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Inside Automotive (Oct 28th, 2019)

1. Hyundai will launch a self-driving vehicle shuttle service pilot in Southern California. The automaker will partner with self-driving software startup Pony.ai and shuttle operator Via on the service, which will operate near Irvine. Rides, which will be given in a Hyundai KONA electric SUV, will be free within certain hours of the day and will service 13 destinations around the city through the end of January. The vehicles will feature two back-up safety drivers behind the wheel, with the city being picked due to its “ideal suburban setting.” Irvine is about a one hour drive south of Los Angeles. — OC REGISTER

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2. Tesla is beginning to sell its “Made in China” Model 3 through its online configurator. The automaker will offer the Standard Range Plus Model 3 with Autopilot, built in its Shanghai Gigafactory, for about $50,000. Tesla specified on its online configurator that the vehicle was made in China, although there is an asterisk saying “subject to regulatory approval.” On a recent earnings call, the company said it is finalizing its license to sell vehicles in China. — ELECTREK

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3. MINI’s upcoming electric vehicle will retail for about $30,000. The Mini Cooper SE, which will be the BMW unit’s first production electric vehicle, will start at $30,750 in the US when it launches in March 2020. The vehicle will also qualify for federal and state tax incentives and rebates. The SE will deliver about 181 horsepower and be capable of traveling 0 to 60 miles per hour in 6.9 seconds, with a battery range of 146 to 168 miles per charge. — AUTO NEWS

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4. Former GM executive Bob Lutz acknowledged the Tesla Model 3’s success, while ripping the design of the upcoming Model Y crossover. Lutz has a history of being bearish on Tesla, at one point saying Tesla was “headed for the graveyard.” While he acknowledged that the Model 3 is selling well, he called the design of the Model Y “terminally ugly,” adding “I don’t know who’s gonna buy that. It’s another one of these humpback things like the Model X.” — TESLARATI

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5. Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess said Tesla is not a niche automaker. After presenting the automaker’s refreshed Golf vehicle, Diess clarified that he does not believe Tesla is a niche, electric vehicle maker, adding that the Model 3 is a “large-series” model and the company is one of the biggest manufacturers of electric vehicle batteries. This is in contrast to statements from some analysts who have said Tesla would likely remain as a niche, luxury automaker. He added Volkswagen has a lot of respect for Tesla and is a serious competitor to VW. — YAHOO FINANCE

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6. Chinese vehicle maker BYD has already sold over 1,000 electric buses in Europe. The company has already sold about 50,000 buses total, although most of those sales have occurred in China. BYD also offers energy management, solar panels, charging infrastructure, electric forklifts and warehouse equipment for the European market. — INSIDE EVS

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7. A recent Tesla software update is adding power improvements and “automatic” navigation. Through the update, drivers will receive about five percent more power through optimized motor control. “Automatic” navigation will choose common mapping routes based on previously traveled locations, calendar events and the time of day. This update is expected to reach all Tesla owners over the next few weeks. — ENGADGET

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8. The capital city of Belgium, Brussels, announced plans to ban all gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles by 2035. The ban will come as a part of an aggressive climate plan, in an effort for the entire city to become climate neutral by 2050. Diesel vehicles will be banned by 2030, while gasoline-powered vehicles will be phased out by 2035. Gas-burning motorcycles will also eventually be included in the ban. — BRUSSELS TIMES

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9. Honda’s retro-inspired E electric vehicle was originally intended for the U.S. To the disappointment of many Honda (and electric vehicle) fans, the uniquely-designed E will only be available in Europe. However, project leader for the vehicle, Kohei Hitomi said the vehicle was originally intended to launch in the US, but the issue was tied to whether there would be demand for the smaller-sized EV. — JALOPNIK

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10. The United Auto Workers’ (UAW) union will negotiate next with Ford. UAW officials are moving to main table negotiations with the automaker, after a six-week strike with GM. However, experts said Ford has had a better history with the UAW union in recent years, which may avoid a strike. — THE DETROIT NEWS

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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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