Electric car vision: Prepare early for big changes

Adel Murad
Updated 04 November 2017
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Electric car vision: Prepare early for big changes

Some of the steps developed in some Western countries toward electrification of the motor car can be followed in the GCC region. These include building the needed infrastructure, taxation on the most polluting vehicles, incentives for zero-emission electric cars and legislation support for the necessary change.
Britain and France have put a deadline of 2040 for ending production and sale of new internal combustion engines. Only electric and hybrid vehicles will be sold new from that date. Shell has already launched fast-charging points for electric cars at three service stations in London. They charge most electric cars to 80 percent in half an hour.
The British government has introduced a bill to make electric vehicles charging points mandatory at all large petrol stations and motorway services. The Electric Vehicles Bill will lead to charging points being installed in about 8,500 filling stations, which would almost double the number of charging stations now in use.
The bill also deals with the issue of autonomous driving, stating that the insurer is liable for any damage caused if the car is insured and driving itself.
If not insured, and the accident is caused by the car when driving itself, the owner is liable for the damage. Owners will also be liable for accidents if they have modified the software of their car or failed to install important updates.
The bill outlines a huge investment in electrification and autonomous driving amounting to £1.2 billion ($1.56 billion). It includes ideas for street charging points linked to street lamps.
For a move toward alternative energy and autonomous driving, GCC countries need to have a vision of the timescale to apply new technologies, issue legislations that allow for their use and invest in the infrastructure needed for electric cars. Car companies have expressed an interest in assisting in all aspects of that change.
The changes to the motor industry in the next decade will be deeper and more disruptive than in the past half-century. The best way to deal with the coming upheaval is to prepare for it early.
•Adel Murad is a senior motoring and business journalist, based in London.


Tesla production leader Doug Field exits company

Tesla produced 5,000 of its Model 3 cars, along with a combined total of 2,000 Model S and Model X vehicles. (AP)
Updated 03 July 2018
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Tesla production leader Doug Field exits company

SAN FRANCISCO: Tesla on Monday confirmed that the head of Model 3 production, who went on leave after chief executive Elon Musk took over his duties, will not be returning.
The departure of engineering senior vice president Doug Field came as California-based Tesla appeared to have finally hit a self-imposed goal of cranking out 5,000 Model 3 electric cars in a week.
Tesla co-founder Musk fired off a Twitter post over the weekend saying “7,000 cars, 7 days.”
In a note to investors on Monday, Analyst Trip Chowdhry of Global Equities said that in the preceding week, Tesla produced 5,000 of its Model 3 cars, along with a combined total of 2,000 Model S and Model X vehicles.
Tesla has been under pressure to increase production to show it can operate profitably and at the kind of scale needed to be considered a major auto company.
Musk has been managing the Tesla production line, which has been rejiggered to pump out cars faster.
Field will not be returning to the company, according to Tesla.
“After almost five years at Tesla, Doug Field is moving on,” a company spokesman told AFP.
“We’d like to thank Doug for his hard work over the years and for everything he has done for Tesla.”
Tesla announced in June that it was cutting nine percent of its workforce to enhance profitability, but said the move would not affect an ambitious production ramp-up of its Model 3 sedan.
The job cuts are part of a company-wide restructuring to address excess staff in some areas due to the company’s speedy growth, Musk said in an email to employees.
The cuts concern salaried staff but not production workers and will not affect Model 3 output targets, said Musk, who characterized the downsizing as an acknowledgement of the need to focus more on costs.
“Given that Tesla has never made an annual profit in the almost 15 years since we have existed, profit is obviously not what motivates us,” Musk said in the message.
“What drives us is our mission to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable, clean energy, but we will never achieve that mission unless we eventually demonstrate that we can be sustainably profitable.”
Shares of Tesla closed the formal trading day down 2.3 percent to $335.07 but regained some of that ground in after-market trades.