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If you had asked someone 10 years ago to name an automaker that was leading on electric vehicles, it’s likely the person would say Nissan. If you ask the same question today, I think you’d find a different answer. Just take a look at EV sales in Europe, the US, or China to understand why. Though, Nissan may be intent on changing the story again — on the east side of the Atlantic, at least. In the UK, in particular, Nissan is pumping in a considerable chunk of coin to try to regain its leadership position.

Nissan chose Sunderland, where it already produces the LEAF, to host its “flagship Electric Vehicle (EV) Hub,” EV36Zero. Somehow, this hub launches a “360-degree solution for zero-emission motoring.” We’ll get into what that means in a moment.

Nissan, Envision AESC, and Sunderland City Council are putting £1 billion into the project to start.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, & Politics

Even UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is getting behind the project. “Nissan’s announcement to build its new-generation all-electric vehicle in Sunderland, alongside a new gigafactory from Envision-AESC, is a major vote of confidence in the UK and our highly-skilled workers in the North East.

“Building on over 30 years of history in the area, this is a pivotal moment in our electric vehicle revolution and securing its future for decades to come.

“Commitments like these exemplify our ability to create hundreds of green jobs and boost British industry, whilst also allowing people to travel in an affordable and sustainable way so we can eliminate our contributions to climate change.”

Clearly, someone wrote that statement for Boris. It is a good one capturing some key points for both the UK and Nissan. Naturally, after Brexit, this kind of announcement is a huge deal that requires full vocal support from Boris and his clan. The EV36Zero project is supposed to create 6,200 jobs across Nissan and supplier companies — 909 new jobs at Nissan, 750 at Envision AESC, and more or less 4,500 others. It also reportedly protects 75 Nissan R&D jobs and 300 Envision AESC jobs.

Nissan’s Next Step

“This project comes as part of Nissan’s pioneering efforts to achieve carbon neutrality throughout the entire lifecycle of our products,” Nissan President and Chief Executive Officer, Makoto Uchida said. “Our comprehensive approach includes not only the development and production of EVs, but also the use of on-board batteries as energy storage and their reuse for secondary purposes.”

So, the “360” part of things seems to be that it’s not just about electric vehicle production, but also battery production and battery reuse. So, in essence, it is similar to Tesla’s gigafactory concept.

“Nissan EV36Zero will transform the idea of what is possible for our industry and set a roadmap for the future for all,” Nissan Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta added. “We reached a new frontier with the Nissan LEAF, the world’s first mass-market all-electric vehicle. Now, with our partners, Nissan will pioneer the next phase of the automotive industry as we accelerate towards full electrification and carbon neutrality.”

The new Nissan electric vehicle that will be a central focus of the fresh investments is not announced yet. More information will be coming later in the year.

Don’t Forget Envision AESC

The Envision AESC side of the EV Hub is focused on low-carbon production of batteries for Nissan vehicles in a modern battery production facility. The facility “will deploy integrated AIoT smart technology to monitor and optimize energy consumption, manufacturing and maintenance at its new gigafactory, enabling it to rapidly increase production and provide batteries to power up to 100,000 Nissan electric vehicles a year.” Naturally, having the EV battery production so close to the vehicle production helps a great deal to cut down on shipping costs and emissions.

Envision AESC (formerly just AESC) actually opened the first EV battery factory in Europe when it set up shop in Sunderland back in 2012. Since then, it has produced enough EV battery cells, modules, and packs for 180,000 vehicles distributed across 44 countries. All of those batteries have gone into Nissan LEAF and Nissan eNV200 fully electric cars and vans.

“Supporting this new model allocation, Envision AESC will invest £450 million to build the UK’s first gigafactory on the International Advanced Manufacturing Park (IAMP), adjacent to the Nissan plant, powered by renewable energy and pioneering next-generation battery technology.”

The £450 million investment gets battery production capacity up to 9 GWh at this site. However, it’s possible Envision AESC will invest another £1.8 billion and get that production capacity up to 25 GWh. It’s projected that would create 4,500 “high-value green jobs” by 2030. Furthermore, production capacity could rise all the way to 35 GWh based on current estimates.

