This summer Taxi Electric becomes the first taxi company in Amsterdam to adopt the zero-emission Nissan e-NV200
Taxi Electric first 100% Nissan LEAF fleet since November 2011
Pioneering Amsterdam-based company have covered 1.5 million km demonstrating Nissan EVs’ quality and reliability
E-NV200 Nissan Electric Taxi Van in Barcelona, Spain Image courtesy of Nissan
AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Taxi Electric will be the first private taxi company to add the new 100-percent electric Nissan e-NV200 taxi to its green-energy zero-emission fleet.
The combination of Nissan’s innovative zero-emission technology, in the form of the 100-percent electric Nissan LEAF, and Taxi Electric’s ground-breaking city transportation model have been a recipe for success since the start of operation in 2011. Now the two companies have teamed up again to build on this success and take the next step forward by introducing the game-changing all-electric Nissan e-NV200 taxi this summer.
Amsterdam-based Taxi Electric operates a fleet of 25 Nissan LEAF vehicles. It was the first private taxi service to switch to a fleet of 100% electric taxis in 2011. The Dutch company’s fleet of Nissan LEAFs has now amassed a trouble-free 1.5 million km in taxi operations – proof of the electric vehicle’s high quality and reliability.
Andy Palmer, EVP Nissan said: “Taxi Electric was one of the first electric taxi companies in the world, and I’ve been impressed with their progress since their launch two years ago. They were the first to prove that zero-emission taxis – in the form of Nissan LEAFs – are a viable alternative. They have covered an astonishing distance in their fleet in such a short time and have shown just how reliable our electric technology is in a demanding environment. Their pioneering spirit closely matches ours, and we are certain they will continue their success with the ground-breaking Nissan e-NV200.”
Ruud Zandvliet, founder of Taxi Electric added: “Two years ago we started with 10 Nissan LEAFs. Each of these travelled well over 100,000 km and proved to be extremely reliable. Since last summer demand for our taxis is growing rapidly, which allowed us to double our fleet. We are very excited about the e-NV200 as it is designed to be a taxi. This will improve our offering and open new business opportunities for us.”
Taxi Electric will not be alone in making the Nissan e-NV200 part of their taxi fleet, with the city of Barcelona having signed a memorandum of understanding with Nissan to promote it as a taxi for the Spanish region. Global production of the Nissan e-NV200 begins in May this year, with sales starting in the summer.
City Ready to Invest $17 Million in Next Five Years for Pedestrian Safety Projects at 170 Locations; WalkFirst Prioritizes Safety Projects at High-Injury Locations as “Be Nice, Look Twice” Awareness Campaign Launches & SFPD Enforcement Increases
Fisherman’s Wharf City of San Francisco An athlete runs past tourists on dirty Jefferson St., heading for the pristine vehicle-free Aquatic Park.
San Francisco, CA — Today Mayor Edwin M. Lee joined by the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA), the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and other City agencies announced a data- driven action plan and map to increase safety for people walking in San Francisco through targeted pedestrian capital improvement projects, education and enforcement. Also unveiled was a pedestrian awareness campaign that is now rolling out Citywide, encouraging road users to slow down and pay more attention to their surroundings.
People walking are among the most vulnerable road users, accounting for half of all San Francisco traffic fatalities. On average, 100 people are severely injured or killed in traffic collisions every year in San Francisco.
“Any pedestrian death or serious injury is one too many,” said Mayor Lee. “As we focus and invest in pedestrian safety improvement projects identified through the WalkFirst initiative to reduce serious pedestrian injuries and fatalities, we better prepare for the future as our City grows. San Francisco remains one of the most walkable cities in the world, and we all have a shared responsibility to protect and care for pedestrians. By looking out for each other and by driving more slowly and carefully, we can make a big difference in improving safety for people walking in San Francisco.”
“WalkFirst represents the City’s effort to improve pedestrian safety where it is most needed,” said Board President David Chiu. “Given our City’s density, high impact and cost-effective approaches are necessary to make San Francisco safer and even more walkable.”
