So much for Audi’s “Tesla killer”

Mea culpa. Fooled again.

Audi must have dropped several million bucks at a recent extravaganza in San Francisco, all for the launch of the e-tron, the brand’s first pure electric model, and it convinced this correspondent that this time, the company was serious about selling an EV in volume. Then came the news that Audi does not plan to ship any inventory vehicles to its US dealers.

Audi of America President Scott Keogh tried to put a positive spin on the decision, implying that saving the cost of maintaining an inventory was the only way Audi could make a profit on the EV. “I think it would be a beautiful world if you can go to a dealer – and we’d like to find that beautiful world – with zero floorplan [expense] and proper, full gross on the car,” quoth he. “This would be a beautiful state; so let’s go see if we can find this dream state.”

The situation isn’t quite as bleak as Keogh’s self-defeating sarcasm (and outraged responses from some of the EV press) makes it sound. Dealers will have demonstrator models on hand, and they will have the option of ordering e-trons for their own inventory (I expect some California dealers to do so, based on a conversation I had at the launch event with one of those dealers, who was enthusiastic about selling the e-tron).

However, the sales model Audi is proposing is that customers will place orders for the e-tron at dealerships or on Audi’s web site, held by refundable $1,000 deposits. Keogh said that wait times for delivery will depend on global demand, and could be months or even a year or more. All e-trons will be built at Audi’s assembly plant in Brussels.

Keogh told Automotive News that Audi’s dealer network will give the brand “a massive competitive advantage” over other EV-makers. At the launch event, one of the 300 dealers present told me that it would be interesting to see Tesla “fade away” as the e-tron came into its own. I responded to that comment with a wry smile, which has now evolved into a sad head-shake.

Yes, an established dealer network is a good thing, but dealers are famously focused on closing sales quickly – put your money on the table and drive it off the lot. They’re not likely to be thrilled about a put-down-a-deposit-and-wait sales model. And so far, most dealers haven’t proven to be enthusiastic EV-sellers. On the contrary, they’re often cited as one of the main bottlenecks standing in the way of wider EV adoption. Thomas Moloughney works for an outfit called PlugStar, which aims to break that bottleneck by providing EV training to dealers (PlugStar will be the subject of a feature article in the next issue of Charged). “Very disappointing, Audi,” was Tom’s reaction to the latest news. “Besides the obvious sales constriction, this really isn’t the message you want to be sending.”

As other automakers have, Audi may be falling into the error of assuming that EVs are only bought by a subset of the market called “EV buyers.” Of course such people exist, and a few of them will surely order an e-tron. But any automaker that wants to sell an EV in volume needs to reach buyers who haven’t considered an EV before, and it’s hard to see how an Audi dealer is going to convince many of them to put down a grand and wait a few months for an e-tron when they can drive a perfectly good gas-powered Audi home right now.


Source: Automotive News

Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine

Elon Musk settles with SEC, will resign as Chairman and take it easy on Twitter


Tesla supporters are hoping that a settlement between Elon Musk and the SEC will bring an end to what one commenter called Tesla’s Summer of Needless Drama. Earlier this week, the stock market regulatory agency accused the impulsive Iron Man of misleading investors with his market-moving tweet about a plan to take Tesla private, and said it would seek to bar him from serving as an officer of a public company.

Under the settlement, Elon Musk will keep his job as CEO of Tesla, and remain on the company’s board, but he must resign as Chairman within 45 days, and can’t be re-elected to the role for three years. He must personally pay a $20 million fine, and Tesla will pay an additional $20 million. Neither Tesla nor Musk admitted wrongdoing.

Perhaps most importantly, Musk has agreed to submit future tweets to some sort of review process. The settlement document refers to “mandatory procedures implemented by Tesla,” under which Musk must submit to “the oversight of communications relating to the Company made in any format,” and “the pre-approval of any such written communications that contain, or reasonably could contain, information material to the Company or its shareholders.”

