January 19, 2021

Plant

If Porsche has its way, your classic 911 may be sucking down sustainably produced synthetic gas before you know it.


Porsche

Porsche and Siemens Energy have announced plans to link arms for a new e-fuel factory. The German companies say the pilot project will result in the world’s first industrial-scale plant for carbon-neutral synthetic fuel. The facility will be located in Southern Chile in a bid to capitalize on the country’s strong wind energy, which will be used to power the plant sustainably.

The plan calls for an initial pilot production phase to produce around 130,000 liters of fuel — over 34,000 gallons — as early as 2022. Additional phases call for a dramatic ramp to 55 million liters by 2024 (over 14.5 million gallons) by 2024 and 550 million liters (145 million gallons) by 2026. 

Wind energy will power the electrolyzers to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. CO2 will then be filtered out of the air and processed with the aforementioned hydrogen to create synthetic methanol. A proprietary methanol-to-gasoline process provided under license by Exxon Mobil results in e-gas. Porsche says the liquid fuel will be safe without modification for all of its cars, including classic models

Porsche, which is initially investing around 20 million euros (roughly $24 million, £18 million or AU$33 million) in the project, sees the creation of carbon-neutral gasoline as a complement to the auto industry’s drive toward electrification, not as competition with it. Company officials have already gone on the record saying that Porsche plans to electrify 50% of its new-car offerings by 2025, making use of both battery-electric and plug-in hybrid technology. But the German automaker still sees the potential for synthetic fuels to power all of the world’s existing gas-powered models — especially Porsches — particularly in parts of the world where developing an electric car charging infrastructure proves problematic. 

Porsche and Siemens Haru Oni e-fuel plantPorsche and Siemens Haru Oni e-fuel plant

Dubbed Haru Oni, this new e-fuel plant will be erected in Chile to take advantage of the country’s strong and steady wind energy.


Porsche/Siemens Energy

During a virtual media roundtable on Wednesday, Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche, reiterated: 

[T]he main strategy for Porsche is to push e-mobility … but in addition, at least Europe, [we] will be dependent on importing a lot of energy. In 10 years. In 20 years. Maybe even 30 years from now. If we have to import energy, we could choose whether we import fossil energy or renewable energy. It [e-gas] is not a direct competition to e-mobility, it is in addition to e-mobility. Something that we see as an important second track.

Porsche will be the main customer for this e-fuel initially, using the synthetic gasoline in so-called “beacon projects” including its race cars, at Porsche Experience Centers and in vehicle trials.

Porsche’s home continent figures heavily into the plans for this e-fuel, as the European Union has been aggressively

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Lucid Motors has completed its Casa Grande factory and is commissioning the equipment to begin manufacturing tens of thousands of electric vehicles starting in Arizona this spring, the company announced Tuesday.



a group of people on a beach: Lucid has announced its Casa Grande factory is complete and will begin producing tens of thousands of electric cars in the spring of 2021.


© Provided by Lucid
Lucid has announced its Casa Grande factory is complete and will begin producing tens of thousands of electric cars in the spring of 2021.

Top-end models of the luxury vehicles are touted as getting 500 miles per charge with the capability to go zero to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds.

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The Newark, California, company refers to its Arizona facility as AMP-1, for “Advanced Manufacturing Plant,” and says it will be capable of producing 30,000 cars a year.

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Already it has built 100 vehicles in California for a beta prototype test fleet and is now transitioning that manufacturing to Arizona, Vice President of Manufacturing Peter Hochholdinger said.

“Initially these were fully built in the Newark facility, but that was transitioned recently to a production line at the Casa Grande factory,” he said. “The main line at Casa Grande will soon be spun up to start building these production-representative cars, which will precede start-of-production for customer cars in spring of 2021.”

Once the facility is ready for full production, the first models off the Arizona line will be the “Dream” edition of the cars, which retail for $162,000 after deducting the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles. Then it will roll out the Grand Touring ($132,000) and Touring ($88,000) editions, according to the company.

In 2022, the company plans to produce a model called the Air Pure that retails for about $70,000 after federal tax credits.



a large airplane hanging from the ceiling: Lucid has announced its Casa Grande factory is complete and will begin producing tens of thousands of electric cars in spring 2021.


© Provided by Lucid
Lucid has announced its Casa Grande factory is complete and will begin producing tens of thousands of electric cars in spring 2021.

Lucid takes reservations for its vehicles online at lucidmotors.com. The company does not disclose how many car orders it has received.

The factory was built with expansion in mind, and the company says it will expand and produce a Lucid SUV in 2023, which it is referring to as Project Gravity.

Lucid said four expansion phases are planned at the factory through 2028, with the square footage growing from nearly 1 million square feet today to more than 5 million square feet, and a final capacity of 400,000 cars a year.

