Sometimes good things come in small packages. Today that is especially true, as the package isn’t square, its “Squad, World’s First Solar City Car.” Wordplay aside, Squad Mobility is a startup in the Netherlands whose product might actually be the ultimate solution to the first/last-mile transportation issue. In our opinion, if successful, it could change the world.
What they have created is a small, affordable, low-speed car that dwarfs even a Smart car, yet can still seat 2 people and store maybe a grocery bag or two. At all times, this vehicle is charged by the solar panel that it’s roof is composed of, and when that doesn’t cut it and the juice runs low, the battery can just be swapped out. In some ways, we have seen similar strategies from electric scooter manufacturers like Gogoro which can be either purchased by individual consumers or shared by smart mobility networks. However, thus far we have not yet seen a successful implementation of this in a vehicle that has a roof.
There are so many applications for this in cities, towns, and even villages worldwide. For private owners seeking to do some basic grocery shopping, even the 20km of range that the solar panel can generate per day will suffice. For a shared network, giving a car that already gets 100km of range from its battery an additional 20km of range per day without having to burden the electrical grid or worry about the logistics of charging shared cars is actually quite significant. As Robert Hoevers, CEO of Squad Mobility, put it: “cities love solar charging, as this is a sustainable energy source. It decreases the load on the local charging infrastructure and energy demand. Cities are looking for zero emission mobility solutions with a small space footprint. We have achieved both. A per capita energy consumption lower than public transport and a space footprint comparable to a bicycle. And all this, while offering the flexibility of personal transport and the comfort of a car.”
At a starting price of just €5750, this car costs half as much as the cheapest A-segment car and one-fourth the cost of the two cheapest electric vehicles on the market, the Smart or VW e-up! We have seen electric scooters that were sold for this price, so it is very impressive. For those not interested in an outright purchase, lease and subscription options will also be made available for 100 euros per month. Pre-orders are now available on Squad’s website.
With a footprint of just 2 square meters, 3 or even 4 Squad solar cars can fit in just a single parking spot, making implementation in city infrastructure much easier. The vehicle itself will initially be limited to 45 km/h (28 mph) and a more powerful version that can reach 70 km/h (43 mph) will be launched at a later date. However, that isn’t the only improvement Squad Mobility has in store for its product. The vehicle will already be equipped with smart sensors and cameras that can monitor everything from cabin cleanliness to how a car is parked. Fleet operators will even be able to remotely control the car in case it is improperly parked or blocking an exit. They hope that once self-driving technology will be more commonplace, they will be able to add that to their product as well. In the words of the creators, “In the longer term, we envision the use of autonomous technology to control the fleet in the city — for example, to move vehicles back to places with high demand or more sunshine for charging.”
While autonomy might still be a ways off, production should start in the last quarter of 2022 in the EU, especially since in March they finished up an investment agreement with Bloomit Ventures. Once made, the product will likely sell like hot cakes, as this is a product category that does not yet exist, yet offers functionality that is very much in demand and does so for unbelievably low prices. Years ago when electric cars were not all that great, as an insult they have sometimes been called glorified golf carts. It is ironic that this product in some ways has taken that insult and turned it into a price advantage. This might not be a serious electric car alternative for consumers, instead it may be the best solution to city mobility and how most people will choose to travel the first/last leg of regular trips. While we can’t say too much, you can expect an even more serious milestone before the end of this year, so keep an eye out for Squad Mobility.
Note: We also wrote about Squad’s plans in December 2019: Squad Mobility Redefines Affordable With Its $6,300 Solar-Powered Urban Electric Vehicle.
Ford Mustang Mach-E to lose EV tax credit
If you are thinking about buying Ford’s electric Mustang Mach-E, you may want to do so before the end of the year. Ford expects the Mach-E will no longer qualify for the federal EV tax credit.
Ford Mach-E will no longer qualify for the EV tax credit
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is due for drastric changes at the end of the year that will affect which EVs will qualify for the tax credit.
Starting on January 1, more restrictions will be put into place. EVs with battery components from a “foreign entity of concern,” including China will lose a portion of the tax credit.
In 2025, the rules will get even tighter. The changes are designed to promote manufacturing in the US while building up a reliable EV supply chain network.
