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Fisker unveils ‘world’s most sustainable vehicle’ as electric vehicle competition heats up

 

Fisker, founded and run by legendary automotive designer Henrik Fisker, unveiled the production version of its Ocean EV SUV.

Overall it’s a competitive package, penned by Henrik himself, and in top trim form the Ocean is targeting over 350 miles of range from an all-wheel drive, dual motor setup pumping out 540 horsepower.

While those are noteworthy figures, there are other EVs that can match these figures in that price range (around $65,000 for the higher end Ocean). The real twist here is the base Ocean, called the Ocean Sport, that will use a smaller range battery (targeting around 250 miles of range), and a single-motor front wheel drive, that will start — before any state and local incentives — at $37,499.

At that price level, no one so far, even Tesla, can match that price in the premium EV landscape. Yahoo Finance spoke to Henrik Fisker at the LA auto show about how the company plans to make this pricing work.

“We have a whole asset-light business model — it’s a little bit like Apple (AAPL), Foxconn, if you want — in terms of we concentrate on the product, the marketing, the design, the development, and then we outsource manufacturing,” Fisker said from the company’s imposing stand on the convention floor. “We don’t have to put thousands of dollars [in] each car because we have to keep the lights on in the factory, and pay real estate taxes and whatever it all is.”

Attendees view the Fisker Ocean electric vehicle after its unveiling during AutoMobility LA ahead of the Los Angeles Auto Show on November 17, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Patrick T. FALLON / AFP) (Photo by PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

Fisker is using large contract manufacturer Magna (MGA) to build its Ocean SUV. Magna makes cars and large components for clients like BMW (BMWYY), GM (GM), and even Ferrari (RACE).

In addition, one area that puts upward pressure on the price tags of EVs are batteries. Fisker is using CATL, the world’s largest battery manufacturer, to make a custom package for the Ocean, using cheaper LFP (lithium iron phosphate) battery cells for the Ocean Sport model, and more energy dense nickel manganese cobalt cells for the extended range Ocean trim levels.

Nissan Shows Future EV Concepts Including a Cute Pickup Truck

Ambitious electric-vehicle plans also call for solid-state batteries by 2028 and for EVs to make up 40 percent of U.S. sales by 2030.

nissan concept cars ev
NISSAN
  • Nissan has shared a comprehensive plan for future electric vehicles.
  • Four EV concept cars comprise a pickup truck, a convertible sports car, and two crossovers and preview future electric models.
  • Nissan also says it will be producing solid-state batteries by 2028, which will reduce cost dramatically.

Nissan is the latest automaker to share its far-reaching future plans for electric vehicles, and we’re excited to see four new concept cars that give a good idea of some of the 15 new EV models that will arrive by 2030. A small pickup truck called the Surf-Out concept is perhaps the most noteworthy of these, but a convertible sports car called the Max-Out also piqued our interest. A boxy crossover called the Hang-Out is also included, while another small SUV concept called the Chill-Out looks to be the closest to production.

VIEW PHOTOS

nissan concept cars ev

NISSAN SURF-OUT CONCEPT

 NISSAN

While it’s difficult to gauge the exact dimensions, the Surf-Out appears to be a small pickup truck that could slot into the lineup below the mid-size Frontier. It has a futuristic look with interesting lighting setups front and rear and a minimalist interior with a huge screen spanning the width of the dashboard. Nissan says it has some amount of off-road capability thanks to an e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive setup and it also features some sort of onboard generator.

nissan concept cars ev

NISSAN MAX-OUT CONCEPT

 NISSAN

This convertible is the sportiest of the four concepts, with a low-slung stance and an emphasis on performance. Nissan says that it is lightweight and has a low center of gravity. The two seats are configurable and can flatten into the floor to transform the interior space.

nissan concept cars ev

NISSAN HANG-OUT CONCEPT

 NISSAN

This boxy small SUV strikes us as a spiritual successor to the Nissan Cube. It has a low floor and a tall roof, making for a lounge-like, spacious interior. The four seats rotate and move around in several different configurations, including one that creates a movie-theater-like space that appears to use a projector and a giant screen at the rear of the cabin. Like the other concepts, it has an e-4ORCE all-wheel-drive setup and ProPilot driver-assitance technologies.

