World No.1 EV Maker Separates Its Battery Business

While Tesla tried very hard but still could not meet its sales target of 80,000 cars last year, China-based EV maker BYD sold 507,000 electric cars in the same year.

Just to put things more perspective, Tesla plans to deliver 500,000 cars in 2018, largely with the hope of its highly anticipated Model 3. Yet, many people view Tesla’s goal near impossible.

Now the largest EV maker BYD, according to Gasgoo, plans to separate its EV battery operation. Yes, the company happens to be the No. 1 battery maker in China as well, with a current capacity of 16 GWh and another 10 GWh under construction.

BYD’s EV batteries are mostly going into its own electric cars. In the future, the new battery subsidiary will supply to outside customers as well.

Electric Car Startups Backed by Chinese Firms – Part 1

It is the booming age for electric car startups. Interestingly, many such companies have a strong tie with Chinese firms. In this article, we will look at Karma Automotive, Faraday Future and NextEV (Nio).

Karma Automotive

Karma Automotive is a subsidiary of Chinese auto parts company Wanxiang. Wanxiang acquired the bankrupted Fisker Automotive in 2014 and renamed it as Karma Automotive earlier this year.

The headquarters of Karma Automotive are located in Costa Mesa of California, which they ended up buying in April for $56.25million. The company’s factory is located in Moreno Valley of California. Besides, Karma’s controlling company Wanxiang is interested in building a new auto plant in Hanzhou, China. The factory will be able to produce 50 thousand Karma vehicles annually.

Karma Automotive launched its first luxury car Revero on September 8th. The MSRP starts at $130,000. Potential customers can go to Karma dealership to order. Revero is based on the previous Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid, but now uses technologies from BMW. The company plans to build 3,000 units per year. Another model Atlantic, a low-cost 2-door electric car, is in the pipeline.

Faraday Future

Faraday Future was founded in 2014 and the headquarters is in Gardena, California. The company is reportedly backed by Chinese LeEco’s boss Yueting Jia.

Faraday Future released an eye-catching concept electric supercar FFZero1 during CES 2016, featuring a versatile Variable Platform Architecture (VPA). This is pretty much what we know about its product so far. There either is a target time to launch any product.

On the other hand, the company is expanding very rapidly. According to its website, there are over 1,400 people globally already. Faraday Future has attracted top talents in the industry, e.g. an automation expert from Apple.  However, recently some top executives left the company.

Facility-wise, a $1billion 900-acre factory is under construction in North Las Vegas, and another 157-acre formal naval shipyard near Silicon Valley is in negotiation. Recently, Faraday Future downsized the Las Vegas plant to 650,000 square feet. It will be completed by end of August this year. Moreover, Faraday Future will work together with LeEco on the latter’s planned $1.8billion EV factory in China, manufacturing 400,000 cars annually.

Faraday Future launched FF91 model in January this year. The cost would be “less than $300,000”. There were over 64,000 reservations within 36 hours of its debut. The delivery is expected to start in 2018.

Faraday Future has been granted to test self-driving cars on the road in California. It is also running a Formula E racing team – Faraday Future Dragon Racing.

NextEV (NIO in the US)

This less-than-2-year old company has already launch two electric cars.

The first one is a supercar named NIO EP9 with massive 1 megawatt of power (or 1,360 horsepower). The car was caught at the Nuerburgring, filming commercial footage. The supercar will cost $1.48million and Next EV plans to build only 10 of them. It will be available in China and US.

The second on is a 7-seater electric SUV – NIO ES8. The car will be capable of swapping the battery. Sales will be stated in 2018.

The China-based startup has offices all around the world including London, Munich and Silicon Valley. Top industrial executives like former Ford Europe boss Martin Leach and former Cisco CTO Padmasree Warrior have been involved with NextEV. Leach visions NextEV to be automaker version 3.0, a level up from Tesla’s version 2.0 over-the-air connectivity.

According to NextEV website, the company plans to build a half-billion motor plant in Nanjing China. It also has formed strategic partnership with Chinese carmaker JAC which will potentially be worth nearly $1.5 billion. There is a joint venture with China Changan Automobile.

NextEV joined Formula E race in its inaugural season and its racer Nelson Piquet Jr. won the championship in 2014/2015 season.

