Electric cars are finally taking a (tiny) bite out of combustion engine sales

… rocketing beyond the rest of the field. Whether other automakers can conjure the same magic as Tesla CEO Elon Musk for their own models remains …

California’s car buyers are shifting their loyalties from the internal combustion engine to electric batteries—but ever so slowly. Despite car sales declining in the Golden State since 2016, the number of electric and hybrid cars sold continues to rise. In the first half of 2019, sales hit 51,750 and 48,861, respectively. That’s a 40% increase for both over last year.

Chart from TheAtlas.com

Yet overall, the vast majority of car sales in California, one of the US’s most environmentally conscious states, remain gasoline-powered. Pure electric cars account for just 5.5% of California’s vehicle sales (or 13% when including all types of electrification), compared to 81% for petrol cars. But California is the US leader in electric vehicles (EVs). It plans to have 5 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2030 and accounted for about half of the 105,472 electric cars sold in the US in the first half of the year.

Chart from TheAtlas.com

That’s worrisome for automakers banking on explosive EV growth to justify their billions of dollars in new investments. Growth in EV sales has been anemic in most states (just under 1% of US new-car sales on average), and modest but steady only in those with generous incentives and eager customers such as New York and California. It’s not yet the enthusiastic embrace that carmakers need to turn money-losing EVs into profitable endeavors as they retool their factories for the future. Only Norway, which has seen EVs account for 50% to 70% of new car registrations since 2018, has seen EVs dominate national car sales, but again that was the result of generous tax incentive and perks packages.

The brightest spot by far for EV sales is Tesla’s Model 3. The company’s new “mass-market” vehicle, which starts at $38,990 (before incentives), has proven to be a best-seller, outpacing standard sedans in its class such from the likes of BMW or Mercedes, and rocketing beyond the rest of the field. Whether other automakers can conjure the same magic as Tesla CEO Elon Musk for their own models remains to be seen.

Chart from TheAtlas.com

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The Land Of Fire & Ice Is Now Open For Tesla Vehicle Orders

Icelanders tweeted Elon Musk over the next 2 years, asking, in what the Reykjavík Grapevine calls “direct Icelandic fashion,” what the problem was …
Cars

Published on September 13th, 2019 | by Carolyn Fortuna

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September 13th, 2019 by Carolyn Fortuna


No, Tesla isn’t coming to Westeros, oh, Game of Thrones fans. Instead, a real-life land with a history of violent tales of blood feuds, traditions, family, and character is the newest site for Tesla onsite purchases. Iceland, a land of fire and ice with a primary focus on information technology and environmentally friendly energy industries, is now is open for Tesla vehicle orders.

Tesla’s first branch in Iceland opened September 9, 2019, in Reykjavik. Tesla Model S, Model X, and Model 3 orders can now be purchased via the site.

Iceland is a small country by measures like population and population density. But such indicators do not always tell the entire story. Policymakers, researchers, and everyone interested in the future of clean transportation — all are keeping their eyes on Iceland’s vehicle market, because the small island nation is in a leading position on electric mobility.

Iceland’s Leap into the EV Market

Iceland quietly became one of the leading EV markets worldwide in the past 5 years, but the foundation for low-carbon transportation was paved there decades ago. Renewable power, low electricity prices paired with high fossil fuel prices, and a high urbanization rate have made Iceland an ideal market for EVs. In Europe, only Norway has the same ability to provide electric vehicles with 100% renewable electricity.

Low-carbon electricity is available to Iceland’s consumers at comparatively low cost — 20% lower than the average electricity price in the EU — while prices of conventional automotive fuels in Iceland are among the highest worldwide. Consumers in Iceland can significantly reduce fuel costs by switching from conventional vehicles to EVs. In fact, Iceland exempts vehicles emitting up to 80 g CO2/km from import excise duties, which can reach 65% of the vehicle’s customs value if emissions exceed 250 g CO2/km.

Consumers in the northern island country can significantly reduce fuel costs by switching from conventional vehicles to EVs. Right now, EVs comprise 15% of Iceland’s total population of motor vehicles. With Tesla’s entry into the Icelandic auto marketplace, that percentage is certain to climb exponentially.

Iceland & Renewable Energy: A Good Match for Tesla

Iceland’s development from one of the poorest nations in Europe at the beginning of the 20th century to enjoying one of the highest standards of living in the world is intrinsically linked to the development of sustainable energy. Iceland is a highly volcanic island with 26 high temperature geothermal fields and over 250 low temperature areas. In total, over 600 natural hot springs have been found in Iceland.

