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- 07/09/14--14:57: _Recharge Wrap-up: U...
- 07/11/14--15:55: _Tesla puts emphasis...
- 07/22/14--14:00: _Recharge Wrap-up: N...
- 07/27/14--06:59: _More speculation ab...
- 07/28/14--11:56: _Recharge Wrap-up: C...
- 07/31/14--06:29: _Tesla, Panasonic of...
- 07/31/14--17:30: _Tesla delivers 7,57...
- 08/04/14--08:14: _Recharge Wrap-up: R...
- 08/07/14--07:57: _Recharge Wrap-up: T...
- 08/08/14--07:59: _New Fisker owner Wa...
- 08/11/14--13:57: _Recharge Wrap-up: F...
- 08/13/14--08:19: _California could ea...
- 08/17/14--18:59: _New Saab parent NEV...
- 08/20/14--17:55: _Tar Sands vs. EVs
- 08/21/14--14:02: _Recharge Wrap-up: N...
- 08/22/14--17:00: _Recharge Wrap-Up: T...
- 08/25/14--15:55: _Recharge Wrap-up: A...
- 08/27/14--13:56: _Recharge Wrap-Up: V...
- 08/28/14--07:58: _New Fisker Karma sp...
- 08/29/14--08:15: _Recharge Wrap-up: L...
- 07/11/14--15:55: Tesla puts emphasis on hiring military veterans
- 07/27/14--06:59: More speculation about Tesla Gigafactory announcement
- 07/31/14--06:29: Tesla, Panasonic officially partner up for Gigafactory
- Tesla had a loss of $62 million last quarter.
- The company's Fremont, CA factory is being upgraded to make the Model S and X on the same line and will be up and running next week.
- Speaking of next week, the first operational Model X Alpha prototypes should be ready by next week.
- Tesla expects North America to continue to contribute strong demand for its EVs, despite the Model S being available here for several years now. The company says, "we believe [North America and Europe] remain under-penetrated. We expect demand to continue to increase worldwide as we continue to grow our customer support infrastructure and broaden the appeal of our products, and as consumer awareness improves."
- Model S drivers have driven 394 million miles in their fancy EVs so far.
- Musk addressed the issue of drivetrain replacement, saying many early swaps were a result of problem misdiagnosis, including a couple performed on the vehicle belonging to Edmunds. A problem in some early drive units are being fixed with a 50-cent shim. Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja said that from a cost perspective, "impact on warranty reserves have not been significant."
- A couple of times during the call with financial analysts, allusions were made to developments that are currently not on the radar. Apparently, Tesla is "not showing all our cards" and capital expenditures and R&D numbers are better than appear because "there are things you don't know about." Hmm.
- 08/08/14--07:59: New Fisker owner Wanxiang is a $23-billion-a-year auto parts company
- 08/13/14--08:19: California could ease environmental mandate for Tesla Gigafactory
- 08/17/14--18:59: New Saab parent NEVS: we're not totally broke
- 08/20/14--17:55: Tar Sands vs. EVs
- 08/28/14--07:58: New Fisker Karma spare parts coming soon
Uber is really taking it to cabbies in New York City. The car-hailing smartphone app has temporarily cut rates to its lowest-cost UberX service by 20 percent, now making it much more competitive - even cheaper in many cases - to request a ride from the app than to hail a NYC taxi. Also, tip is included in Uber's rate, while yellow cab fares do not include tip. However, Uber's rates vary depending on certain variables such as traffic and demand. Uber has been the target of protests by cabbies in other cities, but the NYC Taxi and Limousine Commission seems confident about the competition for the time being. Read more at CNN Money.
Formula E is officially partnering with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation, an environmental charity organization focused on climate change, clean energy, biodiversity and water management. Formula E will host fundraising activities during its events to benefit the foundation, as well as its other charity partner, One Drop. The Prince of Monaco, besides his passion for environmental issues, is also an automotive enthusiast with a massive car collection, so the all-electric race series seems like a perfect fit for his organization. Read more at Formula E's website.
Semmaris has purchased a fleet of seven Renault Zoe electric cars for its Rungis International Market outside of Paris. The fleet is part of an effort to reduce the market's carbon footprint, as well as as part of an awareness campaign for clean technology. Rungis Market is a destination for some 25,000 customers, many of whom run businesses (especially restaurants) and travel to Rungis for supplies, the sort of trip for which electric vehicles make a lot of sense. The market will also install charging stations, and create an electric carsharing service for use on its campus. Read more about the program in the press release below.
