Weekly Electromobility News

California Clean Vehicle Rebate Has Changed Applicant Income Requirements; 2016 FIAT 500e Lease Offer at $49/mo; Model S “Exploded” After Fatal Crash in Indianapolis


California Clean Vehicle Rebate Has Changed Applicant Income Requirements

According to California Clean Vehicle Rebate Project, three changes have been made – 1) new higher-income caps, 2) increased rebate levels for low-income consumers and 3) plug-in hybrids’ new range requirements. These changes apply to vehicles purchased/leased on or after Nov. 1.

For the higher-income caps, new requirements are $150 thousand for single filers, $204 thousand for head-of-household filers and $300 thousand for joint filers. These caps become more stringent by $100-200 thousand than before. The consumers above the caps are not eligible for the rebates, with the exception of fuel-cell vehicles.

For low-income consumers, the new rebate levels are an extra $2,000 on top of the standard, which reflect a $500 increase from before Nov. 1.

For plug-in hybrids, now they need to have an electro-range of at least 20 miles to be eligible for the rebates. Therefore, cars like BMW X5 xDrive40e and BMW i8 would not be eligible.

The rebates are limited to two purchases/leases per household.

2016 FIAT 500e Lease Offer at $49/mo

According to Santa Monica FIAT, 2016 FIAT 500e lease specials are as low as $49/mo plus tax for 36 months. The down payment is not specified on the website. The MSRP is $32,795. The deal will run until Nov. 15.

The electric car has a highway rating of 108 MPGe and an electro-range of 87 miles per charge. It is loaded with a 24 kWh battery. The car is eligible for the California Clean Vehicle Rebate of up to $4,500 as well as the HOV lane access.

Model S “Exploded” After Fatal Crash in Indianapolis

According to WTHR, the accident happened around 1am on Thursday, which caused the two occupants their lives. The Model S was “traveling at a high rate of speed” and “slammed into a tree”.

An eyewitness’s video recorded large flames and then an explosion. “It hit that tree and it bounced around and all of a sudden it just exploded,” described Al Finnell. The batteries onboard made firefighting different. Kevin Jones from the Indianapolis Fire Department described that some batteries fire off “almost like projectiles”. The firefighters have been trained to deal with crashes involving EVs. Tesla also posted firefighting instructions on how to avoid injuries to the rescuers.

Weekly Electromobility News

Audi Quitting Dominant 24 Hours of Le Mans in Favor of Formula E; Tesla Turned Profitable in Q3; Audi Rolls Out Plug-in A6 in China


Audi Quitting Dominant 24 Hours of Le Mans in Favor of Formula E

According to Audi MediaCenter, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler announced on this past Wednesday that the brand would “terminate its FIA WEC commitment, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, at the end of the 2016 season”. The new focus for the motorsport department is the electric Formula E series.

Audi has been dominating the 24 Hours of Le Mans. For the 18 years of participation, the team won the title 13 times. Teams like Porsche and Toyota are still active in the WEC.

Currently, in Formula E, Audi sponsors the team ABT Schaeffler. The brand will form its factory Formula E team and race starting the 2017-18 season.

Tesla Turned Profitable in Q3

Tesla released Q3’16 Update Letter on this past Wednesday.

The company earned a net income of $22 million for the quarter (second such quarter in its history) on the GAAP basis. In Q3, Tesla collected revenue of $139 million from the sales of ZEV credit.

24,821 cars were delivered, which include 16,047 Model S units and 8,774 Model X units. The score is a 114% increase from the same period of last year. Tesla’s goal of delivering 80,000 units in 2016 seems under control, with a bit over 25,000 deliveries to go for Q4.

Audi Rolls Out Plug-in A6 in China

According to Automotive News China, Audi has started the production of the plug-in hybrid version of its A6 sedan, at the FAW-VW joint venture in China. The model is named A6L e-tron. The total range is 500 miles, of which about 30 miles are on electric.

The car will go on sale during the Guangzhou Auto Show in Nov. 19. Audi sells is plug-in A3 e-tron currently in China and will introduce Q7 e-tron there later in the year.

