Production Hell Comes to Porsche

Porsche Taycan reservation holders from Norway recently received a rather disappointing message from the veteran German sports car maker. As it turns out, deliveries for the all-electric Taycan will be starting later than expected, with the automaker estimating a delay of about 8-10 weeks. 

The message, which was recently sent out to Taycan reservation holders and shared on media outlet Tek.no, explained the reasons behind the automaker’s delivery delays. Based on the information provided by the carmaker, the complexity of the Taycan’s production is a key reason behind the vehicle’s longer-than-expected delivery timeline. 

Sorry to see them have problems, though according to a lot of Wall Street analysts, “real” car companies aren’t supposed to have problems like this.

Another Coal Plant Turned Off

A Massive Coal Plant That Asked for Trump’s Help Has Gone Dark
Bloomberg News, 11/19/2019

At 12:09 p.m. local time on Monday — after churning out electricity for almost five decades — the largest coal-fired power plant in the western U.S. permanently closed, becoming the latest testament to the fossil fuel’s decline. Once a flash point in President Donald Trump’s campaign to save America’s coal industry, the Navajo complex in the Arizona desert will now spend the next three years being dismantled and decommissioned.

Tribal leaders spent years appealing to the Trump administration for help saving the plant, characterizing it as the president’s chance to fulfill his campaign promise to revive America’s Coal Country. The fact that the Interior Department owns a 24% stake in the complex gave him all the more reason to make an example out of it. Then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke vowed to explore all options for rescuing the site.

For all its political ties, the Navajo complex proved no match against market forces. The shale boom unleashed record volumes of low-cost natural gas, undermining the economics of coal generators across the U.S. Cheaper and cleaner wind and solar farms also began squeezing the plant’s profits.

Coal simply cannot compete with low methane prices and the continued fall or renewable costs. Hydro/solar/wind power generation are the only power generation methods where the fuel comes to you. No exploring, drilling, pumping, refining, transporting by pipe or rail required.

Flawed narrative

In their hurry to write headlines about “Ford versus Tesla”, the financial press/pundits are missing the bigger story, which is “EV versus ICE”, and more subtly, “Ford versus Ford dealerships”.

People are sending their $500 reservations directly to Ford, reserving their Mach E’s online, not at the dealerships. The dealerships are now the delivery boys for Ford. What will the dealership’s add to the transaction? Electron rustproofing?

Actually, there are some things a dealer could do to “add value”, starting with installing home charging equipment, but that is going to take effort on the dealer’s part.

Big Oil in Big Trouble

The future is not looking bright for oil, according to a new report that claims the commodity would have to be priced at $10-$20 a barrel to remain competitive as a transport fuel.

The new research, from BNP Paribas, says that the economics of renewable energy make it impossible for oil to compete at current prices. The author of the report, global head of sustainability Mark Lewis, says that “renewable electricity has a short-run marginal cost of zero, is cleaner environmentally, much easier to transport and could readily replace up to 40% of global oil demand”.

As a result, the report says, the long-term break-even oil price for gasoline to remain competitive as a source of mobility is $9-$10 per barrel, and for diesel $17-$19 a barrel

More and more analysts, industry insiders, and business/economics journalists are beginning to see the looming iceberg the oil industry is sailing toward with no awareness of their peril.

The current “oil boom” brought about by fracking was the result of new technology, and huge sums of borrowed money. The oil industry has always had a “boom/bust” cycle where the rising price of oil causes more rigs to be built, resulting in a glut of oil, which then drives down the price, bankrupting the late arrivals and the early players who didn’t have enough sense to get out before the prices collapsed. This then resulted in a contraction of the oil supply, causing the prices to rise again.

Rinse and repeat every decade since Titusville.

The new variable in this economic see-saw, is the rise of EVs and global warming. At some point, society is going to impose restrictions on oil extraction, which would limit supply and drive up the price. This would normally be welcomed by the oil industry, as consumers and industry must have oil for transport. But, unlike times past, there is an alternative to internal combustion engines powered by oil byproducts, electrically powered vehicles. Cheaper, cleaner, and with less impact of the environment.