The Nissan Leaf has reduced CO2 emissions by 151,000 tons, but its green cred also extends to recycling. About 25 percent of the Nissan Leaf - or about 827 pounds of the car - is made from recycled materials. Those materials include metals such as copper, steel and aluminum, as well as plastics and fabrics. The body uses recycled metals, the seat fabric uses recycled PET from plastic bottles, sound insulation comes from recycled clothing and the center console is made from recycled electronics. Even some of the recycled materials get recycled. Watch the video below to learn more about the recycling that goes into the production of the Leaf.Permalink | Email this | Comments
When we think of American car companies, brands that come to mind immediately are Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, and if you're an AutoblogGreen reader, Tesla Motors. The California-based maker of electric vehicles doesn't treat that lightly, as we find in an article from the San Jose Mercury News, which profiles the company's efforts to reach out to and hire US military veterans. "We want to be known throughout the veteran community as a great place to work," says Tesla's vice president of human resources, Arnnon Geshuri. Tesla appears to be achieving that goal, and is just getting started.
Already, about 300 of Tesla's 6,000 or so employees are veterans, or about five percent, with another 600 vets currently involved in the hiring process. Tesla continues to seek out vets to fill its ranks, and for good reason. VetJobs CEO and president Ted Daywalt points out that veterans communicate especially well with each other, having experience in military speak, which is helpful in the workplace. Daywalt notes that "Tesla has risen to the top" among workplaces for veterans. Tesla works to recruit veterans directly, through word of mouth and veterans groups and at events like job fairs.
Tesla has risen to the top among workplaces for veterans.
For Tesla, veterans also bring special expertise that lends itself well to building electric cars. Besides their technical knowledge about mechanics and electronics, they also excel in teamwork, discipline and leadership skills. Tesla holds regular casual meetings for vets, where they can get to know each other and share their own ideas for how the company can improve itself.
The relationship between Tesla Motors and its veteran employees is a mutually beneficial one. Tesla gets a disciplined workforce with unique qualifications, and the veterans have an easier time transitioning back to normal life when returning from duty. Having a job waiting for them when they get home is a benefit for vets, as is working for a company that is flexible with their schedules for those who are still enlisted. Tesla held employee Megan Gates' position while she was on duty for two years, and she remains comfortable balancing her National Guard service with her work. "I give Tesla my schedule and say 'these are the weekends I need to leave,' and they work around that schedule," she says. "Everyone here is so supportive." Remember the good old days, when Tesla made its employees work like 68 hours a week?
Other veterans have stories of how Tesla has accommodates them while they serve and as they make their way back into civilian life. Read more in the full article from the San Jose Mercury News. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Envia Systems will develop battery technology for United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC), a subsidiary of the United States Council for Automotive Research (USCAR). The $7.7 million contract, co-funded by the US Department of Energy (DOE), involves a 36-month development program focusing on high-energy cathode and anode material for lithium-ion batteries and pouch cells for electric vehicles. The goal, of course, is to create better energy storage for less money in an effort to make commercial EVs more efficient and affordable. For the DOE, this also equates to energy security, energy independence and national security. Read more in the press release at the bottom of the page.
The US and China have agreed to work together more closely on EVs, energy and climate issues. US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz went to Beijing for the sixth US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue to meet with leaders. While there, Moniz and Wu Xinxiong of China's National Energy Administration (NEA) signed a memorandum of understanding allowing the DOE and NEA to share information regarding oil reserves. The groups will meet yearly to learn more about how each other manages petroleum stockpiles and policy. Moniz also met with Minister Miao Wei of the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology and signed an MOU to cooperate on electric vehicles and "related technologies," including the "inter-operability of electric vehicles." Read more at the Energy Department website.
August's BC2BC all-electric vehicle rally, billed as the largest gathering of electric vehicles, has been cancelled. The event, which was to include a drive up the entire coast from Mexico to British Columbia with smaller events along the route, failed to bring in the needed sponsorship to hold the rally for its third year. A Facebook post from organizer Tony Williams also cited loss of venue and lack of support from automakers - "particularly Nissan and Tesla" - as hardships. The event was scheduled to take place August 9 through 17, with only battery electric vehicles invited to take part - no plug-in hybrids or range-extended vehicles. Williams said he'd only try a similar event in the future if sponsorship were provided up front. Read more at Green Car Reports.
The Nissan Leaf will finally go on sale in Puerto Rico. A new law called Act 81 provides a 100-percent excise tax exemption for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, which will save customers $7,070.76 that would otherwise have been added to the car's $33,480 price tag. Nissan has also worked with Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority to expand the EV charging network on the island. These changes have made it feasible for Nissan and distributor Motorambar to sell the Leaf in Puerto Rico. The car was unveiled on the island at an event on July 15 at the Museum of Transportation in Guaynabo. See the Caribbean Business for more details.
