Morgan Freeman is known for his love to Tesla — apart from owning a Model S, one of the greatest Hollywood actors is also a long-time Tesla investor. Over a year ago Freeman invested also in a startup MOTEV — a limo-service in Los-Angeles with a fleet consisting of 7 Model Xs and 4 Model Ss. The company had already became the official shuttle service for the CBS show Madam Secretary, and last Sunday MOTEV fleet had a busy day bringing celebrities right to the Oscars red carpet in front of Dolby Theater. MOTEV CEO said that all cars had been completely booked for the award show, while it is possible to get a Tesla with a trained driver any other day through the mobile app at $80/hour.
Tesla had officially announced its financial results for last year, mentioning both several serious achievements and impressive plans for the future.
Smart, which is a part of Daimler, seems to prepare for probably the straight-out way of stimulating the demand for electric cars. Last week head of Mercedes-Benz USA Dietmar Exler sent an official letter to Smart dealership in US and Canada stating that the company will stop selling the gas-powered versions of their models in September. It means that US customers will be able to purchase only all-electric cars of the brand, powered by 17.6 kWh battery packs and 81 hp three-phase electric motors. Their all-electric range on a single charge varies from 96 miles (ForTwo Cabrio and ForFour) to 100 miles (ForTwo).
Electric GT team had finally announced its first season schedule and racetracks.
Formula E becomes more spectacular motorsport type, gaining popularity since its debut in 2014. Yesterday Spark Racing Technologies, the supplier of of the current Formula E chassis, released several renders of 2018 season racecar. There are several pictures below, and though they do not represent a final version, that is a good indication of what to expect next year. However, the upgrade is not only about the design: Formula E cars will get new batteries from McLaren, allowing racers to finish each race with one car (now there are two cars for each driver, the switches are made in the middle of the race). Moreover, next-gen Formula E cars are going to have better aerodynamics and reduced weight.
Daimler is going forward to «electrification» of its lineup — last fall the company presented a new brand EQ, aimed to produce electric vehicles and charging infrastructure. Though recently Mercedes already started road-testing of its all-electric platform — prototypes based on Mercedes GLC Coupe and equipped with electric engines and massive battery packs were spotted in Germany. By the way, Daimler claims the first mass-produced EQ vehicle to enter production already in 2018.
Swedish Volvo had not ever produced all-electric vehicles — so far there are only two plug-in hybrid models. However, a few days ago Volvo affirmed to show its first EV in 2019 — read further for some details.
Cruise Automation — a startup developing self-driving suite for General Motors — recently published a video of their Chevy Bolt prototype. The electric car is driving around San-Francisco streets with a driver not touching a steering wheel as caught on a dashcam. The car handles even some complex situations — such as construction work — totally by itself. By the way, GM plans to lauch the commercial version of their autopilot in 2020, while today Cruise Automation is testing their system on a fleet of 40 cars.
Japanese Honda is one of a few major automakers still considering fuel cells as a source of energy for zero-emission cars. However, today it is hard even for large companies to stay away from the growing battery-powered cars trend — a few days ago Honda announced the joint venture with Hitachi, aiming to develop, produce and sell motors for electric cars. By the way, the capital of the deal equals 5 billion yen (about $45 million) with equal shares between companies. The joint venture will be established this March.