Plus, stay tuned because later in the show I’ll tell you what BMW are saying about plans to close down their combustion car factories in favour of EVs.
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2024 Tesla Model 3: What’s New in the Latest Release
Tesla’s updated 2024 Model 3, previously available in Europe, China, and the Middle East, is now on sale in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Interior enhancements include a new eight-inch rear display for infotainment and climate control, ventilated front seats, higher quality materials, acoustic glass and customizable ambient lighting. Exterior modifications include integrated fog lights and indicators in the main headlights, a front design optimized for aerodynamics, and connected rear lights. Two new color options have been introduced: Ultra Red and Stealth Grey.
The vehicle comes in two variants: the Real Wheel Model 3 with a 272-mile range and the Long Range Model 3, now offering a slightly increased EPA estimated range of 341 miles. Model 3 Highland is not eligible for the IRA tax credit, making it comparatively more expensive than the Model Y.
The Performance trim of Model 3 is still in development, and the older version is no longer available for order. However, existing stock can be purchased with a minimum $5,000 discount, plus the applicable IRA tax credit.
Leasing the Model 3 Highland may be an alternative, as it includes the $7,500 tax credit. However, Tesla’s leasing agreement does not permit the purchase of the car at the end of the lease period.
Hertz Offers Former Tesla Rentals at Competitive Prices
Hertz has put up a selection of its previously rented Tesla models for through Hertz’s Rent2Buy vehicle sales program, accessible on their website. The majority of the Teslas available are Model 3s, with Model Ys also listed. Buyers can possibly benefit from a reduced electric vehicle (EV) tax credit from the IRS on these used purchases, potentially saving an additional $4,000.
Prices for Tesla vehicles start as low as $17,700, which could drop to around $13,700 after applying the used EV tax credit, but as of recording, those early deals are gone for now. But more stock could be added, the lowest prices were now junst under $20,000.
Hertz’s Rent2Buy program allows potential buyers to rent the cars for up to three days at a special rate, or opt for a free two-hour test drive. If a customer decides to purchase the Tesla after renting it, Hertz will waive the rental charges.
Renault R5 Introduces Innovative V2G Technology
Renault’s forthcoming R5 model will be equipped with Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) technology, featuring a unique bidirectional charger. This charger allows the R5 to supply alternating current (AC) to a wall-mounted box that connects with the building’s main board.
Renault’s ‘Mobilize V2G’ can pause charging during peak electricity hours, inject power back into the home or grid when electricity prices are high or demand is substantial. And it can activate charging during times when electricity is less expensive.
The V2G system in the R5 consists of an on-board bidirectional charger with V2G technology and the ‘Mobilize Powerbox’, a bidirectional home charger.
BMW’s Munich Plant Transforms for Exclusive EV Production
BMW AG is investing €650 million ($712 million) to convert its primary factory in Munich to exclusively produce electric vehicles (EVs) The transformation, involving four buildings and a new assembly line, is expected to be completed by the end of 2027.
Since 1922, the Munich plant has been producing combustion-engine vehicles, plug-in hybrids, and EVs like the i4. Starting in 2026, the plant will begin manufacturing BMW’s new “Neue Klasse” EVs, featuring advanced digital technology, extended range, and faster charging capabilities. The “Neue Klasse” EVs will also be produced in Hungary, China, and Mexico.
To facilitate this transition, BMW has relocated engine production to facilities in the UK and Austria. BMW reports strong ongoing demand for its EVs and projects the sale of over half a million fully electric cars in 2024. The company notes that all its current EV models are profitable and expects profit margins to increase with upcoming models.
Volkswagen’s Affordable ID 1 EV Set for 2026 Debut
Volkswagen is developing an entry-level electric city car, potentially named ID 1, reminiscent of the Volkswagen Up, with a planned launch in 2026. The ID 1 is positioned as a budget-friendly EV, expected to be priced under €20,000. It aims to compete with upcoming models like the Renault Twingo and the Citroën e-C3.
Volkswagen’s technical development head, Kai Grünitz, indicates the ID 1 will be a direct successor to the Up, sharing several design elements and attributes. The model will focus on affordability and accessibility for a wide range of customers. Volkswagen is considering retaining its iconic model names like Golf, Passat, and Tiguan in the EV era, potentially moving away from the numerical naming strategy for its ID series.
Tesla Leads 2023 U.S. EV Sales with Three Models in Top 10
Tesla secured three spots in the top 10 best-selling electric vehicles (EVs) in the U.S. for 2023. The Tesla Model Y topped the list, with a total of 394,497 units sold, surpassing the combined sales of all other non-Tesla EVs in the top 10. Tesla’s Model 3 followed as the second-best seller, with 220,910 units. The Tesla Model X ranked ninth with sales of 23,015 units. Other brands featured in the top 10 included Chevy, Ford, Volkswagen, Hyundai, Rivian, and BMW.
Top 10 Best-Selling EVs in the U.S. in 2023:
- Tesla Model Y: 394,497 units
- Tesla Model 3: 220,910 units
- Chevy Bolt EV/EUV: 62,045 units
- Ford Mustang Mach-E: 40,771 units
- Volkswagen ID.4: 37,789 units
- Hyundai Ioniq 5: 33,918 units
- Rivian R1S: 24,783 units
- Ford F-150 Lightning: 24,165 units
- Tesla Model X: 23,015 units
- BMW i4: 22,583 units
$623 Million Boost for EV Charging Infrastructure
The Biden administration is releasing $623 million from a $7.5 billion fund, allocated in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law of 2021, for EV charging and green fuelling initiatives. Transportation contributes to approximately 30% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. This investment is a part of broader efforts to establish domestic green industries, including the production of EV batteries, electric vehicles, and charger manufacturing.
