There’s too much electric vehicle news to cover every week to have full stories on all of the pieces. Writers pick the stories that interest them, which leaves many less glamorous items (especially non-Tesla news) on the bench. To make up for that a bit and highlight several stories that I think shouldn’t be skipped, below is a roundup of recent electric vehicle news.
1. Electric Mercedes-Benz G-Class Coming
This would be a cool electric vehicle to add to the other offerings. An electric G-Class could certainly have some spunky and useful torque. It would be one of the coolest EVs on the market, in my opinion, and I wouldn’t mind test driving one for a few months.
#Daimler CEO Källenius: ”There will be a zero-emission #EV version of the #MercedesBenz G-Class. In the past there were discussions whether we should eliminate the model, the way I see things now I'd say the last Mercedes to be built will be a G-Class" #AMWKongress #eMobility pic.twitter.com/tAS6tzpR3Y
— Sascha (潘賞世) Pallenberg (@sascha_p) November 7, 2019
2. Volkswagen’s 4 EV Platforms
You’ve heard of MEB, Volkswagen Group’s most well known platform for EV models. However, the corporate auto group has more than one EV platform ready to roll and in the works. This picture captures the 4 platforms, focused specifically on the Audi brand:
3. $6.3 Billion Invested In EV Startups In 1st Half Of 2019
More than 1 million electric automobiles were sold across the world in the first half of this year. That was up nearly 50% from the first half of 2018. Furthermore, a lot of money poured into electric mobility (e-mobility) startups. According to EVBoosters, “Compared to the first quarter of 2019 the total investments in e-Mobility related companies grew from almost $2 billion to $4.4 billion for Q2. The overall transaction volume per quarter increased from 29 in Q1 to 42 for Q2. This brings the total transaction volume to a significant 71 transactions covering a value of $6.3 billion.” NIO, Tesla, Northvolt, and Rivian brought in the most money, in that order.
4. Enel X Planted Its 1st EV Charging Station In Russia
“The fast charging station belongs to Enel X’s JuicePump family and has three charging points: two with a capacity of 50 kW DC and one of 43 kW AC. The station is able to fill up two EVs at the same time, and can give them a range of up to 200 km in just 30-40 minutes,” a press release notes.
5. Aiways Prepping For European Invasion
The Chinese electric SUV Aiways U5 is warning that it could shake up the European market a bit, expected to come in at a price tag of around €25,000 — quite cheap! Apparently, the vehicle has just passed EU regulations/certifications.
“The range with the 63 kWh battery should be more than 460 kilometers. Supposedly, there is even an optional 20 kWh battery pack, with which you can increase the range again by 100 km, so the electric car portal Ecomento. If this means the range according to WLTP, one would be on the level of the Tesla Model 3 with a long range (also 560 km to WLTP).” We’ll see.
The electric SUV is supposed to hit the European market in the second quarter of 2020.
6. Lordstown Motors Buys GM Factory
Lordstown Motors aims to build an electric pickup truck, and it has bought up GM’s recently vacated manufacturing facility in Lordstown, Ohio. Its Endurance electric truck is targeted at fleets and production is supposed to start in late 2020. “The Endurance pickup truck utilizes a 4-wheel-drive hub-motor system, a design that reduces the number of moving parts,” Green Car Congress writes. “Fleet managers benefit with less breakdowns, lower maintenance, and most importantly, less cost. The overall benefit is an attractive Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), which translates into a significantly lower lifetime operational cost compared to traditional pickup trucks.”
“The Lordstown executive team is led by founder and former CEO of Workhorse Group, Steve Burns, as well as other key former members of the Workhorse C-Suite. Joining Lordstown will also be experienced automotive leaders from Tesla, GM, VW, Karma Automotive, and Formula One.”
7. CATL Gets Go-Ahead For German Battery Cell Plant
Chinese battery giant CATL got approved to build a new battery factory in Erfurt, Germany, another step in the staircase to an electrified European transportation system. How big will this factory be? Big. “Production was initially planned to start in 2021 with an annual output of 14 GWh. However, the original plans were quickly expanded. Initially, the company’s Chinese headquarters wanted to invest around 240 million euros in the Erfurt plant by 2022. At the end of June, however, the board of directors decided to increase the investments to 1.8 billion euros – by a factor of 7.5. CATL has secured two areas of 35 hectares each in Erfurt, plus 17 hectares for a supplier park.”