So, as the price of oil rises, consumers are driven to EVs, which are cheaper to fuel, operate and maintain. The more people who switch, the lower the demand for oil, which drives the most expensive producers to bankruptcy, which reduces the supply of oil, keeping the price high.

“For the oil majors, the challenge is on a scale that they have never faced before, and business-as-usual is simply not an option,” the bank says, with any projects with break-even costs of $20 a barrel or higher facing the possibility that up to 40% of their output at below the cost of production.”

Site back up after long hiatus

My apologies for the site being down for so long. The site database was corrupted after an update went awry, and it required some time to get sorted. I hope to have more updates and stories going forward and keep content flowing.

EMC will be participating in the Jamestown Christmas parade, December 1st, in Jamestown, at 3:00 PM. We will have 8 members bringing a variety of of EVs, appropriately decorated, to show that electricity can power more than just lights.

Parade drivers can find more info here.

Debunking yet another ill-informed, or deliberately misleading, anti-EV screed

These “articles” are now popping up about once a quarter. The latest is from the site “Seeking Alpha” which, as best as I can tell, is a major disinformation site for people into shorting stocks. The article, Tesla Model 3 Costs More to Charge Than a Gasoline Car, starts right off with a title that is misleading on its face. Normally, I wouldn’t deign to quibble over such an error, but as the author has either failed to properly research his topic, or simply wasn’t going to let facts get in the way of his agenda, I will make an exception.

Yes, a Model 3 costs more to CHARGE than a gasoline car does, since a gasoline car doesn’t require charging of anything other than its 12v battery, and does that with its onboard alternator, powered by its gasoline engine. The correct title for his assertion would be “Tesla Model 3 Costs More to Fuel Than a Gasoline Car“, which even then would be wrong in all but the most narrow of circumstances.

To save time, I will rebut the writer’s summary.

Investors who take it for granted that electric cars are cheaper to run, need to think again.

And if they do, they would come to the same conclusion. Setting aside, his cherry-picked fuel numbers and bizarre assumptions about battery life, EVs have no transmission, no radiator, no muffler, no catalytic converter, no fuel pump, no water pump, no oil pump, no timing belt, no oxygen sensor, and of course, no internal combustion engine. This means the number of moving parts in an EV drivetrain is about two orders of magnitude less than an ICEV; a dozen or so, versus thousands. Fewer moving parts means less things to wear out and fail. In four years of EV driving I have paid for a set of tires, and a cabin air filter. My results are hardly atypical. So, on to the next assertion.

A comparison between Tesla Model 3 and the three leading hybrid cars of calendar year 2018 from Toyota, Honda and Hyundai proves otherwise.

Our writer then compares the M3 to three hybrids, instead of three gasoline cars. The major point of switching to EVs is to STOP burning gasoline, which produces health/environment damaging pollutants. Hybrids are great, and a step in the right direction, but they still burn petrochemicals, and produce exhaust which damages your lungs and warms the planet. (Oh, and one of the hybrids, the 2018 Honda Insight, won’t be out until the Summer). To compare fuel costs with a just 3 (2 actually) hybrids, but ignore health and environmental costs, is disingenuous at best, evil at worst.

At the current typical Supercharger price of $0.24 per kWh, a Tesla Model 3 is $0.06 per mile. At the current gasoline price of $2.65, the 50+ MPG hybrids are $0.05 per mile.

Supercharger prices vary based on locations, since different states have completely different tariffs for electricity. It can be argued that 24¢/kWh is an average, but even then this ignores the fact that the majority of EV owners charge at home, where the national average is about 12¢/kWh, which means the M3 costs 3¢ a mile to run, not 6¢. Superchargers are used for long distance travel, not day-to-day commuting. The average driver in the U.S. drives 35 miles per day or less.

Then you have to add that the Model 3 has at best half the range and takes at least 10-20x as long to recharge that inferior range.

Yes, the Prius and the Ioniq get around 550 miles on a tank of gas, but again, burning gasoline means damage to people’s health and the environment. How much are your lungs worth? How about you children’s lungs? As to the 10-20x slower, this is technically true, in a narrow range of real world circumstances.

