This week’s green car news includes:

  • Monday 18th February: in a recent interview with Marques Brownlee, Bill Gates said that Tesla is an “amazing product” and says the future is exciting for EVs since “there’ll be a lot of really great electric cars to choose from.”. He was more sceptical of electric trucks, however, due to battery power not yet giving enough range for their weight/density.

  • Tuesday 19th February: as VW continues to position itself as a leader in the green car space, they are asking their suppliers along the supply and manufacturing chain to reduce their carbon emissions wherever possible. VW are aiming to rank their supplies with an “S-rating” which will review their sustainability levels, and any supplies which violate their CO2 emissions “will not be our partners” for much longer according to Marco Philippi.

  • Wednesday 20th February: another Tesla executive has left their management team, this time with their top lawyer Dane Butswinkas leaving after just two months into the job. He joins a string of other Tesla execs who have left for a variety of reasons over the past year. In this case, Butswinkas was allegedly unhappy with the working environment inside Tesla and especially the ‘top down nature’ (from Musk) for how things are run.

Real-car photo from Daimler of the Mercedes Benz EQC 2021, drifting in snowy and icy conditions.

  • Wednesday 20th February: Autoblog have been given the chance to ride the upcoming Mercedes-Benz EQC, their 2021 EV crossover SUV. The EQC’s motors run with 402 horsepower and it has an all-wheel-drive due to electric motors on each wheel (similar to Nissan’s concept of in-wheel motors). The car does 0-62 mph (0-100 kmh) in 5.1 seconds, and has a top speed of 112 mph (180 km). Despite being billed as a “2021 model”, it should be with dealers in the second half of next year.

  • Wednesday 20th February: in an ever increasing drive to improve profitability, Tesla are looking to launch a leasing program for their Model 3 car. This might be launched within a month however no pricing information is currently available. This would, however, help to make the Tesla Model 3 more accessible to buyers because the current option is purely to pay $42,900 before incentives.

  • Thursday 21st February: Argonne National Labs, a science company, has developer an electric motor called HyMag which should be cheaper and lighter than traditional motors, whilst also being more efficient. The HyMag takes the traditional magnet design and it improves it with an “enhancing layer” on top and bottom, a design which also requires 90% less rare earth materials which are bad for the environment too.

Concept image from Kia of their high performance EV due to be revealed in March 2019 at the Geneva Motor Show

  • Thursday 21st February: Kia are continuing to push both their EV and high-performance credentials, with a high-performance all-electric car which will be unveiled at March’s Geneva Motor Show. Apart from the concept image they have released, not much is known but the car will apparently “get your pulse racing”. We await more information with interest!

  • Thursday 21st February: to try and tackle LA to San Francisco travel issues, California are proposing a simple solution: add more freeway lanes, and make these autobahns: i.e., have no speed limit. The proposed bill is SB 319 and it has not yet been voted on nor approved, but the idea is that less car idling will mean less CO2 emissions overall: “If we do not expand means of travel for Californians, traffic congestion will increase, along with GHGs.”.

  • Thursday 21st February: a recent car survey put the Tesla Model 3 towards the top of its reliability rankings, however the new annual Consumer Reports reliability survey has said that after more than 500 complaints from Model 3 owners, they no longer give it a “Recommended” rating. Despite these complaints, Consumer Report have still found that Tesla drivers are amongst the most satisfied with their cars.

  • Friday 22nd February: an on-and-off-again dispute between California and Trump’s EPA administration is continuing, with the EPA scrapping talks with California over fuel economy and emission regulations. California had hoped to bring about widespread change so that cars would have to be more fuel efficient and have lower emissions, however it seems like President Trump’s administration will aim for a federal-led plan instead (despite California aiming for a state-led plan with 19 other states).

  • Friday 22nd February: Chinese plug-in electric sales for January 2019 have been released. Plug-in (PEV) sales includes EV (all electric cars) and PHEV (plug-in hybrids), and they seen a 175% increase compared to January 2018 with 96,000 PEVs sold! BYD, SAIC and BAIC (Chinese manufacturers) all occupied the top 5 sale slots, with the Chinese market seeming cooler on the prospect of foreign imported cars.

  • Saturday 24th February: Kia and Hyundai’s supply issues are continuing, as we first reported a fortnight ago when the Kia eNiro sold out very quickly in the UK - but mainly due to supply issues! The Hyundai Kona is now facing a production bottleneck, with just 3,000 being manufactured each month. The Kona EV was a hotly awaited model with good reviews, so the supply issues do mean that the high demand will not be met anytime soon.