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Ford & Volkswagen Ink Deal For Vans, Pickup Trucks, & Some Sort Of EV




June 12th, 2020 by Steve Hanley 

We have been talking a lot lately about how urgent the need is for electric vans, the kind that deliver products of every description to consumers (more so now during a time of pandemic than ever), and serve as rolling workshops for plumbers, painters, and carpenters. Ford and Volkswagen announced a year ago they were planning to work more closely together, mostly in the area of commercial vehicles.

Ford Volkswagen MEB collaboration

Image credit: Volkswagen

Now the two companies say they have formalized their cooperative agreement, and it has the following major goals:

  • Produce a medium pickup truck engineered and built by Ford, for sale by Volkswagen as the Amarok starting in 2022 within the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles lineup
  • Further strengthen the commercial vehicles businesses of both companies as early as 2021 with a city delivery van based on the latest Caddy model, developed and built by Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and later a 1-ton cargo van created by Ford
  • A highly differentiated Ford electric vehicle for Europe by 2023 built on Volkswagen’s Modular Electric Drive, or MEB, Toolkit, expanding on Ford’s zero-emission capabilities in the region

“In light of the Covid 19 pandemic and its impacts on the global economy, more than ever it is vital to set up resilient alliances between strong companies,” Volkswagen Group CEO Herbert Diess said in a press release. “This collaboration will efficiently drive down development costs, allowing broader global distribution of electric and commercial vehicles, and enhance the positions of both companies.”

Jim Hackett, CEO of Ford, adds, “This alliance comes at a time of tremendous enthusiasm about the intersection of increasingly intelligent, connected vehicles in an ever-smarter world. This creates a huge opportunity to innovate and solve many of the world’s transportation challenges and deliver extraordinary benefits to customers — even as companies need to be selective about how they use their cash.”

The collaboration could ultimately lead to 8 million new vans and pickup trucks on European roads in coming years. Sadly, none of them will be electric. The world needs more commercial vehicles powered by gasoline or diesel engines like it needs another couple hundred thermal generating plants. The companies seem to be oblivious to the fact that many cities are banning convention delivery vehicles from their streets and more are thinking about doing so.

If VW and Ford were focusing on making those new vehicles electric, that would be grounds for celebration. But they are not and that is a precious opportunity missed. They may find the demand for conventional vans and trucks is far lower than they anticipate as more companies offer electrified vehicles to commercial buyers and the EU keeps tightening vehicle emissions standards.

An EV On The MEB Chassis

What is likely of more interest to CleanTechnica readers is the part about a “highly differentiated” electric vehicle with a Ford badge on it for the European market. What in the world does that bit of corporate doublespeak even mean? We actually have no clue, other than a statement by Volkswagen that ultimately there could be 600,000 of the MEB-based vehicles manufactured.

Early this year, there was considerable speculation that the MEB-based product from Ford would be a smaller version of the Mustang Mach-E — sort of a Mini Mach, if you will. That rumor was quickly tamped down by Ford, but it does make a lot of sense. SUVs are the hottest segment of the used car market, and the Mach-E may be a midsize car in America but it is a large car by European standards.

The Volkswagen ID.4 based on the MEB platform will be roughly the same size as the Mach-E, so making a smaller electric SUV that would appeal to European buyers makes a lot of sense. But “highly differentiated” could be mean a rhombus on wheels that goes 200 miles an hour suspended on balloons. (Really obscure musical reference there.) We will just have to wait and see what Ford comes up with. Whatever it is, it’s supposed to go on sale in 2023.

Autonomous Driving

Ford and Volkswagen have both made investments in autonomous driving startup Argo AI. Now they will work together to leverage those investments to the mutual advantage. The global reach of both companies will give Argo AI’s platform the largest geographic deployment potential of any autonomous driving technology to date. Reach and scale are important factors in developing a self-driving system that is robust and cost efficient.

Deployment could be months or years away, but working together could save both companies boatloads of cash and tons of time. Nevertheless, the Volkswagen press release is at pains to point out there will not be any cross-ownership involved in the collaboration and both companies will remain competitors against each other in the marketplace.

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Tags: Argo AI, autonomous driving, commercial delivery van, electric car, Ford, Ford Volkswagen collaboration, MEB chassis, volkswagen, VW

About the Author

Steve Hanley Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his homes in Florida and Connecticut or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.



Blockchain Is the Leading Agent in Our Advance Toward Industry 4.0




Digital technologies are entering every aspect of our life at a steady pace. However, according to predictions from Huawei in collaboration with Oxford Economics, the digital economy is expected to comprise 24.3% of the world’s gross domestic product by 2025, giving it an astronomical valuation of around $23 trillion. Among the few innovative technologies leading this revolution is blockchain.

