The Truth About Cars » Electric Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 29 Jan 2015 01:57:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Electric Vehicles http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/electric-vehicles-2/ Nissan Looking Beyond Federal Credits For Leaf http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nissan-looking-beyond-federal-credits-leaf/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/nissan-looking-beyond-federal-credits-leaf/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 14:00:25 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989562 Though Nissan has sold over 77,000 Leafs since 2010, the automaker has plans for when the federal credits end with the 200,000th unit of the popular EV. According to Ward’s Auto, Nissan North America product planning chief Pierre Loing says the automaker is looking to negotiate increasing the limit, proclaiming that the current 200,000-unit limit […]

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Though Nissan has sold over 77,000 Leafs since 2010, the automaker has plans for when the federal credits end with the 200,000th unit of the popular EV.

According to Ward’s Auto, Nissan North America product planning chief Pierre Loing says the automaker is looking to negotiate increasing the limit, proclaiming that the current 200,000-unit limit harms EV adoption:

Being the first ones on the market, we should be among the first ones to reach 200,000, and you penalize those who’ve tried to be first?

That said, even when the $7,500 credit goes away, Nissan has plans to make the Leaf more attractive, from increasing the range to reducing the cost of the EV’s lithium-ion battery pack. Loing admits that the latter’s cost issue hasn’t improved quickly enough, and worries that falling oil prices aren’t going to help much either.

He was pleased with how well the Leaf fared in 2014, however; 30,200 units left U.S. showrooms that year, an all-time record for Nissan.

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Carter To Musk: Hydrogen Just One Basket For Toyota’s Eggs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/carter-musk-hydrogen-just-one-basket-toyotas-eggs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/carter-musk-hydrogen-just-one-basket-toyotas-eggs/#comments Wed, 28 Jan 2015 13:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=989546 Remember when Tesla CEO Elon Musk declared that Toyota was a fool to invest in hydrogen? Twice? Toyota had a few words to say in return last week. Ecomento reports Toyota Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations Bob Carter took Musk to task regarding comments made during the latter’s annual Tesla shareholders meeting last June, […]

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2016 Toyota Mirai

Remember when Tesla CEO Elon Musk declared that Toyota was a fool to invest in hydrogen? Twice? Toyota had a few words to say in return last week.

Ecomento reports Toyota Senior Vice President of Automotive Operations Bob Carter took Musk to task regarding comments made during the latter’s annual Tesla shareholders meeting last June, as well as those made earlier this month at the Automotive News World Congress, when Musk suggested methane or propane as a better energy storage mechanism while declaring hydrogen “an incredibly dumb one to pick”:

I’m a little disappointed in Mr. Musk’s comments in Detroit last week. But I understand. If I was in a position that I had all of my eggs in one basket I would perhaps be making those same comments. When you take a look at the future, [FCVs are] not a 24- to 36-month play. When you start looking in the 2020s, anybody that would deny [the potential of] moving from an oil-based economy to a hydrogen-based economy [isn’t] looking at the future correctly.

Carter’s response, made last week during the J.D. Power Automotive Summit in San Francisco, come on the heels of Toyota’s unexpected response to its Mirai FCV. Though not due in U.S. showrooms until later this year, the automaker received over 16,000 requests for information on the car. Meanwhile, the FCV has 1,500 confirmed pre-orders in its home market of Japan, with Toyota likely to boost production as interest in the Mirai grows.

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Carlypso: PHEVs To Reach 1 Percent Market Share In Q1 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/carlypso-phevs-reach-1-percent-market-share-q1-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/carlypso-phevs-reach-1-percent-market-share-q1-2015/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988434 By the end of Q1 2015, PHEVs are expected to take 1 percent of the overall U.S. domestic market despite fuel prices continuing their downward spiral. Online used-car resell agent Carlypso reports that while just over 50 percent of U.S. new-car sales are focused on light-duty pickups, falling fuel prices haven’t done much to boost […]

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By the end of Q1 2015, PHEVs are expected to take 1 percent of the overall U.S. domestic market despite fuel prices continuing their downward spiral.

Online used-car resell agent Carlypso reports that while just over 50 percent of U.S. new-car sales are focused on light-duty pickups, falling fuel prices haven’t done much to boost sales during the January 2013 – December 2014 period from whence the report collected its data, based on a sample of 16.3 million units.

The report also looked at over 28 million car sales in the same period, finding that PHEVs and EVs like the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3 made up 217,217 — or 0.86 percent — of said sales. In December 2014 alone, the Leaf, Volt, i3 and Tesla Model S collectively made up over 70 percent of U.S. PHEV/EV sales, despite the average price at the pump hitting $2.43/gallon that month; the current average is $2.05/gallon, down $1.23 from a year ago.

Carlypso co-founder Nicholas Hinrichsen says the findings show that consumers aren’t changing their behavior with the pump, opting to buy whatever they want as far as features and branding are concerned. He added that a vehicle’s value and demand isn’t going to change with the oil market either, advising consumers to let investors worry about how much West Texas Intermediate will go for per barrel.

