Tuesday 15th May 2018.

MERCEDES’ EQ WILL DEFINE AN ELECTRIC ECOSYSTEM

  • As you may have seen on the recent Fully Charged show, the Mercedes EQ C is in the final stages of testing, in fact the body is so complete it’s driving around in camouflage panels. So they’re behind Jaguar but ahead of sister company Audi with the e-tron Quattro and BMW with the iX3.
  • And it seems the EQ brand is central to their plans for electric cars. I did notice, as a keen F1 fan as well as Formula E, sometime ago now Mercedes added “EQ Power” to the side of their cars. “Putting the Mercedes line-up of full- electric vehicles under the EQ umbrella is meant to shine a light on the automaker’s technical competence, says Britta Seeger, Mercedes-Benz global sales and marketing boss” according to Automotive News.
  • But perhaps more importantly than clear branding they also REALLY want you to test drive one. And that means having one. Which sounds obvious but when you turn up a dealership, for any maker, and ask to test drive an electric car…you get mixed results.
  • “Mercedes is working with dealers globally to set up test-drive events. So far, the events are with plug-in hybrid models and sibling brand Smart’s electric vehicle. Dealers in Europe have been asked to keep one or two hybrid models on hand for test-drive experiences, Seeger said.”
  • I can imagine sections of the showroom different colours or styles for the EQ cars. However that might not be the best option. I wonder sometimes if they’re making life harder by putting their cars in silos, especially those which are based on platforms which will also see combustion variants like the BMW and Mercedes.
  • So rather than going into a showroom and there being a special area, EVs will almost need to be less special. Here are all our models, oh and these are electric. Comparing apples with apples if you like.
  • On the flip side, you could argue that Tesla has done such a good job at stealing those big spenders, you could argue you should have electric specialists surrounded by only EVs. Automotive News continue: “Tesla sold an estimated 28,800 top-of-the-line Model S sedans in 2017, more than triple the number of BMW 7-series sedans sold and nearly double the sales of the Mercedes-Benz S class. Both the Mercedes and BMW large cars are down significantly from their U.S. highs.”

 

BAIC GROUP SELECTS MAGNA TO DEVELOP ELECTRIC VEHICLE ARCHITECTURE

  • And whilst US and European EVs makers are just getting started, their production numbers are dwarfed by some Chinese companies. One of those being BAIC. As they say, they’re not mucking around! Many of those companies have long held ambitions to conquer the domestic market, learn their lessons, and then sell their cars to USA and the rest of the world. Whilst that idea was seen as far-fetched by some recent research has show that, in terms of electric cars, ‘Made In China’ is not a problem.
  • And so the news came through yesterday that one of those big Chinese manufacturers, BAIC, is moving into Europe. BAIC’s EC series was the World’s #1 selling EV car in 2017 – and only available in China.
  • The Austrian Magna, those who make fully built cars for companies who need extra capacity for instance, have signed a deal with BAIC. And yes, Magna are the ones making the Jaguar I-PACE. The luxury I-PACE.
  • “BAIC Group (Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Co., Ltd.) and Magna today announced that they will jointly develop a next-generation smart electric vehicle architecture for the Chinese market. China is currently the leading market for electric mobility in the world, with around 700,000 electrified cars sold in 2017. By 2020, the number of all-electric cars on China’s roads is forecast to reach around five million, due in part to subsidies and quotas by the Chinese government. Magna was selected to be BAIC’s partner due to its innovative and cost-effective solutions throughout its complete vehicle manufacturing and engineering services as well as its full-scale electronic/electrical architecture and lightweight technologies”

 