Today, Iceland is the only country in Europe that derives nearly all of its energy from renewable sources. On a per capita basis, Iceland is ahead of any other nation in geothermal generating capacity and is a world leader in sustainable energy development.

87% of Iceland’s electricity comes from hydropower and the remaining 13% is derived from geothermal power. Almost 100% of Iceland’s space heating and water heating is obtained from geothermal sources. Iceland only uses a fraction of its economically and environmentally viable potential for electrical production from renewable resources. Oil-powered fossil fuel power stations are only used as backups to the renewable sources.

That makes Iceland and Tesla a good match, as many current and potential Icelandic Tesla aficionados attest.

Aurora Borealis ✅

Blue Lagoon ✅

Sustainable energy ✅

Reykjavík service center ✅

Tesla vehicle orders open for Iceland NOW 🙌

— Tesla (@Tesla) September 9, 2019

The Way We Were: Tesla & Iceland

The first Tesla Model S arrived in Reykjavik in late 2013 and was delivered to Gisli Gislason of Northern Lights Energy — an entrepreneur whose personal quest has been to install charging stations around Iceland, open an EV dealership network, and more. To inspire curiosity about EVs, Gislason gave 60 test rides before the year was out. The result? Icelanders started buying Teslas sight unseen.

Image retrieved from YouTuber A Tesla In ICEland.

Icelanders had inquired frequently about whether the day that Tesla would open a sales venue would ever come.

“The supply of electric cars is not satisfying demand at the moment,” Johann Olafsson, who heads Iceland’s Electric Vehicle Association, toldFortune in a 2018 interview which took place in Reykjavik. If it did catch up with demand, he forecast, Tesla sales would probably “more than double each year for the next few years,” he declared.

Johann Olafsson, from Iceland’s #ElectricVehicle Association, says he’s “thrilled” to receive @elonmusk‘s positive response to his request via Twitter for @Tesla service center to open in #Iceland. “I hope it will happen before the release of the Model 3” https://t.co/WlO3uj81gz

— Anthropology of Iceland (@Mannfraedi) May 9, 2018

Icelanders tweeted Elon Musk over the next 2 years, asking, in what the Reykjavík Grapevinecalls “direct Icelandic fashion,” what the problem was with setting up a Service Center. Already, there were more electric vehicles sold in Iceland than in Denmark and Finland during the previous year, where Tesla had already set up operations. Icelandic buyers interested in electric vehicles (EVs) had to face waiting times of up to 9 months.

Tesla vehicles at that time were imported by citizens in Iceland. This is, of course, the case in markets where Tesla does not sell vehicles directly. The only recourse for individuals in non-Tesla supported countries is to buy and import the car from another country. In addition, while Tesla began to send mobile technicians to Iceland on occasion, this was far from the ideal solution.

Fast forward 18 months and the local Icelanders are quite excited.

For a country that starts with “Ice” we had a very warm welcome. Geothermal-powered cars! #Tesla#Icelandpic.twitter.com/PIiy5zA71s

— Jorge Milburn (@jorgemilburn) September 9, 2019

Tesla’s arrival in Iceland will undoubtedly help accelerate the adoption of high-potential electric vehicles in Iceland. Tesla’s next likely steps in Iceland seem to be to open a service center in Reykjavík along with a few Supercharger stations that will enable Tesla owners to travel around their small island, savoring the quiet high-tech Tesla ride that Icelanders savor.

Looking to Charging for Teslas & All EVs on Iceland

The fast rollout of public charging infrastructure, including fast charging stations, is a top priority for the Icelandic government, according to the International Council of Clean Transportation. National grants amounting to about 200 million Icelandic krónur (about €1.63 million or $1.61 million) over a three-year period (2016–2018) could more than triple the number of fast-charging stations on the island.

Iceland’s size is ideal for electric vehicles: 500 km from west to east, and about 350 km from north to south. This means that most trips are well within EV range: Icelandic car owners, on average, drive approximately 38 km per day.

Electric vehicles are for the most part exempt from VAT in Iceland (an exemption that will end when more than 10,000 EVs are sold) and are free of import duty. The government, headed by environmentalist Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir of the Left-Green Movement, says improving the network of charging stations plays a key role in supporting the transition away from dirty fossil fuels.


Tags:Elon Musk, iceland, Tesla, Tesla Iceland

About the Author

Carolyn Fortuna Carolyn Fortuna, Ph.D. is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. She’s won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavy Foundation. As part of her portfolio divestment, she purchased 5 shares of Tesla stock. Please follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

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Conference on e-Mobility inaugurated in Chennai

Manoj Kohli, executive chairman, SoftBank group, said, for realising the transformation of the transport industry from internal combustion engine to …

Argentina wants Indian industrialists to set up lithium ion battery factories in their country said Daniel Chuburu, Ambassador of the Argentine Republic, on Friday.