The BMW i3 REx is now included in New Jersey's sales tax exemption for zero-emissions vehicles. Reversing an earlier decision, the range-extended version of the i3 is now included on the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's list of qualifying vehicles. The range extender is a $3,850 option for the BMW i3, but with the tax included, the base i3 REx would cost over $7,000 more than the dedicated EV. Now, customers can enjoy holding onto the $3,000+ tax, as well as the peace of mind of having the range extending generator handy if the battery runs low. Read more at Inside EVs.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Should we all be laying our chips down on Nevada for Tesla's proposed Gigafactory? At least a few news sources are saying yes, though another says there's a remote chance of a San Francisco Bay Area site getting the nod. Real remote.
The frontrunner appears to be the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, which is about 20 miles east of Reno proper and includes warehousing sites for Walmart, Dell and Petsmart, Transport Evolved says. Compared to other states in the running, Nevada has the advantages of lower taxes, lots of cheap real estate and some lithium-mining capabilities, while the specific site has very good highway and rail access. There's also already a li-ion company there, Dragonfly Energy.
Feeding that belief is the sight of about 50 earthmoving trucks recently spotted at that site, says ValueWalk, Greentech Media and Jalopnik, in addition to Transport Evolved. But then we heard that the site had been shut down. Nobody involved is giving any clues, but the site is plenty big enough for a $5 billion, 10-million-square-foot plant that would support about 6,500 jobs.
Meanwhile, Tesla may also be considering the former Concord Naval Weapons Station about 35 miles northeast of San Francisco and 45 miles north of Tesla's Fremont headquarters, says KTVU, the NBC affiliate for the San Francisco Bay Area. The problem is that's a Superfund site in need of some remediation. But that sort of cleaning project could be a good fit for a company focused on "clean" energy. Tesla is, of course, declining to comment.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said early last month that it was in "quite advanced" stages of planning for the plant, or perhaps two plants, and that the company was meeting on a daily basis with partner and battery-supplier Panasonic. The company is expected to officially announce the location of the Gigafactory later this year, and it could be up and running by the end of 2016. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Tesla Model S owners can now control their car with Android Wear. A new, free app for the Android wrist devices, called Tesla Command, allows the user to control car functions such as the locks, horn, and sunroof from outside the vehicle. The developer promises more features are coming soon. Watch the video below for a demonstration, or head over to 9 to 5 Google to read more.
NASCAR drivers have raced 6 million miles on E15 fuel. The stock car series reached the milestone on July 20 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. NASCAR has been using Sunoco Green E15 gasoline since the start of the 2011 season, which the group credits with increasing horsepower and reducing emissions. The US Department of Energy notably approved the 15-percent corn ethanol blend after 6 million miles of testing. Read more at Domestic Fuel.
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has decided to continue its incentive program for alternative fuel vehicles. Buyers of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids with batteries larger than 10 kWh will continue to get a $2,000 rebate (until December 31 or until 500 are sold, whichever comes first). Various EVs with batteries less than 10 kWh, as well as natural gas, propane and hydrogen-powered cars, will get $1,000 back. Electric motorcycles and scooters are offered a $500 rebate. Get more details at ABC 27.
Toyota subsidiary Primearth EV Energy is set to expand production of nickel metal hydride batteries for hybrid cars. Due to high demand, production capacity will ramp up from 300,000 to provide batteries for 500,000 vehicles at its Miyagi prefecture plant. The company eventually plans to be able to produce batteries for 1.4 million hybrids per year. Primearth EV Energy currently supplies batteries for the Toyota Prius and Yaris hybrids, as well as Mazda's Axela (AKA Mazda3 in the US) hybrid. Read more at Economic Times.Permalink | Email this | Comments
The first of perhaps 'hundreds' of gigafactories is now one step closer to reality: Tesla and Panasonic have announced their official agreement to work together on the gigafactory. The two companies have worked together for many years on electric vehicles, but this new deal takes the partnership to a whole new level.
The basic gist, since the agreement itself has not been released, is that Tesla will take care of the exterior (the "land, buildings and utilities") while Panasonic will pay for the machines inside in order to, "manufacture and supply cylindrical lithium-ion cells" that Tesla will then use to, you know, build battery packs. Panasonic's machines will take up half the space while a network of as-yet unnamed suppliers will be involved in the other half, according to the press release announcing the deal. Read it below.
There's been lots of speculation as to where the Gigafactory will be built, but the exact location probably won't be revealed until later this year, so don't expect any battery packs from the Gigafactory to be coming any time soon. That's why Panasonic is still going to be building Tesla cells in Japan for the time being.