VIEW PHOTOS

nissan concept cars ev

NISSAN CHILL-OUT CONCEPT

 NISSAN

The least futuristic of the concepts, the Chill-Out appears to foretell a production model that isn’t too far down the road. It looks somewhat like the Ariya but slightly smaller, and Nissan says it rides on the company’s CMF-EV platform. We expect this to arrive sooner rather than later as a subcompact EV crossover slotting in below the Ariya in terms of size and price.

Look for more news to come from Nissan in the near future about these big plans for EV models. Other claims include a new battery plant set to open in the U.S. by fiscal year 2025 and for EVs to make up 40 percent of the company’s U.S. sales by fiscal year 2030.

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Source : https://www.caranddriver.com/news/a38374889/nissan-future-ev-models/

Tesla fans should reframe the issue of the $4,500 incentive for electric cars made by unions

The US Senate is now discussing the Build Back Better Act, which includes a much-needed reform of the federal EV incentive. Tesla fans are furious about the $4,500 additional incentive for electric cars made by unions.

They see it as one more attack by the Biden administration on Tesla, but they should reframe the issue to highlight the fundamental problem with the new policy.

 

Over the last year, Tesla fans have complained that the Biden administration has been unfairly treating Tesla.

It started when Tesla wasn’t invited to an EV announcement at the White House earlier this year.

But the true perceived slight was the new reform to the federal EV tax credit.

Tesla fans and the EV community in general have been calling for a reform for a long time since the incentive was poorly designed in the first place.

The limit of 200,000 US deliveries per manufacturer put companies who invested early in volume production of electric cars at a disadvantage.

Tesla and GM were the first to hit the limit, and now EV buyers don’t have access to the incentive when they buy their electric vehicles.

The main goal of reforming the program was to remove the limit, and that’s what they did in the Build Back Better Act.

The section about the federal EV incentive replaces the limit of deliveries per manufacturer with an industry-wide timeline of 10 years to take advantage of the incentive.

This is especially good for Tesla and GM electric vehicle buyers who regain access to the $7,500 tax credit. However, lawmakers made a few, more controversial changes in the version that has now passed the House.

The main change is that they are adding a $4,500 incentive for electric vehicles built at factories where workers are unionized, on top of the $7,500.

Here’s the exact language in the bill:

The amount credit allowed for a qualified vehicle is increased by $4,500 if the final assembly of the vehicle is at a facility in the United States which operates under a union-negotiated collective bargaining agreement.

Tesla fans have perceived this as another “attack” on the automaker by the administration since Tesla is currently the only automaker producing EVs in volume in the US at a non-unionized factory.

The bill is now being discussed in the Senate, and the additional incentive to unions is expected to be a controversial point that might change by the time the bill becomes law.

Reframing the problem

Tesla fans have been pushing back hard against the union clause in the bill, which they see as unfair.

I think they are right, but I think they should move away from focusing on it being a slight against Tesla by the Biden administration, and instead, focus on what makes it fundamentally wrong. The main problem is that the clause doesn’t really do what it aims to do.

In a speech about the reform, President Joe Biden said that the goal was to “grow auto jobs with good pay and benefits.”

By introducing the $4,500 extra incentive for EVs coming out of union factories, Biden assumes that it will incentivize the market to buy vehicles from automakers who have factories staffed with workers with “good pay and benefits.”

But that’s not the requirement in the legislation. Being unionized is the requirement, and that doesn’t necessarily accomplish that.

Here’s a simple hypothetical situation that shows how the incentive is flawed.

Let’s say you have automaker A making electric vehicles out of a unionized factory. The buyers of those electric vehicles have access to the $4,500 additional incentive as per the current version of the bill.

Now you have automaker B making electric vehicles out of a factory where workers are not unionized, but they have comparable pay and benefits to employees working in automaker A’s unionized factory.

Under the current version of the bill, automaker B achieves the actual goal of having auto jobs with good pay and benefits, but buyers of the vehicles made by those workers are being penalized simply because the workers didn’t achieve those conditions through a union.

Now let’s say that the workers at automaker B’s factory are presented with an opportunity to unionize, and because of their situation, they decide to vote against it since they are satisfied with their situation and they don’t want to pay union dues.

