In another interesting week of developments in the green car sector:

  • Monday 14th January: Ford are finally entering the electric car scene beyond compliance cars, with their CEO Jim Hackett saying to expect a “big surprise” launch of one or more electric cars as soon as next year. Ford have previously spoken about investing $11 billion in EVs by 2022, although their plans look to have been accelerated somewhat, with 16 models in the R&D stages and the surprise next year. Jim Hackett said: “We talked about a huge investment in electric vehicles. We have 16 models that are in design and development. We have a pretty big surprise coming next year,”

A mock-up of the upcoming GM Cadillac all-electric SUV

  • Monday 14th January: General Motors have unveiled initial mock-up designs of their planned long-range SUV plug-in version of their Cadillac luxury car range. This would be the brand’s first all-electric car and GM are aiming to launch it by 2022. It will also be sold globally (not just in America), and apparently kick off GM’s big push into the green car space with their president Steve Carlisle saying that it will “arrive as the vanguard of the product wave that follows our current three-year product assault”. The Cadillac EV will contain front, rear and all-wheel drive options and various battery options, although it is expected to be a fairly long-range car compared to the current electric car ranges.

  • Monday 14th January: VW, the German car manufacturer previously embroiled in the diesel test emission scandal, have said that they will be making their next generation electric car range in Tennesse, America. This is for their North America production base, since they will continue to manufacture cars in Europe as well. VW’s move to manufacture cars in Chattanooga, Tennesse will involve a $800 million investment which brings 1,000 jobs to the direct factory. VW will also add two factories in China by 2020, to enhance their offerings in the key Asian market.

  • Tuesday 15th January: In addition to VW’s move into actively producing more electric cars, they have also concluded that they need to get into the EVSE charging station business as well (just like Telsa have very successfully done with their Supercharger network). VW will be setting up electric car charging stations throughout Europe, whilst also selling clean energy options and battery storage solutions to houses. The home charging options include two 11 kW chargers along with a 22 kW DC option - all of which will be smart chargers, connecting to the home’s wifi and communicating with the energy grid.

  • Tuesday 15th January: In even more VW news! VW have announced plans to work jointly with Ford in developing electric cars and self-driving vehicles. A joint statement from both car manufacturers has said that they will initially work on small commercial vehicles such as vans and pickups. It is not completely clear whether VW and Ford will share the Tennesse factory in manufacturing electric vehicles, or even whether the collaboration will include electric cars - but with both companies pushing their green car credentials, it will be interesting to see how this partnership develops.

  • Wednesday 16th January: Geely, the Chinese car maufacturer, has said that they will be expanding out of China (where they previously restricted their production and sales), and will be launching a global electric car. The Geely GE11 would be a sedan which is a similar size to a Honda Insight, and wil have a 174 horsepower electric motor. Details about range and battery are not yet available, although Geely were keen to emphasis that it has very high aerodynamic qualities. Geely have said that the GE11 would be available “in early 2019”, but since it is early 2019 now it is unclear exactly what this means!

  • Thursday 17th January: More details of the Kia Soul EV 2019 have been released, including that it will have 39.2 kWh and 64 kWh battery options. The 64 kWh version will have 282 miles (454 km) range, whilst the 39.2 kWh battery is 179 miles. It has three regenerative braking modes and four driving modes, the same as the Niro EV. The 4 minute video from Fully Charged is worth a worth if you are considering getting the Soul EV:

  • Thursday 17th January: Ford continued their green car news (after the announcement that they will be in partnership with VW) by announcing an all-electric version of the F-Series pickup truck. This would be a fairly interesting development, because a large of power has meant that EV producers have tended to shy away from large pickup truck style vehicles. Information is still scarce on this development, since Ford had previously just planned a hybrid F-Series pickup. A release date (or information about range) is not yet known.

  • Thursday 17th January: Tesla are expanding their power business with news that in addition to growing their Supercharger network, Tesla will be offering another high power wall connection unit to homes so that homeowners can charge their Tesla more easily at home via the NEMA 14-50 plug. This will plugin to an existing 230-volt power outet, and would offer 9.6 kW of power. Whilst not a massive power output compared to the specially-designed (and often busy!) Superchargers, it is enough to add 40 miles (64.4 km) of range per hour.

  • Thursday 17th January: Tesla’s referral program, which given people who bought via a referral code six months of free supercharging (along with prizes for the referrer) is coming to an end due to its costs. Tels are aiming to cut costs (as we will see in the next update) and have said that the referral program is adding too much to the cost of their cars, especially their cheaper Model 3 (which is half the price of the Model X and S):

  • Friday 18th January: Tesla surprised their shareholders somewhat in a company update on their blog which contained a copy of an email sent to all staff. Tesla are cutting 7% of their staff across the board, along with nearly all temporary workers and contractors. This will result in around 3,000 members of staff, and it results in Tesla shares opening 6% lower on Friday. Explaining the decision, Tesla said that the end of 2018 was their best yet and they did make a small profit in Q3/Q4 2018, but that in order to reduce their overall costs and produce a cheaper $35,000 version of the Model 3, they needed to cut back on their staff headcount. Elon’s email said “Sorry for all these numbers, but I want to make sure that you know all the facts and figures and understand that the road ahead is very difficult. This is not new for us – we have always faced significant challenges – but it is the reality we face.”

  • Saturday 19th January: In further a cost cutting exercise, Tesla have raised the prices of their supercharger electric prices by around 33%. This follows on from 30-100% price rises just nine months ago in March 2018. The price of supercharging in New York used to be $0.24/kWh, and it is now $0.32/kWh. California seem a similar rise, from $0.26/kWh to around $0.34/kWh (although this varies be a couple of cents depending on the city). Tesla have denied that this is turning their supercharger network into a profit center, saying “We’re adjusting Supercharging pricing to better reflect differences in local electricity costs and site usage. As our fleet grows, we continue to open new Supercharger locations weekly… As has always been the case, Supercharging is not meant to be a profit center for Tesla.”. Whilst this will probably help Tesla grow their supercharger network even more, it does mean that the price of electric from their network is now on par with gasoline prices in many states (when compared with a 35 MPG car).