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CEO Says VW Ready to Build 50 Million EVs

German automaker expects to spend nearly $60 bil on batteries alone.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Nov.12, 2018

VW's CEO Herbert Diess said the company made arrangements to buy 50 million electric vehicle batteries.

Even though it won’t launch its first long-range battery-electric vehicle, or BEV, until next year, Volkswagen’s CEO is forecasting massive growth in the sector, the German automaker already having “booked” plans to build 50 million BEVs.

Precisely how long it will take to hit that target Volkswagen Chief Executive Herbert Diess didn’t say during an interview with German trade publication Automobilwoche. But the VW Group is expected to sell 10.7 million vehicles this year, a figure that includes a broad range of powertrain technologies, primarily diesel and gasoline.

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The launch of a Golf-sized all-electric model next year will put Volkswagen in direct competition with Tesla, and the Germans are preparing to roll out an array of other BEVs, including a reborn Microbus set to be called the I.D. Buzz. Sibling brand Audi, meanwhile, just introduced its first BEV, the e-tron SUV. All told, the various VW Group brands, ranging from entry-level Seat and Skoda to high-line Bentley and Lamborghini, plan to have at least 40 all-electric models in showrooms by 2025. (more…)

Tesla’s Musk Says Pickup Truck Design is “Futuristic-like Cyberpunk”

He added if it doesn't sell, a more conventional-looking truck may come.

by Michael Strong on Nov.05, 2018

Tesla's Elon Musk said the product he's most excited about is the company's pickup truck.

Now that the Model 3 is launched, Tesla fans want to know what’s on the horizon and a truck has been an oft-mentioned possibility after the Model Y. With those thoughts come possibilities: full-sizes, midsize … compact? Nope.

Cyberpunk.

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“It’s gonna be like a really futuristic-like cyberpunk, ‘Blade Runner’ pickup truck,” Musk said during the Recode Decode podcast. “It’s gonna be awesome, it’s gonna be amazing. This will be heart-stopping. It stops my heart.” (more…)

Nationwide Charging Infrastructure Rapidly Falling into Place

Chargers easier to fund, easier to use, but gaps remain.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.23, 2018

Electrify America, the private company founded by VW, is readying to set up 2,000 charging stations across the U.S.

After a slow start, sales of battery-electric vehicles are beginning to gain some serious momentum this year, industry analysts crediting the growing availability of longer-range and, in many cases more affordable, options.

With dozens of all-electric models due to reach U.S. showrooms by 2020, many starting at as little as $30,000, that should address two of the big sticking points for the nascent market. But there’s a third challenge that needs be addressed before mainstream customers truly feel comfortable with these electrified options: a nationwide public charging infrastructure.

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When the Nissan Leaf battery-electric vehicle and Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid debuted nearly a decade ago there were an estimated 1,000 to 2,000 public charging stations across the entire U.S. But Chargepoint, the nation’s largest supplier of charging systems, now says it alone has about 60,000 available and, when including home chargers that number will likely reach 2.5 million by 2025. (more…)

Dyson Confirms Plans to Build Electric Vehicles at New Singapore Plant

Factory set to open in 2020.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.23, 2018

Company founder James Dyson has been hinting at plans to build an EV for a number of years.

While best known for its vacuums and fans, British company Dyson has confirmed long-standing expectations that it will enter the electric vehicle market, announcing plans to build a new assembly plant in Singapore.

Dyson has been investing heavily in advanced battery technology, among other things acquiring Michigan-based Sakti3, a pioneer in the development of solid state technology. But after writing down some of the purchase price, it is not clear if the British manufacturer will use conventional lithium-ion or more advanced battery technology for the vehicles it is planning.

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The decision to choose Singapore for its new factory “offers access to high-growth markets as well as an extensive supply chain and a highly skilled workforce,” Dyson CEO Jim Rowan told employees in a letter. “Singapore has a comparatively high cost base, but also great technology expertise and focus. It is therefore the right place to make high quality technology loaded machines, and the right place to make our electric vehicle.” (more…)

Porsche May Add Battery-Electric Macan Next, Hints CFO

Battery models set to generate 50% of Porsche sales by 2025.

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Oct.16, 2018

The new Porsche Taycan, formerly known as the Mission E, is just the beginning of a slew of new battery-electric cars coming from Porsche.

Porsche is not only just getting ready to roll out its first pure battery-electric vehicle, the Taycan, but also it apparently sees the opportunity to electrify more of its line-up, with battery-powered products generating more than half its sales by 2025.

The automaker revealed one possibility at the Geneva Motor Show last winter, a concept battery-SUV dubbed the Mission E Cross Turismo that is essentially a high-riding version of the original Mission E concept that will become the Taycan sports car when it goes into production next year. Alternatively, the performance division of Volkswagen Group could electrify the smaller of its two current crossovers, the Macan. And still models will follow, according to Porsche’s chief financial officer.