“The Transportation Authority shares the Mayor’s commitment to reduce pedestrian fatalities to zero,” said District 11 Supervisor John Avalos, Chairman of the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. “Achieving this goal will take a collaborative approach and sustained investment of resources, as well as continued leadership and new ways of doing business.”
Mayor Lee joined City partners including the SFMTA, San Francisco County Transportation Authority, Planning Department, Department of Public Health, Department of Public Works and the Controller’s Office to create WalkFirst, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the United States to improve pedestrian safety in San Francisco. Tasked with creating a strategic framework to identify and deliver pedestrian projects and programs in San Francisco, WalkFirst has combined public engagement with technical and statistical analysis of where and why pedestrian collisions occur on our city streets, and updated knowledge about the effectiveness and costs of various engineering measures proven to reduce pedestrian collisions. As a result, WalkFirst has now provided the City with a roadmap of urgently needed pedestrian safety projects and programs over the next five years and the toolbox of measures that can be leveraged to reduce serious pedestrian injuries and fatalities. The City is now ready to leverage $17 million to improve pedestrian safety at 170 high-priority locations identified by WalkFirst over the next five years.
“People should not be dying in the streets as they merely try to make their way around our great city,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation Ed Reiskin. “We will be investing in high-impact, low-cost pedestrian improvement projects at key locations of concern in San Francisco, but the overall need is much greater. We will need voter support for the funding measures proposed by the Mayor for the November 2014 ballot to implement WalkFirst, which will allow us to build a safer and more walkable San Francisco.”
A majority of the intersections and corridors identified through WalkFirst are located in Supervisorial Districts 3 and 6, which encompass San Francisco’s downtown corridor, with areas such as SoMa, the Financial District, the Tenderloin and North Beach. These two Districts are home to many residents who are dependent on walking and transit, and they also have the highest employment density in the City. WalkFirst has also identified various projects and programs Citywide that have proven to be effective in increasing pedestrian safety. Examples of potential projects include signal timing changes, speed humps, pedestrian countdown signals and protected left turns. Potential programs include increased enforcement, education campaigns and radar speed display signs.
To round out the data-driven process of WalkFirst, a public engagement campaign was initiated to better understand perception around pedestrian safety and what improvements the public supported. From November 2013 to January 2014, over 3,700 people visited the interactive WalkFirst website and more than 400 provided direct feedback through focus groups and an online survey to share their thoughts about the pedestrian safety improvements they would like to see in San Francisco. Through this engagement campaign, it was found that the vast majority of WalkFirst participants want the City to act quickly and implement temporary measures that are cost-effective, with 80 percent of respondents wanting improvements on intersections and corridors where the most collisions occurred first.
“We have to work together to make this city safer for pedestrians. If we are to be successful in reducing pedestrian serious injuries and fatalities, the three pronged approach of engineering, education and enforcement needs to work as one towards the goal of ‘Vision Zero.’ The SFPD is committed to the aggressive enforcement of traffic laws as part of the city’s collective approach to eliminate serious pedestrian injuries and fatalities,” said SFPD Chief Greg Suhr. “Through WalkFirst, we now know that 60 percent of pedestrian collisions occur on six percent of our streets. With our ‘Focus on the Five’ strategy, we are focused on the five most dangerous intersections in each of our 10 police districts and the five most common violations associated with traffic collisions across the City. So far this year, traffic citations are up over 50 percent in San Francisco as we work to do our part in keeping our City safe.”
“Walk San Francisco is proud to stand beside the City to announce WalkFirst, which will help us achieve the Vision Zero goal through engineering safer streets,” said Walk San Francisco Executive Director Nicole Schneider. “WalkFirst is a one-of-a-kind plan to fix the City’s most dangerous streets, and is the result of in- depth and meaningful collaboration between city agencies and the community. WalkFirst strategically targets resources where they’re needed most—on our city’s most dangerous streets for walking. It focuses on 6 percent of our roadway network, which is responsible for 60 percent of pedestrian injuries and fatalities, and it uses proven engineering solutions to fix those dangerous streets. The approach will ensure that the best investments are made with limited resources by using cost effective treatments first.”
