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Toyota is buying Lyft’s autonomous car division for $550 million

Lyft is the latest company to abandon the expensive development of AVs

Lyft is selling its autonomous vehicle division to a subsidiary of Toyota — the latest in a series of acquisitions that is seeing the world of self-driving cars grow increasingly smaller.

Woven Planet Holdings, a subsidiary of Toyota, will acquire Lyft’s self-driving division, Level 5, for $550 million in cash — $200 million of which was provided to Lyft up front. The rest of the money, $350 million, will be paid out to Lyft over five years. The ride-hailing company says it will see an annual savings of $100 million of non-GAAP expenses, which it claims will better position it to ultimately earn a profit. Toyota has also agreed to use Lyft’s fleet data and platform for any commercial service it eventually launches under its Woven Planet subsidiary.

The deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2021, brings to an end Lyft’s four-year journey toward developing and deploying its own self-driving cars. The company follows its rival Uber in off-loading its costly autonomous vehicle division in a bid to stop losing so much money. Last year, Uber sold its AV project to Aurora, a startup founded by the former head of Google’s self-driving project.

Of course, Lyft did not experience the tragedy of overseeing a self-driving car killing a pedestrian as Uber did in 2018. Rather, Lyft’s project was small-scale but productive. It mostly consisted of a pilot project in Las Vegas with Aptiv using self-driving cars with safety drivers to conduct tens of thousands of taxi trips. That project is now being overseen by Motional, Aptiv’s joint venture with Hyundai, and Lyft is involved.

Lyft launched its Level 5 division in 2017 with the bold claim that by 2021, “a majority” of its rides would take place in autonomous vehicles. The company hired hundreds of engineers to staff a 50,000-square-foot facility in Palo Alto, California. A year later, Lyft acquired the UK-based augmented reality startup Blue Vision Labs for a reported $72 million in the hopes of accelerating its efforts.

But the prediction that most of Lyft’s rides would take place in AVs never came to pass. In fact, despite some technical successes, autonomous vehicles remain very far away from any kind of mass adoption. Most AVs on the road today are still test vehicles, with most of the major players refusing to commit to a timeline for commercialization.

Toyota, meanwhile, has largely kept its self-driving car tinkering quiet. The Japanese company, which is the largest automaker in the world, has released some information about its test vehicles and the types of sensors it’s using, but we’ve seen very little of the cars in operation. Toyota was planning to offer a limited ride-hailing pilot in downtown Tokyo during the 2020 Summer Olympics, but that was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The automaker also recently invested $400 million in Pony.ai, a self-driving startup based in the US and China.

Toyota has developed a self-driving software called “Chauffeur,” which ironically was also the codename for Google’s self-driving project under Chris Urmson, now the CEO of Aurora. Toyota has a second product called “Guardian,” which is essentially an advanced driver-assist system akin to Tesla’s Autopilot. Neither is being offered in any production car today.

Toyota Research Institute, the automaker’s Silicon Valley-based division, has been conducting tests at its Ottawa Lake, Michigan, closed-course facility for a number of years. In 2018, Toyota agreed to invest $500 million in a joint self-driving project with Uber, but that investment is now moot as Aurora owns what’s left of Uber’s AV division.

Last year, Toyota broke ground on its “Woven City,” the 175-acre site of a former car factory in Japan. The automaker hopes to transform it into a “prototype city of the future” where it can test autonomous vehicles, innovative street design, smart home technology, robotics, and new mobility products on a population of real people who would live there full time.

Electric Car-Charging Business Is Doing Everything But Making Money

David R. Baker

·6 min read

(Bloomberg) —

President Joe Biden’s plan to wean U.S. drivers off fossil fuels requires massive investment in public charging stations to power the electric-car revolution. So far, none of the companies that deploy the equipment has figured out how to make a profit.

The dilemma boils down to demand, and there’s a certain chicken-and-egg quality to it. Most electric-vehicle drivers charge their cars at home, so many public charging stations get little use. But lots of people still driving gasoline-powered cars won’t consider going electric until they see charging stations widely deployed, for fear that they will run out of juice on the road.

Speculators are piling into the industry, convinced that boom times are around the corner, while short sellers and other skeptics warn that some of these companies will go belly-up long before they figure out how to make money. Biden’s plan to spend $15 billion to help create 500,000 more public stations by 2030 is feeding the optimism, with investors flocking to EV charging companies since his election. The risk is that the early movers will get badly burned, potentially souring capital markets on the industry for years to come.

“It’s definitely going to require years of investment before they get any return,” said Chris Nelder, who has studied the economics of charging for the RMI energy research institute.