It’s not clear what would cause the plant to grow to 25 GWh or 35 GWh rather than 9 GWh, but I presume the key questions are:

  • How hard will Nissan work to sell its EVs?
  • How competitive will its coming EV and any future versions of the LEAF and eNV200 be?
  • How well will Nissan dealers sell its EVs?
  • Will Nissan launch a serious marketing effort to grow its EV brand?
  • Are Envision AESC’s future batteries genuinely competitive?

“The new plant will increase the cost-competitiveness of EV batteries produced in the UK, including through a new Gen5 battery cell with 30% more energy density which improves range and efficiency,” Nissan and Envision AESC state. “This commitment will power Nissan’s new vehicles, supporting the continued localization of vehicle parts and components with advanced technology. This will make batteries cheaper and EVs more accessible to a growing number of customers in the future.”

Nissan Still ♥ UK

“I am extremely proud that Nissan has not only reaffirmed its belief in Britain, but is doubling down on its long-standing commitment to our country,” UK Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng adds. “The cars made in this plant, using batteries made just down the road at the UK’s first at scale gigafactory, will have a huge role to play as we transition away from petrol and diesel cars and kick-start a domestic electric vehicle manufacturing base.”

To date, Nissan states that it has invested more than £5 billion ($6.9 billion) into the Sunderland EV factory. Aims of this investment have included:

  • R&D at Nissan’s European Technical Centre in Cranfield, Bedfordshire
  • Support for UK suppliers to transition to electric vehicles
  • Plant competitiveness and environmental improvements
  • Skills development in the Nissan workforce for future technologies

Long before the LEAF arrived, Nissan started producing vehicles in Sunderland in July 1986. Aside from the LEAF, Nissan also produces the Qashqai and Juke (not electric vehicles) in Sunderland at the moment.

Sunderland City Council is reportedly focused on advancing a 100% renewable electricity microgrid project to power the growing cleantech facilities in its jurisdiction. 10 solar farms totalling 132 MW of power capacity could be built to support this, and there’s already a good amount of wind power in the region. It could also include a large battery using second-life Nissan EV/Envision AESC batteries, perhaps totalling 1 MW in power capacity (a MWh figure was not mentioned).

Nissan announced that it planned to grow its own use of solar power at the Sunderland plant earlier this year.

Featured image courtesy of Nissan (CC BY-NC-ND license)


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CEO says Ford is ‘getting close’ to Level 3 autonomous driving that enables ‘hands and eyes off’

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CEO says Ford is 'getting close' to Level 3 autonomous driving that enables 'hands and eyes off'

In a recent interview, Ford CEO Jim Farley discussed the American automaker’s progress in autonomous driving, stating that it has achieved Level 3, which allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road. However, it’ll still be a while before Ford customers get to test it out.

Autonomous driving remains a hot topic in the world of EV innovation, but much like the 1960s vision of a post-millennium future full of flying cars, true self-driving vehicles are taking much longer to come to reality than anticipated.

Despite its name, Tesla’s “Full-Self Driving” feature is not even close to the Level 4 standard that truly represents such capabilities. In fact, Tesla’s Autopilot is not even Level 3 by SAE standards; the only automaker to deliver vehicles with that level of autonomy is Mercedes-Benz and its Drive Pilot ADAS. Still, that feature is only authorized to operate on approved highways in the US at speeds below 40 mph.

Level 3 autonomy means the driver can take their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the road, and the car will be in control (and liable for any accidents). Most automakers, like Ford, have achieved Level 2 autonomous driving, which enables hands-free but eyes up.

In fact, Ford’s BlueCruise won Consumer Reports’ top spot for driver assistance systems in 2023, beating out GM’s Super Cruise. Tesla placed seventh. Recently, Ford CEO Jim Farley shared an update on the automaker’s progress in autonomous driving, which has already reached Level 3 at the prototype stage.

