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Inside Automotive (Jun 24th, 2016)

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Thank you for being one of the first 6,000 subscribers to this newsletter. We’ve been amazed by the open rates (56% – 2.5x the industry average) and the net promoter scores (81, compared to 70 for the iPhone and 50 for Netflix). 

Today we have some exciting news: we’re expanding the mandate form just Tesla to all EVs.

While Tesla is the leader in the electric vehicle market, this space is jampacked with news, and we’ve realized over the past few weeks that while Tesla is far and away the clear leader, the revolution they’ve inspired is heating up with Faraday, Google, Apple, Uber, and all the major auto manufacturers around the world making progress on EVs, self-driving cars and the future of transportation. 

The newsletter will read exactly the same, with just a little more expansive coverage.

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The Grimsel, a new electric car prototype designed by a group of Swiss students, has broken the world record for electric vehicle acceleration, going from 0 to 62 mph in 1.51 seconds. The Grimsel’s run beats the previous record holder by two-tenths of a second. – GEEK

New pictures of the Tesla Model 3 prototype interior have leaked on Facebook, taken inside what appears to be a Tesla service center. While the interior is still expected to change for the production version, speculation over the seeming lack of an instrument cluster and the center 15-inch display is off and running, much of it centering on the possibility of full autonomy or a heads-up display. – ELECTREK

The Virginia Automobile Dealers Association (VADA) is calling for an investigation by state regulators into Tesla’s business practices, after filing a lawsuit in March against both Tesla and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. VADA alleges that the two groups conspired to hide the opening of a second Tesla Store. The opening, according to the lawsuit, violates a 2013 agreement that prohibits a second store until 2017. Franchised dealers in Virginia view Tesla’s direct-sales model as a threat, despite the fact that Tesla has no franchised dealers needing protection. – GREEN CAR
 
German automaker BMW has announced a plan to recycle the battery cells of its i3 EV by installing them in homes, and also will offer a standalone energy storage system in the future that will be powered by the i3 batteries. That makes BMW the first EV manufacturer to recycle batteries for use in homes, blurring the line between home and vehicle energy on the road away from fossil fuels. – CSM
LG Chem and Samsung SDI, South Korea’s two biggest EV battery makers, were left off a list of 31 battery manufacturers published by China’s ministry of industry and information technology.  The snub means they didn’t meet China’s standards and will not be eligible for large government subsidies after January 2018. Both companies have complained that China has discriminated against foreign manufacturers in favor of local industry, and will seek clarification after further review. – WSJ
Upstart EV company Karma Automotive has hired Kip Ewing, the former Ford engineer. Ewing will serve as Karma’s chief engineer. The company (built from the ruins of failed EV startup Fisker) has grown its staff from 20 to 500 workers in two years, and is set to open a new manufacturing center in Troy, Michigan. Karma is not currently focusing on self-driving: James Taylor, the company’s chief marketing engineer, says “I literally had one of the customers say ‘I don’t want to drive an iPad.” – VERGE

Electric and hybrid car owners in California are reporting that a current heat wave is causing major issues for their vehicles, including cars that won’t start and dysfunctional display screens. A study by the AAA Automotive Research Center in Southern California suggests outside temperatures of 95 degrees or higher can drop an EVs range by 33 percent. – FOX
Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler AG is considering an independent brand name for its all-electric vehicles, which it plans to announce on July 20th ahead of an anticipated Paris expo in September. The unnamed car will be Daimler’s first from-scratch all-electric vehicle. Employing a different strategy than rival BMW, the company wants to produce a line of EVs based on their existing models in its existing factories, to keep costs down. – HANDELSBLATT
 
FROM THE FORUMS
Users on the EV subreddit are discussing German manufacturer Siemens plan to power a fleet of unlimited-range electric trucks using overhead electrical wires, a 150-year-old method of energy deployment. Member AndTheLink says it plainly: "I haven't seen any better long term solutions to green trucking.  I'll take it." MateKing is less accepting of the idea, "mainly because it makes it impossible for a rescue-helicopter to land on the highway." NCGeronino alternately suggests "an onboard turbine generator."



Over at the Tesla Motors Club, member CapeOne asks why Tesla doesn't a traditional "model years" numbering system. SabrToothSqrl offers that "Tesla can and will fix and improve things any time. So nothing is specific to a year. If it's not working, why wait a model year to fix it?" Member trilsOn adds, "Tesla has said in the past they make over 20 hardware changes per week. They incorporate new changes as soon as they are ready. Not sure how that works with a tradition model year system." TexasEV puts a finer point on the issue: "I would ask the question the other way-- why do traditional auto makers have model years? No other consumer product does. Do you buy a 2017 iPhone or lawn mower?"
 
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