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Inside Automotive (Oct 18th, 2019)

1. Tesla quietly raised the price and range of the Model 3, slightly changed its return policy and also added a new order fee. The Standard Range Plus variant of the Model 3 is increasing to $39,940 from $38,990, but is getting about 10 more miles of range. The automaker is also charging a new, non-refundable $100 order fee, no longer requiring buyers to pay a refundable $1,000 reservation fee or put down a $2,500 order deposit. Tesla will also bar those who return their vehicles from re-purchasing the same trim level for a year. Tesla allows buyers to return their vehicles within seven days of purchase. — CNBC

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2. The tentative deal struck between GM and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union will still involve the closure of three U.S. plants. GM will follow-through with shutting down facilities in Michigan and Maryland, while also closing a parts facility in California under the deal. Sparred from the closure list will be a facility in Detroit, that will be repurposed to build an all-electric pickup truck. Another facility that was previously slated for closure, in Lordstown, Ohio, will be sold to EV startup Lordstown Motors. — CNBC

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3. Follow Friday: Mitch Turck

Mitch Turck (@mitchturck) is an advocate for transportation innovation, spearheading a project called PORT (Proof Of Required Travel Act). This aims to make telecommuting a civil right under Title VII employment protection laws. Turck’s argument for PORT is that by requiring fewer employees to travel to their job sites, there would be less of a need for parking lots, roads and office buildings. 

As a result, Turck is also a great follow on Twitter and Medium. On Twitter, he shared this graph showing how many days in a year a person would be traveling based on the time of their commute. He also shared this interesting stat that 73 percent of trips taken on the Acela Express, America’s only high-speed rail line between Washington D.C. and Boston, are occasional business trips, arguing that telecommuting could eliminate those trips.  

On Medium, Turck publishes a monthly “State of Autonomy” recap, giving readers a rundown of the latest and greatest developments within the autonomy space. 

Follow him on Twitter here and on Medium here

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4. Tesla is offering new wheels on its Model 3 Performance vehicles. We wrote about these new “black” wheels a few days ago, as they were spotted by an Electrek reader. The new wheels are available as a standard option for Model 3 Performance vehicles, with the online configurator no longer offering silver wheels as an option for the Performance. — ELECTREK

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5. An analysis commissioned by Southern California Edison said that with 10 percent EV penetration in the state, electric vehicles could shift all residential peak load to evening hours. The analysis, performed from Jackson Associates, envisions electric vehicles as assets to the electric grid, potentially saving $560 in home energy costs per EV customer, even after accounting for the cost of overnight EV charging. — UTILITY DIVE

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6. Volkswagen’s U.S. CEO, Scott Keogh, unveiled more details about the company’s upcoming electric SUV. Keogh said the ID4 crossover will start around $33,000, before tax incentives. He also said the vehicle would likely be unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show on February 2020 and would go on sale by the end of the year. Volkswagen’s recently unveiled ID3 will not be available in the U.S. market. — ROADSHOW

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7. Don’t expect any “Twitter beef” or new product announcements from Tesla CEO Elon Musk this weekend: he said he is going “offline for a few days.” It is unclear if Musk has a specific reason why he’s going offline, although he is in the midst of a defamation battle against British cave diver Vernon Unsworth. Musk “scuffled” on Twitter with Los Angeles Times’ journalist Russ Mitchell last weekend over his connection to PlainSite. Musk often makes new product announcements on his Twitter account. — @ELONMUSK/TWITTER

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8. Toyota unveiled the production version of its electric city vehicle, the Ultra-Compact BEV. The vehicle, scheduled to go on sale in Japan by the end of 2020, is designed for urban city dwellers, the elderly and newly licensed drivers, and only has two seats. The vehicle will have an expected range of about 62 miles and have a top speed of 37 miles per hour. — MOTOR1

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9. Mazda will officially unveil its first electric vehicle next Wednesday in Tokyo. The automaker posted a teaser video on YouTube, appearing to use the automaker’s “Kodo design philosophy.” Some previous reports said the EV would be sold in the U.S. with a rotary range extender. — THE DRIVE

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10. If you live in New York, you may want to treat yourself to this awesome EV deal: Hyundai is leasing its Ioniq EV for only $99 per month. On Slickdeals, one user shared a 36-month lease deal, with $0 down, 10,000 miles per year, and all taxes, fees and first payment rolled into the lease, thanks to the state’s EV credit. Many were able to replicate it, although vehicle inventory appears to be low in the state. The Ioniq supports DC fast charging and has a range of about 124 miles. — SLICKDEALS

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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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