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.

(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 1, 2020

Electric vehicle manufacturers are already struggling to maintain supply lines as demand for batteries increases in practically every industry in existence. Automakers have recently begun branching out to secure the raw materials necessary for their production while also trying to cozy up to battery suppliers who already know they have them over a barrel. Some, like Tesla, have even built their own facilities for battery production.

In August, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the automaker would offer favorable deals to companies that could mine nickel in an ecologically friendly manner and help ensure it has an adequate supply of the metal for batteries. But there’s a problem: pretty much every automaker wants access to nickel and — much like cobalt  there are often serious implications regarding how it’s procured. As demand continues to grow, industry players will become increasingly reliant on regions lacking rigid environmental safeguards. (Read More…)

By on February 12, 2018

2015 Porsche Mission E Concept Matthias Mueller - Image: Porsche

Porsche, the iconic performance nameplate diving ever deeper into luxury and electrification, once again finds itself incapable of withholding its excitement toward both. Company board member Detlev von Platen claims Porsche is seriously considering increasing the production capacity of its upcoming Mission E model beyond 20,000 annual units and electrifying the Macan crossover.

According to von Platen, initial customer inquiries into the Mission E has been so strong that the brand wants to make sure it can meet demand. Buying habits also give the automaker hope that its customer base is prepared to make the eventual switch from internal combustion to electrically-assisted engines.

“In Europe, around 60 percent of Panamera vehicles were delivered with a hybrid drivetrain,” von Platen said.  (Read More…)

By on January 18, 2018

BMW i3 LAPD Vehicles

We know the State of California loves electric cars, but the Los Angeles Police Department may have mixed emotions. Back in June of 2016, the LAPD awarded BMW with a contract to provide 100 battery-powered i3 hatchbacks as part of a plan to enhance its public image. At the time, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti told the press, “We should be thinking green in everything we do,” adding that the electric BMWs would “also save money and resources.”

Fast forward to 2018 and the contract is beginning to look like a good way to waste millions of dollars. The LAPD agreed to lease the vehicles, effectively doubling its electrified fleet, for three years. The logic was that the gas savings would offset the $1.4 million it would cost the police force to apprehend them from BMW. While that sounds wonderful, there is a problem — the LAPD isn’t driving them.  (Read More…)

By on December 12, 2017

Tesla Semi, Image: Tesla

PepsiCo nearly doubled the number of new electric big rigs Tesla will have to manufacture after reserving 100 units. Adding to the list of orders by more than a dozen companies, including other massive companies like Wal-Mart and Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi is helping Tesla make a case for EVs with a fixation on freight.

Last year, the food brand stated it wanted to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 20 percent by 2030. With a fleet of over 10,000 units, semi trucks might be a good place to seek improvements. Granted, depending upon how it’s generated, pulling energy from the grid isn’t a perfect solution. But, at that point, it’s someone else’s problem.  (Read More…)

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