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BMW has got its timing right for beefing up electric cars: CEO

BMW has timed its shift to electric cars well and its upcoming products will upend the perception the German carmaker is behind on electrification and could make its stock compete with the likes of Tesla Inc, its top executive said.

“There is a perception that we took a break, but we actually didn’t take a break,” Chief Executive Oliver Zipse told Reuters as part of a series of boardroom interviews entitled “Delivering Net Zero”.

“We waited for the moment when electromobility is really getting into higher volumes.”

Carmakers are racing to develop electric cars amid tightening CO2 emission standards in Europe and China and BMW says it expects half of its sales to be fully-electric models by 2030.

Zipse told Reuters that BMW’s sustainability plans include reducing its CO2 emissions from the entire lifespan of its vehicles – from raw materials and production process to their use on the road – by a cumulative 200 megatons by 2030, or seven times the annual emissions of London.

BMW on Tuesday said it has signed a 285 million euro ($335 million) contract with U.S.-based Livent, which will supply the German carmaker with lithium, a key ingredient in battery cells, from 2022.

BMW currently builds combustion engine, hybrid and electric models on shared platforms, which critics say compromise the performance of electric vehicles, and will not launch a dedicated electric platform until 2025.

Volkswagen has developed its own electric vehicle platform from the ground up. Next month Daimler AG will unveil its first Mercedes-Benz model on a dedicated electric platform.

“If you look at what’s happening in the market with these (dedicated electric) platforms, the cars all look alike,” Zipse said. “BMW serves very specific, high-paying customers, I think they don’t want cars who all look alike.”

Zipse said he expects the European Union will further tighten its CO2 emission targets for 2030.

He said the bloc should not overreach on so-called Euro 7 car emission proposals for pollutants including nitrous oxide and lung-damaging particulate matter due this year. Germany’s auto industry says some proposals under consideration could effectively ban combustion engines from 2025.

“We should do it in a reasonable way to keep the combustion engine alive” because engine improvements will help reach climate goals, he said.

Zipse said BMW’s market cap of around 55 billion euros is lower than its equity of around 60 billion euros.

“Something is wrong there,” he said. “That would assume that you don’t have a future.”

Asked if BMW could become a “story stock” like electric carmaker Tesla, which is valued at more than $500 billion, Zipse said: “Of course we can.”

“The equity story is not finished for BMW,” he said. “We have a great future, we will grow.”

($1 = 0.8520 euros)

Reporting by Nick Carey and Christina Amann; Additional reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Marguerita Choy and Lincoln Feast.

Source : https://www.reuters.com/article/us-bmw-ceo-electric-idUSKBN2BM0G6

The Good People Of Phoenix Are Egging The Self-Driving Google Cars

Biden infrastructure plan includes pitch for electric vehicle rebates — Tesla, GM, Nikola shares gain

Biden is proposing a $174 billion investment ‘to win the EV market’

Referenced Symbols

TSLA

+5.08% 

GM

-1.79% 

NKLA

-1.07% 

WKHS

+2.76% 

DRIV

+0.87% 

The Biden administration will ask Congress to extend incentives that have spurred a U.S. electric-vehicle market that still trails EV adoption in economic rival China.

The proposed extension for breaks on EV purchases is part of a $2.25 trillion infrastructure and stimulus blueprint called “The American Jobs Plan” that Biden is set to announce in Pittsburgh Wednesday afternoon, some details of which the White House has released.

Biden’s proposal includes long-expected updates to roads, airports and other portions of U.S. infrastructure, but as part of his campaign promise, the plan looks to move the needle on fighting climate change. In addition to giving a boost to EV purchases, the plan calls for more charging infrastructure and electric school buses. Republicans in Congress say they’re worried the corporate tax proposals to fund the plan could slow an economy pulling out of the COVID-19 slump.

Read: Wall Street is pricing in $4 trillion of infrastructure spending. Here are the stocks that could benefit, according to Bank of America

And: These are the stocks for playing Biden’s infrastructure push, analysts say

Consumers and investors will note that Biden is asking Congress to sustain tax incentives that encourage more motorists to buy EVs. Those tax credits are currently valued at as much as $7,500 per purchase, but Tesla Inc. TSLA, +5.08%  and General Motors Co. GM, -1.79%  have already passed an existing 200,000-per-manufacturer ceiling at which the value of those credits phases down.

Biden is asking Congress to “give consumers point-of-sale rebates and tax incentives to buy American-made EVs, while ensuring that these vehicles are affordable for all families and manufactured by workers with good jobs,” the White House said.

Sen. Debbie Stabenow and Rep. Dan Kildee, both Democrats from legacy auto state Michigan, are working with the White House and Democratic leadership on a plan to drop the 200,000-vehicle ceiling.

