Inside Electric Vehicles - March 9th, 2020

Inside Electric Vehicles (Mar 9th, 2020)

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1. Waymo is re-thinking how it wants to deliver its autonomous vehicle technology, possibly scraping its ambitions to launch a ride-hailing service. Alphabet’s self-driving unit currently operates a trial of its Waymo One robotaxi service in the suburbs of Phoenix, Arizona. However, in a Financial Times interview with Waymo CEO John Krafcik, he indicated that the company may just focus on providing other vehicle makers and ride-hailing companies with its autonomous vehicle technology. Last year, Waymo announced it would be working with Nissan and Renault to launch an autonomous ride-hailing service in France and Japan. Krafcik indicated that the service would likely not be branded under the Waymo One banner. — FINANCIAL TIMES

2. BMW will not offer its upcoming iX3 electric crossover in the U.S. The company plans to release the iX3 in the first half of 2021, but its release will instead be focused on China and other international markets. Analysts believed the vehicle was shaping up to be an under-performer in the U.S., as it used a smaller-sized, 74-kWh battery pack, which would have given the vehicle a range below 300 miles. Competing vehicles with similar-sized battery packs, like the Jaguar I-Pace and the Audi e-Tron, have sold slowly in the U.S. This follows a similar move from Mercedes-Benz, who opted to push back the release of its EQC electric crossover SUV in the U.S. — AUTO NEWS

3. Poll of the Week: What’s your electric vehicle range “sweet spot?”

With BMW pulling back on its iX3 electric vehicle, because of expected concerns over range, I am curious what the range “sweet spot” is for our readers.

Would you ever consider buying an EV that has 200 miles of range? Is it a must to get over 300 miles on a single charge? Are you hanging on to your internal combustion engine-powered vehicle until we get to the 400-mile range zone?

Take my quick poll here and share some of your thoughts. I will publish the results of the poll this Friday.

4. California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) said Tesla sent incomplete injury reports. Bloomberg reports, through public records requests, that the state’s workplace safety agency filed a complaint that the company omitted hundreds of injuries in an annual report sent to the government at the end of the year. Cal/OSHA hit Tesla with a citation in December for failing to report other injuries into the log since 2015. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long disputed claims, including one from The Center for Investigative Reporting, that the company chose not to report certain injuries at its Fremont factory, which is required under the state’s law. — BLOOMBERG

5. According to some members of the /r/TeslaMotors subreddit, the automaker may start deliveries of the Tesla Model Y crossover before March 15. One member of the subreddit reported they were receiving their vehicle on March 11. The automaker started issuing VINs last week, but the Redditor was one of the first known orders from the general public to receive an exact delivery date. — TESMANIAN

6. Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro will meet with Tesla during a U.S. tour, in a bid to negotiate the construction of a production facility in Brazil. Last month, rumors circulated that the Brazilian government was working on a plan to attract a Tesla production facility. Brazilian publication NSC Total reported the country was putting together a framework of incentives in a bid to attract the automaker to Brazil. It is unclear when or with who Bolsonaro will meet when he visits Tesla headquarters. — FOREIGN BRIEF

China Beat

Every Monday, we dedicate an entire section of our newsletter (updates 7-10) on the electric vehicle market in China. By the way, someone wrote in last week asking if we were just writing this section because of the effect of the recent coronavirus epidemic on the Chinese economy. The reason behind the China Beat section is that the country is the largest electric vehicle market in the world.

7. Tesla received approval to sell the long-range version of its Model 3 in China. China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology approved the request to sell the vehicle, which has a range of 372 miles. The vehicle will likely be of the rear-wheel-drive variant, as long-range, all-wheel-drive variants of the Model 3 are still expected to be imported from the U.S. — TESLA MOTORS CLUB

8. Tesla is looking for solar and energy storage staff in China, indicating an expansion of its energy business into the country. Tesla’s China-based human resources staff posted two energy-related job listings on the company’s official WeChat account that are based at Tesla’s Shanghai facility. Last month, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the timing of its energy business rollout in both China and Europe would be announced “soon.” — REUTERS

9. The head of PSA Group, Carlos Tavares, said a combined PSA-FCA company will need to review its China strategy to increase sales. PSA vehicle sales dropped by 55 percent in 2019, down to 117,084 units, due to fierce competition from domestic companies. This is while a joint venture between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Guangzhou Automobile Group in China only has about 0.35 percent market share. — AUTO NEWS

10. Two SAIC Motor subsidiaries are adjusting employee salaries to relieve a financial burden linked to the coronavirus epidemic. Staff at SAIC Maxus and Shanghai Huizhong received memos stating that the company would be increasing the ratio of merit-based pay in employee salaries, which would likely result in employees receiving less pay overall. The salary adjustments will be based on employees’ position level. — GASGOO

Johan Moreno is the writer and curator of Inside’s mobility-focused newsletters (Inside Automotive and Transportation). He joined 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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