Hochholdinger said the first phase is only part of a $700 million investment, and that Lucid employs about 750 people.

Factory construction aided by Saudis

Gov. Doug Ducey announced the factory in 2016, along with Sonora, Mexico, Gov. Claudia Pavlovich and Lucid executives. Parts for the vehicles were to be manufactured by suppliers in Sonora.

When that announcement was made, Arizona had recently lost a bid to locate the Tesla Inc. “Gigafactory,” which went to Nevada thanks in large part to more than $1 billion in subsidies from that state.

But the Lucid project initially was

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By Gilles Guillaume



a close up of a street sign with trees in the background: FILE PHOTO: The Flins plant of French carmaker Renault


© Reuters/Benoit Tessier
FILE PHOTO: The Flins plant of French carmaker Renault

PARIS (Reuters) – Renault will stop assembling new cars at its Flins factory outside Paris and turn the site into a research, recycling and repair centre by 2024 in a move set to save full-time jobs at the plant, the company said on Wednesday.

The loss-making carmaker said it aimed to employ 3,000 people at the revamped site by 2030, and billed the makeover as a way of saving a site that might otherwise be threatened as the group narrows its focus on profitable car models and cuts costs.



a close up of a sign: FILE PHOTO: The logo of Renault carmaker is pictured at a dealership in Les Sorinieres


© Reuters/STEPHANE MAHE
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Renault carmaker is pictured at a dealership in Les Sorinieres

“The status quo was no longer possible, we had to be lucid about this,” Renault Chairman Jean-Dominique Senard told an online news conference after meeting with unions at Flins, flanked by new Chief Executive Luca De Meo.

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Renault, which had been struggling with waning profitability and sales before the coronavirus pandemic hit, has this year announced 4,600 job cuts in France as part of a 2 billion euro ($2.4 billion) cost savings plan.

Unions said their proposals to keep on some car assembly activities in the longer run had been turned down.

The company will continue to make its electric Zoe models at Flins until 2024, and will roll out its new activities in the meantime. These include refitting cars, such as those used for long-term leases, creating a group to work on electric battery innovations and recycling car parts.

Staff would be retrained, De Meo said, without giving details of the budget.

The 3,000 jobs will include staff from the nearby Choisy-le-Roi plant, which has a workforce of 260 but is earmarked for closure, while Flins currently employs 2,400 permanent workers.

But it also regularly works with many temporary staff, some 1,400, and it is unclear what would happen to these workers. De Meo said Flins could be opened up to other companies, which could create more jobs for the plant.

Renault said the plant would be equipped to turn out 130,000 refitted cars a year by 2030.

(Reporting by Gilles Guillaume and Sarah White; Editing by David Goodman and Mark Potter)

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A Tennessee panel has approved $35 million in economic incentives for General Motor‘s plan to convert its Spring Hill assembly plant to build future electric vehicles.

The State Funding Board unanimously approved the incentives Tuesday.

The money will be used as a job training assistance grant to retrain 2,000 full-time employees for the new vehicle project. The employees make $31 an hour, while the median wage in Maury County – which encompasses Spring Hill – is $16.80.

Earlier this year, GM announced that it would spend $2 billion to change the Spring Hill factory into its third U.S. electric vehicle plant.

According to GM, the company will build the Cadillac Lyriq, a small electric SUV, at the factory. Gasoline-powered Cadillac SUVs will continue to be built at the plant. The company has said that it will also get additional unspecified electric vehicles.

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  • Faraday Future, an electric vehicle company whose CEO has said is on the cusp of going public, was sued by its former general counsel Hong Liu in January over compensation he says he was owed.
  • The company this week said Liu was basically a “potted plant” in his time working there and asked a court to claw back $1.8 million in pay that Liu received.
  • Faraday’s lawyers said Liu oversold his relationships with potential investment partners and came up short on legal expertise.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A lawyer who says he wasn’t paid over $6 million in compensation owed to him for serving as the top lawyer at electric-car company Faraday Future oversold his credentials and sat around like a “potted plant” during his year with the company, the company said.

In legal papers filed on Thursday, Faraday, which has struggled since its 2015 launch and told Reuters last month that it plans to go public by merging with a SPAC, said Hong Liu was an ineffective leader who barely lifted a finger to help the company through disputes with a major investor called Evergrande as well as EVelozcity, another electric-vehicle company.

The company issued a broad denial of Liu’s allegations that it violated its contracts and securities laws and said Liu was barely conversant about corporate finance topics that he should have understood. It said he wasn’t able to work his supposed connections to Goldman Sachs or Blackstone to assist with financing efforts and said he “systematically removed himself from positions of responsibility” over the course of his time at the company.

“It took Liu eleven months into his employment, until January 2019, to provide his first work plan: a useless mishmash of philosophical ramblings devoid of any concrete or measurable steps, tasks, or efforts to meet the vague goals and strategies described therein,” the company said in the court papers.

