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March 21, 2018 News of the Day: BMW Says its EVs Will Have a 435 Miles Range by 2021, Tesla Shareholders Approve Elon Musk's Billion Dollar Payout

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【Summary】March 21, 2018 News of the Day

Eric Walz    Mar 21, 2018 1:00 PM PT
March 21, 2018 News of the Day: BMW Says its EVs Will Have a 435 Miles Range by 2021, Tesla Shareholders Approve Elon Musk's Billion Dollar Payout
author: Eric Walz   

Today, BMW released a report that recaps 2017 and outlines its ambitious plans for the next several years. As more details are released, it appears that BMW's future will include a lot of autonomous technology and electric vehicles, just like rival Volkswagen recently announced.

By 2025, BMW says it will have expanded its hybrid and electric lineup to include 25 different models. Its next EV will be the all-electric iX3 crossover that goes on sale in 2020. By 2021, BMW promises it will have the technology to offer EVs with a 435-mile range, as well as plug-in hybrids with all-electric ranges of 62 miles.

The report also mentioned the upcoming electric Mini, as well as the production version of the i Vision Dynamics concept. The i Vision Dynamics concept was an evolution of the Vision Next 100 concept that BMW created to celebrate its 100th anniversary. It will be called the i4 when it goes into production. However, BMW has not said exactly when that will be or how the powertrain will differ. Last year, BMW said its i Vision Dynamics concept would have a 373-mile range, a 120-mile top speed, and a 0-60 time of less than four seconds.

This year, BMW will also spend even more money on research and development than it did in 2017. That includes a several-hundred-million-dollar investment in autonomous vehicles and other electric mobility technology. Total R&D spending could even top $8.6 billion (€ 7 billion).

BMW knows it's a risky move that could impact profits, but according to Nicolas Peter, BMW's head of finance, the "strategy is driven by the desire to achieve long-term sustainable profitability." It may also be a necessary risk if BMW wants to achieve its goal of dethroning Mercedes-Benz from the top luxury sales spot by 2020.

Tesla Shareholders Approve Elon Musk's Multi-Billion Dollar Stock Grant

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The pressure on Tesla to deliver its promised Model 3 and electric truck has just risen. Tesla shareholders have approved by a wide margin a proposal to award Chairman and CEO Elon Musk a massive multibillion-dollar stock grant, a source at the meeting told CNBC.

Musk could earn more than $50 billion over the next several years if Tesla hits certain key milestones and stays on in his current role at the company he co-founded.

The source who reported the vote count declined to be identified. Official vote totals will be announced in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission later Wednesday.

The grant gives Musk $2.6 billion in stock options in 12 tranches that each vest as the company hits key performance milestones over 10 years.

Musk needs to hit 12 market capitalization milestones and 16 revenue or earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization targets in order to vest the entire award. Tesla has to reach a market cap of $100 billion for the first tranche to vest, and then each of the remaining 11 tranches require an additional $50 billion in market value.

In addition to that, there are 16 operational milestones: eight focused on increasing revenue from $20 billion up to $175 billion, and another eight targeting adjusted EBITDA milestones ranging from $1.5 billion to $14 billion.

Each of the 12 tranches vests when Tesla hits a market cap milestone and one of the two kinds of operational milestones.

In addition, Musk must remain either CEO or executive chairman and chief product officer.

Ultimately, Musk could earn up to $55.8 billion in stock and awards, if Tesla's market cap reaches $650 billion. It is currently around $52 billion. Musk will receive no other compensation for his work at Tesla outside of this plan.

Supporters have said the plan will align Musk with shareholders and potentially greatly increase the company's value. They argue shareholders are likely to benefit from Musk's efforts whether or not he hits the targets.

The plan is also meant to keep Musk from jumping ship for one of his other many projects in areas such as commercial space and artificial intelligence. Musk had previously hinted he was considering reducing his responsibilities at Tesla at some point in the next several years.