As previously announced, the Gigafactory is expected to make batteries for around 500,000 EVs a year as well as more for stationary storage needs. That means 35 GWh worth of cells and 50 GWh worth of packs each year by 2020. We expect more information to trickle out today along with Tesla's quarterly earnings.Permalink | Email this | Comments
When it comes to describing its situation, not even Bob Ross could paint a prettier picture than Tesla Motors. The California automaker has had a good few months and announced today that it delivered 7,579 Model S EVs in the second quarter of 2014. That's the most the company has ever delivered in a three-month period, reflecting an expanded market that now spans new countries in Asia and Europe. Tesla also built 8,763 vehicles in that time frame, another record, thanks to getting more cells from battery supplier Panasonic, and says it remains "on track for more than 35,000 deliveries in 2014."
Alongside the earlier announcement about the official Gigafactory announcement with Panasonic, the automaker also said today that it has broken ground on a "potential" location in Reno, NV, - validating earlier speculation - while it is still looking at locations in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. Work at the site has mostly stopped for now, however, as the company doesn't want to begin pouring cement until state incentives are in place and a "compelling deal for all parties" has been struck. The ball in Nevada, according to CEO Elon Musk, is now in the hands of the state's governor and legislature.
The 7,579 vehicles delivered last quarter continue an upward-moving trend line. In all of 2012, Tesla sold 2,650 Model S EVs. For 2013, the company delivered 4,900 vehicles in Q1, 5,150 in Q2, 5,500 in Q3 and 6,892 in Q4. In 2014, Tesla sold 7,535 Model S EVs in Q1. Add in the 7,579 from Q2 this year, and you've got 15,100 or so, meaning that Tesla needs the next two quarters to average out at around 10,000 each in order to hit the 35,000-vehicle goal. Tesla expects 2015 to be even better, saying that the rate at which its expanding means that its, "annualized delivery rate should exceed 100,000 units by the end of next year." In other words, deliveries for Q4 2015 should be around 25,000 EVs.
A few other tidbits from the shareholder letter and today's conference call:
Zap is poising itself to take advantage of China's extension of its electric vehicle incentive program. The government will be offering rebates on EVs, forgiving sales taxes and licensing fees, installing EV charging infrastructure and other measures to encourage adoption of zero-emission vehicles beyond 2015, through the year 2020. In response, electric vehicle company Zap and its partner Jonway Autos are decreasing production of gasoline-powered vehicles to make more EVs. It plans to increase production of its two EV production lines from 50 to 100 vehicles per day each, as well as positioning certain models for larger-scale production. Zap hopes customers will make use of rebates of up to $20,000 from the central government, plus local EV incentives. In October, Zap and Jonway will unveil new SUV and minivans that they intend to offer as less-than-gasoline- and zero-ownership-cost and vehicles under the umbrella of China's incentives. Read more in the press release below.
Tesla Model S owner David Zygmont shares tips for taking cross-country road trips in an electric vehicle in a two-part podcast. David talks about his two-week road trip in his Tesla, and how he managed to make the most of charging his vehicle. One of his tools is the site EV Trip Planner. He also shares advice on overnight charging while staying at hotels. If you're thinking of going on an adventure in your EV, you should check this out to gain some valuable insights into the experience. Listen to part one of the podcast at EV Parade, and part two at Teslarati.
Oil companies paid federal income taxes of just 11.7 percent over the last five years, according to a new report from Taxpayers for Common Sense. Oil companies reported a pre-tax income of $133.3 billion, and paid just $15.6 billion in federal income taxes. Some of the smaller oil companies paid much less than average, or about 3.7 percent. Oil companies enjoy many tax provisions that aren't available to other taxpayers, and the companies are able to defer taxes year after year, without paying any interest on it. Read more in the press release from Americans United for Change below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Tesla is looking for an architect to help design its proposed Gigafactory battery manufacturing facility. According to the Palo Alto-based job listing, which is titled "Architect - Gigafactory," the applicant must have, among other qualifications, over five years of experience with "high-tech infrastructure and operational facilities (semiconductor, solar, battery, waste water treatment plants, etc.)." The job also includes being away from home quite a bit, as it the listing states, "This full time role requires the flexibility of traveling when needed (up to 70 percent) and doing whatever it takes to achieve project objectives." Think you've got what it takes? See the listing for yourself, here, or read more at Silicon Valley Business Journal.
Tesla has appointed Robyn Denholm of Juniper Networks to its board of directors. Denholm is Executive Vice President, Chief Financial and Operations Officer at Juniper Networks. Denholm replaces Brad Buss as chair of Tesla's Audit Committee and a member of the company's Compensation and Nominating and Corporate Governance committees. Buss will remain a member of Tesla's board as he joins SolarCity as CFO. Denholm is Tesla's first female director. Read more at Bloomberg, or in the press release below.