Nissan LEAF Offers Great Discount of $10,000 in Multiple States

According to Electrek, A discount of $10,000 on top of other eligible incentives is available for Nissan LEAF in several states including Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida.

This discount is through the partnership between Nissan and utility companies. Employees and customers of the utility companies can receive it. For example, NextEra Energy in Florida has this option for its employees, while Duke Energy extends the discount to its customers across multiple states. Earlier in Dec. 2016, Kansas City Power and Light also started this program for Nissan LEAF.

The offer is valid through Jun 30th this year.

Nissan is discounting LEAF heavily, partly to prepare for the launch of the next-generation LEAF. Besides these partnerships, regular Nissan dealers also have great deals for the car. For example, Dublin Nissan in California offers $39/mo leasing on 2017 LEAF, with $3,500 down payment. This brings the price of car only $15,825.

Weekly Electromobility News

LEAF Lessees Get Option to Extend Lease with 3-month Courtesy Payments from Nissan; Lucid Air Luxury EV Will Start at $60,000; Tesla to Discontinue Model S 60 and 60D Starting on April 17

 

LEAF Lessees Get Option to Extend Lease with 3-month Courtesy Payments from Nissan

According to Green Car Reports, Nissan on Mar. 9 tweeted on Twitter that “many LEAF owners can extend their lease, get 3 months of courtesy payment & get on the list for the next Nissan LEAF”. This applies to the leases with the expiration date of Apr. 1st and later.

The offer is related to the release of the second-generation Nissan LEAF. The global release will be in this September and the new LEAF will be on sale by this year.

Lucid Air Luxury EV Will Start at $60,000

According to Autoblog, EV startup Lucid Motors set its first electric car Air starting at $60,000, before government incentives. The base model will have an electro-range of 240 miles and 400 horsepower. It will also be equipped with a 10-speaker sound system, 12-way power seats, “lots of” touch screens, etc. There will be upgraded 315 mile and 400 mile models. Additional options include a dual-motor system with 1000 horsepower, glass roof, 22-way power seats with massage, 29-speaker sound system, reclining rear seats, and so on.

The first 255 Launch Edition models will include many upgraded options, plus unique colors and badging. They will be around $165,000.

Tesla to Discontinue Model S 60 and 60D Starting on April 17

According to Teslarati, Tesla will soon stop selling its base models Model S 60 and 60D. Customers can still order these models until April 16. The price starts at $68,000 and the electro-range is between 210 miles and 218 miles with different motor configuration. This will make Model S 75 become the base model. Model S60 and 60D also have the option of upgrading to 75 kWh battery over the air.

Weekly Electromobility News

BMW to Recall Its i3 With Range Extender; Tesla Started a Video Contest After a Fifth-grader Suggested So; EPA is Expected to Re-review of 2022-2025 Fuel Economy Targets

 

BMW to Recall Its i3 With Range Extender

According to Green Car Reports, starting on April 3rd, BMW will recall all of i3 with range extender that it has sold in the US, totaling 19,130 units from 2014 model to 2017 model. According to NHTSA, the fuel-tank vent line of i3 with range extender may tear and cause leak. During the recall, the vent line will be inspected for wear and replaced as needed. A clip will also be installed to prevent the tear.

Tesla Started a Video Contest After a Fifth-grader Suggested So

According to Fortune, Tesla officially launched a video commercial contest on this past Saturday, soon after 10-year-old Bria Loveday made the proposal in a letter to Elon Musk. The project is named after the young girl as “Project Loveday”.

Now contestants can submit 90-second videos on Tesla website. The content should be related to Tesla’s products or its commitment to “accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”. Top 10 winners will be featured on the company’s social media channels. The participant with the highest score will be introduced at a Tesla’s future launch event.

The contest is open until May 9 and the results will be announced around May 22.

EPA is Expected to Re-review of 2022-2025 Fuel Economy Targets

According to Reuters, EPA is expected to release soon that it would re-review of 2022-2025 vehicle fuel economy targets. This is related to the efforts by automakers to urge President Trump to reverse the decision under former President Obama.

Former President Obama and automakers in 2011 agreed to reach a company average fuel efficiency (CAFE) of 54.5 mpg by 2025. Last July, EPA estimated that CAFE would be between 50.8 and 52.6 mpg in 2025. Carmakers are feeling pressure on these targets. In the past 2 years, fuel efficiency increase has been stagnating partly due to low gas price.