“Tesla’s board will adopt important reforms – including an obligation to oversee Musk’s communications with investors,” explained Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the SEC’s Enforcement Division.  “The resolution is intended to prevent further market disruption and harm to Tesla’s shareholders.”

Most observers seem to agree that this is a good resolution to what could have been an existential problem for Tesla. With Model 3 deliveries on track for a record quarter and Autopilot 9 beginning to roll out, there’s every reason to expect TSLA stock to rally on Monday, and to continue climbing until the next crisis.

“This is a good resolution for Tesla stakeholders,” said Robert W. Baird Analyst Ben Kallo. “I expect the stock to trade materially higher on this and into the quarter where we can focus on the fundamentals.”

“Both sides have pulled back, taken a deep breath and realized that…they need to put this behind them,” said Stephen Crimmins, a former SEC enforcement lawyer. “Shareholders with Tesla will be able to go to sleep tonight knowing the Musk will remain at the helm of the company. At the same time, there will be appropriate restraints in place.”

However, legal experts say that the SEC’s complaint has significantly strengthened the various investor lawsuits still pending. It revealed facts based on emails, documents and interviews that private lawyers haven’t gained access to yet.


Source: SEC, Bloomberg

Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine

Big In China: Cheap, Tiny Electric Cars

The world’s biggest EV market is highly fond of small electric vehicles.

If we’re to tell you that 1.75 million EVs were sold in China in 2017, you probably wouldn’t be that surprised. After all, the Chinese market is one of the biggest when it comes to electric vehicles. However, the aforementioned number stands for something other than full-fledged electric vehicles. It correlates to the number of LSEVs (Low-Speed Electric Vehicles) sold in the world’s most populous country. The small, slow and super cheap vehicles are taking over the country, especially in the rural areas. While they are bringing the thrill of driving to the masses, they are also hampering the government’s efforts to develop an upscale EV industry.

These small electric vehicles are simple to build, easy to maintain and they don’t cost much. Some can be even be acquired for as low as $1,500 – and that’s dirt cheap. However, these don’t adhere to current full-size vehicle safety standards, they provide almost no protection to their passengers and some even use substandard lead-acid batteries, creating an environmental problem of their own. In turn, some Chinese cities have already banned LSEVs due to safety concerns and we’re confident more are to follow.

For China, regulating this market will be key to their long-term environmental goals. These cars may be providing the means to transportation for a lot of Chinese, but they are also adding to the growing transportation problem the Chinese cities are facing currently. Many Chinese are opting-in for these small electric cars instead of using the public transport system, pushing even more vehicles onto the already overstrained roads.

With safety concerns, environmental impacts and the general frowned upon look from the Chinese government, LSEVs will need to revolutionize themselves in order to stay relevant & up to date with all current and future governmental regulations. Grab a look at the full report on the LSEVs done by WSJ right below.

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Source: Electric Vehicle News

September 2018 EV Sales: What To Expect? Tesla Estimates Projected

We feel like a broken record reporting every month about broken records.

September 2018 will mark the 36th month of consecutive year-over-year monthly sales gains for plug-in vehicles.

Every month InsideEVs tracks all the plug-in EV sales/deliveries for the United States by automaker and brand. The 2018 calendar year has been the most interesting in the history of the segment, to say the least. Deliveries started off slow, but the momentum quickly changed. Now, each month is set to blow the ceiling off the past. In fact, four of the five best-selling months of all time for electric vehicles have all happened this year. We have no doubt September will top the list.

While July didn’t quite reach our estimate of 30K plug-in electric vehicles sold, it was still another promising month for the segment. Historically, July sales have failed to pass June sales, primarily because June is the end of the quarter. With that being said, August deliveries have always exceeded that of July and this August was no exception. In fact, it soared to the top of our list of the best months of all time for electric car sales. Now, September is basically behind us …  a month that historically fares well as it’s the end of Q3. For reference, in 2016 and 2017, September was the second-place month in EV deliveries for the year, only exceeded by that of December.

