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"I want to build a car that’s faster than all of them, and then I want to die."
What country is loosening traffic laws for autonomous vehicles related to current labor shortages?
The good news. Ford has announced that it will invest $3.5 billion in building an automaker-backed lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery plant in Marshall, Michigan. The BlueOval Battery Park Michigan will employ 2,500 people when production of LFP batteries begins in 2026. The investment is part of the company’s commitment to invest over $50 billion in electric vehicles globally through 2026, and it will lead to more than 18,000 direct jobs in the US and more than 100,000 indirect jobs. By adding LFP batteries to its electric vehicle lineup this year, Ford will diversify and localize its battery supply chain in the countries where it builds EVs, improving customer availability and affordability. It will also help Ford to contain or reduce electric vehicle prices for customers.
The not-so-good news. Ford has paused production and shipments of its electric F-150 Lightning pickup due to a potential battery issue, and the company is investigating the problem after a vehicle displayed a potential problem. There is no timetable for when production will ramp back up, but we know Ford is working on a timely resolution.
In Other EV News
- Argonne National Laboratory is contributing to automotive innovation in several different ways. These include initiatives to speed up electric vehicle charging, developing online tools to help secure funding, assessing the energy efficiency of connected and automated vehicle technologies, and offering an Autonomous Vehicle Camp for high school students.
- Xiaomi's CEO, Lei Jun, announced during their recent investor day that the company's electric car will make its mass production debut in Q1 2024, with over 140 autonomous vehicles undergoing testing in the first phase of the initiative.
- Magna International will expand its partnership with GM to supply battery enclosures for the new 2024 Chevy Silverado EV, set to begin production later this year.
- Incoming CEO of Toyota, Koji Sato, announced that the automaker plans to release "next-generation" electric cars under the Lexus brand by 2026, and expand its current EV lineup, which includes the bZ4X and Subaru Solterra.
- HotCars has released a render of a Tesla Model S Dakar racer with off-road capabilities, inspired by the upcoming Model S Plaid. With off-road tires, a short bed, and Dakar-inspired graphics, the Tesla Model S Dakar is designed to conquer the desert.
- Motor, a company that partners with utilities to accelerate consumer adoption of EVs, has closed a $7 million Series A investment round co-led by The AES Corporation and Mitsubishi Corporation. Motor's electrification activation platform gets new EVs connected to the grid by uniquely enrolling customers in utility-managed charging programs when they first get an EV, making it easy for customers to start driving electric.
- NIRA Dynamics has announced the opening of a new garage to support electric vehicle manufacturers. The new garage will offer tailored services such as battery management and sustainability to help accelerate the transition.
- In a move to address the persistent issue of EV charging, the Biden administration has announced a new set of measures that aim to create a network of government and private charging stations that work with any EV. The plan includes commitments from companies such as Tesla, General Motors, Hertz, and BP to build their own interoperable charging stations.
- Zoox has successfully deployed the world's first purpose-built robotaxi with passengers on open public roads.
I am doing an experiment tonight. Any bets on how warm my garage will be in the morning? I have a rented Model 3 for charge testing, and it's pretty full so I need to drain it. I have the heat set to 78F in Keep mode and will let it run overnight in my garage with the windows down.
Buuuuuut it has a heat pump. They are more efficient, using only 1/3rd the energy a resistive heater would to heat the cabin just as much. This works because it's pumping the heat, not creating it. A heat pump cools the outside air to warm the inside air. But the car's outside air is my garage's inside air, and the windows are down.
It's a two car garage full of stuff. It's insulated except for the doors. The overnight low here will be 53F. The car is not charging, of course.
I think I know how this will go, but I am curious what others think- and WHY. Give me your guesses and your rationales!
P.S. The Model 3 looks way too good in my garage the day after the price drop 😬
Ned is an EV professional with experience with chargers from 1 to 500kW and EVs ranging from unicycles to buses and class 8 trucks. An EV owner since 2014, he is currently a Technical Solutions Manager with Electrada. He develops and refines charging solutions for fleets using his engineering experience to drive for high uptime, reliability, and efficiency.
Japan is relaxing its traffic laws to allow autonomous delivery robots to operate on its streets due to labor shortages and rural isolation. With nearly 30% of its population aged over 65, many living in depopulated rural areas that lack easy access to daily necessities, self-driving robots are being touted as a possible solution.