Nelder is sure that electric-vehicle charging will eventually be profitable. But when that tipping point will arrive is one of the biggest questions hanging over charging companies.

A decade into its existence, the industry is still hunting for a winning business model. Two of the more established names, Blink Charging Co. and Beam Global, made less than $10 million in revenue last year. That didn’t stop investors from sending Blink shares up more than 500% after Biden’s November win, and while it has come well off its peak the company’s market valuation is still north of $1.6 billion. Beam jumped more than 300%, though it has lost about half its value this year.

The biggest U.S. company, ChargePoint Holdings Inc., just went public via a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. Others including EVgo Services and Volta Industries Inc. are poised to follow.

Fueling cars and trucks has always been a low-margin business, with gasoline stations making much of their money from selling snacks, coffee and cigarettes. The business is even tougher when it comes to EVs. Unless they live in dense cities like New York or San Francisco, drivers do the vast majority of charging at home — their garage is their gas station. They use public chargers infrequently, with most vehicles offering more than enough range to complete daily errands without a topoff. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that 80% of EV charging happens at home.

Another vexing issue is the nature of using parking spots to double as charging locations. If a customer pulls into a space in her apartment complex at 9 p.m. and hooks up to buy a few dollars’ worth of electricity, more often than not, she’ll leave her car there until going to work the next day. No one else can use that charger for the next 10 hours, regardless of when her car is done charging.

Then there is the relatively small number of vehicles involved. Americans bought 259,000 new electric cars last year, a record according to BloombergNEF, but it’s still just 2% of total car and truck sales. And of those new EVs, 79% were made by Tesla Inc., which has its own branded network of “superchargers” that can’t be used by any other electric car. General Motors Co. said this week that it signed agreements with seven charging providers to make sure its EV drivers will have places to plug in.

Tesla drivers are “close-looped into the Tesla network,” said BNEF analyst Ryan Fisher. “Where is the demand to plug into these other networks? It doesn’t exist.”

The Biden administration hopes it can boost some of that demand with the proposed spending, part of its infrastructure plan now before Congress. Some of the money would go toward grants and incentive programs to install chargers, according to a fact sheet from the White House, and some would go toward research into lowering the cost of the chargers themselves.

The charging companies are positioning themselves for profitability in different ways.

ChargePoint sells stations and offers various degrees of operational support, but doesn’t get paid from the charging itself. A typical client might be a Silicon Valley company that offers its employees free charging at work as a perk. If a particular station gets little use, ChargePoint still gets paid.

“I wouldn’t want a driver as a customer, because I think I’d starve to death,” said Pasquale Romano, ChargePoint’s chief executive officer, in an interview. “There’s not a lot of money in electricity.”

Other companies, like EVgo, own the chargers they deploy and make money each time they’re used.

Blink, meanwhile, takes both approaches at once. The company prefers to own and operate as many of its stations as possible, but if a property owner wants to buy the chargers from Blink outright, that’s fine, too. The biggest priority is locking up good sites in high-demand areas, according to CEO Michael Farkas.

“Right now, this is a land grab,” Farkas said in an interview. “For us this is about getting as many locations as we can, and we’ll deal with profitability later.”

Volta Industries, which plans to go public in a SPAC deal this year, adds advertising to the mix. Its chargers come with 55-inch digital screens. A grocery store can place chargers in its parking lot and bombard customers with ads for specific products inside.

Beam Global offers a self-contained unit with a canopy of solar cells powering a battery and a charger. It doesn’t require digging up the parking lot to install a power line. “You can tell the world you’re driving on sunshine for free,” CEO Desmond Wheatley said in an interview.

There’s good reason for Beam to focus on easy installation and self-generated power. The time and cost to install a grid-connected charging station can be significant, often involving construction permits and hooking up to the local utility. The equipment itself can range from less than $2,000 for a slower, basic charger to more than $100,000 for the most powerful models, according to BNEF. Increased production should bring down the hardware costs, but for now, they’re another reason some of the companies struggle to turn a profit.

“It’s still early days,” said Colin Rusch, a senior analyst who covers the industry for Oppenheimer & Co. “Like with any early-stage industry, you’ve got to give it some time, until they get to scale.”

Source : https://finance.yahoo.com/news/ev-charging-industry-doing-everything-113000163.html

10 Fastest Electric Cars and What They Cost

Fastest Electric Cars

2021 Tesla Model S

There are a lot of perks to electric cars other than just the fact that they don’t burn any gas. Some of the more performance-oriented options in EVs have acceleration and top speed specs that might shock you. You also don’t have to spend as much money as you might think in order to get one of the fastest EVs on the market.

