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Inside Automotive (Aug 5th, 2019)

1. Tesla will now offer free Supercharging to all new Model S and Model X orders. Earlier this year, Tesla removed a referral offer that gave new car buyers free access to the company’s network of fast-chargers, saying it was adding too much cost to the vehicles. Now, new orders of the Model S and X will receive the perk, without needing a referral from another customer. The added perk is likely an effort to increase sales for the vehicles, which have been in decline recently. — ENGADGET

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2. One Autopilot user noted a potentially dangerous flaw with Tesla’s automated driving system. On Twitter, @anthony_laapuz sent Tesla CEO Elon Musk a tweet, saying after new traffic lines were painted on the northbound 101 Freeway in San Francisco, the car’s Autopilot system looked like it still wanted to use the older white lines. As a result, the vehicle drifted into the lane’s shoulder. The user shared video footage of the error on his Twitter account. Musk has yet to respond. — @ANTHONY_LAAPUZ/TWITTER

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3. Renault is reportedly discussing cutting its stake in Nissan in hopes of reviving a plan to merge with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Both Nissan and Renault are weighing plans in which the French automaker would cut its 43.4 percent stake in Nissan. However, the French government would need to approve a reduction in Renault’s stake, as the government owns about 15 percent of Renault. Earlier this year, merger talks between FCA and Renault broke down amid reported disagreements between Nissan and Renault, and their government backers. — AUTO NEWS

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4. A new study suggests that electric scooters take a heavier environmental toll than other modes of transport, including buses and bikes. While it is still better for the environment to ride an electric scooter over driving a car, researchers at North Carolina State University found environmental burdens in manufacturing, charging and delivering the scooters exceed those of other forms of transportation. This may call scooter-sharing companies’ marketing claming they they're more environmentally-friendly into question. — THE INFORMATION

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5. Volkswagen’s Chinese joint venture with SAIC will produce three new electric vehicle models based on VW’s MEB platform. The vehicles will be produced in a new factory in Shanghai, which is specifically designed to produce VW’s MEB electric platform. The vehicles produced will include medium and large-sized all-electric SUVs. The facility is expected to begin production in 2020, with a planned annual capacity of 300,000 vehicles.  — GASGOO

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6. A China-based startup showed off renderings of its first electric vehicle. Human Horizons says it will launch a premium all-electric vehicle brand, HiPhi. The company’s first vehicle will be the HiPhi 1, an all-electric SUV capable of going up to 400 miles per charge. The car will be equipped with a dual-motor drivetrain capable of traveling 0 to 62 mph in about 3.9 seconds, which is slightly slower than a Tesla Model 3 Performance. The company hopes to start production in 2021, being first available in China and later in other global markets. — ELECTREK

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7. Are public, non-Tesla EV charging rates getting more expensive? That’s one observation I took away from a Reddit post on the /r/electricvehicles subreddit, where one driver said he spent about $41 recharging a Chevrolet Bolt for a 480-mile drive. One commenter on the thread said he routinely drives a Model 3 from Portland to San Francisco (a 633-mile drive) to visit family and it only costs him about $45 in Supercharger fees. This could be because of the fragmented pricing of EV charging, as individual station operators decide on rates, versus a centralized pricing model from an automaker, like Tesla. — /R/ELECTRICVEHICLES - REDDIT

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8. Following up on the Tesla Dog Mode glitch: the automaker pushed out a fix through a software update. One Tesla owner on Twitter reported last Wednesday that they had their AC fan manually set in the vehicle and noticed that it did not automatically activate the air conditioning when “Dog Mode” was activated. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he was fixing the error and some drivers started receiving a correction to the issue on Friday, bundled in a software update. Tesla said all owners should have the update by now. — ELECTREK

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9. Subaru has seen a 48 percent increase in profits in Q1. The automaker’s substantial profit growth was led by demand for Ascent and Forester crossover SUVs in the U.S., as drivers in the market prefer the larger vehicles and trucks over sedans. — AUTO NEWS

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10. Automotive marketplace Cars.com, says that it will not undergo a sale. The company reviewed 29 bids over the course of 10 months, but said it will continue to execute a plan to operate as an independent, public company. The website has seen a decline in revenue, citing a drop in dealer count and national advertising. — BLOOMBERG

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This newsletter was written and curated by Johan Moreno. Johan is based out of Los Angeles, CA and has covered technology and automotive extensively for a variety of publications, including Forbes and The Orange County Register. Follow him on Twitter @dudejohan

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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