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.
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.
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.
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.
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