Here are the 10 fastest electric cars ranked by top speed. If it looks like some exotic names are missing, it’s because we’re only ranking mass-market, street-legal EVs that you can order today. We didn’t include supercars with very limited availability.

10. 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E

Top Speed: 124 mph
0-60 Time: 5.2 seconds (est)
Starting Price: $59,400 (First Edition)

The Ford Mustang Mach-E borrows the name and heritage of one of America’s most iconic sports cars and turns it into an electric SUV. Purists might not be happy with this use of the Mustang name, but it lives up to its emblems. It offers exciting performance and a claimed top speed of 124 mph. The Mustang Mach-E also provides a nice, high-tech interior and roomy seating, making it a practical and modern crossover. A Performance Edition is on the way. It’s expected to go from 0-60 in 3.5 seconds. See the Ford Mustang Mach-E models for sale near you

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9. 2021 Jaguar I-Pace

Top Speed: 124 mph
0-60 Time: 4.5 seconds
Starting Price: $70,730

The Jaguar I-Pace is a highly appealing choice in electric luxury crossovers. It has unconventional proportions that make it part SUV, part hatchback. Whatever you want to call it, it’s a practical vehicle with good interior space while also being an exciting EV with good range and engaging performance. Top speed is rated at 124 mph and it hustles from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds. See the Jaguar I-Pace models for sale near you

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8. 2021 Audi e-tron

Top Speed: 124 mph
0-60 Time: 5.2 seconds (est)
Starting Price: $66,995

The Audi e-tron is a bold move for the Audi brand that shows it’s serious about electrification. This Audi uses a twin motor setup with standard quattro all-wheel-drive, which adds both versatility and performance. It has a Boost Mode that allows you to temporarily unleash the e-tron’s full performance potential. However, the more you use it, the less range you’ll get from your battery. See the Audi e-tron models for sale near you

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7. 2021 Polestar 2

Top Speed: 127 mph
0-60 Time: 4.5 seconds (est)
Starting Price: $59,900

Polestar is a Volvo-owned brand with a focus on electric performance cars that retains Volvo’s reputation for luxury and safety. The Polestar 2 is a premium electric crossover with an interesting fastback profile. If there’s a Polestar dealer near you, this is a compelling EV with a high-end interior, a head-turning look, and an impressive top speed of 127 mph.

6. 2022 Audi e-tron GT

Top Speed: 155 mph
0-60 Time: 3.1 seconds
Starting Price: $139,900 (RS)

Audi’s e-tron sub-brand is growing. It now includes the stunning e-tron GT electric sedan that lives up to the brand’s reputation of performance and luxury. This electric Audi — specifically the RS e-tron GT model — has a claimed top speed of 155 mph. It adds a lot of other upgrades over the lower trims like a carbon-fiber roof, special wheels, and e-torque vectoring. See the Audi e-tron GT models for sale near you


5. 2021 Tesla Model Y

Top Speed: 155 mph
0-60 Time: 3.5 seconds
Starting Price: $61,190 (Performance)

The Performance model of the Tesla Model Y takes a reasonably priced electric compact luxury SUV and makes it a thrill to drive without sacrificing practicality. On top of its amazing top speed of 155 mph and 0-60 time of 3.5 seconds, the Performance model gets some other cool upgrades like 21-inch wheels, performance brakes, lowered suspension, and aluminum alloy pedals. See the Tesla Model Y models for sale near you

4. 2021 Porsche Taycan

Top Speed: 161 mph
0-60 Time: 2.6 seconds
Starting Price: $187,700 (Turbo S)

The Porsche Taycan is the first all-electric car from the legendary Porsche brand. It makes no compromises in terms of performance, as evidenced by its impressive top speed of 161 mph from the top Turbo S model. Launch control makes it achieve a 0-60 mph time of 2.6 seconds. The Taycan Turbo S has the largest brake rotors ever put on a production sedan with 10-piston calipers in front. Yes, they’re regenerative. See the Porsche Taycan models for sale near you

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3. 2021 Tesla Model 3

Top Speed: 162 mph
0-60 Time: 3.1 seconds
Starting Price: $56,190 (Performance)

The Dual Motor Performance version of the Tesla Model 3 not only adds AWD and better range compared to the Single Motor model, but it also adds stronger performance. It hits 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds and manages a top speed of 162 mph. The Performance Model adds further upgrades including 20-inch wheels, performance brakes, and lowered suspension. See the Tesla Model 3 models for sale near you

