Germany in August – Electric vehicles crushing it at record 13.2 market share

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Germany, Europe’s largest auto market, saw a record 13.2% plugin electric vehicle market share in August 2020, up over 5× from the 2.6% result of August 2019. This comes immediately after July itself broke new ground at 11.4% market share. The overall auto market in August was down 20% from an unusually high August 2019.

Pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plugin hybrids (PHEVs) contributed fairly evenly to August’s plugin result, with 6.4% and 6.8% of the market, respectively. The year-to-date division of labour is 4.3% BEV and 4.8% PHEV, giving a cumulative plugin market share of almost 9.2% so far in 2020, up from 3.0% in full year 2019.

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New solar-powered truck bed cover captures the sun

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Solar power integration for pickup trucks just became more innovative.

 Worksport™, the manufacturer of tonneau covers and accessories for trucks, has debuted TerraVis™, a platform for versatile and cost-effective pickup truck solar power. The system combines the tonneau covers with a solar generation and energy storage system.

Solar panels built into the cover will collect the sun’s rays and store energy in multiple battery banks. The stored energy can be used to provide power to an electric motor or removed and used remotely.

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California approves largest ever utility program to expand EV charging

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 A charging station for electric vehicles is pictured in Pasadena, California

California on Thursday approved a $437 million effort to build thousands of electric vehicle chargers, its utility regulator said, calling it the nation’s largest ever utility program to expand charging infrastructure.

The money will go to utility Southern California Edison SCE_pe.A to fund the installation of nearly 40,000 chargers, the California Public Utilities Commission said in a statement.

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Tesla Model 3 bucks trend of electric vehicles depreciating rapidly

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The average vehicle coming off a three-year lease has lost 52 percent of its value, but a Model 3 only loses about 10 percent, one study finds.

On average, your average new sedan depreciates 39 percent in its first three years. Trucks go down 34 percent. But electric vehicles drop an astonishing 52 percent, according to iSeeCars, which evaluated values of cars coming off lease.

The outlier is the Tesla Model 3—both compared to other EVs and the market as a whole—which iSeeCars estimates is worth only 10 percent less coming off lease after three years than when it was new.

Tesla’s technological advantages—real and perceived—are a big reason the 3 keeps so much of its value. They help keep the Model S and X above average as well.

For people who buy new vehicles, expected depreciation can be an important factor in trying to estimate what their shiny new object will be worth in a few years. The U.S. used-car market in recent years has seen electric vehicles suffer from particularly high depreciation rates, but there’s at least one EV that’s done playing by the rules.

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Study finds global tipping points for EVs: 31-minute charging, 291 miles of range, $36,000

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To achieve mass adoption, the average electric car will need to offer 31-minute charging, 291 miles of range, and a base price of $36,000. Those three factors comprise a global tipping point for EVs, according to a new study commissioned by oil company Castrol, which is looking to sell so-called “e-fluid” lubricants for EVs.

Findings are based on surveys of 9,000 consumers, 750 fleet managers, and 30 automotive industry professionals in 8 countries—the United States, United Kingdom, Norway, France, Germany, India, China, and Japan.

Consumers surveyed ranked price as the most important factor in the potential purchase of an electric car, followed by charge time and range. Most car buyers seem to expect some breakthrough in battery technology soon, as 61% are adopting a “wait and see” approach, according to the study.

Fleet managers appeared cautious as well. While 58% said they felt “personally motivated” to go electric due to potential environmental benefits, 54% are waiting for competitors to make the switch before they do, according to the study.

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What Coronavirus mean for the future of self-driving cars

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It’s 2025 and driverless cars still aren’t zooming around everywhere. Where are the chilled out passengers on their phones, or napping, as an invisible “driver” navigates a crowded intersection?

 They’re still mostly stuck in the backseat as a human driver shuttles them around. They’re likely in a highly automated and autonomous-capable vehicle, but a human is still there monitoring the machine. That doesn’t mean robo-vehicles aren’t on the road. Instead they’re working behind the scenes. They’re picking up our groceries, filling trucks with our endless online shopping purchases, and hauling crates of produce across the country.

The pandemic made us more comfortable with the idea of autonomous vehicles, but most industry experts still predict a slow transition to their widespread adoption in the U.S. When you’re avoiding exposure to a deadly disease, perhaps a driverless robotaxi, like the Waymo One service in suburban Phoenix, looks more attractive. But autonomous tech and testing regulations won’t accelerate just because of sudden mainstream acceptance and new social distancing norms.

Motional, the new brand from self-driving startup Aptiv and Hyundai, asked just over 1,000 U.S. adults in July about autonomous vehicle (AV) perception. More than 60 percent said AVs “are the way of the future.” A quarter of those surveyed said they are interested in experiencing the tech regularly. A year ago, the American Automobile Association (AAA) surveyed a similarly sized group of Americans and found 71 percent were afraid to ride in a self-driving car. (Note: How the two groups’ demographics compare is unknown.)