Ford autonomous
Ford’s Level 2 BlueCruise autonomous driving feature / Source: Ford Motor Company

Ford CEO: Level 3 autonomous driving coming in 2026

In a recent interview with Bloomberg TV, Ford CEO Jim Farley relayed that the company has already been testing out Level 3 autonomous driving, and the technology is about two years away from making its way to passenger EVs. Per Farley:

We’re getting really close. We can do it now pretty regularly with a prototype, but doing it in a cost-effective way is just the progress we’re going to need to make.

Level 3 autonomy will allow you to go hands and eyes off the road on the highway in a couple years so then your car becomes like an office. You could do a conference call and all sorts of stuff.

Farley didn’t share any details of how Ford intends to achieve Level 3 autonomous driving or whether the automaker is exploring LiDAR or vision camera technologies… or both. In 2022, Ford absorbed its autonomous driving arm, Argo AI, stating that full self-driving was too far off.

Given the quick success of hands-free driving through Level 2 ADAS, Level 3 feels like a natural next step for the industry and feels much more plausible than full autonomy being promised by other automakers. All eyes will be on 2026 to see if Ford can deliver a mass-market EV with Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities.

We will keep enjoying hands free driving with BlueCruise, Super Cruise, and Autopilot until then.

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Steep discounts boost EV registrations in April as Toyota, Ford, Rivian lead growth

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Steep discounts boost EV registrations in April as Toyota, Ford, Rivian lead growth

Ford, Rivian, and Toyota led the growth in April as US EV registrations perked up. The growth comes after drastic price cuts and other incentives led to over $10,000 in savings on some models.

Despite talk of cooldown, electric vehicle sales are still growing. Leading EV brands, except Tesla, saw significant growth in April 2024 registrations compared to the previous year.

According to new S&P Global Mobility vehicle data (via Automotive News), EV registrations were up 14% in April. With 102,317 electric cars registered in April, EVs accounted for 7.4% of total light-vehicle registrations.

EVs outpaced the overall light-vehicle market, which had a 7.3% gain. The report notes that the growth was driven by “bonus cash, subsidized financing and lease deals,” as many EV prices reach price parity with their comparable ICE models.

“Automakers are bringing EV prices down to the ICE level and it’s moving the merchandise,” according to Tom Libby, associate director of industry analysis at S&P Global Mobility.

April-EV-registrations
2024 Ford F-150 Lightning Flash (Source: Ford)

Significant deals charge up April EV registrations

Several electric models had double-digit registration growth in April compared to the year before. Leading the way was Toyota’s bZ4X, with 4,666 registrations, up 646% YOY.

However, to be fair, Toyota only sold 625 bZ4X models last April after a slow ramp-up following a recall in 2022 that halted production.

April-EV-registrations
Ford Mustang Mach E at a Tesla Supercharger (Source: Ford)

Ford’s Mustang Mach-E had the second-highest growth at 287%. In April, 5,538 Mach-Es were handed over, up from 1,384 last year. The growth comes after Ford slashed prices and introduced new lease incentives earlier this year.

The Ford F-150 Lightning, America’s best-selling electric pickup, had 96% more registrations (2,509 vs 1,282) in April than the year before. Ford also introduced significant incentives on the EV pickup.

Place Top 10 EV models in April April 2024 Registrations April 2023 Registrations % Change YOY
1 Tesla Model Y 32,922 34,542 -4.7%
2 Tesla Model 3 8,912 19,844 -55.1%
3 Ford Mustang Mach-E 5,358 1,384 +287.1%
4 Toyota bZ4X 4,666 625 +646.6%
5 Hyundai IONIQ 5 4,078 2,117 +92.6%
6 Rivian R1S 2,855 1,259 +126.8%
7 Ford F-150 Lightning 2,509 1,282 +95.7%
8 Tesla Cybertruck 2,181 0 N/A
9 Kia EV6 2,178 1,124 +93.8%
10 Tesla Model X 2,094 1,883 +5.8%
Top ten EV models by registrations in April 2024 (Source: S&P Global Mobility)

Rivian’s R1S also saw triple-digit year-over-year growth in registrations. The R1S had 2,855 registrations, up 127% from the 1,259 in April 2023.