Weekly Electromobility News

Mini’s First Plug-in Hybrid May Come Out Next Year; Infiniti Became Serious About Building an Electric Car; Tesla is One Step Closer to Join the Uber Club


Mini’s First Plug-in Hybrid May Come Out Next Year

According to Green Car Reports, it seems that Mini is going to launch its first plug-in hybrid Countryman soon. The car will be all-wheel drive, with the motor powering the rear and the engine powering the front. The powertrain will be the same as the one used in BMW 225xe Active Tourer.

The new Countryman can have its debut next month in Los Angeles Auto Show and the plug-in hybrid version may come a bit later than other models.

The plug-in hybrid Countryman will be Mini’s first mass produced electric car. During 2009 and 2011, BWM was testing the electric drive system through a leasing program with Mini E – a modified Mini Cooper with a 35 kWh battery. In addition, all-electric Mini will come out in 2019.

Infiniti Became Serious About Building an Electric Car

According to Bloomberg, Infiniti boss Roland Krueger mentioned that “we are discussing this internally constantly what is the right timing for Infiniti to have such (electric) vehicles”. He also added that the brand could move “very fast” after deciding to go for it, thanks to the EV technologies available at the parent company Nissan as well as the alliance company Renault. Moreover, the EV market in China weighs in significantly on the decision. In fact, China would be “the first market to launch (an EV)”.

Infiniti in 2012 did show a “production intent” concept electric car named LE (stands for Luxury Electric). The concept features things like wireless charging and connectivity.

Tesla is One Step Closer to Join the Uber Club

According to Reuters, Tesla is preparing a ridesharing services program Tesla Network. The news came from a disclaimer from Tesla on new Model S self-driving. The new vehicles will be built with the hardware that can support full automation once the software becomes ready, according to Elon Musk, and Tesla will run a fleet in cities with low levels of car ownership.

Tesla’s interest in ridesharing services was mentioned in Musk’s Master Plan Part Deux back in July. To have such services is further expanding the company’s vertical integration all the way from the battery Gigafactory.

Weekly Electromobility News

315-Mile Tesla Model S P100D Now Available; GM Building Battery Pack Factory in China; Karma Automotive Moving into New Headquarters as its New Car Revero is near Launch

315-Mile Tesla Model S P100D Now Available

According to Tesla website, the company has made Model S P100D available. The car is loaded with a new larger 100kWh battery pack and can go 315 miles on a single charge. It marks the first 300-plus-mile electric car. Moreover, Model S P100D can do 0-60 mph in 2.5 seconds, third fastest production car behind LaFerrari and Porsche 918 Spyder.

Model X P100D is available as well, with an electro-range of 289 miles.

Upgrading cost from P90D is $10,000 for customers who have not got the car, and $20,000 for owners with the car, respectively.

GM Building Battery Pack Factory in China

According to SAIC-GM website, the company is investing 1.72 billion yuan ($258 million) on a battery pack factory in Jinqiao, Shanghai. The factory will support local electric car production. Moreover, by year 2020, SAIC-GM plans to spend 26.5 billion yuan ($3.96 billion) on the development of electrification technologies.

Later this year, Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrid model will be introduced in China. By 2019, Buick and Chevrolet will launch a new plug-in hybrid car respectively. Also by 2019, Buick will produce a new all-electric car.

Karma Automotive Moving into New Headquarters as its New Car Revero is near Launch

According to Fortune, Karma Automotive (previously the bankrupted Fisker Autmotive) is moving into new headquarters in Irvine as big as 262,000 sq ft, to accommodate its rapid expansion. In just 14 months, the company has roughly doubled its size to 625 employees and plans to expand to about 800 by 2017.

Karma Automotive is launching its first luxury plug-in hybrid Revero on September 8th. Revero is based on the previous Fisker Karma, but now uses technologies from BMW. The previous Fisker Karma car was sold to celebrities like Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Bieber and cost over $100,000. The company plans to build 3,000 Revero cars per year.