Read: These infrastructure stocks could rise up to 41% in a year on Biden’s massive spending plan, analysts say

Washington has also been mulling a change to the current tax-incentive structure to better target the tax credit to middle- and lower-income car owners — a shift that was part of the Biden campaign’s tax plans, according to the Tax Policy Center.

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U.S. market share of plug-in EV sales is one-third the size of the Chinese EV market.

“The president believes that must change. He is proposing a $174 billion investment to win the EV market,” the White House said in its release. “His plan will enable automakers to spur domestic supply chains from raw materials to parts, retool factories to compete globally and support American workers to make batteries and EVs.”

Automakers are expected to cheer the proposal as they’ve tried and failed in the recent past to secure the EV tax credit extension with lobbying efforts.

“With potentially $200 billion or about 10% of this plan towards electric vehicle initiatives based on chatter out of the Beltway, we believe the Street ultimately needs to see two components to pass through the House and get enacted to ‘change the game’ for the EV sector in the U.S.,” said Wedbush analyst Daniel Ives.

“First, an expansion of the tax credits currently valued at $7,500 for EV vehicles to the $10,000 range or potentially higher in a tiered system. Other point-of-sale rebates could also be put into this wide ranging infrastructure bill to catalyze consumers to head down the EV path,” Ives said. “Second, we expect to see a lifting of the 200,000-per-manufacturer ceiling on the credits being phased out which will restore the EV tax credits for stalwarts Tesla and GM.”

Tesla shares, which had surged some 580% over the past year, have retreated early in 2021, down about 7% for the year to date. The stock was up 3% Wednesday as the EV incentive news hit markets.

Not to be left behind, legacy automakers have boosted investment in EVs and autonomous vehicles. In fact, GM has said it will phase out internal combustion engine vehicles within 15 years.

“Battery life is only going to be extended and with the trillions being invested globally by all those supporting the electrification of the transportation system the infrastructure for widespread adoption and usage of EV technology is only going to increase,” Blue Horizon analyst John Mitchel told MarketWatch’s Claudia Assis.

Don’t miss: Billions poured into electric-vehicle companies, but much more will be needed before the auto industry changes

GM shares are up 199% over the past year and up 38% in the year to date. Truck-focused EV stocks Nikola Corp. NKLA, -1.07% and Workhorse Group Inc. WKHS, +2.76% have also seen high-flying gains cool early in 2021.

The Global X Autonomous & Electric Vehicles ETF DRIV, +0.87% was trading higher early Wednesday.

Growth stocks — with EV counted in the group — have been hit by a rotation into value stocks that include airlines and restaurants, particularly as COVID-19 vaccinations spread.

Barron’s: Tesla Stock Target Cut by Analyst Because Old Auto Makers Have More in the Tank

Other tax-based incentives for climate change laid out in Biden’s Wednesday announcement included the proposed expansion of a tax credit to create underground storage for carbon capture and an investment tax credit focused on electric transmission. Biden’s initiative would also give a 10-year extension to tax credits that have been a boon to wind, solar and other renewable energy projects.

Source : https://www.marketwatch.com/story/biden-infrastructure-plan-includes-pitch-for-electric-vehicle-rebates-tesla-gm-nikola-shares-gain-11617202889

Biden’s Push for Electric Cars: $174 Billion, 10 Years and a Bit of Luck

The president is hoping to make electric vehicles more affordable to turn a niche product into one with mass appeal.

 

President Biden is a muscle-car guy — one of his most prized possessions is a 1967 Corvette that he got from his father. But he’s trying to make this an electric vehicle world.

The $2 trillion infrastructure plan that he unveiled on Wednesday is aimed at tackling climate change in part by spending up to $174 billion to encourage Americans to switch to cars and trucks that run on electricity, not gasoline or diesel. That is a large investment but it might not be enough to push most Americans toward E.V.s.

Despite rapid growth in recent years, electric vehicles remain a niche product, making up just 2 percent of the new car market and 1 percent of all cars, sport-utility vehicles, vans and pickup trucks on the road. They have been slow to take off in large part because they can cost up to $10,000 more than similar conventional cars and trucks. Charging E.V.s is also more difficult and slower than simply refilling the tank at far more prevalent gas stations.

Mr. Biden hopes to address many of those challenges through federal largess. He aims to lower the cost of electric vehicles by offering individuals, businesses and governments tax credits, rebates and other incentives. To address the chicken-and-egg problem of getting people to try a new technology before it is widely accepted, he hopes to build half a million chargers by 2030 so people will feel confident that they won’t be stranded when they run out of juice. And he is offering help to automakers to get them to build electric vehicles and batteries in the United States.