8. World’s 1st Vertiport Lands In Singapore
What’s a vertiport? I’m glad you asked, because I didn’t know either. It’s like a helicopter pad, but for newfangled electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft. Here’s more:
“Essex-based Skyports plans to show off the vertical take-off and landing station at Marina Bay during the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress from Oct 21-25. Germany’s Volocopter will bring along its electric aircraft for a demonstration flight.
“Urban air transport isn’t new — helicopters have been doing it for decades. What’s changing is that better batteries and innovative designs are making it cheaper, cleaner and quieter.
“Companies are just trying to demonstrate the technology’s capabilities for now, but a report from Citigroup said sales of air taxis could reach US$5 billion by the end of the next decade.”
9. Volkswagen Group’s Commercial Truck Subsidiary To Invest More Than $1 Billion By 2025.
The brand is TRATON — new to me too. Brands using TRATON include MAN, Scania, and Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus. “If all necessary prerequisites are in place at the right time, I expect for our Group, that in the next ten to 15 years every third of our trucks and buses can have an alternative drivetrain, most of them fully electric,” Andreas Renschler, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG and CEO of TRATON SE, said.
“In the Group, we are developing a common modular electric powertrain toolkit, that will be used in 2020 in the first serial produced all-electric city buses made by Scania and MAN,” said Christian Levin, the Chief Operating Officer and Head of R&D at TRATON SE. “It can be individually modified depending on the brand and area of use. As a result, a maximum number of individual solutions can be produced with a minimum number of components and costs.” Volkswagen Group adds, “TRATON’s brands already hold more than 1,000 electro mobility patents — and, thus, some 25% more than in 2018. … Volkswagen Caminhões e Ônibus (VWCO) has signed the world’s largest purchase intention agreement for e-trucks — 1,600 trucks have been ordered by the Brazilian beer and beverage producer Ambev. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in 2020 — and it was available for test drives for the first time in Europe at the Innovation Day.”
10. Chile Getting Charging
Chile is getting into the EV revolution a bit, supported by Blink Charging and ElectroChile, which have partnered for a multi-year charging station agreement. “The agreement between US-based Blink Charging and Chilean ElectroChile SpA provides the structure for joint promotion and deployment of the fastest Level 2 EV charging equipment available, the Blink IQ 200 electric vehicle charging stations, across the Country,” a press release states.
The Chilean government wants 40% of private automobiles to be electric by 2050, and 100% of the public fleet to be electric by that time.
11. To Elon: Don’t Leave Twitter
Our own Johnna Crider, in response to a 3-day Elon Musk absence on Twitter, wrote a letter asking that he not forget how much light he brings to people on Twitter, and asking that he not leave the platform. (Oh, whoops, that’s a Tesla story — I’m slipping it in nonetheless.)
12. Maersk Container Ship Getting 600 kWh Battery
600 kWh wouldn’t cover the Maersk Cape Town’s energy needs for long-distance transportation, but it will get a trial run at boosting the vessels performance while cutting CO2 emissions.
“Propelling marine vessels with battery power alone is still years away from being a technically- and economically viable option. However marine battery systems can be used to improve the efficiency of a vessel’s onboard electrical systems such as the Maersk Cape Town’s generators. By maintaining the vessel’s auxiliary generators at a more optimal load, and avoiding running generators when not needed, overall fuel consumption can be reduced.”
In just the past few days, I’ve collected 10 interesting EV stories that no one has felt inspired enough to cover. So, here’s a quick rundown of the fun.
13. Segway’s Bringing Us Electric Dirt Bikes
Segway? Dirt bikes? Apparently. “Segway-Ninebot, a leading technology company in the global intelligent short-distance transportation and robotic service industries, is introducing the Segway Dirt eBike,” a press release notes. “Powersports. Making two versions available, the Dirt eBike X160 and X260 are Segway’s first electric powersports products that are a hybrid between a dirt and mountain bike that offer a superior off-road experience. This week at EICMA 2019, the company has also debuted three new hybrid off-road products in the following categories ATV, UTV, SSV to build out their new Segway Powersports business unit. This, along with the new Dirt eBike is an expansion of the Segway mobility portfolio.”
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