The Detroit Free Press just may have been looking to stir the pot a bit over the weekend with its article on a study’s contrarian finding that driving an electric vehicle (EV) costs more than a standard gas-burning car. What the paper apparently got was a Wagnerian choir of “WTF?” because, on Tuesday, it ran what reads like a back-away-slowly follow-up to the original piece it demurely says “generated debate and inspired reader questions.”
Tesla’s factory in Fremont is the only U.S. car assembly plant owned by an American automaker that is not represented by a union, but that’s just one of many things Tesla does unlike any other American (or otherwise) automaker.
Following the announcement of Tesla’s updated plans to increase its annual vehicle production at the factory to 500,000 cars by 2018 – 2 years earlier than previously planned, the United Auto Workers (UAW) expressed interest in unionizing Tesla’s workforce at the factory. One could look at the move as being opportunistic by the UAW to significantly increase its numbers or as a move to help protect workers it perceives being exploited by Tesla’s ever-expanding needs.
UAW President Dennis Williams said that up until now, the union was respecting Tesla’s startup status, but the new production rate would quickly make the electric automaker one of the largest car manufacturer in the nation and bigger than more established luxury automakers like BMW and Mercedes.
Williams is right that Tesla plans to quickly become as big as other automakers, but does higher volume alone justify the implementation of a union? Expand Expanding Close
According to a report over the weekend from Crain’s Detroit Business, Google/Alphabet is seeking an R&D site for its self-driving cars near Ann Arbor, Michigan. This report comes as FCC documents last month revealed that the Mountain View company was planning to bring the cars to four new cities. Kirkland, Washington officially became one of those locations two weeks ago, and as we noted, a location near Ann Arbor makes perfect sense to be one of the next bunch… Expand Expanding Close
Ford appears to be set to unveil a plug-in vehicle at the Detroit Auto show next month as evidenced by recent pictures (see above) posted to Twitter by WSJ’s Detroit Bureau Chief John Stoll. Expand Expanding Close
NAIAS officials confirmed to local Detroit news that Tesla pulled out of the North American International Auto Show “at the last minute”. Tesla’s presence was confirmed on the NAIAS’ floor plan for months. The news comes while Tesla is still not allowed to sell cars in Michigan since the state government “clarified” a direct sale law in 2014 by removing one word from the bill, which now prevents Tesla from operating its own stores in the state. Expand Expanding Close
Yesterday Detroit Electric announced it finally started production on the SP:01, a Lotus Exige-based electric sport car. The company released on its Facebook page a picture (see above) of the first few cars rolling off the production line in Leamington Spa, U.K.
If an electric sport car based on a Lotus rings a bell for you, it’s probably because of the Tesla Roadster which was based on the Elise and at first also assembled by Lotus in England, although Tesla ended up repatriating most of the assembly process in U.S. Expand Expanding Close
Elon Musk is teasing on Twitter the launch of a new Tesla product. At first blush Model X Crossover SUV built on the Model S chassis would be assumptions. I’m not sure what the D stands for but jokes aside it could have something to do with the garage or the naming of the product.