Alongside the work of WalkFirst, a new pedestrian safety campaign launched by the Mayor’s Office in February, hopes to create heightened awareness of some of the major factors attributed to pedestrian deaths in San Francisco. “Be Nice, Look Twice” is a trilingual, multi-media campaign, which communicates targeted safety messages and addresses some of the pervasive and illegal behaviors that contributed to a record number of pedestrian fatalities in San Francisco last year. The campaign includes ads on Muni vehicles, radio and videos featuring family members of those killed in collisions, as well as city officials. The new campaign is being distributed via broadcast, print, online and social media channels. For more information, go to: www.sfmta.com/benicelooktwice.
Mayor Lee has also endorsed “Vision Zero” – a goal of zero traffic deaths by 2024, which the SFMTA and SFPD have also adopted. This vision builds on the Mayor’s commitment to cut the number of people killed and severely injured on our streets in half by 2021, a primary goal of the San Francisco Pedestrian Strategy released in April 2013.
GENEVA, Switzerland– Nissan continues to pioneer the electric vehicle sector with the introduction of the Nissan e-NV200 in Europe, which brings unprecedented refinement, with zero emissions and ultra-low running costs to the European compact van segment. With this entry, Nissan will be the first automaker to have two all-electric vehicles in its global line-up, joining the Nissan LEAF, the world’s best-selling EV.
Introduced at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show and combining the best elements of two multi-award winning vehicles – Nissan LEAF and Nissan NV200, past World Car of the Year and International Van of the Year respectively – e-NV200 is ready to change the face of light commercial vehicles forever.
The e-NV200′s high performance pure electric drivetrain, based on that used in the acclaimed Nissan LEAF, is allied to the class-leading cargo volume of the NV200 to create a practical and versatile vehicle capable of carrying people or goods while producing neither exhaust emissions nor noise pollution.
When sales start in Europe in June, e-NV200 will be available as a van or as a five-seat people carrier in Combi or more luxurious Evalia guises. Although mainly targeted at businesses, e-NV200 will also appeal to private users with large families. The e-NV200′s homologated NEDC range (170kms) is greater than the average 100km daily driving distance of over half the fleets that use this class of van and the payload and cargo area is the same as NV200s.
The battery can be recharged overnight using a domestic 16-amp single-phase 3.3 kW supply, which reduces to four hours if a 6.6kW/32-amp supply is used. A dedicated CHAdeMO DC 50 kW quick charger can recharge the battery from 0 to 80 percent in just 30 minutes or less if the battery is already partially charged. More than 1000 public CHAdeMO quick chargers are now installed across Europe. Additionally, a number of companies have installed their own dedicated quick charging facilities at their home depots or offices.
“The e-NV200 goes into a totally different market segment to the Nissan LEAF,” said Guillaume Carter, senior vice president of Sales and Marketing for Nissan Europe. “Sold alongside the world’s best selling electric vehicle, e-NV200 will help us continue to lead the EV revolution. To do that we haven’t simply converted the NV200 to electric; we have thoroughly re-engineered to create a product that isn’t just a good electric van. It is a fantastic van by any standards.”
Director of Electric Vehicles for Nissan Europe, Jean-Pierre Diernaz is excited by what the e-NV200 brings to the range, commenting: “The proven and highly effective electric powertrain driving e-NV200 is ideally suited to the typical stop/start daily routine of a working vehicle. With no exhaust or noise pollution, e-NV200 is environmentally and people friendly, while the lack of fatigue-inducing noise and vibration from the drivetrain, coupled with the single-speed transmission, will provide genuine benefits to every hard working delivery or taxi driver. Fleet operators, meanwhile, will love the low running costs.”
