November 13, 2017 News of the Day: UPS launches eBike delivery in Pittsburgh, GM's EV Sales Will Meet Quotas in China by 2019

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【Summary】November 13, 2017 News of the Day

  Eric Walz  ·  Nov 13, 2017 3:57 PM PT
author: Eric Walz   

PITTSBURGH — UPS, the world's largest package delivery service, has launched an eBike that will deliver packages in Pittsburgh. The ‘eBike' is a electrically-assisted tricycle that will help reduce carbon emissions in addition to traffic, noise and air quality challenges in Pittsburgh.

The deployment is part of UPS's Cycle Solutions and the company's Rolling Laboratory, which tests alternative fuels and advanced technology vehicles.

The UPS eBike was first demonstrated Hamburg in 2012, Germany, where UPS focused on developing a new and sustainable method of delivering goods to urban areas. UPS placed four containers at central locations in the city for interim storage of packages for UPS drivers.

From these locations, deliveries were made on foot or with specialized electronically-assisted cargo tricycles that ease traffic congestion and reduce emissions. Due to the success of the pilot, the Hamburg program was already extended. The successful Hamburg model served as a prototype for the company's new eBike in Pittsburgh.

The eBike is equipped with battery-powered electric motors that makes it possible to cover longer distances than traditional bikes, carry substantial loads and navigate hills and other terrain. Maximum energy efficiency is achieved when combining battery power and human power simultaneously. The eBike can be operated solely on battery power or pedal power.UPS will evaluate the reliability, design, integration to the city's infrastructure and acceptance of the vehicle. The intent is to operate the eBike in Pittsburgh as weather permits on a regular route year-round.

UPS has numerous cycle solutions deployed around the world. The company currently operates inner-city delivery projects with delivery on foot and by bike in Frankfurt, Offenbach, Hamburg, Munich, Oldenburg and Herne, Germany, as well as in Leuven and Mechelen, Belgium; Rome and Verona, Italy; Toulouse, France; and Dublin, Ireland.

Using its "Rolling Laboratory" approach, UPS deploys more than 8,500 low-emission vehicles to determine what works best in each situation. From old-fashioned pedal power and electric-assisted bicycles in dense urban areas like London and Hamburg to electric and hybrid electric vehicles in the U.S., and natural gas, renewable natural gas and propane globally, UPS puts sustainability innovation into action, all over the world.

This is the second U.S. location where UPS is testing its eBike delivery service. Last year, UPS launched an eBike trial in Portland, Oregon.

GM's EV Sales Will Meet Quotas in China by 2019

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BEIJING — General Motors Co's China joint ventures will be able to generate enough new energy vehicle (NEV) sales volume to account for NEV production quotas by 2019 and without the need to buy credits, GM China chief Matt Tsien said on Monday.

China has set stringent production quotas for NEVs which automakers must meet by 2019, a move that is prompting a flurry of electric car deals and new launches of battery electric and plug-in hybrid models as automakers in China race to ensure they do not fall short.

GM produces vehicles in China through a joint venture with SAIC, the country's largest automaker, as well as a three-way tie-up with SAIC and Guangxi Automobile Group, formerly known as Wuling Motors.

Tsien, GM's China chief since 2014, said both SAIC-GM Corp and the three-way tie-up "are working to at least meet, if not exceed, those credit mandate requirements". Tsien told reporters on Monday that both joint ventures will try to meet those requirements without having to purchase NEV credits from other automakers with excess credits.

"We intend to be able to produce enough products for those joint ventures to be able to meet the NEV quotas on their own," Tsien said.

I can't give you any specific (NEV production and sales volume) numbers other than to say that through the complicated formula we will either meet or exceed."

China officially unveiled NEV requirements for automakers in late September. When the green car quotas take effect in 2019, automakers will need to accumulate enough credits by producing and selling enough NEVs to hit a threshold equivalent to 10 percent of annual sales. That level would rise to 12 percent for 2020.

Tsien said GM is off to a good start with an electric battery car that it launched in July. The car, called the Baojun E100, is undergoing a feasibility study of a direct-sale method GM devised for it and is currently available only in the south China city of Liuzhou where GM's three-way joint venture produces them.

In October, GM sold a total of 1,724 E100s, with cumulative volume hitting nearly 4,000 units since July. The E100 starts at 93,900 yuan ($14,142) but sells for 35,800 yuan after government subsidies.

"Sales so far have largely met our expectations, perhaps even slightly above our expectations," Tsien said. The car is one of the three electric battery car models GM already has available in China. GM plans to launch at least seven more NEVs in China by 2020.