Top Months for U.S. EV Sales to Date (estimated):

  1. August 2018 – 36,380
  2. July 2018 – 29,514
  3. March 2018 – 26,373
  4. December 2017 – 26,107
  5. June 2018 – 25,019

Thus far, an estimated 190,046 plug-in electric vehicles have been sold in the U.S. in 2018. We’re down to only one quarter left before the year goes into the archives (and the record books). This month’s results could seal the deal for what may be a year that eclipses the 300K-mark, but there’s no way to know for sure.

Check Out: Contributor Josh Bryant’s 2018 yearly sales predictions here

Much of the success of that estimate depends on how many Model 3 vehicles Tesla delivered in September, as well as how many end up in U.S. customer driveways in Q4. Additionally, we have to ask ourselves if any other automakers are going to ramp up their efforts, or if numbers will remain somewhat flat.

In September 2017, an estimated 21,242 plug-ins were sold in the U.S. This August we saw nearly a 100-percent gain from last year’s numbers. Can September pull that off as well?  Will we see deliveries north of 40,000 this September? We believe the number will be even higher. Would it surprise you if sales surpassed 45,000 in the U.S.? That sure would be epic!

How might this huge number play out?

Below are early estimates for GM and Tesla deliveries that are informing our expectations for the month of September. These are not our final sales estimates.

These early estimates are based on data through Friday, September 28th. For these early estimates, projections were made for Saturday and Sunday U.S. sales for Tesla. Depending on how well Tesla executes deliveries over this weekend, we could see the final number increase or decrease slightly. For GM, because the quarter ends on a Sunday, we expect that Monday, October 1 sales will be included in Q3 totals. So, projections for Chevy Bolt/Volt were made for Saturday, Sunday, and Monday deliveries. Bolt inventories have increased to 4,000 units in transit or at dealers, giving it healthy inventories headed into the end of year sales rush. But our early estimates indicate only slight improvements for the month of September for the Bolt.

If Tesla is able to meet our expectations this weekend, we should see approximately 4,000 Model S sedans and 4,000 Model X SUVs delivered in the U.S. in September. More importantly, we expect the Model 3 to again set multiple new records, exceeding 22,000 Model 3s in the U.S. for the month. We also estimate that GM delivered just over 1,300 each of the Chevy Bolt EV and Chevy Volt this month.

Disclaimer: These early estimates are based on projections for the last few days of the month, so they are not our final sales numbers. Keep in mind our delivery numbers are for U.S. deliveries only. We are also expecting as many as 2,000 Model 3 deliveries to Canada as well this quarter.

We’ll finally know this week how our estimates stack up, since GM is expected to report quarterly numbers on Tuesday. We will not have final Tesla estimates until we complete our tracking for the weekend and Tesla provides their quarterly sales. Last quarter, Tesla provided their data very early, on a Monday morning several days before we expected them to. So we are providing our early look a day earlier than we have in the past. At the moment, we are not sure when Tesla will release their final numbers. But, when they do, we’ll make any necessary final adjustments and post our final estimates on the Plug-In Sales Scorecard.

Keep yourself tuned in and refreshing the pages during the coming days as we put the numbers to the dialogue. We will begin reporting EV sales Tuesday morning (October 2, 2018) and continue through the end of the week. However, Tesla may jump the gun and release its report on Monday, October 1. For now, below are some questions to ponder. If you have a compelling question, drop it in the comment section and we’ll consider adding it to the monthly report card.

In the meantime, what are your estimates?

Questions entering August:

  1. How high will Tesla Model 3 U.S. sales soar above all others?
  2. Will Tesla’s end-of-quarter U.S. delivery numbers for the Model S and Model X be as impressive as that of the past despite the growing Model 3 delivery ramp?
  3. Is September the month that Toyota Prius Prime deliveries bounce back more convincingly?
  4. Now that the Chevrolet Volt has surpassed the Chevrolet Bolt EV for overall sales on the year, what story will the quarter tell as GM finally reports official sales?
  5. 2018 Nissan LEAF U.S. sales were on the rise again in August. Will sales improve as the year moves on or continue to slide as customers are waiting for the upcoming 2019 model?
  6. Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid sales have really impressed, especially in the last four months. How many did Honda deliver in September?

