August 1st, 2020 by Zachary Shahan
Xpeng Motors, a popular electric vehicle startup in China that has unabashedly followed Tesla’s lead, that used patents that Tesla opened up for anyone to use, and that designed and developed cars that clearly resemble Teslas (yet do have their own design language) is readying for an IPO in the United States.
Xpeng has been battling with NIO for the title of best selling EV startup in China (though, NIO is clearly winning at the moment), and it just brought to market a rather insanely competitive new car, the P7. Deliveries of the G3 crossover/SUV started about a year and a half ago, and it has been doing pretty well on its own, but it is no longer in the top 20 of the highly competitive Chinese EV market. The P7 might make it there. We’ll see.
There is at least one grey spot on the company’s launch and rise. Last year, Tesla alleged that Xpeng stole Autopilot source code — that an employee at Tesla downloaded all of it just before leaving the Silicon Valley company and then went to work for Xpeng, supplying the company with a starting point for semi-autonomous driving that Xpeng now uses it in its vehicles. That lawsuit is slowly moving through the court system. It’s not clear how long it will be until there’s a resolution.
Xpeng was founded by He Xiaopeng, who sold a web browser business he started to Alibaba for a small (or large) fortune. Alibaba also invested in Xpeng early on, apparently quite impressed with Xiaopeng’s abilities as an entrepreneur.
Some have laughed at Xpeng because of how much it clearly copied Tesla. However, this is exactly what many people have said both startups and legacy automakers should do: try to follow Tesla’s lead and develop EVs like Tesla’s. Xpeng might have benefited from a little more originality. Or maybe not. Would it have as much consumer demand and get enough attention if not for the clear similarities to Tesla? I have seen many exotic electric car startups come and go. Xpeng has been sticking around and has done better than almost all others. NIO is the exception, and it already had an IPO and has been doing alright for itself on the stock market this year. It opened the year with a stock price of $3.72 and is now up to $11.94, with a market cap of $14.14 billion.
Xpeng’s vehicles have gotten high safety ratings and shown good quality. One of the top experts in the West on China’s EV market, José Pontes, is quite bullish on the firm. “X-what?!?! Xpeng — you know, the company that allegedly stole Tesla’s Autopilot source code. Only, Xpeng is so much more than that — it is in fact one of the most promising EV startups in China. It has some high-profile backers, like Xiaomi, Alibaba, and Foxconn. It launched its first model, the Tesla-inspired G3 compact SUV, in late 2018, and now it’s launching its second model, the P7, which can be described simplistically as a Model S kind of car, for Model 3 kind of money. Not only is it a lot of car for the money, but with a top NEDC range of 706 km (441 mi), thanks to a 81 kWh battery, it is the longest range EV made in China, Teslas included.
“Add that to L3-level autonomous driving and competitive pricing (the base model starts at $32,400) and you have a model with
barely believable amazing specs and features, and while the G3 was contracted to another carmaker, Haima, by Xpeng, the P7 is homemade, in the brand new Zhaoqing factory (Guangdong province). The factory is said to have production capacity for a couple of thousand units/month, but sources say that orders far outpace installed capacity. (And with these specs, why wouldn’t they?) Xpeng is already planning to ramp up production.“
The pricing is absurd. And this line is jaw dropping if even 75% accurate: “a Model S kind of car, for Model 3 kind of money.” At the least, it’s a very attractive electric sedan for a good price.
Overall, whether you like it or not, and whether you believe Xpeng stole from Tesla or not, the company has a lot of promise.
Regarding the IPO news, CNBC reports that two sources indicate that the company is looking to raise $300 million before going into the IPO. “Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund, the Qatar Investment Authority, is one of the investors in the funding round, the sources said,” CNBC adds. “The final amount raised might be higher than $300 million as a number of investors are still in discussions to put money into Xpeng.”
Xpeng has apparently already filed to IPO, confidentially, but has not decided yet which US stock exchange to go on (Nasdaq or NYSE).