2. 2021 Tesla Model X

Top Speed: 163 mph
0-60 Time: 2.5 seconds
Starting Price: $119,990 (Plaid)

The Plaid variant of the Tesla Model X crossover makes 1,020 horsepower and achieves a claimed top speed of 163 mph, which makes it the fastest electric SUV on the market. The Plaid boasts impressive range and acceleration: 341 miles and a 0-60 time of 2.5 seconds. You get this stellar range and performance packaged as a versatile luxury SUV that’s stylish, practical, and insanely fast. See the Tesla Model X models for sale near you

1. 2021 Tesla Model S

Top Speed: 200 mph
0-60 Time: 1.99 seconds
Starting Price: $149,990 (Plaid+)

The Tesla Model S remains one of the best electric cars on the market, partially because of its outstanding performance. The Model S Plaid+ has the quickest acceleration and highest top speed of any production EV. It claims a top speed of 200 mph and a 0-60 mph time of 1.99 seconds. On top of its thrilling performance, you get a range of 387 miles, all-wheel drive, and a premium, high-tech interior. See the Tesla Model S models for sale near you

10 Fastest EVs

  1. 2021 Tesla Model S
  2. 2021 Tesla Model X
  3. 2021 Tesla Model 3
  4. 2021 Porsche Taycan
  5. 2021 Tesla Model Y
  6. 2022 Audi e-tron GT
  7. 2021 Polestar 2
  8. 2021 Audi e-tron
  9. 2021 Jaguar I-Pace
  10. 2021 Ford Mustang Mach-E



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GM to invest $1 bln in Mexico to build electric vehicles

The new GM logo is seen on the facade of the General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., March 16, 2021. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

The new GM logo is seen on the facade of the General Motors headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., March 16, 2021. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

General Motors Co (GM.N) said on Thursday it will invest $1 billion in a manufacturing complex in Mexico, drawing immediate criticism from the union for U.S. autoworkers as it prepares to build electric vehicles in 2023 in the border state of Coahuila.

GM said it is building a new high-tech paint shop that will start operations from June at the Ramos Arizpe site, which currently assembles conventional internal-combustion vehicles, including the Chevrolet Equinox and Blazer models, along with engines and transmissions.

The United Auto Workers criticized GM’s decision to build EVs in Mexico instead of using the union’s members in the United States when Washington is considering large new incentives for electric vehicles.

“At a time when General Motors is asking for a significant investment by the U.S. government in subsidizing electric vehicles, this is a slap in the face for not only UAW members and their families but also for U.S. taxpayers and the American workforce,” said UAW Vice President Terry Dittes in a statement, calling it “unseemly” to accept U.S. government subsidies and make vehicles outside the United States.

GM responded to the UAW statement by noting it has “recently announced nearly 9,000 jobs and more than $9 billion in new electric vehicle or battery cell manufacturing facilities in Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee.”

The White House did not immediately comment, but President Joe Biden has called for $174 billion to boost U.S. EV production, sales and infrastructure.

On Wednesday, Biden told U.S. lawmakers “there’s no reason why American workers can’t lead the world in the production of electric vehicles and batteries.”

GM issued a news release about the Mexican investment only in Spanish on its website and later provided an English translation when asked.

GM said it also plans to build batteries and electrical components at Ramos Arizpe and is making other improvements to its manufacturing complex.

GM did not say when it began building its new paint shop but previously came under criticism from former President Donald Trump for its Mexican operations. Trump had threatened to tax GM vehicles imported from Mexico.

GM aims to build two Chevrolet electric SUVs at Ramos Arizpe starting in 2023, according to Sam Fiorani, who tracks future vehicle production for AutoForecast Solutions.

A GM spokesman said the company was not announcing or confirming the electric vehicles that will be built in Coahuila, describing Fiorani’s comment as speculation.

Global electric vehicle numbers set to hit 145 million by end of the decade, IEA says

  • International Energy Agency says roughly three million new electric cars were registered last year, a record amount.
  • Around the world, authorities are looking to increase the number of low- and zero-emission vehicles on their roads.
Marin Tomas | Moment | Getty Images

The number of electric cars, buses, vans and heavy trucks on roads is expected to hit 145 million by 2030, the International Energy Agency said on Thursday.

According to the IEA’s Global Electric Vehicle Outlook, if governments ramp up their efforts to meet international energy and climate goals, the global electric vehicle fleet could increase further still, hitting 230 million by the end of the decade. Both of these projections exclude two- and three-wheeled electric vehicles.

The Paris-based organization said roughly three million new electric cars were registered last year, a record amount and a 41% rise compared to 2019.