Uber, the company behind the now famous ride-hailing app, is introducing its carpooling service, UberPool. The service matches drivers with (hopefully multiple) passengers going to similar destinations, with users paying just a fraction of the cost of a normal taxi, or even an Uber ride. If a rider can't get matched with a driver, they can enjoy a discounted Uber ride. As the company points out in its blog, "At these price points, Uber really is cost-competitive with owning a car, which is a game-changer for consumers." UberPool is currently running a private beta program, which it plans to expand on August 15. Read more in-depth about the UberPool at Forbes, or learn more at Uber's blog. For a few reasons why this new expansion might run afoul of archaic laws (put there to keep entrenched interests in play), check out Engadget.
Plug-in hybrids are encouraging an evolution of transmission technology. Companies like Schaeffler and ZF Friedrichshafen are adapting their transmissions to include electric motors within them for use in plug-in hybrids. For example, the electric motor in ZF's eight-speed powers the transmission when the internal combustion engine is shut off. In applications like Schaeffler's, torque from the engine is split between the transmission's input shaft and electric motor. Additionally, some companies are rethinking the strategy of adding more gears, and are leaning toward simplification, such as Schaeffler's electrified three-speed transmission it is developing. Read more about how electrification is affecting transmission technology at Automotive News.
Audi is now selling its A3 E-Tron at 105 dealerships in Germany. Every dealership offering the plug-in hybrid is getting a charging station, and sales and service employees are receiving special training at a center in Munich. The A3 E-Tron has a combined gas and electric range of almost 600 miles, and a base price of €37,900 (about $50,740 US). Read more at AutoEvolution.Permalink | Email this | Comments
If you thought early Fisker Karma buyers like celebrities Leonardo DiCaprio and Cee Lo Green had deep pockets, get a load of the company's new owners. China's Wanxiang Group, which earlier this year acquired the extended-range plug-in vehicle maker in a bankruptcy auction, generates more than $23 billion in annual revenue, Automotive News says. Billion with a "b."
In fact, the company generates about $3 billion a year from US autoparts sales alone, so it's no stranger to the domestic automotive industry. That said, there's plenty of work to be done to revive the company. Wanxiang US chief Pin Ni said the Karma has "hundreds of issues" that need fixing before the sleek but troubled sedan is manufactured again. One hurdle cleared, though, is the fact that Wanxiang also bought lithium-ion battery maker A123 Systems out of bankruptcy for $257 million.
As for Fisker, Wanxiang beat out Hong Kong-based Hybrid Tech Holdings for the right to buy the automaker earlier this year for $126.2 million in cash and $8 million in assumed liabilities. And, while Wanxiang Group Chairman Lu Guanqui has recently been making the rounds with dignitaries such as US Vice President Joe Biden, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and Delaware Governor Jack Markell, no details have been revealed about when Fisker will start making cars again. Permalink | Email this | Comments
In Europe, Ford's 1.0-liter EcoBoost engine is the best-selling turbocharged gasoline engine. The three-cylinder motor powers 20 percent of new Fords sold in Europe. Earlier this year, it won its third International Engine of the Year award, and between January and June, it was sold in about 120,000 cars. So far this year, 38 percent of Fords sold in the Netherlands, 35 percent in Denmark and 32 percent in Switzerland have been powered by the 1.0-liter EcoBoost. The engine's turbocharger spins at 248,000 rpm, and provides 24 psi of pressure. The engine produces up to 138 horsepower, depending on the version. Read more in the press release below.
When lithium-ion battery packs are retired from the road, remanufacturing, repurposing, and recycling are worthwhile options, according to a study by Mineta Transportation Institute. The study included a cost-benefit analysis of those three options, and found remanufacturing to be the best route. To get the most out of them, batteries should be tested and have their damaged cells replaced then put back to use. Repurposing is the second best option, using the remaining available charge for something besides cars. Recycling on its own isn't profitable, but it could make economic sense with "increased technological breakthroughs." Learn more at Recycling International or download the report here.
A smaller inverter for EVs can win you $1 million. The Little Box Challenge is an open competition to build a power inverter with a density of at least 50 watts per cubic inch. Google and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) are offering the hefty prize to the team that builds the inverter with the highest power density within an enclosed volume of 40 cubic inches. Teams must register by September 30. Read more at Green Car Congress or learn more at the Little Box Challenge website.Permalink | Email this | Comments
California may ease some of its decades-old environmental mandates for potential developments in an effort to get electric-vehicle maker Tesla Motors to build its gigafactory in the Golden State. There is a certain irony in that, but given that the $5-billion factory could bring 6,500 green jobs to the state, it's not surprising.
State legislators and Tesla representatives are in talks about easing some portions of the California Environment Quality Act (CEQA) for the sake of expedience, the Los Angeles Times reports, citing state Sen. Ted Gaines (R-Rocklin). Additionally, the state may give tax breaks worth about a half-billion dollars to Palo Alto-based Tesla, whose current vehicle factory is in nearby Fremont. Tesla spokeswoman Liz Jarvis-Shean, in an e-mail to AutoblogGreen, would only say that California is "in the running" for the gigafactory site, though declined to comment further on negotiations. Not everyone would be happy with such an agreement, of course. The Sierra Club is already on record as crying foul for possible CEQA exemptions.