“The potential listing in the U.S. comes amid rising tensions between America and China which could impact foreign firms listed on Wall Street. In May, the U.S. Senate passed legislation that would increase scrutiny on Chinese firms trading on American exchanges which carries the threat of delistings for some foreign firms.”
It definitely seems like a good time to IPO for other reasons, though. Tesla’s stock [NASDAQ:TSLA] has skyrocketed as the company has approached S&P 500 inclusion and demonstrated 4 quarters in a row of profits, and that success seems to have pulled up related stocks, like those of NIO [NYSE:NIO], Workhorse Group [NASDAQ:WKHS], and Nikola Corporation [NASDAQ:NKLA]. Presumably, an Xpeng Motors IPO would also ride off of that enthusiasm and momentum for a strong entry onto the stock market.
We’ll keep you informed as this develops. Xpeng, in my eyes, is one of a few Chinese automakers that could sneak into US and European markets in the coming decade and rise up as legacy automakers struggles to transition. Maybe. Traditional automakers have to wind down fossil-powered car production while also ramping up electric vehicle production. That’s a very challenging balancing act when it comes to finances, the workforce, unions, customers, and investor confidence. New EV startups like Xpeng just need to stimulate consumer interest and ramp up production in a sensible, efficient way. Well, perhaps that’s not super easy, but it does seem to provide a bigger opening to success than some legacy automakers are facing. We’ll see.
All photos by Nicolas Zart for CleanTechnica
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J.B. Hunt’s 1st Delivery With Fully Electric Freightliner eCascadia
August 14th, 2020 by Johnna Crider
J.B. Hunt has made its first delivery using an all-electric Freightliner eCascadia. J.B. Hunt is one of the largest shipping companies in America and you’ve surely seen its trucks on the highway (if you live in the US). J.B. Hunt specializes in the transporting of full truckload freight containers, and works with companies such as Walmart. It also works with most of the major North American rail carriers to transport truckload freight. For a massive transport company to give an EV truck a chance, this is a big deal. Why?
Imagine a time when all the large shipping companies are using only electric vehicles and there is no messy exhaust clouding the air.
This was the first J.B. Hunt Intermodal delivery using this all-electric Class 8 truck, and it pulled out of the Southgate terminal this week. The company said it barely made a sound. The transport was a 120-mile haul for Walmart, and it kicked off a three-month testing phase. J.B. Hunt plans to integrate the eCascadia with its day-to-day fleet operations in Los Angeles.
J.B. Hunt’s COO, Craig Harper, who was present for the new truck’s arrival, said, “J.B. Hunt is continually exploring innovative solutions such as the eCascadia to improve the sustainability of our fleet and operations. We are excited to test this vehicle and gain more hands-on experience with all-electric tractors.”
The eCascadia has zero tailpipe emissions, which makes it an environmentally friendly vehicle that will reduce the fleet’s carbon footprint. Fully charged, the eCascadia is expected to have a range of up to 250 miles, which makes it perfect for local and regional distribution. The all-electric tractor has a 525-horsepower engine and can recharge to 80% in just 90 minutes.
Richard Howard, senior vice president of On-Highway sales and marketing at DTNA, said, “Together with our great customers, we are leading the way to a future of CO2-neutral commercial transportation. The collaboration between vehicle manufacturer and transportation logistics experts is a necessity to develop these industry-leading technologies, and we’re proud to share this journey with our important customers J.B. Hunt and Walmart.”
Charging stations for the eCascadia have been installed at the Los Angeles terminal, and drivers are being trained to operated the vehicle. The eCascadia that J.B. Hunt is testing is a member of the Freightliner Customer Experience Fleet, which is providing DTNA customers a chance to switch their fleets to electric.
Jane Ewing, senior vice president of Sustainability for Walmart, shared her thoughts and excitement. “Walmart encourages and works with our suppliers to reduce their carbon footprint and improve their sustainability efforts. This new pilot is reflective of J.B. Hunt’s commitment to maximizing the sustainability of their fleet, and we look forward to learning more as the company tests new innovations to help meet the demands of business in a more sustainable way.”
