We published 509 articles in October. It’s rather hard to read every single one — I’m not sure if anyone does, but I can tell you that I don’t have time for that and I’m the director and chief editor of the site! We publish weekly and monthly roundups of the most popular articles, but I’ve felt like something was still lacking. So, I’ve decided to jump into a couple of new monthly reports — one for electric vehicles (this one) and one for solar energy + stationary energy storage.
The idea isn’t to re-report every news item in these categories. The point is to highlight significant shifts, huge milestones, and big news items in these industries. Let’s see how this goes.
Oxford may have gone a step further as the first UK city to ban diesel and gas cars from its center, but the plan still has to be confirmed, and the start date is in 2020.
At nearly the same time, a C40 Fossil-Fuel-Free Streets declaration was signed by mayors from 12 major global cities.
Singapore is taking a bit of a broader step, declaring that the city-state will allow no new personal vehicle growth starting in 2018.
Two Swedish municipalities have decided to help Northvolt kickstart EV battery gigafactories in Sweden.
Electric Delivery Vehicles & Buses
Chanje has secured a sizable and potentially HUGE partnership with Ryder Systems to provide electric trucks and vans for delivery services. This could be a big step forward in the delivery vehicle switch to electric platforms.
Lightning Systems is now taking pre-orders for a fully electric upfit of the Ford Transit van — yet another electric delivery van for the seemingly fast-adapting market.
Meanwhile, a new tool (free to use), helps clients of all kinds find the right electric delivery van for their needs. Voltia, which produces larger versions of the Nissan e-NV200, launched a tool to help anyone find the best light commercial electric vehicle or fleet vehicle for their precise needs.
This comes after Nissan launched a longer-range version of its e-NV200 electric van.
There are other names in the game, though. There’s so much demand for StreetScooter’s low-cost electric delivery vehicle that the German startup underneath Deutsche Post DHL is doubling the factory’s production volume.
WB Mason apparently figured out what size electric delivery truck/van it wanted, Workhorse Group delivered, and we got a test drive!
Similarly exciting, Efficient Drivetrains has unveiled the industry’s first Class 8 plug-in hybrid
Chinese automotive giant BYD, which leads on many EV records and is the country’s second-largest automaker, introduced an electric midibus and has already landed an order for 21 of them in the Netherlands.
That follows BYD tripling the size of its electric bus factory in California, by the way, which is due to growing demand for its bigger buses.
Electric Cars & Motorcycles
Changan Automobiles announced it’s putting $15 billion into the electric revolution, as part of the company’s new “Shangri-La Plan.” It plans to stop selling fossil-fueled cars by 2025.
OK, this is just a statement, but it’s big enough to get a nod — China’s biggest automaker, BAIC, says the country will produce over 1 million electric cars in 2018.
Speaking of China, it was confirmed that a Tesla factory in Shanghai, China, is on the way.
US electric car sales were up as well, just not as dramatically as in China.
India’s largest automaker now says the future is electric, but it hasn’t provided any timeline for when and how it plans to transition its business.
Back in Europe, Renault announced that it plans to have 8 fully electric models on the market by 2022, and a further 12 “electrified” models.
In today’s European market, EV sales are being led by the Renault Zoe, BMW i3, and Nissan LEAF, but Tesla took the #1 and #3 spot in September.
Hyundai will probably surge a bit, though, given that it just landed a full-scale electric carsharing gig in Amsterdam.
In the hottest EV market in the world, Norway, 32% of car sales over the first three quarters were electric — fully electric or plug-in hybrids. Over 40% of cars sold in Oslo in September had a plug.
Tesla’s Model 3 production hurdles were shared to some extent by Tesla and Panasonic, with some optimism that they were being overcome, but no real guarantee of that yet. This followed news that Tesla was slashing a Model 3 parts order from supplier Hoya due to production bottlenecks. Tesla did send out a Model 3 reservation update to buyers on the heels of those disclosures.
BYD, another EV leader facing some challenges, revealed that its profits are down ~20% due to the fast growing competition on the Chinese EV market.
Nissan, meanwhile, has seen a surge of over 9,000 orders for its new longer-range LEAF — LEAF 2.0. And it seems Nissan can grow that list rather quickly in Japan given the long waiting period customers still have for the Tesla Model 3 and other automakers’ slow progress with similar product offerings.
However, Nissan may eventually have some competition from a big-box retailer in Japan that aims to start selling compact electric cars itself by 2020.
Zero Motorcycles — which I hear is the top electric motorcycle company — has launched a new lineup.
Chinese app-based ride-hailing giant DiDi (which accounts for approximately half of the world’s app-based ride-hailing trips and about 10% of China’s massive electric car fleet) announced it is going to build out an electric car charging network itself.
EV smart charging company eMotorWerks got acquired by Italian energy giant Enel, showing yet again that the future of energy is seen by industry leaders to be smart e-mobility, and potentially opening the door for eMotorWerks to scale up much more quickly.
In a similar vein, Renault acquired smart EV charging startup Jedlix.
Speaking of smart charging, Finland got its first bi-directional vehicle-to-grid (V2G) charging setup. Will that become the norm?
Slovakia-headquartered company GreenWay has been building a couple of fast charging stations a week in Poland in recent months, quickly turning Poland into a country with almost no fast charging to one of the most thoroughly covered, integrated, and cutting-edge EV charging networks out there.
It has been questionable how serious India is about becoming one of the world’s leading electric car countries, but large EV charging deals with European EV charging leaders (that is, ABB and Fortum) seem to indicate a movement is afoot.
Speaking of EV charging leaders in Europe, NewMotion got snatched up by Shell — yes, Shell. (It still blows our mind.) Shell is also working on smart EV charging to help even out grid electricity production and demand.
Superfast charging is plowing forward as well. ABB started selling a superfast charging station product, and Ionity was formed from the superfast charging consortium created last year between Daimler, Ford, Volkswagen Group, and BMW — oh, wait, that was early November, but I’m keeping it in here anyway.
A self-driving minibus is hitting the streets of a German town. How soon till these are in most towns and cities? Will they ever be in most towns and cities?
At almost the same time, automotive backroom leader Delphi acquired self-driving tech startup nuTonomy.
And ride-hailing app company Ridecell acquired autonomous tech company Auro to focus its MaaS offerings toward autonomy.
Probably going in the opposite direction, and probably more significantly, Alphabet put $1 billion into Lyft.
Chinese app-based ride-hailing giant DiDi (which accounts for approximately half of the world’s app-based ride-hailing trips and about 10% of China’s massive electric car fleet) announced it will partner with NEVS (formerly known as Saab) on self-driving cars.
Comma.ai’s geohot (George Hotz) announced a new
aftermarket self-driving option “dashcam.” CleanTechnica got an exclusive recording of geohot’s presentation, which included a handful of unfiltered and super interesting comments about other automakers (such as Tesla and GM).
Unsurprisingly, Velodyne has quadrupled its lidar sensors for this hot market.
Another lidar startup, Strobe Lidar, got bought by GM.
Think autonomy is only on the streets? Apparently, it’s also headed for the skies, and Boeing acquired Aurora Flight Sciences for further development work on autonomous flights.
New research found (yet again) that electric cars release less CO2 over their lifetimes than diesel cars — even in dirty electricity markets.
Not knowing where else to stick this one, it was great to be on the ground in Paris and get exclusive coverage of Hyperloop Transportation Technologies announcing its first full-scale project.
And that comes after another hyperloop milestone, Virgin Group buying a stake in Hyperloop One.
Nonetheless, there’s still plenty of skepticism about the commercial viability of hyperloops.