Even though blockchain came to be the core technology for Bitcoin (BTC), today it stands independent, impacting several industries, from gaming companies and enterprises to the manufacturing sector.

The fact that data, once it is in the database, cannot be changed or deleted without informing all involved parties takes possible uses of this technology to a new level. That said, “Big Four” audit firm PwC surveyed 600 executives around the globe and found that 84% of respondents already use blockchain in their organization in one way or another.

Although there are also many reports that this system needs more active monitoring — and there have been attempts by government authorities to do so — blockchain is here to stay.

A report by analytics agency Gartner forecasts that by 2030, the blockchain market will be worth over $3.1 trillion. Adrian Lee, the senior research director at Gartner, said:

“Product managers should prepare for rapid evolution, early obsolescence, a shifting competitive landscape, future consolidation of offerings and the potential failure of early stage technologies/functionality in the blockchain platform market.”

Let’s find out how blockchain technology is changing various industries.

Gaming industry

Massively multiplayer online games, otherwise known as MMOs, have become hugely popular around the world, with people joining communities that allow them to engage in a shared ecosystem and earn currency or credit within the parameters of the platform. However, Horizon Blockchain Games is trying to revolutionize online gaming with its Ethereum-powered platform called Arcadeum. Horizon is trying to modify the idea of ownership in games. With Arcadeum, the company has a different take on in-game items. It establishes who owns a particular in-game item and then allows it to be traded verifiably, making the selling and buying of items easily traceable from player to player. With this project, Horizon is giving more control to players by leveraging technology that is typically associated with cryptocurrencies in order to build gaming features that resonate with users. The Arcadeum wallet operates as a secure wallet for gamers to store and manage their collectibles.

For example, SkyWeaver, a free trading card game, uses the Ethereum blockchain to provide a reliable and secure environment for players to transfer ownership of their digital cards between one another. SkyWeaver has digitized the physical collectible card game using blockchain technology.

Related: Investing in Blockchain Gaming: Why VCs Are Betting Big

Gas, oil and energy sector

BP and Royal Dutch Shell announced in 2017 that they would lead a blockchain-based trading project with other members such as Statoil (now known as Equinor), Koch Supply & Trading, Gunvor and Mercuria, along with some banks such as ABN Amro, ING and Societe Generale. The project aimed to eliminate dependence on conventional paper contracts that produce huge amounts of paper documentation.

Blockchain allows the energy sector to monitor its transactions, verify the origin of certificates, digitalize registries and control output. I think, in the long run, blockchain technology will help the energy sector reduce its operating costs, increase the reliability of its operations, and accelerate efficiency in domestic trading operations.

Related: Blockchain Innovations in the Energy Sector, Explained

Manufacturing industry

Blockchain makes it possible for companies to track their manufactured goods throughout their lives, from shipping facilities to consumers in stores. Besides, as blockchain enables businesses to maintain a transparent flow of data, it allows coordinating details between all involved parties in the production and consumption chain.

For example, using blockchain for automotive spare parts and warranties helps to track counterfeit products and even assists businesses in making informed decisions. It is often difficult to differentiate between spares and original parts based on their appearance. The percentage of low-quality spare parts is increasing in the market, and when they fail to perform soon after service, it damages the reputations of car manufacturers and dealers. However, blockchain technology can help manufacturing industries in various ways and within multiple niches.

Automotive industry

Blockchain technology within the automotive industry represents a powerful tool for data storage and transmission by smart cars. It can collectively store data about specific vehicles from various registries and help prevent falsification of data. For example, when a particular vehicle goes onto the market, its entire data will be available for the owner, including its repairs and services, the number of fixes, if it has been in any accidents and other information.

It’s not wrong to say that significant players in the auto industry have been looking for opportunities to explore blockchain technology. A couple of years back, Toyota Research Institute revealed a new project that integrated blockchain into smart car technology to help maintain a registry for the exchange of data among smart vehicles. In addition, Volkswagen is in the development stage of coming up with a blockchain-based platform that enables smart cars to exchange information regarding road conditions. This technology can effectively help reduce the number of accidents and facilitate drivers by guiding them to prepare for or avoid severe weather conditions.

Wrap up

For some of the world’s biggest companies and several industries, blockchain is no more the technology of the future. A lot of companies already understand how blockchain technology can revolutionize their business operations and processes, and some of these corporations are already at the implementation or planning stage of their blockchain-based systems. 

From financial systems to healthcare, blockchain is disrupting every single industry out there. I believe the integration of blockchain into company systems, enterprise apps and commercial institutions will positively impact the very core principles of the various industries that dominate the world today. Blockchain has the potential to change the worlds of industry and business just as the internet did, and the shift has already begun.