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BMW, Volkswagen Team With ChargePoint For Bi-Coastal Network http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/bmw-volkswagen-team-chargepoint-bi-coastal-network/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/bmw-volkswagen-team-chargepoint-bi-coastal-network/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987810 More charging stations are on the way for EV owners, thanks to a new partnership between BMW, Volkswagen and ChargePoint. The first phase of the partnership will be 100 DC fast chargers running north to south between Portland and San Diego on the West Coast, Boston and the District of Columbia on the East Coast. […]

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BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf DC Charging

More charging stations are on the way for EV owners, thanks to a new partnership between BMW, Volkswagen and ChargePoint.

The first phase of the partnership will be 100 DC fast chargers running north to south between Portland and San Diego on the West Coast, Boston and the District of Columbia on the East Coast. Each station will have up to two 50 kW DC Fast or 24 kW DC Combo Fast chargers for most EVs like the BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf, as well as Level 2 chargers for all EVs. Access to each location is granted by a ChargePoint or ChargeNow membership card.

The new stations will be in metro and intercity locations — such as restaurants, malls and rest stops — spaced up to 50 miles apart for long-distance travel, joining a network of over 20,000 ChargePoint stations throughout the United States. The first location is online now in San Diego County, Calif., with the other 99 expected by the end of 2015.

Express Charging.Infographic.300dpi

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Redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot Arriving In US Showrooms After HR-V http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/redesigned-2016-honda-pilot-arriving-us-showrooms-hr-v/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/redesigned-2016-honda-pilot-arriving-us-showrooms-hr-v/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 13:00:06 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=986690 Soon after the 2016 Honda HR-V hits the showroom this spring, the redesigned 2016 Pilot will follow. Edmunds reports the new SUV “will redefine what is possible with an eight-passenger midsize SUV,” according to Honda’s U.S. automotive division vice president John Mendel. Power will likely remain the 3.5-liter V6 found in the current Pilot. Competitors […]

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Soon after the 2016 Honda HR-V hits the showroom this spring, the redesigned 2016 Pilot will follow.

Edmunds reports the new SUV “will redefine what is possible with an eight-passenger midsize SUV,” according to Honda’s U.S. automotive division vice president John Mendel. Power will likely remain the 3.5-liter V6 found in the current Pilot. Competitors include the Ford Explorer and Toyota 4Runner.

Further down the road, Mendel says “a completely reengineered” Ridgeline will turn up, either as a 2016 or 2017 model. The Ridgeline will be doing battle against the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins, as well as the Nissan Frontier and Toyota Tacoma.

Finally, Honda will have a turbocharged model by the end of 2015 that has one of the automaker’s forthcoming new VTEC turbo-four family of engines under the hood, while the FCV Concept’s production-ready version will hit U.S. showrooms next year, followed by a PHEV and EV by 2018.

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Geneva 2015: Next-Gen Audi R8, R8 E-Tron Bowing In March http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/geneva-2015-next-gen-audi-r8-r8-e-tron-bowing-march/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/geneva-2015-next-gen-audi-r8-r8-e-tron-bowing-march/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 15:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985506 Audi announced Monday it would be bringing its next-gen R8 to the 2015 Geneva Auto Show in March, with two versions set for the ramp. CarAdvice.com.au reports one of the versions bowing in Geneva will be an all-electric model promising future owners a range of around 250-310 miles per charge. The range figure is the […]

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Audi announced Monday it would be bringing its next-gen R8 to the 2015 Geneva Auto Show in March, with two versions set for the ramp.

CarAdvice.com.au reports one of the versions bowing in Geneva will be an all-electric model promising future owners a range of around 250-310 miles per charge. The range figure is the result of Audi tech development board member Ulrich Hackenberg pulling the plug on the previous R8 e-tron project due to its low 136-mile range:

First I did agree to stop such a project. The project had to be re-engineered because the range was 220km – it was not enough. So what I made with the team was to continue to work on this, and we could realise between 400 and 500 [kilometres battery range]. Or something beyond 400km.

The revised R8 e-tron will be joined by a gasoline-powered version that will lose its manual transmissions entirely, going all in on dual-clutch automatics instead. Hackenberg says that such gearboxes are best “for the record of [one’s] personal lap time” over rowing one’s own.

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Repair Estimates For Tesla Model S Higher At Certified Shops http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/repair-estimates-tesla-model-s-higher-certified-shops/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/repair-estimates-tesla-model-s-higher-certified-shops/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985162 No matter how minor or major an accident, Tesla Model S owners and their insurers will feel the financial pain from Tesla’s certified shops. According to Green Car Reports, the EV’s nearly all-aluminum frame and body panels make repair work on even a minor fender-bender difficult, though that is only half of the story. Reported […]

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Black Tesla Model S

No matter how minor or major an accident, Tesla Model S owners and their insurers will feel the financial pain from Tesla’s certified shops.

