Tesla has revealed the details of the upgrade of its Fremont, CA factory. One major change is the addition of a dedicated production space for the dual-motor P85D version of the Model S. Robots will be doing the battery installation on the Model S to save some time, and new export docks allow Tesla to get the cars out the door and on the way to their new owners more quickly. The new robots that move the cars around the factory have been named after X-Men characters, which makes our inner geeks smile. Check out the factory upgrade in the time-lapse video below and read more at Teslarati or at the Tesla Motors Blog.
A program in Beijing for privileged registrations for EVs hasn't had much success. Of the 1,424 lottery winners, only about 30 percent went on to register an electric car despite a two-month extension of the deadline to do so. Buyers are likely discouraged by the lack of charging infrastructure, which the city hopes to ameliorate with the addition of 1,000 new charging stations by the end of the year, and by requiring new and renovated developments to set aside parking specifically for EV charging. Read more at Green Car Reports.
The UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies suggests that laws designed to protect dealers and consumers are stymieing the adoption of EVs. Laws like the ones certain states have in place that block or otherwise restrict Tesla's direct-to-consumer business model are not helpful for companies that want to introduce new products to the market. They prevent companies from passing on savings to customers for whom they would likely make the difference in a purchasing decision. One possible solution would be to allow exemptions to certain selling restrictions for a certain number of vehicles sold. "This could give automakers the degree of control needed to work out kinks with early customers, develop scalable processes for supporting PEVs, and ensure that effective dealer performance standards are in place before handing the reins over to wholly independent retailers," according to UC Davis ITS. Read more at the UC Davis website.
Volkswagen says its environmental program, called "Think Blue. Factory," is meeting the automaker's own sustainability targets. The main purpose of the program is to move toward eco-friendlier carmaking at each of its plants worldwide. Volkswagen aims to reduce water and energy consumption, waste output and CO2 and solvent emissions by 25 percent, with 5,000 measures toward this goal to be put in place by 2018. In the last three years, Volkswagen has made production "17 percent more environmentally compatible," to use the marque's own words. Examples of measures already put in place have been reducing water usage for tightness tests at its Zwickau and Pamplona plants, and creating a process to filter cooling emulsion to save energy, water and lubricants at its Chemnitz engine plant. Learn more in the press release below.
Ford and SunPower's Drive Green For Life program aims to save customers money on solar power and, now, also raise funds for Sierra Club. Through the program, Ford EV and hybrid customers can get a $750 rebate on a SunPower residential solar system. For each rooftop system installed, SunPower will also donate $500 to environmental and conservation organization Sierra Club. Installing solar power allows drivers to charge their EVs and power their homes using clean energy, while the Drive Green For Life program also helps Sierra club continue its environmental advocacy, including its EV initiatives. Read more in the press release below.