Yes, pumping gasoline is faster than recharging, if you consider only the time from putting the nozzle into the tank and pulling it out. But hey, next time you pull in for gas, time from the moment you pull in, until you pull out. Did you have to wait on a pump? I am guessing depending on the time for day, a fuel stop could be as fast as five minutes, or as long as fifteen minutes. Did you run into the bathroom for nature’s call, or to wash the smell of gasoline off your hands? Did you spill gasoline on the ground, or your shoes/clothes?

Yes, you can drive 550 miles without stopping, which would be almost eight and a half hours at typical highway speeds, but who does that? Most people drive 2-3 hours and then stop for a bathroom break, or food, or because the kids are going stir crazy. These stops average how long? 20-30 minutes? Three hours of driving in an M3 is 130-195 miles, or about 2/3s of the car’s range tops, meaning that when you stop at a Supercharger station for a break, you can replace most, if not all, of your lost range.

I am sure there are masochists out there with bladders the size of a camel’s hump who can drive eight hours straight, but I don’t believe there are many.

Of course, the Model 3 also costs twice as much, and you have to assign an approximate $1,000 per year to battery depreciation, alone more than driving on gasoline for a year.

I was utterly puzzled as to where our writer got this $1000 a year battery depreciation number? Now, it is an inescapable fact that driving ANY new car off the lot causes as 20-30% loss in value the first year, and it continues to depreciate over time. But $1000 a year for just the battery? So, let’s look at his key basis for this statement:

It is understood that you should not have to pay for a new EV battery within the first ten years, if for no other reason because of warranty and general expectations of reliability. However, at some point the day to buy a new battery will come. Perhaps not at the 10-year mark, but otherwise at 15, 20 or 25 years.

In a gasoline car, you are not worrying about the expense of switching out the gasoline tank after a decade or two or three. If you had to do it, the cost would be tiny anyway.

Okay, on average, how many people keep their cars longer than ten years? By this time, your car has accumulated about 150,000 miles, and most people I know are looking for a newer model (whether new or used). So, by his own admission, the battery is not a problem for the expected life of the car. But just for fun, let’s look at the outliers, the folk who keep their car for 15 years. By that time, the battery may have seen its range degrade to the point it needs to be replaced.

However, in a Tesla Model 3, you are talking about a battery close to 80 kWh. We know Tesla said that its cost (by some narrow definition) was falling below $190 per kWh. However, counting all costs and adding a profit margin plus labor, we can safely say that the price (not cost) would be at least $250 per kWh all-in.

So at $250 per kWh, we are talking $20,000 as the total price for the 80 kWh battery, perhaps including installation and disposal, if necessary.

Well, the math makes sense, if one assumes that the cost of batteries will remain the same as it is today, which is a bet I would not take.

In 2010, the average cost of a battery pack was $1,000/kWh. Yet, today it is (using his number) $250/kWh, a 75% reduction in 8 years (more if you factor in inflation). Battery costs are falling as demand increases due to economies of scale. There is no reason to assume that this will not continue for another decade yet. A state of the art PC cost around $8,000 back in the early 80s, yet you can have one (three, or so, orders of magnitude better) today for under $500. It is not unreasonable to expect battery pack prices to fall another 75% in the next 15 years, which means that when our frugal driver is looking for another battery pack for his 15 year old Model 3, it will set him back $5,000, not $20,000.

Oh, and a question for the reader to ponder: How often has the rate you pay for electricity fluctuated wildly from month to month? How often has it almost doubled over the course of a year? It doesn’t happen. Why? Because electrical rates are set by regulatory agencies, not by the utility companies. Gasoline, on the other hand…..

In the end, we find that the entire premise of this article is either ill-informed, or deliberately misleading.

Which is it you ask? Well, I will quote one last key sentence and let you decide:

Disclosure: I am/we are short TSLA.

Well, in the interest of fairness,

Disclosure: I own two EVs.

Tesla to Add 50,000 PowerWalls in Australian Homes, Creating Virtual Grid Battery

According to this story from Electrek, the government in South Australia is working with Tesla to install 5kW solar arrays and 13.5 kWh battery packs on 50,000 houses, including 1,100 low-income houses, creating what amounts to 250MW virtual power plant, with 650MWh of battery storage. Australia seems to be embracing the modernization of its electrical grid having just complete a 129MWh battery site just this past Fall.

Now if only we could fix Puerto Rico with his solution.

