Inside Electric Vehicles - February 19th, 2020

Inside Electric Vehicles (Feb 19th, 2020)

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1. Jaguar Land Rover unveiled an electric shuttle concept, designed to be operated autonomously. For now, “Project Vector” is a concept, but the British automaker hopes to have a version of the vehicle ready for testing by 2021. The vehicle, which has a box-like shape, resembles other autonomous mobility concepts from GM’s Cruise Automation unit and Toyota. Specs of the vehicle were not revealed, but it is over four yards long, with a battery and motor built into the vehicle’s flat floor. — THE VERGE

2. An independent tracker suggests there are over 532,000 Tesla Cybertruck reservations. This figure was compiled by Cybertruck Owners Club, by figuring out a formula that the total number of reservations could be tracked by subtracting 112,744,100 (which is the lowest reservation number found by forum posters on this Tesla Motors Club thread) from Tesla-provided reservation numbers. At least 250,000 of those reservations occurred within days of the Cybertruck’s reveal, according to a tweet from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, while the half-million figure is not official by any means. — THE DRIVE

3. At launch, Lucid Motors will offer a “Dream Edition” of its Air sedan. The model will be limited to the first few hundred units of the electric vehicle at launch, which will feature limited-edition badges and paint. It is unclear which powertrain configuration the Dream Edition will feature, but Lucid said its vehicle would likely have over 1,000 horsepower, a 100kW battery and more than 400 miles of range. Lucid plans to start production of the vehicle at year’s end. — ROADSHOW BY CNET

4. Rumors are circulating that the Brazilian government is working on a plan to attract a Tesla production facility. Brazilian publication NSC Total reports the country is putting together a framework of incentives in a bid to attract a Tesla facility. The government already has a proposed site in mind, in the state of Santa Catarina, which is about 500 miles southwest of São Paulo. Tesla spoke with Brazil-based suppliers of lithium for its batteries last year, while Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said he “can’t wait to bring Tesla to Brazil.” — TESMANIAN

5. New York City’s electric utility, ConEd, is planning to install curbside electric vehicle chargers. This comes as 53 percent of drivers in New York City don’t have reliable access to EV stations. However, despite the chargers being funded with taxpayer money and other grants, ConEd plans to sell the electricity two times over, with rates equal to filling up at $3 to $10 per gallon of gas. — ELECTREK

6. Volkswagen will provide U.S. dealers with financial incentives in the automaker's push to sell electric vehicles. The automaker will offer a 50 percent “factory match” to U.S. dealers in an effort to incentivize the transition to selling electric vehicles. Volkswagen may even provide a 75 percent factory match in select markets. The factory match is intended to support dealers with building out facilities to service EVs and local marketing efforts. However, the program will be entirely voluntary to dealers. — INSIDE EVS

7. Uber is shutting down an office in Downtown Los Angeles. The office closure will affect about 80 employees who primarily work in customer support. In a recording obtained by the Los Angeles Times, a manager at the LA-based office said the positions will be absorbed by a larger, off-shore customer support hub in Manila. The employees were primarily focused on driver outreach, as Uber continues to eliminate positions company-wide. — LA TIMES

8. In China, Volkswagen’s joint venture with Chinese automaker SAIC continued to postpone production of VW and Skoda vehicles, to further prevent the spread of coronavirus. The companies jointly operate five main vehicle assembly plants throughout the country, including its core site in Anting. Production at the five facilities is expected to resume on Feb. 24. Three Volkswagen facilities, jointly operated with FAW Group, have already resumed production. — AUTO NEWS

9. Lyft subsidiary Bay Wheels said it hit a ridership record earlier this month. On Feb. 11, the Bay Area, California-based bike-sharing system said it hit 17,884 electric-powered bicycle trips in a single day. Bay Wheels said it was the eighth time it had broken its ridership record this year, indicating a growing demand for shared bikes. Bay Wheels became a subsidiary of Lyft when it acquired bike share operator Motivate. The service is jointly operated with the Bay Area’s Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Bay Area Air Quality Management District. — @BAYWHEELS/TWITTER

10. Poll of the Week Results: Tesla Model Y

Earlier this week, I asked you all if you thought the Tesla Model Y would outsell the Model 3, Model S, and Model X. I was surprised when I found out that 81.1% of those who took the survey said yes. 18.9% of respondents said no.

Thanks for participating! We will run another poll next week.

Clarification: Yesterday, we said “baumpirat_innen” meant “the tree pirate within” in Norwegian. But as many of you pointed out, the phrase really means “tree pirate,” with “innen" making the term gender neutral. Thanks to all who wrote to us about this error.

Johan Moreno is the writer and curator of Inside’s mobility-focused newsletters (Inside Automotive and Transportation). He joined Inside.com in February 2017 and has written over 700 issues of both newsletters collectively, so he knows a thing or two about the development of electric vehicles, autonomous cars and more.

Johan is also a contributing writer for Forbes and works for J.D. Power, an automotive data and analytics firm. For this reason, Johan does not include Forbes links or discusses anything related to J.D. Power in newsletters, to avoid conflicts of interest. Before that, he wrote for The Orange County Register's "Wheels" section, alongside veteran automotive journalist Susan Carpenter. 

Follow him on Twitter: @dudejohan

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