This jump pushed the total number of electric cars on the road to over 10 million, a figure supplemented by approximately 1 million electric buses, vans and heavy trucks.

The rise in electric car sales in 2020 came even as the worldwide automobile market contracted by 16% due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. In the first quarter of 2021, electric car sales were almost two and a half times higher than during the same period in 2020.

“While they can’t do the job alone, electric vehicles have an indispensable role to play in reaching net-zero emissions worldwide,” Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, said in a statement.

“Current sales trends are very encouraging, but our shared climate and energy goals call for even faster market uptake,” he added.

Birol urged governments to use Covid economic recovery packages to “invest in battery manufacturing and the development of widespread and reliable charging infrastructure.”

The IEA said consumer spending on electric cars in 2020 totaled $120 billion, a 50% increase compared to 2019, with government support measures designed to encourage electric vehicle take-up coming in at $14 billion.

With regards to the latter figure, the IEA said it was “the fifth year in a row in which they have fallen as a share of total spending.”

“Even if government subsidies remain important for spurring the uptake of electric vehicles, this suggests sales are increasingly being driven more by consumer choice,” it added.

Taking on Tesla

Around the world, authorities are looking to increase the number of low- and zero-emission vehicles on their roads in a bid to tackle air pollution and move away from the internal combustion engine.

The U.K., for example, has announced plans to stop selling new diesel and petrol (gasoline) cars and vans from 2030.

The European Commission’s “Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy,” meanwhile, wants at least 30 million zero-emission cars on the road by 2030.

Faced with these targets, major carmakers are looking to increase their electric vehicle offering and challenge Elon Musk’s Tesla.

Last month, German automotive giant Volkswagen announced plans to establish six “gigafactories” — which the firm says will be able to manufacture battery cells with a combined energy value of 240 gigawatt hours each year — in Europe by the end of the decade. It also pledged to expand its charging infrastructure in Europe, North America and China.

March also saw the Volkswagen Group’s CEO, Herbert Diess, dismiss the notion that his firm could join forces with Tesla, telling CNBC that the German automotive giant was looking to go its own way.

Speaking to “Squawk Box Europe”, Diess was asked if he would rule out any future deal with Musk’s electric car maker, in which VW could manufacture its cars, or if the Tesla and VW brands would ever unite.

“No, we haven’t considered (that), we are going our own way,” he replied. “We want to get close and then overtake.”

“We think that we can – we need our own software stack, our own technology,” he added. “And also, I think Tesla, or Elon, is very much thinking … (about) his way forward. So no, there are no talks between Elon Musk and myself regarding joining forces.”

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    Source : https://www.cnbc.com/2021/04/29/global-electric-vehicle-numbers-set-to-hit-145-million-by-2030-iea-.html

Biden’s first 100 days have already electrified the auto industry

President Joe Biden
The Biden administration’s charting a very different course for the auto industry.

Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Thursday, April 29, closes a significant measurement for President Joe Biden: his first 100 days in office. Although the pandemic has been the new administration’s top priority, these 100 days charted an EV-focused auto industry through a federal focus on climate change, emissions standards and budding Chinese competitiveness, and potential dominance, in future technologies and raw materials.

The Biden administration’s actions in 100 days, detailed below, may not be permanent in every respect, or even made into law, but the 46th president’s first 100 days undeniably helped recalculate the auto industry well into the next decade.

An electric federal fleet

On Jan. 25, Biden announced an executive order that will convert the US government’s 645,000-strong fleet of vehicles to battery-powered vehicles. With a core focus on reducing emissions and setting an example for the country to shift to EVs, the EO also aims to bolster the US’ purchasing power to buy EVs from American businesses and US-made products. The administration hasn’t produced a timeline for the conversion just yet, and the next-generation mail delivery trucks have already challenged how serious the administration is with this commitment.

EV tax credit renewal nabs attention

In the earliest days of the Biden administration, and the Democrats’ newfound control of both chambers of Congress, Democratic senators reintroduced the GREEN Act, which includes restored federal tax credits for automakers and those who buy EVs. If passed, it would provide up to $7,000 for EV buyers to take advantage of when filing their taxes the following year and give automakers a new credit ceiling of 600,000 vehicles. Tesla and GM are the only automakers no longer eligible to pass on tax credits to EV buyers, as they reached the limit in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Passing the bill under the Democratic-led chambers, and Biden, may prove much easier, hence its reintroduction. However, it may not live on following news of the president’s infrastructure plan.

