What If The Koch Brothers Were Running Tesla (Into The Ground)?

The Koch bros. Picture courtesy Time.com

We are proud and pleased to have Matthew Klippenstein as a new DailyKanban writer. Matthew is an extremely rare combination between a hardcore fuel-cell engineer, plug-in electric vehicle early adopter, and an absolutely amazing author.

Imagine if you will a parallel universe: President Bernie Sanders won a landslide victory over Donald Trump in 2016; DC Comics’ Justice League — the most ambitious crossover event since the Bering Strait — has shattered box office records; and the Koch Brothers acquired a controlling interest in Tesla in 2013.

If the fossil fuel potentates were Hell and High Water-bent on destroying Tesla’s corporate prospects — if they tried to systematically sabotage the company’s future — what would the past five years have looked like?

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Your car will eat shit. And that’s a good thing

This is where shit happens: Part of the sewage-to-hydrogen plant (c) Bertel Schmitt

Want to turn a staunch supporter of electric vehicles into a fire and invective belching monster? Easy. All you have to do is mention a certain kind of EV, namely the one powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. You’ll be immediately subjected to long tirades of how “wildly impractical, horrendously wasteful, and ridiculously expensive” the thing is.  Rest assured that in the course of the discussion, the diety of electric cars, who called the technology “fool cells,” will be invoked at least three times. Meanwhile in Japan, the biggest proponent of said fuel cells, Toyota, is unperturbed, and it works towards a “hydrogen society” with the same tenacity Toyota showed way back when it was pushing its hybrid technology against all odds. Now, the industry switches to hybrid in wholesale fashion.

Today, Toyota played its trump card: Fuel cell vehicles can be powered with something that is absolutely renewable, and available in endless quantities all around the world: Human excrement. [Continue Reading]

Toyota: News of the death of the ICE have been greatly exaggerated

It’s not Elvis. It’s a new ICE engine by Toyota. There will be more. (c) Bertel Schmitt

I came home tonight, and Frau Schmitto-san, ever the caring wife, asked: “How was your day?”
“I was at Toyota, they launched a completely new line of gasoline engines, transmissions, drivelines.”

Frau Schmitto-san was perplexed: „They still make those?”

This about sums up the level of EV hype, and its utter disconnection from the truth. The short trip to Toyota was a journey back to reality. [Continue Reading]

Will China hold our electric future at ransom? Not if Toyota can help it

Toyota’s Akira Kato demonstrates lean neodymium. (c) Bertel Schmitt

If the supply of electric vehicles is to grow as predicted, the demand for strategic materials will increase along with it. The various oil crises of the past, and the wars that came with it, illustrate where such a dependency can lead. As far as electric vehicles are concerned, two choke points have been identified: The supply of cobalt needed to make batteries, and the supply of rare earth minerals needed to make the magnets in electric motors.

There are two ways to address the problem. We can hope it will take care of itself. Or we can do something about it. Toyota is in the second camp, and it aims to reduce the dangerous dependency on neodymium. Expensive neodymium already is the main cost driver in the production of magnets, we heard today at a meeting at Toyota’s Tokyo HQ. If electric vehicles will gain popularity as expected, shortages of neodymium could occur as early as 2025, Akira Kato, general project manager at Toyota’s R&D company, told us today. [Continue Reading]

‘Fool cell’ Toyota Mirai trounces ‘S-curve’ Tesla Model 3

Hand made Mirai. (c) Bertel Schmitt

Last October, we raised the possibility that Tesla’s alleged mass market car, the Model 3, could be out-sold by Toyota’s not-at-all-mass-market car, the fuel-cell powered Mirai. We called that a “strong possibility,” and a Toyota tipster said “if Tesla maintains its graceful pace of some 130 a month, for sure we will have made more Mirai this year by end of December.”

As the world is well aware by now, the Model 3 ramp-up was disgraceful, and as hard as it may have tried, Tesla could report only 1,770 Model 3 as sold to (mostly in-house) customers in 2017.

Today was December and calendar year 2017 numbers day in Japan, an opportunity to ask Toyota how its Mirai has been doing. [Continue Reading]

China NEV Weekly Episode 7: Las Vegas, Lifan, and LvChi

China NEV Weekly Episode 7

Happy New Year! No time to waste: we continue with a new episode of China NEV Weekly, bringing you the latest New Energy Vehicles from China. This week, we start in Las Vegas:
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China NEV Weekly Episode 5: Bangle and the World Cup

 

Welcome to another episode of China NEV Weekly, with the latest New Energy Vehicles from China. This week with Chris Bangle, the World Cup, and a fake Picasso.

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China NEV Weekly, Episode 4: Pickup Your BingGo

China NEV Weekly

Welcome to Episode 3 of the China NEV Weekly, where we look at the latest New Energy Vehicles from China. This week with pickup trucks, a Hozon, and we are going to play bingo!

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