Cars & Automobiles

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Austrian government to provide €40 million in funding for electric cars in 2021
An electric car being charged in Flachau, Salzburger, Austria.
An electric car being charged in Flachau, Salzburger, Austria. Credit: Jakob Härter (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

In 2021 the Austrian government will provide 40 million euros in funding for electric cars. This was announced by Environment and Transport Minister Leonore Gewessler on Sunday.

In the years 2019 and 2020, a total of 93 million euros - together with the automobile importers - were available. As the APA (Austrian Press Agency) stated, these funds have now been almost completely exhausted. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the ministry had increased the subsidy per e-car from 3000 to 5000 euros.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Norway: 61.5% of newly registered cars are now electric
Norway: 61.5% of newly registered cars are now electric
Credit: unsplash.com / CHUTTERSNAP

In September 9,560 new electric cars have been registered in Norway making it 61.5% of the total number of car registrations in that month.

Since the beginning of the year, 48,175 electric cars have been registered in the country. Volkswagen is leading in newly registered cars with 1,989 VW ID.3 in September followed by 1,116 registrations of the Tesla Model 3.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Californian governor bans sale of new gasoline-powered cars starting 2035
Californian governor bans sale of new gasoline-powered cars starting 2035
Credit: unsplash.com /

The Californian Governor Gavin Newsom has announced that by executive order new cars and light trucks that are powered by gasoline will be prohibited to be sold starting in 2035. This does not include cars that are already on the road at that time. Those will continue to be legal and can be resold.

Newsom stated that "this is the most impactful step our state can take to fight climate change".

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Tesla sues US government over tariffs on goods from China
Tesla sues US government over tariffs on goods from China
Credit: unsplash.com / Afif Kusuma

The electric car manufacturer Tesla has sued the United States government and wants to legally enforce an exemption from US punitive tariffs on imports from China.

With Tesla being one of several hundreds of companies starting such proceedings on the import tariffs, the company is seeking to avert existing import tariffs as well as compensation for tariffs that have already been paid.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Court of Appeal ruling avoids Lyft and Uber California ridesharing suspension
Court of Appeal ruling avoids Lyft and Uber California ridesharing suspension
Credit: Elvert Barnes (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0)

A last-minute decision by the California First District Court of Appeal avoided the suspension of ridesharing operations by Lyft and Uber. Both companies were planning to suspend their California operations at Thursday 23:59 (Pacific Time) due to the requirement of reclassifying all Lyft drivers as employees.
Before the appeal was accepted, in a blog post, Lyft stated: "We don’t want to suspend operations. We are going to keep up the fight for a benefits model that works for all drivers and our riders."
"We are glad that the Court of Appeals recognised the important questions raised in this case, and that access to these critical services won’t be cut off while we continue to advocate for drivers’ ability to work with the freedom they want," Uber said in a statement.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Uber could pause ride-hailing in California if drivers become employees
Uber app on a mobile phone
Uber app on a mobile phone Credit: Charles Deluvio (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The San Francisco Superior Court granted California’s request for a preliminary injunction saying that Uber and rival Lyft must make drivers employees rather than independent contractors. Judge Ethan Schulman delayed that order for ten days, giving the companies time to appeal, as both have said they will.

Dana Khosrowshahi, Uber CEO, stated: "If the court doesn’t reconsider, then in California, it’s hard to believe we’ll be able to switch our model to full-time employment quickly."

Uber and Lyft are pushing Proposition 22, a November ballot initiative that would keep drivers as freelancers entitled to some benefits and earnings guarantees.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Ford CEO Jim Hackett to retire, COO Jim Farley to lead the company
Jim Hackett
Jim Hackett Credit: Ford Motor Company

Ford Motor Company announced its current CEO, Jim Hackett, will retire on October 1, ending a three-year run in which the automaker has tried to streamline its operations. Hackett will be succeeded by Jim Farley, currently COO of the company.

Ford’s executive chairman William Clay Ford Jr., said: "I am very grateful to Jim Hackett for all he has done to modernize Ford and prepare us to compete and win in the future,".

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Volkswagen fires software boss after only 14 days
Volkswagen fires software boss after only 14 days
Credit: Copyright: Volkswagen AG

Under the name "Car.Software.Org" VW aims to develop its own operating system for all VW car models and increase the team to around 10,000 employees. On July 1, Christian Senger officially became head of "Car.Software.Org".