According to Green Car Reports, the EV’s nearly all-aluminum frame and body panels make repair work on even a minor fender-bender difficult, though that is only half of the story. Reported estimates from Tesla’s certified shops include:

  • $10,000 to repair a “minor but long” scratch
  • $45,000 for “minor front-end damage”
  • $7,000 for repair of a small dent and scratch that required no replacement of parts
  • $30,000 for “minor fender and door damage”
  • $11,000 for a minor scrape on the rear panel, including a $155 charge to “ensure battery remains charged” during the repair

As aluminum “has no memory,” per Peotter’s Body Shop owner Larry Peotter, repairing a Model S is much harder than a vehicle with steel components. Rivets and bonding agents made specifically for use with the metal also add to both time and labor. Authorized shops also pass the costs associated with Tesla’s repair training program — with equipment and tools worth $100,000 alone — to their customers, though Peotter didn’t say by how much.

Though insurance pays for these costs, Model S owners — especially those who never owned a premium vehicle before — are still finding these prices hard to swallow. Some owners have gone as far as to take their vehicle to non-Tesla certified shops experienced with aluminum, coming away with estimates some two-thirds less than what they were charged at Tesla-approved businesses. On the other hand, Tesla won’t sell parts to any shop other than those it trained.

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Lower Fuel Prices Mean More Savings On Green Vehicle Purchases http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/lower-fuel-prices-mean-savings-green-vehicle-purchases/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/lower-fuel-prices-mean-savings-green-vehicle-purchases/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 12:00:46 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=985106 Just like when high fuel prices knocked down the sale price of many a truck and SUV, the current drop in price at the pump is pulling down the prices for many a hybrid, PHEV and EV. Per TrueCar, the No. 1 green vehicle in January to leave more money in its buyer’s wallet is […]

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Just like when high fuel prices knocked down the sale price of many a truck and SUV, the current drop in price at the pump is pulling down the prices for many a hybrid, PHEV and EV.

Per TrueCar, the No. 1 green vehicle in January to leave more money in its buyer’s wallet is the Ford Focus Electric, which is leaving the lot with 16 percent off of its $29,995 MSRP. The market average for the EV comes out to $25,168.

Taking silver and bronze on the podium are the Ram 1500 Tradesman 4×2 with regular cab and standard bed, and the Toyota Venza XLE, coming with an average of around 11 percent savings off MSRP. Both vehicles are the only ones in the top five that aren’t green vehicles, though the 1500 can be had in EcoDiesel and EcoDiesel HFE trims.

Rounding out the quintet are the Kia Optima Hybrid and Toyota Prius Two, both saving their fans around 10 percent off MSRP for a total of $29,411 and $22,498, respectively.

President John Krafcik said that with automakers “heavily discounting their most fuel-efficient cars to clear inventories,” as well as the majority of consumers becoming more focused on the fuel pump over fuel economy, now is the time to buy a hybrid or EV. He added that “when the pendulum swings the other way,” such vehicles would become more attractive, with pricing to match.

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Webster: Smart Fortwo Electric Drive Arriving ‘A Year After’ ICE Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/webster-smart-fortwo-electric-drive-arriving-year-ice-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/webster-smart-fortwo-electric-drive-arriving-year-ice-model/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 12:00:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=984241 Though the new Smart Fortwo is coming to showrooms in the United States later this year, the Electric Drive model won’t be available just yet. Autoblog reports that the redesigned EV won’t hit U.S. showrooms for “approximately a year after” the ICE variant arrives, per Smart USA general manager Mark Webster, with the date of […]

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Though the new Smart Fortwo is coming to showrooms in the United States later this year, the Electric Drive model won’t be available just yet.

Autoblog reports that the redesigned EV won’t hit U.S. showrooms for “approximately a year after” the ICE variant arrives, per Smart USA general manager Mark Webster, with the date of arrival set for between late 2016 and early 2017. No explanation for the delay was given when interviewed by AutoblogGreen.

Until then, Smart plans to sell the previous generation Fortwo EV alongside the new ICE model. Webster stated that the brand moved over 2,000 units of the Fortwo ED in 2014, 921 in 2013. He added that parent company Daimler AG was “very committed” to electrification, explaining without going into specifics that other EVs were in the works.

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Tesla Share Price Plummets After Musk’s NAIAS 2015 Visit http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/tesla-share-price-plummets-musks-naias-2015-visit/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/tesla-share-price-plummets-musks-naias-2015-visit/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 11:00:44 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=984225 Tesla shareholders felt lighter Wednesday after the automaker’s stock price fell from just over $200/share to $186.09/share after CEO Elon Musk’s announcement at the 2015 Automotive News World Congress in Detroit — held during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show — that his company wouldn’t be profitable until the start of the 2020s. Business Insider adds […]

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Elon Musk

Tesla shareholders felt lighter Wednesday after the automaker’s stock price fell from just over $200/share to $186.09/share after CEO Elon Musk’s announcement at the 2015 Automotive News World Congress in Detroit — held during the 2015 Detroit Auto Show — that his company wouldn’t be profitable until the start of the 2020s.

Business Insider adds that another bombshell dropped at the start of his presentation likely helped to take the wind out of the sails: sales of the automaker’s Model S in China were down in Q4 2014. Musk put the blame on perception among Chinese consumers regarding the charging infrastructure for Tesla’s sole model, explaining that not only had the issue been handled, but that the Supercharger network was expanding; the rate of said expansion, however, is slower than that of Europe or the United States.