Weekly Electromobility News

Nissan Wants to Sell Its Stake in Batterymaker AESC; Tesla Released 2016 Q2 Financial Results; Straddling Electric Bus Took Road Demonstration in China

Nissan Wants to Sell Its Stake in Batterymaker AESC

According to Reuters, Sources indicated that Nissan was talking to companies including Panasonic regarding the possible transaction of its 51% stake in the batterymaker.

The Nissan/NEC joint venture supplies batteries to Nissan LEAF. It was reported that Nissan was switching to use batteries from LG Chem. Nissan’s alliance Renault uses LG Chem as well.

The scale of EV sales has not met expectation, which keeps battery cost high. Purchasing batteries from other suppliers would be lower cost.

Nissan commented that the talk of AESC transaction “is speculation, and is not based on any announcement by us”.

Tesla Released 2016 Q2 Financial Results

The results were released on Wednesday. 18,345 cars were produced in Q2, a 43% increase from the same period of last year. The company is targeting 50,000 deliveries for the second half of the year.

Non-GAAP Q2 revenue was $1.6 billion, a 31% increase from the same period of last year. Non-GAAP loss was $150 million, or $1.06 per share, versus $0.59 loss per share expected by analysts.

Tesla expects a 30% increase in 2016 non-GAAP operating expenses and 2016 capital expenditures of about $2.25 billion, largely related to Model 3 production plan.

Straddling Electric Bus Took Road Demonstration in China

According to NY Times, the prototype bus drove on the street of Qinhugngdao in China on Aug 2. It is 72-ft long and 26-ft wide, and has open space as high as 16-ft at the bottom to allow vehicles to pass. The bus is made by Transit Elevated Bus.

A full bus in the future would be capable of carrying as many as 1,200 people on board. It is powered by electricity – either through intermittent charging at the stops or through power lines. The technology is intended to address traffic congestion and save energy.

Weekly Electromobility News

Telsa Gigafactory Received Grand Opening; Chevy Volt Reaches 100,000-Unit Mark in the US; Apple’s EV Project Reported to Have a New Head; Porsche is Hiring 1,400 People for Mission E


Telsa Gigafactory Received Grand Opening

Fortune reported that Tesla held the invite-only grand opening of Gigafactory on last Friday.

The factory at complete will be the largest in terms of footprint and second largest to Boeing in terms of volume. The facility itself is developed by Tesla as a giant machine, which undergoes extensive engineering to maximum density and efficiency.

Currently, 14% of the Gigafactory is operational. By 2018, the production will be able to ramp up to 50 GWh for battery packs. The full capacity will be 150 GWh.

Chevy Volt Reaches 100,000-Unit Mark in the US

According to Hybrid Cars, Chevy Volt most like has crossed this milestone of 100 thousand sales in the US in the past weekend.

Up to June, the accumulative sales of the car were 98,558 and the monthly sales were 2,000 plus/minus 100 for the past few months.

Chevy Volt is the top selling plug-in electric car in the US. Its global sales passed the 100,000-unit mark last October.

Apple’s EV Project Reported to Have a New Head

According to WSJ, Apple has assigned its senior executive Bob Mansfield to head the secret EV project dubbed Titan.

Mr. Mansfield is a highly regarded leader at Apple, having a record of bringing successful product to market including MacBook Air, iMac, iPad and Apple Watch.

The project is reported to have hundreds of engineers working on it. The target ship date is reported to have pushed to 2021 from the original 2019.

Porsche is Hiring 1,400 People for Mission E

According to Reuters, Porsche, in development of its first electric car Mission E, is needing 1,400 more people. 900 of them will be production staff, 300 will be salaried workers and 200 will be engineers.

The project has a budget of 1 billion euros and targets 2019 as ship date.

Six Recent Tesla Car Accidents Reportedly Linked to Autopilot (to Different Degrees)

Tesla’s autonomous driving feature Autopilot has received much attention recently. Six accidents of Tesla cars were reported that to different degrees were in the context of Autopilot.

Accident #1

On April 26, a Model S rear-ended another vehicle on I-5 northbound from LA. The driver told Ars Technica: “All of a sudden the car ahead of me came to a halt. There was a decent amount of space so I figured that the car was going to brake as it is supposed to and didn’t brake immediately. When it became apparent that the car was not slowing down at all, I slammed on the brakes but was probably still going 40 when I collided with the other car.”