U.S. EV Sales Continue Growth Streak

While January is a slow month for car sales, EV/PHEV sales still managed a healthy 10% gain over January 2018, with about 25% of the models sold coming from Tesla, with the Model 3 topping sales at 1,875 units sold. I must note this is still WAY behind earlier projections, but still outperforming everyone, a trend that will only increase as the year goes on (barring some disaster at Tesla).

January Sales courtesy of InsideEVs.com

Slanting a story to the point of lying

Caught this story by the Financial Times and was shocked at the lengths the “reporter” went misinform the public. To be fair, perhaps Peter Campbell and Nathalie Thomas are just that ignorant, but if that is the case, they should not be reporting on stories like this.

Problems started with the headline:

Tesla truck will need energy of 4,000 homes to recharge, says study

Wow, the energy of 4,000 homes to power a single truck? That is staggering. Or is it? The key data point missing from the headline is the time factor. Energy for 4,000 homes for how long? Well, quick back of the envelope math tells me that assuming they were talking about the long range truck, which has a 1,000 kWh battery, we are at 250 watt-hours per home. So, how long will 250 wH last in a U.K. home? That depends on how much the home consumes. According to the Office of Gas & Electricity Markets, The average U.K. home consumes between 1,900-7,100 kWh per year. If I take the median value of those numbers, I get 4,500 kWh, or 12.3 kWh per day, or roughly 513 wH per hour. Based on those assumptions, we are running our 4,000 homes for less than 30 minutes.

Now, the energy to run 4,000 homes for just less than a half hour is an impressive amount of energy, but now we have context to our numbers, something the original headline did not convey. If I chose, I could have used the same absence of time context to make the headline “scarier” by using the lowest value of electrical consumption from OFGEM, run them for only a second, and then written:

Tesla truck will need energy of 15.9 million homes to recharge, says study

Way scarier headline, and just as true as the first one.

Okay, off to a bad start. Let’s go with the first three paragraphs:

One of Europe’s leading energy consultancies has estimated that Tesla’s electric haulage truck will require the same energy as up to 4,000 homes to recharge, calculations that raise questions over the project’s viability.

The US electric carmaker unveiled a battery-powered truck earlier this month, promising haulage drivers they could add 400 miles of charge in as little as 30 minutes using a new “megacharger” to be made by the company.

John Feddersen, chief executive of Aurora Energy Research, a consultancy set up in 2013 by a group of Oxford university professors, said the power required for the megacharger to fill a battery in that amount of time would be 1,600 kilowatts.

Here some context is implied, if we assume 30 minutes is the time the are talking about our 4,000 houses running, and we use that median consumption value of 4,500 kWh per year. But the article doesn’t tell us this, violating the first rule of math: “show your work”.

We are then introduced to this John Feddersen chap and his four year old consulting company made up of some Oxford professors. We are not told who Aurora Energy Research is funded by, their purpose, or the academic disciplines of these professors. When I popped over to AER’s web site I found that they are, in fact a consulting firm, with 15 directors, whose academic expertise consisted of eight economists, three business admins, one mathematician, one philosophy/French major and one mechanical engineer. What was completely lacking from a consulting firm that specializes in the entire spectrum of energy generation would be anyone with actual engineering expertise in any of the relevant fields. How much weight do I give Mr. Feddersen’s opinion on the technical aspects of Tesla’s batteries, chargers, and drive trains when he is an economist. not an electrical, chemical or materials engineer?

Tesla declined to comment on the calculations.

Well, one can understand why Tesla will not take time out of its busy schedule to rebut the opinions of people lacking the expertise to understand the rebuttal.

Mr Feddersen used the example of the Tesla truck to highlight the need for greater debate around how grid infrastructure will need to be adapted to meet demand for electric vehicles.

“There are smart and dumb ways to incorporate this level of capacity requirement into the system, but either way, fully electrified road transport will need a large amount of new infrastructure,” he told the Financial Times.

Certainly true. Also true: There are smart and dumb ways to write an article about this subject, but either way you need competent reporters talking to actual experts in relevant fields in order to write them.

National Grid, which oversees Britain’s electricity system, has suggested that in the most extreme scenario, electric vehicles could create as much as 18 gigawatts of additional demand for power at peak times in the UK by 2050.

