After numerous new electric cars were unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show last week, things were a bit quieter this week - but Tesla stayed in the news for a few reasons.

  • Monday 11th March: Despite Tesla saying that all dealerships/stores would be closed (apart from a few key ones, which would merely become information centres) last week, Tesla today announced that they have changed their mind and are now closing just half of them. This will save 3%, instead of 6-7% as they originally said - meaning that they are putting back up the Model X and S prices (granted they are still cheaper than they were a few weeks ago). Tesla have said that this move is to continue to have a presence and to offer pre-booked test drives, although the reality is probably that Tesla’s landlords have reminded them they cannot simply shut down stores with active leases (without expensive fees to be paid, that is). We still expect Tesla to wind down stores over the coming years, however - just more gradually than they announced last month.

  • Monday 11th March: Whilst the American budget is rarely interesting, Trump has made it somewhat interesting (but negative!) for green car fans by announcing a 2019 budget which completely scraps the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric cars. Whilst congress would need to approve a budget, such a move would apparently save $2.5 billion over the next decade. This flies in the face of pressure from Tesla and GM (amongst others) for the US government to increase support for electric cars since both car manufacturers have seen their tax credit fall to $3,750 in January and will see it fall again to $1,875 in July.

  • Wednesday 13th March: VW have announced plans to build as many as 22 million electric cars over the next decade, with forecasts that 70% of cars sold by 2040 being electric. Herbet Diess (VW CEO) said that “VW will change radically… particularly in connection with climate protection”. VW are currently building out their new electric car platform, whilst also choosing from four potential battery suppliers (Samsung, SK Innovation, CATL and LG Chem). VW will also be building 400 rapid DC Ionity chargers in Europe by the end of next year, a quarter of which will be in Germany. This will also be supplemented with 3,500 workplace chargers for its employeers and customers (based at VW dealers).

A Tesla Model Y promotional image, showing an actual Model Y driving along a deserted road (with a mountain in the background).

  • Thursday 14th March: After unveiling a darkened teaser image on their website, Tesla unveiled the Model Y at an event hosted by Elon Musk. The EV crossover SUV was described as a “medium SUV”, and the $47,000 long range option will give 300 miles (482 km) of range when released during Autumn 2020. The cheaper standard range car will be $39,000 and is aiming for a Spring 2021 release. The Model Y is modelled very closely with the Model 3, with a similar interior and exterior, albeit the Model Y is taller and thus can house a third row of seats (hence seating 7 people in total). The back row of seats is an optional extra and the seat height would mean they could only be used for children.

  • Thursday 14th March: James Bond films are famous for featuring amazing Aston Martin cars, which usually end up getting blown up! This time, the new film (due to be released April 2020) will feature an all-electric Aston Martin (the Rapide E) which will contain “all the high-tech gadgets” and will offer 603 horsepower performance with a 64 kWh battery. It is thought that Bond director Fukunaha is a “total tree-hugger”, hence pushing an electric car quite hard. Whatever the reason, we will be happy to see a flashy, high performance car in a Worldwide film be electric for once.

  • Thursday 14th March: Two rival German car manufacturers (BMW and Daimler/Mercedes-Benz) are apparently in discussions to develop electric cars on a joint EV platform, according to German sourcesa. Whilst a potential deal “could still fall apart”, such a partnership would rival VW’s upcoming EV platform and would likely focus on producing compact and mid-range EVs. Over $1 billion could be saved each year (for each of BMW and Daimler) by sharing an EV production chain.

  • Friday 15th March: Audi have come up with a good use for old EV batteries: powering factory tugs and fork lift trucks (tugs are used to move smaller items around, like baggage trollies in airports). Such devices are usually powered by lead-acid batteries, so re-purposing high quality lithium-ion batteries for this use makes a lot of sense. 24 e-tron battery modules will be fitted to the tugs and fork lifts, leading to a capacity of around 40 kWh (depending on how much capacity is left of the original cells). This would allow Audi factories to be greener, because these vital machines could be charged up using renewable energy, whilst also saving millions of dollars each year according to Peter Kössler (Audi board member).

  • Friday 15th March: Just like Audi, Kia have also partnered with Amazon to sell Kia compatible chargers via Amazon. This service allows you to select a ‘Kia recommended’ level 2 charging point (240V) and you can then choose a date and time when Amazon will arrange for a licensed electrician to come and install the charging point for you. The Amazon page includes a 40 amp Bosch charger at $764, or cheaper ChargePoint and JuiceBox chargers at $699 and $549 respectively.

  • Saturday 16th March: VW are considering leaving the main German car lobby known as VDA over claims that they are not focussed enough on electric cars and battery technology, and instead seem keen to push hydrogen fuel cell cars and technology as the preferred green car choice. This is according to WELT AM SONNTAG, a German Sunday newspaper, who have also heard that VW have more complaints and criticisms (of the VDA) in a “list of points”. German cars naturally sell well around the World, and so the VDA has a fair amount of power - but losing arguably its biggest partner/member would be a blow to it.

  • Sunday 17th March: EVSpecifications have noticed that the Tesla Model 3 mid-range rear-wheel drive model that launched in October 2018 is no longer available to purchase. Whilst this was a good option towards the end of last year, the launch of the $35,000 (base price) Model 3 standard range (also a RWD) means that this particular mid-range RWD car no longer fitted into the Tesla line-up too well.