Further into the presentation, Musk proclaimed that Tesla would sell “a few million” vehicles by 2025 by going for volume over being a niche luxury player, likely built on the back of the upcoming Model 3. Meanwhile, the Model X due sometime this year is already sold out for the entire year despite the company’s best efforts to manage demand, such as steering would-be X owners into the driver’s seat of the S.

Finally, Musk urged the majors in the audience to continue their investments into electrification, stating that they all need to do more to change the public’s perceptions on EVs and hybrids.

Since the plunge, Tesla shares have recovered some of their lost value, closing $191.87/share Thursday afternoon.

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NAIAS 2015: Chevrolet Bolt EV Debuts http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-chevrolet-bolt-ev-debuts/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/naias-2015-chevrolet-bolt-ev-debuts/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 15:00:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=977977 For those saddened that the second-gen Chevrolet Volt looks more like a regular car than it did in its first incarnation, the Bolt EV is the next best thing in quirky green vehicle looks [Live photos now available – CA]. The $30,000 EV crossover concept boasts a range of 200 miles, though no specific powertrain […]

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For those saddened that the second-gen Chevrolet Volt looks more like a regular car than it did in its first incarnation, the Bolt EV is the next best thing in quirky green vehicle looks [Live photos now available – CA].

The $30,000 EV crossover concept boasts a range of 200 miles, though no specific powertrain was mentioned during the unveiling. DC fast-charging is supported.

Meanwhile, drivers can select from a range of modes based on their situation, whether its the long slog to the office park, or a weekend on the backroads. The modes adjust ride height, accelerator pedal mapping and suspension.

The design itself eliminates front and rear overhangs, which in turn makes for a spacious environment inside. Aluminum, magnesium, carbon fiber and woven mesh knock the Bolt EV’s weight down to ensure its 200-mile range is achievable, with aero aids also contributing to the concept’s range.

The Bolt EV also has a smartphone app, dubbed Bolt EV Connect. Functions include the use of your smartphone as a key fob, ride-sharing management, and automatic park-and-retrieval, which allows the Bolt EV to park itself, then return to the driver autonomously.

Date of arrival for a production version of the Bolt EV may be as early as 2017, a year after the similarly priced Tesla Model 3 is expected to hit showrooms.

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Detroit Electric Reveals Production Exterior, Interior & Signs Asia Distributor http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/detroit-electric-reveals-production-exterior-interior-signs-asia-distributor/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/detroit-electric-reveals-production-exterior-interior-signs-asia-distributor/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 20:26:13 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=972394 Detroit Electric, the startup company that hopes to revive the early motoring age’s most successful brand of electric cars, has revealed the final design details and specifications of its Lotus based SP:01 battery powered sports car, which it says will start production in the UK early this year. Preproduction prototypes are being tested at the […]

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Detroit Electric SP01 exterior

Detroit Electric, the startup company that hopes to revive the early motoring age’s most successful brand of electric cars, has revealed the final design details and specifications of its Lotus based SP:01 battery powered sports car, which it says will start production in the UK early this year. Preproduction prototypes are being tested at the Leamington Spa assembly facility. Detroit Electric also announced the appointment of its first distributor in Asia.

The company claims that the carbon fiber bodied 210 KW (285 HP) SP:01 will be “the world’s fastest pure-electric production two-seater sports car”. Since the Tesla Roadster is no longer in production I’m not sure that Detroit Electric even has a competitor for that fictional title belt. Either way, the company is claiming performance stats of 0-60 MPH in 3.7 seconds and a top speed of 155 MPH.

Three transmission choices will be offered, a manual gearbox and two automatics, one with two ratios and one with just a single speed. I’m interested to see why they describe that single ratio transmission as an “automatic”, since an electric motor theoretically doesn’t need a clutch or a torque converter as it doesn’t spin at idle.

Detroit Electric SP01 on the road

Exterior changes made since the second prototype was shown at the Shanghai Motor Show in 2013 are said to be for aerodynamic reasons and include a new rear profile with a fastback roof line and rear window that replace the flying buttresses of the first two prototypes. A new rear wing on top as well as a functional diffuser underneath the rear end that are intended to reduce lift at speed. Paint options and carbon fiber accessory parts were also announced as was a custom paint program for folks who insist on lime green cars. Customers will also have the choice of three different wheel designs, original to Detroit Electric.

Detroit Electric SP01 interior - Left hand drive

The centerpiece of the new interior design is an 8.4 inch touch screen in the console that the company says replaces all analog dials and switches on the instrument panel (though the photos seem to indicate conventional speedometer and tachometer dials in the binnacle in front of the driver). Infotainment, HVAC controls, battery status indicators, and V2X (Vehicle-to-Grid and Vehicle-to-Home) communication will be handled by Detroit Electric’s Android based SAMI (Smartphone Application Managed Infotainment) app. By using an open source platform, the company hopes that third party application developers will create new features for the SP:01. Interior color options were also announced, including the choice of leather or Alcantara upholstery. Based on the publicity photos, the SP:01’s cabin will be much less spartan than that of the Lotus cars on which it is based.

