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Dyson, Maker Of Vaccums, Investing In Electric Vehicles

February 15, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Late last year, James Dyson of Dyson vacuum cleaner maker announced that his company would be investing £2 billion to develop an electric car by 2020 and, hopefully, it doesn’t suck.

Dyson on Wednesday provided a few more details including a production target date and some very general technical specs.

Typically, we’d greet this kind of news with a healthy eye roll of skepticism, but the fact is that Dyson is as rich as Croesus (from ancient Greece, very rich) and loves inventing things. Additionally, the word around the campfire is that he already has 400 people working on the project at the Dyson facility in Malmesbury, England.

Dyson has said that its first electric car won’t be cheap and won’t be a sports car. This, in our minds, puts it in direct competition with Tesla’s Model S and Model X. The car was initially set to feature solid-state batteries, technology in which Dyson has been investing heavily lately — specifically with its acquisition of Sakti3, a solid-state battery startup, for $105 million. However, Ann Marie Sastry, the former head of Sakti3 who came to work for Dyson after the acquisition, has departed the company rather suddenly, which may slow down the development schedule for solid-state batteries.

To help put solid-state battery technology in perspective, Toyota is alone in having committed to bringing the technology to market inside of a decade. Porsche has talked about its investment in the technology but hasn’t made any claims as to when it might be available in its vehicles. If Dyson can bring this technology to market first, it will have a huge leg up on more established competitors thanks to solid-state batteries’ higher energy density and quicker recharge times versus standard wet cells.

Based on statements that Dyson made to Reuters, it seems unlikely that the car would be built in the UK.

“Wherever we make the battery, we’ll make the car; that’s logical,” he said. “So we want to be near our suppliers; we want to be in a place that welcomes us and is friendly to us, and where it is logistically most sensible. And we see a very large market for this car in the Far East.”

Based on what we know so far, Dyson’s plan seems not unlike Tesla’s in that it will start with an exclusive and expensive vehicle, using that to develop and possibly fund a second more affordable and advanced car, and so on. Given Tesla’s production troubles with its hotly anticipated Model 3, the EV giant is vulnerable in a way that it hasn’t been previously.

Hopefully, Dyson gets his car developed and brought to market. Competition improves the breed, and the world of EVs has benefited from increased competition already. Also, the potential to see AvE tear a Dyson car apart on YouTube is almost too exciting.

Uber Agrees To $245M Settlement With Google’s Waymo

February 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Uber Technologies Inc will shell out $245 million worth of its own shares to Alphabet Inc’s Waymo self-driving vehicle unit to end a legal dispute over trade secrets, allowing Uber’s chief executive to move past one of the company’s most bruising public controversies.

The settlement announcement on Friday brought an abrupt halt to the captivating case just before the fifth day of testimony was to begin at a jury trial in federal court in San Francisco.

In a lawsuit filed last year, Waymo said that one of its former engineers who became chief of Uber’s self-driving car project took with him thousands of confidential documents.

The lawsuit cost Uber precious time in its self-driving car ambition, which is a key to its long-term profitability. Uber fired its self-driving chief after Waymo sued, and it is well behind on its plans to deploy fleets of autonomous cars in one of the most lucrative races in Silicon Valley.

The settlement allows Uber’s chief executive officer, Dara Khosrowshahi, to put another scandal behind the company and move ahead with development of self-driving technology, following the tumultuous leadership by former CEO Travis Kalanick, who testified at the trial on Tuesday and Wednesday.

As part of the deal, Waymo gets a 0.34 percent stake in Uber, worth about $245 million based on Uber’s current $72 billion valuation, a Waymo representative said. The settlement includes an agreement to ensure that Waymo confidential information is not being incorporated into Uber technology, which Waymo has said was its main goal in bringing the lawsuit.

In settlement talks last year, Waymo had sought at least $1 billion from Uber, and wanted an independent monitor to ensure that Uber would not use Waymo technology in the future, Reuters reported. Waymo also asked for an apology. Uber rejected those terms as non-starters.

Waymo had agreed earlier this week to a settlement proposal valued at $500 million, and Khosrowshahi brought the proposal to the Uber board of directors, offering his support.

But Uber’s board rejected those terms on Tuesday, two sources familiar with the discussions said, sending Khosrowshahi and chief legal officer Tony West back to renegotiate.

