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Tesla’s hot new flagship vehicle, the Cybertruck, comes with some big charging improvements. But those improvements are incompatible with most of Tesla’s existing Supercharger network, and now that Tesla is pulling back on its Supercharger rollout, it may leave Cybertruck out in the cold.

Last week, Tesla abruptly fired its entire Supercharging team, leading to an immediate pullback in Supercharger installation plans.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says that “Tesla still plans to grow the Supercharger network, just at a slower pace for new locations and more focus on 100% uptime and expansion of existing locations” (according to Tesla’s website, Superchargers currently have 99.95% uptime).

The focus on existing locations is important, because Tesla’s Supercharger is in need of upgrades. And one major reason for that is its Cybertruck, which is large and barely fits in a lot of current Supercharger spots, not to mention that the system currently lacks compatibility with some of the Cybertruck’s main charging benefits.

The Cybertruck comes with 800-volt charging capability, which is different from most other EVs that run at 400-volts. It can still charge on a 400V charger, but an 800V charger should offer faster speeds (which is important, because Cybertruck’s 400V charging speed isn’t great so far).

But most of Tesla’s Superchargers don’t support 800V – at least the ones from the previous three generations. Tesla’s new V4 Superchargers do support 800V charging, but they still make up a small percentage of Supercharger sites.

Not only does V4 support 800V it also has a longer cable. Tesla’s V1-V3 Superchargers have cables that only reach a few feet from the charging unit, meaning you need to back in pretty close to them in order to plug in.

This has created a bit of a problem for Cybertruck, which is much bigger than other Tesla vehicles. We spotted this as an issue before the Cybertruck was even released, with a video of a Cybertruck having to back right up against a pole in order to reach its charging port, which is somewhat awkwardly placed along the wheel well of the truck.

The 10-foot-long V4 cable makes it easier for big vehicles like the Cybertruck to fit into the spot, and is also important for non-Tesla vehicles which may not have their charge port in the same rear-left quadrant as Teslas do. This is particularly important as more brands are planned to gain access to Supercharging soon (or at least, they were, prior to the team being fired).

For these reasons (and some others, like lack of pull-through stations), we declared in November that Tesla’s charging network is not ready for Cybertruck. And in order to get it ready, Tesla needs to work on installing new chargers that are more friendly to Cybertrucks and vehicles from other brands, and on upgrading existing sites to add V4 chargers.

The only problem is… Tesla just fired the entire team responsible for that. There are a few people retained from the team who have been moved to other divisions, and given that Tesla still intends to install some new stations and expand existing locations it must still have some personnel left to do that.

But with so many people fired from the Supercharging team, we can’t see any way there there won’t be a slowdown in new installations of V4 stations, and in upgrades of existing stations. Firing all of the organization’s expertise in a certain part of the business is not how you improve deployments of that part of the business. It’s just hard to believe that Musk says installations will continue when Tesla can’t even remember who they’re working with on current installations.

So, right as Tesla has started to ramp production of its hot new vehicle which its currently selling for over-six-figure prices, it’s also made a decision that will inevitably make it more difficult to leverage that vehicle’s unique charging advantages – or even to fit into a Supercharging spot at all.

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This ‘supercharger on wheels’ brings fast charging to you

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This 'supercharger on wheels' brings fast charging to you

Mobile car care company Yoshi Mobility just launched a DC fast charging EV mobile unit that it likens to “a supercharger on wheels.”

Yoshi Mobility saw that its existing customers needed mobile EV charging in places where infrastructure has yet to be installed, so the Nashville-based company decided to bring the mountain to Moses.

“We recognized a demand among our customers for convenient daily charging, reliable private charging networks, and proper charging infrastructure to support their fleet vehicles as they transition to electric,” said Dan Hunter, Yoshi Mobility’s chief EV officer and cofounder.

The company says its 240 kW mobile DC fast charger, which can turn “any EV” into a mobile charging unit, is the first fully electric mobile charger available. It can provide multiple charges in a single trip but doesn’t detail how they charge the DC fast charger or who manufactured it. (I’ve asked for more details.)

Yoshi is launching its mobile charger on two GM BrightDrop Zevo 600s and will introduce additional vehicles throughout 2024. It aims for full commercialization by Q1 2025. (I wonder if the Zevo 600 ever charges itself? Yes, I asked that too.)

Yoshi Mobility says it’s already deployed its EV charging solutions to service “major OEMs, autonomous vehicle companies, and rideshare operators” across the US. Its initial customers are made up of large EV operators managing “hundreds” of light-duty vehicles requiring up to 1 megawatt of energy per day that don’t yet have grid-connected EV chargers. I’ve asked Yoshi for details of who it’s working with, and will update if they share that info.

The company says pricing is based on location and enterprise charging needs. Once under contract for service, the service will be deployed to US-based customers within 10 days.

To date, Yoshi Mobility has raised more than $60 million, with investments from GM Ventures, Bridgestone, ExxonMobil, and Y-Combinator in Silicon Valley.

Read more: Mercedes-Benz just opened more DC fast chargers at Buc-ee’s in Texas


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Toyota US boss says company is ‘catching up’ on electric vehicles

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Toyota US boss says company is 'catching up' on electric vehicles

Is Toyota catching up in the US electric vehicle market? Although Toyota’s US boss, Ted Ogawa, admits it’s behind Tesla, he believes the company is “catching up” on electric vehicles and new tech.