Weekly Electromobility News

Toyota Recalls All of Its Mirai Fuel Cell Sedans; smart Will Only Sell Electric Cars in North America; Buemi Won Formula E Race in Buenos Aires and Got a Hat-trick in Titles

 

Toyota Recalls All of Its Mirai Fuel Cell Sedans

According to Reuters, Toyota announced on Wednesday that all of its Mirai were being recalled for fuel cell output voltage problems. Under “unique driving conditions”, the voltage from the boost converter can possibly go above maximum voltage. During the recall, the software will be updated free of charge and the process will be around half an hour.

There are roughly 2,840 Mirai FCVs on the road worldwide, from the start of sales late last year.

smart Will Only Sell Electric Cars in North America

According to Green Car Reports, Mercedes-Benz USA in a letter to its dealers announced that the smart brand would only sell electric models in the US and Canada starting from the 2018 model year.

Currently, 2016 smart Fortwo Electric Coupe sells for $19,990 before government incentives, which is the first electric car below $20,000 in the US. The convertible Electric Cabriolet has a MSRP of $22,990.

Last year, Daimler announced that all of 2017 smart models would have the all-electric option, including fortwo, fortwo Cabrio and forfour.

Buemi Won Formula E Race in Buenos Aires and Got a Hat-trick in Titles

According to Formula E, Formula E’s 3rd race of the season took place in Buenos Aires on Feb. 18. Renault e.dams driver Sebastien Buemi finished with the first place again, making a hat-trick winning streak on all 3 races so far. Now Buemi became the first drive in Formula E history to obtain three race titles in a row. TECHEETAH’s Jean-Eric Vergne and ABT Audi’s Lucas di Grassi are the 2nd and 3rd places respectively.

The Buenos Aires ePrix also made history with two self-driving “DevBot” electric race cars running in a “Roborace”. Formula E hopes that it will grow into a 10-car race and each team makes its own software.

Weekly Electromobility News

Tesla Shuts Down Factory to Prepare Model 3 Production; Honda and Hitachi Plan to Form a JV for EV Motor; EV Insiders Believe Battery Cost Will Be Less Than $100/kWh Before 2020

 

Tesla Shuts Down Factory to Prepare Model 3 Production

According to Reuters, Tesla announced that this month it would shut down its Fremont factory for one week, to increase capacity of the paint shop and perform general maintenance. The shutdown is intended to prepare the factory for Model 3 production starting in July.

The test run of Model 3 production will start as soon as 2/20. The status should be updated in the shareholder report on 2/22. On the other hand, minor design changes could still be underway.

Separately, according to Fortune, workers at Tesla factory are trying to unionize. United Automobile Workers (UAW) union said workers at Tesla had approached the union and it would greet them with “open arms”.

Honda and Hitachi Plan to Form a JV for EV Motor

According to Fortune, Honda and Hitachi Automotive Systems will form a joint venture in July, to produce electric car motors. The investment is 5 billion yen (or $44.69 million). Hitachi will hold 51% of the JV and the remaining 49% ownership will go to Honda.

Honda CEO Takahiro Hachigo commented that “producing motors is capital intensive, so rather than just manufacturing them for our own purposes, we would like to produce in large volumes with the possibility of supplying a variety of customers.”

Just last week, Honda and GM formed a JV Fuel Cell system Manufacturing LLC to make fuel cell power systems for both companies.

EV Insiders Believe Battery Cost Will Be Less Than $100/kWh Before 2020

According to a blog on Wards Auto, during the 2017 CES, EV experts expressed their confidence on future battery cost cut. They believe the cost of the battery will be less than $100/kWh before 2020, which would bring electric power system cost down to the internal engine level and thus makes EV cost competitive. Furture, they think $80/kWh will be reached “not long after that”.

Weekly Electromobility News

Honda and GM Join Forces on Fuel Cell Vehicles; Oil Companies Shell and Total Are Installing Chargers at Their Gas Stations; Tesla Motors Changed Its Name to Tesla

 

Honda and GM Join Forces on Fuel Cell Vehicles

According to Reuters, Honda and GM formed a joint venture Fuel Cell System Manufacturing LLC to produce fuel cell power systems. Companies will together put $85 million to build a production line for this purpose at a GM plant in Michigan. The companies target around 2020 to start production and share the power systems in car models from both companies.

