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Inside Automotive (Aug 7th, 2019)

1. A company set to take over a former GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio, had a total of $6,000 in revenue for Q2 of this year. Workhorse Group said it has plans to buy a GM plant slated for closure and form a new affiliate with the goal of producing electric vehicles. The initiative received praise from President Trump in the process. But the company generated only $70 per day for the quarter, give or take, calling its ambitions into question. The company did say it was placing a bid to build next-generation mail trucks for the U.S. Postal Service, which could increase revenues at the company. — BLOOMBERG

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2. A recent deal agreed on between four major automakers (Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen) and California regulators had previously been rejected by the Trump Administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Late last year, California regulators, which have said they would fight any rollback of emissions standards by the Trump Administration, offered the plan as a compromise with the EPA. But the agency said the plan was not a “productive alternative.” The Trump administration has tried to roll back California's “toughest in the nation” standards, but the four automakers did not want to have to create multiple vehicle segments, so they ended up negotiated with California directly. — BLOOMBERG

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3. #JargonWatch: Top-off charging and en-route charging 

An analysis from the Energy Department found that 80 percent of electric vehicle owners charge their cars at home. But this process can be painfully slow. Level 1 battery charging, which means charging your car with a standard 110-volt outlet, may take days to recharge a Tesla Model 3 or Chevrolet Bolt. An analysis from Plug-In America said it would take about 22 hours to fully charge a 2011 Nissan Leaf, which has a range of 84 miles, so imagine charging a Model S or X. 

Some drivers who may not have a reliable home charging connection, or who love to travel long distances in their EVs, take advantage of public charging networks to supplement their driving. But did you know common charging habits have proper terms used by those in the EV community? 

Top-off charging refers to the practice of plugging in a vehicle whenever and wherever someone parks. This alleviates “range anxiety” some drivers may have or the fear of not having enough charge to make it back to their destination. With the growth of fast chargers and EVs with better batteries, however, top-off charging may not be as necessary as previously required. 

This is while en-route charging refers to the usage of a fast or rapid charger. This is the process of receiving more than 100 miles in range on a charge, in the time it takes to take a normal, short break, allowing drivers to take road trips virtually uninterrupted. The best example of this would be Tesla’s Supercharger network, which can usually add hundreds of miles in range in less than an hour. 

Have a suggestion for a phrase (or two) that we should include in next month’s #JargonWatch? Reply to this email and let me know! 

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4. An Automotive News report details Waymo’s relationship with dealer network AutoNation and how Alphabet’s self-driving unit has taken lessons from the airline industry. Reporter Pete Bigelow wrote that when the company was launching its “robotaxi” pilot program, the company’s leading executives and operations staff learned how airlines performed maintenance, fueled aircraft and cleaned cabins, among other tasks, while minimizing time at the gate. AutoNation has created a deep relationship with Waymo, where AutoNation employees clean and calibrate sensors on Waymo’s fleet. — AUTO NEWS

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5. Chinese self-driving startup Nio has sold its Formula E racing team. Nio has reportedly been looking to sell its stake in the team since at least April, amid an effort to cut costs. Chinese motorsports company Lisheng Racing acquired Nio’s stake and will run the team’s operations going forward. Nio will remain a sponsor of the team. — THE VERGE

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6. Honda is reportedly limiting sales of its Clarity plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) to the state of California. Previously, the automaker had scaled back the sale of the vehicle from nationwide availability to states that participate in the ZEV program, including California, Oregon and New York, among others. Now, according to a forum user on the Inside EV forums who has tracked VINs, the automaker is limiting shipments of the vehicle to the state of California. — INSIDE EVS

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7. Nissan has yet to develop a plan on how it will recycle batteries for over 100,000 Leaf EVs. The automaker does have a plan in place on how it recycles these batteries in Japan, where it jointly operates a battery recycling plant with Sumitomo. One of the challenges with EV production remains on how to estimate the lifetime of a battery, as one driver who had driven 60,000 miles on his vehicle already said his Nissan Leaf only charges to about half of its rated capacity. — CNET

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8. The CEO of Spanish automaker Seat, Luca de Meo, discussed the company’s outlook on electric vehicles. Seat, which is a Volkswagen brand, will use the automaker’s MEB platform to produce the vehicles. Despite questionable demand for the vehicles, de Meo says the automaker has no choice but to sell the vehicles, or else the automaker would receive a fine. He did say that with the scale of EVs coming, it is likely prices will drop, much like the adoption of smartphones. — AUTOMOTIVE IT

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9. Despite a decline in sedan sales, Honda has no plans to reduce prices. Americans have been favoring larger vehicles, like SUVs and trucks, over sedans. As a result, sales have slowed down for nameplates like the Honda Accord and Civic. Despite this, Honda is sticking to its pricing model, bucking a trend adopted by competitors, like Toyota, in lowering sedan prices to attract buyers. — CARBUZZ

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10. Comedian and car enthusiast Jay Leno said there’s almost “no reason to have a gas car unless you’re doing long-haul duty.” Leno, an avid car collector, said he’s had a Tesla for three years and has not done any maintenance on it. He believes children born today will probably have as much of a chance of driving in a gas car as people today have a chance of driving in a car with a stick shift. — CNBC

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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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