Electric Car News Roundup – 40

electric car news

Uber Lands Electric Car Deal With Nissan In The UK Amid Fight Against London Ban 

Uber will offer drivers in the U.K. electric cars from Nissan at a discount, the company said Friday, as it faces a potential ban in London.  The ride-hailing operator has signed an agreement with Nissan to introduce a fleet of 2,000 of the Japanese automaker’s Leaf hatchback for drivers using its app in Britain.  While the deal is technically open to all U.K. drivers, it’s primarily targeted at those working in London.  It’s part of a broader push from Uber to tackle air pollution in the U.K. capital by ensuring all of its vehicles are fully electric by 2025. 

all electric nissan leaf
The All-Electric Nissan Leaf (credit: CNBC)

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It certainly is good to note this initiative.  The trend of using ride-hailing operators like Uber has been increasing significantly in major urban centres like London.  Indeed, this trend will only become more pronounced as consumer behaviour changes from ownership to using third party transportation services.  It is therefore imperative for operators to commence introducing zero-emission battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) into their offering, with the vision of migrating rapidly to only zero-emission vehicles.  It is clear that government departments at various levels will continue to introduce legislation to reduce congestion and air pollution levels in densely populated city centres, and it is only a matter of time, that legislation will make it mandatory for operators like Uber to have all-electric fleets.  In our view, using the all-electric Nissan Leaf is an excellent choice.  The EV has a proven track record and in fact has the distinction of being the best-selling EV of all time.  Our only word of caution would be that EV adoption without embracing green energy for charging, is not acceptable.  Uber must find a practical solution for EV drivers to recharge using green electricity

Government Takes Back Nearly £8m From Dyson For Scrapping Electric Car Project 

The Government has recouped almost £8m from Dyson after the vacumn cleaner maker pulled the plug on its ambitious electric car project. Dyson had received the grant funding for the plan as part of the UK’s 2016 National Infrastructure Delivery Plan.  It had been allocated a facility of £17.5m amid expectations of an engineering boom in Wiltshire, and drew down £7.8m.  At the time, the Government has said it was expecting the money to “secure £174m of investment in the area, creating over 500 jobs, mostly in engineering”.  

James Dyson
James Dyson (credit: Dyson)

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We have said it in the past and have no hesitation in repeating ourselves.  We salute James Dyson and the team for doing their best to realise their dreams to develop a production battery-electric vehicle (BEV).  It is indeed unfortunate that the company was unable to achieve its objectives, but it is clear that despite the tremendous experience curve of the Dyson business, the road to EV development is challenging.  Dyson is neither the first nor will it be the last company to fail in the electric vehicle industry.  We expect many more casualties as the industry develops and matures.  

We encourage the U.K. Government to redeploy the £8 million in enhancing EV charging infrastructure, in particular, on-street charging in major urban centres like London, where access to private garages is limited.  In our view, the available charging infrastructure does not give confidence to potential EV consumers, further slowing the migration to emission-free road transportation.  £8 million is only a drop in the ocean, but today every drop can make a difference to build consumer confidence.   

Hyundai And Kia Give UK Car Industry EUR 100m Electric Jolt!  

Hyundai and Kia have pumped EUR 100m into UK electric vehicle start-up Arrival in one of the largest investments in Britain’s car industry since the country voted to leave the EU in 2016.  The injection by the Korean manufacturers into Arrival will value the company at EUR 3bn, making it one of Britain’s most valuable start-ups. 

arrival electric vehicles
Arrival Electric Vehicle (credit: FT)

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It is not often that an ‘electric jolt’ is welcome news.  But in this case, it certainly is, for the start-up and also for the UK EV sector.  The investment by the automotive behemoths signals confidence in the UK EV industry, imperative for attracting much needed future investments.  We look forward to hearing many more similar announcements.  

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Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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