In this very plausible situation, which many of Tesla proponents argue is the automaker’s situation, the clause is actually failing to incentivize good-paying auto jobs and actually penalizes them.

What’s the solution?

Now, this is not an anti-union argument. Unions, if well-organized and led by honest people wanting to do good, can have a positive impact.

However, the way this legislation is worded fails to achieve what the Biden administration claims that they want to achieve.

That should be the focus of the opposition of the union clause, and not it being an attack on Tesla or anyone else.

Personally, I think the clause could be removed altogether since $7,500 is a big-enough incentive to accelerate EV adoption, especially if it becomes a point-of-sale incentive in 2023 as it is currently supposed to become.

But if you absolutely want an extra incentive for good-paying auto jobs with good benefits, you can make a clause that achieves just that.

You simply have to replace the language about the electric vehicles “being assembled at a factory operating under a union-negotiated collective bargaining agreement” with “being assembled at a factory where workers receive pay and benefits at or above the industry average.”

It would be up to the companies and workers to see if they can achieve that by themselves or with the help of a union.

Source : https://electrek.co/2021/11/29/tesla-fans-reframe-issue-4500-incentive-electric-cars-made-unions/

Nissan, Burned by Experience, Shuns Bold EV Forecasts

Car maker sees uncertainty in U.S. but more rapid shift to battery-powered vehicles in Europe, China

How the EV Industry Is Trying to Fix Its Charging Bottleneck

How the EV Industry Is Trying to Fix Its Charging Bottleneck

How the EV Industry Is Trying to Fix Its Charging Bottleneck
Electric-vehicle entrepreneurs are working on the industry’s biggest bottleneck: charging infrastructure. Companies are building more chargers, but it may not be enough to make EVs work for people who can’t plug in at home. Photo illustration: Carlos Waters/WSJ

TOKYO— Nissan Motor Co. was once the world’s loudest proponent of electric cars, but these days it is one of the more sober voices.

On Monday, the Japanese car maker said it would spend about $17.5 billion on 20 new battery-powered models, aiming to have half its sales come from electric cars or hybrids by 2030.

Toyota’s new electric SUV: Everything you need to know about the 2023 bZ4X

Including why its name is such a mouthful

The 2023 Toyota bZ4X

Toyota has recently unveiled its newest all-electric vehicle, and with it comes a broader preview of the automaker’s electrified future. The model making its introduction is the 2023 Toyota bZ4X, a 5-passenger compact SUV.

Details about the Toyota bZ4X have been trickling out for months, and the automaker recently introduced the Japanese-market version of this electric SUV. We’ve already written about that model, and much of its details carry over for the U.S. version, but not all. Now we can answer some questions, while others will have to wait until the vehicle gets closer to sale. Let’s begin with the basics.

What is the Toyota bZ4X?

Beyond just a mouthful of a name, the Toyota bZ4X is an all-electric SUV that is roughly the size of Toyota’s TM, -1.31% bestselling SUV, the compact RAV4. Oh, and about that name: The “bZ” stands for “beyond zero,” which points to Toyota’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050. The “bZ” moniker will also be used for future models, though we can’t promise it will get any easier to say.

Is this Toyota’s first electric vehicle?

Not technically. Toyota last made an electric SUV roughly a decade ago, in the RAV4 EV. (Fun fact: It was developed with Tesla! TSLA, +5.09% . Even before that, in 1997, it also made an electric version of the RAV4. But both of those were highly limited models. The 2023 bZ4X will be a far more advanced electric vehicle (EV) that aims for mainstream appeal.

The 2023 Toyota bZ4X

TOYOTA

When can I buy a 2023 Toyota bZ4X?

The bZ4X is slated to go on sale in mid-2022, but that’s the most detail Toyota is giving at the moment.

How much does the 2023 Toyota bZ4X cost?

It will be “competitive,” Toyota tells us. In other words, the automaker isn’t revealing its hand on pricing this far out in the game (they rarely do). But we expect the 2023 Toyota bZ4X to start in the low $40,000 range.

Will it be sold in all 50 states?

Yes.

Is the Toyota bZ4X the same as the Subaru Solterra?

Very similar yes, same no. Toyota and Subaru co-developed their two respective SUVs, which share many facets both in their futuristic appearances and what’s under the skin. One main difference we know is the Subaru Solterra will come with all-wheel drive (AWD) as standard, while the Toyota will be offered in both front-wheel drive or optional AWD.