Tesla responded that before the accident, the vehicle logs data recorded the deactivation of autopilot, traffic aware cruise control and automatic emergency braking system due to the driver’s use of brake pedal.

Accident #2

On April 29, a Model S started on itself and crashed the windshield into a trailer parked in front, in Lindon of Utah. The driver claimed that he parked the Tesla car, chatted with a person for 20 seconds to 1 minute, went away for 5 minutes and found the car under the trailer after came back.

Tesla responded that the vehicle logs “show that the incident occurred as a result of the driver not being properly attentive to the vehicle’s surroundings while using the Summon feature or maintaining responsibility for safely controlling the vehicle at all times.” The Summon feature enables the car to park by itself after a few actions to activate. The logs recorded that the Summon feature started 3 seconds after the drive got out of the car and closed the car door.

Accident #3

On May 7, a Model S crashed into a tractor trailer on Highway 27 Alternate near Williston, Florida. The trailer was making a left turn when the Tesla car on Autopilot mode from the opposite direction drove under the trailer. The driver and only occupant of the Model S was killed.

A Tesla blog wrote “Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied. The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer, with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S.”

Accident #4

On May 19, a Model S hit a stopped van in left lane of a busy road in Europe. The driver posted a video of the accident, showing that the car was on Traffic-Aware Cruise Control of Autopilot which was locking on a car driving in front. While the car in front was steering right to avoid a stopped van, the Model S did not seem to react accordingly and hit the van.

The driver claimed that Tesla Europe stated that “all systems worked as expected.”.

Accident #5

On July 1, a Model X crashed on Pennsylvania Turnpike near Bedford exit in Pennsylvania. The Detroit Free Press reported that the car “hit a guard rail off the right side of the roadway. It then crossed over the eastbound lanes and hit the concrete median. After that, the Tesla Model X rolled onto its roof and came to rest in the middle eastbound lane. ”

The two people in the car were injured in the accident. The driver told police that the car was in Autopilot. However, Tesla released a statement saying “We have since attempted to contact the customer three times by phone without success. Based on the information we have now, we have no reason to believe that Autopilot had anything to do with this accident.”

Accident #6

On July 9, a Model X on Autopilot bumped into a guard rail near Whitehall of Montana. Fortune reported that the car “failed to detect debris, a wooden stake, in the road” according to online comment by a person who claimed to be the driver’s friend.

Tesla’s statement said that “The data suggests that the driver’s hands were not on the steering wheel, as no force was detected on the steering wheel for over 2 minutes after auto-steer was engaged (even a very small amount of force, such as one hand resting on the wheel, will be detected). As road conditions became increasingly uncertain, the vehicle again alerted the driver to put his hands on the wheel. He did not do so and shortly thereafter the vehicle collided with a post on the edge of the roadway.”

Weekly Electromobility News

International Energy Agency Publishes Global EV Outlook 2016; Fortune and Tesla Disagree on the Materiality Topic; China Creates a National Innovation Center for EV Battery

International Energy Agency Publishes Global EV Outlook 2016

The report is available on International Energy Agency (IEA) website. It points out that 1 million electric cars were passed in 2015 (1.26 million to close the year). 1% of market share for EVs has been reached in 7 countries, including Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, France, China and the UK.

Moreover, the battery cost has decreased by a factor of four since 2008. Ranges of over 300 km are expected from EV makers, which are believed to be encouraging for EV development.

The Electric Vehicle Initiative has a goal (20 by 20) of reaching 20 million EVs globally by 2020. The Paris Declaration targets for 100 million EVs globally by 2030.

Fortune and Tesla Disagree on the Materiality Topic

On May 7, a fatal Model S crash happened while the car’s Autopilot was on. On May 16, Tesla told the government about the accident, according to Reuters. On May 18, Tesla started a new stock sell.

Fortune published an article saying that the accident “was a material event” and followed it up with another article titled “Tesla Said an Autopilot Crash Would Be ‘Material’ Before Elon Musk Said It Wasn’t”.