Ford expects to be among several automakers with EVs losing access. Tesla has already said its Model 3 RWD and Long Range will lose $3,750, starting January 1. Meanwhile, it will still qualify for the other $3,750.
In a bulletin sent to dealers (via CarsDirect), Ford said it expects the changes to impact the Mustang Mach-E. Although Ford is “awaiting finalized requirements,” given what we know, “it is unlikely that any Mustang Mach-Es will qualify” beginning the first of the year.
The company didn’t explain why the Mach-E will no longer qualify for the EV tax credit, but it’s likely due to the CATL-supplied LFP batteries.
Qualified customers are still eligible for a $3,750 credit, “making this an excellent motivator to purchase before the end of the year,” Ford added.
Shoppers can still take advantage of the full $7,500 tax credit through leasing. Meanwhile, Ford didn’t indicate the Lightning would be impacted by the changes.
Ford’s electric truck had its best sales month ever in November. All F-150 Lightning trims, except the Platinum version, qualify for up to $7,500 in savings. The Platinum model is excluded as it exceeds the IRA’s $80K cutoff.
Ready to make a move and save on Ford’s electric vehicles while you still can? You can use our links below to find great deals at a dealership near you today.
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The US’s first utility-scale offshore wind farm delivers its first power
New York’s South Fork Wind has become the first utility-scale offshore wind farm to generate power in the US.
The first operational wind turbine at South Fork Wind sent clean power to Long Island today. The project has completed the installation of two turbines around 35 miles off Montauk, with all 12 SG 11-200 DD Siemens Gamesa turbines expected to be installed by early 2024.
The energy produced is being sold to the Long Island Power Authority under the terms of a 20-year agreement.
Stephanie McClellan, executive director at offshore wind nonprofit Turn Forward, said:
The generation of power from South Fork Wind is an incredible moment in the American clean energy story and for the Long Island communities that will benefit from this project for decades to come.
The 130-megawatt (MW) South Fork Wind will be the US’s first completed utility-scale wind farm in federal waters.
Danish renewables giant Ørsted is jointly developing the offshore wind farm with Boston-based energy provider Eversource. South Fork Wind’s first offshore wind turbine foundation was installed at the end of June, and its first US-built offshore substation was completed at the end of July.
South Fork Wind will produce enough clean energy to power 70,000 homes in New York. It will deliver clean energy directly to the electric grid in East Hampton via a single transmission line installed in March.
It will eliminate up to 6 million tons of carbon emissions, or the equivalent of taking 60,000 cars off the road annually over a 25-year period.
Photo: South Fork Wind
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U.S. crude drops below $70 per barrel, gas prices fall to 11-month low
Gas prices at a Shell gas station in Washington, DC, US, on Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2023.
Al Drago | Bloomberg | Getty Images
U.S. crude declined nearly 4% on Wednesday with retail gasoline prices hitting the lowest point since January ahead of the holiday shopping and travel season.
U.S. crude and the global benchmark have hit their lowest levels since June, despite efforts by OPEC+ to boost prices by promising to slash supply in the first quarter of 2024.
Prices at the pump in the U.S., meanwhile, have followed oil prices lower to hit $3.22 a gallon on average as of Wednesday, the lowest price since Jan. 3, according to AAA.
Oil prices have been on a steep downward trajectory from September highs as nations outside OPEC+, particularly the U.S., pump crude at breakneck clip and worries grow about the Chinese economy.
Moody’s on Tuesday downgraded its outlook for China’s government credit raging to negative from stable.
U.S. crude inventories fell by 4.6 million barrels for the week ending Dec. 1 and gasoline supplied to the market increased by 260,000 barrels per day, according to the Energy Information Agency.
Falling inventories and rising gasoline deliveries implies higher demand, which would typically boost oil prices. Pessimism about the economic outlook in China, however, appeared to be weighing heavier on crude prices.
Oil traders have also been skeptical OPEC+, which includes OPEC members and its allies like Russia, will deliver on supply cuts of 2.2 million bpd in the first quarter next year.
Several OPEC+ members announced the voluntary cuts last week after the group failed to reach a unanimous agreement on production targets.
Saudi Energy Minister Price Abdulaziz bin Salman and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak sough to assure the market this week that they could extend or even deepen the promised cuts.
Tamas Varga, an analyst with PVM Oil Associates, said those reassurances have “fallen to deaf ears.”
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