$100 billion for direct EV rebates

Under the president’s proposed $2.25 trillion infrastructure plan, the federal government would make $100 billion available for EV rebates at the point of sale. In other words, the federal government, under Biden, may directly subsidize the purchase of an electric car. Rather than a tax credit to claim a year later, this proposal would take cash off an EV’s sticker price right at the dealership. It’s not clear how much an individual or household may receive, should the proposal make its way into a passed law, but the move could drastically alter EV adoption here in the US.

500,000 new charging stations could be coming to America under Biden.

Electrify America

Half a million EV chargers

Also included in Biden’s ambitious infrastructure plan is the proposal of 500,000 new EV charging stations across the US. The plan calls for every one of these half a million chargers to be installed by 2030, providing funds for grants and incentive programs for state and local governments, as well as private companies.

Revamped fuel economy and emissions regulations

By this July, the Biden administration will reveal updated fuel economy and emissions regulations for automakers to adhere to, and they will do the exact opposite of the Trump administration’s efforts, which reduced annual improvements substantially. Automakers don’t just work for the present; product planning stretches years ahead, so it will be tough for any future administration to make steep reversals to whatever figures the Biden administration presents. How strict will the new regulations be? EPA Administrator Michael Regan believes they need to meet the urgency of the climate crisis.

Reversing Trump’s ban on California setting standards

More recently, both the EPA and Department of Transportation under Biden moved to withdraw a 2019 rule from the Trump administration that would restore California’s right to set state-level emissions standards and zero-emission vehicle mandates. The latter ability has long been a thorn in automakers’ sides, essentially creating two sets of standards for companies to follow: California and federal regulations. Under Biden, the state may soon get this ability back, but this time, the majority of automakers appear to be on California’s side, unlike the last time.

Remaking America’s EV supply chain

A Biden-ordered review of the US’ supply chain for semiconductor chips didn’t stop there. Included in a short- and long-term review of the country’s supply chain is a closer investigation of the US’ rare earth materials and how the country can better position itself to counter China’s EV supply chain, specifically, batteries. The order’s scope extends to “advanced batteries, like the ones used in electric vehicles,” with a goal of bolstering the US supply chain to keep issues like the semiconductor shortage from ever becoming as serious in the first place. The president’s infrastructure bill would also make billions of dollars available for companies to retool their plants to pivot and support EV production, plus battery assembly domestically.

President Joe Biden
Automakers calling for emissions reductions is a big deal.

Bloomberg/Getty Images

General Motors and Ford joined over 400 businesses on Wednesday calling on President Joe Biden to set an ambitious emissions target for the US ahead of a planned climate summit. Ahead of the summit’s start on Thursday, the White House made the president’s goal official: 52% emissions reductions by 2030 below 2005 levels.

The letter, whose signatories account for more than $4 trillion in annual revenue, urged Biden to cut the country’s emissions by “at least 50%” below 2005 levels come 2030. The final figure goes slightly above the businesses’ calls. GM and Ford’s signing on is, frankly, a huge deal considering tailpipe emissions are a sizable contributing factor to climate change.

As the US works to reduce emissions by 50%, the companies signaled Biden should also put the country on a path toward carbon neutrality by 2050. “To restore the standing of the US as a global leader, we need to address the climate crisis at the pace and scale it demands,” the open letter states. “Specifically, the US must adopt an emissions reduction target that will place the country on a credible pathway to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.”

In the White House’s announcement, the administration said it will continue to pursue a pathway to create a carbon-free power sector no later than 2035, and a net-zero emissions economy by 2050. The work will take place across numerous sectors of the economy, though the supplied fact sheet did not provide specific goals. They’ll come in due time, and the automotive sector ranks high on the list. The Biden administration is deep in creating new emissions and fuel economy regulations for the auto sector, which will show up by July. Both Ford and GM have also approved of the Biden administration’s review for more stringent fuel economy and emissions standards. The president’s infrastructure plan also goes heavy on zero-emissions vehicles and hopes to spur battery production, material refinement and EV sales in the US to counter China.

As stated in January, GM plans to sell only zero-emission vehicles by 2035; Ford pledged in February to sell only electric cars in Europe by 2030. Numerous automakers have taken a heavy turn toward electrification, with similar aspirations.

Biden urges US to step up EV production to combat China’s dominance

The president’s proposed infrastructure plan includes billions of dollars for EV production and adoption, and he wants the US to move swiftly.

Automakers are slowly turning to EVs, but not as quickly as China.

General Motors

The US has a lot of “catching up to do” when it comes to EV production, President Joe Biden told reporters during a tour of electric bus-maker Proterra’s facilities on Tuesday. Reuters reported on the president’s comments as he tours the country to promote his proposed American Jobs Plan infrastructure legislation, which has a $2.25 trillion price tag attached to it.