What’s the range of the Toyota bZ4X?

Toyota says a front-drive bZ4X will have a range of up to 250 miles. An AWD version would likely be less. This estimated figure is about mid-pack for the current crop of EVs – not the best, and not the worst.

How long will the battery last in the Toyota bZ4X?

Now here’s a figure Toyota can be proud of. You know how batteries degrade over time, from those in your iPhone to those in electric cars? Well, Toyota says the one in the bZ4X will retain 90% capacity even after 10 years. Can you say the same about your iPhone?

Source : https://www.marketwatch.com/story/toyotas-new-electric-suv-everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-2023-bz4x-11637789137

The Simplified History Of The Electric Car

Faraday Future Hires Former EV1 Boss

Despite popular belief, the inception of the electric car dates back to the 19th century. In fact, EVs reached their prime at 33% of all vehicles on the road before World War I. However, after the mass adoption of the internal combustion engine car, gasoline-powered car sales spiked.

It then wasn’t until the 1990s when mass-produced EVs made a comeback. From there on out, electric cars began to materialize into what they’re known as today.

Late 1800’s and Early 1900s

In the late 1800s, electric car brands such as Baker Motor Vehicles and Detriot Electric were the leading players. In this timeframe, consumers found EVs as more compelling options to internal combustion vehicles in cities due to the lack of a noxious exhaust and a far easier driving experience. These early EVs used lead-acid batteries, and the majority of charging was done at home.

However, once gasoline-powered cars became more mainstream, specifically with Henry Ford’s first moving assembly line, gasoline cars could easily undercut the price of electric vehicles. For the next several decades, EVs were as obscure as the artist behind Somebody That I Used to Know.

Late 1900s

After nationwide gasoline shortages and the formation of then-governor Reagan’s California Air Resource Board (CARB), a spark for the redevelopment of electric cars ignited.

In the 1990s, GM released the well-known EV1 electric coupe as a lease-only option. Early EV1s used a 137 horsepower induction motor and an 18.7kWh lead-acid pack providing around eighty miles of range, according to the EPA. Eighty miles was decent, but lead-acid batteries come with significant drawbacks, specifically regarding their memory effect.

Citation IV Concept Inspires GM EV1- Video

Later models were produced with a 26.4kWh NiMH pack, delivering over 140 miles on a single charge. Even with the larger battery, the EV1 still weighed less than 3,000 lbs, giving it a higher power-to-weight ratio than a 2nd Generation Chevrolet Volt.

While the EV1 was the most prominent, other vehicles spawned due to increased pressure from CARB. Some interesting examples include the Ford Ranger EV, Toyota RAV4 EV, and the Nissan Altra, the first electric car to use a lithium-ion battery pack.

Ford Ranger EV (source: Wikipedia)

While many of these vehicles were revolutionary for their time, they were short-lived. After a judiciary rollback of CARB’s requirements, automakers decided to stop manufacturing their EVs due to significant costs in the manufacturing domain.

2000s and 2010s

When the legacy automakers relocated assets away from the EV phase, a small Silicon Valley startup was just getting started. In 2008, Tesla released the first 200+ mile EV called the “Roadster.” Tesla’s Roadster cost just under $100,000 and could accelerate to sixty in about four seconds. Unlike nearly every electric car prior, the Roadster was sporty, fast, and cool.

Next-Generation Tesla Roadster Coming In 4 Years

Two years later, Nissan began delivering the Nissan Leaf, another revolutionary electric car at the time. While the Leaf was not exactly as “cool” as a Tesla, it was an incredibly practical daily driver. It cost just over $25,000 with the federal tax credit and could travel 73 miles.

In December 2016, Chevrolet began deliveries of the Chevrolet Bolt EV, the first affordable long-range electric car. The Bolt EV only cost $30,000, including the federal tax credit, but, more importantly, it could go 238 miles on a single charge.

2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV black mountains

Source : https://insideevs.com/features/549726/electric-car-history/

Investors Are Charging Up Electric-Vehicle Stocks

Shares in Lucid Motors and Rivian are soaring. Can that last?