Although based on existing hardware, e-NV200 has undergone a full engineering development program as if it were new from the ground up. The drivetrain has been re-engineered in a number of significant areas to suit its new role, while changes have been made to the vehicle shell to ensure there has been no compromise to NV200′s cargo space.
The LCV version still has a cargo volume of 4.2m3 and can carry two standard Euro pallets, while sliding side doors on both sides and wide opening rear doors ensure that loading and unloading is as easy as possible.
A comprehensive “real-world” test program has been undertaken in Japan and Europe with pre-production models handed over to internationally known companies – including FedEx, Coca-Cola, DHL, IKEA, British Gas and the Japan Post Office – to operate as part of their everyday fleets. Feedback from drivers and fleet managers has been used to fine tune e-NV200 before series production began at Nissan’s major LCV facility in Barcelona, Spain.
“We believe e-NV200 will genuinely change the make-up of light van and taxi fleets as well as changing the environment in the heart of our cities,” added Diernaz.
Nissan e-NV200 in detail
Mechanically, e-NV200 owes much to the Nissan LEAF with independent front suspension by MacPherson strut from the world’s best selling EV. LEAF also provides the drivetrain, including its recently introduced second-generation 80kW AC synchronous motor, which is now fully integrated with the battery charger and inverter in one compact, self-contained unit.
There are some significant changes, however, for e-NV200. Most notable is the Lithium-ion battery, which has been changed to allow it to fit under e-NV200′s floor without compromising the cargo area. The new pack – which is built at Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, UK and assembled in Barcelona – has the same number of modules (48) as in LEAF and the same 24kWh capacity, but it is packaged differently.
The battery module is set low in the vehicle under the load floor and is mounted in a reinforced zone for extra safety protection in the event of an impact. The battery mounting assembly also helps boost the torsional and lateral stiffness of the vehicle by 20 percent and 35 percent respectively over NV200.
With a low center of gravity, the ride and handling levels of e-NV200 are exceptional, even by the standards set by the NV200 while the instant torque delivery typical of an electric vehicle means the battery-powered version accelerates faster. Its 0-100km/h time is quicker than the 1.5 dCi-powered NV200, with final figures confirmed later this year.
Another drivetrain change over LEAF determined by e-NV200′s likely usage pattern is a new braking system with a higher regenerative capacity. This takes advantage of the vehicle’s typical stop/start city driving modes, while Hill Start Assist is fitted as standard, holding the vehicle for two seconds after the footbrake is released to allow smooth starting.
This article is a repost (3-6-14), credit: Nissan.
Largest order to date for BYD all-electric Buses and e6 Taxis
Nanjing, China — The ancient capital of China and Nanjing Public Transportation Group is transforming city public transport fleets with an order for more than 1,000 fully electric transit buses and taxis from BYD Company Ltd. The city will be taking delivery of more than 600 BYD K9 battery-electric Buses, 50 of which were delivered for the city’s Youth Olympic Games in August 2014. Authorities also placed an order for 400 of BYD’s all-electric e6, a 5-passenger cross-over utility vehicle, some of which have already hit the streets. Nanjing Jiangnan Electric Taxi Ltd. will be operating the electric vehicles. Nanjing is one of the pilot cities in China that has been chosen by the Central Government to participate in air quality improvement programs. In November of last year, Nanjing and BYD signed a strategic co-operation agreement that also brought BYD to the area to build and develop their zero emission products.
BYD all-electric, zero-emissions buses can travel 24 hours in service before charging during off-peak hours. Photo courtesy of BYD
“The Nanjing announcement will create one of the world’s largest fleet of pure electric public transport vehicles and certainly the largest supplied by BYD to date,” said Isbrand Ho, a BYD Managing Director. “This is a positive sign of the growing acceptance of pure electric transport vehicles such as the ebus having a significant role in making urban environments less polluted.”