In the interim, the famously pugnacious Kalanick testified in court, maintaining a calm demeanor as he answered questions about Uber’s soured relationship with Alphabet and his admiration for Anthony Levandowski, the self-driving-car engineer whose actions led to the lawsuit.

After four days of testimony, Waymo had presented little public evidence that Uber used Waymo’s trade secrets.

By late Thursday, Waymo agreed to the $245 million deal, one of the sources said.

In a statement on Friday, Khosrowshahi expressed “regret” for Uber’s actions.

“While we do not believe that any trade secrets made their way from Waymo to Uber, nor do we believe that Uber has used any of Waymo’s proprietary information in its self-driving technology, we are taking steps with Waymo to ensure our Lidar and software represents just our good work,” Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

Is the UK Doomed To Face A Major Cyber Security Attack

February 1, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

It is inevitable that the UK will be hit by a major cyberattack in the next two years according to the head of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). 

Speaking to The Guardian, Ciaran Martin said that the US, France and other parts of Europe had been whacked by so-called “category one” (C1) cyber-attacks, which aim to cripple infrastructure including energy companies and financial services, and that it was a question of “when, not if” Britain will be hit.

“Most comparable western countries have experienced what we would consider a category one attack, so we have been fortunate in avoiding that to date,” he said. “I think it is a matter of when, not if and we will be fortunate to come to the end of the decade without having a category one attack.

“Some attacks will get through. What you need to do [at that point] is cauterize the damage,” he added.

Martin noted that the country’s worst attack so far has been the WannaCry ransomware attack that struck in May last year, which forced NHS hospitals across the UK to shut down IT systems and telephones lines, and in some cases cancel operations and send patients home.

However, this attack – which also infected traffic lights in Australia and forced Honda to shut down a production plant in Japan – was only categorized as a “category two” attack, of which there have been 34 since the NCSC was set up in October 2016, Martin said. There have been 762 category three incidents, he added.

Martin’s comments come after the head of the British Army, Gen Sir Nick Carter, called for more defense spending to tackle the threat of cyberattacks, saying that the UK needed to protect itself from “cyber-warfare” from Russia.

Speaking of which, Martin warned that while no successful attempts have yet been made to interfere with the UK’s democratic process, there may have been intelligence-gathering taking place for possible future attacks.

“What we have seen from Russia thus far against the UK is a series of intrusions for espionage and possible pre-positioning into key sectors but in a more controlled form of attack from others,” he said.

Martin’s claims come just weeks after a report from think-tank Chatham House warned that nuclear weapons systems are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks, which could lead to the ‘inadvertent’ nuclear launches.

Courtesy-TheInq

U.S. Transportation Dept To Release Revised Self-driving Guidelines

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The US government plans to unveil revised self-driving car guidelines this summer as the government sets out to rewrite regulations that pose legal barriers to robot vehicles, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said.

Chao told a Detroit auto show forum that the revised voluntary guidelines would address not only self-driving automobiles but “barriers to the safe integration of autonomous technology for motor carriers, transit, trucks, infrastructure and other modes.”

Chao said in a Reuters interview the department was preparing for autonomous technology coming rapidly to all transportation modes. “The technology is there, the question is how do we regulate it, how do we continue to promote innovation but also safeguard safety.” Chao said.

General Motors Co, Alphabet Inc, Toyota Motor Corp and many other companies are aggressively pursuing self-driving car technologies and want Congress and regulators to remove barriers to the vehicles.

Bills in Congress to speed the introduction of self-driving cars do not include commercial trucks. In September, Chao announced the first set of revisions to the guidelines that were unveiled by the Obama administration and now plans a revised version by summer.

 Chao said her goal was to eliminate “unnecessary obstacles to the development and integration of new technology. Our approach will be tech-neutral and flexible — not top-down, or command and control.” She added the government would “not be in the business of picking winners or losers, or favoring one form of technology over another.”

In October, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, said it was looking for input on how to remove regulatory roadblocks to self-driving cars.

NHTSA said in a report that it wanted to find any “unnecessary regulatory barriers” to self-driving cars “particularly those that are not equipped with controls for a human driver.”

The agency also wants comments on what research it needs to conduct before deciding whether to eliminate or rewrite regulations. But it could take the agency years to complete the research and finalize rule changes.

Automakers must meet nearly 75 auto safety standards, many written with the assumption that a licensed driver will be in control of the vehicle. The agency said in 2016 that current regulations posed “significant” regulatory hurdles to vehicles without human controls.