ImageLucid’s shares are soaring on booming investor interest in electric vehicles.
Credit…Caitlin O’Hara/Reuters

President Biden visited a General Motors factory in Detroit yesterday that will start producing electric cars next year. He gave a speech to highlight how his recently signed $1.1 trillion infrastructure bill will accelerate America’s transition to electric vehicles, or E.V.s.

The stocks of E.V. companies have already risen to shockingly high levels. And some have yet to make any cars, let alone profits. The push by policymakers to encourage E.V. sales has helped the sector, as has climate consciousness among some car buyers. But the mania also reflects the general bullishness that has swept up many assets, which can be hard to link to traditional financial fundamentals.

The run up in share prices illustrates investors’ enthusiasm, The Times’s Niraj Chokshi and Jack Ewing report. Take Lucid Motors, which started delivering sedans in a 520-car limited edition last month and plans to make 20,000 vehicles next year. Lucid’s shares, which have more than doubled in the past month, give the company a market value of nearly $90 billion, or $10 billion more than Ford, which sold nearly 4.2 million cars last year. Rivian, an electric pickup maker that has yet to start selling vehicles, went public last week and is now worth $127 billion, or more than G.M. And then there is Tesla, of course, worth over $1 trillion, or as much as nearly every major carmaker combined.

Image

Wall Street appears eager to go along for the ride. In a report to clients this week, Morgan Stanley’s lead auto analyst, Adam Jonas, said Lucid could be worth as much as $100 billion. Here’s what it would have to do to get there:

  • Sell 700,000 cars a year by 2030, or roughly as many as BMW and Mercedes sell each year in the U.S., combined.

  • Book an average profit of $80,000 a car, or about double what consumers currently pay for the average car in the U.S.

Jonas, for the record, said this wasn’t likely. “We believe the market is pricing in extraordinarily high probabilities of success,” he wrote, referring to Lucid’s valuation.

A

Dan Ives, a tech analyst at Wedbush Securities who follows the electric car industry, said Lucid could be worth as much as $150 billion. How does he get there?

  • Ives thinks $5 trillion is likely to be spent globally on E.V.s between now and 2030.

  • Tesla will get half of that, which leaves $2.5 trillion for Lucid, Rivian and every other carmaker.

  • Even if Lucid is able to capture 3 percent of the E.V. market, that would justify the current stock price — and then some.

Aswath Damodaran, a New York University professor who is considered an authority on valuing companies, isn’t so sure about all of this. “Let’s be quite honest,” Damodaran told DealBook. “Wall Street analysts are not valuing Rivian or Lucid. They are chasing the price, and finding ways to rationalize it.”

Image

Activision Blizzard’s C.E.O. faces more pressure. The head of Sony’s PlayStation group asked the video game developer to explain a Wall Street Journal article about how its chief, Bobby Kotick, reportedly downplayed sexual harassment and assault claims against employees. The company’s stock has fallen 9 percent since the report was published.

Alibaba misses expectations on the top and bottom line. The Chinese ecommerce giant reported a 38 percent drop in third-quarter profit and lower sales growth than analysts expected, as it faces a crackdown on tech companies by Beijing and a slowing economy. Its shares were down 4 percent in premarket trading.

Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2021/11/18/business/dealbook/lucid-rivian-electric-vehicles.html

Considering an electric car? The Build Back Better bill could save you thousand

Drivers across the U.S. have good reason to watch the negotiations over the Build Back Better Act, the latest version of which contains substantial tax breaks for owners of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The incentives go up as high as $12,500 and, perhaps equally important, could greatly simplify the process of getting an income tax credit for buying a car. The bill also would go a long way toward putting some electric vehicles on level ground with gas-powered cars on price. Experts say that could spur wider adoption of EVs — a key element of President Biden’s plan to decarbonize the transportation sector.

While Democratic lawmakers continue to negotiate the $1.75 trillion measure, here’s what the latest version of the bill would provide EV owners:

  • A credit of up to $7,500 for an electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle, defined as a car with a battery capacity of at least 40 kilowatt-hours and a gas tank, if any, under 2.5 gallons.
  • An additional $500 credit for a car with a battery pack made in the U.S.
  • An additional $4,500 credit for cars assembled at a unionized U.S. plant. (Currently only plants owned by GM, Ford and Stellantis qualify.)