There's been no shortage of speculation on the possible location for the gigafactory, which should be open by 2017 and has been talked about landing in just about every southwestern US state except California. Most recently, Nevada and its Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center emerged as the proverbial lead dog, with its lower taxes, cheap real estate and lithium-mining capabilities. Texas, New Mexico and Arizona are also being considered for the giant plant. Permalink | Email this | Comments
The many fans of 1987's The Princess Bride will recall Billy Crystal's Miracle Max character optimistically referring to the protagonist Westley as "mostly dead." It looks like National Electric Vehicle Sweden (NEVS), the company that now owns the Saab brand, fits that description. Of course, Westley does end up surviving and getting the girl.
NEVS put out a statement last week saying that, while it doesn't have the cash to pay off all of its outstanding debt (hey, who of us does?), it is "not insolvent" because its assets are greater than its debt. Its suppliers will get paid, but that NEVs "cannot say exactly when."
NEVS, the partnership between a Chinese company and a Japanese investment firm that acquired the Saab name in 2012, restarted production at its Trollhattan plant in Sweden last year and had promised a vehicle line that would include a battery-electric version of the 9-3 sedan. Instead, NEVS stopped the production line that was only making about a half-dozen vehicles a day (the gas-powered, turbocharged 9-3) in May because it said shareholder Qingbo Investment Co. didn't provide the agreed-upon cash. NEVS now says it held positive talks with two manufacturers this summer, and that once funding is secured, it will rewrite its business plan with its new partners to resume production. The supplier that filed a bankruptcy petition is withdrawing it based on this new information, says NEVS.
Saab made its first cars in 1947 and was eventually owned by General Motors before being sold to Spyker in 2010. Bankrupt by the end of 2011, Saab was acquired by NEVS the following year. Check out NEVS's most recent press release below. And have fun storming the castle.Permalink | Email this | Comments
It's pretty common knowledge - especially if you're the type to regularly visit sites such as AutoblogGreen and its ilk - that it's simply cheaper to drive a mile on electrical power than on gasoline. We also know that it is inefficient to convert oil sands into usable fuel relative to other sources of oil. Yet the demand for gasoline remains high, mining the tar sands of Canada remains profitable and it has also undeniably created a lot of jobs, so that petroleum is coming out of the ground.
For a deeper look at the economics, look at this article from Hybrid Cars, which breaks down (and even quantifies) what is involved in producing gasoline from the bitumen mined in places like Fort McMurray, Alberta, and how that compares in cost and efficiency to filling up from the socket. Basically, it takes a certain amount electricity and natural gas to turn the bitumen into a gallon of gasoline in a multi-step process that even consumes some of its own product. It is much more efficient and economical to convert that natural gas into electricity to power our vehicles. The author compares it to feeding bread to cows instead of grain, with the oil sands crude industry as the baker.
Plug-in vehicles eliminate the middleman, along with the associated costs. And though the electric car industry is still young, it is here to stay, and will only grow and improve. What impact will this have on tar sands operations? The conclusion is powerful, particularly after following the journey of the tar sands to the gas tank. Dig deep over at Hybrid Cars. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Audi has made environmental improvements to the its TT while boosting performance. The new TT sees an 11-percent reduction in emissions, and up to 14 percent more power. Audi says that each TT will save around 5.5 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions over its lifecycle. Additionally, the TT's manufacturing process has been cleaned up a bit, reducing emissions by about nine percent. Read more in the press release, below, or see Audi's lifecycle assessment here.
Speaking of greening up Audis, Al Swackhammer of Washington converted his 1960 Audi DKW 1000S to run on electric power. Swackhammer first fell in love with the Audi Ur-Quattro, became an enthusiast of Audi and Volkswagen cars, and has owned nothing else ever since. With his DKW, he combined his passion for the classic car with his responsibility to the environment. "I am pleased that I did this project," says the happy owner, "and I enjoy driving it very dearly." Meet the man and his beloved electric Audi DKW in the video below.
Toyota has chosen a sustainable design firm, Corgan, as the lead architect for its new North American headquarters. The new campus will be built in Plano, TX, and will be the workplace of about 4,000 Toyota employees. Corgan, who has already done 47 LEED certified projects, is already designing a temporary office for the site while it finishes the project. Toyota expects to begin working from the site in late 2016 or early 2017. Learn more in the press release below.
