EV/AV Report: August 10, 2020

Toronto, Ontario — In this week’s EV/AV Report, Edmonton makes history with one of the largest single purchases of electric busses in Canadian history. Elon Musk dangles the proposition of producing a more conventional cybertruck. And, B.C. introduces year-by-year regulatory targets that will help shift to all-electric new car sales by 2040. 

KEEP EM’ COMING

Edmonton Transit Service (ETS) has announced the arrival of 21 Proterra electric buses with another 19 buses on the way by the end of 2020. The 40 vehicles will mark one of the largest single purchases of electric buses in Canada’s history. 

The ETS currently has over 1,000 diesel buses. Adding the 40 electric buses will be a serious step towards meeting the city’s goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 50 percent for 2030.

The buses will also make ETS one of the first North American transit systems to implement in-depot overhead charging for its electric buses, a technology that was developed by Proterra in collaboration with ABB and ETS. To charge the vehicles drivers will drive into one of 26 parking spots equipped with the chargers and flip a switch initiating an overhead charging process reliant on RFID and Wi-Fi technology.

The buses purchased by ETS have 660kWh of battery storage onboard each—the most energy storage on any 40-foot electric bus—which allows for upwards of 350 kilometres of range. The buses will deliver nearly twice the horsepower and five times better fuel efficiency than a standard diesel bus engine.

ETS expects to begin putting the vehicles in service in early August.

CONVENTIONAL CYBERTRUCK?

CEO of Tesla, Elon Musk has been hinting at the possibility of a smaller cybertruck following the release of the original design. 

Musk has also stated that the cybertruck wasn’t designed with any input from truck buyers. The idea behind the cybertruck he said was to create a different-looking vehicle also claiming the cybertruck will be able to outperform more traditional pickups.

Musk has also talked about Tesla creating a more conventional truck if the current design proves to be unpopular. Musk has said that there are over 200,000 reservations for the cybertruck.

Musk had said in May—that Tesla had decided to produce the Cybertruck in its concept size for North America, with a world truck to follow. This would mean a smaller version of the cybertruck for markets such as the European market. 

TACKLING TARGETS

It has been two years since B.C. announced its zero-emission vehicle program. It has now released the year-by-year regulatory targets that will help manufacturers and retailers make the shift to all-electric new car sales by 2040.

“While electric vehicle sales in B.C. have been among the highest in Canada, there are clear indicators that consumer appetite for EVs is bigger still,” Clean Energy Canada Executive Director Merran Smith said in a release. “It’s simple, if you want an electric vehicle in this province, you should be able to drive one home from the lot, same as any car.”

Clean Energy Canada says EVs are six times less expensive to drive than internal combustion, and one in three British Columbians expect their next car to be electric. However only about 40% of dealerships currently have electric cars available on their lots. The wait time to get an electric car averages at 3 months to a year. 

Even so there is evidence of large numbers of British Columbians switching to electric vehicles to improve driving experience, reduce air pollution and lower fuel and maintenance costs. The goal is to make electric vehicles and charging more affordable and available around the province. 

ROUGH START

The electric-truck maker Nikola recently received their first earning report which showed executives and analysts trading barbs and investors sending the company’s shares dropping. 

Nikola has said they lost $86.64 million in the second quarter, compared with $17.2 million they lost last year. The company’s stock also fell 18 percent in late trading on Tuesday.

“We actually beat our earnings by 20 percent,” Trevor Milton, the company’s founder wrote on twitter. “They had the share count wrong. I have zero control as we can’t give out info prior to earnings.”

This comes as Nikola hopes to begin testing the battery-electric version of its first semi truck with select customers in 2021. The trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells will be built starting in 2023.

Nikola had listed its shares in June following a reverse merger with a special purpose acquisition company, and immediately saw its market capitalization grow to almost $29 billion, at one point out performing Ford Motor’s valuation. Electric-truck startups Lordstown Motors Corp. and Fisker Inc. are now trying to do something similar. 

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