Zoe wins, Hyundai flys and Tesla dives

The latest EV news

Good morning and welcome back to The Fast Charge, the newsletter that will plug you into the latest in electric motoring.

Today we’ve got the latest in GM’s plan to return to glory via EV, flying cars and Bladerunner style steering wheels. Sadly, I’ve not had time to pull together a long-read this morning but I am investigating in great depth a rising trend of ‘point hogging’ in cities.

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In the news…

SPECIFIC MOTORS: Carrying on with their incursion into electric motoring, General Motors has announced this week that they want to end production of all their diesel and petrol cars by 2035. This will mean they will only make electric vehicles and will be on the way to becoming carbon neutral by 2040. It’s a bold move by GM and pushed their share price up by about 7%. It follows the news earlier in the week that Joe Biden will replace all federal government cars with EV - a huge vote of confidence in electrics. Read a bit more.

FLYING CARS: Speaking of confidence in electric motors, Hyundai has just signed a deal to build the first flying car airport in Coventry (UK). Much of the money is coming from a £1.2m government grant by the UK Research and Innovation’s Future Flight Challenge (RIFFC) which will be matched by Hyundai. The facility being created will be called ‘Air One’ which will offer a landing location for air taxis and autonomous delivery drones. The airport in Coventry is thought to be the first of up to 200 which will be built around the globe. Coventry has been chosen for the first port because of its rapid modernisation - it was named the best place to own an EV in December 2020.

ZOE BEATS ELON: Tesla has been knocked off the top spot for best selling EV in Europe by Renault last year, according to an analysis by industry gurus Jato Dynamic. The Zoe hatchback - which is an absolutely gorgeous little car - has taken the crown. No doubt because of its more accessible pricing compared to Tesla. The top 10 EVs in Europe for 2020 were:

  1. Renault Zoe: 99,261 sold

  2. Tesla Model 3: 85,713

  3. Volkswagen ID 3: 56,118

  4. Hyundai Kona: 47,796

  5. Volkswagen eGolf: 33,650

  6. Peugeot e208: 31,287

  7. Kia eNiro: 31,019

  8. Nissan Leaf: 30,916

  9. Audi E-tron: 26,454

  10. BMW i3: 23,113.

LOST CONTROL: Elsewhere in Tesla land this week, not only has Musk been cutting up the stock market lately but also his steering wheels. An upgraded design for the Model S and X Plaid Models (the top-end ones) were revealed yesterday. Its biggest changes were in the cabin. Not only will there be no gear knob of any sorts and more screens, but also the steering wheel will be rectangular - like a Formula 1 car has. Most people doubt whether this will get past European regulators which is very sad. The change in looks of Tesla’s top (£110,000+) models came alongside their fourth-quarter earnings report. Despite a seemingly good year, Tesla’s share price took a hit as the company has struggled to maintain its profit margins on cars it is selling. Essentially it needs to sell more of its higher price cars.

TARIFF WAR: As the race to electrify continues, energy provider OVO in the UK has laid down the gauntlet to other firms by offering a flat-rate electric vehicle charging tariff. It will be 6p per kilowatt-hour no matter what time of day their customers choose to charge. This is almost half the cost of what some providers are offering. The typical range is somewhere between 14.3p per KWh, offered by EDF Energy, and 19.5p/KWh offered by British Gas. Much like supermarkets, perhaps we’ll see providers enter a price war. This is very good for consumers, however, it’s hard to see where profits will be made.

EU-GE COMMITMENT: As China’s dominance continues in battery production, the EU looks set to commit $3.5 billion to 42 companies, including Tesla, BMW, and Stellantis, to support them with Europe-based battery development and production. This all comes as many countries outside the EU look to create battery gigafactories to feed supply, such as in the UK. Read more.

By Tom Riley