“We find ourselves at a unique moment here where most American businesses and many states are looking toward a decarbonized future, but recognize there’s a big lift on the infrastructure side,” said Bob Perciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, an environmental research group. “This investment alone obviously won’t solve the climate problem or fix all of the infrastructure in the United States but it will be a huge boost.”

Automakers see the writing on the wall and many, including General Motors, Volkswagen and Ford Motor, have made big E.V. promises. But even they acknowledge that they will need federal help.

“This transformation is greater than any one policy, branch or level of government, or industry sector,” a group representing manufacturers, suppliers and automotive workers said in a letter to Mr. Biden on Monday. “It will require a sustained holistic approach with a broad range of legislative and regulatory policies rooted in economic, social, environmental and cultural realities.”

The letter called for grants, loans, tax credits and tax deductions to promote research and manufacturing. The authors of the letter, which included industry groups and the United Auto Workers union, called for investment in job training programs and federal help in promoting development of minerals and other raw materials in the United States.

But production is only one piece of the puzzle. The transition away from gas-powered vehicles rests on convincing consumers of the benefits of electric vehicles. That hasn’t been easy because the cars have higher sticker prices even though researchers say that they cost less to own. Electricity is cheaper on a per mile basis than gasoline, and E.V.s require less routine maintenance — there is no oil to change — than combustion-engine cars.

The single biggest cost of an electric car comes from the battery, which can run about $15,000 for a midsize sedan. That cost has been dropping and is widely expected to keep falling thanks to manufacturing improvements and technical advancements. But some scholars believe that a major technological breakthrough will be required to make electric cars much, much cheaper.

“There’s a good sense that at least for the next maybe five years or so they’re going to keep declining, but then are they going to level off or are they going to keep declining?” Joshua Linn, a professor at the University of Maryland and a senior fellow with Resources for the Future, an environmental nonprofit, said about battery costs. “That won’t be enough, so then that’s given rise to a lot of attention to infrastructure.”

The federal government and some states already offer tax credits and other incentives for the purchase of electric cars. But the main such federal incentive — a $7,500 tax credit for the purchase of new electric cars — begins to phase out for cars once an automaker has sold 200,000 E.V.s. Buyers of Tesla and G.M. electric cars, for example, no longer qualify for that tax credit but buyers of Ford and Volkswagen electric cars do.

Mr. Biden described his incentives for electric car purchases as rebates available at the “point of sale,” presumably meaning at dealerships or while ordering cars online. But the administration has not released details about how big those rebates will be and which vehicles they would apply to.

Another big concern is charging. People with dedicated parking spots typically charge their E.V.s overnight at home, but many people who live in apartments or have to drive longer distances need to use public charging stations, which are still greatly

outnumbered by gas stations.

“The top three reasons consumers give for not buying E.V.s are lack of charging stations, time to charge, and the cost of E.V.s,” said Sam Abuelsamid, an analyst at Guidehouse Insights. “They seem to be really emphasizing all three. So, over all, it looks very promising.”

There are well over 100,000 gas stations in the United States, most with multiple pumps. Mr. Biden’s plan calls for a national network of 500,000 electric vehicle chargers within the decade, up from about 41,000 charging stations with more than 100,000 outlets today, according to the Energy Department.

“One of the things that needs to be addressed is getting chargers into places where people only have on-street parking, like in cities and urban areas where you don’t have a driveway or garage,” Mr. Abuelsamid said. “If they can address that, it will make E.V.s available to a lot more people.”

The government in China, which leads the world in the use of electric cars, has done much more than the United States to speed up the installation of chargers.

It is, famously, one of the ways that China has become the No. 1 country in E.V.s on most dimensions,” John Paul MacDuffie, a professor of management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, said in an email.

Even with incentives for manufacturers, a robust charging network and a willing public, the transition to electric cars may take a few decades. Carmakers have improved vehicle reliability in recent years, so many cars stay on the road a long time. The average age of cars and light trucks in the United States is approaching 12 years, up from 9.6 years in 2002, according to IHS Markit, an economic forecasting firm.

Neal E. Boudette contributed reporting.

Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/31/business/biden-electric-vehicles-infrastructure.html

Image

2022 Kia EV6 GT Is a High-Performance EV with 577 HP and AWD

This new electric Kia will also offer Standard and Long Range battery packs in both RWD and AWD configurations ranging from 168 hp to 321 hp.

 

 

  • Kia revealed more specs about the EV6 electric vehicle.
  • It will offer a GT performance model with 577 horsepower and all-wheel drive.
  • The EV6 should go on sale in the U.S. later this year.