“We ought to be the single most significant suppliers of electric buses and vehicles in the world before it’s over,” Biden said. “Right now, we’re running way behind China.” The president continues to peg the entire infrastructure bill as a downpayment of sorts for the country as his administration works to pivot the country toward climate-neutral sectors while tying in job creation. The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.

Biden’s proposed legislation carves out $174 billion to boost American EV production and associated supply chains. The administration has also ordered a review of essential supply chains to make the country more competitive when it comes to material refinement for batteries and other essential EV components. The administration earmarked $100 billion in the bill for direct consumer rebates at the point of sale, which could slash thousands of dollars off the price of a new EV for car buyers.

China remains the largest auto market not only for new vehicles in general, but for what the country deems “new-energy vehicles,” or electric cars.

GM rolls out seamless EV charging across multiple networks

2022 Chevy Bolt EUV charging
Plugging in should be simple under Ultium Charge 360.


“Keep it simple” is the ethos behind General Motors’ Ultium Charge 360, a new charging ecosystem from the automaker that makes for seamless charging across numerous networks. The company said on Wednesday the platform supports seven of the major charging station networks in the US, including ChargePoint, EV Connect, EVgo and more.

Through an Ultium Charge 360 smartphone app, owners of future Chevy, Buick, GMC and Cadillac EVs will be able to locate a charging station on the network, unlock a plug and pay for a charging session. Today, there are 60,000 stations the network supports. However, GM and EVgo plan to add 2,700 DC fast-charging stations available in the US over the next five years, based on a previous collaborative effort announced last year. The first of many are now operational in Washington, California and Florida, with the first 500 set to come online by the end of this year.

GM plans to continue working with EV charging companies to further expand access and said additional updates will come in the future.

10 Most Popular Electric Cars

Most Popular Electric Cars

Tesla Model 3 and Model Y

Electric vehicles are on the precipice of gaining serious nationwide popularity. New EVs are arriving each year from just about every automaker — and good ones, too. The new generation of EVs is edging ever closer to 400 miles per charge. That’s impressive. And long-range capability may be the critical driver for mainstream Americans converting from gas to electric.

Today, EVs make up a small part of the new cars on the road — around 2%. Still, even 1% of the 15 million new cars and trucks sold each year is a lot of vehicles. And that figure is projected to proliferate. Some are projecting a bump to 2.5% by the end of 2021. Here are the 10 most popular EVs from last year.

10. Hyundai Ioniq EV

Total units sold: 1,536

The Ioniq is Hyundai’s Prius doppelganger. It’s offered as a traditional hybrid, a pure electric, or a plug-in hybrid. The electric, with a range of 170 miles, is on the low end for modern EVs. However, the Ioniq’s low price point help makes it a viable option. After the $7,500 tax credit, this is essentially a $25,000 car. The Ioniq isn’t a fancy machine. And it drives very much like an electric economy car and serves as a great commuter. This isn’t the vehicle for those looking for sporty EV performance. However, Hyundai is launching an all-new Ioniq 5 next year. It’s a stunning design that looks not unlike a hot hatchback rally car from the 1980s but packing close to 300 miles of electric range. Yes, please. See the Hyundai Ioniq EV models for sale near you

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9. BMW i3

8. Jaguar I-Pace

7. Hyundai Kona Electric

6. Porsche Taycan

5. Audi e-tron

4. Nissan Leaf

3. Chevrolet Bolt EV

2. Tesla Model S and X

1. Tesla Model 3 and Model Y

 or See the Tesla Model Y models for sale near you

10 Most Popular Electric Cars

  1. Tesla Model 3 and Model Y
  2. Tesla Model S and X
  3. Chevrolet Bolt EV
  4. Nissan Leaf
  5. Audi e-tron
  6. Porsche Taycan
  7. Hyundai Kona Electric
  8. Jaguar I-Pace
  9. BMW i3
  10. Hyundai Ioniq EV
Source : https://www.kbb.com/best-cars/most-popular-electric-cars/

General Motors has a solution for our crappy EV charging infrastructure

Ultium Charge 360 is the automaker’s response to the fractured nature of EV charging in the US


Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

General Motors announced a “holistic charging approach” to electric vehicle charging that it’s calling the Ultium Charge 360.

