By on September 22, 2020

The New York Times, or one writer paid by the New York Times (one journalist’s take or analysis or opinion doesn’t represent the entire paper, you know), had a piece out a couple days ago claiming the dawn of the EV age is now.

Somehow, I missed this article until now. But let’s a look at its assertions, shall we, and see what is and is not accurate?

(Read More…)

By on September 17, 2020

Ford badge emblem logo

Ford has really been hyping the upcoming F-Series EV this week by assuring customers the new pickup will make the gas-powered one look like the unsightly substance you cough into the sink every morning. Not only with the electrified F-150 come with more power than your standard Ford truck, but it’ll also be cheaper to own and operate  once you get past the higher purchasing price, of course.

The automaker is spending a whopping $700 million to add EV production facilities at the Dearborn Truck Plant on top of the lofty cost of development, so it’s going to tell you whatever it takes to get you to buy one. It has to recoup those expenses somehow and, unless it’s a bald-faced lie, the automotive industry always seems willing to be “extremely optimistic” about a vehicle prior to launch. Unfortunately, Ford has to remain slightly more grounded than some of its peers because the electric F-150 isn’t so completely novel that the manufacturer can claim it will totally transform the driving experience or makes ludicrous suggestions about it driving itself.

We already have an F-150 and people seem to think it’s good enough to warrant nearly a million sales per year. The electric version is a spin-off Ford wants us to understand builds on those strengths.

(Read More…)

By on September 17, 2020

Cadillac told U.S. and Chinese dealers they will each need to invest at least $200,000 on electric vehicle chargers and staff training to continue selling the brand’s products after 2022. The message was communicated to dealerships on Wednesday via video messages from Rory Harvey, the luxury brand’s vice president of sales, service and marketing. Cadillac is moving on electrification (seriously this time) and plans to launch the Lyriq EV within the next two years, with more battery-driven models to follow. Update: Cadillac PR has responded, saying that what was communicated yesterday is for U.S. dealers only.

The brand says dealers must be ready for the transition, giving us flashbacks to Project Pinnacle  the Johan de Nysschen strategy that forced stores to spend money to provide a more premium sales experience that differentiated Cadillac as special. At the time of its implementation, many dealers wondered why they should bother taking on more overhead under the assumption that they’ll make extra money over time. While luxury-specific outlets don’t have much choice in the matter, those selling GM’s other brands in conjunction with Cadillac seem to be substantially less eager to implement the changes.

(Read More…)

By on September 15, 2020

Vanderhall Navarro. Photo: Vanderhall Motor Works

Vanderwho? That’s Vanderhall to you, pal.

Vanderhall Motor Works, to be precise.

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By on September 14, 2020

Following a scathing report from Hindenburg Research that called Nikola a fraudulent company largely dependent upon the blind excitement surrounding electric vehicles, the accused has finally issued a response. On Monday, Nikola released a bulleted letter suggesting the report was the act of an opportunistic short seller that was attempting to take advantage of the period immediately proceeding the announced partnership with General Motors. While Hindenburg didn’t exactly hide that aspect of itself in its own report, it frames the business as only profiting off companies that weren’t above board to begin with. It also received support from Citron Research, which said it likewise thought Nikola needed to be scoped out by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and promised to help pay for half of any legal fees incurred as a result of Hindenburg’s reporting.

Meanwhile, Nikola was crafting its rebuttal after founder Trevor Milton explained he had to wait on a comprehensive response because he was already in contact with the SEC. As his constant Twitter updates started to become counterproductive, this was likely a wise decision. The response dropped on Monday, clearing a handful of items up while making a bunch of other aspects seem even more suspect. (Read More…)

By on September 11, 2020

Volkswagen ID.4. Photo: VW

Electric vehicles are sometimes looked upon as being unable to do what internal-combustion engine vehicles can do.

That’s mostly because until recently, ranges haven’t been on par with ICE engines.

But don’t conflate shorter ranges with lack of ability.

(Read More…)

By on September 11, 2020

While we’ve suspected that electric vehicle startups and green tech, in general, is probably a little overvalued, we’ve never accused anyone of outright fraud. Burgeoning automakers have a tendency to over promise and under deliver. Throughout history, this has occasionally gotten them into serious trouble. But it’s also how the game is played, especially when you’re new to the scene and need to distinguish yourself from giant entities who would just as soon crush you in lieu of risking the eventual competition. Nikola is a perfect example of this and built a hype train so swift that legacy brands could only hope to buy it out or invest and share in the fruits of its labor before it sped away.

But what if it wasn’t ever growing any industrial fruit?

That’s the claim being made by Hindenburg Research — which specializes in short selling, pointing to firms on the cusp of financial disaster (hence the name), and attempting to bust businesses the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) might be interested in. The financial research firm has suggested that Nikola founder Trevor Milton had misrepresented what the company was actually capable of in terms of product, with the intent to mislead investors into thinking the company should be incredibly valuable. It reads like a hit piece and was accused by Milton of being just that. However, there are issues brought up in the report that are still worth examining.

(Read More…)

By on September 11, 2020

Mercedes-Benz EQS concept. Image: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz is working to deliver on its promise of having 10 or more EVs on the market by 2022, as evidenced by spy shots of the EQS unearthed via Motor Authority.

The EQS will be a large sedan, poised to sell alongside the flagship S-Class. Production could start this year, putting it on the market next year as a 2021 or 2022 model.

(Read More…)

By on September 9, 2020

Minus an unpleasant amount of virtue signaling, the Lucid Air debut was pretty good. But this is technically a commercial so what else could we have possibly expected? Lucid is an electric vehicle brand so it’s required by law to succumb to the growing list of EV clichés. Building this car the way Lucid does won’t just be better for the environment, “it will be better for all mankind.” We need to rally together because the world is ending. This startup is changing by building an extravagant automobile  that was the gist of the presentation anyway.