***InsideEVs’ journalist Wade Malone provided sales estimations and related analysis.

Source: Electric Vehicle News

Musk Email: Let’s Go All Out Sunday For Victory Beyond All Expectations

In a last-minute push, Tesla CEO emails employees to urge an all-out Sunday.

As the world awaits Tesla’s Q3 earnings report, early indications point towards profit.

Musk penned an email to all of Tesla’s employees on Saturday. The email states:

We are very close to achieving profitability and proving the naysayers wrong, but, to be certain, we must execute really well tomorrow.

If we go all out tomorrow, we will achieve an epic victory beyond all expectations.

Today is the end of the third quarter and it’s believed that Tesla will soon report a Q3 profit, but Musk is pushing for more, more and more. Mostly Model 3 deliveries, but the S and X will be in the mix, too.

In a just a few hours, InsideEVs will begin to report on our sales expectations for Tesla and a few other automakers. So, stay tuned for more to come soon.

Source: Bloomberg

Source: Electric Vehicle News

Formula E’s Plans To Use Monaco F1 Layout Set To Fall Through

Formula E’s hope of using the full Monaco Grand Prix Formula 1 layout when it returns to Monte Carlo in its 2018/19 season looks set to fall through.

FE CEO Alejandro Agag had wanted his series to use the longer circuit with the faster Gen2 cars, but he said that the FIA had objected to the proposal.

FIA president Jean Todt explained in May that he was “against having the normal circuit”, but FE is now understood to be using the shortened layout, which turns sharply right at Sainte Devote and runs down to a hairpin where it transitions to the third sector used by F1, for a third time.

“We’re going to do the short track,” Agag told “The FIA didn’t want us to use the same track as F1 and making modifications to the [longer] track is very expensive.

“So effectively it’s a cost decision linked with the wish of all the teams. The teams have said they like the short track.

“I wanted to do the same layout as F1, but the FIA wouldn’t let me.”

An FIA spokesperson reiterated that FE’s season five calendar – released with the Monaco round “subject to circuit homologation” by the governing body in June – is still pending final confirmation from the World Motor Sport Council at this stage, when asked to comment by

Agag did not express any irritation at the likely development, but explained that he had not viewed using the traditional circuit – which has support from drivers including Lucas di Grassi and Sebastien Buemi – as a chance to measure FE against F1.

“I’m never frustrated,” he said. “I mean, I don’t worry about the comparison, at all, between F1 and FE in terms of time.

“I don’t think people even notice that or think of that. But that opinion is not shared by everybody.”

Venturi boss Susie Wolff confirmed to that FE using the shorter Monaco layout had the support of the teams.

“I was very vocal for wanting the short track because fundamentally for me, it all comes down to the spectacle,” she said.

“I felt with those cars on the long circuit – we would have done 20 laps, there wouldn’t have been many overtaking opportunities and we don’t need to do something just because F1 does it.”

Regarding the remaining two unconfirmed slots on FE’s season five calendar, Agag explained that “Santiago is looking basically 99% for January [12]”.

“Then in June the idea is to replace Zurich with Bern,” he continued. “We’re finalising all the agreements – it’s not yet finalised but that should be what happens.”

Zurich has dropped off the calendar for season five as the city has clashing local events in June 2019, but it could return for season six as part of a biennial arrangement.

“The Zurich mayor wants to have FE but she wants it like [Zuri-Fascht] every year that the festival is not on,” said Agag. “So not this season but next season – that’s the conversation we’re having.”

Source: Motorsport

Source: Electric Vehicle News

Wallpaper Sunday: Newly Revealed 2019 BMW i3

Featuring the newly revealed 2019 BMW i3.