Among other things, he is on the board of directors of the core Volkswagen brand and has headed the development of the electric vehicles series "ID". Since March 2019 he has been working on the "Car.Software.Org" project. Now he was released after only 14 days, due to discrepancies with other VW managers. Audi boss Markus Duesmann will develop the VW software now. Volkswagen did not comment on the conflict.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Tesla announces it could probably offer fully autonomous self-driving vehicles by the end of the year
Interior view of Tesla Model 3
Interior view of Tesla Model 3 Credit: unsplash.com/David von Diemar

During the WAIC (World Artificial Intelligence Conference) in Shanghai Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, announced by video message that the automobile manufacturer could probably update their partly autonomous self-driving vehicles from Level 2 to Level 5 by end of the year.

Autonomous self-driving is divided into 5 levels. Currently, the most autonomous self-driving vehicles are shipped with Level 2 - 3.

Level 1 - Driver Assistance: for example using cruise control.

Level 2 - Partly Automated Driving: for example, the car can keep track, brake and accelerate on the freeway at the same time.

Level 3 - Highly Automated Driving: The vehicles can handle certain driving tasks independently and without human intervention, but only for a limited period and under suitable conditions.

Level 4 - Fully Automated Driving: The vehicles can drive independently, for example, the driver could take a nap but generally only in select conditions and on certain roads.

Level 5 - Full Automation/completely autonomous: no human driver is required. The people in the car become passengers.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Amazon bought Zoox – a self-driving car startup – for $1 billion
Amazon bought Zoox – a self-driving car startup – for $1 billion
Credit: Amazon, Zoox

Amazon is expanding its portfolio yet again. The company acquired Zoox, a self-driving car startup located in California with almost 1,000 employees for a rumoured $1 billion deal. Zoox has been working on developing a self-driving electric car that doesn't have a steering wheel so that it can drive in either direction. Zoox CEO Aicha Evans will continue leading the company and said that "this acquisition solidifies Zoox's impact on the autonomous driving industry."

"Zoox is working to imagine, invent, and design a world-class autonomous ride-hailing experience," said Jeff Wilke, Amazon’s CEO, Worldwide Consumer in a statement on Amazon's blog. "Like Amazon, Zoox is passionate about innovation and about its customers, and we're excited to help the talented Zoox team to bring their vision to reality in the years ahead."

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Volkswagen in talks to acquire French car rental firm Europcar
Europcar in the Hamburg Airport
Europcar in the Hamburg Airport Credit: Hamburg Airport

Reuters reports that German carmaker Volkswagen approached French car rental firm Europcar, that struggles to cope with the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The deal, if completed, would signal a reversal of strategy for Volkswagen, that sold Europcar in 2006 for €3.32 billion.

In May, Europcar's competitor Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Ride provider Lyft announces that they'll electrify "100 percent" of its vehicles by 2030
Ride provider Lyft announces that they'll electrify "100 percent" of its vehicles by 2030
Credit: unsplash.com/Austin Distel

The ride-sharing provider Lyft has announced that it plans on transitioning to electric or zero-emission vehicles by 2030. They stated that "100 percent" are the goal and according to the co-founder and president, John Zimmer "Now more than ever, we need to work together to create cleaner, healthier, and more equitable communities". Lyft did not close how much the project will cost.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
World's largest car battery maker announces battery that lasts over one million miles
Electric car charging
Electric car charging Credit: Vlad Tchompalov

CATL, Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd, the world's largest manufacturer of car batteries for electric vehicles has announced production readiness of a breakthrough battery.

The chairman of the company that supplies Tesla and Volkswagen has announced that it has created a battery that lasts over 1.2 million miles and can run for 16 years.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Ford recalls 2.1 million cars: Doors can open while the vehicles are moving
Ford recalls 2.1 million cars: Doors can open while the vehicles are moving
Credit: Jeremy Chen

For the third time, Ford will recall cars, SUVs and vans to fix a defect with their doors, that could open while the vehicle is moving. The recall will cover 2.1 million vehicles in the US and Canada.

The company said Wednesday the previous door latch recalls were done because of defective pawl spring tabs that could crack and fail in high temperatures. The previously recalled vehicles may not have had the latches replaced, or repairs may not have been done correctly, the company said in a statement.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Honda's global operations hit by cyber-attack
Honda's global operations hit by cyber-attack
Credit: Honda

Japanese manufacturer Honda has said in a statement it is dealing with a cyber-attack that is impacting its operations around the world.

"Honda can confirm that a cyberattack has taken place on the Honda network," a spokesperson said. "We can also confirm that there is no information breach at this point in time".

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Volkswagen names Ralf Brandstätter as the new CEO of its VW car brand
Ralf Brandstätter
Ralf Brandstätter Credit: Volkswagen

Volkswagen announced Ralf Brandstätter as the new CEO of the VW brand, to lead cost-cutting efforts at the company’s largest plants in Germany.