Detroit Electric SP01 interior - Right hand drive

On the business side of things, Integrated Energy, a Korean firm, has been announced as Detroit Electric’s first importer/distributor in Asia. Detroit Electric’s first Asian showroom will open in Seoul, South Korea, also in early 2015. Integrated Energy will also be be working on developing Detroit Electric’s V2X technology at a test site on Korea’s Jeju Island, using a fleet supplied by the startup automaker.

Detroit Electric is still run from their offices in Detroit’s Fisher Building and they say they still hope to one day assemble Detroit Electrics in the cars’ namesake region, but in the meantime they say they are completing the new, dedicated assembly facility in the UK as well as a new European headquarters in Houten, Netherlands that will hand sales, marketing and customer service in the EMEA region.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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Connected-Vehicle Tech Takes Center Stage At 2015 CES http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/connected-vehicle-tech-takes-center-stage-2015-ces/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/connected-vehicle-tech-takes-center-stage-2015-ces/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 15:00:16 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=972098 You’ve seen the 2016 Chevrolet Volt at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show; now see what else automotive-related is debuting at the annual tech show in Las Vegas. Whether you have an iPhone 6 Plus or a Nexus 6, Volkswagen has you covered for connectivity. According to AutoGuide, the automaker unveiled its new App-Connect system at […]

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MirrorLink VW CES

You’ve seen the 2016 Chevrolet Volt at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show; now see what else automotive-related is debuting at the annual tech show in Las Vegas.

Whether you have an iPhone 6 Plus or a Nexus 6, Volkswagen has you covered for connectivity. According to AutoGuide, the automaker unveiled its new App-Connect system at CES 2015 with a demo in its e-Golf. The system also works with MirrorLink, found on smartphones like the HTC One, Samsung Galaxy Note, and Sony Xperia Z. Other demos involving the EV itself included its Intelligent Charge wireless charging system, and the Perfect Parking autonomous parking feature.

Sticking with VW, future BlackBerry spinoff QNX announced it would partner up with the brand in providing its technology for new 2015 models, including the Touareg, Passat and Golf. The system supports 3D Google Earth and Google Street View, and offers real-time traffic information, reverse camera display, and four-zone climate controls among its array of features. QNX is also in use by parent company Volkswagen AG’s Audi and Porsche brands.

QNX also unveiled its latest concept car at CES 2015. Based upon the Maserati Quattroporte GTS, the Snapdragon 602A-powered QNX Quattroporte Technology Concept Car introduces the company’s take on autonomous driving. The concept uses ultrasonic radar, LIDAR and cameras to navigate and anticipate obstacles, as well as provide warning to those inside via its high-res touchscreen display from the CLA 45 AMG QNX Concept. QNX also brought an updated version of its Jeep Wrangler Technology Concept Car to demo the company’s technologies via a virtualized driving environment.

Those of you dealing with “the second coming of the polar vortex” might be happy to know that one day, you’ll be able to start your car via smartphone. Valeo’s InBlue technology uses Bluetooth to not only accomplish said task, but to also unlock doors, allow for secure vehicle sharing, and access vitals like fuel level and where your car is among the many silver-backed crossovers in the mall parking lot. InBlue is also compatible with smartwatches, and could hit the market as early as 2016.

Finally, 100 select BMW i3 owners in northern California will take part in a pilot program by Pacific Gas & Electric Company and BMW to study electric-vehicle charging time management, with the aim of improving the grid and reducing total cost of ownership of EVs. The target is to give PG&E 100 kilowatts of capacity at any time, even while groups of EVs recharge their batteries; BMW will determine when an i3 is charged, though owners can override via the i3’s smartphone app upon notification. Each participant will be paid a $1,000 incentive for their time.

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Hybrids Down, PHEVs, EVs Up In US Sales Amid Falling Fuel Prices http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/hybrids-phevs-evs-us-sales-amid-falling-fuel-prices/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/hybrids-phevs-evs-us-sales-amid-falling-fuel-prices/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 13:00:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=971249 With fuel prices continuing their downward spiral, one would think EVs and hybrids would become the new Hummers and Escalades to be left to rust in the backlot of the dealership. Not quite. Detroit Free Press reports standard hybrids saw the biggest drop in sales through November 2014, from 459,375 in 2013, to 418,850. PHEVs […]

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BMW i8

With fuel prices continuing their downward spiral, one would think EVs and hybrids would become the new Hummers and Escalades to be left to rust in the backlot of the dealership. Not quite.

Detroit Free Press reports standard hybrids saw the biggest drop in sales through November 2014, from 459,375 in 2013, to 418,850. PHEVs and EVs like the BMW i8 and Nissan Leaf fared better in comparison: PHEVs rose from 43,988 to 51,490 year-over-year, and EVs jumped from 42,924 to 55,906 in the same period.

Meanwhile, SUV and trucks dominated the scene, whose rise was fueled by the improving economy and new housing starts, with lower fuel prices certainly helping matters. Sales of the former parties took 52 percent of the overall United States domestic market through November, compared 48 percent for passenger cars.

Finally, fuel economy numbers fell from a high of 25.8 mpg in August, to 25.3 mpg months later. As long as fuel prices remain on their downward trajectory, automakers may find it hard to meet the federal government’s tightening fuel standards, which are set for a fleet average of 34.1 mpg by 2016, and 54.5 mpg by 2025. The law mandating the standard is set to undergo a mid-term review in 2017.