The new BMW i3 with 42.2 kWh battery is just around the corner. It hasn’t changed much compared to the 2017 facelift, but we like it in its new color, especially in autumn time.

Here we prepared a set of high-resolution photos.

BMW i3 (120 Ah) (wallpaper 2,560x – click to enlarge)

BMW i3 (120 Ah) (wallpaper 2,560x – click to enlarge)

BMW i3 (120 Ah) (wallpaper 2,560x – click to enlarge)

BMW i3 (120 Ah) (wallpaper 2,560x – click to enlarge)

BMW i3 (120 Ah) (wallpaper 2,560x – click to enlarge)

BMW i3 (120 Ah) (wallpaper 2,560x – click to enlarge)

BMW i3 (120 Ah) (wallpaper 2,560x – click to enlarge)

BMW i3 (120 Ah) (wallpaper 2,560x – click to enlarge)

BMW i3 (120 Ah) (wallpaper 2,560x – click to enlarge)

BMW i3 (120 Ah) (wallpaper 2,560x – click to enlarge)

Source: Electric Vehicle News

Renault & ADA Launch Moov’in.Paris Car Sharing

Starting in October, 120 Renault’s EVs are to be available in Paris

As the Autolib car sharing came to an end this summer, other players are trying to fill the gap. Renault and PSA immediately announced their plans and finally they are introducing a new offer.

Renault, together with ADA (a subsidiary of the Rousselet Group), is deploying 120 electric vehicles in Paris and Clichy (Hauts-de-Seine) – 100 ZOE and 20 Twizy – for free-floating car sharing using the new ‘Moov’in.Paris by Renault’ application. The number of vehicles is expected to increase, following customer demand.

Service will start in October, without subscription for €0.39/minute (but no less than 10 minutes / €3.90).

“The Moov’in.Paris application is now available for download from the Apple Store, and Google Play. The new user can create his account very simply and associate the requested documents (pictures of his identification document, driving licence). He will be able to book a vehicle as soon as they are put into service in October.”

“The reservation process is simple: the customer locates an available vehicle nearby, reserves it via the application and then has 15 minutes to access and connect to the vehicle via Bluetooth®. The user checks the reference inventory to verify the condition of the vehicle on the application, modifies it if necessary and provides pictures to indicate new damage, and validates it. They are then free to make their journey.

At the end of the journey the customer parks the vehicle on the road in an authorized location in Paris or Clichy. They validate the electronic inventory of return to complete the rental. The invoicing is then triggered, at a price of 0.39 euro per minute of rental, with a minimum of 10 minutes. The customer does not have to worry about paying for parking nor charging the vehicle.

Renault supplies the vehicles and carries out maintenance and repair. ADA offers its expertise through its digital application dedicated to very short-term rental. It will also carry out the removal, recharging, cleaning and repositioning of electric vehicles.

Moov’in.Paris is part of the strategy of the Groupe Renault and ADA to develop new mobility services accessible to all in a single application, both for very short periods (less than 4 hours) and for short periods (more than 4 hours). Be ready, download Moov’in.Paris now.”

Source: Electric Vehicle News

Tesla’s new mobile app update lets you get more control over your car from your phone

Along with its version 9 vehicle firmware update this week, Tesla is also releasing a significant mobile app update, which lets owners get more control over their car from their phone. more…

The post Tesla’s new mobile app update lets you get more control over your car from your phone appeared first on Electrek.

Source: Charge Forward

Turn your nerdy Segway hoverboard into this cool electric gokart

Despite recently making a comeback, Segway has never been mistaken for anything close to cool. But that might be changing with their newest product, the Segway Ninebot Electric Gokart.

The company has launched what looks like a fun new add-on to one of their hoverboard-like products that turns it into a Gokart for kids or adults.


The post Turn your nerdy Segway hoverboard into this cool electric gokart appeared first on Electrek.

Source: Charge Forward