Delivering his special address at the conference on e-Mobility organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) in the city, Mr. Chuburu said the demand for lithium ion batteries was increasing as several countries including India are giving a push towards electric vehicles. Argentina has lithium mines for producing high quality lithium ion batteries and has proposed to increase the production capacity from 39 million tonnes to 290 MT by 2023.

Manoj Kohli, executive chairman, SoftBank group, said, for realising the transformation of the transport industry from internal combustion engine to electric vehicle, the transport industry needs to closely coordinate with the power industry for setting up charging infrastructure facilities. Mr. Kohli said any electric vehicle technology would be fully green only if the charging points also use clean power, as charging through fossil power does not make it a clean and green technology.

The e-Mobility conference had special sessions including EV charging ecosystem, Green Energy supply to mobility, and Energy Management and smart mobility.

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Robotaxis: Voyage versus Ford, Waymo, and Tesla

Franklin Templeton led the round, followed by Khosla Ventures, InMotion Ventures (Jaguar Land Rover’s venture capital fund), and Chevron …

Autonomous ride-sharing startup Voyage has raised about $31 million in the Series B round, according to its press release. Franklin Templeton led the round, followed by Khosla Ventures, InMotion Ventures (Jaguar Land Rover’s venture capital fund), and Chevron Technology Ventures, Chevron’s (CVX) venture capital arm. This round brings Voyage’s total funding to $52 million to date. The company plans to use the funds to expand its fleet size and team.

Voyage’s robotaxi foray

Voyage, which started its journey in 2017, aims at providing a robotaxi service to commuters. Currently, it’s operating in retirement zones in California and Florida. It has a multiyear exclusive license to operate self-driving ride-sharing vehicles in The Villages in Florida. The Villages is the largest retirement community in the world. It’s spread over 32 square miles and is home to about 78 villages housing around 100–1,550 homes.

These kinds of retirement communities suit the Voyage robotaxi service. The company’s autonomous vehicles operate within a speed limit of 25 miles per hour, which resonates with the calmer pace of the retirement world.

Voyage has come a long way from its first-generation (or G1) autonomous vehicles, which it called Homer. Voyage’s G1 robotaxis was based on Ford Fusion and required a test driver. However, the advanced technology used in G2 has taken Voyage a step forward, and it’s now launching a completely driverless vehicle.

The company’s current fleet, known as G2, is based on the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivan. The vehicle uses LiDAR technology to understand complex traffic conditions. G2 also uses best-in-class sensor vision and safety systems. Though Tesla isn’t in favor of using LiDAR technology, Ford, Waymo, and General Motors have invested heavily in it.

With the latest round of funding, Voyage plans to expand its reach within and outside the retirement community. The company is also working on the next version of its autonomous vehicle, the G3.

Robotaxi competitors

Voyage’s run from startup to expansion seems quite impressive. Though the funds raised by the company are lower than the investments made by leading automakers, Voyage is growing fast. In the autonomous ride-sharing industry, Alphabet’s (GOOGL) (GOOG) Waymo, Ford (F), and Tesla (TSLA) are making huge investments in commercial launches.

Alphabet’s Waymo: A major robotaxi player

Waymo is on its way toward the commercial launch of robotaxis. The company is already operating its service in two cities: Phoenix and Silicon Valley. In Phoenix, some rides are charged, while in Silicon Valley, the service is run for employees. Within the past couple of months, the robotaxis have completed 10,500 trips, 70% of which have received five-star ratings.

Further, Waymo has a strategic alliance with Land Rover Jaguar to design and produce an autonomous fleet of Jaguar I‑PACE vehicles. The duo expects as many as 20,000 I-Pace vehicles to be part of Waymo’s ride-sharing autonomous network in the first two years of its production. To learn more, read Alphabet’s Waymo Is Planning Massive Expansion of Taxi Service.

Ford is making its way

Ford is investing heavily in becoming a leader in the autonomous vehicle segment. The company, along with Volkswagen, has invested in Argo AI for research and development of autonomous vehicles. It plans to launch its self-driving cars by 2021.

Ford believes that the transportation industry is evolving fast, and robotaxis could bring in a new age of growth. The company plans to tap this opportunity with Ford Smart Mobility. Jim Hackett, president and CEO of Ford, said, “Transportation in the world today is on the cusp of a major revolution, and Ford plans to lead the way by changing the way the world moves through Ford Smart Mobility.”

