In another busy week for green car news, which also includes a rare bit of hydrogen fuel cell news:

  • Monday 18th March: Fisker, the green car startup who once aimed to rival (and beat) Tesla, have finally unveiled an all-electric SUV - a week after the Tesla Model Y (SUV) was announced. Fisker’s unnamed SUV will have a range of around 300 miles (482 km) and cost under $40,000, meaning it would be cheaper than the Model Y which will be over $40,000. The downside, however, is that it is more than two years away, with deliveries due for the second half of 2021. Interestingly, Fisker will move away from lithium-ion batteries and use their “patented Fisker Solid-State Battery technology” which will be produced in an unbuilt factory which Fisker are “currently finalizing the selection [for], located in the United States”.

  • Tuesday 19th March: Canada’s green car sales for February 2019 has shown a 38% increase compared to February 2018, with plug-in cars having a 2.2% share of the overall car sales market. The Tesla Model 3 was by far the biggest seller in Canada, with 900 units sold making up 32% of all green car sales in Canada. There were 2,700 overall green car sales in Canada last month.

  • Tuesday 19th March: As we have reported previously, the SEC have taken Elon Musk back to court over a Musk tweet in February (where Musk said 2019 production would be 500,000 units - despite this not being accurate). The SEC enquired in court whether Elon Musk had sought approval for any of his previous tweets since the settlement, which was a key part of that settlement agreement. According to the SEC, Tesla took two week’s to investigate this question and answer the question… by simply saying “no”! A less than impressed SEC said in response to this that "”It is therefore stunning to learn that, at the time of filing of the instant motion, Musk had not sought pre-approval for a single one of the numerous tweets about Tesla he published in the months since the court-ordered pre-approval policy went into effect,”.

A picture of a newly installed L2 7kW EVSE car charger in Jaguar Land Rover's Gaydan manufacturing site, with Jaguar cars to the left and Land Rover cars to the right.

  • Wednesday 20th March: Jaguar Land Rover, mainly based in the UK, has installed 166 EVSE car chargers at their large Gaydon engineering site (used by its employees and also visitors), making it once of the UK’s largest charging sites. The smart chargers will be installed by NewMotion and they will be L2 7 kW units, powered entirely by 100% renewable energy. This is part of Jaguar and Land Rover’s plan to have all of their vehicles “electrified” by 2020, albeit this will mean heavy reliance on hybrid technology instead of lots of having pure electric (or PHEV) cars to choose from. Still, it’s all a (big) step in the right direction!

  • Thursday 21st March: Expanding on the Fisker news earlier, it seems that their solid state battery technology will not be due until at least 2022: meaning that the 2021 launch will be with more standard lithium (liquid electrolyte) batteries, before switching to their solid state batteries a year or more into the future. Fisker’s much delayed solid state batteries also mirrors other car/battery manufacturer’s struggles with moving to solid state batteries, which could be a game-changer for EV range and charging, albeit with initial complexity and costs.

  • Thursday 21st March: BMW’s annual shareholder meeting in Munich, Germany laid out an exciting green car development for BMW: to have 12 completely new all-electric cars to buy by 2025, just six years away. 5 of these all-electric cars should be ready to buy by around 2021, too. The rest of their cars will be electrified by means of offering plug-in hybrid versions, delivering up to 50 miles (80 km) of range.

  • Thursday 21st March: General Motors will be investing $300 in Detroit to build new factories for their upcoming electric (and self-driving) cars for Chevrolet, and also ‘Cruise’ - the self-driving unit of GM. GM are keen to build this factory in America, but possibly on the condition that the free trade deal USMCA passes, otherwise a China-based plant might make more sense to GM instead.

  • Thursday 21st March: In a similar vain, Ford are looking to ramp-up their Michigan plant (which makes the Ford Mustang) so that it will be more adapted to EV production. This is based on an expected growth in EV supply and demand, with Joe Hinrichs (Ford president of global operations) saying “We’ve taken a fresh look at the growth rates of electrified vehicles and know we need to protect additional production capacity given our accelerated plans for fully electric vehicles”.

  • Thursday 21st March: The hydrogen-powered fuel cell car from Hyundai (the Hyundai Nexo) has been launched in the United Kingdom, with 414 miles (668 km) of range from a tank of hydrogen. The Nexo FCEV is an SUV which can be refuelled in just 5 minutes, which is a nice benefit of hydrogen cars compared to current electric car charging rates. The downside, however, is that it is very expensive: the Nexo costs £65,995 ($87,222) in the UK, which includes the Government’s plug-in car grant.

  • Friday 22nd March: Navigant Research have carried out independent research and analysis of self-driving companies and technology, and they have ranked Tesla 19th out of the 20 companies they have analyzed. Their research covers 10 criteria, meaning not just the immediate self-driving clips that are often shared by Tesla and their fans on Twitter. When looked at as a whole, companies like Waymo (from Google), but also GM’s Cruise and the Ford Autonomous Vehicles project, are seen as better at self-driving than Tesla.

  • Friday 22nd March: Less than two months ago, Tesla scrapped their customer referral program saying that it cost too much. Of course, Tesla also said they were shutting all dealerships and reducing car prices 6-7%, before changing their mind a week later. Why do we mention this? Well, because Tesla have also changed their mind on their referral scheme and have bought it back, with the change to win free supercharging and the new Model Y. Tesla have explained this change by saying that the old referral scheme did indeed cost too much, but “We’ve since restructured the program to save the company money while also offering rewards that are super exclusive”.

  • Saturday 23rd March: Tesla have also moved away from mandatory yearly services, which might be necessary with gasoline cars (and early electric cars), but it is widely known that modern EVs require less maintenance: hence they need less servicing, too. This move makes sense because Tesla are looking to make their service operations more efficient, and cutting out unnecessary, mandatory yearly services will help with this. Instead, Tesla say that certain tests and filters need carrying out and changing periodically (mentioned in the owner’s manual).