BYD E6 Taxis Photo courtesy of BYD
BYD Company Ltd. is one of China’s largest companies and has successfully expanded globally. Specializing in battery technologies, their green mission to “solve the whole problem” has made them industry pioneers and leaders in several High-tech sectors including High-efficiency Automobiles, Electrified Public Transportation, Environmentally-Friendly Energy Storage, Affordable Solar Power and Information Technology and Original Design Manufacturing (ODM) services.
As the world’s largest manufacturer of rechargeable batteries, their mission to create safer and more environmentally friendly battery technologies has led to the development of the BYD Iron Phosphate (or “Fe”) Battery. This fire-safe, completely recyclable and incredibly long-cycle technology has become the core of their clean energy platform that has expanded into automobiles, buses, trucks, utility vehicles and energy storage facilities. BYD and all of their shareholders, including the great American Investor Warren Buffett, see these environmentally and economically forward products as the way of the future.
BYD has made a strong entrance to the North, Central and South American markets with their battery electric buses, and lineup of automobiles. Their mission lies not just in sales growth, but also in sociological integration and local job creation as they have poured incredible investments into developing offices, dealerships and manufacturing facilities in the local communities they now call home, truly a first for Chinese companies. For more information, please visit www.byd.com.
GENEVA, Switzerland (4 March, 2014) – Demonstrating innovation and excitement in every component, the Nissan BladeGlider made its European debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Nissan’s latest sports concept will challenge conventional thinking on sports car performance handling, braking and weight distribution. The Nissan BladeGlider features a radical front narrow track layout, where the front is significantly narrower than the rear, creating a swept-wing profile when seen from directly above the vehicle.
First unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show, Japan, in November 2013, this technology follows in the footsteps of Nissan’s ZEOD RC Zero Emission on Demand racecar (ZEOD RC), which will participate at next year’s Le Mans “Garage 56″ event with the narrow front-track design. Director of Nissan Motorsport Innovation, Ben Bowlby, the designer of the ZEOD RC, also consulted during the development of the BladeGlider.
“When you see the narrow front track layout for the first time, everyone is skeptical on how the car will handle,” said Bowlby. “The concept has proved itself on the race track running as fast as the overall contenders. And I’m sure the BladeGlider will meet with the same initial skepticism, but we know, after extensive testing on the racetrack with race drivers behind the wheel, the Nissan BladeGlider has the potential to be the best handling production car in the world.”
Bowlby outlined the performance advantages of the BladeGlider’s narrow front-track/wide rear-track design.
Nissan BladeGlider Image courtesy of Nissan
The weight distribution of the BladeGlider makes it ideal for quick, efficient launches from a standstill and intense acceleration once off the line. The primary reason for this is that the rear tires are considerably wider than the front tires, resulting in more traction at the rear, enabling the tires to get a better grip on the driving surface. Also, the wide rear track allows for virtually all of the car’s heavier components-including the two in-board motors, lithium ion batteries and passengers-to sit between the rear tires; hence, most of the cars’ weight (70 percent in this case) sits directly on the two driven wheels. Therefore, when the power is sent to the rear wheels, the mid-engine/rear-drive BladeGlider exhibits very little tire slip, allowing the 285/35 tires to bite into the driving surface and launch the car in a highly efficient manner.
Thanks to the BladeGlider’s extremely narrow front end, which includes the skinny 100/80 tires, air drag is minimal. The BladeGlider features one of the lowest Cds ever for a concept road car, allowing the car to “glide” to speed with little air resistance.
Another benefit to the car’s narrow front end is weight. Thanks to less hardware and smaller components, the BladeGlider’s overall curb weight is considerably less than that of a similar size car with a conventional front end.