Earlier this month, the Transportation Department published notices requesting comments to identify barriers to innovation including one from NHTSA, two from the Federal Transit Administration to address autonomous bus technology and barriers and one from the Federal Highway Administration to address autonomous infrastructure technology. Chao said more were planned.

Last week, GM filed a petition with NHTSA requesting an exemption to have a small number of autonomous vehicles operate in a ride-share program without steering wheels or human drivers.

 Chao said the “department will review this petition, and give it responsible and careful consideration.”

Ford Aims For 22 Electric Vehicles By 2022

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Ford Motor Co will significantly increase its planned investments in electric vehicles to $11 billion by 2022 and have 40 hybrid and fully electric vehicles in its model lineup, Chairman Bill Ford announced at the Detroit auto show.

The investment figure is sharply higher than a previously announced target of $4.5 billion by 2020, Ford executives said, and includes the costs of developing dedicated electric vehicle architectures. Ford’s engineering, research and development expenses for 2016, the last full year available, were $7.3 billion, up from $6.7 billion in 2015.

Ford Chief Executive Jim Hackett told investors in October the automaker would slash $14 billion in costs over the next five years and shift capital investment away from sedans and internal combustion engines to develop more trucks and electric and hybrid cars.

Of the 40 electrified vehicles Ford plans for its global lineup by 2022, 16 will be fully electric and the rest will be plug-in hybrids, executives said.

“We’re all in on this and we’re taking our mainstream vehicles, our most iconic vehicles, and we’re electrifying them,” Ford told reporters. “If we want to be successful with electrification, we have to do it with vehicles that are already popular.”

General Motors Co, Toyota Motor Corp and Volkswagen AG  have already outlined aggressive plans to expand their electric vehicle offerings and target consumers who want luxury, performance and an SUV body style – or all three attributes in the same vehicle.

Mainstream automakers are reacting in part to pressure from regulators in China, Europe and California to slash carbon emissions from fossil fuels. They also are under pressure from

 Tesla Inc’s success in creating electric sedans and SUVs that inspire would-be owners to line up outside showrooms and flood the company with orders.

GM said last year it would add 20 new battery electric and fuel cell vehicles to its global lineup by 2023, financed by robust profits from traditional internal combustion engine vehicles in the United States and China.

GM Chief Executive Mary Barra has promised investors the Detroit automaker will make money selling electric cars by 2021.

Volkswagen said in November it would spend $40 billion on electric cars, autonomous driving and new mobility services by the end of 2022 – significantly more than when it announced two months earlier it would invest more than 20 billion euros on electric and self-driving cars through 2030.

Toyota is racing to commercialize a breakthrough battery technology during the first half of the 2020s with the potential to cut the cost of making electric cars.

Ford’s additional investments in electric vehicles contrasted with many of the vehicle launches at the Detroit show which featured trucks and SUVs. On Sunday evening, Daimler AG unveiled its new G-class SUV, a bulky off roader, in an abandoned movie theater in downtown Detroit once used as a set for the movie “8 Mile.”

Intel’s Mobileye Software Going In Millions Of Vehicles

January 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Intel Corp Chief Executive Brian Krzanich announced 2 million vehicles from BMW, Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Volkswagen AG would use its unit Mobileye’s autonomous vehicle technology to crowdsource data for building maps that enable autonomous driving.

The world’s largest chipmaker bought Israeli firm Mobileye last year to compete with peers such as Qualcomm Inc and Nvidia Corp and tap the fast-growing market of driverless cars.

Intel will also tie up with SAIC Motor Corp Ltd, which will use Mobileye technology to develop cars in China, the chipmaker said.

Krzanich also said Intel had not received any information of customer data being compromised so far after the company confirmed last week that the security issues reported by researchers in its widely used microprocessors could allow hackers to steal sensitive information from computers, phones and other devices.

Security researchers had disclosed two security flaws exposing vulnerability of nearly every modern computing device containing chips from Intel, Advanced Micro Devices Inc  and ARM Holdings.

Nvidia Teams With Uber And Volkwagen On Self-driving

January 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Nvidia Corp is teaming up with Uber Technologies Inc and Volkswagen AG as the graphics chipmaker’s artificial intelligence platforms make further gains in the autonomous vehicle industry.

The company, which already has partnerships in the industry with companies such as carmaker Tesla and China’s Baidu, makes computer graphics chips and has been expanding into technology for self-driving cars.

Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said at the CES technology conference in Las Vegas that Uber’s self-driving car fleet was using their technology to help its autonomous cars perceive the world and make split-second decisions.

Uber has been using Nvidia’s GPU computing technology since its first test fleet of Volvo SC90 SUVs were deployed in 2016 in Pittsburgh and Phoenix.

 Uber’s autonomous driving program has been shaken this year by a lawsuit filed in San Francisco by rival Waymo alleging trade secret theft.

Nvidia said development of the Uber self-driving program had, nevertheless, gained steam with one million autonomous miles being driven in just the past 100 days.

With Volkswagen, Nvidia said it was infusing its artificial intelligence technology into the German automakers’ future lineup, using their new Drive IX platform. The technology will enable so-called “intelligent co-pilot” capabilities based on processing sensor data inside and outside the car.

So far, 320 companies involved in self-driving cars – whether software developers, automakers and their suppliers, sensor and mapping companies – are using Nvidia Drive, formerly branded as the Drive PX2, the company said.

 

British Company Sues Uber, Alleges Ad Fraud

January 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A British mobile ad firm has filed a lawsuit against Uber Technologies Inc to force the ride-hailing company to pay millions of dollars of bills that Uber had refused to pay after claiming that ads being generated were fraudulent.

Fetch Media Ltd filed its lawsuit on Tuesday in the same California federal court where Uber had sued Fetch in September, accusing the agency of billing it for nonexistent, nonviewable or fraudulent ads, and failing to pass back rebates and commissions.

Uber voluntarily dismissed that lawsuit on Dec. 22, two weeks after the case was reassigned to U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, and said it would instead pursue related claims in a San Francisco state court.

Ad fraud, sometimes called click fraud, is a persistent issue in online advertising, occurring when automated programs mimic legitimate users by clicking ads.

Fetch, a London-based unit of Japan’s Dentsu Inc, suggested that Uber dismissed its federal case on concern it might lose after it was assigned to Rogers, who has overseen other litigation involving the San Francisco-based company.

 In Tuesday’s lawsuit, Fetch asked that Rogers be assigned to determine both companies’ contractual responsibilities, and direct Uber pay more than $19.7 million of invoices still owed for 2017.

“Fetch does not believe that Uber can avoid federal-court scrutiny of its incorrect contract theories so easily,” the company said.

Uber did not immediately respond on Wednesday to requests for comment.

The Association of National Advertisers, a trade group, last May estimated that marketers would lose $6.5 billion in 2017 because of fake web traffic caused by “bots.”

Uber said in September that it had hired Fetch to place ads to encourage new riders to download the Uber app, and would pay for “legitimate clicks” that helped attract riders.

But it said Fetch wrongly claimed credit for app downloads that occurred without ads ever being clicked. Uber said it paid Fetch more than $82.5 million, but that Fetch’s failure to stop ad fraud contributed to at least $50 million of damages.

According to Uber, the alleged fraud surfaced in early 2017 as customers began complaining about where its ads appeared.

 Uber said, in one example, it had asked Fetch not to place ads on Breitbart.com, the conservative news website run by Steve Bannon, a former strategist for U.S. President Donald Trump, but that ads appeared there anyway.

In court papers, Fetch called Uber a “faithless business partner,” and said it had helped Uber monitor ad fraud despite not being contractually required. Fetch also said its work helped Uber register more than 35 million riders.

The case is Fetch Media Ltd v. Uber Technologies Inc, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, No. 18-00015.

NJ Legislation To Address ‘Drunk Droning’ Usage

January 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

U.S. drone sales in 2017 topped $1 billion for the first time ever, but don’t raise a glass too quickly if you’re in New Jersey, where lawmakers on Thursday are poised to outlaw drunken droning.

New Jersey’s Assembly voted on a Senate-approved bill to ban inebriated or drugged droning, as well as outlaw flying unmanned aircraft systems over prisons and in pursuit of wildlife.

“It’s basically like flying a blender,” said John Sullivan, 41, of New York, a drone buff and aerial cinematographer. He said he opposed drunk droning but also fretted about regulatory overreach. “If I had like one drink, I’d be hesitant to even fly it.”

 A 2015 drone crash on the White House lawn fueled debate in the U.S. Congress over the need for drone regulations.

It was a drunken, off-duty employee of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency who flew the 2-foot-by-2-foot (60 cm by 60 cm) “quadcopter” from a friend’s apartment balcony and lost control of it over the grounds surrounding the White House, the New York Times reported.

