Infiniti and Porsche electrifying offerings: Product announcements last week from Nissan’s Infiniti luxury brand and Volkswagens’ Porsche division tap into consumer interest in electric luxury, performance cars and compliance with increasing government mandates. Infiniti aims to become the premier electrified brand in a five-year plan that will extend through 2022, said Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa. These new Infiniti models will either be all-electric or will use its “e-power” hybrid system. Infiniti said it will introduce its first all-electric vehicle in 2021. The luxury brand expects that more than half of its global vehicle sales will be electric vehicles by 2025. Half of all Porsche models will have some form of electrification by 2023, said North American CEO Klaus Zellmer last week while speaking at the annual Automotive News World Congress in Detroit. The product lineup will include model offerings that may include hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or battery electric drivetrains. It will include the Mission E all-electric performance car, which is slated to come out next year. While the sales success of the Tesla Model S and Model X have had their influence, Volvo is playing a role in the luxury/near-luxury market. In July 2017, the company announced that it will be electrifying all of its new vehicle offerings starting in 2019. Five all-electric models will come out between 2019 and 2021, three under the Volvo brand, and two under Polestar. Volvo Cars will also be tapping into an innovative subscription service to bolster sales support for its new Polestar performance electric brand.
Hedge fund for EV technology: A UK-based investor is setting up a hedge fund backing companies offering products and services in electrified transportation. Will Smith, a former partner at CQS U.K., is starting the Westbeck Electric Metals Fund that’s expiated to start trading next month and raise about $250 million, according to Bloomberg News. Major automakers are looking into alternative funding sources to secure needed resources such as metals needed to produce electric car batteries. The fund is looking at investing in more than 200 companies, and has tapped into a former CEO of a lithium company as an adviser.
Motor City getting more EV plants: Electric vehicle truck maker Bollinger Motors said it has plans move its operations from upstate New York to Detroit. Company founder Robert Bollinger visited sites in Detroit during last week’s auto show. Originally looking at property along the I-75 corridor, he decided moving inside the city would be a better move. One advantage would be locating closer to where “the talent” lives, as well as suppliers. Bollinger Motors, which unveiled its battery electric sport-utility/truck last year, will need a facility somewhere between 15,000 to 20,000 square feet to set up the assembly plant. One other EV makers has already chosen Detroit for its headquarters. The Detroit Electric Co., named after one of the original electric car manufacturers that closed its shutters during the Great Depression, has committed to set up a factory capable of producing about 2,500 vehicles each year.