TEN Episode 350: Tricking Semi-Autonomous Cars, Nikola Gets $2 Million, Tesla Recycles Everything!

Coming up on today’s show: Car and Driver shows how pretty much any car on 
sale today with semi-autonomous driver assistance   can be tricked into driving without someone at the 
wheel, Nikola gets awarded two million dollars in   U.S. Department of Energy grant funds less than 
a month after the indictment of its founder,   and Tesla’s latest environmental report showcases 
how it can now recycle all its battery pack   materials to save ninety-two percent of the 
elements that make up new battery packs! These stories and more, coming next! Welcome back to another episode of TEN 
– Transport Evolved News – I hope you   and yours are well – and following all the 
guidance as COVID cases spike upwards again.

This show is sponsored by the 
electric auto association!   Stick around until the end of the 
show to find out how joining the EAA   can help you finance your own clean 
energy or transportation purchase! Today’s show is also sponsored by the Chicago 
Chesed Fund’s seventh annual Tesla raffle. Watch   until the end to find out how to enter – and 
how to get twenty-five bucks off two tickets! It’s pretty standard practice in the automotive 
world for a new car to be on the market   about four years before it gets a refresh — 
known colloquially as the mid-cycle refresh.

But BMW’s iX3 electric SUV – a vehicle that’s been 
on sale for less than a year in Europe, has just   received its first refresh. And yes, that includes 
getting a bigger Kidney grille, as has been BMW’s   trend for oh-so-long. In addition to the updated 
grill and new lights, a revised center console,   and new infotainment screen. Sadly, there’s no 
drivetrain or battery pack update, so this really   is just cosmetic.

Why the change so soon? Well, 
that’s because BMW just did the mid-cycle refresh   on the X3 – the car that the iX3 is based on which 
has been in production far longer than the iX3. We’ve seen plenty of video evidence 
over the last few years that it’s   pretty easy for the determined fool 
to trick Tesla’s Autopilot system   into believing that there’s someone sitting in 
the driver’s seat with their hands on the wheel. But this week, Car and Driver 
released a report showing pretty much   any semi-autonomous driver assistance system 
on the road today can be tricked into thinking   that there’s a person behind the wheel.

Carrying 
out extensive testing on a closed track — and   a closed portion of road in order to test 
Cadillac’s Supercruise defeats — the magazine   shows that while these systems all achieve the 
uncanny valley standard of driver impersonation,   they all have their flaws. The hardest 
systems to trick? Cadillac’s Supercruise,   and the auto-steer systems 
used by BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Polestar has made some significant tweaks 
to its Polestar 2 electric car for the   twenty twenty-two model year, with improvements 
to range, in-car tech, and a lower price point. At the bottom end of the range is a new 
single-motor variant with a forty-five thousand   nine-hundred dollar MSRP before incentives or 
fees. Offering a two hundred and sixty-five mile   range, this new model is squarely in Model 3 
territory, even if the Model 3 standard range   plus is a little more affordable. The Polestar 
Long range dual motor variant, which also gets   a modest range increase to two hundred and 
forty-nine miles, starts from just under fifty   thousand dollars.

Deliveries of both vehicles are 
expected to begin before the end of this year. Throughout this year, we’ve heard plenty 
of tales of automakers being forced   to push back vehicle launches and limit 
production due to constrained component supply. Despite controlling much of its own supply chain, 
Tesla isn’t immune to the chip shortages and,   combined with super-high demand for all of its 
models, has effectively sold out of all Model 3   Standard Range Plus models for this year.

I say 
effectively, because Tesla has just pushed back   delivery estimates by six months – focusing 
instead on producing its Model 3 Performance   and Model Y Performance models. This 
isn’t the first time the easiest way   into a new Tesla has been through its most 
expensive variant, but like it or loathe it,   Tesla’s response to the chip shortage is pretty 
much standard among all automakers right now. Troubled automotive startup Lordstown 
Motors — which is effectively under   new management as investors 
scramble to save what remains   of the business — has come up with 
a new game plan to make some money.