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New Tesla Roadster Upgrade Promises 400-Mile Range http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/new-tesla-roadster-upgrade-promises-400-mile-range/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/new-tesla-roadster-upgrade-promises-400-mile-range/#comments Fri, 26 Dec 2014 11:00:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=968042 Still have a Tesla Roadster in your garage? Merry Christmas: You now have a 400-mile range EV, courtesy of CEO Elon Musk. Jalopnik reports Musk tweeted on Christmas Day about the upgrade that had been promised to the 2,500 or so Roadster owners by the end of 2014. The upgrade is expected to consist of […]

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Tesla Roadster in Blue

Still have a Tesla Roadster in your garage? Merry Christmas: You now have a 400-mile range EV, courtesy of CEO Elon Musk.

Jalopnik reports Musk tweeted on Christmas Day about the upgrade that had been promised to the 2,500 or so Roadster owners by the end of 2014. The upgrade is expected to consist of a new battery pack and controller, which would enable one to drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco without hitting a charging station at all.

The timeline and cost, if any, for delivery as yet to be announced as of this writing. Model S owners, meanwhile, will be getting theirs over the “long-term,” per a second tweet from Musk.

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Tesla Opens Battery Swap Pilot Program In California http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/tesla-opens-battery-swap-pilot-program-california/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/tesla-opens-battery-swap-pilot-program-california/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=963874 It’s official: As of this week, select Tesla Model S owners will be able to swap battery packs in a pilot program along the route between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The pack swaps will take place “at a custom-built facility” across from the automaker’s Supercharger station in Harris Ranch, Calif., with each scheduled swap […]

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It’s official: As of this week, select Tesla Model S owners will be able to swap battery packs in a pilot program along the route between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The pack swaps will take place “at a custom-built facility” across from the automaker’s Supercharger station in Harris Ranch, Calif., with each scheduled swap to cost “slightly less” than a full tank of gas. The swaps are expected to take three minutes, due to the added time needed to remove the titanium and hardened aluminum plates protecting the pack.

The pilot program — announced in October of this year — is meant to test the systems used in the swap, as well as determine demand for such a procedure. Tesla states that with further refinements, a swap could take less than a minute to accomplish.

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Study: Only Five Countries Sold Over 10K PEVs In 2014 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/study-five-countries-sold-10k-pevs-2014/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/study-five-countries-sold-10k-pevs-2014/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 14:00:17 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961801 Plug-in vehicles may be doing well as of late in the sales game, but a study by The Research Capsule says their gameplay needs more work. According to AutoblogGreen, the group says only five countries have sold over 10,000 PEVs in 2014, which are likely the United States, China, Japan, Norway and France, respectively; the […]

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Plug-in vehicles may be doing well as of late in the sales game, but a study by The Research Capsule says their gameplay needs more work.

According to AutoblogGreen, the group says only five countries have sold over 10,000 PEVs in 2014, which are likely the United States, China, Japan, Norway and France, respectively; the report costs $7,000 for a site license, so AutoblogGreen relied on sales blog EV Sales for its information regarding those countries.

The one useful (free) information from the press release focuses on geographic distribution of overall PEV sales. For example, 50 percent of the 100,000-plus plug-ins sold through November in the United States are in California. Meanwhile, Norway adopts technology left and right, while Sweden is still trying to figure out how to flat-pack a PEV for sale at IKEA, with an appropriate all-caps Viking name to match.

As for when things may improve, The Research Capsule forecasts it would take 10 years or more for PEVs to go mainstream, and that only one country “will break 10 percent of all vehicle sales during the coming five years.” The forecast is an extrapolation of one made by the group regarding sales through 2017.

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Tesla Losing Chinese Chief After Less Than Nine Months http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/tesla-losing-chinese-chief-less-nine-months/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/tesla-losing-chinese-chief-less-nine-months/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 13:00:21 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=961289 After less than nine months at the helm, Tesla China president Veronica Wu will be resigning from the top job, and leaving the company behind. Bloomberg reports Wu, who joined the automaker from Apple last December, took the wheel after previous subsidiary chief, Kingston Chang, left earlier this year. Her replacement will be Tom Zhu, […]

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Veronica Wu

After less than nine months at the helm, Tesla China president Veronica Wu will be resigning from the top job, and leaving the company behind.

Bloomberg reports Wu, who joined the automaker from Apple last December, took the wheel after previous subsidiary chief, Kingston Chang, left earlier this year. Her replacement will be Tom Zhu, who currently is in charge of Tesla’s charging network development in China.

Wu’s last day with Tesla is unknown, nor are her plans upon leaving the company.

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Chinese Internet Company Sets Sights On Tesla In Chinese EV Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chinese-internet-company-sets-sights-tesla-chinese-ev-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/chinese-internet-company-sets-sights-tesla-chinese-ev-market/#comments Wed, 10 Dec 2014 15:00:42 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=957953 Google may be off pursuing autonomous commuter pods, but another Internet-related company in China as decided to take on Tesla directly in the EV game. Forbes reports Leshi Internet Information and Technology Co., a concern that makes Internet TVs and set-top boxes, will begin building electric vehicles under what chairman and president Jia Yueting calls […]

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Leshi booth

Google may be off pursuing autonomous commuter pods, but another Internet-related company in China as decided to take on Tesla directly in the EV game.