Kia has surprised us with a high-performance version of its new electric car, the EV6. Called the EV6 GT, this range-topping model features a all-wheel-drive powertrain with front and rear electric motors that produce a total of 577 horsepower and 546 pound-feet of torque. It’s available only with the larger of the EV6’s two battery packs and also features visual tweaks to set it apart from the lesser versions.

 

Kia’s performance claims for the GT are impressive: a sprint to 62 mph in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 128 mph. It also features software that is said to to mimic the behavior of a limited-slip differential. Hyundai has not announced any sort of performance version of the related Ioniq 5 EV, so Kia may have the exclusive on this high-powered drivetrain.

KIA EVS

2022 Kia EV6 Boasts a Bold, Sleek Design

EV6 Will Be First of 11 New Kia Electric Cars
The GT looks a bit different than other EV6s thanks to larger wheels and tires and more aggressive front and rear fascias. Yellow brake calipers match with yellow accents found inside the cabin, and the seats look sporty and aggressively bolstered. There will also be a GT-Line version of the EV6 with similar visual changes as the GT but a smaller battery pack and less powerful drivetrains.

 

 

The various configurations for the standard EV6 and GT-Line models include a 168-hp one-motor RWD model or a 232-hp two-motor AWD model with the Standard Range battery pack and a 225-hp one-motor RWD and a 321-hp two-motor AWD model with the Long Range battery pack. Kia claims that the RWD Long Range configuration will provide a 316-mile range on the European WLTP cycle; U.S.-specific EPA range numbers will likely be lower.

We should get more detailed U.S. information for the EV6 within the next few months, as Kia says that its first EV will go on sale in the second half of this year. We expect a starting price of around $45,000 for the standard model, with the performance-oriented GT pushing much higher than that.

 

Source : https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a35978496/2022-kia-ev6-gt-specs-revealed/

 

Musk says battery cell constraints impact production of Tesla Semi

(Reuters) -Tesla Inc chief Elon Musk tweeted on Tuesday that supply constraints related to battery cells are making it difficult to scale up production of its long-delayed Tesla Semi electric commercial truck, sending the company’s shares down nearly 2%.

(Reuters) -Tesla Inc chief Elon Musk tweeted on Tuesday that supply constraints related to battery cells are making it difficult to scale up production of its long-delayed Tesla Semi electric commercial truck, sending the company’s shares down nearly 2%.

“Demand is no problem, but near-term cell supply makes it hard to scale Semi. This limitation will be less onerous next year,” the billionaire entrepreneur said here.

Musk’s statement was in response to a tweet which referred to a news report about the electric carmaker receiving an order for ten Semi trucks from MHX Leasing LLC.

Electric trucks will completely change the trucking industry as they are the obvious choice for companies looking to reduce CO2 emissions. MHX Leasing LLC (MHX) ordered 10 Tesla Semi trucks and two Megachargers funded by The Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee.

The Mobile Source Air Pollution Reduction Review Committee (MSRC) awarded MHX Leasing LLC (MHX) $1.9 million to deploy 10 Tesla Class 8 trucks, two Megachargers for them, and to help deploy two overhead electric cranes, said Build Momentum in a press release. The Momentum team has contributed to helping MHX develop projects and apply for funding.

MHX sought funding from the MSRC’s Zero & Near-Zero-Emission Trucking-to-Warehouse, Distribution, & Intermodal Facilities in Riverside & San Bernardino Counties grant program to support the purchase and deployment of 10 battery-electric Class 8 Tesla Semis as a part of its efforts to electrify its fleet of trucks in the South Coast Air Quality Management District. To keep the trucks running, MHX will also buy two dedicated Megachargers for them and will install them at its MHX-Napa Fontana distribution facility in Fontana, California.

Electric trucks are a great alternative to diesel-powered trucks and even trains. Large companies are striving to reduce their carbon footprint, so they pay attention to how they deliver their goods. This forces companies to reconsider their views on the use of old diesel trucks and to seriously consider the possibility of buying electric trucks as soon as possible. Also, this step will help save a significant amount of money on refueling and car maintenance.
Source : https://www.tesmanian.com/blogs/tesmanian-blog/tesla-receives-order-for-10-semi-trucks-from-msrc

Good Luck Making Money On Autonomous Cars Anytime Soon

orlove
Illustration for article titled Good Luck Making Money On Autonomous Cars Anytime Soon
Illustration: Daimler

With tens of thousands of Americans dying in on our roads every year, it’s clear something has to give. Either we’re all going to stop driving, or we’re going to get robots to do it for us. The problem is that the business case for the latter is looking increasingly shaky.