Right, so what are the other scenarios? The more realistic ones that are not “the most extreme”? In the most extreme scenario I can foresee, a previously undetected asteroid the size of the moon could slam into the Earth in the morning and annihilate all human life on the planet. However, should I plan my breakfast cereal purchase according to that scenario, or a more reasonable one that involves being around to eat my Fruit Loops™?

Industry experts believe strains on the system could be reduced by using “smart chargers” that only re-boot vehicle batteries when the grid is able to cope, rather than at peak times, such as after work.

One “recharges” vehicle batteries, one does not “re-boot” them. And that, boys and girls, says all we need to know about the “expertise” of this article.

Tesla Semi Rolled Out to Enthusiastic Crowd

At an event reminiscent of Steve Jobs rolling out the iPhone, Elon Musk showed off his new Tesla semi, a vehicle that, if it delivers on half of its promises, can remake the trucking industry.

Typically for Musk, the event started about 40 minutes late, but as usual he did not disappoint.

Musk introduces Trucking: The Next Generation

The sight of a massive tractor-trailer moving onto the stage in almost complete silence was surreal. Aside from the typical Tesla “look”, two things jumped out to the observer. The rear wheels of the truck where completely shrouded to reduce drag and the driver’s seat was centered in the cab as opposed to the usual left-hand location. Musk claimed this was a “safer” way for the driver to sit. I will leave that claim for auto engineers to evaluate, but one immediate advantage to that design is it eliminates the need to have separate assembly lines for right-hand/left-hand drive vehicles. This truck can be sold anywhere in the world.

All right, let’s get to the specs:

Range: 500 miles

Performance: 0-60 in 5 seconds. 20 seconds will full 80,000 lbs load, 2 kWh per mile.

Drive system: 4 independent motors, allowing the truck to continue moving even if two of its motors fail.

Recharge time: 400 miles in 30 minutes using a new Tesla “Megacharger”

Safety: Enhanced Autopilot providing lane keeping, emergency breaking, collision warning and anti-jacknifing software, and hardened windshield glass (resistant to breakage and cracking)

Warranty: (Should be said in Doctor Evil’s voice) 1 MILLION miles.

No specs so far on battery size and some unconfirmed rumors that the truck would run $200K-$250K with operating expenses 20% cheaper than current trucks, 50% if the trucks travel in “platoon mode”, meaning a convoy. Details on the mechanics of this were missing, but with AP mode and the ability of the trucks to talk to each other, it would be easier to run trucks close together with each truck’s brakes linked to the truck in front of it. Meaning that if a lead truck must brake suddenly, it automatically signals the truck behind to automatically brake as well.

The design of multiple motors to enhance performance and reliability is a masterstroke of engineering, and something not really practical, or economical, on a diesel rig. Electric motors are small, yet very powerful, so Tesla has one driving each wheel on the rear axles. Since the motors are software controlled, performance can be optimized and altered to prevent the rig from “jack-knifing” by altering power to each wheel.

Tesla will have to “show its work” to convince skeptics about a lot of these specs like battery range and charging times, but the rest looks pretty much within Tesla’s capability.

Doing some back of the envelope calculation, I was able to infer a few facts. Tesla claims the semi will expend 2 kWh of electricity per mile, which means that for a truck to have a 500 mile range, will require a 1,000 kWh (1 megawatt hour) battery. The newest, most modern and fuel efficient diesel semi gets 10 mpg, which at $3.00 a gallon, works out to 30¢­ a mile. Tesla is promising that its solar-powered Megachargers will deliver electricity at 7¢ a kWh, which translates into 14¢ a mile.

This is where Tesla will have to convince a lot of skeptics. Can it build a viable charging station powered by a solar array (with battery packs to store power to supplement the station at night and in inclement weather) which can realistically perform as promised? If we take a more realistic rate for grid electricity of 12¢ per kWh (the national average) Tesla still outperforms a standard diesel by 20% (6¢ a mile). But, to be fair we should then use the more realistic average fuel efficiency of 6 MPG for diesel trucks, which drives the price per mile for to 50¢ a mile, leaving the Tesla again with roughly 50% less fuel cost.

