There’s no such thing as bad EV publicity

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Overall, I’d say it has been a good week for electric vehicles.

The Porsche Taycan had more than just a moment in the spotlight, really. It kicked up all sorts of discussion about where EVs are headed and brought in some healthy debate about where things should be headed. I believe there’s an old saying that goes, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” which is probably debatable; however, as far as EV awareness goes, even the most skeptical takes on Porsche vs. Tesla vs. the rest arguably does more to spread consumer curiosity than the most expensive and extensive marketing campaigns.

I know the Taycan has been discussed to death at this point, but I do find it interesting what its final debut meant in the big picture. Despite everything that the $TSLAQ crowd tries to drag Tesla through the mud about, here is a luxury sports car maker with a decades-long, hard-earned reputation spending serious time and effort developing an amazing electric car. It’s not a compliance car to meet some sort of regulatory requirement. It’s not just an “option” built to prove the company is eco friendly or whatever term makes people feel warm and fuzzy about their purchase. It was built to be an EV worthy of sharing the stage with its award-winning, legendary, gas-powered brethren.

I think Elon Musk’s subsequent attentions to the Taycan added to the publicity benefits EVs were experiencing as well. Silliness aside, Tesla’s new challenge to take on the Taycan’s Nürburgring record validated what Porsche had achieved and validated Tesla’s success in spreading its message that EVs really are the future of automotive transportation. Tesla fans are no longer just cheering on the brand’s drag race wins over legacy cars. There’s a new “normal” on its way where electric is competing with electric, and the finer details about the cars will matter rather than just the source of power.

The timing of these recent events seems to be well placed in light of, say, Europe’s upcoming regulations regarding CO2 reductions for vehicles. Reading the news about various car makers’ struggles to comply with the rules and the foot dragging that’s been going on, it seems to me like there’s at least some confidence that serious efforts to make good electric cars is underway.

Personally, it took a while to understand the hubbub about EVs because of the poor efforts of car makers in the past. They sounded impractical, held very little value once purchased, and could only be driven until the batteries went bad, essentially. I mean, if it weren’t for writing about Tesla as a reporter, I would have thought any EV built to meet government regulations was going to be crud and held off as long as possible before buying one. Sometimes I wonder if European customers worry about the same thing after so many legacy car makers have come out with lackluster EVs, assuming their budget doesn’t allow for a Tesla.

The Taycan seems to give some hope that “compliance” may be out the window soon. Now that there’s another serious EV out there, everyone else risks looking…lazy? Uninterested in customer satisfaction? Innovatively challenged? With both Tesla and Porsche blowing through stereotypes, other car makers have to shelve their excuses and figure things out.

Then there’s Rivian continuing to make progress towards entering the arena as well. Most recently, the startup announced a $350 million dollar investment from Cox Automotive meant to focus on customer experience. It’s the third big investment for the company that’s working on some serious electric pickup trucks and SUVs. I know we still have yet to see their cars enter production, but the prototypes and show models are pretty impressive already. They’re yet another company putting legacy auto on notice that the compliance days are over.

Ford seems to have gotten the message with its $500 million dollar Rivian investment, so there are sprinkles of hope here and there I suppose. Perhaps Audi’s tiny-range e-tron that was recently announced will produce enough customer results to encourage production of really good EVs with a win-win balance. All customers get great cars, and car makers can find a better price point by reducing the parts that cost the most, i.e., the batteries. Just brainstorming here…

But regardless, considering the Tesla and Porsche banter and Rivian’s news this week, I’d say EVs came out with winning headlines overall. “Power” to the future? Sorry… I’m a sucker for cheesy 80s mantras.

There’s no such thing as bad EV publicity

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Robocar challenges Tesla to race after Model S sets record at Laguna Seca

After a Tesla Model S broke the four-door record at Laguna Seca raceway last night, a notorious, humanless racecar, known as Robocar, challenged Tesla’s flagship sedan to a race.

Robocar successfully completed the Goodwood Hill Climb Race at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed in West Sussex, England, the car gained attention as it was the first unmanned automobile to ever complete the uphill course.

The tweet came roughly an hour and a half after Musk announced the record-breaking Model S performance at Laguna Seca was recorded and was released on September 11.

The Robocar is completely operated without human-interaction, using AI in conjunction with data compiled by GPS and radar systems. The car’s manufacturers are quite confident that it could compete against, and beat the manned Tesla Model S in a race at the Laguna Seca raceway. The challenge remains up in the air, as Tesla CEO Elon Musk has not responded, nor entertained the idea of racing the Robocar. But Elon has not been the type of person to back away from a challenge, especially after he announced that the Model S would be racing at the Nürburgring sometime in the near future, upon the heels of the Porsche Taycan setting the four-door production record at the track in Western Germany.

The driverless vehicle built by Roborace features four electric motors that produce 500 horsepower collectively and operate at 135 kW, giving the car a top speed of 199 mph. The car utilizes a variety of sensors to move effectively, such as GPS systems, LiDAR, ultrasonic sensors and machine vision cameras that pick up and assess the car’s surroundings. In comparison, the Tesla Model S operates a Dual Motor AWD with a 100 kWh battery pack and 518 horsepower, and not to mention, would have a human controlling the vehicle.

In regards to the challenge, with the Model S coming off of a record-setting performance at the Laguna Seca, who would you put your money on? Tesla or Roborace?

Watch the Robocar become the first driverless vehicle to complete the Goodwood hill climb course:

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Robocar challenges Tesla to race after Model S sets record at Laguna Seca

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“Game of Thrones” star becomes Fisker’s Sustainability Advisor

Fisker announced Thursday that “Game of Thrones” actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) will join the company as a partner and sustainability adviser to Fisker chairman and CEO Henrik Fisker. In addition to being a well-known actor, Coster-Waldau is also the United Nations Development Program Goodwill Ambassador for climate change and other social issues.

“I am very excited to have Nikolaj participate in Fisker’s mission of binging the world’s most sustainable, affordable and desirable electric vehicles to mass market,” Fisker said in a statement. “I am looking forward to working with him on learning about and achieving U.N.’s sustainability goals”

Coster-Waldau will play a role in Fisker’s plans to introduce an “affordable” electric SUV. The Fisker utility vehicle, which is still under development, will reportedly have up to 300 miles of range and will use recycled plastic made from ocean debris. Other eco-conscious features of the upcoming SUV may include “vegan leather” and a roof-mounted solar panels.

Fisker plans to use a “revolutionary direct-to-consumer smart platform” rather than a traditional sales model for its battery-powered SUV. Details for that program are not yet available, but the company says it will offer affordable access to clean mobility “without onerous long-term contracts or expensive upkeep.”

Fisker plans to unveil its electric SUV in prototype form later this year. At that time Fisker will also announce further details on its direct-to-consumer sales model. 

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