|Bid||183.44 x 207000|
|Ask||183.54 x 63200|
|Day's range||182.88 - 187.74|
|52-week range||134.08 - 187.74|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||1.63|
|PE ratio (TTM)||6.87|
|Earnings date||30 Oct 2018|
|Forward dividend & yield||4.86 (2.71%)|
|1y target est||198.76|
Volkswagen Group and Qatar have agreed to develop a public transit system of autonomous shuttles and buses by 2022 for the capital city of Doha. The agreement signed Saturday by VW Group and the Qatar Investment Authority is an expansive project that will involve four brands under VW Group, including Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Scania, its shared ride service MOIA and Audi subsidiary Autonomous Intelligent Driving, or AID. The aim is to develop the entire transport system, including the electric autonomous shuttles and buses, legal framework, city infrastructure and ride-hailing software required to deploy a commercial service there.
(Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG will help develop a fleet of self-driving electric shuttles for use in Qatar’s capital Doha in 2022, the company said.Volkswagen and the Qatar Investment Authority signed an agreement on Saturday for the self-driving Level 4 electric vehicles, they said in a joint statement, without specifying the project’s cost.Qatar plans to host the soccer World Cup in 2022.To contact the reporter on this story: Simone Foxman in Doha at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Bruce Stanley at email@example.com, James AmottFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Lidar startup Aeva has deepened its relationship with VW Group with a new investment from Porsche Automobili Holding SE, thanks to a next-generation sensor that is headed for the ID Buzz AV, an electric reboot of the automaker's iconic bus that will be used as autonomous taxis. Aeva's newest lidar product, called Aeries, has a 120-degree field-of-view — twice as much as its first product — and yet is half the size and uses less power. All of the components of the new lidar fit onto a single chip, an achievement that Aeva CEO Soroush Salehian said will cost $500 at scale, considerably cheaper than current sensors on the market.
(Bloomberg) -- Europe is poised to lead global growth in electric-car sales next year as governments across the region offer consumers ever-sweeter incentives toward the purchase of new vehicles.Momentum is building in a market that’s already the world’s second-biggest -- well behind China but significantly ahead of North America -- as the European Union on Wednesday set in motion an unprecedented plan to become net neutral on carbon emissions by mid-century. With car manufacturers already facing the stark choice of either selling emissions-free vehicles or paying stiff EU penalties on polluting models, 2020 is shaping up as do or die for the industry.“It’s better to subsidize electric cars than to pay high fines for selling combustion engines,” said NordLB analyst Frank Schwope. “We should see steady gains in the numbers next year.”In Europe, sales of pure electric and plug-in hybrid passenger cars are expected to grow 35% in the first nine months of 2020, a rate far higher than China and North America, according to BloombergNEF. Battery-only vehicles have long outpaced plug-in hybrids in the three regions.The forecast is for 32% growth in Europe this year, compared with a cooling of the market in China as the government pulls back on subsidies and in North America as Tesla Inc. sends more Model 3s abroad.The push to sell is taking on greater urgency as companies like Volkswagen AG spend record amounts to roll out new models. In Europe, electric cars still represent a relatively small proportion of the market -- although the share is approaching that of China.“Pricing and the development of charging infrastructure will be the cornerstone of EV growth,” said Fitch ratings analyst Emmanuel Bulle in an email, noting some consumers are reluctant to pay more for electric-only cars because of range anxiety.In response, European governments are also pushing for the expansion of charging networks. In the U.K. and Germany, companies like Char.gy and Ubitricity are integrating chargers into street lamp posts as a way to broaden infrastructure more quickly.Here’s a look at how key European markets are shaping up:GermanyEurope’s biggest car market will be the one to watch next year. Chancellor Angela Merkel unveiled a landmark climate package in September with subsidies aimed at boosting EV sales. The policy seems to be working, with Germany set to overtake much-smaller Norway as the regional battery-car leader.Car buyers paying less than 40,000 euros ($44,000) are eligible for state and company handouts of as much as 6,000 euros. This could cost as much as 2.6 billion euros by 2025, BloombergNEF estimates.The mechanism will likely influence the way German carmakers market their next round of battery-electric vehicles, according to Matthias Schmidt, a Berlin-based automotive analyst.“The 40,000-euro list price is going to be a very important level for BEVs in the next one to two years,” he said. VW will sell ID.3 cars for under 30,000 euros, while BMW AG’s electric mini has an entry-level price of 32,500 euros. Both will offer consumers a domestic alternative to Tesla’s Model 3.Overall, German carmakers plan to triple their electric-car offerings to 150 models by 2023 and invest 50 billion euros by 2024, according to Bernhard Mattes, head of the VDA automakers’ lobby.The government also wants 1 million charging points by 2025.FranceAt ground zero of the Paris climate accord, France is backing policies to promote electric cars and charging stations as a way to lower carbon emissions and support the domestic industry. The government has to tread carefully after cars emerged as a flash point during the massive Yellow Vest demonstrations that began against a fuel tax. Protesters said it said would hurt low-wage earners who