Tag: EVs

By on November 25, 2020

Cadillac dealers disinclined to spend a sackful of money on revamping their businesses to sell and service electric vehicles received some moderately good news this month. General Motors is willing to issue them fat stacks of cash for stores that cannot rationalize the sizable expense of installing charging stations, training staff, and retooling the garage.

While it smacks of the consolidation efforts headed by Caddy’s former President Johan de Nysschen in 2016 with Project Pinnacle, and makes us wonder how the brand plans on turning a profit if it keeps eliminating storefronts, GM thinks buying out dealers who don’t want to participate in the EV experience is the way to go. Though the company has expressed an interest in gradually embracing a more digitized sales model as Cadillac strives to become an exclusively electric brand by 2030.

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By on November 23, 2020

It’s been five weeks since I opined VW should cancel the Arteon and the North American Passat, and replace both with the European Passat instead.

Late last week, Volkswagen complied with part of my request. They must read TTAC!

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By on November 18, 2020

Hyundai Motor Co. is being sued over a series of battery fires in its electric vehicles in Asia — specifically in relation to the otherwise-enjoyable Kona EV. Though it hardly seems fair to single out Hyundai when General Motors recently issued a recall encompassing 68,677 electric vehicles with batteries manufactured by LG Chem. Interestingly, Hyundai’s 74,000-strong Kona recall (which includes 11,082 units sold to the United States and Canada) uses the same supplier.

EV fires have become a hot topic within the industry, specifically because it runs the risk of slowing adoption rates and makes the affected automaker look wildly inept. Lawsuits don’t help the matter but Hyundai’s more immediate concerns involve proving that LG is the one that screwed up. While it hasn’t pointed any fingers directly at the supplier, it has dropped subtle hints while LG Chem insists its products are not defective. The duo is reportedly collaborating on an internal investigation into the troubled vehicles — 16 of which have burst into flames in North America, Europe, and Asia.

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By on November 17, 2020

If you think the political class is interested in what kind of policies citizens would like to see implemented, you’ve clearly never heard of lobbying groups. While we’re stuck at home writing thoughtful letters to congressional interns in the faintest hope that they’ll be dictated to a senator, corporately supported lobbyists are taking legislators out to dinner so they can discuss how best to govern on a single issue. They’re important in determining the trajectory of the nation but many get criticized for placing the needs of the business over that of the individual voter.

Buckle up, because we’re getting another one. On Tuesday, the Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA) held its own coming-out party and announced its mission to advocate for “national policies that will enable 100 [percent] electric vehicle sales throughout the light-, medium-, and heavy-duty sectors by 2030.”

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By on November 17, 2020

Electric-vehicle manufacturers often tout their products’ ability to double as a mobile generator for laborers needing a place to plug in their tools. But a few have also suggested a reliable power source would be similarly beneficial for recreational actives. In 2019, Rivian began showcasing the camp kitchen its designers had made fit into the gear tunnel located between the R1T’s truck bed and passenger cabin. Easily deployed, the kitchen comes with an electric stovetop, electric kettle, small sink (fed by a five-gallon water tank), and enough storage space to house the items necessary to cook and serve a meal.

It was looking like an incredibly slick option for woodsy weekend warriors — until we learned the price, that is.

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By on November 16, 2020

On Monday, the Canadian province of Quebec announced it would be joining California and numerous European locales in the banning of gasoline-powered automobiles. Announced during a meeting regarding the region’s green economy plan, the French-speaking province said all new vehicles sold after 2035 would have to be entirely electric. Then there was a slight derailment as Premier François Legault used the occasion to publicly decry that it was “totally unacceptable” that some shop owners in Montreal are failing to greet customers in French and that the situation needed to be remedied immediately. Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante agreed, saying “clients must be able to get served in French. Period.”

One battle at a time, heroes. Justice will be served (and in glorious French) to those English-speaking heathens and their foul-smelling cars soon enough.

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By on November 13, 2020

Daimler Chairman Ola Källenius went against the grain on Thursday by admitting the company he’s been tasked with overseeing will become significantly smaller in five years. That’s normally not the kind of thing you want to telegraph to shareholders via the media but he’s convinced this is the best course of action for the business.

“The next five years we will become a smaller company,” Källenius told Reuters. “We will have a fundamental change in the industrial footprint on the powertrain side.”

The future of Daimler apparently involves a half-decade metamorphosis into a services-focused software company that just so happens to build vehicles. But the vehicles won’t be those internal-combustion jobs that you grew up around. Instead, they’ll be hyper-efficient electrics from Mercedes-Benz as it re-imagines luxury within the strict confines of environmental sustainability. As a byproduct, Daimler will need fewer employees to help manufacture automobiles. (Read More…)

By on November 12, 2020

Ford’s $11.5 billion investment (through 2022) into electrification has birthed its first in a series of planned work vehicles. The E-Transit takes everything that was good about the gasoline-powered Transit van and makes a few sacrifices in the name of progress while also offering a handful of useful features made possible by its 67 kWh battery.