While it’s been telling us that it will begin 
deliveries of the Lordstown Endurance next   month – a claim that most of us in the media 
are struggling to find credible – the company   has now announced it is in serious discussions 
with several different companies about leasing   out its production space, allowing other firms to 
build things alongside Lordstown on its production   line. This would effectively make it the ‘WeWork 
of manufacturing’, but remember – Lordstown   is seriously strapped for cash — and 
insiders I’ve spoken to suggest that its   interim CEO’s focus is on saving the company’s 
assets… and getting ready for bankruptcy. Talking of companies we remain doubtful 
about, Nikola Motor announced it has   received a two million dollar grant 
from the U.S. Department of Energy. Nikola says the money will help it develop 
refuelling technologies for its planned hydrogen   fuel cell trucks – trucks which were at the very 
heart of the federal charges against former CEO   Treofr MIlton.

With no trucks in production yet, 
and very little to show for itself other than   continued grandiose statements, we, like most 
of the media, are struggling to figure out how   and why the DoE decided to go ahead 
with writing this cheque. That said,   the DoE allegedly made the decision to give Nikola 
money three weeks before Milton’s indictment…   Nikola just decided to sit on the news a 
while… Yeah. I’m thinking what you’re thinking. Tesla is well-known for restricting its 
after sales support and Supercharger access   for salvaged cars that have been rebuilt 
and put back on the road. In fact,   for many years, it even refused to sell parts 
to customers trying to repair such vehicles. But now, after denying Supercharger Access to 
rebuilt Teslas, it appears — based on anecdotal   reports — that Tesla might have suddenly started 
allowing Salvage Teslas back on the network.

Given   that this is anecdotal – and Tesla hasn’t said 
anything publicly yet — this could just be a   software glitch – like the one in Europe earlier 
this year that suddenly started to let non-Teslas   use CCS Superchargers. So when we have more 
confirmation either way, we’ll let you know. Audi loves making concept 
cars, and in the last few years   we’ve seen plenty of them powered 
by an all-electric drivetrain. And ahead of next month’s IAA in Germany, 
and the Monterey car week in California,   Audi has just revealed its latest – the Audi 
SkySphere. Looking more like something that Batman   would drive than anything else, the Skysphere is 
a mean-looking convertible roadster with lots of   power. Audi’s boss said of the Skysphere that it’s 
not a car but an experience device, and we’ve got   to agree – there’s a lot to experience, 
from that massive digital grill to that…   massive tail.

Supposedly highlighting 
Audi’s new design language, it promises   a four-second sprint time – but don’t expect 
this to ever reach production… like.. Ever. This week, as the U.S. legislature has struggled 
to pass its bipartisan infrastructure bill,   there’s been a lot of talk of 
so-called ‘blue hydrogen — a   method of generating hydrogen that captures 
excess carbon dioxide during production. Yet a newly released scientific paper this 
week from researchers at Cornell and Stanford   Universities claims that blue hydrogen is anything 
but green, showing that the carbon capture   technology used in blue hydrogen is responsible 
for generating twenty percent more greenhouse   gas emissions than burning natural gas or coal. 
We’ve not had a chance to read the study in depth,   but we’re hoping to very soon – so let us 
know if you’d like us to make a video on this.

Timed to coincide with the IPCC’s latest damning 
report on the effects of anthropogenic climate   change on our lives and our planet, Tesla 
published its own annual impact report. And while we’re not going to go into the entire 
report in this video – again, if you’d like us   to do a video on the report next week please let 
us know below — one really exciting piece of news   stood out to us – namely that Tesla says it is 
now able to recycle one hundred percent of all   raw materials found in its battery packs, 
something it says means that it can reduce   its mining requirements by ninety-two percent 
for all new battery packs.

Of course, right now,   I’m guessing it is producing more batteries 
than it is recycling, but it certainly shows   that Tesla's closed-loop manufacturing 
goals are certainly achievable long-term. And now, it’s time for short shorts Ford’s weather facility, where it punishes cars 
to determine how they’ll survive tough conditions,   has been showcasing how its robot quote 
unquote “drivers” are used to operate car   controls during extreme testing, sparing 
humans from a seriously unpleasant task.

An arbiter has awarded a 
Black, former employee of Tesla   a one million dollar settlement after ruling 
the company didn’t take adequate action   to stop his supervisors from calling 
him the N-word – among other offenses. A study ranking how long it 
takes for a used car to sell   found that the top three fastest selling used 
cars in U.S. were all EVs, with the Tesla Model 3,   Chevy Bolt, and Tesla Model S taking 
gold, silver, and bronze respectively A Republican-introduced amendment 
to the Senate’s EV incentive program   would limit tax credits to cars with an 
MSRP of less than forty thousand dollars   and to buyers with less than one hundred 
thousand dollars of yearly income. We love unique and beautiful electrified 
transport here at the channel,   and we don’t think it comes more unique and 
beautiful than this – a gorgeous wood-framed   e-bike designed with sustainability in mind 
and made by woodworker Evie Bee.

