Toyota Launches Very Affordable Fuel Cell Vehicle: 2 Bucks, And It’s Yours

To witness the launch of Toyota’s latest product, one with great impact far into the future of mobility, and maybe even of this planet, I went to Tokyo’s central bus depot this morning. I witnessed the reveal of Toyota’s latest hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The one before, Toyota’s Mirai, would set you back $57,500 plus taxes, title, and delivery. This one you can have for around 2 bucks in Japanese money. Toyota’s new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle is a city bus, line 05-2, hop on at Tokyo Station.

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Here Is Everything That Can Go Wrong With Tesla. Musk Signed It

“The challenge of reading large volumes of Tesla coverage is that it tends to be either rabidly positive or sharply negative,” writes the always insightful John Voelker in Green Car Reports. Indeed, Tesla reporting seems more at loggerheads than Breitbart and the New York Times. Looking for fact-based and sober reading material, I found some unexpectedly astute literature, explaining in great detail what can go wrong at Tesla Motors: It is the company’s annual report Form 10-K, filed with the SEC last week. Some say that Musk & Co. don’t know what they are getting into. Not true as a little reading will prove. Tesla knows exactly what can go wrong, and it is a lot.

Over the signatures of Elon Musk and CFO Jason Wheeler (who announced his sudden departure from Tesla a week before he signed the 10-K ) Tesla enumerates on 15 tightly-spaced pages the many obstacles standing in the way of Tesla’s success. There may be more “risks and uncertainties not currently known to us.” 10-K usually are dry reading. Tesla’s annual report is the Stephen King of SEC filings. Here are just a few highlights.

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BMW’s Japan CEO Reveals The Country’s True Non-Tariff Barriers

“This is BMW Group’s sixth-largest market, by volume.”

I consider where we are, and my jaw drops. We are in Tokyo, Japan, and we are talking to Peter Kronschnabl, President of BMW Group Japan. Would we be talking to President Trump, or to Ford, we would be told that Japan is closed to foreign cars. Kronschnabl finds the assertion literally laughable: I prod him where Japan ranks at BMW in terms of profits, and Kronschnabl just smiles.

“The Japanese customer wants a well-equipped car. No car is sold at list here.” At BMW, the global ranking goes China, U.S.A., Germany, UK, Italy, Japan, by volume. By profit, take out one country, which one is a company secret. This leads to a nice long chat, and in its course, I learn where the true barriers to entry are buried.

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Piëch Throws Bombs, Volkswagen Spins Out Of Control

“The hallway radio is speechless,” sighed a highly-placed Volkswagen manager when I asked him today what the hallway radio, a.k.a “Flurfunk,” as the the scuttlebutt among Volkswagen’s executives is called in Wolfsburg, thinks about a nuclear bomb dropped by VW’s patriarch supreme, Ferdinand Piëch. The spokesman for majority shareholder Porsche just dragged labor unions, German politicians, and his own cousin Wolfgang Porsche into the brutal grind of the dieselgate scandal. Today, the political impact reached Israel’s spy service Shi Bet. Meanwhile, Volkswagen’s unions are in open revolt against Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess. Volkswagen is quickly spinning out of control.  Gabor Steingart, publisher of Germany’s #1 financial daily Handelsblatt already tweeted exasperatedly that “VW produces headlines with the same takt time as cars.”

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Tesla Fires German Supplier, Says It’s Not To Please Trump

Last Tuesday, shares of SHW, a maker of engine pumps and brake discs, plummeted when the company announced that a maker of fully electric cars had canceled an order of parts worth more than $100 million.  Today, Californian carmaker Tesla Motors confirmed that it was behind the order, “but denied the move has anything to do with U.S. President Donald Trump’s economic policies,” as Germany’s Handelsblatt wrote today.

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German Prosecutors Add Former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn To List Of 37 Dieselgate Suspects

At long last, Volkswagen’s top echelon moves into the cross hairs of Germany’s until now extremely hesitant authorities. The public prosecutor in Braunschweig near Volkswagen’s hometown Wolfsburg enlarged the circle of dieselgate suspects from 21 to 37, German media reports.  One of the people suspected of fraud is Volkswagen’s former CEO Martin Winterkorn, the prosecutor told the press the German morning.

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40% Price Drop On Chinese EV Batteries Spells Trouble For Tesla

A cornerstone of the Tesla story may be crumbling amid indications that the company’s envisioned battery price advantage could evaporate long before the company’s Gigafactory has gone into full swing. An analyst note from Morgan Stanley says that Chinese battery suppliers may cut their prices by 35%-40% in 2017, while still making a profit. On Thursday, shares of electric vehicle battery maker Samsung SDI dropped 4% on the news, while competitor LG Chem was down 1.8%. Tesla stock was unchanged in after-hours trading.

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VW’s Winterkorn Directly Involved, Damning Dieselgate Revelations Say

If you are looking for written proof for the involvement of Volkswagen’s former CEO Martin Winterkorn in the dieselgate coverup, look no further than this morning’s edition of Germany’s BILD Zeitung. Two months before the scandal became public, Volkswagen planned a highly selective disclosure strategy, the paper says in its Sunday edition. The usually well-informed mass circulation tabloid cites and shows PowerPoints from a presentation chaired by Martin Winterkorn himself. The revelation could put arrested Volkswagen manager Oliver Schmidt in U.S. jail for many years, and it could cost Volkswagen another $10 bln.

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