Liu has said his efforts to assist the company stay within the law were frustrated by its founder and former CEO Yueting Jia, who filed for personal bankruptcy last year. In his complaint, Liu said he was terminated after trying to stop sexual misconduct and immigration law violations at the company, only to be ignored by Jia and his lieutenants.

Read more: Meet 16 bankers, lawyers, and capital providers helping engineer a $40 billion blank-check craze that’s fast-tracking companies to public markets

Liu says he was promised millions in cash compensation and equity that could have been worth up to $100 million for his service to the company. A good compensation package was the only way he could have been counted on to leave his lucrative role as a partner at Mayer Brown behind, he says.

But Faraday Future said even the $1.8 million Liu was paid was too much. It asked a judge to make him return his compensation.

Faraday has been described as a competitor to Tesla and has been working for years to bring to market an electric SUV called the

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Ashwani Gupta wearing a suit and tie: Nissan Motor COO Ashwani Gupta speaks during a news conference at Nissan Motor headquarters in Yokohama Reuters


© Reuters
Nissan Motor COO Ashwani Gupta speaks during a news conference at Nissan Motor headquarters in Yokohama Reuters

  • Nissan’s chief operating officer said Wednesday that a no-deal Brexit could threaten the company’s future in the UK.
  • Increased tariffs from a no-deal Brexit would raise Nissan’s costs, its chief operating officer, told Reuters Wednesday.
  • “If it happens without any sustainable business case … obviously our UK business will not be sustainable, that’s it,” Ashwani Gupta said.
  • Nissan employs 7,000 workers at a factory in Sunderland, a city in north-east England. It is the UK’s biggest car plant.
  • The UK and European Union are now running out of time to agree a trade deal.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Nissan Motors warned Wednesday the company’s future in the UK could be in doubt without a Brexit deal.

The car giant’s warning came as European Union said the UK are running out of time to secure a deal that will govern trade from next year. 

Increased tariffs from a no-deal Brexit would raise costs, threatening the company’s UK business, Ashwani Gupta, Nissan’s chief operating officer, told Reuters Wednesday.

Nissan also warned new custom checks could delay car parts coming from other countries, slowing production.

Nissan employs 7,000 workers at a factory in Sunderland, a city in north-east England. It is the UK’s biggest car plant.

Gupta told the BBC that the EU was the Sunderland factory’s biggest customer

“We are the number one carmaker in the UK and we want to continue,” he said.

Read more:Time is ticking to secure a Brexit deal. Here are 2 ways JPMorgan’s chief market strategist for Europe says investors should prepare their portfolios ahead of the December deadline.

“If it happens without any sustainable business case, obviously it is not a question of Sunderland or not Sunderland, obviously our UK business will not be sustainable, that’s it,” Gupta told Reuters.

Gupta said that Nissan wasn’t looking for compensation from Britain for any costs brought about from a no-deal Brexit, contradicting previous media reports.

“We are absolutely not thinking that and we are not discussing it,” he said. “Our commitment remains, and it will continue as far as our business is sustainable.”

The UK is due to leave the EU single market and customs union at the end of the year, more than four years after the country voted to leave the bloc.

The UK boss of one of Europe’s biggest dairy companies told Business Insider on Tuesday that it would have to increase prices for UK consumers in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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Ineos Automotive, the startup backed by petrochemicals giant Ineos, is close to finalizing the purchase of Daimler’s Smart plant in Hambach, France.

First announced in late August, Ineos Automotive’s intention to buy the factory located in eastern France is very likely to materialize in the coming weeks after unions approved the project.

Daimler announced this summer the intention to sell the plant as part of an overhaul of its production system. The facility, which employs about 1,600 people, currently builds the Smart EQ Fortwo electric minicar. However, production will move to China as Daimler announced in 2019 it will build the next-generation Smart vehicles from 2022 through a joint venture with Geely.

Read Also: 2021 Ineos Grenadier Attracts More Than 17,000 Registered Potential Buyers

Ineos announced it plans to build its upcoming Grenadier off-roader at the plant in a run of 25,000 units a year, starting in 2022. In a statement seen by Autonews Europe, the UK-based company said it was “delighted to have received the endorsement of the Workers’ Council and the unions at Hambach for our planned acquisition of the site from Mercedes-Benz”.

A final agreement should fall into place in the coming weeks, Ineos added. The French government has asked Daimler to continue to build Smart cars there until the UK carmaker starts building the Grenadier in Hambach – or, alternatively, provide other work to ensure continuity of employment.

In a statement, the workers’ committee said Daimler must offer assurances that it will continue some activities at the site before selling the factory to Ineos. At the same time, the union also expressed doubts that the Grenadier will be successful, as an ICE-powered vehicle “could be more difficult to sell in the second half of this decade.”

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