The most impressive, and most remarkable, advantage the BladeGlider has over its conventional counterparts is handling. While traditional performance enthusiast may scratch their respective heads wondering how a car with such a narrow front track can take corners; the answer is relatively simple. The narrow front track of the BladeGlider allows less weight to be placed on the front wheels. While some say that more weight on the front tires equals better grip, the complete opposite is actually true. Sure, with super wide tires, extra load may result in more grip, but this is not an efficient solution, nor is it always true. For example, front-heavy cars are prone to excessive understeer – the loss of grip at the front wheels, where the car does not turn as much as the steering demands. The thinner tires up front allow the BladeGlider to turn in crisply because only 30 percent of the car’s total weight rests upon them. An added benefit is improved steering in terms of effort, feel and precision.
Also, the narrow front track allows the car to have minimal lateral weight transfer through corners, at both the front and rear ends. Cars with wider front tracks dramatically shift their weight to the outside tire when turning, leaving the inside tire to do virtually nothing. Thus, only one tire is steering the car through a corner; but with the BladeGlider, both tires stay in good contact with the road surface and share nearly the same cornering load, virtually working as one unit. And thanks to the independent suspension system, each tire’s effectiveness is augmented through turns.
The wide rear track and wide rear tires also contribute to the BladeGlider’s exceptional handling. By providing a stable and rigid foundation for the car, they allow the car’s front tires to effectively point the nose of the vehicle in the right direction. Think of a sledge hammer and its handle. Put the hammer on the ground and move the handle in the desired direction. It can be done with relatively little effort, because the head of the hammer is providing a stable foundation. This unique effect of the BladeGlider can be enhanced with torque vectoring (or an enhanced limited slip differential) that can be programmed into the in-wheel motors, allowing the rear tires to help point the car’s nose.
Unlike conventional road vehicles, the rear brakes of the BladeGlider do more work than the front brakes when slowing the car down; therefore, they are larger and more powerful than the front brakes (the opposite is true in all other road cars). This provides a tremendous advantage when braking from high speed, as the wider tires, which have most of the car’s weight on them, provide excellent traction when decelerating. With the rear tires doing most of the work during acceleration and braking, and the front tires providing grip through turns, the overall performance workload at the four points of contact is distributed ideally: the front tires steer the car, the rear tires propel and stop the car.
With the driver sitting in the middle of the cockpit and near the rear wheels, the BladeGlider’s chassis relays clear and immediate feedback to the driver. Therefore, when the car’s front or rear tires lose grip, the chassis lets you know immediately, giving the driver ample time to correct car’s trajectory.
Another added benefit is tire wear, or lack thereof. Each rear tire and each front tire are doing an equal amount of work (as noted above), so their wear rate is also equal. Conventional cars frequently suffer from uneven tire wear, but the BladeGlider won’t require a tire change as often as a conventional car, especially when subjected to aggressive, spirited driving.
About Nissan in Europe
Nissan has one of the most comprehensive European presences of any overseas manufacturer, employing more than 14,500 staff across locally-based design, research & development, manufacturing, logistics and sales & marketing operations. Last year Nissan plants in the UK, Spain and Russia produced more than 635,000 vehicles including mini-MPVs, award-winning crossovers, SUVs, commercial vehicles and the Nissan LEAF, the worlds most popular Electric Vehicle with 97% performance satisfaction and 95% of customers willing to recommend the car to friends. Nissan now offers 24 diverse and innovative products for sale in Europe today, and is positioned to become the number one Asian brand in Europe.
This article is a repost, credit: Nissan. Video courtesy of Nissan.
Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune Photo courtesy of Sierra Club
Everybody knows that standing in front of a moving car is dangerous, but what about standing behind one? Currently, four out of ten Americans live in a place where the air is sometimes dangerous to breathe, thanks in part to smog from cars and trucks. Today, the Obama administration finalized cleaner tailpipe standards that will help us all breathe easier.
Beginning in 2017, these cleaner tailpipe standards will require that refiners produce cleaner-burning, lower-sulfur gasoline, and that automakers use advanced pollution control technology on new cars. Although the impact of cleaner new cars will be felt over time, the cleaner gasoline will be used by all cars, old and new, and reduce pollution almost immediately. In the first year alone, smog-forming NOx emissions will be reduced by 260,000 tons. That’s like taking 33 million cars off the road — nearly two out of every ten cars in the U.S.
