The Friday Five – Our Weekly EV Blog. 2020 New Year’s Edition.

Project Qatar-E

Volkswagen AG and the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) have signed the ‘Project Qatar Mobility’ agreement that aims to create the world’s first emission-free, electric and autonomous public transport system in the Gulf state in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Due to be in place for one of the world’s largest sporting events, the goal is to develop a ground-breaking autonomous transport project and transform the future of urban mobility with a sustainable and commercial deployment of autonomous-driving (AD) shuttles and bus services by 2022. 

Top of the Pile

Over 55% of the world’s population lives in urban areas — and this figure is expected to increase to 68% by 2050, according to United Nations projections. These are the 15 most advanced cities where urban mobility is concerned.

Falling Prices

Battery prices, which were above $1,100 per kilowatt-hour in 2010, have fallen 87% in real terms to $156/kWh in 2019. By 2023, average prices will be close to $100/kWh according to latest forecasts. Cost reductions in 2019 were thanks to increased order size, growth in battery electric vehicle sales and the continued penetration of high energy density cathodes. The introduction of new pack designs and falling manufacturing costs will drive prices down in the near term.

Laser Wipers

The windshield wiper is one of those automotive-related things that hasn’t really changed much since it was invented. Tesla often takes a different approach to things, and the electric-car innovator may be keen on replacing the humble windshield wiper with lasers. In a patent application filed this past May and published with the United States Patent and Trademark Office on Nov. 21, Tesla describes a “pulsed laser cleaning” for “debris accumulated” on glass, specifically for automotive application. It also mentions this could be used for “photo-voltaic” applications. That’s fancy-speak for solar panels.

Bienvenido a Miami

After coming to an agreement with the Miami Parking Authority, Revel, the electric moped sharing service already launched in New York, Washington and Austin in the United States, has now unleashed its fleet to the Miami streets and will create more than 30 jobs there. In November, the authority’s board unanimously approved awarding a contract to Revel. Since then, the company has set up shop in Allapattah. “The addition of electric mopeds, as a new mode of transportation in Miami, is another quantum leap forward in support of enhanced mobility in our city,” said the authority CEO Art Noriega in a press release.

C02 Friendlier

The classic anti-Tesla argument alleging that CO2 emissions from battery production negates the positive environmental impact of electric vehicles may have been disproven for good. This comes after the IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, one of the firms responsible for the original anti-EV claim, completed a new study that showed a much different result. An original 2017 study claimed that the production of EV batteries emits around 150 and 200 kg of CO2 per kWh. However, a new study, showed the amount of CO2 emissions from battery production has been reduced to between 61 and 106 kg of CO2 equivalent per kWh.

Not So Fast

Despite a number of BMW electric motorcycle headlines recently, CEO Markus Schramm hit the brakes with his recent statements regarding BMWs future e-moto plans. “As the Vision DC Roadster concept shows, we see this as a power portfolio of the future. In the urban environment, it is possible that there will be an electric BMW motorcycle in five years”

LATAM decade?

Why did Amazon announce a 47,000 square-meter distribution center in Brazil, alongside a huge investment in Prime Video marketing? Why does Uber’s CEO Dara Kroshrowshahi say that Latin America is one of the best markets in the world for the rideshare business? Why did Instagram launch a new feature just for Brazilians? Find out why tech bosses are betting big for Latin America in the coming years. 

2020 – The Year of the Electric Car?

It turns out electric cars have been around for a long time. The world’s first practical electric car was driven along a Paris Street in 1881 – the Gustave Trouvé Tricycle. The first production electric car was built in 1884 in London by English Inventor Thomas Parker. Petrol was king and consumer electric vehicles were lost in the annals of history — Until recently that is. Check out this short video for a trip down memory lane as it seems 2020 is set to see automakers invest heavily in electric vehicles. Will prices fall? Will government support the transition despite the potential loss of tax revenue?

Bye Bye Beetle

Volkswagen is saying goodbye to the Beetle, which ended production this year, in a new ad campaign called “The Last Mile.” The campaign launches Tuesday 7th January and includes an animated film scored with a cover of The Beatles’ “Let It Be”. The 90-second ad, created with ad agency Johannes Leonardo, will be appearing on ABC and CNN on Tuesday night, with additional placements added during the Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl games on New Year’s Day.