Inside Electric Vehicles - February 17th, 2020

Inside Electric Vehicles (Feb 17th, 2020)

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1. GM is exiting the Australian and New Zealand markets, as it also sells its Thailand-based production facility. The automaker said it would fold its Holden brand by 2021, as it ends sales, design, and engineering operations in both Australia and New Zealand. Holden, founded in 1856, became a subsidiary of GM in 1931, but sales have plummeted in recent years. The automaker will focus on more profitable markets instead. The move comes after GM left other regions, including South Africa, Vietnam, India, and Indonesia. Great Wall, which has already agreed to acquire GM’s vehicle production facility in India, will produce vehicles for Thailand, Australia, and other Asia-Pacific countries from the Thailand facility it is buying from GM. — REUTERS 

2. Tesla received an order to stop cutting trees for its Europe-based Gigafactory, while a court considers an appeal from an environmentalist group. The ruling came from an administrative court, despite approval from a state environmental office to clear 227 acres of forest to build the facility. Local environmental groups, including the Green League of Brandenburg, have protested the construction of the Gigafactory, which they say will endanger water supplies and local wildlife. The Green League is appealing the approval from the state environmental office. — REUTERS 

3. Toyota vehicles will receive a slate of advanced active safety technology from its sister luxury brand, Lexus. Features from Lexus’ “Safety System +A” will be migrating to Toyota vehicles in Japan this summer, including emergency steering assist, advanced lane-keeping assist, and other safety features. While the automaker plans to add these safety features to all Toyota vehicles globally, it is unclear when it will do so. Toyota does offer safety features (like a pre-collision system and lane-departure alert), through its “Toyota Safety Sense” suite, which is standard on its entire lineup of vehicles. — AUTO NEWS 

4. Tesla is now offering a $300 rear heated seat upgrade. All Model 3 vehicles can offer rear heated seats, but the automaker does not provide them on Standard Range and Standard Range Plus variants of the cars. After one driver asked Tesla CEO Elon Musk whether the automaker could offer the option as an upgrade, Tesla did so this weekend. Interested owners without the function can purchase the feature through the “Upgrades” section of the Tesla app. — TESLA MOTORS CLUB

5. U.K.-based car dealership group, Alan Day Group said its first Volkswagen ID.3 vehicles would arrive around the end of March. The report, from ThisisMoney, contradicts the previous speculation that ID.3 vehicle deliveries would not begin until summer. The report also said there is a waiting list of about 20,000 customers in the U.K. for the vehicle. Volkswagen recently said there were about 30,000 ID.3 pre-orders for all of Europe. The ID.3 starts at $32,500 for the car, which has about 261 miles of range. The ID.3 will not be for sale in the U.S. — ELECTREK

6. Toyota and Lexus are recalling 44,000 vehicles from the 2019 and 2020 model years. The cars are being recalled because of a manufacturing error tied to the engine block, as it could leak coolant or oil, which can cause a fire or stall while the vehicle is driving. The automaker has determined that 250 of the recalled vehicles will need the entire engine replaced, with the recall affecting Camry sedans, RAV4 SUVs and Lexus ES300h vehicles, among others. — CONSUMER REPORTS

7. Poll of the Week: The Tesla Model Y

Today, I’ll be experimenting with a new feature within our newsletter: The Poll of the Week. To get a better sense of what our readers feel, without the need to hit reply and write me a message, I am going to be sending out a weekly poll to get an idea of your feedback.

On Twitter over the weekend, @iliketeslas said he didn’t think anyone understood how successful the Model Y would be for Tesla, not even Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

This is an interesting comment considering that crossover SUVs are very popular with U.S. car buyers. But some international markets, particularly those with more urban environments, still prefer sedans and smaller vehicles.

However, I want to know what you think. Do you think the Model Y will outsell the Model 3, Model S, and Model X globally?

I'll run the poll until Tuesday night and will reveal the findings in Wednesday's newsletter. Thanks for participating! 

Vote on the one question poll here!

China Beat

The “China Beat” feature (items 8-10) is meant to keep you up to date on developments happening in China, which is one of the fastest-growing automotive markets globally. China represents a massive opportunity for both legacy and startup automakers. Tell me what you think about these dedicated sections by hitting reply to this email!

8. Car sales in China dropped 18 percent over the previous year. This is according to data from China's Association of Automobile Manufacturers and represents a drop of over two million car sales. The manufacturers said the coronavirus is the big reason behind the sales dip; however, auto sales dropped consecutively for 19 months before the outbreak. Manufacturers believe the sales drop could worsen in February, as China continues to grapple the virus, which has killed more than 1,300 people. — CNN

9. Tesla resumed deliveries of its “Made-in-China” Model 3 in China this week. The deliveries will continue in a handful of cities across the region and will follow the guidance and guidelines of the Chinese government. Most Tesla stories in China will re-open today, as production at Tesla’s China-based Gigafactory also resumed on February 10. — TESMANIAN

10. Toyota will resume the output of vehicles at most of its China-based car plants this week. Production had been slated to continue on February 3, following Lunar New Year festivities, but had been delayed due to concerns over coronavirus. Today, Toyota’s facilities in Changchun, Jilin, and Guangzhou will resume production, while its Tianjin facility will do so sometime this week. It is unclear when Toyota’s Chengdu facility will restart production. — REUTERS via YAHOO FINANCE

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

Edited by Sheena Vasani, staff writer at Inside.

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