This Week’s Top 10: Nissan Leaf joining 200 mile EV club, EV incentives put on hold in California

by Jon LeSage, editor and publisher, Green Auto Market

Here’s my take on the 10 most significant and interesting occurrences during the past week…….

  1. Lithium battery in Nissan LeafNissan Leaf will go over 200: The next-generation Nissan Leaf will be able to travel more than 200 miles per charge from its 60-kWh battery, said Kazuo Yajima, Nissan’s global director of EV and HEV engineering. Yajima spoke to AutoblogGreen at the Electric Vehicle Symposium (EVS29) in Montreal. It’s coming, but he couldn’t say when. Yajima said the 60-kWh pack will more drive the car 210-220 miles per charge, which is more than double the range from the current Leaf’s 24 kWh battery. Nissan had placed the 60-kWh pack in the IDS concept car revealed last November. Watch AutoblogGreen’s Sebastian Blanco doing a video report on what it’s like this week in the expo hall at EVS29. You can hear Yajima talk about Nissan’s new battery pack during the video.
  2. EV incentives on hold in California: The California legislature has passed a new budget, awaiting Governor Jerry Brown’s signature, which cuts off funds for the state’s clean vehicle subsidies. EV advocates are waiting to see if a compromise will be made before the governor signs the bill, or if a new measure will be introduced. If the governor does sign this bill, subsidies will be cut including consumer rebates for electrified vehicles, “environmentally friendly” heavy trucks, and other clean vehicle programs. Car buyers seeking incentive funds are on a waiting list for now. A Los Angeles Times article says it may have to do with how the state is spending funds generated by its cap-and-trade program. California’s cap-and-trade auction credit system requires businesses like oil refineries and manufacturers to buy permits based on how much they pollute. The governor may be holding onto the funds to get lawmakers to reach a deal this summer on extending the life of the cap-and-trade program. That state program is facing legal questions over whether it can keep operating past 2020.
  3. SCAQMD webinar on $50M funding: Join the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) for a complimentary one-hour webinar to learn about the $50 million in California’s new Proposition 1B funding for: heavy-duty truck replacements; truck stop electrification; electric charging stations; hydrogen fueling stations, and other topics. With this free webinar, SCAQMD is aiming to ensure all the relevant fleets that operate Class 6, 7 or 8 trucks are well aware of the funding that could be available to them. The program is presented by Vicki White, Program Supervisor, SCAQMD. It will take place Thursday, June 23, at 2:00 p.m. PDT. Click here to register.
  4. Attacking Uber’s surge pricing: Gett is taking swipes at competitor Uber in a New York City ad campaign aimed at resentments over surge pricing. The campaign targets Uber’s surge pricing, which takes hold when rider demand is high. Gett, an on-demand black-car app that’s available in more than 60 cities worldwide, is placing its ads on 570 subway cars, phone kiosks, digital street-level billboards, and bus shelters around the city. Gett, which received a $300 million strategic investment from Volkswagen Group last month, is tapping into riders’ annoyance with having their fares increased 1.5 times the usual fare – and sometimes up to two or three times the fare. Gett emphasizes that it doesn’t have surge pricing in the ads.
  5. EVgo brings in new investor: Charging networking supplier EVgo, which was started years ago by electric utility NRG Energy, has become an independent company. Vision Ridge Partners, a climate action-oriented investment firm, has closed on its major investment in EVgo. This move supports EVgo’s mission of expanding its charging network, including its commitment to deploying public fast charging stations. EVgo has worked closely with automakers like Nissan, BMW, and Ford to develop a vehicle-centric customer experience. EVgo operates 665 fast chargers in more than 50 top metro markets across the country.
  6. New EV telematics service: FleetCarma, a provider of telematics systems for electric vehicles, announced at EVS29 the launch of a new product for fleets seeking to increase the number of electric vehicles they operate. Fleets connecting the new telematics device, named the C2, to gasoline, diesel, and hybrid vehicles in their fleet receive the immediate benefits of standard telematics, while the system also uses the operational data to identify optimal vehicles for replacement with electric vehicles. The single telematics system provides immediate telematics benefits on the gasoline and diesel vehicles while providing the long term benefits of optimized electric vehicle deployment.
  7. Didi investment grows: Didi Chuxing Technology Co., China’s leading ridesharing company and Uber competitor, has raised $7.3 billion in its latest fundraising effort, giving it a host of powerful allies including Apple Inc., to establish its strong market presence. A recent funding round attracted Apple’s recent $1 billion investment, China Life Insurance Co., and the financial affiliate of online shopping firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. The round valued the company at nearly $28 billion, people familiar with the matter said.
  8. CEC grant: The California Energy Commission has approved $13.5 million to showcase low- and zero-emission vehicles at two of the state’s busiest seaports, to identify and install electric vehicle charging sites at California’s national parks, and to complete hydrogen refueling station evaluations. Project funds are from the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program (ARFVTP). According to the CEC, the ARFVTP has invested more than $606 million to date and funded more than 543 clean transportation projects.
  9. Uber and Hyundai alliance: Uber wants to partner with Hyundai on the development of self-driving technology in the automaker’s home country, according to Maeil Business News Korea. Uber is also poised to place an order for a huge number of Hyundai vehicles. In April, automakers Ford and Volvo, ride-sharing rivals Lyft and Uber and tech giant Google joined forces to form the Self-Driving Coalition for Safer Streets.
  10. NASA electric planes: NASA has unveiled plans to spend the next decade working on electric planes under the ‘X-57’ moniker. One plane will be based on the Italian Tecnam P2006T, a very efficient 4 seat light aircraft. Its smaller 12 motors will only be used for takeoffs. The larger two engines on the end of the wings will propel the plane during cruising which is expected to be a solid 175 mph.

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