Tesla has zeroed in on the main issues of importance to freight haulers: Operating cost and keeping trucks moving. An electric motor will always outperform its internal combustion counterpart by at least a factor of two and electricity is more ubiquitous, easier to make, and safer to be around, compared to diesel. In order to make money, a truck must be on the road as and moving as much as possible. A truck that isn’t moving due to a cracked windshield, a motor/transmission/emissions problem, or an accident is a truck losing money.

Tesla has addressed all of these challenges elegantly and economically.

And since no reveal with a Steve Jobs flavor would be complete without “Oh, and one more thing…” Musk ended his presentation, went to black as his trucks pulled off, then lit the overhead screen with “plaid” graphics, while his truck silently backed up and disgorged its cargo of one Tesla Roadster, Mk II.

The car was stunning, but the specs were definitely something Tesla critics will want proven to them. The base model promises “Plaid” mode, 0-60 in 1.9 seconds, 0-100 in 4.2 seconds, with a top speed of 250 MPH. Next we get to things that are really difficult to believe. First is a 200 kWh battery promising 620 miles for range. The second, and certainly most difficult to accept is that the Roadster is a 4 passenger vehicle. I think they are definitely using a flexible definition of passenger as in person larger than 5′ tall or weighing more than 100 pounds.

And with those caveats, let the debate begin.

Update: Here is a synopsis of the even from The Verge:

About that EV tax credit…

The plan by the tax cut happy GOP to eliminate the EV tax credit is chock full of hypocrisy and double dealing. “Hey, let’s cut some taxes. First up, we eliminate a tax credit that has been benefiting U.S. consumers and U.S. automakers!”

Sheesh. I am perfectly happy to stipulate the sincere objection some fiscal conservatives might have to “subsidizing” certain segments of the market because that puts the government in the position of “picking winners and losers”. However, that objection loses a lot of validity if the same group making it then turns around and advocates paying a subsidy to coal and nuclear industries because they cannot compete economically with the modern energy systems that are cheaper and cleaner. That would seem to me to be “picking winners and losers”, and rather hypocritical.

Also, an argument can be made to cap the EV tax credit to cars costing less than $40,000, since that is far enough above the median new car price to account for the expense of new technology, while low enough so as not to give tax credits to people who don’t really need them. If you can drop $75K+ on a new car, you are in an income bracket that can afford to give the tax credit a miss.

I would also accept converting the tax credit into a “point of purchase” rebate so that people in the lower tax brackets who would not benefit from the credit (by virtue of not owing enough federal tax) could offset the cost of a new EV. Heck, I would also say that we should offer a lesser credit for used EVs, say $1500.

No matter where you fall on this issue, I believe that we should agree that fiscal conservatives can’t have it both ways. If you don’t like subsidies/credits/incentives, then ban all of them. If you are going to let legacy manufacturers and energy producers have them, then new manufacturers and energy producers get them too.

Greensboro Buying 4 eBuses for $3.8 Million

Greensboro to buy 4 battery-powered buses
News & Record

The city will spend $3.8 million on four battery-powered buses, which will join the transit system’s fleet this summer.

The purchase will make Greensboro the first city in North Carolina with all zero-emission, battery-electric buses.

The new buses will replace diesel buses that have been driven past the recommended 12-year, 500,000-mile life. Officials estimate that each new bus will save taxpayers $325,000 over their lives, since they use less energy and need less maintenance than the diesels.

The city will pay for the buses with money from the transportation bond that voters passed in 2016, along with federal and private grants.

Meanwhile, in the dark of night, our own intrepid chemical engineer, Dr. Vernon Gilliat, spotted this marvel of engineering near the Thomas Built Bus plant.

eBus made by Thomas Built Bus of High Point, NC

GM tries Tesla tease

General Motors’ EV Teaser Reveals Low-Slung, Sporty Coupe
InsideEVs.com

General Motors intends to debut 20 electric vehicles in the next five years, and the company’s teaser image hints that at least one of them could be something to excite enthusiasts.

The photo shows the Chevrolet Bolt in the foreground, and there are 9 vehicles under sheets behind it. A model slightly to the left from the center is clearly a low-slung coupe with prominent fenders. The low, pointed nose has a resemblance to the Corvette, and the angular sculpting at the rear takes a cue from the Camaro. Judging by the models around it in the photo, the coupe appears to be fairly compact, too.