Much like Ford does with its FordPass network, the Ultium Charge 360 will integrate GM’s own vehicle apps and software with a variety of third-party charging services, such as Blink, ChargePoint, EVgo, Flo, Greenlots, and SemaConnect. The goal is to create a seamless experience in which an owner of a GM electric vehicle can drive up to a station, plug in, and start charging without having to juggle multiple apps or third-party memberships.

“There is a lot more to EV adoption than just buying the vehicle and just having a large connected network,” said Travis Hester, GM’s chief EV officer. “And our mission is to help every single person get over whatever anxiety they have, and help them into an EV in the most convenient way possible.”

Unlike Tesla or Volkswagen, GM does not own its own EV charging network. Owners of GM’s electric vehicles must instead rely on a patchwork of third-party chargers, each with their own software and membership requirements.

The challenge, though, will be to ensure that it all works as advertised. A lot will depend on the level of service provided by these various charging services, an aspect that GM will have little control over. EV charging in the US is a bit of a mess, with broken chargers, fraying cables, and unreliable maps. While GM can’t solve some of the more intractable problems, it says it’s doing what it can to make charging a little less of a headache.

A good comparison is to the FordPass network, which the automaker first introduced in 2019. The automaker claimed that Ford EV owners would have access to 12,000 public chargers. But the branding made it seem as if Ford were launching its own version of Tesla’s Supercharger network, when it was actually tapping existing stations from companies like Electrify America.

Speaking of which, Volkswagen’s subsidiary is noticeably absent from GM’s list of participating charging networks. The automaker said it was seeking to add additional charging providers into its Ultium network in the future.

GM wouldn’t say whether its forthcoming EVs would include Plug and Charge capabilities, a new technology standard that allows a much simpler way to charge your car. “We’re not announcing specifics on some of those features,” said Alex Keros, lead architect for EV infrastructure at GM, “but you could certainly imagine Plug and Charge really enabling that seamless experience.”

The company announced that it would collaborate with EVgo to create a constellation of 2,700 electric vehicle fast-charging stations in cities around the country. GM didn’t specify the size of its investment in the charging buildout, and the partnership won’t be exclusive, meaning GM’s vehicles won’t get special access to them. GM said it was making good progress on this partnership, with the first stations already up and running in Washington, California, and Florida.

GM, the largest automaker in North America, is in the midst of a historic rebranding as an electric vehicle company. It has committed to spending $27 billion on electric and autonomous vehicles through 2025 — up from the $20 billion it announced before the COVID-19 pandemic. GM has also said it will launch 30 new electric vehicles around the world by that date, more than two-thirds of which will be available in North America. And it has set a goal to phase out its gas-powered vehicles and be a completely carbon neutral company by 2040.

GM unveiled two new EVs in 2020: the Cadillac Lyriq SUV, expected to go into production in late 2022, and the GMC Hummer EV, slated for late 2021. This year, it has revealed more details about an electric Hummer SUV and two new versions of the Chevy Bolt. And GM has also said it would release an electric Chevy pickup truck with 400 miles of range.

Hester said the “major functions” of Ultium Charge 360 will be available by September 2021. He described the new features as “single click, one click to activate” an EV charger, as well as some “gamiefied activity” tied to a specific electric vehicle, adding, “I don’t want to spoil the vehicle news.”

Source : https://www.theverge.com/2021/4/28/22407789/gm-ev-charging-general-motors-ultium-charge-360

Tesla Model 3 New #1 In Hot European Market, & Plugin Vehicles Get 16% Market Share!

Ford Is Opening Two New Electric Vehicle Battery Manufacturing Facilities in Michigan

Following a $29 billion USD push into the EV market earlier this year.

Located in southeast Michigan, the new establishment will be home to 150 experts across the electric car industry, who will help the American automaker develop and produce battery packs for its own EV lineup. The team will be led by the company’s current director of electrified systems engineering, Anand Sankaran, and will focus on creating batteries that not only cost less but also offer greater efficiency and range.

“Investing in more battery R&D ultimately will help us speed the process to deliver more, even better, lower-cost EVs for customers over time,” said Ford’s chief product platform and operations officer Hau Thai-Tang. “We are modernizing Ford’s battery development and manufacturing capabilities so we can better control costs and production variables in-house and scale production around the world with speed and quality.”

On top of the Ford Ion Park, the auto giant will also be investing $185 million USD into a collaborative lab focusing on EV batteries as well. Spanning across 200,000 square feet, the new facility will play a big part in testing new manufacturing methods that can help Ford scale up its production.

Elsewhere in the automotive industry, Tesla has posted its 2021 first-quarter financial results.

Source: https://hypebeast.com/2021/4/ford-ion-park-electric-car-battery-facility-michigan-announcement