In July, all new electrical generating capacity in the US came from renewable sources. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Office of Energy Projects' newest "Energy Infrastructure Update" report says new electric generation put into service last month came from wind (379 megawatts), solar (21 megawatts) and hydro (5 megawatts). So far this year, 53 percent of new energy generation capacity has come from various renewable sources, and none from coal or nuclear. Currently, renewable energy accounts for 16.3 percent of the US electric generation capacity, providing about 14 percent of actual electricity. Read more in the press release from the Sun Day Campaign below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Credit Suisse analysts are bullish on Tesla. The group gives the electric car company's stock an "outperform" rating with a target price of $325. For its continued success, Credit Suisse cites the vehicles' superior technology, in turn offering more torque, roominess and reliability. Says analyst Dan Galves said of Tesla's competition with ICEs, "If Tesla can get to cost-parity with Internal Combustion vehicles and still offer $1,400 to $2,500 per year fuel savings to the consumer, it won't be a fair fight." Read more at Yahoo Finance or at Business Insider.
In other Tesla news, Tesla Model S owners will be able to unlock and start their car using an iPhone. The Tesla app is adding this functionality soon, perhaps with the update to iOS 8. It's not yet clear how this function will work, but it's one more innovative convenience feature that Model S owners can enjoy. That means drivers will have less to carry in their pockets or purses when they go for a drive. Read more at 9 to 5 Mac.
CarCharging Group has remotely lowered the amperage on some of its residential users' Blink charging stations to 24 amps. This will slow down the charging time for affected customers with 6.6-kilowatt charging by about 15 percent. The company cited safety reasons for the move, with concerns about overheating. The amperage reduction is temporary, until CarCharging is able to provide replacement parts for the chargers. Some are concerned about the delayed action, as well as the fact that the reduction was handled without owner permission. Read more at Plugin Cars.
Ford is halting test drives and sales of certain C-Max hybrid and Focus models due to a safety concern. Cars made during a single week this month at a Michigan factory may not have enough ball bearings in the steering gear assembly, which could lead to loss of control. None of the affected cars have been sold, Ford says, and about 50 units are currently at dealerships. Just over 600 will need to be recalled. Dealerships have been notified of the problem. Read more at Reuters and the The Detroit News.
A new EPA report shows that urban air in the US is becoming less toxic since the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990. The report shows a 66-percent reduction in benzene, almost 60 percent reduction in mercury from man-made sources, 84 percent less lead and more. "This report gives everyone fighting for clean air a lot to be proud of," said EPA administrator Gina McCarthy, "because for more than 40 years we have been protecting Americans - preventing illness and improving our quality of life by cutting air pollution - all while the economy has more than tripled." The EPA expects 80 percent more reductions in airborne toxins from cars by 2030 thanks to cleaner vehicles. Read more in the press release, below.
Volkswagen's Chatanooga Assembly Plant has received the EPA's Region 4 Rain Catcher award. The LEED certified facility was honored for its stormwater management infrastructure and practices, such as collecting it for use in its cooling tower and toilets. Read more in the press release, below.Permalink | Email this | Comments
LG Chem says it has won a bid to supply batteries for Audi. LG says the deal, worth "hundreds of millions of dollars," has them providing batteries for plug-in hybrid and micro hybrid electric vehicles. The group says it also expects to be picked for battery deals for Volkswagen Group in the future. Read more at Reuters.
The EU is considering including road transport in its Emissions Trading System (ETS), which would likely lead to heated debate between environmental groups and big business. Automakers would welcome the cost reductions involved with the inclusions, while environmental groups feel it would give car companies leverage to compel lawmakers to weaken restrictions on greenhouse gas emissions. Analysts believe that including transport in the ETS would have little effect on carbon prices, as lawmakers would likely raise the emissions cap to accommodate the sector, which is Europe's largest source of greenhouse gases after power. Read more at Automotive News Europe.
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands will be at the opening of a new ethanol refinery in Iowa on September 3. The Project Liberty plant in Emmetsburg, which is partially owned by Holland-based biotech firm Royal DSM, will produce 25 million gallons of ethanol per year. Rather than using corn grain to produce fuel, the factory will make cellulosic ethanol from plant fibers in the stalks, cobs, leaves and the like. Read more at Omaha.com.
Dundee, Scotland could see more EVs on its roads as part of an expansion to its Co-wheels car club. The funds for the vehicles and related infrastructure would come from the Tayside and Central Scotland Transport Partnership (Tactran) and Transport Scotland. The nonprofit carsharing club aims to grow to 500 members in three years, and the addition of the EVs to the 24-hour fleet could help make it happen. Learn more at The Courier. Permalink | Email this | Comments
Volvo is officially introducing its 7900 Electric Hybrid bus at the IAA Commercial Vehicles show in Germany next month. The coach bus reduces carbon emissions by up to 75 percent, and does its part to reduce noise pollution as well. It uses 60 percent less energy than comparable diesel buses. In city routes, it runs on electricity an average of 70 percent of the time. Volvo has also introduced safety features like auto brake technology to help avoid and mitigate collisions. Read more in the press release, below.
