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Inside Automotive (Nov 4th, 2019)

1. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is continuing its investigation into a possible defect in Tesla’s batteries. In a letter sent by the NHTSA on October 24 to Tesla's deputy general counsel Al Prescott, the agency said it opened a “defect petition,” asking for more information from Tesla to evaluate a request from Attorney Edward C. Chen. Chen has filed multiple class-action lawsuits against Tesla, alleging that the automaker's batteries are defective. The NHTSA will be looking into battery system software updates in Model S and X vehicles, produced from 2012 to 2019, which were intended to reduce the risk of a vehicle battery catching on fire. — NYT

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2. Micro-mobility company Inboard has laid off all 24 of its employees, as it liquidates all its intellectual property and assets. The move comes ahead of the company's planned pivot to electric scooters. Inboard founder Ryan Evans told The Verge that the development timeline for its electric scooter “outstretched” the company’s finances. The company had reportedly received “multiple assurances” that it would receive additional capital from investors, but those investors instead pushed for liquidation. — THE VERGE

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3. Prospective Tesla Model 3 buyers will see some pricing changes in November. The automaker’s “full self-driving” package is now $7,000, a $1,000 price increase. The package still has yet to deliver full self-driving capabilities but does offer drivers access to Tesla’s “Smart Summon” feature. The all-wheel-drive variant of the Model 3 now starts at $48,500, a $500 increase. This vehicle recently received an increase in range, from the previous 310 miles on a charge to 322 miles per charge. — /R/TESLAMOTORS - REDDIT

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4. Ford’s “Mustang-inspired” electric SUV will reportedly have a vertically-oriented center console display. The Mach-E, which will be unveiled on November 17, will likely match the Tesla Model S and X in terms of having a “huge” vertically positioned “tablet-like” device that will control multiple functions of the vehicle. Other vehicles, like the Toyota Prius Prime, have also adopted a vertically-oriented screen. The Tesla Model 3 has adopted a horizontal screen, although some have speculated the Model S and X may use a similar screen. — FORD AUTHORITY

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5. Groupe PSA is ending a joint venture with Changan Automobile in China. The automakers jointly produced and sold PSA’s luxury brand, DS, in the market. PSA has a second joint venture in China, with automaker Dongfeng Motor, and PSA said it has plans to continue to offer DS vehicles in the market, as Changhan is looking to sell its share of the venture. Changhan said it had lost about $700 million with the venture in the last six years. — AUTO NEWS EUROPE

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6. Tesla’s Autopilot visualization system now displays traffic cones. In a software update, the automaker is adding the detection and visualization of traffic cones. When a driver has “Navigate on Autopilot” engaged, the vehicle will automatically be prompted to switch lanes if it detects traffic cones. Tesla has been consistently tweaking its visualization system, adding 3D renders over the summer. — ELECTREK

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7. German Chancellor Angela Merkel wants Germany to have one million charging points for electric vehicles by 2030. The message came ahead of planned meetings between Merkel and representatives from the auto industry on how to expand the adoption of low-emission vehicles. The country currently has about 20,000 EV stations. German automaker Volkswagen is currently focused on expanding its number of EV offerings, as does Daimler. — REUTERS

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8. Volkswagen-backed Electrify America’s charging network has vastly improved, according to one Redditor. /U/kconner5, who also runs the Out of Spec Motoring YouTube channel, took a road trip in his Hyundai Kona EV about 1,500 miles and back four months ago. He recently took another road trip to Oklahoma City in the same vehicle and found the charging experience with Electrify America was “absolutely seamless.” He added it was a world of difference from his last trip, saying he would explain further in an upcoming YouTube video. — /R/ELECTRICVEHICLES - REDDIT

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9. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is taking yet another break from his social media network of choice: Twitter. This time around, however, it is unknown if Musk will come back. In a series of tweets, he said “Not sure about good of Twitter,” adding Reddit “still seems good” and “going offline.” Twitter has served as a point of controversy for the executive, as a tweet led to a fraud charge from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and a lawsuit from British cave diver Vernon Unsworth. — @ELONMUSK/TWITTER

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10. Ford is shifting some of its factory plans, no longer planning to build electric vehicles at an underused Mustang facility in Flat Rock, Michigan. Instead, the automaker will create a new EV at a facility in Avon Lake, Ohio, where it will invest about $900 million in creating this new vehicle. Ford had previously shifted plans to build an electric vehicle in Mexico, to the Flat Rock facility, which currently only builds the Mustang and the Lincoln Continental sedan. — AUTO 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

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