Finally, the grant is designed to push Tesla toward fulfilling the vision Musk laid out in his "Master Plan," where he outlined a future for Tesla as a fully integrated sustainable energy company and mass-market electric automaker.

"If all of these milestones were to be achieved," said Tesla's proxy statement, "Tesla will have meaningfully achieved its mission of transitioning the world to sustainable energy and will have become one of the most valuable and successful companies in the world. This is our ambition."

Tesla shares were recently trading up almost 4 percent.

"Investors aren't bothered by the fact that Tesla lost more money than people thought they would, or have had continued Model 3 misses," Loup Ventures managing partner Gene Munster told CNBC. "They see a bigger opportunity over the long term, and that opportunity is figuring out the trifecta between energy capture, storage and use."

World's First 3D Printed Car Will be on the Road Next Year

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A new compact car produced by Chinese company Polymaker and Italy-based vehicle manufacturer X Electrical Vehicle (XEV), has been made with 3D printing technology. The Smart-sized LSEV is almost entirely made using 3D printing, which creates parts from the ground up, layer by layer.

Only a few components, such as the chassis, glass windscreen and tyres, are made using conventional methods. This means that, like most 3D printed products, waste material produced from the production of the vehicle is drastically reduced – something that Polymaker boss Xiaofan Luo said will "inspire more [car] companies to adopt 3D printing".

3D printing has also enabled Polymaker to reduce the number of plastic parts in the car from 2000 (using conventional built methods) to just 57 – a vital improvement that could help to significantly reduce the environmental impact of car production.

A prototype for the LSEV demonstrates the performance it can offer. The prototype is claimed to be capable of a 93-mile range and can reach speeds of 43 mph. The car weighs 450 kg – close to half that of a Smart Fortwo.

The LSEV is on display at Shanghai's China 3D-printing Culture Museum. It will be shown at the Beijing motor show next month.

It took three days to build the prototype and XEV expects production to eventually total around 500 units per year on a single production line. When sales open sometime in late 2019, likely to be in China first, prices are estimated to start at about £7100.

Luo believes that the LSEV will soon be followed by more 3D printed cars. He said,  "The availability of more functional high-performance materials will enable 3D printing to be used on many more applications." He described 3D printing production as "an inevitable trend in the [automotive] industry".

Other established automakers have recently begun to use 3D printing for component production. Mini offers 3D printed trim that can be completely customised, while Bugatti has developed a 3D printed brake caliper that it claims is 2kg lighter but tougher than the previous part.

Walmart Expanding its Car-Buying Service to 250 Stores in the U.S.

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American retail giant Walmart was ranked number one on Fortune's Global 500 list in 2017 with revenue of $466 billion. The company now is going to help consumers purchase a new car.

Walmart is expand a car-buying service offered to its customers by opening 250 CarSaver Shopping Centers at its stores, the retail giant said Wednesday.

The program, run on CarSaver's digital automotive marketplace, has essentially been in pilot mode at 14 Walmart stores since it was announced early last year.

CarSaver, of Miami, uses a network of certified dealerships, banks and insurance companies to support its car-shopping and -buying assistance to Walmart customers. In addition, every vehicle bought through CarSaver comes with a lifetime warranty.

"CarSaver's unique platform helps our customers understand the true cost of ownership, while also helping them save money with buying, financing, leasing and insuring a new or used vehicle," said Daniel Eckert, senior vice president of Walmart services and digital acceleration.

According to CarSaver data and research, the average CarSaver customer has saved more than $3,500 off sticker price on the purchase and $3,900 on repairs covered by CarSaver's lifetime warranty.

In the pilot stores, the Car Shopping Centers are run as independent operations, often across from Walmart checkout lanes.

Under the program, customers use carsaver.com to find a vehicle by comparing cars and trucks on the site. Once customers find what they want, they are connected with an "express manager" who arranges for them to test drive or pick up their vehicle at a local certified dealership.

CarSaver also will soon help consumers sell their vehicle by providing an "instant cash offer" from a large network of certified dealerships who will bid on the vehicle.

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