Clouds over Tesla: Hundreds of employees have been laid off in Fremont and elsewhere after a performance review. While Tesla would not comment on actual numbers, estimates range between 200 and 1,000 people to have been fired with former workers claiming that those who attempted to unionise were targeted. The EV maker denied the allegation, and referred to the dismissal being business as usual for its overall workforce of 33,000. It may also be a reaction to massive problems with Model 3 production (we reported). On top, Tesla had issued a recall of 11,000 Model X recently.
electrek.co, insideevs.com, usatoday.com
Future mobility with AI: Toyota expands its Concept-i series with two more vehicles, this time targeting urban traffic including pedestrians. Build on the four-wheeled Toyota Concept-i first shown at the CES, Tokyo will see the premier of the Concept-i Ride, a small two-seater. And there is more. The Concept-i Walk is a mini scooter with three-wheels designed to roll on walkways. All three concepts come with what Toyota calls its AI Agent, able to engage with the driver. It reads facial expressions for example and also monitors social media and in-car conversations to “guess” the owners preferences and to start a dialogue itself. Do you recall Kit?
This is it: China’s EV sales quota is out since September and details reveal a scoring system, which will take effect from 2019. The scores will take into account both the overall fleet fuel consumption as well as the sales of new energy vehicles of those manufacturers making at least 30,000 vehicles a year. In terms of EVs and plug-in hybrids, manufacturers must sell enough NEVs to accumulate credits higher than 10 percent of their traditional vehicle output by 2019, and 12 percent by 2020. Each electric car counts with 4.4 points, while a PHEV will be good for 2 credits. Those over achieving may sell those credits to manufacturers that did not manage to comply with the quota in order to offset the emission of their conventional fleet similar to the system in California. The other score for average fuel consumption of ICEs is calculated based on the number of conventional cars produced.
BMW is definitely getting ready for the EV quota as Great Wall now confirmed rumoured talks with the German carmaker. Together they want to produce electric vehicles for the Chinese market, under the Mini brand in this case.
Choice of battery for Kona: A report from Norway speaks of two battery options for the upcoming all-electric version of Hyundai’s Kona. The standard 39.2 is topped by the bigger 64.2 kWh pack that is said to last for more than 500 kilometres. The 150 kW drive of the compact SUV comes from LG and is already at work in the Chevy Bolt.
side3.no (in Norwegian) via gas2.org
Volvo updates its bestselling electric bus 7900 E, that now comes with an additional battery option. Capacity thus reaches from 150 over 200 to 250 kW, increasing the range to up to 200 kilometres. Another range-extending feature is the new option to not only charge the bus via pantograph and the OppCharge protocol but to plug it into any CCS charging outlet, when the coach is parked at the depot for example. The new Volvo 7900 Electric will make its debut at the Busworld in Belgium this weekend.