“We’re a California company,” explained the car’s interior designer. The Golden State was apparently so important that the interior color palates are based entirely on the way the sun plays off California’s various regions at different times of the day. They even held the event on the state’s birthday and made sure to mention it.

You get the idea. It started out a complete drag. And yet the car itself was quite interesting and the technical portions of the presentation excelled at explaining why someone might actually want this car over literally everything else that’s on the market right now.  (Read More…)

By on September 9, 2020

Uber Technologies has promised to make sure that 100 percent of the vehicles used to convey customers in Europe, Canada, and the United States will be powered entirely by electricity — allotting itself just under a decade for the transition. By 2030, Uber said all cars used on the platform will be required to be of the plug-in variety. At the same time, General Motors announced it would be helping drivers get there by offering juicy discounts on items they’ll be required to buy in preparation for the coming change. That seems incredibly convenient, especially for the purveyors of these soon-to-be-mandatory products.

On Tuesday, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi noted he wanted Uber to help lead a “green recovery” in the wake of the coronavirus lockdowns that resulted in an American unemployment rate not seen since the Great Depression. He acknowledged how nice the air had gotten in urban environments (Manhattan still smells like expired milk, FYI) and suggested going back to the before times would be a mistake. We were practically cave people prior to 2020 and have metamorphosed into a higher state of being.

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By on September 8, 2020

General Motors announced it will be taking an 11-percent stake in Nikola on Tuesday. It even said it would be actively helping the startup produce the hydrogen/battery-powered Badger pickup, sending the firm’s already-insane share price through the roof. Nikola shares were up 30 percent before the trading day even began, with the General seeing some positive changes in its own stock. Things only improved from there for both companies as news of the partnership continued to spread.

The deal is costing GM $2 billion and allots it one board member of its choosing in exchange for its manufacturing expertise.

(Read More…)

By on September 8, 2020

While Tesla’s Model 3 sedan is supposedly taking the world by storm, some hot competition has been reported in China. The Hongguang MINI EV has eclipsed the offspring of Elon Musk to become the country’s best-selling electric vehicle. Though at just 28,800 yuan ($4,200), it hardly seems a fair comparison. Tesla’s minimalist sedan is larger and costs roughly 10 times what SAIC Motor, General Motors, and Liuzhou Wuling Motors decided the MINI EV was worth.

That’s right, it took the combined strength of three automakers to birth this baby and we’re wondering what it would take to get you to drive one home if they were offered here.

(Read More…)

By on September 4, 2020

Yesterday, we covered how the economic ramifications of the pandemic has negatively impacted the sales volume of electric vehicles (the ones that aren’t status symbols, anyway) in the United Kingdom. We’ll take a broader view of things today, focusing entirely on the general sales trends taking hold in the United States ahead of the Labor Day weekend.

Under normal circumstances, this would be a period where dealerships tempt the public with juicy discounts to clear out their lots for the subsequent model year. But the pandemic has left factories idle for months and vehicles in short supply. While that wasn’t an issue when everyone was first locked indoors, many states allowed their citizens to reclaim their autonomy as dealers sought new ways of selling without the face-to-face rigamarole of interacting with customers directly. We’re now in a situation where demand remains suppressed but has increased to a level where it outpaces the supply of many popular models — increasing the average transaction price of vehicles.

It’s not a great time to be shopping for a car. (Read More…)

By on September 4, 2020

BMW i3 LAPD Vehicles

In 2014, Mayor Eric Garcetti wanted to show Los Angeles that he would take an active role in spearheading “environmental justice,” announcing several initiatives to combat the city’s notorious air pollution.

One of those efforts involved transitioning government-owned fleets towards battery power and hybridization. By the following year, the LAPD announced it was ready to consider contracts with various automakers ready to help provide the non-emergency administrative unit (which was new at the time) with a fleet of environmentally friendly vehicles.

BMW ultimately won out, resulting in a fleet of i3 hatchbacks — some of which were painted and given lights for traffic enforcement duties or other light police work (e.g. community outreach). The leasing agreement kicked off in 2016 and ultimately cost taxpayers over $10,200,000 when combined with the charging infrastructure that had to be installed to support them. But the department and the mayor started taking heat after the public learned the vehicles were hardly ever used for police business, resulting in a minor scandal.

Notifying the world that the program seems to have been a massive waste of resources didn’t change anything, however. Most vehicles saw little use through 2019 and many are now being sold by the dealership that initially leased them to the LAPD. (Read More…)

By on September 3, 2020

Today’s study comes straight from the memoirs of Captain Obvious. Apparently, an economic recession isn’t what you want when you’re vying to sell factory fresh automobiles beyond the confines of rock-bottom prices. There might even be a correlation between being broke and lacking the ability to purchase items in general. At least, that was the takeaway from a cutting-edge assessment recently conducted by Auto Trader in the United Kingdom.

In an attempt to keep tabs on the public’s level of interest in reference to electric vehicles, the outlet has been surveying people at semi-regular intervals. Back in January, it asked 2,300 consumers ‘waddya buying,’ only to learn that 17 percent had their hearts set on a battery electric vehicle. That’s impressive considering less than 10 percent of automobiles in the UK utilize electricity for propulsion and most of those happen to be hybrid models. But the trend toward BEVs has shifted rather dramatically since the COVID pandemic took hold.

A follow-up questionnaire from August (this time with 2,700 respondents) shows demand has waned immensely. Only 4 percent of respondents said they were planning on getting themselves a battery electric vehicle. (Read More…)

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