BMW Wants a 10-Year Supply of Lithium and Cobalt - A Sign of Things to Come?
With an eye towards the future, BMW is looking to secure a 10-year supply of cobalt and lithium, two important ingredients in the production of high energy density Li-ion battery cells. The decision to procure the supply is part of a new long-term strategy that would allow the German automaker to secure significant supplies of cobalt and lithium in the face of skyrocketing prices of both metals.
Xiaopeng Says it Scored $350 Million in Extra Funding, $800 Million Total
Xiaopeng Motors, also known as Xpeng, first made waves at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show with the introduction of the G3, an all-electric SUV that it’s planning to release later this year to combat the Tesla Model X. Now, the latest in a litany of Chinese electric car startups is dreaming of a bigger piece of the electric car market, and according to the South China Morning Post, it has accumulated a fresh batch of investments totalling $350 million. All told, the company says it has received around $800 million in funding from investors like Chinese e-commerce colossus Alibaba and iPhone manufacturer Foxconn.
Tesla Can’t Ramp Up Model 3 Production Until Elon Musk Gets All the Tooling From Germany
It’s the classic case of Tesla being Tesla. The electric car maker says that production of the Model 3 is on track to meet its first-quarter targets. The only problem is that the tools it needs to actually build the Model 3 are still not in its Gigafactory in Reno, Nevada. They’re still 5,429 miles away in Dausfeld, Germany. It might seem like an easy problem to solve because Tesla could just have them shipped from Germany, it’s still a long distance to ship a lot of hardware that needs to be disassembled, shipped, and assembled once it hits its destination.
Hyundai Kona EV Promises Better Range than Chevy Bolt and base Tesla Model 3
Unveiled in June 2017 as the company first subcompact crossover, the Hyundai Kona will get an all-electric drivetrain later this month. The news comes straight from the Korean automaker, which revealed that that the mini SUV based on the i30 platform will be unveiled on February 2018, ahead of a public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March. The Kona Electric joins the already available Ioniq Electric and the hydrogen-powered Nexo in the company’s all-electric lineup. The big news is that it will have a range of almost 300 miles on a single charge.
Flight of Fancy: German Company Wants to Send its SUVs to Outer Space
I blame you, Elon Musk. See, this is what happens when you successfully achieve something nobody thought you could do. The launch of Falcon Heavy into space proved that you could build a lighter and more fuel-efficient low-cost space shuttle without having to drain taxpayer’s money in the process. But, the success of Falcon Heavy has opened the doors for other companies to come out of the woodwork with their own out-of-this-world ideas. Take Partisan Motors, for example. The German startup that introduced us to the Partisan One last October is looking for a collaboration with Musk and his company, SpaceX, to bring its SUVs to the last frontier.
Does a Convertible Tesla Model S Sound Enticing?
Don’t look now, but Ares Design might remain relevant in the ever-changing news cycle in the coming months. The Italian coachbuilder made headlines last week when it announced plans to develop a modern-day version of the Ferrari 412. Now it’s back in our feed with what looks to be another project in the fold, this time for the Tesla Model S. If you’ve been pining to see a convertible version of the Model S, you can stop begging Tesla to do one. Ares will do it for you.
Polestar 2 to Launch in 2020, Not to Kill Tesla, but to Compete with it
Polestar’s status as a standalone brand may still be fresh in a lot of people’s eyes, but that hasn’t stopped the company from already making big plans for the future. According to reports, that “future” will now include a pair of new models, including the Tesla Model 3-rivaling Polestar 2 saloon and the Polestar 3 SUV. Both models are expected to debut in the coming years, though the Polestar 2 will arrive sooner in 2020 than the Polestar 3, which is set for a 2022 debut.
Infiniti and Nissan to Get Six of the 12 New EVs Planned by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance
The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is making moves to beef up its respective electric car portfolios. The alliance currently has plans to build 12 all-electric models by 2022. Of those 12 EV models, we now know that four models will head to Nissan while another two will go to Infiniti.
SpaceX Falcon Heavy Launch A Success; Tesla Roadster And Starman Begin Their Journey
Earlier this afternoon, as a multitude of anxious space exploration fans watched with bated breath, the Falcon Heavy rocket lifted off from the NASA Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. With all 27 individual Merlin engines lit, the trio of boosters providing more than 5 million pounds of thrust, the Falcon Heavy became the world’s most powerful rocket currently in service, officially launching us into a second Space Age.
Once the first stage was complete, the spent rockets were jettisoned and aimed back at Earth. Moments later, the two side boosters successfully touched down simultaneously on the ground in Florida. The third booster was supposed to land on a drone ship out in the Atlantic, but as it approached, the camera feed cut out due to the extreme vibrations. It’s not yet known if it landed successfully or not, but it’s believed to have crashed into the ocean.