An article in the Financial Times details a new interest in autonomous trucking. Is it because Silicon Valley execs all watched Convoy lately? Over the Top? Are they all just super into trucks? No, it’s that they’ve realized making autonomous cars is hard. Listen to how happily these execs talk about simple, easy, autonomous trucks in the FT:

For a driverless ride-hailing service to exist, the car needs to take passengers anywhere in the city, including to rarely visited side streets. That would require continual mapping work to stay up to date, whereas 18-wheelers spend the bulk of their time on the same monotonous highways.

“It’s basically a straight road where you’re not really even shifting gears, much less having the opportunity to run into a building,” said Annie Kadavy, a partner at Redpoint Ventures, who previously led strategic operations at Uber Freight.

Most of the companies involved are trying to constrain the engineering problem as much as possible — a contrast to the approach taken by robotaxi groups, whose primary interest was in tackling the complexities of urban mobility.

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The main model for these self-driving semis would be to have autonomous trucks go from hub-to-hub on straightaway highways while humans handle the tricky last-mile types of situations, as the FT explains:

Don Burnette, a former Uber software engineer who now leads Kodiak Robotics, a driverless trucking start-up, said trying to solve every conceivable edge case is what trapped the leading autonomous car companies into a “demo mindset” instead of developing viable commercial applications that could compete with Uber.

So instead, Kodiak aims to build “transfer hubs” near the highway in which a standard truck driver would carry freight a few miles to the hub, then swap the freight to an autonomous truck that would carry it, say, 300 miles to the next hub, where another truck driver is waiting.

[…]

“If you want to get to market sooner, you need to really narrow your use case as much as you can,” Burnette said. “We are only focused on the on-ramp, highway, off-ramp portion of the long-haul interstate driving problem.”

Hearing a former Uber engineer talk about the ease of making a truck drive itself does cast into relief how difficult it is to make a taxi drive itself.

It also shows how hard it is to make money from autonomy. Much in the way that electric cars are doing a better job at raising stock prices than actual profit margins, driverless tech seems to have less of a business case than ever. Automakers themselves stopped hyping autonomous cars years ago.

The only players still in the field are talking about autonomous cars in terms of robotaxis. This is right at the heart of Uber’s operations. It’s just that Uber has never made any money from its business of offering rides. It makes money skirting regulations, exploiting workers and promising a bigger, better future to investors. Uber has spent years subsidizing every ride you take, while pulling in billions from wealth funds like SoftBank. It doesn’t even look like SoftBank wants to know where that is going, selling hundreds of millions in shares earlier this year even as the company is never more than a family dinner away from the White House.

Outside of Uber, the only other big players in autonomous cars left are backed by companies too big to care. If Waymo finds a business model for its parent Google, I think Google executives would be as surprised as anyone else. What am I saying? Waymo inked a deal with Daimler to produce Level 4 autonomous trucks this past October.

UAW and automakers urge Biden to adopt expansive EV strategy

From electric car tax credits, to revised building codes for EV chargers, the groups believe the US needs to do more to ensure the country succeeds.

 

The Biden administration seems to be leaning in this direction, but the UAW and AAI want to see big things.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The United Auto Workers union and Alliance for Automotive Innovation, which represents a number of major automakers, have encouraged the Biden administration to adopt a laundry list of pro-EV proposals, arguing the recommendations provide the keys to the US’ success in a transition to electric vehicle sales and manufacturing.

In a letter sent to President Joe Biden on Tuesday, the groups called for sweeping investments into raw material refinement and battery production, but also urged the administration to boost public awareness of EVs and their benefits, and asked the federal government to consider an expansion of tax credits currently available to EV buyers.

“We stand ready to work with your Administration to define the bold, comprehensive vision and innovation that will place the US at the forefront of creating a cleaner future for motor vehicle transportation,” the groups said in the joint letter. “This transformation is greater than any one policy, branch or level of government or industry sector.”

The UAW represents tens of thousands of US auto workers nationwide, while the Alliance for Automotive Innovation includes Ford, General Motors, Stellantis, Toyota, Volkswagen and more automakers in support of these plans. The White House did not immediately return a request for comment on the proposals, which comes ahead of the launch of the president’s anticipated multitrillion-dollar infrastructure plan on Wednesday.

The specifics of the groups’ proposals include an expansion of federal tax credits available to EV buyers, which currently sit at $7,500. Legislation in congress already aims to address this, though a separate plan from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer calls for point-of-sale rebates when buying an EV. The UAW and AAI also called for an aggressive consumer awareness campaign and a prioritization of federal research and development dollars to reduce costs and improve performance of batteries, fuel cells and hydrogen fuel generation.

We’ll likely see way more of these in the near future.

