Success of EVs threatened by cobalt-crisis, and China

Children in a mine in Katanga, picture courtesy

The drive to electric driving could be driven off a cliff by two unsettling trends: An impending shortage of rare minerals needed to make the batteries, and a more than obvious attempt by the Chinese government to rig, and eventually corner the nascent EV market. [Continue Reading]

Model S September’s top-selling BEV in Western Europe. That’s the good news

Model S in Norway. Picture by Matthias Schmidt

AID, the must-have newsletter for people in need of unvarnished automobile sales data, has an explosive mix of good-news / bad-news for Tesla friends and foes alike. Tesla is racking up impressive sales gains in the world’s second-largest battery-electric EV market. That’s the good news. The not-so-good news is that if Elon Musk won’t act fast, the sudden gains are liable to evaporate, writes AID publisher Matthias Schmidt. [Continue Reading]

I have seen the taxi of the future, and it is indigo blue

Ribbon-cutting ceremony for the JPN Taxi (c) Bertel Schmitt

Yesterday, I was given an early glimpse of the taxi of the future. It looks a little bit like the offspring of a mésalliance between a London taxi and an Escalade. It will be piloted by a legacy human driver, it won’t have Wifi, it will be powered by propane gas, and its color will be deep blue, if Toyota gets its wish.

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Volkswagen boss rips Elon Musk as destroyer of jobs and money

Matthias Müller (Picture: Volkswagen)

Car companies used to refrain from commenting on the competition, but the veil of propriety seems to develop more rips than the jeans of a grunge rocker. Last night, Volkswagen’s CEO Matthias Müller tore Elon Musk a big one, blasting the head of Californian carmaker Tesla as deficient of both social responsibility, and profits.

At an evening talk show in Passau, Germany, the moderator mentioned that Tesla “fascinates customers with its electric cars.” This triggered Müller to deliver a forceful statement he audibly had wanted to make for quite some time. Here is the video, along with a translation from Müller’s heavily Bavarian-tinged German:

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The Nissan brouhaha: Premature inspectors cause shutdown

Saikawa, today in Yokohama (c) Bertel Schmitt

What the 2011 tsunami couldn’t accomplish, bureaucrats did: Nissan’s Japanese production will be closed until further notice. 

At a hastily thrown-together press conference, called at an unusual time (the sun had long slipped behind Mt. Fuji) Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa announced that Nissan’s six factories all over Japan would stop making and shipping cars for the Japanese market, pending the resolution of an inspection scandal that taxes the comprehension of anyone outside of Japan. A customary deep bow of shame accompanied the statement.

But why?

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On Tesla’s Famed First Floor

Going down? (Picture courtesy

Excerpted from a dead-tree copy of Mired Magazine found in the bathroom at a wine-and-ambien party with Kurt Cobain and Pablo Escobar, down in the deeper levels of the Simulation. All names are fictional.

By Ayla L.N. RanbeBay Area – 7.17.17

While working at Tesla, I always enjoyed talking to people after they finished a factory tour. As much as they raved about the amazing automation, gigantic presses, and hundreds of robots, the reality was they only saw half of the actual manufacturing that was taking place in the building. Unknown to most visitors, the factory’s first floor was home to the most advanced reworking systems in the auto industry. Some of the robots moved so fast that components actually time-warped back to 1970’s-era Fremont quality levels! For realsies!

Though it was obvious why we were building the systems at the heart of our product, such as the battery and motors, many people had difficulty understanding why we manufactured high-voltage cables, displays, fuses, and other smaller systems. What they saw as the embrace of Silicon Valley DIY culture, was Tesla’s innovation of IYI culture.

Why take on the madness of not only starting a new car company but also making it more vertically integrated than any car company since the heyday of the Rouge plant in the late 1920s, when plummeting demand for the Model T, for which Rouge was built, almost bankrupted Ford?

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Mitsubishi Motors plots its comeback, and here is the plan

Osamu Masuko in Tokyo (c) Bertel Schmitt

According to widely-held Silicon Valley belief, it is impossible to turn a lumbering old legacy carmaker around. Alright, watch Osamu Masuko. He is the CEO of a 100-year-old Japanese carmaker named Mitsubishi Motors, and today, he announced the company’s “V-shaped recovery” at MMC’s HQ in Tokyo

The company fell into disrepute last year for having (like so many others) fudged fuel economy readings. Sales sagged. Nissan promptly bought a controlling interest in the company for a $2.3 billion song. (Attn. Silicon Valley: This is what a million-unit carmaker operating in the real world outside of the distortion field truly goes for.) The Mitsubishi purchase propelled the Renault-Nissan Alliance (now renamed Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance) to the top of all global automakers. Now is the time to turn the company around.

Basically, the plan calls for a 40% increase in sales, and a 30% increase in revenue by fiscal 2019 (which ends March 31 2020.)

“How will they do that?” asked @happy_roman via Twitter. @happy_roman once managed PR and later Marketing at Skoda, therefore, professional courtesy, and an explanation are extended.

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Tuesday morning car news roundup, October 17, 2017

Top News:


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