Starting in 2027, only cars assembled in the U.S. that have. a battery of at least 50 kWH would qualify for the base $7,500 credit.

Notably, the credit can also be claimed by car dealers on taxpayers’ behalf, allowing car sellers to build the tax break into their sticker prices. And it’s refundable, meaning that taxpayers can qualify for it even if they have no tax liability — an improvement on current tax incentives for green cars. 

Tax credit for used cars and two-wheelers

The Build Back Better Act for the first time also would makes used cars eligible for a tax credit, with EV buyers netting up to $4,000 for buying a used electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle. (Either the buyer or the seller of the used car can apply for the credit.)

The bill also contains a credit for electric motorcycles or three-wheeled vehicles, up to $7,500 or half the machine’s price. There is also a credit for fuel-cell vehicles.

Price and income limits

To qualify for tax credits under the BBB, EVs need to fall under a price limit. Vans, sports utility vehicles or pickup trucks need to be under $80,000 to be eligible for the credit; for all other cars, the price limit is $55,000. That means luxury EVs like the Porsche Taycam or the forthcoming electric Hummer wouldn’t qualify for the credit.

conventional automobiles  — about $10,000 more, according to Kelley Blue Book data. Over a car’s lifetime, an EV owner would save $4,600 on maintenance costs and thousands more on fuel costs, a Consumer Reports analysis found.

Still, the upfront costs are a big hurdle for many car buyers, who cite price as their main consideration. Buyers become more likely to consider EVs when their cost falls, according to the analysis.

 

Source : https://www.cbsnews.com/news/build-back-better-bill-electric-car-tax-breaks/

Here’s where Tesla and other EVs ranked in this year’s Consumer Reports reliability survey

  • Electric vehicles made their largest showing ever this year in the Consumer Reports Auto Reliability Report.
  • Complex bells and whistles hurt the reliability ratings of some electric vehicles.
  • Tesla came in second to last overall, with the Model S, X and Y all reporting problems, but Consumer Reports put the Model 3 in the middle of the pack and still recommends it.
A Tesla Model X at a charging station in Beijing, China.
A Tesla Model X at a charging station in Beijing, China.
Meghan Reeder | CNBC

Lexus was rated the most reliable automaker in Consumer Reports’ 2021 Auto Reliability Report, followed by Mazda and Toyota, while Jeep, Tesla and Lincoln were at the bottom of the list.

The report, which was released Thursday, focuses on what went wrong with owners’ cars in the last 12 months, and uses that data to predict how reliable the forthcoming models from major automakers will be.

Consumer Reports surveyed owners of more than 300,000 vehicles from model years 2000 to 2021, and used that data to make predictions about 269 different 2022 model year vehicles. The report encompasses 28 automakers and 144 models with an established history.

Battery-powered electric vehicles comprised a bigger segment of the list this year than ever before, and their reliability ratings varied widely, while gas-electric hybrids were among the most reliable vehicles overall.

VIDEO03:55
Toyota North America executive on the company’s new electric vehicle game plan

Consumer Reports rated 11 fully electric models from eight brands, including five fully electric SUVs, according to Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports.

“The whole market is going towards a full EV fleet. We’re very interested to see what this means in terms of reliability,” Fisher said.

Overall, Toyota’s luxury Lexus brand reclaimed its top spot in the reliability survey after Mazda overtook it a year ago, marking the first time in 15 years that a Toyota brand had not been No. 1.

Mazda ranked second in this year’s survey, followed by the main Toyota brand.

Domestic brands such as Chrysler, Chevrolet and Ford had average reliability, while others such as Ram, GMC and Jeep were below average. Ford’s luxury Lincoln brand ranked last at 28th, behind Tesla.

Going electric

Reliability ratings for EVs varied widely.

The Tesla Model X and Audi E-tron ranked dead last in this segment for reliability, while the Kia Niro EV ranked “well above average reliability.” The Nissan Leaf and newer Ford Mustang Mach-E scored “above average reliability.”

VIDEO15:25
Why Ford is risking the Mustang to take on Tesla

High-end electric SUVs were among the least reliable vehicles in the survey overall.

“There’s no reason fully electric cars can’t be as reliable or even more reliable than traditional vehicles with internal combustion engines,” Fisher said. “It’s how they implement the technology.”