Forbes reports Leshi Internet Information and Technology Co., a concern that makes Internet TVs and set-top boxes, will begin building electric vehicles under what chairman and president Jia Yueting calls the “Super Electric Eco-System.” Jia and his representative in Los Angeles, Luo Qimei, both said the results of the program — which has been in the works since the early days of 2014 — will best those of Tesla and other western companies.

Leshi is entering the game amid weak demand for EVs in China, linked to a lack of sufficient infrastructure and local protectionism barriers. The Chinese government are attempting to build-up demand by providing tax breaks for consumers who buy from local automakers such as BYD, along with ordering government officials to use more EVs. That said, Leshi believes it will stand out among the competition, though Luo won’t say how much her company will invest into making it so.

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BMW: We’re Not Working With Tesla On Anything http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/bmw-working-tesla-anything/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/bmw-working-tesla-anything/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2014 11:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954977 Were you hoping BMW and Tesla would join forces for the future of electrification? Not so fast. According to Wirtschafts Woche, a BMW representative stated the company will not be buying shares in the California-based automaker, nor offering much more than its carbon fiber technology, which BMW states is open to all comers. The Bavarians […]

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Were you hoping BMW and Tesla would join forces for the future of electrification? Not so fast.

According to Wirtschafts Woche, a BMW representative stated the company will not be buying shares in the California-based automaker, nor offering much more than its carbon fiber technology, which BMW states is open to all comers. The Bavarians believe the only benefit from a relationship with Tesla would be in favor of the latter, claiming CEO Elon Musk would enjoy the PR from such a collaboration.

The statement comes on the heels of an interview by Der Spiegel with Musk, who proclaimed his company was in talks with BMW to “collaborate on battery technology or charging stations,” something that was news to BMW. The automaker also has no interest in working on a battery factory with Tesla, stating such things can be purchased from its suppliers. Musk said he had plans to build a factory in Germany within five to six years.

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BMW Unveils 3 Series PHEV Prototype, Plans For Future PHEVs http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/bmw-unveils-3-series-phev-prototype-plans-future-phevs/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/bmw-unveils-3-series-phev-prototype-plans-future-phevs/#comments Tue, 02 Dec 2014 13:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954681 BMW’s i Series is lending its technology to the automaker’s core portfolio, spurring a new generation of PHEVs in so doing. The automaker introduced the prototype for the 3 Series PHEV in France, which pairs a four-cylinder gasoline engine — based on the TwinPower Turbo mill — with an electric motor, both of which are […]

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BMW 3 Series PHEV platform prototype

BMW’s i Series is lending its technology to the automaker’s core portfolio, spurring a new generation of PHEVs in so doing.

The automaker introduced the prototype for the 3 Series PHEV in France, which pairs a four-cylinder gasoline engine — based on the TwinPower Turbo mill — with an electric motor, both of which are linked to BMW’s eDrive technology found in the i3 and i8.

Beyond the 3 Series PHEV, BMW plans to deploy eDrive among the rest of range, with the aim of having PHEVs handle long-distance travel while pure electrics — and possibly hydrogen down the road — deal with urban mobility requirements. The system will also help the Bavarians deliver high-performance models whose emissions fall under 100 g/km of CO2, with future PHEVs models expected to provide 100 kilometers of range in full-electric mode, 20 kWh of capacity in their lithium-ion packs, and a combined power rating of 500 kW.

From 2015 forward, the eDrive system will be assembled in the automaker’s plant in Dingolfling, creating 200 jobs surrounding the technology, with “many tens of millions of euros” invested into the plant over the next five years.

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Swearingen: No Evos Planned After X, GSR 5-Speed Coming Summer 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/swearingen-evos-planned-x-gsr-5-speed-coming-summer-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/12/swearingen-evos-planned-x-gsr-5-speed-coming-summer-2015/#comments Mon, 01 Dec 2014 11:00:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=954425 Bad news: Mitsubishi’s storied Lancer Evolution will stop at 10 after the 2015 model year. Good news: It will go out with a bang. Jalopnik recently held an AMA with Mitsubishi Motors USA executive vice president Don Swearingen. There, one of the commentariat asked if there would be an Evo XI. His response: There are […]

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2015 Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X

Bad news: Mitsubishi’s storied Lancer Evolution will stop at 10 after the 2015 model year. Good news: It will go out with a bang.

Jalopnik recently held an AMA with Mitsubishi Motors USA executive vice president Don Swearingen. There, one of the commentariat asked if there would be an Evo XI. His response:

There are currently no plans for an Evo XI.

We do plan on launching a special edition in June/July of next year as a going away edition. It’s a GSR 5-speed. More horsepower, some suspension tuning, and some bits pieces that are still being finalized. Around 2,000 units will be available.

Other notable statements from the AMA: Mitsubishi wants to return to the D-segment with a replacement for the Galant; is considering more electrification of its lineup, including a PHEV; says no Delicas will be sent to the United States anytime soon; and will be bringing a concept to the 2015 Chicago Auto Show heralding what the new Montero could look like.