Cleaner tailpipe standards mean cleaner air, and cleaner air has real health benefits. Smog pollution, or ground-level ozone, can cause asthma attacks, respiratory disease, and even premature death. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that by 2030 these cleaner tailpipe standards will prevent roughly 2,000 premature deaths a year, along with reducing hospital admissions and asthma attacks.
That’s good news for everyone, but it’s especially important for families who live near a major road. According to the American Lung Association, living or working near a major roadway results in a greater risk of health problems, especially for children and teenagers.
Disappointingly, the oil industry did everything it could to derail or delay these health-protecting standards. They failed in part because the standards will dramatically clean our air for less than a penny a gallon, all while creating jobs. A study by Navigant Economics found that these standards would create almost 5,400 permanent jobs in the operation and maintenance of new refinery equipment, as well as more than 24,000 new jobs during the three years it takes to install that equipment.
The economic and employment benefits of the standards explain the strong support for them from automakers, auto parts manufacturers, and the United Auto Workers.
These cleaner tailpipe standards mark the third time that President Obama has acted to make our cars and trucks cleaner and more efficient. In 2012, finalizing historic vehicle standards of 54.5 miles per gallon was the biggest single step any country had ever taken to reduce climate-disrupting pollution. Then, just two weeks ago, the president directed his administration to move forward with the next round of fuel-economy standards for tractor-trailers and delivery trucks.
Eventually, cars and trucks that run on gas will be found in museums instead of garages, and the smog and health problems they caused will only be bad memories. Until that day, though, we can be thankful for these standards, which will eliminate so much pollution for so little cost.
Tesla Giga Factory rendering Image courtesy of Tesla
Tesla Painted a Picture for Wall Street
Tesla sold the Giga Factory to Wall Street, raising two billion from convertible notes, helping to alleviate doubts about the company’s ability to become a major auto mass producer. The five ($800 million) and seven year ($1.2 billion) convertible notes pay meager coupons of .25% and 1.25% respectfully, which should raise few near-term financial concerns considering Tesla’s fantastic sales growth expectations. The stock (TSLA) hit a high of $265 on Wednesday, which came shortly after a bullish report ($320 price target) from Morgan Stanley Analyst Adam Jonas. TSLA closed at 244.81 per share today, down 3.06%.
CEO Elon Musk is the golden boy with the Midas touch. He knows how to paint a picture, and this last one had sustainable sugar plums dancing in Wall Street’s head, with solar, wind, and batteries galore. Mr. Musk also plays to win and to win big, holding a 27% stake in Tesla as of December 31 2013, which is greatly admired by most players, big and small.
Goldman Sachs keeps dragging along in TSLA’s rearview mirror, raising its price target to $170, but remaining skeptical about the stock’s valuation. Goldman is not alone in thinking Tesla’s 30 billion market capitalization is excessive, but most skeptics have been silenced due to Tesla’s excellent execution and business integrity.
Tesla Production Guesstimates
Tesla plans to be producing about 1,000 electric cars a week by the end of 2014 at its Fremont Factory, up from about 600 a week today. By 2020, the future Giga Factory is expected to produce enough batteries for 500,000 Tesla electric cars a year, which is the approximate capacity limit of the Fremont Factory. On the Q4 conference call, CEO Musk expressed his best guesses for future demand for the Model S and X, estimating about 1,000 a week for each, possibly more for the X, leaving the remaining capacity for the Gen III. For clarity, let’s round these figures to be 50,000 S, 50,000 X and 400,000 Gen III by 2020.