Sign us up! European automaker Renault and Chinese automaker 
Geely Holding Group have signed a memorandum of   understanding that would see Renault hybrid 
vehicles introduced to the Chinese market. Documents show EV truck startup Rivian is 
looking at Texas for the site of its next   big production facility, though the company 
says that states in multiple sites are under   consideration. Texas is known for having 
less… red tape… than other states. In response, Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who 
knows a thing or two about getting an EV   startup into series production, commented 
on hearing Rivian is considering building   a factory in Texas that the rival firm 
should focus on getting its production   running smoothly at the factory it already 
has, before it adds another one.

Ouch. Solar Taxi, a Gahnan e-mobility company 
that seeks to help the country electrify,   has opened its first battery laboratory in 
the city of Kumasi. It hopes the facility will   help it develop battery cells for both converted 
electric vehicles as well as future EV projects. In an effort to help it raise more funds to help 
bring its OCEAN electric SUV to market, Fisker has   announced the sale of six hundred million dollars 
worth of green convertible senior notes. These are   a quick way for companies with low credit scores 
to raise extra capital by selling company debt. Cadillac has delivered the first of its 
newest high-performance Blackwings sedans.   But these Blackwings will be the last new 
petrol-powered sedans to be introduced   by the automaker, all new Cadillac sedan 
models will be electric from here on out. Reports indicate that the Volkswagen 
ID.2, which will likely debut in   twenty twenty five or thereabouts, will be 
yet another SUV, probably a compact one.   For those of us who had hoped the ID.2 would be 
a replacement for the e-Up, this is… sad news.

Japanese battery manufacturer Panasonic, which 
provides batteries for both Tesla and other   automakers, has reported a twenty-nine 
percent year on year increase in sales,   posting point six nine billion dollars 
in profit, beating market expectations. Meanwhile, South Korean battery manufacturer 
Samsung SDI also saw increased sales and   profits in the last quarter, recording 
record quarterly revenues that were up   thirty percent year on year. Its net profit 
margin now sits at eight point six percent. Scooter battery swapping network Gorgoro 
Network has just added its four hundred   thousandth subscriber and reports over two hundred 
million battery swaps have been made to date. Xpeng has shown a video of its upcoming 
P5 electric sedan, navigating city streets   autonomously using its own autonomous 
drive technology. The P5 is the first   mass market EV equipped with LIDAR, dramatically 
increasing its autonomous capabilities.

With huge EV pickup trucks becoming all the 
rage, Nissan is reportedly looking at the   idea of producing a more compact EV pickup 
offering. Though a production vehicle would   be many years away if it was green lit, we 
want that LEAF Pickup from a decade ago. A study out of the University of Washington 
found an association between exposure   to fine particulate pollution, such as from 
car tailpipes, and an increased risk of   developing dementia. It proves that reducing 
emissions isn’t just about global warming. Legendary designer Paul Smith has partnered 
with MINI together to produce the MINI-Strip,   a custom one-off version of the MINI 
Cooper SE electric hatch that highlights   sustainability with unique aesthetics that 
we think will appeal to many MINI fans.

In the wake of a dire climate change report from 
the IPCC, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison   has ever so slightly softened his negative 
stance on electric vehicles, backtracking   his claim EVs would end people’s weekend. 
He’s still not a climate crusader, though.. Meanwhile, Andrew Constance, the transport 
minister in the Australian state of New   South Wales wants the federal government 
to buy EVs for its own fleet to help drive   down the cost of electric vehicles. Given who 
the PM is, I think he’s got a struggle ahead. Lightning eMotors and Forest River Incorporated 
have partnered to produce and deliver   seventy five hundred all-electric 
shuttle buses over the next five years,   with seating capacities of between twelve and 
thirty three riders and wheelchair accessibility. Mercedes has launched the configurator 
and opened order books for European buyers   of its EQS luxury electric sedan. Prices start at 
the equivalent of one hundred thousand US dollars,   but that number quickly rises 
as you add in desirable options. LG Energy Solutions has launched a battery 
innovation contest open to the public.   Winning institutions will receive one 
hundred and fifty thousand dollars a   year to pursue their research. Maybe someone 
will design a battery that doesn’t catch fire.

