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Discussions about a possible new epic “short squeeze” on Tesla stock are trending these days. The company is going through the most important transition in its young history, as the electric car and energy company strives to achieve mass market production of its more affordable Model 3 and finally reach profitability after years of massive R&D and infrastructure expenditure. As such, Tesla shares have always caught the attention of investors and speculators alike, including record levels of “short selling” (selling borrowed stock in the hope to buy it back cheaper at a later date) that have so far resulted in extreme losses for many. Broadly speaking, the Tesla stock is extremely volatile.
The city of Milan is getting set for a progressive ban on diesel cars, due to start as early as January 2019. The bold move was announced a few days ago by Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala at the annual Energy Festival in Rome. “It will be a delicate transition, but we think it’s time to do it”, said Sala.
Fully Charged, the popular YouTube channel hosted by British actor and electric cars’ advocate Robert Llewellyn, reached the next level last weekend as it turned into a live exhibition at Silverstone, UK’s famous F1 track. Thousands – including me – flocked to the brand new EV and renewable energy show, to witness the launch edition of what promises to be a very successful franchise in the years to come.
After a long, agonizing wait (at least for a reservation holder like myself), Elon Musk has finally provided some details of the upcoming dual motor all-wheel-drive and Performance versions of the Tesla Model 3, in a series of tantalising updates on Twitter.
Performance Model 3 will cost $78k in the US and boast 0-60 mph acceleration in 3.5 seconds with 155 mph top speed and same 310 miles (~500 km) range as current rear-wheel-drive long range battery version. The standard AWD version will be a $5,000 option and give the car 0-60 mph in 4.5 s with 140 mph top speed (range unchanged). These options will feature Tesla’s signature dual motor layout, with an electric motor on each axle to optimise performance and range and – as Musk put it – make sure you safely get home even if a motor breaks down.
Audi Group held their annual general meeting this week on Wednesday. As expected, the company provided news on their long-term plan for cars’ electrification. It was an interesting update and a significant one: four new full electric production models will be introduced by 2020, plus a fully autonomous EV in 2021 (based on the Audi Aicon concept). This is one of the most aggressive timelines among major automakers, along with those of Audi’s sibling VW. More than 20 “electrified” Audi models will be available on the market by 2025.
Tesla has just released a new video, almost a teaser, seemingly meant to celebrate the company’s achievements and progress to date. It’s sure to cause a lot of buzz among Tesla enthusiasts (and detractors!), as it shows what looks like a Performance Model 3, a prototype (Model Y, a premium compact?), the Roadster, Semi and more. It can be seen here, enjoy:
The BMW iX3 electric concept car was finally unveiled at the Beijing Motor Show (Auto China 2018) last week. The long touted prototype of BMW’s first electric SUV – derived entirely from the conventional X3 model and expected for sale in 2020 – was accompanied at the show by the BMW i Vision Dynamics four door concept, previously unveiled at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show and precursor of BMW’s future mid-size electric saloon (a Tesla Model 3 competitor).
The German automaker chose the ever more important Chinese event to give new substance to its to-date somewhat confusing electrification plans. Following an early and promising start in the EV sector with the unveil of the BMW i sub-brand in 2011, later incarnated in the i3 and i8 models, BMW had in fact fallen behind the competition and let years go by without meaningful model updates or a clear strategy. We now finally have an almost production-ready SUV prototype and a sedan concept indicating two new electric models coming to market over the next two to four years. The choice of segments should not surprise (mid-size SUV and sedan), given their popularity and BMW’s rivalry with Tesla, the impact of which was also confirmed in Tesla’s latest earnings call. And while up to twelve all-electric models are promised by 2025, this is all that should be expected in the near future. Will this be enough to compete with Tesla’s skyrocketing growth and German rivals’ electrification plans in an increasingly crowded EV space?
The new Nissan Leaf was unveiled last September to great fanfare, as Nissan launched a months-long global marketing offensive to trumpet the arrival of its second generation mass market electric car. A daunting task: replacing the World’s best selling EV, the 2011 Nissan Leaf, produced in around 300,000 units since it came to market. Expectations were particularly high: Nissan was the first automaker to aggressively pursue the EV market, but had not followed up with a new product since. Meanwhile, progress in the field has been explosive and competition is finally raging. Would Nissan once again lead the way? That was the question.
The increasingly popular FIA Formula E electric car championship is about to land in the Eternal City, as Rome hosts the first ever Italian E-Prix through its city streets on Saturday 14 April. Formula E has been showcasing electric powertrain technology for the past few years and now, in its fourth season, is maturing with a growing number of heavy-weight partners and sponsors. Porsche and Mercedes have just been formally approved as manufacturers for future seasons, while BMW and Nissan have also announced their entry in the coming years. Notably, Audi and Jaguar – the only two European car makers with long range production EVs on the market this year – are already racing with their official teams along names such as Renault, Nio and Mahindra.
Tesla’s production figures for the first quarter 2018 were released recently and provided great support to the company’s mission to accelerate the adoption of electric cars. Elon Musk’s company is under intense pressure as it strives to ramp up production of its first affordable car, the Model 3, which is seen as a game changer as it will appeal to a wide variety of customers, particularly with the forthcoming $35,000 base model. Production numbers at Tesla’s factories are increasing dramatically with the addition of Model 3 to the line up. This, together with the expected ramp to full speed production as well as the future Model Y crossover – due to be unveiled later this year – provide a clear indication of how Tesla’s journey to mainstream is quickly reaching a tipping point.