GM has produced two solid cars: The Volt (PHEV) and the Bolt (BEV). That’s great, but they were also the company that literally destroyed the EV1, and their former CEO is a virulent critic of Elon Musk. I like the idea that they claim they are going to produce more EVs, but would prefer that they simply show us what they have. Although they (and all other legacy automakers) are professing a new found love of electric driving, they are also currently spending millions of dollars on lobbyists to roll-back fuel-efficiency standards so they don’t have to make more efficient cars. Criticize Tesla all you like for missing delivery numbers, but there are still 200+ more M3s on the road than GM/Ford/Chrysler have promised

Our state is run by idiots

Tesla is asked by DMV to stop giving test drives out of Charlotte gallery
Electrek

Tesla has a really big location in Charlotte, North Carolina – pictured above. In most other states, it would be considered a Service plus location, which includes both a store and service center, but due to direct sales restrictions and Tesla’s inability to obtain a dealer license, the location is considered “gallery” and service center.

And now we learn that Tesla is subject to further restrictions as the DMV asked the automaker to stop offering test drives out of the location.

Nonetheless, Tesla was still operating its Charlotte location as a “gallery”, where it doesn’t make any transaction, but where it still educate the public on its products. The company told us that they had an understanding with the DMV commissioner that they could still offer test drives to the public with the goal to educate them on their offering.

But Tesla confirmed to Electrek that they were asked by the DMV this week to stop giving test drives out of the Charlotte location.

The demand comes a few months after the DMV had a change of leadership and Torre Jessup was named the new commissioner of the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles.

I look forward to the auto dealerships going the way of shopping malls.

Ford’s EV plans less than they seem

Ford to cut costs $14 billion, invest in trucks, electric cars: CEO
Reuters

Ford Motors plans to slash $14 billion in costs over the next five years, Chief Executive Officer Jim Hackett told investors on Tuesday, adding that the No. 2 U.S. automaker would shift capital investment away from sedans and internal combustion engines to develop more trucks and electric and hybrid cars.

By 2022, Ford plans to cut spending on future internal combustion engines by a third, or about $500 million, putting that money instead into expanded electric and hybrid vehicle development, on top of $4.5 billion previously announced. Ford had already promised 13 new electric or hybrid vehicles within the next five years.

Right, this looks good on paper (or on photons if you prefer), but it is a bit misleading and somewhat contradictory. Moving 1/3 of your spending from ICE to EV is nice, but you are still investing a lot of money in polluting vehicles (and I doubt they will be discontinuing their pickups and SUVs anytime soon. But hey, I’ll take what I can get). But, I am puzzled about how you can develop “13 new electric or hybrid vehicles within the next five years” and cut $14 billion in costs. Designing and building new vehicles takes a LOT of money. Perhaps he thinks he can just take gasoline cars and stick electric motors in them. If so, he will soon learn that it’s a bit more complicated. Sure, you can do that, but you wind up with a car with lackluster range and performance (like the Ford Focus EV).

Also, are these cars for the U.S. market, or the Chinese market? He doesn’t specify.

He did have two ways of saving money that made sense.

One way to cut costs will be to offer fewer variations of Ford’s models, Hackett said. The slow-selling Ford Fusion midsize sedan can now be ordered in 35,000 combinations of features, colors and powertrain options. The future model will come in just 96 combinations, meaning fewer parts to design, produce and store in inventory, Ford showed in a presentation.

He said Ford also will cut the time it takes to engineer a new car by 20 percent, and invest in “factories of the future” that will occupy less space and use more robots.

Golly, he sounds just like Elon Musk.

Tesla wins one, loses one

Tesla delivers record 26,150 vehicles, only 220 Model 3 sedans
Electrek

Tesla confirmed today its third quarter 2017 delivery numbers and the automaker delivered a record number of vehicles, including a few Model 3 sedans for the first time.

The automaker had previously guided over 23,000 Model S and Model X deliveries during the third quarter and it significantly beat the guidance with 14,065 Model S sedans and 11,865 Model X SUVs.

It represents a 4.5% increase quarter-over-quarter and 17.7% increase over the same period last year.