Electrifying!

“There is no final decision yet, but you can expect that this will be the case because we need a large-volume model that is fully electric. This idea will then progress further with the next generations of the Panamera and Cayenne model lines,” CFO Lutz Meschke told reporters during a tour of the company’s product development center. (more…)

Electrify America Set Expand EV Charging Infrastructure

Stations designed to raise awareness for EVs.

by Joseph Szczesny on Oct.04, 2018

Electrify America is getting ready to build $200 million worth of new EV fast chargers.

Electrify America, the organization created out of the Volkswagen diesel scandal to promote the use of electric vehicles, plans to invest $200 million in Zero Emission Vehicle infrastructure primarily in California.

The investment, which will start next summer and take 30 months to complete, will follow a plan outlined originally by the California Air Resources Board to raise awareness of electric-charging capacity.

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Electrify America was established to implement the $2 billion ZEV Investment Commitment outlined in Volkswagen’s court-approved settlement involving 2.0-liter TDI diesel vehicles. (more…)

BMW Charges Up 2019 i3 With 153-Mile Battery

But has the Bavarian City Car finally found the sweet spot for range?

by Paul A. Eisenstein on Sep.28, 2018

BMW is looking to eliminate the criticism about the range, or lack thereof, on its i3 city car with a bump to 153 miles.

BMW’s little city car, the i3, has won plenty of kudos since it was first launched in the 2014 model-year, but it has also turned off a number of potential buyers who simply can’t get charged up about its limited range.

That may change in the coming months, BMW today announcing a new, extended-range model, the i3 120Ah, as well as the sportier i3s 120Ah, The two versions will deliver a nearly 30% increase in range compared to the current, all-electric i3. BMW also plans to offer the new battery pack with the i3 REX, the city car variant that adds a gas-powered range-extending engine, though final EPA numbers have not yet been released.

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Even with the more capable battery pack the i3s 120Ah might best be described as a longer-range version of the quirky BMW electric vehicle, now offering 153 miles between charges, compared to 115 miles with the largest battery pack it previously offered. That roughly matches what you’ll get with the second-generation Nissan Leaf, but falls well short of the 238 miles offered by the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the nearly 300 miles delivered by the Tesla Model 3 with its optional extended-range battery pack. (more…)

Daimler Invests Millions in Electric Busmaker Proterra

U.S.-based company expands Daimler's battery-electric capabilities.

by Joseph Szczesny on Sep.20, 2018

Daimler Truck has invested millions in California-based electric busmaker Proterra to help with its battery-electric development.

Daimler Trucks & Buses agreed to put up part of a $155 million investment in an electric bus company founded and based in the United States.

Proterra Inc., with offices in California’s Silicon Valley, South Carolina and Los Angeles, announced it closed a $155 million investment round co-led by Daimler, the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles, and Tao Capital Partners.

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Martin Daum, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Daimler Trucks & Buses, noted Proterra has emerged as a leader in the electric-bus business with more than 90 customers across the United States. (more…)

Volkswagen Reveals $6B “Electric for All” Plans

German automaker will debut five-door hatchback in 2019.

by Michael Strong on Sep.17, 2018

Thomas Ulbrich, left, and Christian Senger outline Volkswagen's plans for its MEB-based electric vehicles.

Volkswagen AG is readying to kick off its long-expected onslaught of electric vehicles from its MEB platform, revealing an investment of more than $6 billion for plant upgrades to produce more than 10 million EVs by the end of 2025.

The moves are part of what VW dubs its “Electric for All” plan, based off the flexibility of its modular electric drive, or MEB, platform. It’s expected to the base for as many as 27 model between now and 2025.

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“We will make electric vehicles popular and get as many people as possible excited about electric cars,” said Brand Board Member for E-Mobility Thomas Ulbrich. “The MEB is one of the most important projects in the history of Volkswagen – a technological milestone, similar to the transition from the Beetle to the Golf.” (more…)

Lucid Secures $1 Billion Investment from Saudis

PIF looking for a hedge as it expands the value of the fund.

by Michael Strong on Sep.17, 2018

Lucid executives were on the hunt for additional investors, and struck a $1 billion with the Saudis.

After being seen as the key to Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s now-dead plans to take the EV maker private, Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is now investing $1 billion into EV start up Lucid Motors.

The new pact gives Lucid the cash it needs to kick off production of its first-ever model, the Air, in 2020, at its plant in Arizona. Lucid officials have said the new model will cost about $60,000.

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It’s widely believed the Saudis have been searching for ways to hedge against its oil exports for some time now, explaining the earlier dalliance with Tesla and Musk. The two sides had talks about the fund backing Musk’s plan, which could have required more than $40 billion from the Saudis. (more…)