A new report finds that silicon carbide (SiC) will likely be the key to cheaper EVs. Using SiC or gallium nitride (GaN) instead of silicon power electronics is more efficient, and allows components to be smaller, lighter and cheaper to manufacture. The report states that SiC is close to being commercially ready and will be used as early as 2020. SiC could reduce battery costs in a Tesla Model S by $6,000. The use of SiC could make charging faster, make EVs cheaper and more convenient and possibly convince more people to ditch their fossil fuel-powered vehicles. Read more at Inside EVs.
General Motors is instituting a bikesharing program to allow employees to get around its 330-acre Warren, MI tech center. Through a partnership with Zagster, a total of fifty bicycles will be placed at at least seven locations around the campus. The center is home to 19,000 employees, 61 buildings, and 11 miles of roads. The bikes are part of ongoing sustainability efforts by GM. Read more at Bloomberg.
The US and EU are looking to lower their biofuel goals, according to a new report. The US is considering cutting 3 billion gallons from the required renewable fuels for 2014. This adjustment comes in response to a decrease in demand in gasoline over the last seven years, and would be the first step to relaxing the Renewable Fuel Standard. In Europe, concerns over inflation of food costs are causing regulators to consider lowering the ceiling of food-based biofuels from 10 percent to 7 percent. Read more at Domestic Fuel.Permalink | Email this | Comments
It's easy to fall in love with the Fisker Karma based on looks alone. Figure in the luxury interior, electric drivetrain, and the convenience of the extended range, and it's hard to fault anyone who took the plunge and plunked down their hard-earned dollars for this swank green machine. Things go wrong, sure, as they do with any vehicle, but when the company goes bankrupt and you can't get the parts to get your car running again, let's just hope you really like the way it looks in your garage.
Fisker's new owner, Wanxiang, has some welcome news. "The Fisker team is settling and still negotiating with over 300 suppliers," says Linyun Frank Qi, Fisker Coordinator at Wanxiang America, in a note to the Fisker Owners Club. "Most of them are good to go now which means we will soon have access to all the parts and also means you will soon have access to them too." Qi says he had an accident of his own in the company show car, which is still in the shop, so he can empathize with other Karma drivers.
Wanxiang, a highly profitable auto parts company, bought Fisker earlier this year, along with its battery supplier A123 Systems. The company says it has grown the Fisker team from 20 to 80 people in recent months. The news that parts will soon be available could also be evidence that Fisker is closer to beginning production of the Karma again.
Fisker bought an old GM plant in Delaware as part of the deal to purchase the company, and has said that there is a "50-50" chance of building cars in the state. It also wants to build a second model beginning in 2017. Permalink | Email this | Comments
The US and Chilean navies have agreed to work together to develop alternative fuels for ships and aircraft. As a move toward better energy security, the two countries want to develop "drop-in alternative fuels," namely biofuels, to reduce dependence on foreign oil and ensure a reliable supply and cost. The US Navy wants to have 50 percent of "organizational consumption" come from alternative energy sources by 2020. The US is moving toward primarily using a biofuel and petroleum blend, and wants to make sure its allies are able to use the same fuels. Read more in this joint statement from the US Navy and the Ministry of National Defense of Chile.
California approved $1 million in grants for EV charging stations in Encinitas and Sonoma County. Corridor Power was awarded $500,000 to install new chargers in the Encinitas County. Sonoma County will receive another $500,000 to renovate existing stations and to add three new ones. The California Energy Commission hopes the expanded charging infrastructure will encourage more drivers to adopt electric vehicles. Read more in the press release, below.
BYD saw sales of its electric vehicles increase sixfold in the first half of the year, selling about 7,600 battery electric cars and plug-in hybrids. The rise in EV sales is thought to be in response to China's programs encouraging people to buy emissions free vehicles. Despite the increase in BYD's EV sales, analysts don't think it indicates mass market demand. BYD plans to introduce more electric models in the second half of the year, including a plug-in hybrid SUV called Tang and the all-electric Denza. Read more at The Wall Street Journal.
LG Innotek has created a dual-clutch transmission motor that is free of rare earth metals (pictured). Without needing the rare minerals, the motor can be mass produced without concerns over availability or the rising cost of materials. The motor-equipped DCT is more efficient than a conventional automatic or manual transmission. LG Innotek's rare earth-free motor is also about four percent lighter than standard DCT motors, while offering the same performance. The motor will go into production early next year. Read more in the press release, below.Permalink | Email this | Comments