Electric drivetrains weren’t the problem. Instead, Fisher blamed unnecessary high-tech bells and whistles.

“For EV introductions, there is a tendency to just add so much tech that is not necessary,” Fisher said.

The reliability rankings stand in stark contrast with Consumer Reports’ satisfaction survey, where Tesla topped the 2020 list, followed by Lincoln. Tesla’s success with customers has put pressure on other automakers to surprise and delight consumers with features from the entertaining to the serious, Fisher suggested. Elon Musk’s electric car company pioneered over-the-air software updates that can give owners’ cars new navigation features such as “waypoints” or deliver a recall fix without a dealership visit.

But introducing more software, hardware and features adds complexity, and that can hurt reliability, Fisher said.

Tesla

Tesla’s low standing primarily stemmed from issues with the company’s Model S, X and Y vehicles from 2019 through 2021 model years. The Tesla Model 3, which Consumer Reports continues to recommend, showed average reliability.

Commonly reported issues from Model Y owners included defective sensors that had to be replaced, problems with heat pumps, air conditioning, body panels that didn’t line up and water leaks in the trunk due to missing seals, according to Fisher. Owners also reported a variety of electrical and hardware issues with the higher-priced, and less-popular, Model S sedan and Model X falcon-wing SUV.

VIDEO01:13
Tesla provides refunds to some Model S and Model X owners over touchscreen

Older models typically fare better in reliability, as companies tend to make tweaks and redesigns to solve known problems, while sticking with the same parts and suppliers.

But Tesla deviates from this approach, Fisher explained. “At almost random times during the year Tesla will switch major components, suppliers or sensors and other units. The more you change, the greater the chances you’re going to have some problems.”

While electric vehicles showed middling reliability, hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, which blend electric vehicle components and traditional internal combustion engines, were among the most reliable models.

“What stood out is that the most reliable was actually compact hybrids and plug-in hybrids,” Fisher said. “This may be counterintuitive. They are probably the most complex when it comes to the powertrain.”

Popular hybrids such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight have been on the market for several years and manufacturers have identified and solved previous reliability issues.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/18/consumer-reports-2021-auto-reliability-survey-how-tesla-evs-fared.html

Apple reportedly wants to launch a self-driving EV in 2025 with a custom chip

Apple has completed “much of the core work” on a new processor meant to power its secretive autonomous electric car project known as Titan, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reports. The milestone comes as Apple is reportedly now accelerating its timeline for the autonomous car it’s developing, with a new target of launching it in just four years.

Apple’s own silicon team designed the chip, which Gurman says is the “most advanced component” that’s been developed for the project so far. The company is apparently getting ready to put the chip through its real-world paces in its fleet of test vehicles in California and hopes to make a vehicle with “stronger safeguards than what’s available from Tesla and Waymo,” according to the report.

The goal now for Project Titan, after multiple pivots, is to create an autonomous car that does not have a steering wheel. The interior would be spacious and look more like the limousine-style seating arrangement that EV startup Canoo has promoted in its electric van prototypes. Apple was at one point in talks to acquire Canoo, as The Verge reported earlier this year, and recently hired one of the startup’s co-founders. There would be a large, iPad-style touchscreen display that will run a user interface similar to iOS.

The business model is reportedly still undecided, though. Apple has considered trying to create a self-driving fleet to compete with Uber, Lyft, and Waymo (something Tesla has proposed but is still very far from executing), but Gurman reports that the “more likely scenario” is that Apple will sell the cars to individuals.

On the electric vehicle side of things, Apple is reportedly not looking to develop a proprietary charging cable for the car. Instead, it wants to make the vehicle compatible with the “combined charging system,” or CCS standard, which would make it possible to charge the vehicle at most public fast charging stations.

Of course, all of this comes after years of reported changes to the project, which was started in 2014. Five different executives have run Project Titan after Apple Watch lead Kevin Lynch took over earlier this year. The refocusing and timeline shift reported by Bloomberg could be a sign that there’s real progress being made with him at the helm, or it could just become the newest footnote in whatever the project turns into next.

Source : https://www.theverge.com/2021/11/18/22789615/apple-self-driving-car-project-titan-custom-processor-ev