New statistics set for release next week show 3.1 million drones were sold in the United States last year, up 28 percent from 2016, said Richard Kowalski, manager for Consumer Technology Association.

“This was the first year that drone revenues reached $1 billion,” Kowalksi said in an email.

New Jersey is among at least 38 states considering restrictions on the devices this legislative year, including Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina, said Amanda Essex, senior policy specialist for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“Like any technology, drones have the ability to be used for good, but they also provide new opportunities for bad actors,” said Assemblywoman Annette Quijano of Elizabeth, New Jersey. She backed the bill, which would impose a punishment of up to six months prison and a $1,000 fine for drunk droning.

 Already, nine states prohibit drones from operating near or over prisons, including Arizona, Louisiana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin, Essex said.

A drone carrying wire cutters and a cell phone likely aided a prisoner’s escape in July from a maximum security prison in South Carolina, officials said.

Daimler Buys Into Uber Rival, Chauffeur Prive

December 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

German automaker Daimler has agreed to acquire a majority stake in Chauffeur Prive, a French rival to the larger Uber car-ride app, in the latest example of traditional companies looking to deal with challenges from technology-driven start-ups.

The deal was announced in a joint statement by both companies. The price of the acquisition, which will be carried out by the German company’s Daimler Mobility Services division, was not disclosed.

Chauffeur Prive was founded in 2011. The company says it has more than 1.5 million customers and access to 18,000 drivers, and the service is relatively popular in Paris.

Traditional automakers from around the world are examining how best to work on new, disruptive technologies – from electric vehicles to autonomous driving – that require hefty investment and have turned companies such as Google and Tesla into rivals.

Daimler has already made forays into the growing industry of car-ride hailing mobile applications.

In June, Dubai-based ride hailing firm Careem said it would step up its expansion into new markets after raising $150 million from investors, which included Daimler and Saudi Arabia’s Kingdom Holding.

Earlier this month, Daimler’s French rival Renault bought a stake in a glossy magazine publishing group, which it said formed part of its strategy to see how to keep travelers entertained in an era of driverless cars.

Uber Ties Up With BlackBerry Messenger For Ride Hailing

December 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Uber Technologies announced that it has joined forces with BBM Messenger to allow users around the world, including in the application’s biggest market of Indonesia, to book rides via the messenger service.

The partnership agreement is with Creative Media Works, operating as BBM Messenger, the company said in a statement.

”With this partnership, BBM users can quickly request an Uber ride via BBM despite variations in quality of location, network speed, or device features,” said Chan Park, Uber’s general manager in Southeast Asia.

The agreement means that BBM Messenger users, including both Android and iOS users, can book an Uber ride without leaving the BBM app, or being required to have a stand-alone Uber app on their phone, the company said.

Creative Media works is a unit of Indonesian media group PT Elang Mahkota Teknologi Tbk. The company operates the global BBM consumer messaging and social networking platform under a license from BlackBerry Limited.

 

Telsa Electric Trucks Gets Vote Of Confidence From PepsiCo

December 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

PepsiCo Inc has reserved 100 of Tesla Inc’s new electric Semi trucks, the biggest known order of the big rig, as the maker of Mountain Dew soda and Doritos chips seeks to reduce fuel costs and fleet emissions, a company executive said on Tuesday.

Tesla has been trying to convince the trucking community that it can build an affordable electric big rig with the range and cargo capacity to compete with relatively low-cost, time-tested diesel trucks.

 Early orders reflect uncertainty over how the market for electric commercial vehicles will develop. About 260,000 heavy-duty Class-8 trucks are produced in North America annually, according to FTR, an industry economics research firm.

PepsiCo intends to deploy Tesla Semis for shipments of snack foods and beverages between manufacturing and distribution facilities and direct to retailers within the 500-mile (800-km) range promised by Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk.

The semi-trucks will complement PepsiCo’s U.S. fleet of nearly 10,000 big rigs and are a key part of its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across its supply chain by a total of at least 20 percent by 2030, said Mike O‘Connell, the senior director of North American supply chain for PepsiCo subsidiary Frito-Lay.

PepsiCo is analyzing what routes are best for its Tesla trucks in North America but sees a wide range of uses for lighter loads like snacks or shorter shipments of heavier beverages, O‘Connell said.

Tesla did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

 Tesla unveiled the Semi last month and expects the truck to be in production by 2019.

