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Good morning, good afternoon and good evening wherever you are in the world, welcome to EV News Daily for Saturday 2nd March 2019. It’s Martyn Lee here and I’ve been through every EV story I could find today, and picked out the best ones to save you time.
Thank you to MYEV.com for helping make this show, they’ve built the first marketplace specifically for Electric Vehicles. It’s a totally free marketplace that simplifies the buying and selling process, and help you learn about EVs along the way too.
TESLA SERVICE CENTRE DAMAGED IN FIRE
- “A fire at a Tesla car service centre has damaged at least half of the site. The “significant fire” broke out in the workshop area at the premises in County Oak Way in Crawley, West Sussex, just before 10:30 GMT. No-one was injured.” reports the BBC: “More than 50 firefighters and eight fire engines were sent to tackle the blaze, which was brought under control three hours later. A spokeswoman for the fire service said about 50% of the single storey building had been damaged by fire and heat. She added the fire was believed to have started in a store room for parts and spread to the main building. “It was an accidental ignition,” the spokeswoman said.”
- A Tesla spokeswoman said: “The fire at Tesla’s Gatwick Service Centre has stopped and we are working with the fire department to learn more about what caused this incident. “We can confirm that no Tesla staff or customers were injured or hurt.”
- David Peilow @dpeilow tweeted: “@elonmusk while it is lucky that no one was hurt in this incident, the UK Roadster service centre is now destroyed. Single point failure. Shows why we asked to disseminate knowhow and specialist tools to community.”
TESLA JUST PAID OFF A $920 MILLION BOND WITH CASH
- “Tesla reportedly just paid off a $920 million convertible bond in cash, according to CNBC. The payment highlights the company’s improving financials recently. Tesla is aiming to achieve sustainable profitability and get to the point when it can fund both its current operations and business expansion with regular cash from operations.” according to Daniel Sparks at Fool.com: “Fortunately, Tesla had plenty of cash to pay this $920 million convertible bond. The company’s cash position increased by $1.45 billion in the second half of 2018, to $3.7 billion, despite paying off a $230 million convertible bond during the fourth quarter.”
TESLA CUTS AUTOPILOT UPGRADE PRICES FOR EXISTING EV OWNERS
- Engadget reports: “Tesla’s across-the-board price drops have been helpful for new car buyers, but painful for veteran owners who just watched their EV’s value plunge. There’s some consolation, however: Tesla is lowering the prices of its autonomy upgrades. Anyone who bought a vehicle before the price drops can buy the Autopilot upgrade for $2,000 after delivery, or half as much as before, while springing for the Full Self-Driving pack on top of that costs $3,000 instead of the earlier $7,000. You’re saving about $6,000 if you go all-in, Tesla said.”
- They continue: “Those who already splurged on the self-driving option won’t be completely out of luck. They’ll receive an invitation to the company’s Early Access Program, giving them a chance to try new features ahead of their fellow drivers. While this won’t fill the hole in your bank balance, it might provide some comfort.”
NEW DALLAS RIDESHARE SERVICE USES ONLY ELECTRIC CARS
- When riding with eCarra, customers get an eco-friendly, clean, luxury ride in a Tesla. It’s what the founders call “the Whole Foods of the rideshare industry”—when you pay, you know you’re not harming the environment.
- Operating by the tagline “rides that matter,” eCarra uses strictly electric vehicles for an experience that’s sustainable, fast, and luxurious. With its fleet of about 25 Teslas, eCarra offers a premium ride experience that’s customizable through its iOS app.
- They rented their first Tesla on Turro and started offering rides for free just to test the market. Demand soared.
- The ride are comparable to Uber, but customers know they’re getting a Tesla that’s cleaned daily and looks immaculate. Since the company launched, 97 percent of customers have said this is their first ride in a Tesla.
- And, eCarra’s drivers are all independent contractors who go through four different interviews before they are hired.
- Robinson said he likes to call eCarra the Whole Foods of the rideshare industry because customers will pay a little more for a better, environmentally friendly product. Most of their business so far has been trips to or from Dallas Fort Worth International Airport, the “last mile” for a business traveler.
DRIVE A HYBRID? YOUR METRO EXPRESSLANES DISCOUNTS ARE GOING AWAY
- New rules are now in effect for those driving low-emissions vehicles in freeway toll lanes. We’ll run you through all the changes, but this is the most important thing to know: unless you have an electric car, your clean-air decal probably isn’t going to get you a discounted rate on the 10 or the 110 freeways anymore.
- The toll lanes, designed to reduce congestion, are now so congested themselves that perks to entice drivers to use them are no longer necessary.
SK INNOVATION PLANS TO BUILD NEW BATTERY PLANT IN EUROPE, THE MAJOR EV MARKET
- SK Innovation announced that it would invest about 859 million U.S. dollar in Hungary only three months after it made an announcement to build a plant in the U.S. late last year. The decision came as SK Innovation aims to strengthen its presence in the European market on top of the 7.5GWh EV battery plant which is under construction in Komarom, Hungary since early last year. With the new plant, SK Innovation will gain momentum to reinforce its foothold in the European EV market which is growing fast thanks to stricter environmental regulations.
- SK Innovation will break ground on the plant in March this year and finish construction in the first half of 2020. The company will begin mass production and delivery in early 2022 once facility stabilization, commissioning and product certification is completed.
- By 2021 when the new plant is completed, SK Innovation’s global production capacity is expected to include the No.1 Komarom plant (7.5GWh per year) and the new No.2 Komarom plant in Hungary, Changzhou plant in China (7.5GWh per year), Georgia plant in the U.S. (9.8GWh per year), in addition to the Seosan plant in Korea (4.7GWh per year).
SCOTTISHPOWER TO LAUNCH PUBLIC ELECTRIC VEHICLE CHARGING BUSINESS
- “ScottishPower is to launch a public electric vehicle charging business as part of a £2 billion clean energy investment.” says Fleetnews.co.uk: “the new business will install fast chargers across the UK at strategic commercial locations from winter this year. The £2bn investment is the company’s biggest investment in the country in a single year and was announced following the sale of this thermal generation business and transition to 100% renewable energy in 2018. The company also announced plans for a 50MW battery storage project at Whitelee the UK’s largest onshore windfarm. The large-scale battery project will be the first of a series of storage schemes, mainly located at windfarms and at strategic points on the network.”
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