One of the biggest items being surrendered is range. Ford estimates the E-Transit to have an operating area of roughly 126 miles between charges, which isn’t great. However, the company claimed this would be sufficient for the kind of applications it envisioned customers would be using it for and noted that reduced range helped the vehicle come in just under $45,000. Longer-range versions are planned, as well as an all-wheel-drive variant, and Ford has added a few features to the E-Transit not available on the gasoline-driven unit. (Read More…)

By on November 12, 2020

Details of the upcoming Rivian R1T and R1S electric vehicles leaked just hours ahead of the company sharing some equipment options for the various trims and announcing that the online configurations (allowing you to build your own) will launch on November 16th.

As of now, Rivian’s plan involves offering identical trims for the R1T pickup and R1S SUV — splitting the two body styles into Adventure and Explorer packages. While the former is a bit more upscale, both come with a panoramic roof, vegan upholstery, and are big on connectivity. Wi-Fi is embedded and allows for Rivian to issue over-the-air updates. There’s also the First Edition model, which is effectively a gussied up version of the Adventure going to true believers that booked their EVs well in advance. (Read More…)

By on November 11, 2020

ford logoAs we reported a couple of weeks ago, Ford is set to debut its new E-Transit electric van tomorrow. An announcement was made yesterday regarding the Transit’s production location. And the new van brings along some cash, and jobs as well.

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By on October 30, 2020

Chevrolet plans on showcasing a 1977 K5 Blazer converted over to all-electric propulsion for SEMA360, foreshadowing the Electric Connect and Cruise package General Motors hopes on selling in the latter of 2021. But it would first like to take the public’s temperature on the concept by surveying SEMA attendees interested in building their own electric projects before finalizing its “eCrate” offering.

That makes the modified Chevrolet Blazer-E a proof of concept to help customers realize what kind of projects might be possible and get the creative juices flowing — something which never seems to carry over when it comes to naming EVs.

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By on October 30, 2020

Fisker Inc.

Despite having never manufactured a single production model, Fisker Inc. is a company reportedly worth billions. On Thursday, the prospective automaker indicated that it was ready to see how much more it could get via an announcement that it had officially completed its business combination Spartan Energy Acquisition Corp  a special purpose acquisition company  and was ready to be publicly traded.

Better call your broker.

Listen, if we could explain to you why technology firms with no product lineups or revenue sources are eligible to receive cash enemas from the stock market, we absolutely would. But the amount of mental gymnastics required to rationalize an answer has surpassed what your author can entertain without risking his own sanity. Special purpose acquisition companies (aka SPACs or “blank check” firms) have exploded in popularity and allowed dozens of businesses going public to rake it in via reverse-mergers this year. Whether it’s economic voodoo or sheer madness, it has become the status quo for IPOs seeking to raise insane amounts of money.

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By on October 29, 2020

Eager to prove itself as a forward thinking mobility brand, Ford has advised us to prepare for the debut of the battery powered E-Transit van on November 12th. Following some heavy teasing from CEO Jim Farley during the company’s third-quarter earnings call a day earlier, Blue Oval issued an official announcement on Thursday to be ready for the commercial vehicle poised to change the way it does vans.

We’ve heard this before. There was supposed to be a battery electric Transit Connect, developed in partnership with Azure Dynamics, coming to market for the 2011 model year. While a prototype existed and was driven around by numerous outlets who praised it for being incredibly normal, the car ended up being prohibitively expensive to manufacture and kind of underwhelming to live with. Range was an abysmal 56 miles (according to the EPA) and the van was only just barely capable of maintaining highway speeds. In the end, Ford handed the project over to Azure  which nixed the passenger model and sold a few thousand commercial versions to various U.S. bureaucracies, coastal power companies, AT&T and the Canada Post for a little under $60,000 a pop.

Azure then went bankrupt.

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By on October 28, 2020

Despite governments the world over practically forcing electric vehicles down our collective throat via stringent emission standards, the average person living in North America hasn’t changed their mind on them. According to a recent survey by J.D. Power, the “Mobility Confidence Index” for battery-electric vehicles remains largely neutral.

Even as global lockdowns have made them a more viable option, with more people working from home and driving fewer miles every week, North Americans aren’t budging. In fact, citizens of the United States may actually be turning on EVs while Canadians remain slightly more agreeable  something that probably extends beyond the automotive realm.

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By on October 23, 2020

Seen by some as a moral imperative, electrification is swiftly changing the dynamics of the automotive industry. While automakers spend billions of dollars developing EVs and securing the necessary partners, many are becoming dependent on a handful of companies in Asia for the all-important battery cells needed to power the damn things. It’s gotten so serious that the U.S. government has taken an interest following a December 2019 report from the Institute for Defense Analyses that claimed battery manufacturers had taken on an “outsized importance” in the automotive sector.

It also said the United States would be at a distinct disadvantage if there are supply shortages  which is something that has already happened and is presumed to worsen as more electric vehicles flood into the market over the next few years. The automotive industry is pushing hard into electrification as governments around the world attempt to plot out an elaborate plan to supplant the internal combustion vehicle with EVs. But there are concerns that this has stacked the deck for a small number of suppliers from China, South Korea, and Japan.

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