Obike Latest Victim Of Hacking

December 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

If you use one of those yellow bikes on the streets of Singapore, Sydney or London, you might want to take notice. Some of your personal information may have been accessed.

Obike suffered a global security breach that lasted at least two weeks, Bavarian Radio reported. User information including names, contacts, profile photos and location was leaked and made accessible online.

The specific time of the breach is unknown, although security experts in Taiwan said they discovered the leak in June, but got no response from Obike. It impacts people around the world, with the Singapore-based company having expanded to several cities in the Asia Pacific, Europe and UK.

“We were made aware of the issue, and worked quickly to resolve it immediately,” an Obike spokesperson told CNET.  “This only affected a small handful of our users. The personal data that was exposed was limited to user names, email addresses and mobile numbers. The app does not store credit card details or passwords of users.”

The security flaw “stemmed from a gap in our [application programming interface] that allowed users to refer a friend to our platform,” the spokesperson said. That API has now been disabled, and extra security layers added on top.

Obike is a bike-sharing platform that offers riders an afforable last-mile solution. It uses a dockless system, which means bikes can be picked up off the streets (download its app and scan the lock to use the bike) and left at any public bike-parking area. It’s not the only bike-sharing service available; Chinese bike-sharing giants include Ofo and Mobike, whose combined value is estimated to cross $4 billion.

It comes a week after Uber made headlines for having paid hackers $100,000 to delete the information stolen from 57 million Uber drivers and riders globally last October. A 20-year-old Florida man is thought to have been behind Uber’s hack, it was reported on Wednesday.

Shell Teaming Up With Carmakers For Ultra-fast EV Charging Stations

November 28, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Royal Dutch Shell has teamed up with top automakers to deploy ultra-fast chargers on Europe’s highways, stealing a march on rivals in the race to remove one of the biggest obstacles facing the electric car sector.

Shell’s agreement with IONITY – a joint venture between BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen  – will initially bring high-powered docks to 80 highway sites in 2019, it said in a statement.

Power giants including France’s Engie and Germany’s E.ON, as well as niche players such as U.S. start-up ChargePoint, are all building vehicle-charging networks in Europe, but Shell says the IONITY technology is key to addressing the problem of journey distances.

 While electric vehicles still account for only a small fraction of the global car market, the pace of growth and a sustained period of low crude prices is prompting oil companies to reassess century-old business models as the world move towards cleaner modes of transportation.

Under Shell’s most aggressive projections the company expects the global electric vehicle fleet to grow from about 1 percent of the entire auto fleet today to 10 percent by 2025, displacing oil demand equating to about 800,000 barrels per day.

Volkswagen Ramps Up Electric Cars Ambitions

November 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Volkswagen has approved a 34 billion euro ($40 bln) spending plan that speeds up its efforts to become a global leader in electric cars.

The world’s largest carmaker by unit sales will spend the money on electric cars, autonomous driving and new mobility services by the end of 2022, it said after a meeting of its supervisory board.

“With the planning round now approved, we are laying the foundation for making Volkswagen the world’s No. 1 player in electric mobility by 2025,” Chief Executive Matthias Mueller told a press conference.

The carmaker’s projected spending is significantly bigger than its pledge two months ago that it would invest more than 20 billion euros on electric and self-driving cars through 2030.

 Electric and autonomous vehicles are widely seen as the keystones of future transport, but pioneers such as Tesla Inc and other manufacturers are still working out how to make money on them as poor charging infrastructure, high battery costs and electric vehicles’ still limited driving range weigh on customer demand.

Until it admitted two years ago to cheating on U.S. diesel emissions tests, Volkswagen had been slow to embrace electric cars and self-driving technology.

The group said its total investments in electric vehicles capacity and projects will amount to about 72 billion euros by 2022, confirming an earlier Reuters story.

To fund greater spending on electric vehicles, it will draw on cost savings in all areas of operations, including vehicle development, administration and manufacturing, as well as strong cash reserves.

Its net liquidity still stood at around 24 billion euros after nine months even though about 17 billion euros of funds have been paid out to cover costs for its dieselgate scandal. VW’s core autos division has made cost savings of about 1.9 billion euros since the start of this year, nearly meeting budgeted cost cuts for the full year.

Mueller said VW will maintain spending discipline in order to shoulder the increased investments in new technologies while it grapples with billions of dollars of costs for its emissions scandal.

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