The views, thoughts and opinions expressed here are the author’s alone and do not necessarily reflect or represent the views and opinions of Cointelegraph.

Jane Collen is a creative content writer and digital marketer at TekRevol. She works closely with business-to-customer and business-to-business companies, providing blog writing, video scriptwriting, ghostwriting, copywriting and social media marketing services.


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UK gives go-ahead to giant windfarm project off Norfolk coast




UK gives go-ahead to giant windfarm project off Norfolk coast

1.8GW Vanguard project gets greenlight, with approval on 2.4GW Hornsea 3 expected in autumn


The construction of two giant offshore windfarm are poised to go ahead off the Norfolk coast in what the renewable energy industry claims could provide a “huge boost” to the UK economy.

The business secretary, Alok Sharma, gave the greenlight on Wednesday evening to the Norfolk Vanguard project and said he was “minded to approve” the Hornsea 3 proposal later this year.

The 1.8GW Norfolk Vanguard windfarm will be more than 40 miles off the Bacton coast by the Swedish energy group Vattenfall. The 2.4GW Hornsea 3 windfarm, which is being proposed by the Danish company Orsted, would extend the Hornsea 1 and 2 projects further into the North Sea.

Together the two new projects would generate enough clean electricity to power almost 4m UK homes, as well as providing a boost to the economy, according to Renewable UK.

“Investments in major clean energy projects like these are great examples of how we can get the economy moving again,” said Hugh McNeal, the chief executive of the industry body.

“These projects will help us to maintain our global lead in offshore wind, as well as building up our UK supply chain. “Large scale offshore wind power is good for our environment and our economy, by tackling climate change will boosting productivity and creating thousands of jobs in the process.”

The government faces growing calls to invest in the UK’s green industries to help bolster the economy following the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gunnar Groebler, the head of Vattenfall’s wind power business, said the decision to approve the Vanguard project justified “the confidence that we have in the offshore wind sector in Britain”.

“Today’s news sends a strong signal that the UK is serious about its climate ambitions and is open for business to power a green economic recovery,” he said.

The greenlight from Sharma comes weeks after the government pushed back a decision deadline for another offshore Vattenfall windfarm, the 1.8GW Norfolk Boreas project, by up to five months.

At the time the company described the move as regrettable” and said it could “send the wrong signal” to the renewables industry.

The government expects to make a decision on the Boreas project before the end of October, and on the Hornsea 3 project by the end of September subject to further information, which is required from Orsted.

An Orsted spokesman said that although the company was disappointed by the delay, it was confident that it would be able to provide the necessary evidence within the government’s timeframe.

“Hornsea 3 is a major infrastructure project which responds directly to the urgent need for low-carbon generation at scale in the UK and can contribute to a green economic recovery,” he said.


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Tesla [TSLA] 2nd Quarter Production & Delivery Numbers Are …





Published on July 2nd, 2020 | by Zachary Shahan

July 2nd, 2020 by Zachary Shahan 

A top engineer on the Tesla Model 3 production line being interviewed by CleanTechnica in 2019. Photo by Chanan Bos, CleanTechnica.

Tesla has published its Q2 2020 production and delivery numbers. (Look’s like CleanTechnica‘s Frugal Moogal nailed it.) We’ll have more on this later, but here’s Tesla’s short press release:

Palo Alto, California — In the second quarter, we produced over 82,000 vehicles and delivered approximately 90,650 vehicles.

While our main factory in Fremont was shut down for much of the quarter, we have successfully ramped production back to prior levels.

Our net income and cash flow results will be announced along with the rest of our financial performance when we announce Q2 earnings. Our delivery count should be viewed as slightly conservative, as we only count a car as delivered if it is transferred to the customer and all paperwork is correct. Final numbers could vary by up to 0.5% or more. Tesla vehicle deliveries represent only one measure of the company’s financial performance and should not be relied on as an indicator of quarterly financial results, which depend on a variety of factors, including the cost of sales, foreign exchange movements and mix of directly leased vehicles.

Again, stay tuned for more commentary on these numbers later. I’m sure several authors will feel compelled to produce long pieces on them. 😀

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Tags: Tesla, Tesla deliveries, Tesla delivery numbers, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model 3 deliveries, Tesla Model 3 production, Tesla Model S, Tesla Model S deliveries, Tesla Model S production, Tesla Model X, Tesla Model X deliveries, Tesla Model X production, Tesla Model Y, Tesla Model Y deliveries, Tesla Model Y production, Tesla production, Tesla production numbers, Tesla Production Volume

About the Author

Zachary Shahan is tryin’ to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA] — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in this company and feels like it is a good cleantech company to invest in. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort on Tesla or any other company.


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