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Xiaomi plans electric vehicle factory to produce 300,000 cars per year
by Paul Hill
According to a Reuters report, Xiaomi is planning to build a factory that can produce 300,000 electric vehicles per year in Beijing. The company’s CEO, Lei Jun, revealed last October that he hoped the firm could be mass-producing electric vehicles in 2024 and this newly announced factory will help towards that goal.
The news about the Beijing plant was announced by Beijing E-Town on its official WeChat account according to Reuters. The factory will be built in two phases – though details were not given. It was also revealed that Xiaomi will build its EV headquarters, sales, and research offices in the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Zone.
Prior to this latest bit of information, Xiaomi said in March that it would be spending $10 billion on a new electric car division over the next decade. It got the ball rolling in August after it finished the business registration for the EV unit.
With its EV division, Xiaomi will be going up against the likes of Tesla and Xpeng. China is one of, if not the biggest, market for EVs so it should do quite well there. If the company does decide to bring its vehicles to the international market it may or may not be a success. It’s known for its lower prices so this could make them popular but at the same time, it is a Chinese firm and China’s relations with Western countries can’t be described as good right now due to a number of political factors.
Apple's self-driving car plans are accelerated by former Tesla Autopilot software executive
by Moshe Jacobs
Apple has acquired former Tesla Autopilot software executive employee Christopher Moore, as reported by Bloomberg. Christopher Moore's onboarding is the latest in Apple's efforts to accelerate its self-driving car plans.
The hiring of Christopher Moore presents an interesting dynamic to Apple's self-driving car project. Moore has, in the past, refuted arguably unrealistic statements made by Tesla's CEO Elon Musk in regards to the proficiency of Autopilot performance being able to reach Level 5 autonomy within a couple of years.
Christopher Moore is said to report to Stuart Bowers, yet another employee who formerly worked at Tesla and was picked up by Apple.
In the past 5 years, Apple has been, not-so-secretively, working on an electric self-driving vehicle codenamed Project Titan. While it seems that Apple's exact goals are unknown with what it hopes to achieve, as can be evidenced by the constant rotation of management as well as its shift in plans from building a vehicle to compiling autonomous driving software and back again to building a vehicle, the Apple Car project is seemingly still accelerating forward. In regards to its self-driving software, Apple is said to be implementing LiDAR scanners and video cameras for awareness of the surrounding environment.
Whatever transpires from Project Titan, whether solely autonomous software or a full-fledged self-driving vehicle, it will sure to be just another notch on Apple's belt.
Tesla becomes latest firm to surpass $1 trillion market cap
by Paul Hill
Tesla has become the latest firm to surpass a $1 trillion market cap following the biggest order it has ever seen from rental car company Hertz. According to Reuters, it’s normal for car companies to sell large numbers of poorly-selling cars to rental firms like Hertz and they don’t typically make a fuss about it. This time, however, the sale of the cars to Hertz shows that electric vehicles are becoming more of a mainstream product and this is what has caused the boost to Tesla’s market cap.
At the time of writing (15:37 UTC-4) Tesla’s stock was up 12.68% compared to the day’s opening price on the back of the Hertz news and its market cap is currently sitting at $1.02 trillion. At this market cap, it’s the most valuable car company and joins an exclusive club of firms that have surpassed this market cap. The club includes Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft.
Hertz interim CEO, Mark Fields, seemed to be bullish on electric vehicles when talking to Reuters, saying:
His bullishness on the sector is not unfounded. In London today, a zone called the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was expanded by 18 times across the capital. Drivers with older polluting cars wanting to drive in this zone will be made to pay a hefty fee. The intention is to push more people onto public transport and to switch to electric vehicles to bring down pollution in the capital.
It’ll be interesting to see where Tesla’s market cap goes from here. While the company definitely has more potential yet, its outspoken CEO, Elon Musk, could inadvertently hurt the company’s value by being controversial on social media.
Renault unveils Megane E-Tech Electric car at IAA Munich Motor Show
by Chandrakant Isi
At the Internationale Automobil Ausstellung (IAA) 2021, Renault has introduced its Megane E-Tech Electric hatchback. It is inspired by the MORPHOZ concept car showcased by the French auto-maker in 2019. According to Renault, this vehicle is a culmination of its expertise spanning over a decade. The company has sold over 400,000 electric vehicles in Europe thus far.
Built on Renault's CMF-EV platform, the Megane E-Tech Electric has a 4.2-meter length. This car has the thinnest battery height at 11 cm. The car will be available in two powertrains. The top model will deliver 215 horsepower whereas the base trim will max out at 130 horsepower.
The car-maker will let you choose between 40 kWh and 60 kWh battery packs. The smaller pack will offer a range of 300 km on a single charge. The 60 kWh pack will provide enough juice to go 470 km without a top-up. Of course, these test numbers don't necessarily hold in the real world. Even if your Megane E-Tech Electric vehicle runs out of charge, you can replenish 300 km worth of charge in half an hour at 130 kW charging stations.
The car comes with a fancy OpenR infotainment system based on Google Automotive OS. The top model sports a 12-inch touchscreen while the base variant will settle for a 9-inch panel.
CNET reports that the Megane E-Tech Electric car comes with special access for rescue teams in the unfortunate event of a crash. Working in collaboration with French firefighters, Renault claims to have worked out a way to contain battery fire in mere five minutes. To put things in perspective, putting out EV battery fire takes several hours. Sometimes it may even take days as The Grand Tour host Richard Hammond's electric supercar Rimac Concept One burned for days after the crash.
Breakthrough tech makes car battery "happy", fully charges in 10 minutes
by Sayan Sen
Dr. Rachid Yazami, most famously known for his invention of graphite anode for use inside Li-ion batteries, has claimed he's now developed a technology that can charge electric vehicles (EV) in as little as 10 minutes.
In an interview with The Register, Yazami said the following:
In order to achieve this, Yazami is using a technique called "Non-Linear Voltammetry" (NLV) which regulates the voltage at different levels. If you imagine these levels as steps, then on a certain step the voltage necessary is kept constant until it reaches a higher step. Upon doing this, the voltage is altered to a suitable amount necessary for the new step. The process continues and ultimately, the battery is said to be fully charged when the highest step is reached. Hence why the approach is called Non-Linear Voltammetry; since the voltage is gradually raised in steps.
Yazami believes that this technique helps "to make the battery happy" and consequently increases the speed of charging as it improves the battery's resilience.
However, Rachid Yazami isn't the only one researching and developing fast-charging batteries. Earlier this year, StoreDot, a company that specializes in Extreme Fast Charging (or XFC) batteries, announced that it has produced a next-gen car battery which can charge a two-wheeler EV in just five minutes.
Source: The Register | Image via Tesla