The next five years will likely continue to shift and refocus how we think about self-driving technology. While self-driving ride-shares won’t be the norm, more people will have experienced autonomy on the road. Motional CEO Karl Iagnemma thinks that by 2025, “if you haven’t taken a driverless journey you will know someone who has.”

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Volta Zero is an electric delivery truck built just for cities

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DPD will start using the EV to deliver parcels in London next year.

 Volta Trucks

A Swedish startup named Volta Trucks has unveiled its first vehicle: an electric truck designed specifically for city parcel and freight deliveries. The Volta Zero is scheduled to start production in the UK in 2022, and the company is aiming to have as many as 500 vehicles on the road by the end of that year. While it’s far from the first EV designed with parcel delivery in mind — Amazon plans to use electric vans from Rivian and Mercedes—Benz to deliver customers’ orders — Volta Trucks has forged significant partnerships that could give it a role in shaping the future of deliveries.

European delivery service DPD will launch a pilot test using the Volta Zero to service customers within London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone in the first quarter of 2021. The company also told Reuters that it has “well progressed with another seven or eight customers.”

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Japan’s Sky Drive ‘flying car’ successfully carries out test flight with a person aboard

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A contraption that looked like a slick motorcycle with propellers lifted several feet off the ground

 The vehicle hovered in the air, over a netted area, for four minutes.

The decades-old dream of zipping around in the sky as simply as driving on highways may be becoming less illusory.

Japan’s SkyDrive, among the myriads of “flying car” projects around the world, has carried out a successful though modest test flight with one person aboard.

In a video shown to reporters on Friday, a contraption that looked like a slick motorcycle with propellers lifted several feet off the ground, and hovered in a netted area for four minutes.

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Sometime soon, your car will park itself in urban garages

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A Ford Escape automatically stops as a pedestrian crosses in front during a self park demonstration, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020 in Detroit.

Ford, Bosch and real estate company Bedrock are teaming up to test technology that will let vehicles park by themselves in parking decks. The companies are testing the technology using floor-mounted sensors and computers that can control mainly existing features in the Ford Escape.

They say the technology is likely to arrive before widespread use of fully autonomous vehicles because sensors and computers inside parking decks can be used.

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Electric Brand’s eBussy modular electric van can turn into 10 different vehicles

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Sucks to suck, Optimus Prime.

When it comes time to buy a new vehicle, you usually need to make some choices. Are you looking for a sedan, an SUV, a minivan? If you’ve committed to a pickup truck, you can’t later turn it into a sports car. Which sucks, because most of us use our vehicles for many different purposes, and it’d be great if you could just swap out parts depending on your plans.

That’s one of the driving ideas behind the eBussy, an electric microbus concept from a German company called Electric Brands. The (sigh, unfortunately named) eBussy sports a retro-cute exterior evoking the swinging ‘60s, and a battery that promises a range of 124 miles on a charge. (You can also configure it with a larger battery for about 373 miles worth of driving range.) Roof-mounted solar panels help recharge while you’re driving, and regenerative braking can extend the range.

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Welcome to the age of the all-electric hypercar

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Boasting up to 2,000bhp with no fuel cap, a trio of new releases from Lotus, Pininfarina and Rimac are here for when your Ferrari just isn’t fast enough

Same old story. You wait ages for one 2,000bhp, all-electric hypercar to arrive, and then three come along at once. Three underdog brands with very different backstories, three cars that are almost impossible to resist comparing, each with startlingly similar statistics and almost identical price tags that sound more like government furlough bill

In Cambiano, the 1,900bhp Pininfarina Battista will become the most powerful Italian road-legal car ever — itself quite a record — and the first to be badged by the coachbuilder and design house behind some of the most beautiful sports cars of the 20th century (the Ferrari 250GT, Cisitalia 202 and Fiat 124 Spider among them), now launching as a carmaker in its own right.

In Norfolk, the £2.2m Lotus Evija is about to enter production as the most powerful road car in the world, in what is the latest comeback chapter for the British sports car maker that is impossible to introduce without using the word “plucky”.

And in Croatia, Rimac is the no-bullshit start-up-cum-electric-powerhouse that is finalising its ultra-technical C_Two hypercar, which has a top speed of 415kmph and promises 0–100kmph acceleration in the time it takes to read the words “faster than a motorbike”. For the record, 1.85 seconds.

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Why wireless vehicle charging makes sense for smart cities

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Image of proposed wireless charging stations

Investments we make today in urban EV infrastructure must take into account future requirements for ride sharing, transit and utilities

 

As the world’s population grows increasingly urban — it’s expected that by 2050, 70 per cent of individuals will live in urban areas — it’s critical for these regions to have the infrastructure in place to support quick, convenient and electric mobility. From autonomous vehicles, to electric urban transit, to effective energy management by utilities, successful deployment depends on cities investing in the proper accompanying charging infrastructure. To that end, there’s a good case to be made that investing in wireless charging is critical for the prosperity of urban areas.

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