Toyota has been among the biggest laggards in shifting to fully electric vehicles. After a rocky start (including a recall) with the launch of its first EV in the US, the bZ4X, Toyota has failed to gain traction in the market.

Of the over 2.2 million Toyota vehicles sold in the US last year, only 9,329 were all-electric, or less than 0.5%.

The trend has continued this year, with only 1,897 bZ4X models sold through March. That’s less than 0.4% of the over 486,000 Toyota vehicles sold in Q1.

Ogawa says Toyota is watching customer demand for EVs rather than regulations. “However, the BEV was our missing piece two years ago, so that’s why we were very much criticized,” Ogawa explained in a new interview with Automotive News.

After building internally over the past two years, Toyota’s US boss believes the company is “catching up” on electric vehicles and new tech.

Toyota-catching-up-electric-vehicles
2024 Toyota bZ4X (Source: Toyota)

Is Toyota catching up on electric vehicles?

For example, Ogawa said that Toyota headquarters is building a “very exclusive factory” for EVs.

The new “BEV Factory” will feature several new technologies new to Toyota. The company showed off its next-gen EV production line last year with Giga casting, a process made popular by Tesla.

Toyota-EV-production-line
Mixed production at Motomachi factory (Source: Toyota)

Toyota says its “wealth of knowledge” about molds will help speed up production. The company believes it can reduce the lead time for changing molds to around 20 minutes compared to 24 hours.

Other tech like self-propelled assembly lines and robots are promised to enhance efficiency while minimizing defects.

Toyota-EV-production-line
(Source: Toyota)

Toyota also revealed new EV battery plans last summer, including two next-gen batteries due out by 2027. The first “Performance” battery is promised to feature over 800 km (497 miles) range while cutting costs by 20% compared to the bZ4X.

Meanwhile, the “Popularisation” version, due out in 2026-2027, is expected to feature over 600 km (372 miles) range at 40% lower costs.

Toyota-EV-batteries
Toyota EV battery roadmap (Source: Toyota)

Further out (2027-2030), Toyota plans to launch a series of “further evolution” batteries, including solid-state batteries with over 1,000 km (621 mi) range and 10-min fast charge.

Ogawa believes “this is kind of the starting year of the real multipath way, like the hybrid, which we already have, and then plug-in, something between hybrid and BEV, and then BEV, which it is time to introduce to the market.”

Although Toyota is “of course” behind Tesla’s battery tech, according to Ogawa, the company is “catching up.” Ogawa said Toyota is not only catching up on EVs but “also the ecosystem surrounding the BEV area, such as the home charging or energy management.”

Electrek’s Take

Is Toyota really catching up this time? We’ve heard this several times in the past from executives.

With EVs accounting for less than 0.4% of sales in the US, Toyota will need to do more to prove it. Toyota planned to launch solid-state EV batteries in 2021 and 2022, but now we are not expected to see them hit the market until around 2028 (at the earliest).

Other tech, like Giga casting and automated production, will help improve efficiency, but new EVs are not expected to debut until 2026.

Toyota has made several investments recently to boost US production, including a $1.4 billion investment in Indiana to build a new electric SUV, separate from its promised three-row EV model.

Can new models and tech help Toyota catch up in the electric vehicle market this time? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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Judge rules Exxon can sue activist shareholder over climate proposal

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Judge rules Exxon can sue activist shareholder over climate proposal

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

A federal judge in Texas on Wednesday said Exxon Mobil can sue to bar a climate change proposal from an activist investor, in a case that has raised concerns about its future effect on shareholder resolutions.

U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman for the Northern District of Texas ruled that Exxon’s lawsuit can proceed against Boston-based Arjuna Capital, but dismissed the oil major’s claim against a second activist shareholder, Follow This, because the firm is based in the Netherlands.

Exxon sued the two investors in January after they submitted a proposal to be tabled at the May 29 annual shareholder meeting that called for the company to accelerate carbon dioxide emissions reductions.

Arjuna and Follow This subsequently withdrew the proposal, but Exxon proceeded with its claims against the two firms, arguing that they could file similar proposals at future shareholder meetings.

Exxon’s claims are based on Securities and Exchange Commission rules that allow companies to exclude shareholder resolutions if they deal with a matter relating to the company’s ordinary business operations, or are substantially similar to proposals offered in the past five years.

Pittman said Arjuna and Follow This were following a “Trojan Horse” model in which they aggregate enough shares in oil companies to vote and submit proposals aimed at fighting climate change.

The judge, appointed to the federal bench by former President Donald Trump in 2019, said Exxon should not be faulted for distrusting the activist investors. He said Arjuna could slightly modify its withdrawn 2024 proposal for submission to future shareholder meetings.

“Rather, the company’s position is a rational response to entities categorically opposed to Big Oil,” Pittman wrote. “Exxon is big. And Exxon is Oil. And another court has already found at least Defendant has leadership that’s ‘manifestly biased’ against Exxon.”

Arjuna, which calls itself “a sustainable investment firm that works with accredited investors and institutions to invest their assets with a lens toward sustainability,” did not immediately respond to an e-mail request from CNBC for comment.

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