Tesla’s response to Fortune was later put online by Fortune. In the response, Tesla said “Fortune’s article, “Tesla Said an Autopilot Crash Would Be ‘Material’ Before Elon Musk Said It Wasn’t,” is fundamentally incorrect.”

China Creates a National Innovation Center for EV Battery

According to People.cn, a national innovation center for EV battery was established in Beijing. The center is the first of manufacturing innovation centers initiated by the “Made in China 2025” project.

The center will be operated in “company+partnership” mode, integrating resources from government, auto industry and academy. 3 billion yuan (or $448 million) will be used for R&D between now and 2020. The center plans to improve EV battery performance and catch up with Japan and Korea by 2020.

Weekly Electromobility News

NHTSA Opens Evaluation into Autopilot Performance in a Fatal Tesla Model S Crash; VW Likely To Build One of the First Battery Plants in China; NextEV Set to Unveil Its Electric Supercar This Year

NHTSA Opens Evaluation into Autopilot Performance in a Fatal Tesla Model S Crash

According to Tesla Blog, NHTSA is looking into the Autopilot performance in a fatal Model S crash in Florida on May 7, 2016. The regulators are determining if “the system worked according to expectations”.

With Autopilot on, the Model S crashed into a tractor trailer which was making a left turn. The car drove under the trailer and the roof was sheared off. The crash killed the driver and only occupant Joshua Brown of the Model S.

VW Likely To Build One of the First Battery Plants in China

According to Automotive News Europe, a person familiar with VW management said “China is likely one of the first” that VW is building a battery plant in.

VW unveiled 2025 group strategy 2 weeks ago, with an emphasis on vehicle electrification. 150 GWh of batteries are projected to be needed, which is a huge procurement challenge for the carmaker. The source indicated that VW was planning roughly 10 plants with a total investment of 20 billion euros.


NextEV Set to Unveil Its Electric Supercar This Year

According to Autocar, the debut of NextEV’s first electric supercar will be “somewhere in Europe” this year, a comment made by the startup’s president Martin Leach, former president of Ford Europe.

The supercar is in advanced development and has managed to produce more than 1 MW, or 1341 HP. It is targeting the performance comparable to McLaren P1 and LaFerrari. The price tag will be around 1 million euros.

NextEV currently sponsors a Formula E team.

Weekly Electromobility News

Tesla Proposed to Buy SolarCity; Faraday Future Joined Self-Driving Road Test Club; China Manufactured 1.76 Billion Lithium-ion Batteries in First 4 Months


Tesla Proposed to Buy SolarCity

According to Wall Street Journal, Tesla made an acquisition offer to SolarCity on Tuesday. The deal values SolarCity at as much as $2.8 billion, which is with a premium of more than 20% over its current stock price.

The deal, if going through, will allow Tesla to integrate its electric car and battery business with SolarCity’s solar panel business.

Tesla’s market value is about $32.7 billion, which is more than 15 times the size of SolarCity ($2.1 billion).

Elon Musk serves as both companies’ chairman and largest shareholder. He recused himself during the decision making process. The deal needs approval of shareholders.

Faraday Future Joined Self-Driving Road Test Club

According to Reuters, California DMV approved Faraday Future to test its self-driving cars on road, confirmed by DMV’s spokesperson on Tuesday. The company has plans to start road test later this year.

Faraday Future is building a $1 billion EV factory in Nevada and also negotiating another 157-acre manufacturing site on Mare Island.

The DMV has so far approved 14 companies to perform road test on self-driving technologies, including BMW, Bosch, Cruise Automation, Delphi, Drive.ai, Faraday Future, Ford, Google, Honda, Mercedes-Benz, Nissan, Tesla, VW, Zoox.

China Manufactured 1.76 Billion Lithium-ion Batteries in First 4 Months

According to Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China, in January-April 2016, 1.76 billion lithium-ion batteries were produced in China, an increase of 14.3% over the same period of last year. 0.5 billion were made in April alone, an increase of 11.1%.

In January-April, China manufactured 8.695 million e-bikes, an increase of 12.3%.