J.B. Hunt wants to lead when it comes to sustainable transportation. It’s even received the SmartWay Excellence Award from the EPA for the past 10 years. In 2019, J.B. Hunt prevented 3.2 million metric tons of CO2 emissions from entering the atmosphere through its OTR to intermodal conversion. This is the equivalent of removing more than 700,000 passenger vehicles from the road for an entire year. In total, its current private fleet includes 5 all-electric, medium-duty box trucks. Those were added to the company’s collection in 2018.
Air Pollution Hurts Us
There are many studies that show air pollution hurts us, a lot. Last year, researchers at Harvard Chan School of Public Health found that hospitalizations for several common diseases such as UTis, skin infections, septicemia, and even electrolyte disorders have been linked with exposure to PM2.5, fine particulate air pollution. These little particles are so tiny that you need a microscope to see them.
However, unless we, and by “we” I mean everyone (companies and people alike), stop polluting the air, there is nothing we can do to stop that. This is why what J.B. Hunt is doing is important. Five trucks may not sound like much right now, but it’s a start. Electric vehicles are the future, and while companies such as Tesla are pushing EV passenger vehicles forward, we need more companies — transport companies especially — to create demand for EV delivery trucks as well as other cleaner shipping methods.
And they are. Slowly, but surely, EVs are starting to become more visible on the streets and highways of America, and eventually the world.
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Firefly Transportation Services and Orange EV Partner to Deploy All…
“Orange EV is pleased to partner with Firefly Transportation Services to offer the industry’s first all-new pure-electric tandem axle yard truck, enabling zero-emission goods movement across public roads with a full load.”
KANSAS CITY, Mo. and GLENVIEW, Ill. (PRWEB) August 14, 2020
Firefly Transportation Services (Firefly TS) has partnered with Orange EV to deliver the all new T-Series Tandem (TST) pure-electric terminal truck to a client in the Chicagoland area, continuing to pave the way with sustainable solutions for yard service and short-haul shuttling.
“Orange EV is pleased to partner with Firefly Transportation Services to offer the industry’s first all-new pure-electric tandem axle yard truck, enabling zero-emission goods movement across public roads with a full load. This customer-driven solution enables Firefly to offer a broader range of sustainable, emission-free yard management options,” commented Wayne Mathisen, Orange EV Chief Executive Officer. “Orange EV will be accepting pre-orders for the T-Series Tandem in the 4th quarter of 2020.”
While most terminal trucks (aka yard trucks, spotters, hostlers) are operated exclusively off-road and in-yard, some operate on public roads and must therefore meet regulations governing maximum gross vehicle weights, wheel loads, and axle loads. The T-Series Tandem 6×2 is designed to legally transport loads up to 81,000 pounds on public roads. Like all Orange EV trucks, the TST will be built to meet site-specific requirements and duty cycles.
“Having successfully run single axle Orange EV trucks for over three years, Firefly TS is thrilled to be bringing our first Tandem EV T-Series unit to our clients, increasing our ability to provide short-haul shuttles,” said Mike Bohnstengel, Firefly Transportation Services Principal Partner. “The addition of a tandem axle EV will immediately expand our service capabilities to our client base by more than 25%. Contact our team to learn more about the range of yard management and spotting services that Firefly Transportation Services can provide.”
“The tandem axle truck is a continuation of Orange EV’s commitment to HDEV solutions,” shared Kurt Neutgens, Orange EV Chief Technology Officer. “Over the coming months, we will be introducing further innovations in the HDEV space including advances enabling autonomous operations.”
About Firefly Transportation Services
Through state-of-the-art technology, Firefly Transportation Services is revolutionizing the spotting services industry. Firefly provides 100% electric trucks for yard management operations to create a safer and healthier work environment, support fleet sustainability goals, and reduce operating costs. For all spotting and shuttling services, Firefly delivers advanced analytics, KPI reporting, and in-depth business reviews. With nearly 75 years of combined experience in transportation, logistics, and supply chain management, the Firefly leadership team has deep industry expertise and is committed to improving clients’ bottom line productivity.