Electrify America

Appealing to the president’s campaign promise to build a nationwide infrastructure of charging stations, the two groups called for extending tax credits for alternative fuel vehicle refueling property, and expanding them to include medium- and heavy-duty vehicle refueling. They also proposed a grant system to help states build out EV charging and hydrogen refueling infrastructure on federal highways, and additional tax credits to help consumers install home charging stations at a lower cost. Building codes should also receive modern makeovers to include charging points for multiunit dwellings to ensure the transition doesn’t leave anyone out.

Arguing whichever country takes the lead in EV manufacturing, the UAW and AAI said the US could shape future supply chains to the nation’s benefit, adding the Biden administration should expand the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit. The credit allows companies to retool, expand or build new facilities to build relevant components to the EV and fuel-cell industry. Most importantly, the groups want to see the US take a stronger stance on “the development of US-based supplies of critical minerals.”

In 2019, China accounted for 80% of the world’s total output of advanced battery raw materials. The UAW and AAI said this risks US jobs and the nation’s manufacturing readiness. “Workers will disproportionately suffer if we do not get it right,” the UAW said in a separate statement. “The reality is that we have a long way to go in terms of battery technology, refueling infrastructure and, importantly market demand in order to successfully make this transition.”

The Biden administration already ordered a short- and long-term review to help boost the US’ readiness when it comes to the EV supply chain, including raw materials for batteries.

The UAW and AAI said its proposals would cost the US as much as $37 billion to renew and expand relevant tax credits to begin the strong push into EVs. However, the costs if the US fails to act are much greater, they argued.

Source : https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/uaw-automakers-biden-administration-ev-strategy/

Michael Andretti Now Sees the Potential of Electric Cars

Electric street cars with license plates and AC can go from 0-60 in less than 3 seconds – so imagine what an electric race car can do.

Michael Andretti – son of arguably the most successful race car driver in history – has a pretty good idea. It’s probably why he’s teamed up with McLaren F1 CEO Zak Brown and UK racing powerhouse United Autosports to form Andretti United Extreme E, which will compete in electric off-road racing this spring. In addition, the Andretti Team will be using a new high tech thermal management system to protect the integrity of their batteries that is currently being utilized on the Mars Perseverance Rover and International Space Station designed by KULR Technology Group Inc. (OTCQB: KULR), a San Diego-headquartered developer of lithium-ion battery safety and thermal management technologies.

The Andretti team isn’t new to electric racing, having been involved in Formula E, the electric version of open-wheeled (“Indy car”) racing – both under his own flag and with BMW, one of the first major automakers to get heavily involved in this newest form of motorsports.

Electric race cars have a number of advantages over piston-driven, combustion-powered race cars- the chief one being the tremendous power of electric motors is instant-on. A piston engine has to be revved to make power, which takes time – even for a race car engine. Some race car engines – like Indy Car engines – make so little power until they rev that pit crews have to push the car to get it going.

No such problems with electric race cars. Instead of 550-700 horsepower at 10,500-12,200 RPM an electric car motor can make 1,000 horsepower at 0 RPM. That means zero lag when the green flag goes down and the race begins – and acceleration that makes piston-engined race cars seem slow.

Which means it’s a better show. The Andretti team knows that a good race means lots of fans – people who want to watch the race.

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And electric racing is a whole new kind of show.

For one thing, electric street car engines make more power than Indy Car piston engines – and they do it without pistons or turbochargers and multiple valve cylinder heads and hundreds of small parts, each one a potential catastrophic failure point.

An electric motor has just a few moving parts and so fewer potential failure points. That should translate as greater durability under the extreme conditions of racing – especially the off-road racing series that Michael Andretti and his team are getting ready for – because electric motors don’t need to breathe and so no worries about inhaling sand or hydro-locking the pistons because water got sucked into the intake tract.

Electric motors would work just as well in the vacuum of space.

And electric racing is a whole new kind of show.

For one thing, electric street car engines make more power than Indy Car piston engines – and they do it without pistons or turbochargers and multiple valve cylinder heads and hundreds of small parts, each one a potential catastrophic failure point.

An electric motor has just a few moving parts and so fewer potential failure points. That should translate as greater durability under the extreme conditions of racing – especially the off-road racing series that Michael Andretti and his team are getting ready for – because electric motors don’t need to breathe and so no worries about inhaling sand or hydro-locking the pistons because water got sucked into the intake tract.

Electric motors would work just as well in the vacuum of space.

Electric racing does have one thing in common with piston-engined racing: The development and refinement of technology that ends up on the street. Most race fans know all about the pioneering development of the famous Chrysler Race Hemi engine back in the ’60s, which led to the development of the Street Hemi engine, a descendant of which is still in use in current Fiat-Chrysler (now Stellantis) vehicles such as the Dodge Charger and Challenger as well as Ram trucks.