It’s a new record global delivery number for Model X – beating the previous record in Q1 2017 by over 300 units.

As for Model 3, Tesla confirmed slow production of only 260 units.

Oops. Yeah, that’s a big miss. The short sellers are going to be all over this. That said, should we worry? Telsa seemed to think we shouldn’t.

It is important to emphasize that there are no fundamental issues with the Model 3 production or supply chain. We understand what needs to be fixed and we are confident of addressing the manufacturing bottleneck issues in the near-term.”

Of course, they would say that. But, Tesla has an excellent track record of missing deadlines, but still delivering the goods. I don’t think this will be any different.

Washington Post bailing on gasoline cars


Death of gas and diesel begins as GM announces
plans for ‘all-electric future’
Washington Post

After nearly a century of building vehicles powered by fossil fuels, General Motors — one of the world’s largest automakers — announced Monday that the end of GM producing internal combustion engines is fast approaching.

The acceleration to an all-electric future will begin almost immediately, with GM releasing two new electric models next year and an additional 18 by 2023.

At a media event at GM’s technical campus in Warren, Mich., on Monday, Mark Reuss, the company’s chief of global product development, said the transition will take time, but the course has been set.

“General Motors believes in an all-electric future,” Reuss said. “Although that future won’t happen overnight, GM is committed to driving increased usage and acceptance of electric vehicles.”

While I am very glad that a mainstream newspaper can read the writing on the wall, to be fair to GM, they didn’t exactly say they were relegating the internal combustion engine to the landfill of history. Their language was pretty non-committal and they avoided any timelines. The rest of the article notes that, as we have seen, automakers are tripping over each other to announce “plans” for EVs to be delivered at some future date, in the meantime check out our “concept cars”.

Ford was rather amusing in their announcement, telling us about their plans which involved the formation of “Team Edison”, name after a man of questionable genius, but an enormous talent for stealing other people’s ideas, to compete against Tesla, a company named after a certified genius whom Edison cheated out of $50,000 when Tesla proved he could improve Edison’s own dynamos. Ford’s EV exec, Sherif Marakby was quoted as saying:

“We see an inflection point in the major markets toward battery electric vehicles. We feel it’s important to have a cross-functional team all the way from defining the strategy plans and implementation to advanced marketing.”

“Strategy plans”? Seriously?

What was that line again from Shakespeare? “…Tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Yeah, that was what that sounded like to me.

In the meantime the only folks to believe are those actually making EVs, and not just “compliance” cars.

Automakers Badger China for Extra Year of Non-Compliance

China Gives Automakers More Time in World’s Biggest EV Plan
Bloomberg News

Signage for a parking space for an electric automobile is displayed at a charging station operated by Tellus Power Inc. at an underground parking lot in Beijing. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

China unveiled a comprehensive set of emission rules and delayed a credit-score program tied to the production of electric cars, giving automakers more time to prepare for the phasing out of fossil-fuel powered vehicles in the world’s largest auto market.

Under the so-called cap-and-trade policy, automakers must obtain a new-energy vehicle score — which is linked to the production of various types of zero- and low-emission vehicles — of at least 10 percent starting in 2019, rising to 12 percent in 2020, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said on its website. The rule applies to car makers that manufacture or import more than 30,000 traditional vehicles annually, and those who fail to comply must buy credits or face fines.

Originally, China required 8% of cars sold in 2018 to be Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs), but US automakers whined and whined until China relented. Hey, what’s a few thousand more air pollution deaths in the free market?

Harsh you say? Sure, unless you are one of those people slowly suffocating.

Musk sends Tesla

Tesla Is Sending Battery Packs to Storm-Ravaged Puerto Rico
Bloomberg News

Tesla Inc. is sending to Puerto Rico hundreds of its Powerwall battery systems that can be paired with solar panels in an effort to help the battered island territory restore electric power, the company said Thursday. Some of the systems are already there and others are en route.

The equipment is sorely needed, since the island remains largely without electricity more than a week after Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20. The company has employees on the ground to install them and is working with local organizations to identify locations.

Apparently, that S.O.S. paid off. I note from the article that Musk moved faster than the U.S. government in dispatching equipment and trained techs to coordinate with locals on which arrays to get up first.