Brandstaetter, current COO of VW, replaces Herbert Diess who will retain his title of CEO of Volkswagen Group.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Germany plans on making electric car charging options mandatory for petrol stations
BMW electric hybrid vehicle on charging station in Munich
BMW electric hybrid vehicle on charging station in Munich Credit: Marc Heckner

As part of the countries economic recovery plan from the Covid-19 pandemic, Germany has announced that it aims to boost the usage and sales of electric cars. One planned measure will require all petrol stations to offer charging options for electric vehicles.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Bentley to cut up to 1,000 jobs in the UK
Bentley Continental GTC
Bentley Continental GTC Credit: Alexander Migl (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

BBC reports that luxury carmaker Bentley is to cut 1,000 jobs in the UK. The company, owned by German car-maker Volkswagen, declined to comment but is expected to make a formal announcement on Friday.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Money transporter traps security guard inside

Due to a technical defect, the security measures of a money transporter became a trap for a security employee. The fire brigade had to move with heavy equipment and free the employee from the unventilated vehicle. The trapped security guard remained unharmed.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Elon Musk is paid out $775 million by Tesla part of his performance-based payout plan
Lineup of Tesla's electric cars exhibited at Tesla Store Washington D.C.
Lineup of Tesla's electric cars exhibited at Tesla Store Washington D.C. Credit: Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk entered an performance-based payout plan back in early 2018. In this payout plan, Tesla shareholders determined 12 market capitalization milestones and revenue milestones for which the CEO will be awarded each trench of his multi-billion dollar package.

By keeping the company market capitalization at $100 billion for roughly around a month and a trailing average of six months, Musk earned his first chunk of stock options, measuring roughly 1.7 million Tesla shares or an estimated $775 million after Thursday's Tesla share value closed at $805.81.

In a lawsuit against Elon Musk and members of the Tesla board, shareholder Richard Tornetta is accusing the board of awarding the CEO excessive compensation trough the payout plan, despite the CEO having given up his salary and only being awarded as part of the performance-based compensation package.

The next market capitalization target is set at $150 billion which together with other revenue based milestones will award the ceo his next tranche of his compensation package.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Volkswagen loses first German 'dieselgate' case
Person holding black Volkswagen steering wheel
Person holding black Volkswagen steering wheel Credit: Julian Hochgesang

Germany's top civil court has ruled that Volkswagen must pay compensation to a motorist who had bought one of its diesel minivans fitted with emissions-cheating software. The ruling sets a benchmark for about 60,000 similar cases in Germany.

The company promised "appropriate offers" to those affected. In a statement, Volkswagen said: "Now aims to soon bring these cases to a close in agreement with the plaintiffs,"

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Volkswagen raises rainbow flags in support of diversity and tolerance

The German car manufacturer has raised the rainbow flag outside their Volkswagen brand tower in support of "diversity and tolerance" for the first time as part of the initiative "Wolfsburg diversity and tolerance week" which stands for "a colorful and cosmopolitan community based on solidarity where social origin, sexual orientation and religious affiliation do not play a role" according to the initiators from the organization Aids-Hilfe Wolfsburg e.V..

Volkswagen executive Gunnar Kilian has stated that the company wants to take "a clear stand on respect, equal opportunity, coexistence, equal treatment of everyone – regardless of their ethnic origin, color, sexual orientation, religious affiliation or gender".

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Tesla opens California factory - defies Alameda County order

Elon Musk has announced on Twitter that Tesla has reopened its factory in California and that he'll work "on the line with everyone else", claiming in a second tweet that the state of California has permitted the re-opening, but claims that "an unelected county official illegally overrode" the decision without providing further proof.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Musk announces that Tesla will move headquarters from California to Texas/Nevada

The CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk, has announced in a tweet that the company will move its headquarters from California to Nevada, Texas. Musk also questioned if the manufacturing plant in Fremont will keep operating in the future after he complained about the Alameda county regulation that all but essential businesses are not allowed to operate until the end of May, due to the coronavirus.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Tesla stock falls after CEO tweets "stock price too high"

The CEO of the car company Tesla, Elon Musk, has tweeted that in his opinion the stock price for his company is "too high". Following this, the market value of the company has fallen around $14 billion, with Elon Musk's personal loss being around $3 billion.

Transportation • Cars & Automobiles
Tesla donates ventilators to Los Angeles

The Governor of California Gavin Newsom has announced that 1,000 ventilators have "arrived in Los Angeles and Elon Musk is already working with the hospital association and others to get those ventilators out in real time". Musk himself said in a tweet that he helped acquire 1,255 ventilators from China and imported them via air-shipment to Los Angeles.