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Tesla: New Model X Orders To Be Fulfilled ‘Well Into 2016′ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tesla-new-model-x-orders-fulfilled-well-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tesla-new-model-x-orders-fulfilled-well-2016/#comments Wed, 26 Nov 2014 15:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=951497 Planning to order a Model X before doing battle on Black Thanksgiving? You may be waiting until Black Thanksgiving 2016 before yours arrives in the driveway, red bow attached. Jalopnik reports a letter sent by Tesla to those already on the early adoption list that the Model X will come with the D’s dual-motor, all-wheel […]

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Planning to order a Model X before doing battle on Black Thanksgiving? You may be waiting until Black Thanksgiving 2016 before yours arrives in the driveway, red bow attached.

Jalopnik reports a letter sent by Tesla to those already on the early adoption list that the Model X will come with the D’s dual-motor, all-wheel drive system, that the EV SUV would be the first of its kind to have towing capability, and that those who are signing up to own or lease an X will be waiting well into 2016 before they finally turn up; the first models are due in driveways Q3 2015, for comparison.

For now, the company is beta-testing the X in its factory, with crash testing due in the future. Tesla is also working with “the best rack and accessory companies in the world to have elegant carrying solutions” for the SUV, as its optional tow hitch can also accommodate ski and bike racks with little effect on aerodynamics.

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Tesla Fights Georgia Dealers Over Direct Sales Model http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tesla-fights-georgia-dealers-direct-sales-model/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/tesla-fights-georgia-dealers-direct-sales-model/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 12:00:08 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=946194 Tesla’s ongoing battle to directly sell its wares to the public has come to Georgia, where the automaker is asking for a dismissal of a petition by the state’s dealer association seeking to ban Tesla from conducting such sales. Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the petition, filed with the Georgia Department of Revenue by the Georgia […]

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Tesla’s ongoing battle to directly sell its wares to the public has come to Georgia, where the automaker is asking for a dismissal of a petition by the state’s dealer association seeking to ban Tesla from conducting such sales.

Atlanta Business Chronicle reports the petition, filed with the Georgia Department of Revenue by the Georgia Automobile Dealers Association in late August of 2014, demands Tesla sell its Model S and other models through a franchise network, the automaker’s alleged violation of the Georgia Motor Vehicles Franchise Practices Act serving as the foundation for said petition. Tesla, of course, said that wasn’t the case:

GADA’s arguments rely on a wholesale misapplication of the FPA. The FPA only regulates conduct between franchisors and their affiliated franchisees, and does not apply to Tesla, which has no franchisees.

GADA also asserts that Tesla cannot directly sell to the public because of another cited statute — one that allows direct sales only if a given vehicle is “manufactured or assembled in accordance with custom-design specifications of the customer” — proclaiming Tesla offers no such thing to its customers. Representative Derrick Dickey stated that his employer is eager for Tesla to follow the letter of the law, “just like every other automobile manufacturer that sells new vehicles in Georgia.

The case is expected to be heard in court early next month. Until then, Tesla will continue to sell directly to the public under an exemption for ZEV models, which currently limits a given automaker to just 150 per year.

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Merrill Lynch: Tesla Sitting On 3K Cars Despite Alleged Scarcity http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/merrill-lynch-tesla-sitting-3k-cars-despite-alleged-scarcity/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/merrill-lynch-tesla-sitting-3k-cars-despite-alleged-scarcity/#comments Fri, 14 Nov 2014 11:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=945017 If you’re still waiting for your Model S to arrive in your driveway, you might not be too pleased to learn there could be 3,000 cars hiding in the back room, thanks to one man seeking knowledge about Tesla’s famed scarcity. The Daily Kanban reports Merrill Lynch research analyst John Lovallo found that while the […]

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If you’re still waiting for your Model S to arrive in your driveway, you might not be too pleased to learn there could be 3,000 cars hiding in the back room, thanks to one man seeking knowledge about Tesla’s famed scarcity.

The Daily Kanban reports Merrill Lynch research analyst John Lovallo found that while the hype held up for the Model X — for obvious reasons — the same couldn’t be said for the Model S. Despite Tesla’s claim that they sold every car they had in Q3 2014 — even the ones in the showrooms — Lovallo saw a different story with the finished goods inventory. In short: Some 3,000 vehicles were either in transit or in a warehouse.

Merrill Lynch — who told its clients in its research note about Tesla that the automaker’s stock will remain labelled “underperform” for the foreseeable future — also noted that Tesla is facing difficulties in penetrating the Chinese market, “coupled with seemingly tepid European demand for the Model S.” Despite the Chinese government creating a separate pool for EV license plates, 70 percent of plate winners failed to cash-in by the end of last month, and even if everything worked out, lower-cost EVs like the Nissan-Venucia r30 and the 20-some models set to leave Volkswagen’s factories would hardly leave any money for a higher-end EV like those sold by Tesla.

The note concludes by pointing out that the automaker barely makes money from selling regulatory credits to other automakers, while not making a dime off of its vehicles, the latter an issue that “could ultimately prove to be the biggest risk for the company and the pure electric vehicle market at large.”

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