Robotaxis by Tesla

Another mainstream player, Tesla, is all set to launch its fleet of robotaxis by 2020. It will initially offer its Model 3 for the robotaxi service. Tesla is also planning to launch Tesla Network, which will allow owners to place their autonomous vehicles as robotaxis.

Tesla Network, an innovative concept, could change the way the transportation sector works. Moreover, customers will look at car ownership from a different perspective. Some might not want to own a car at all due to the availability of robotaxis. However, others could own a vehicle for the earnings opportunity (which Tesla puts at about $30,000 per year).

Tesla’s car will come with a next-generation battery, which will be good for about 1 million miles. These cars will require minimal maintenance and have a competitive operating cost. The company expects its robotaxis to run at a cost of about $0.18 per mile, much lower than major ride-sharing companies.

Apple is still keeping its project a secret

Apple (AAPL) isn’t far behind in the race. It’s acquired Drive.ai for its hush-hush autonomous car project. Recently, it tested its self-driving car in Cupertino for its sensors. The company has been pretty quiet on its autonomous car progress, but it’s testing more and more self-driving cars.

Overall

Voyage is quite small compared to the behemoths in the industry, but it’s seeing impressive growth. It does plan to expand outside the retirement community, but it will need time to reach cities (considering its long path to commercialization in urban areas). Plus, in the next couple of years, leading automakers may have launched robotaxi networks. The company will likely need more time to grow in order to compete with the heavyweights.

To learn more, read Autonomous Cars: Ford and Tesla Have Big Plans.

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    Voyage raises $31m to bring autonomous cars to retirement communities

    There was also significant participation from Khosla Ventures, Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures, and Chevron Technology Ventures. The total …

    Following fresh investment, autonomous vehicle firm Voyage is now expanding its teams in Palo Alto and Florida.

    On Thursday (12 September), Palo Alto-based start-up Voyage announced that it had secured $31m in Series B funding.

    The autonomous vehicle company, which spun out from online education organisation Udacity in 2017, participated in the Y-Combinator accelerator.

    In a blogpost about the funding, Voyage co-founder and CEO Oliver Cameron noted that the round was led by Franklin Templeton. There was also significant participation from Khosla Ventures, Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion Ventures, and Chevron Technology Ventures.

    Voyage has raised a total of $52m to date, which is a relatively small figure compared to the billions invested into self-driving cars by Waymo, Cruise and Uber.

    As Forbes pointed out in a recent profile, Voyage has been building up real-world experience in low-speed autonomous vehicles for two years, focusing on a niche that aligns with where autonomous vehicle technology is at the moment.

    Cameron told Forbes: “A zero-to-25mph self-driving car – we believe that problem is very, very solvable. The zero-to-65mph self-driving car will take more time, so we’re trying to deliver on this really critical promise of self-driving cars by finding a solvable problem. We want to focus our time on the places or people that desperately need something better.”

    Two engineers in a white car, having a discussion while one holds a laptop.

    From left: Voyage engineers Alan Mon and Trung-Dung Vu. Image: Voyager

    In the company’s blogpost about its latest round of funding, Cameron said: “At Voyage, our mission is to deliver on the promise of self-driving cars, and we are thrilled to be working with forward-thinking investors who deeply believe in that mission.”

    The CEO added that these new resources will help the company deliver an autonomous ride-hailing service to the customers who need it most.

    Commercialisation plans

    Cameron also outlined the company’s next steps. He said that Voyage will expand its team of self-driving experts and expand its fleet of G2 self-driving cars in California and Florida, before eventually introducing the company’s G3 self-driving car.

    With this technology, Voyage plans to provide transport services to older residents in retirement communities.

    “Our first driverless product (with no test driver) aims to ensure there’s always a viable option to move around independently within a community,” Cameron explained.

    “We’ve been working for over two years on this driverless product and progress has been rapid. Our vehicles intelligently and autonomously navigate the complex neighbourhoods of our communities, and safely transport our passengers door-to-door.

    “This capital will take us to the next level, enabling us to commercialise safe, self-driving technology within and outside these communities.”

    Barbara Burger, president of Chevron Technology Ventures, said that investing in Voyage is a natural step for the company.

    “Chevron has been supporting the public’s transportation needs for over 100 years,” she said. “As our customers’ mobility needs and preferences change, we want to continue to be part of their journeys. Our investment in Voyage affirms this commitment.”

    The company is now hiring for engineering, operations and leadership positions in both Palo Alto and Florida.

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