Gen III, The Major Road Ahead
As of December 31 2013, Tesla had only produced about 2,500 Roadsters and a little over 25,000 Model S cars. These are small numbers; however, Tesla has tremendous opportunities ahead within the two trillion dollar plus global new auto market (CEO Elon Musk stat. Q4 cc). The Gen III is the big act to come. If the Gen III lives up to expectations, Tesla will need more Giga, more Fremont Factory, more Supercharger, more everything Tesla.
Tesla has been studying charging strategies for apartment dwellers. On the Q4 cc, CEO Musk simply stated: “We are working pretty hard on that. We believe we’ve got some good solutions. We’re going to talk more about that in the coming months.”
Morgan Stanley sees Tesla also disrupting the electric utility business with stationary battery storage. Certainly, Tesla has an opportunity in this field, especially in home energy storage with its relationship with SolarCity, but it is still far too early to judge the long-term technological direction of this market. There are multiple battery designs and chemistries that may prove to be more economical as stationary storage but unsuitable within an electric vehicle. Regardless of the battery storage business, Tesla has plenty of lithium-ion battery demand for electric cars for years to come.
Tesla tweeted today: “Tesla Superchargers have charged over 10 MILLION miles to Model S. Enough to go to the Moon & back 20 times.”
The Oil Elephant in the Room
President Barack Obama shakes hands with a worker as he and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx tour the Metro Transit Light Rail Operations and Maintenance Facility in St. Paul, Minn., Feb. 26, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Vice President Joe Biden sits at the controls of one of Amtrak’s new “Cities Sprinter” electric locomotives at the 30th Street Station in Philadelphia, Pa., Feb. 6, 2014. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
With peak oil a primary concern, President Obama and Vice President Biden spent time recently reviewing transit electric vehicles. Maybe, just maybe, they will entertain the Hyperloop idea.
West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil closed the week at $102.59 per barrel. Brent is around $109. With Cushing oil inventories declining to normal levels, the spread between WTI and Brent should near parity.
The world has been locked into a doomed relationship with the oil market, being led by the dubious Saudi America, setting up the world economy for a hard fall. Saudi America is a fantasy state that ignores oil depletion, and it is crowding out normal economic development, wasting monies and time on energy projects that are archaic.
Tesla has the most sensible strategy to a sustainable world, aiming first at reducing gasoline demand.
Giga Factory Future
The future for electric cars, renewables and battery storage has never looked better, with particular thanks to Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Tesla plans to have the Giga Factory powered by wind and solar, with battery storage most likely as well. Panasonic is expected to be a major partner in the future factory, building upon its existing supplier relationship to Tesla today. Tesla CEO Musk expects there to be multiple partners due to the heavy capital costs to build the factory, estimated at 4-5 billion.
By 2020, the Giga Factory battery cell output is expected to be an incredible 35 GWh/yr, producing more battery cells than the entire 2013 worldwide market, according to Tesla Motors. In its first year of production (2017), the factory is expected to drop battery pack costs by more than 30% due in large part to economies to scale. It is in 2017 that Tesla plans to start ramping production of its much awaited and much needed Gen III car.
In a blog post, Tesla highlighted Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada as states in the running for the Giga Factory site, which would employ approximately 6,500 people. Unfortunately, California has been mysteriously missing from the Giga Factory location list, surprising many due to the obvious logistical benefits for Tesla. California Governor Jerry Brown announced yesterday that he will be running for re-election, which is great news for the environmental movement. Maybe Governor Brown still has time to talk Giga and Hyperloop too.
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The world is transitioning from the fossil fuel age to the clean electric energy era. Two major world emergencies are driving this change:
1. There are over 7 billion people on the planet according to the United Nations. Today’s worldwide economic growth is placing tremendous demands on the energy sector. Unfortunately, according to the International Energy Agency, approximately 80% of the world’s energy is derived from fossil fuels. Absent an energy revolution, climate research tells us that the planet will be significantly warmer and altered for future generations.
2. The oil market is expensive and fragile. The door is open to green alternatives; however, high oil prices may destroy the currencies of oil dependent nations before the EV and greentech revolutions have a chance to reach mass adoption.