Automaker Nio is planning to launch 
a new, more affordable brand designed   to compete in the market with brands like 
Volkswagen, as opposed to the more high-end   segment Nio cars currently compete 
in with brands such as Audi and BMW And those are your short shorts! 
There will be more, next week!  But before we get back to our final two 
stories, a note from one of our sponsors. How would you like to win a Tesla of your choice, 
or fifty thousand dollars in cash? Well, if you’re   a U.S.

Resident, now’s your chance, thanks to the 
seventh annual Chicago Chesed Fund’s Tesla raffle! The charity offers more than eighty programs 
to help Chicago families survive tough times,   deal with medical bills, fund education, start a 
family, get back on their feet, and train for new   careers to name a few, and its forty-four thousand 
square foot warehouse has helped more than two   thousand four hundred families alone in the last 
year. To support the charity, its annual Tesla   raffle gives you a chance to win a Tesla Model 
S, 3, X, Y, (or Cybertruck), or fifty thousand   dollars cash with each ticket costing one hundred 
dollars. But, as with previous years, we’ve teamed   up with the raffle to offer you a twenty-five 
dollar discount off two tickets — letting you   buy two tickets for one hundred and seventy-five 
dollars instead of two hundred dollars. To enter   and for more information, head to CCF Raffle dot 
com, and enter “TransportEvolved” at the checkout.   There are a limited number of tickets available, 
and the draw is taking place in just over a   week’s time on August twenty-sixth, so if you 
want to take part – you’d best get a move on.

Ford, like every other automaker out there, 
is suffering as the ongoing chip shortage   seriously hampers parts 
availability for new vehicles. While it’s managed to this point 
to avoid those parts problems   impacting production of the Ford Mustang Mach 
E to date, the company has now announced some   significant delays will impact Mach E 
production for a while. Customers who   have ordered their cars between July fifty and 
October First will likely see a six-week delivery   delay for their new vehicles. To compensate 
for the inconvenience, Ford says it will be   providing affected owners with an additional two 
hundred and fifty kilowatt-hours of complimentary   charging on its ‘Ford Blue Oval’ charge network — 
which basically translates to any of the partner   charging networks Ford works with. Let’s hope for 
all automakers, the shortage gets cleared up soon. And finally, The Kia Soul EV has always been sold 
as a fun, funky vehicle. I mean,   it had giant fluffy hamsters 
advertising it at launch   which, I’m not going to lie, meant I 
kinda fell in love with its boxy design. While the second-generation Soul EV was far 
less nerdy and more mature in its design,   it didn’t actually get sold 
in the U.S.

(although Canada,   Europe and parts of Asia got it). 
And now, one of Kia’s pre-production   second-generation Soul EVs has been given a 
makeover to coincide with the Boardmasters   twenty twenty one surfing and music festival in 
the UK. Called the Soul EV Boardmasters edition,   it’s been given a lift kit, new decals, and 
chunkier tyres to handle life on the sand. Oh,   and a surf rack, of course. I think it’s stunning 
– and honestly I think it’d sell. What say you? And on that note, we’re done for the day! But before I go, I want to thank the Electric 
Auto Association for sponsoring today’s show.   They’ve been advocating for electric vehicles 
since nineteen sixty-seven, and firmly believe   that our future depends on us making the 
switch to clean, green electric cars today.   The EAA can help you find someone near to you 
that can help you make the switch to electric.   It can help you become an EV educator, and 
point you in the direction of monthly meetups   for like minded EV fans.

And if you become 
a member, you’ll get access to a new clean   energy and EV loan program set up between the 
EAA and the Colorado Clean Energy Credit Union.   Find out more by heading to electric auto dot org.
If you haven’t already, please consider   subscribing to the channel, hitting 
that bell, and doing the same to our   other two channels as well – That’s transport 
Evolved Take Two and Transport Evolved Shorts!  We’d love you to support us through 
Patreon or Kofi if you’re so inclined,   and don’t forget that you can buy your 
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And if you’re feeling chatty, 
drop by our free-to-join Discord chat room!  I – or someone else from the team – will 
be back soon with more video goodness,   but until next time, thanks for 
joining me and Keep Evolving!.

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