Geely Acquires U.S. Flying Car Company Terrafugia

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Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, Volvo's parent company, has completed the purchase of Terrafugia, a flying-car developer in Woburn, Mass. The deal received approval of all relevant regulators in China and the U.S., Geely said. The company did not disclose the purchase price.

Terrafugia will remain based in U.S., Geely said Monday.

Terrafugia expects to deliver its first flying car to the market in 2019. It also plans to launch a vehicle capable of vertical takeoff and landing by 2025.

Terrafugia expects to deliver its first flying car to the market in 2019. Terrafugia, founded in 2006 by a group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology graduates, wants to develop a flying electric vehicle for the mass market. Terrafugia is Geely's latest acquisition outside its home market in China.

The private Chinese company this year bought a 49.9 percent stake in Malaysian carmaker Proton, along with a 51 percent share in Lotus, Proton's U.K. sports-car brand.

In 2013, it acquired Manganese Bronze Holding, which produces the iconic London taxis. And in 2010, Geely purchased the Volvo brand from Ford Motor Company.  Geely is also making other purchases to beef up its portfolio. Two months ago Geely acquired Lotus Cars.

Uber's Softbank investment deal Limits its Former CEO

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The announcement of Softbank's major investment in Uber comes with some strings attached. Terms of the deal specifically  limit the control of former CEO Travis Kalanick. Although Kalanick will have some influence, he will not return as CEO without a majority approval from the board.

With these changes in place, Benchmark — a major investor in Uber, will drop its lawsuit against Kalanick. The deal erases some worries that Kalanick might somehow stage a comeback as CEO, and ends a bitter court battle. Most importantly, Uber secures the much needed cash it needs to fulfill its strategy.

The transportation firm is still burning  cash and has yet to make a profit. SoftBank's investment could give Uber considerably longer to sort out is business model and fulfill long-term plans for self-driving cars and expansion.

"We've entered into an agreement with a consortium led by SoftBank and Dragoneer on a potential investment. We believe this agreement is a strong vote of confidence in Uber's long-term potential. Upon closing, it will help fuel our investments in technology and our continued expansion at home and abroad, while strengthening our corporate governance." Uber wrote in a statement.

China-made Sports Car by Saleen to Hit Market in 2018

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BEIJING — Legendary United States high-performance sports car company Saleen is ready to race into the Chinese market, which is the world's largest automotive market.

Saleen's first product in China will be its entry-level sports car S1, according to Charles Wang, chairman and CEO of Jiangsu Saleen Automotive Technology Co, a joint venture established in 2009.

Racecar driver Steve Saleen established the brand in 1983. It is frequently found not only in racing competitions but also Hollywood blockbusters including The Fast and Furious, Transformers and Iron Man.

"The gasoline version will come first, after its launch at the Los Angeles Auto Show in December. Then the electric version will follow in 2018," said Wang.

The two-door model sports a 2.3-liter turbocharged engine that can generate a maximum output of 336 kilowatts and a top torque of 577 Newton meters. Its top speed can reach 290 kilometers per hour, according to the carmaker.

Jiangsu Saleen is investing 17.8 billion yuan ($2.68 billion) in its car making efforts in Rugao, Jiangsu province, the largest-ever investment in the city, according to deputy mayor He Yijun.

Its plant is currently under construction, with an initial investment of 6 billion yuan. When completed in June 2018, it will be able to produce 150,000 cars a year.

"We have adopted highly efficient intelligent production, which will make us one of the very few to do so in China," Wang said. He added that the carmaker has research teams both in China and the United States.

However, Jiangsu Saleen is not planning to limit its products to the niche market of sports cars. "For example, Porsche will elaborate on its GT and 918 models, but what brings good sales are popular models like the Cayenne, Macan and Panamera," Wang said. "We will take a similar path and produce all sorts of passenger cars including sedans, SUVs and crossovers."

He added that it is very likely that Jiangsu Saleen will produce economy electric cars with partners, which will help with its car making license, which are becoming harder to obtain in China.

"We may allow the model to use our technology, but will not bear our marque," Wang said.

Saleen cars are not made only for the Chinese market. "The US is as important as China to us," said Wang, adding that the carmaker also has a manufacturing facility in the US.

"No matter where our cars are made, we will make them in strict accordance with the same standards." Jiangsu Saleen is planning to introduce a brand new sales model. It is "neither through traditional 4S dealerships, nor like Tesla's direct sales," said Wang, although he did not offer specific details.

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