The plan includes the installation of 7,500 new EV charging ports and hydrogen fueling stations nationwide. A total of 47 projects across 22 states and Puerto Rico will benefit from this investment.
Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg highlighted the sale of approximately 1.4 million EVs last year, representing 9% of the U.S. passenger vehicle market. The initiative emphasizes expanding charging infrastructure in both rural and densely populated urban areas, addressing the needs of communities with limited access to charging facilities. Special attention is given to areas with multi-family apartment buildings and regions that are typically harder to reach.
Secretary Buttigieg refers to these developments as “the second automotive revolution.” Focused efforts on urban areas are seen as crucial, as increased EV charger availability can lead to higher EV adoption, reducing emissions and improving air quality and public health. Specific allocations include over $3 million to Idaho Falls, Idaho, for constructing four new electric charging sites on local and interstate highways. Kings Mountain, North Carolina, will receive $800,000 for 34 charging ports near highways and its growing business district.
The availability of new charging stations is expected to positively influence the adoption of EVs in the U.S., as the visibility of chargers encourages drivers to consider electric vehicles.
North Carolina’s EV Charging Station Network Plans Revealed
North Carolina’s Department of Transportation (NCDOT) has released a digital map detailing proposed locations for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. The map is part of the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Program (NEVI) initiative.
It serves as a guide for applicants seeking federal NEVI funds to establish and manage a network of charging stations. Each marked location on the map represents an exit or a group of exits where charging stations are planned to be installed.
NCDOT has secured $109 million in federal NEVI funds for this charging station network. A request for proposals is expected to be issued in February. The initial phase focuses on setting up DC Fast Chargers along major highways, interstates, and alternative fuel corridors within the state.
Smart Debuts High-Power Charging Station in China
Smart has introduced its first self-operated high-power charging (HPC) station in China. The station provides up to 480 kW of power with a current of 600 amps, potentially increasing to 700 amps shortly. This HPC station features liquid-cooled technology.
It can charge vehicles capable of 800-volt charging with 400 kilometers of range in approximately eight minutes. The station is strategically located at one of the largest Smart Centers in the region.
Smart plans to establish additional self-owned charging stations across China. The company has reported sales of 70,000 units of the Smart #1 and Smart #3 models since their launch. Smart’s upcoming electric van, the Smart #5, set for release in 2025, is expected to utilize 800-volt technology and be based on the PMA2+ platform developed by Geely and Volvo.
BYD’s New YangWang U7: A Luxury Performance Sedan Set to Rival Audi and Mercedes
BYD introduces the YangWang U7, the third model in its luxury performance sub-brand, YangWang. The YangWang series already includes the U8, a plug-in hybrid super SUV, and the U9, a fully electric supercar. The U7 super saloon, revealed in recent images, features a traditional ‘three-box’ sedan design with a boot seam, differing from the more common liftback style.
This new model continues to utilize BYD’s ‘Blade’ battery technology, consistent with other BYD vehicles. The launch of the U7 is part of BYD’s broader strategy to expand its market presence, with the brand recently surpassing Tesla as the world’s leading electric car seller in late 2023.
The U7 is a luxury saloon with over 1000bhp, targeting competitors like the BMW i5 and Mercedes-Benz EQE. The vehicle is set for a market release in China in the latter half of 2024.
Built on BYD’s e4 platform, the U7’s design features include C-shaped headlamps, structured flanks, and full-width tail-lights, created under Wolfgang Egger, former Audi design head. The U7 might measure approximately 5200mm in length and 2000mm in width.
Boasting a lower drag coefficient of 0.195Cd, the U7 is expected to surpass the aerodynamic efficiency of both the BMW i5 and Mercedes-Benz EQE.
The starting price for the Yangwang flagship U7 in China is projected to be over ¥1 million (around £109,650).
Toyota Unveils Enhanced bZ4X Electric SUV in the U.S.
Toyota has launched the updated bZ4X electric SUV in the United States, with first models expected at dealerships in January 2024. The bZ4X will be available in both front-wheel drive (FWD) and all-wheel drive (AWD) versions.
The vehicle’s Multi-Information Display now shows State of Charge percentage, estimated charge time to 80%, and estimated vehicle range during charging. Improvements in cold weather charging include a new water-to-water heat exchanger and heating adjustment valve in the battery’s thermal system, enhancing DC fast charging in low temperatures.
These updates address previous issues with charging performance in cold weather, as reported in tests by Scandinavian journalists.
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OCTOPUS ELECTROVERSE GLOBAL PUBLIC CHARGING MADE SIMPLE WITH ONE APP AND ONE MAP.
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RICHARD AT RSEV.CO.UK
JUKKA KUKKONEN FROM WWW.SHIFT2ELECTRIC.COM
BATTERY REPORTS FOR EVS AT RECURRENTAUTO.COM
JAN TORE GJØBY
ANDY NANCARROW AND LILIAN KASS
BRENDAN MCCARTHY AT NORTHFORK IRONWORKS
COLIN HENNESSY AND CAMBSEV
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IAN ‘STILL WATERS UK’ BENJAMIN
IAN (WATTIE) WATKINS
JOHN VAN DEVOORT
JON AKA BEARDY MCBEARDFACE FROM KENT EVS
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NEIL E ROBERTS FROM SUSSEX EVS
PETER & DEE ROBERTS
REALTORS CHOICE PHOTOGRAPHY
ROB FROM THE RSTHINKS EV CHANNEL ON YOUTUBE
THE PLUGSEEKER’S EV YOUTUBE CHANNEL
THOMAS J. THIAS