Kia’s EV6 had 94% more registrations, with 2,178, compared to 1,124 in April 2023. Meanwhile, the Hyundai IONIQ 5 continued its hot streak with 4,078 registrations, up 93% YOY.

Rivian-R1S-EV-registrations-April
Rivian R1S (Source: Rivian)

Tesla was the only automaker in the top ten, with EV registrations slipping in April. The Model Y had 32,922 registrations, down 4.7% from 35,542. Tesla’s Model 3 registrations were down 55% YOY with 8,912.

Although many reports suggest Tesla is dragging down the sector, several events, like the new Model 3 launch, contributed to fewer registrations.

Hyundai-new-IONIQ-model
Hyundai IONIQ 5 (Source: Hyundai)

The momentum is expected to continue, with several automakers introducing even more discounts and savings opportunities this month.

Ford slashed Mustang Mach-E lease prices in June with an up to 400% discount. Hyundai is offering a $7,500 cash bonus on all EV models, including the IONIQ 5, IONIQ 6, and new Kona Electric.

Several new EVs are already hitting the market with significant discounts. Chevy Equinox EV lease prices fell to as low as $379 per month, while the Blazer EV is listed as low as $369 per month.

If you’re looking for a new EV, now is the perfect time to start shopping. We can help you get started today. You can use our links below to find deals on popular EV models in your area.

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Tesloid’s Model Y Camping Tent Gen 2 released – here are all the new features

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Tesloid’s Model Y Camping Tent Gen 2 released – here are all the new features

Drive a Tesla Model Y? Love the outdoors? Then you’re going to love Tesloid’s Model Y Camping Tent – Gen 2! Keep reading to learn more about all its terrific new features, plus get free expedited shipping US-wide!

Model Y Camping Tent – Gen 2

Popular US accessory maker Tesloid‘s “big, tiny home” for your Model Y lets you have outdoor fun without the hassle – no leaky pup tents, no sleeping on the cold ground. It’s 100% waterproof, and you sleep on a mattress in the back of the car. (Model Y Camping Tent – Gen 2 fits all model years of the Model Y.)

Teslas are perfect for camping – no toxic tailpipe emissions! – so you can back your Model Y right into the tent. Suppose it gets too chilly or hot when you’re ready to sleep. In that case, Model Ys have the Camp Mode feature that maintains cabin temperature and powers electronics using the USB ports and low-voltage outlet without draining the car’s battery. 

When you want to go out in your Model Y, you can close off and seal the tent, even on the side that connects to the car.

What’s new with Gen 2

Tesloid has taken a great Model Y Camping Tent and made it even better. Gen 2 is more robust – it has a dome-shaped exoskeleton that can withstand stronger winds, plus three sets of straps to mount it to the car. And like Gen 1, it’s bug-proof.

Model Y Camping Tent – Gen 2 only takes 15 minutes to set up and 10 minutes to take down – nearly half the time of setting up Gen 1. Plus, when folded up, it fits inside the frunk, leaving the trunk wide open for all your other gear.

Gen 2 has a tighter seal around the Model Y, and it comes with lightweight fiberglass poles and sturdy ripstop fabric.

Model Y Camping Tent – Gen 2 has 40% more floor space, with a 7-foot ceiling, 9.5 ft x 9.5 ft floor space, and 25 square feet of awning. And that’s not including the sleeping area inside the car. It also now features skylights and a flap that lets you easily access your charge port.

Photo: Tesloid

Let’s go camping, Tesla-style

You can order the Model Y Camping Tent – Gen 2 from the Tesloid website today for $499.99, and Tesloid offers free expedited shipping US-wide.

Tesloid also offers a Model Y Camping Bundle for a discounted price of $549.98 that includes an inflatable mattress specially designed to fit the back of the Model Y. Get ready to enjoy the outdoors without sacrificing comfort.

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