Electric racing will likely lead to similar breakthroughs in electric battery endurance and quick-charge technology, two of the issues which electric street cars still need some help with before they can outlast piston-engined cars and recharge as quickly as piston-engined vehicles can refuel.

Racing will accelerate that process while giving race fans the show of their life. That’s a win for the Andretti racing team – and for us, when the lessons learned on the track filter down to the street and under the hoods of the cars we’ll soon be driving every day.

 

Source : https://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2021/03/30/mario_andretti_now_sees_the_potential_of_electric_cars_770226.html

The Andretti team isn’t new to electric racing, having been involved in Formula E, the electric version of open-wheeled (“Indy car”) racing – both under his own flag and with BMW, one of the first major automakers to get heavily involved in this newest form of motorsports.

Electric race cars have a number of advantages over piston-driven, combustion-powered race cars- the chief one being the tremendous power of electric motors is instant-on. A piston engine has to be revved to make power, which takes time – even for a race car engine. Some race car engines – like Indy Car engines – make so little power until they rev that pit crews have to push the car to get it going.

No such problems with electric race cars. Instead of 550-700 horsepower at 10,500-12,200 RPM an electric car motor can make 1,000 horsepower at 0 RPM. That means zero lag when the green flag goes down and the race begins – and acceleration that makes piston-engined race cars seem slow.

Which means it’s a better show. The Andretti team knows that a good race means lots of fans – people who want to watch the race.

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And electric racing is a whole new kind of show.

For one thing, electric street car engines make more power than Indy Car piston engines – and they do it without pistons or turbochargers and multiple valve cylinder heads and hundreds of small parts, each one a potential catastrophic failure point.

An electric motor has just a few moving parts and so fewer potential failure points. That should translate as greater durability under the extreme conditions of racing – especially the off-road racing series that Michael Andretti and his team are getting ready for – because electric motors don’t need to breathe and so no worries about inhaling sand or hydro-locking the pistons because water got sucked into the intake tract.

Electric motors would work just as well in the vacuum of space.

So long as there’s current, they’ll spin. And there’s almost no limit to how powerful they can be, as is the case – in practical terms – for piston-driven race car engines.

They make power not just by burning fuel but by moving air. Which must be turned into power (along with the fuel) inside each cylinder by burning the air-fuel mix in a precisely timed sequence of events. Four specific events – the intake, compression, power and exhaust strokes.

It’s a complicated process and how much power is made also depends on how much air (and fuel) can be stuffed into each cylinder for each combustion event. Race car engines often use turbo-superchargers to force air (along with fuel) into the cylinders, to make even more power. But there are physical as well as practical limits to how much air and fuel can be stuffed into a cylinder; a dragster’s heavily supercharged engine – which makes about 2,000 horsepower – runs on the verge of self-destruction from all the pressure – and usually has to be torn down and rebuilt after just a few passes down the track.

But electric motors can produce that kind of power simply – and reliably. A Tesla Model S, for instance, has an electric motor that makes between 670 and 1,020 horsepower – as much (or more) than an Indy car like the one MIchael’s father Mario drove when he won the Indy 500 and other F1 races – but on the street and with the AC blowing and no problem plugging along in stop-and-go traffic.

The potential of electric motors is barely tapped – as opposed to nearly maxed out.

Electric racing does have one thing in common with piston-engined racing: The development and refinement of technology that ends up on the street. Most race fans know all about the pioneering development of the famous Chrysler Race Hemi engine back in the ’60s, which led to the development of the Street Hemi engine, a descendant of which is still in use in current Fiat-Chrysler (now Stellantis) vehicles such as the Dodge Charger and Challenger as well as Ram trucks.

Electric racing will likely lead to similar breakthroughs in electric battery endurance and quick-charge technology, two of the issues which electric street cars still need some help with before they can outlast piston-engined cars and recharge as quickly as piston-engined vehicles can refuel.

Racing will accelerate that process while giving race fans the show of their life. That’s a win for the Andretti racing team – and for us, when the lessons learned on the track filter down to the street and under the hoods of the cars we’ll soon be driving every day.

Mark Anthony is a former Silicon Valley Executive with Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR). Mark is now the host of the nationally syndicated radio called The Patriot and The Preacher Show. Find out more at patriotandpreachershow.com.

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Will Self-Driving Cars Disrupt The Insurance Industry?

Self-driving vehicles should ideally accomplish a few things: convenience for operators/owners of vehicles, cost reduction for commercial vehicles (no driver), and safer roads (fewer and less severe crashes).

This last item, if true, will significantly lower the risks traditionally associated with driving. In fact, the removal of the driver fundamentally alters the liabilities that insurance companies have spent almost a century covering. As liabilities and risks shift, how vehicles are insured and the costs of that insurance will change, disrupting a $300B+ industry and creating opportunities for innovation.