The reusable rockets were designed to make space flight less expensive in the long run. Each Falcon Heavy launch is expected cost around $90 million, while similar flights from government organizations like NASA could cost upwards of $1 billion.
Most importantly though, the Falcon Heavy successfully delivered its payload into orbit. Strapped to the tip of the Falcon Heavy was a first-generation Tesla Roadster (painted in red, or course), complete with “Starman” strapped in at the wheel (Starman being a dummy wearing the SpaceX spacesuit). On the Roadster’s primary infotainment screen were the words “Don’t Panic!”, a reference to Douglas Adam’s classic novel “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”
The goal is to get the Roadster and its Starman passenger into an orbit around the sun that’ll take it by Mars, with the intention being to eventually launch a manned mission to the Red Planet. This successful test launch is the first big step towards that goal. But before it slingshots through the solar system, the Roadster will need to pass through the radiation-filled Van Allen belts, after which there will be a final burn to send Starman towards our planetary neighbor.
Since the launch, social media has been filled with breathtaking imagery, including several shots taken live from the space-traveling drop-top. Make sure to check out the live feed of Starman on YouTube.
Tesla Working With Semi Customers To Refine Mega Charger Plans
Back in November, Tesla revealed its all-electric Semi, a product framed as nothing less than the catalyst to a battery-driven revolution in the freight industry. Now, the supporting infrastructure required to make the thing actually work in the real world is starting to come to light, as it was recently revealed that some of the companies that placed pre-orders for the Tesla Semi are assisting the California-based automaker in its effort to create a new “Mega Charger” network.
Continue reading for the full story.
Porsche is Set to Invest More than 6 Billion Euro; Double What Was Previously Expected
Porsche is doubling down on its investments in hybrid and electric technology after announcing plans to increase its investment in electromobility to “more than” €6 billion. That’s more than double the amount it previously intended to spend. The news comes as the German automaker is making final preparations for the launch of its first all-electric vehicle, the Mission E. Porsche CEO Oliver Blume made the announcements, saying that the decision to ramp up its investments was done to set “an important course for the future.”
Elon Musk is Launching His 2008 Tesla Roadster into Space Today
What does a CEO of both an automaker and a rocketmaker do to cross-promote? Why launch a sports car into space. That’s exactly what Elon Musk is doing with his personal 2008 Tesla Roadster during today’s first flight of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket.
The rocket will launch from the Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday, February 6 with its flight computer programmed for Mars. “[It’s a] red car for a red planet,” Musk tweeted back in December. The module atop the Falcon Heavy will then enter a hyperbolic orbit between Mars and the Sun, which it could theoretically maintain for a billion years. Better yet, the car’s radio will be playing Zarathustra, the theme song from 2001: A Space Odyssey. A mannequin affectionately named “Starman” will also be behind the wheel a wearing a SpaceX spacesuit.
The Falcon Heavy rocket is a huge milestone for SpaceX. While the Tesla Roadster is more of a silly payload, this trial launch will prove SpaceX has its math right. The Falcon Heavy is currently the largest and most powerful rocket in operation and is second only to NASA’s mighty Saturn V rocket used during the Apollo series in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The Falcon Heavy is said to have a payload capacity of 70 tons – roughly 2.6 times that of NASA’s shuttle orbiter.
Like SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, the Falcon Heavy’s main stage will launch its payload toward space before separating and landing itself back on earth. The second stage will continue to run as it escapes earth’s atmosphere and gravitational pull. Of course, Musk isn’t planning to send a fleet of Tesla vehicles into space, but rather has plans for manned missions to the Moon and then onto Mars.
The launch is scheduled to happen between 1:30 and 4:30 pm EST from Kennedy’s Launch Complex 39A, the same one used for Apollo and Shuttle launches.
Elon Musk Demonstrates Falcon Heavy Launch With Tesla Roadster And Starman Payload
We here at TopSpeed are getting stoked for the launch of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket tomorrow, and this latest animation is just fanning the flames. The Falcon Heavy is scheduled to blast off at 1:30 EST from the NASA Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida. Powered by 27 individual Merlin first-stage rockets doling out a combined 5 million pounds of thrust, the Falcon Heavy will be carrying a payload consisting of a first-gen Tesla Roadster, plus “Starman,” a dummy wearing the SpaceX spacesuit, in the driver’s seat.
At about 3-and-a-half minutes in length, the video is an animation that walks us through each stage of the mission, from initial takeoff, to the booster recovery, to the final sendoff for the payload, all of which is set to the audio backdrop of David Bowie’s “Life On Mars?”. All very fitting, considering the endgame is a manned mission to the Red Planet some time in the future. The Roadster will be set on a heliocentric orbit that’ll take it between the Earth and Mars, possibly laying the groundwork for a future Martian colony supply line. While typically these sorts of test missions involve simple weights, the addition of a red sports drop-top manned by a dummy adds a certain artistic quality to it, don’t you think?