About Orange EV
Kansas City based Orange EV is the leading OEM providing industrial fleets with heavy duty electric vehicle solutions that are proven to save money while being safer, more reliable, and preferred by drivers and management alike. Orange EV trucks meet the most rigorous duty cycles and 24×7 shift schedules while eliminating diesel fuel and emissions. Building both new and re-powered terminal trucks, Orange EV was the first manufacturer offering 100% electric Class 8 vehicles that have been commercially deployed and re-ordered into container handling operations. Orange EV’s commercially deployed trucks, chosen by more than 75 fleets across 15 states and Canada, have surpassed a combined 538,000 key-on hours and 1.6 million miles of operation.
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Vital Pet Life Raises Bar On Competition By Announcing Their Wild…
“Since Vital Pet Life was founded, our core values have always embraced the importance of sustainability and transparency. We are thrilled to announce that our Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil comes from a MSC certified sustainable fishery ensuring it is wild, traceable and sustainable.” says Donie Yamamoto,
LOS ANGELES (PRWEB) August 13, 2020
As part of their continuing mission to put sustainability first, Vital Pet Life, an American pet wellness company, is proud to announce their Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil is certified 100% sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), ensuring that:
- Their salmon is caught in a sustainable way, guaranteeing healthy oceans and safeguarding seafood supplies for the future.
- The facility that bottles their salmon oil is also MSC certified, for a full circle of sustainability.
- Their salmon is carefully handled and separated from non-certified fish with clear labeling in order for it to be traced to a certified sustainable fishery.
- Their salmon is regularly DNA tested to ensure that MSC labeled products are correctly labeled, ensuring the trustworthiness of the blue MSC label.
“Since Vital Pet Life was founded, our core values have always embraced the importance of sustainability and transparency. We are thrilled to announce that our Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil comes from a MSC certified sustainable fishery ensuring it is wild, traceable and sustainable.” says Donie Yamamoto, founder of Vital Pet Life.
The MSC blue fish label is only applied to wild fish from fisheries that have been certified to the MSC Fisheries Standard, a science-based set of requirements for sustainable fishing.
“Sustainably marketed products have really been driving growth,” Randi Kronthal-Sacco, senior scholar with the NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business, in a webinar hosted by IRI. “They haven’t been affected by COVID, in fact they’ve actually grown and they should continue to increase…This shows that businesses can do well and do good.”
The NYU researchers collaborated with market research firm IRi to create the Sustainable Market Share Index and found that brands who prioritize sustainability have higher customer loyalty. Vital Pet Life is living proof with their passionate customer community, who proudly share their pets’ transformations after using their Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil.
“Nikki is a rescue. Her skin was in horrible shape…. I’m amazed at how much this has already healed her skin. Her fur is now pleasant to touch. Before it was so rough and coarse, now it’s so soft…….she isn’t scratching herself …anymore. She hasn’t had to take any allergy meds or steroids at all which is amazing. I’m so grateful I found this product. I highly recommend it for every dog.” Jennifer H.
This announcement of their salmon oil’s certification is an acknowledgment of Vital Pet Life’s continued commitment to sustainable practices and higher standards in the pet wellness industry.
About Vital Pet Life – Vital Pet Life is a certified WBENC women-owned business, based in California featuring a curated line of clean and sustainable pet wellness products. Donie Yamamoto founded Vital Pet Life in 2017, after moving to the US from the Philippines six years earlier. In 2019, Donie became a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow for outstanding entrepreneurship and has been featured in Forbes.com, Entrepreneur.com, Welum and Authority Magazine. Vital Pet Life’s Wild Alaskan Salmon Oil, MSC certified sustainable, helps pet’s dry, rough skin and coat, leaving it shiny, velvety and itch-free. The botanically enriched Oatmeal & Aloe Vera Natural Pet Shampoo contains mindfully handpicked ingredients, to calm and soothe pet’s skin and coat. Vital Pet Life’s mission is sustainability, transparency and the healing and supporting of rescue animals. They give back by donating products to and working side by side with local shelters and animal rescues.
#womeninbusiness, #sustainability, #entrepreneur, #womanownedbusiness, #femalefounders
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