Wednesday 28th March 2018.
Firstly a ‘thank you’ to one of the podcast listeners from Iceland who just sent a quick note about new chargers there. A little geography lesson by the way, if I drive north here in the UK and got to the top of Scotland, then swam for a bit, I’d eventually hit Iceland. This is from an Icelandic listener Hilmar Sigurpalsson @HilmarSigurpals who is waiting for his 40kWh Nissan LEAF due in May, and he let me know the new network of EV chargers there means you’re never more than 100km away from one. They are on the ring road, which is the road which travels around the edge of the country. Great that whatever size of country, and Iceland is about 350,000 people, EV’s are spreading. Around 200 new LEAFS are heading there and around 1200 original LEAFS were sold there.
GOOGLE’S WAYMO AND JAGUAR I-PACE JOIN FORCES
- Yesterday in New York, Waymo and Jaguar Land Rover announced a partnership which will see the Google-owned company purchase up to 20,000 I-PACEs for self-driving transport.
- Jaguar call it “the world’s first premium self-driving electric vehicle” So let’s deal with the elephant in the room. I think everyone presumed that title would go to a Model X. And it still might, after all, we’ve not actually seen either of them driving themselves across North America as Elon promised we’d see a Tesla do by the end of 2017.
- They say: “Waymo Jaguar I-PACEs, equipped with Waymo’s self-driving technology, will start testing later this year. On-road testing and capturing real-world data will allow Waymo and Jaguar Land Rover engineers to refine technology and deliver optimum safety and reliability. Up to 20,000 I-PACEs will be built in the first two years of production and be available for riders of Waymo’s driverless service, serving a potential one million trips per day.”
- To date, Waymo is the only company with a fleet of fully self-driving cars ? with no one in the front seat ? on public roads. Later this year Waymo will launch the world’s first selfdriving transportation service allowing members of the public to use Waymo’s app to request a vehicle. It did cross my mind, and I mean this respectfully because someone lost their life and that’s far more important than announcements, but do you think at any point they might have shelved this for a few weeks after the Uber crash? Clearly they didn’t feel that the general principle of driverless cars was having to be justified, and you can understand that choice, given Waymo’s excellent safety record.
- Waymo now have 6 models: a small car, an SUV, a firefly prototype, a Chrysler Pacifica minivan you might have seen in the YouTube videos and a semi-truck. Waymo have said they want to offer the right ride for the right purpose. I think that shows just how far along they are, and how people have underestimated them. Whilst others are still getting the tech right, Waymo are onto the stage of having mini vans for Soccer trips and Semi Trucks for commercial deliveries. The Jaguar I-PACE will start in Phoenix this year, and Waymo said they were attracted by the 90kWh battery, mileage between charges, and quick charging to add 100kms in 15 mins.
- It’s also now clear, after years of reports saying Google and Apple would make their own car and take down the car industry with their superbrains, actually they’ve focussed on the hardware/software combo and let expert auto makers deal with the hard job of actually making the car! And Jaguar are doing just that with the Jaguar XJ saloon/sedan coming next year win electric form. And all their models having electrification in the next 19 months, by 2020.
- Incidentally you know I read a press release yesterday from Jaguar about the cars they’re taking to the New York Auto Show, and I had to correct myself because it said the I-PACE had 150kW charging. Well the Jaguar press release today about the Waymo partnership said it was 100kW. I’m going to go and configure one online as if I’m buying to see what that says. Must try hard NOT to actually buy one!
- And how does all this affect the poster child of electric cars? Awfully for Tesla .Following this news, the stock went into freefall. I’m not an investor in Tesla or any car stocks, but around 10% of the value was wiped off the company today. At the time of writing which was 4pm Eastern. It must be said the U.S. also opened an enquiry into the fatal crash in Mountain View, California. NVidia also suspended self driving tests and their shares were down 9%. I only mention the financials because it will cause negative stories about electric cars, and it will be noticed by other car makers. So I’m not suggesting the Jaguar news caused this, but it’s certainly clear from watching the commentary today, lots of people made the assumption Tesla were leaders in self driving electric cars, and they were taken aback Waymo might be ahead.
CHINESE PLANS TO STANDARDISE EVS
- After all this excitement, some news in brief. China is working to standardise it’s own EV sector, which they are heavily promoting to both improve their own air quality and grab the opportunity to be a world leader in the technology.
- They are focussing on one system of recharging, battery design and consumption. At present the powerbase of car makers is North America or Germany and China see the chance to move that to Beijing. And frankly, from observing this all from the UK and the climate policies taken in the USA along with the behaviour of German car makers in relation to lying about diesel pollution, I can see that happening.
NISSAN STARTS BATTERY EXCHANGE PROGRAM
- Nissan say: “Nissan LEAF owners in Japan will be able to exchange their cars’ old batteries for refabricated ones under a new, fee-based program. Starting in May, owners of the 100% electric Nissan LEAF can turn in their used batteries and, for a fee, receive refabricated ones. Nissan is using the battery-refabrication capabilities of 4R Energy Corp., a company established through a joint venture with Sumitomo Corp., to offer the program. As demand for electric vehicles grows, the number of used batteries will increase signifi Nissan hopes that by reclaiming these batteries, it can help lower battery replacement costs and heighten the used-car value of electric vehicles. This will enhance the electric-car ownership experience, which in turn will help promote their use, ultimately contributing to lower CO2 emissions. Nissan will initially offer 24-kilowatt-hour refabricated batteries for 300,000 yen apiece, with plans to expand the lineup. Exchange costs for brand-new Nissan LEAF batteries are 650,000 yen for 24 kWh; 800,000 yen for 30 kWh; and 820,000 yen for 40 kWh.”
NISSAN LAUNCHES SOLAR INSTALLATIONS
- And staying with Nissan, according to Mark at InsideEVs, Nissan and Ecosystem Japan want to install more solar panels in the Kanto region of Japan. They’ll add the panels to the roof for free, you sign up for 20 years to buy the electricity, and at the end of the contract the panels are yours. A nice bonus for new LEASF owners.
MORE ELECTRIC VANS
- After we told you yesterday the Workhorse electric vans being unveiled today for use in the Bay Area. Now, Man Trucks are selling a full electric van called the MAN eTGE. Again it’s 100 miles or 160 kms and designed for urban routes where air quality is worse from diesel delivery vans. It has a 36kWh battery. Plus of course, for those many cities which are moving towards no-diesel zones. MAN says 70% of light commercial vehicles do less than 100kms, or 62 miles, per day based on their extensive knowledge of how they products are used. Also the average speed is low.
HYUNDAI UNION HEAD FEARS ELECTRIC CARS
- Reuters report: “Hyundai Motor’s union chief warned its workers may face a similar crisis to the one hitting General Motors’ (GM.N) South Korean unit as sales in key markets slide, adding that electric cars were ‘evil’ and will destroy jobs.”
- Now I’m willing to chalk this one down to translation, I don’t believe a union boss would call the future technology of EVs evil. Not in the way you and I think of evil. By the way, South Korean unions are strong. 500 employees a year get a free week-long trip to Europe, Hyundai supports their sporting events, and they are seeking a 7.4% wage rise. Nice if you can get it.
BMW i3 SALES TOP 10,000 IN UK
- After 5 years on sale the BMW i3 just sold it’s 10,000 car in the uk. The latest 33kWh battery gets you 0-60 in 7.3 seconds. Plus there’s the new i3s which uses the same battery but is a bit lower, a bit wider, and a bit faster 0-60 in 6.9 seconds. But you lose a bit of range for that. Congrats to BMW.
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