For Today: Tesla Model 3 slowdown may come from steel, EVS30 successful in Stuttgart

Why Model 3 slowed down:  What’s been slowing down an expected higher Tesla Model 3 production volume? Auto analysts say that Tesla is struggling with welding together a mostly steel vehicle with the Model 3, which has differed quite a bit from the mainly aluminum bodies of the Model S and Model X. That showed up with the electric carmaker falling short on its third quarter production target for the Model 3. The Wall Street Journal had reported on the slowdown and more light was shed on it during a video about the Model 3 production line posted on Twitter by CEO Elon Musk. Tesla is in a tight spot, pinning much of its future on the Model 3 production line ramped up to big numbers starting at the end of this year. Automakers such as General Motors with the Chevy Bolt, and several other automakers with their long-range EVs, have been anxiously waiting to see the impact of the Model 3 on the market.

RNG at ports:  You can watch a new video from the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition (CNGVC) to learn more about how renewable natural gas is being tried out in near-zero emission trucks at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. “Powering with the Cummins-Westport ISX12N Natural Gas Engine” shows how a new 12-liter natural gas engine vehicle from Cummins-Westport is being tried out by the ports. A Class 8 heavy-duty truck carries loads from the ports to drop-off points in Southern California. “For us, having an engine that can haul the loads in these conditions, while offering us the emissions benefits of a near zero natural gas engine, is essential to the future success of our business,” said Victor LaRosa Jr., operations manager of port drayage trucking company Heavy Loads Transfer.

Startups competing with Tesla:  You can get a good idea of the challenges of competing with Tesla as small startup company getting into the high-performance electric vehicle race. Automotive News takes a look at how Faraday Future, Lucid Motors, Bollinger Motors, Local Motors, and Elio Motors (not to mention, Karma Automotive and Fisker Inc.) are taking on a very big challenge with Tesla; along with entering the auto manufacturing business in the first place. Starting from scratch will cost hundreds of millions of dollars without any revenue, and recruitment of talented professionals to design and build the electric cars while passing strict government safety tests.

EVS30 successful in Stuttgart:  Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS30) had been going strong in Stuttgart, Germany, with more than 1,700 participants attending panel discussions from Oct. 9-11. Overall, about 9,500 people have been in attendance as participants and trade fair visitors. Panelists and those visiting exhibits have been discussing the future of mobility at the 30th EVS. The mood was positive, and discussions focused on the next phase of the EV industry’s future coming together this year. “Technological prerequisites have been created and some electrification products are already available, as demonstrated by the 353 exhibitors…….” according to conference planners.

RNG Will Be Important Part of Hitting Port Clean Truck Goals

There’s a lot happening right now as the largest port in the U.S. moves farther toward clean transportation.


Earlier this month at ACT Expo, the California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition (CNGVC) announced submission of the Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) Now Plan to the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. The coalition is giving input as the ports adopt the 2017 Clean Air Action Plan (CAAP), the next phase of the clean truck program. They want to see emissions further reduced from the 13,000 heavy-duty trucks that currently serve the ports.


The ACT Now Plan encompasses all zero- and near-zero emission technologies and fuels, including natural gas, propane, battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell electric, and others that meet a 0.02 g/bhp-hrNOx standard and can achieve a minimum 40% reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions using renewable fuels or energy.


For now, port commissioners are showing more interest in electrified transportation in hitting emissions targets. While that would more than meet these emission reduction targets, it will take several years for the heavy-duty electric trucks to become available at that scale. Renewable natural gas could serve as an ideal bridge fuel during that time, according to members of the coalition.


Currently, the ports have about 700 natural gas-powered trucks serving them, according to the Southern California Gas Co. All of these trucks operating in the region currently have access to RNG, also known as biomethane, through natural gas fueling stations. Southern California has been the hub of these natural gas fueling stations, which will help drayage and carrier truck companies convert over to the fuel.


The benefits of using RNG in trucks equipped with natural gas-powered engines are becoming well known among fleet managers. In a 2011 study of RNG production methods (PDF), Argonne National Laboratory concluded that all RNG methods show significantly less GHG emissions and fossil fuel consumption than conventional fossil natural gas and gasoline.


Both of the ports are reviewing the ACT Now Plan as part of the process, with more expected to be decided upon this summer. You can read the announcement here, find a summary here, and the see the plan here.


For those interested in learning more about the port’s clean truck program and the role ACT Now Plan will play, attending the upcoming FuturePorts 2017 Annual Conference would be ideal. Conference speakers will be looking at the 10-year mark since the Clean Air Action Plan was implemented at the ports; and some of them have been involved in bringing clean trucks to the ports. The conference “will focus on the trends in energy, port operations and efficiency that are disrupting historical business models and setting the course for a competitive future.” It’s taking place Thursday, June 22, 2017, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Long Beach.