ELECTRIC VEHICLES MAKE DRIVERS CALMER, HAPPIER AND MORE FOCUSED

  • A new study undertaken by LEVC (London EV Company) has shown that the quieter driving environment of an electrically-driven vehicle can have significant mental health benefits. The work, in conjunction with academics from the University of York, has been released during Mental Health Awareness Week (14-20 May) which is focused on stress and stress reduction, and shows that moving from driving diesel to electric vehicles improves mental well-being for commercial vehicle drivers.
  • In a world first, LEVC (London EV Company) commissioned an experiment to monitor mental activity – among a host of other physical factors – of drivers in both the new electrically-driven taxi and previous diesel model to find out if the quiet cabin of the state-of-the-art electric vehicle had an effect on the wellbeing of hard-working taxi drivers.
  • The test was designed and executed by acoustics expert Dr Duncan Williams of the University of York and took place in central London with four professional cabbies taking to the wheel of both vehicles and undertaking a series of trial drives.
  • An electroencephalogram, often referred to as a ‘brain cap’, was placed on the head of each driver. Electrodes within the cap monitored brain activity over a set route through the capital, giving previously unseen insight into the differing mental states between drivers of electric and diesel vehicles. Heart rate and audio readings were also taken too.
  • Chris Gubbey, CEO of LEVC said: “Our aim with the TX was to make the world’s most advanced taxi, a vehicle that would not only help reduce urban air pollution but improve comfort and convenience for passengers and drivers across the globe. We are delighted to find we have made a vehicle that is now proven to also make cabbies’ working lives better.
  • “Given that cabbies spend up to 12hrs a day driving, the vehicle is their office. We owe them a duty of care to provide the best working environment – and this study shows that driving our electric cab has a clear benefit for mental wellbeing. Next year we will be introducing a new electric light commercial vehicle, which means that the positive health implications of going electric will be extended to professional van drivers too.”
  • Unlike the previous taxi, the electric taxi’s multi-filter system works to remove gases and particles from the incoming air. In addition, an in-built air quality sensor also automatically closes the external air intake if it detects increased levels of pollution in the outside air – protecting passengers, and the driver, from the capital’s often poor-quality air.

 

TESLA REGISTERS SHANGHAI ELECTRIC CAR FIRM AHEAD

  • There’s a new name in Electric Cars. It’s, ahem, Tesla! Tesla has registered a new electric car firm in Shanghai, as China prepares to scrap rules on capping foreign ownership of new-energy vehicle (NEV) ventures” report Reuters. “The new company will focus on electric cars, spare parts and batteries, according to the filing. The new company, Tesla (Shanghai) Co Ltd, was registered on May 10, according to a filing with the National Enterprise Credit Information Publicity System seen by Reuters. Tesla Motors HK Limited as the sole shareholder in the firm.”
  • Elon Musk recently said he’ll be naming the chosen location for the first Chinese factory which means they won’t have to face import duty on cars made in the US and sold in China, plus that the Chinese Gigafactory will have all functions under one roof.

 

TESLA UNVEILS NEW LARGE POWERPACK PROJECT FOR GRID BALANCING IN EUROPE

  • Tesla are on a roll recently releasing new videos, yesterday we say the official Tesla twitter account release details of another installation of Powerpacks, this time in Belgium and designed to balance the grid.
  • In case anyone has forgotten the Gigafactory isn’t just flat out making battery packs for all three Tesla models, but also the expanding part of the Tesla Energy business.
  • 140 Powerpacks in total have been shipped across the Atlantic to make a total of 18.2MW of power output. There will be one coming to the UK soon as well, and they replace gas generators which has previously been used to keep the grid balanced.

 

HERE’S THE MEMO ELON MUSK JUST SENT ANNOUNCING A MAJOR SHAKE-UP AT TESLA

  • “Tesla CEO Elon Musk told employees Monday that the company plans to “flatten” its structure as it works to improve communication and trim activities “that are not vital” to its success” says CNBC.
  • “To ensure that Tesla is well prepared for the future, we have been undertaking a thorough reorganization of our company. As part of the reorg, we are flattening the management structure to improve communication, combining functions where sensible and trimming activities that are not vital to the success of our mission. To be clear, we will continue to hire rapidly in critical hourly and salaried positions to support the Model 3 production ramp and future product development.”

 

MAYOR SETS 2020 TIMETABLE FOR LONDON ‘ZERO EMISSION ZONES’

  • The Mayor of London has brought forward his aim to establish a series of ‘Zero Emission Zones’ in parts of the capital by five years, in the final draft of the London Environment Strategy published last week” says Air Quality News. “City Hall will seek to implement zero emission zones in town centres from 2020 and aim to deliver a zero emission zone in central London from 2025.”

 

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