight in the initial phase of the car. The Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid has been a leader in Europe and was the fifth top selling PEV globally last year – which has yet to be launched in the U.S. BYD has three of the top selling PEVs in the world and has just started seeking a second EPA certification to start selling it e6 electric vehicle in the U.S.

Here’s how the list played out last year:













Nissan’s partner Renault topped the European market last year, just passing by the Outlander PHEV with 21,337 units sold last year compared to 21,328 units, respectively. The European Alternative Fuels Observatory reported that the Nissan Leaf finished in third place in that market last year, with 18,557 vehicles sold. The VW Passat GTE plug-in hybrid had 13,248 units sold and the Tesla Model S came in fifth place in the European market with 12,353 vehicles sold last year. The Nissan Leaf switched places with the Model S, which dropped 26 percent from 2015 sales in Europe.

The all-electric BMW i3 did better in Europe than the U.S. last year, with 9,726 units sold in Europe and 7,625 vehicles sold in the U.S. (The i3 numbers do include a few sold with the range extender plug-in hybrid option).

The European Alternative Fuels Observatory said it will be watching to see how the Opel Ampera-e MPV and Smart ED rollouts do in the BEV segment; and the BMW 530e and second generation Porsche Panamera do in the plug-in hybrid segment.

As for other vehicles to watch during 2017, there are six new vehicles that could make a difference. Long-range EVs are expected to help sales pickups. According to Matt Bohlsen, an investment advisory in Seeking Alpha, here are six EVs to watch this year:

Company Model Availability Battery (kWh)        Range EPA

miles (kms)



1. BYD Co e6,Qin EV300,e5 300 Now (China) 48 188+

(300+ km)

2.BAIC BAIC EU 260 EV Now (China) 41.4 162 (260 km) 37,500
3.Renault Zoe LR December 2016

(Europe, UK)

41 186

(300 km)

17,500 (13,995 GBP) + battery lease costs (from USD 47pm)
4.GM Bolt/Opel


December 2016


60 238 (381km) 37,500
5.Nissan Leaf September 2017


40 150

(240 km)

6.Tesla Model 3 Mid-late 2017


est. 60 215 (344 kms) 35,000