The State of Vehicle Automation

The US Department of Transportation rates a vehicle’s ability to self-drive from Level 0 (none) to Level 5 (fully autonomous). Tesla’s Autopilot is currently rated at a Level 2, which means it can control both steering and throttle, but cannot make decisions such as accelerating past a slow car, like Level 3. Level 4 vehicles can fully self-drive, but they provide the option for manual override, something Level 5 vehicles will skip all together. Waymo and Navya operate and sell Level 4 vehicles in real environments in the US.

True Level 5, the ability to operate in any and all road conditions where humans can, does not yet exist. Daniel Hoffer, Managing Director at Autotech Ventures, thinks we are at least 10 years out from Level 5, but says that no one really knows and that Level 5 is not necessary to unlock transformative societal changes anyway. However, he does note that driverless vehicles already operate in controlled environments, like Waymo’s driverless taxi service in Arizona or Nuro’s driverless delivery vehicles.

Nuro recently won approval from the Department of Transportation to operate its vehicles at speeds up to 25 MPH without passengers for grocery delivery. Nuro’s design is radical with no place or systems for a driver. However, neither Waymo nor Nuro are quite level 5 as they will only operate their vehicles in good weather conditions and within certain distances and speeds.

As Hoffer puts it, we are a long way off from when a vehicle can autonomously operate on a dirt road in a rural area at night during a snowstorm

Automation Leads to Changing Liabilities

From Level 2 to 4, where there is still an element of human oversight, accidents can be attributed to human error, such as when a Tesla operating on autopilot crashed into a cop car while the driver was watching a movie. The driver is still at fault since they were supposed to pay attention to the road. It is only when the driver disappears entirely that liability shifts completely.

With Level 5, the vehicle operator is no longer the owner or a human driver but the AI that is actively making decisions to steer, slow, accelerate, and stop the vehicle. The very concept of owner or driver error disappears. If AI messes up and causes a crash, who is at fault?

Driver liability will most likely turn into product liability with AI at the wheel. The vehicle OEM or whoever supplied the automation system and/or its components may be liable. We are already starting to see this as Tesla has faced several product liability lawsuits over fatalities involving autopilot.

…And Changing Risks

One of the key visions of vehicle automation is increased safety, which assumes that AI can drive cars better and more safely than humans. According to industry insiders, Tesla has argued with insurers that the premiums for their vehicles should be lower, but there are a couple of key issues with this claim. There isn’t clear evidence that Teslas on autopilot are safer, and the technology that makes cars autonomous (sensors, processing units, etc) are very expensive. So, even if the cars were safer, they are more expensive to repair than comparable non-automated cars, offsetting any premium savings from increased safety.

However, with Level 5 automation and the ubiquitous use of automated vehicles, there is likely to be a significant reduction in vehicle accidents, as well as an eventual decrease in costs for the tech. One of the challenges with the use of AI is dealing with edge cases (unpredictable events). On an open road with variable weather and mostly human drivers, the number of edge cases is significant. Self-driving vehicles are actually one of the most difficult applications of AI for this reason.

But once we reach a certain threshold of self-driving vehicles on the road, accident rates are likely to significantly decrease and vehicle automation will be able to realize its safety potential. The number of edge cases will be reduced when human unpredictability is removed from the equation.

What Does This Mean for the Insurance Industry?

While portions of the liability pool shift from personal to commercial in nature (i.e., product liability versus personal auto) the overall “size of the risk” may not change dramatically. Rather, insurers will need to understand the risk posed by two drivers; one human and one robotic. Chris Lotz, the CEO of Goodcover, notes that regional or monoline insurers that rely on consumer or commercial vehicle insurance are facing an existential crisis because they cannot easily switch to a product liability business. He also thinks that many insurers rely on bundling auto and home policies for stickiness. With the loss of auto, insurers will have to rethink their strategies for retaining customers.

But, if autonomous vehicles do prove to be fundamentally safer and the tech behind them becomes cheaper, risks will be reduced and so will premiums. A once $300B industry could dramatically shrink.

These changes could be ten years out or twenty years out, no one really knows, but autonomous vehicles will change a large chunk of the P&C insurance market leading to opportunities for investors and founders to explore innovative insurance products, solutions for monoline/regional insurers, tools for customer retention, and more. It’s just a matter of timing.


Nelson Mills (’22) is a first-year MBA and Athena Fellow at Columbia with a background in the electric vehicle industry. He is also an investor at Global Founders Capital, where he focuses on fintech and deeptech.

Source : https://www.forbes.com/sites/columbiabusinessschool/2021/03/25/will-self-driving-cars-disrupt-the-insurance-industry/?sh=4a626a121dbf