Honda currently sells its Clarity fuel cell sedan in both the US and Japan. GM does not have any fuel cell model at the moment.

Oil Companies Shell and Total Are Installing Chargers at Their Gas Stations

According to Green Car Reports, Shell and Total decided recently to include EV charging stations at their gas stations. Shell will add this function in both the UK and the Netherlands later this year, while Total is considering its domestic areas.

They are not the only oil companies that show interest in EV. Ricker’s Oil in Indiana added 9 DC fast-charging stations at its gas stations in 2015.

Tesla Motors Changed Its Name to Tesla

According to Reuters, Tesla Inc dropped “Motors” in its old name on Feb 1st. The change reflects the company’s move into new energy technologies from electric car products.

Besides the electric car lineup, Tesla also has businesses covering the Powerwall home battery storage systems, solar cell roof tiles, solar energy services (with SolarCity) and batteries from the Gigafactory.

Weekly Electromobility News

Hyundai Ioniq Electric is the Most Energy-Efficient Car; Formula E New York Races Start Ticket Sales; BMW, Nissan and EVgo Partner to Extend Coverage of Charging Stations

 

Hyundai Ioniq Electric is the Most Energy-Efficient Car

According to Green Car Reports, the all-electric 2017 Hyundai Ioniq achieves 136 MPGe on the EPA rating, which makes the model the most energy-efficient car in the US. It passes the 133 MPGe of the 2017 Prius Prime plug-in and the 124 MPGe of the 1st-gen BMW i3.

2017 Ioniq Electric has an electro-range of 124 miles. Moreover, the range will be increased to 200-mile tier by 2018.

The car will be on sale by end of 2017. The hybrid version will also be available in the same timeframe. The plug-in model will arrive in 2018.

Formula E New York Races Start Ticket Sales

Formula E on Wednesday started ticket sales for its first-ever races in New York, which will take place on 7/15 and 7/16 at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. The sales launch featured NY Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz. The races are the Round 9 and Round 10 of the 2016-2017 season.

The tickets on sale are for the Pier 11 Main Grandstand. The price is $75 for adults, $47.5 for students and $37.5 for children aged 5-15. From 3/1, the price will increase. Tickets are available at Formula E website.

BMW, Nissan and EVgo Partner to Extend Coverage of Charging Stations

According to BMW Blog, BMW and Nissan are funding EVgo to install 174 DC fast-charging stations across 32 states and DC. 50 stations are planned for 2017. As a result of this partnership, EVgo will operate a total of 668 DC fast-charging stations, covering 50+ metropolitan areas and 90%+ of BMW and Nissan electric cars.

Weekly Electromobility News

Tesla Starts to Sell the Longest-range Electric Car; California PG&E Turns to its Customers to Fund EV Projects; Faraday Future FF91 Would Cost “Less Than $300,000”

 

Tesla Starts to Sell the Longest-range Electric Car

According to Electrek, Tesla has made available its Model S 100D version. It is loaded with a 100 kWh battery pack and has an EPA rating of 335 miles – a new world-record of electro-range for a mass produced pure electric car.

The MSRP starts at $95,000, which is only $3,000 higher than the price for the 90D version but $35,000 lower than P100D. Also available for Tesla is the Model X 100D, with a range of 295 miles.

New customers will not be able to enjoy free Supercharge access though.

California PG&E Turns to its Customers to Fund EV Projects

According to The Mercury News, California utility company PG&E announced a plan to facility the use of EVs in the state, and its customers would pay on average 28 cents more per month to help fund the $253 million proposal.

PG&E’s plan is intended to support the conversion of large- and medium-sized vehicles to EV and to expand fast-charging stations. The rate increase would be over a five-year period and PG&E thinks that the long-term benefits will offset it for the customers.

On its EV efforts, the utility is installing 7,500 chargers in the residential area and offering a $500 clean fuel rebate.

Faraday Future FF91 Would Cost “Less Than $300,000”

According to Electrek, Faraday Future FF91, which debuted a few weeks ago at CES 2017, would cost “less than 2 million yuan”, said Jia Yueting during an interview. That amount is equal to $290,000. Jia Yueting’s LeEco is the financial backer of Faraday Future.

FF91 received over 64,000 within 36 hours of its debut.