couldn’t afford new vehicles, let alone electric ones.In the nascent market, Renault SA’s compact Zoe model has emerged as France’s best-selling fully electric vehicle so far this year with a 43% market share, ahead of the Model 3 and Nissan Motor Co.’s Leaf, according to consultancy Inovev. With 35,000 units sold in Europe in the first nine months of the year, the Zoe still lags far behind the Model 3, which registered nearly 63,000, according to BloombergNEF.The state gives as much as 6,000 euros plus a conversion bonus to buyers scrapping an old clunker for an electric car. In the greater Paris region, the local government has further sweetened the offer, with subsidies reaching as much as 14,500 euros when central and regional government contributions are combined and the buyer has a low income.United KingdomThe region’s second-biggest car market is battered by Brexit uncertainty, so growth in electric vehicle sales has given some relief to the broader slump. Sales of all-electric cars more than doubled through November to 32,911 units, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. Yet they captured just 1.5% of the overall market.The U.K. offers grants and rebates on pure electric vehicles of as much as 3,500 pounds after phasing out subsidies for hybrids last year. To be eligible, cars should be capable of traveling 70 miles without any emissions.The SMMT auto industry lobby is also seeking government help for battery manufacturing investments, as well as incentives and infrastructure spending to help prop up demand.NetherlandsThe small European country is punching well above its weight on electric car sales. The government now plans to give tax advantages for at least the next five years as a way to reach a long-term goal to have only clean cars in the country by 2050.For now, the Dutch system is a hotchpotch of incentives that includes exemptions on a road tax, and a much lower sales-tax rate applied to the first 50,000 euros of the price tag of an electric car.Local governments have also put in place their own measures. In Amsterdam, electric car or delivery van buyers could get as much as 5,000 euros toward their purchase while investment in battery-powered buses or trucks could net as much as 40,000 euros per vehicle.NordicsWhile Norway is set to lose its crown to Germany this year as Europe’s largest market for battery-electric cars, countries in the region have blazed a trail as early adopters because they were among the first to offer purchase incentives.Norwegian government sweeteners include exemption from duties such as import taxes, value-added tax and the annual road tax, while local authorities have also offered free parking, toll exemptions and allowed electric cars to use collective transport lanes.In Sweden, electric car buyers get a bonus of as much as 60,000 kronor ($6,300) at purchase. The two countries’ different approaches on incentives have had unintended consequences, with some Swedes cashing in on the bonus and then exporting their electric car to Norway, where usage is more generously subsidized.In Denmark, the Social Democrat government decided to cancel planned tax increases on electric cars and has increased tax deductions for driving an electric car to work.ItalyItaly lags far behind the other big European markets, with less than 8,000 battery-electric vehicles sold in the first nine months of the year, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.“The government hasn’t so far provided a competitive system of public incentives for electric cars compared with other European countries,” said Stefano Aversa, chairman for EMEA of consultancy Alix Partners.A minimum of about 30,000 euros on the price of an electric car compares with best-selling compacts priced at between 10,000 euros and 15,000 euros in Italy, he said.Although the government in March unveiled incentives that work out to as much as 6,000 euro per vehicle, they are languishing because they’re not enough to bridge the price and cultural gap, according to Roberto Vavassori, head of the European parts supplier association Clepa.Sales could pick up next year when Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV launches the first fully-electric version of its Fiat 500 city car and hybrid plug-in versions of the Jeep Renegade and Compass.\--With assistance from Ania Nussbaum, Ellen Proper, Niclas Rolander, Daniele Lepido, Siddharth Philip and Morten Buttler.To contact the reporters on this story: Tara Patel in Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org;Oliver Sachgau in Munich at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The company, founded by ex-Apple Inc engineers Soroush Salehian and Mina Rezk, on Wednesday also said it has taken investment from Porsche Automobil Holding SE , the majority-voting shareholder of Volkswagen AG . In addition to the map, Aeva's sensor detects the velocity of objects in a car's surroundings, which could help cars determine whether an object hundreds of meters down the road is a tree or a pedestrian. The investment Wednesday, whose size was not disclosed, follows a previous deal in April with the Autonomous Intelligent Driving unit of Audi - another Volkswagen marquee - which plans to use the startup's lidar sensor on its so-called "e-tron" development fleet vehicles in Munich, Germany.
The self-driving systems developer led by Bryan Salesky, who got his start developing automated vehicles for a Defense Department sponsored competition 12 years ago, is at the centre of a multibillion-dollar bet by its auto giant partners that autonomous vehicle technology must be good for more than replacing taxi drivers. "I hate the word robotaxi," Salesky said in a rare interview at Argo's Pittsburgh headquarters. The Argo business plan hinges on a unique revenue-sharing deal that will pay Argo fees based on miles travelled in self-driving Ford and VW vehicles equipped with Argo's technology.
Volkswagen was charged with 60 counts of breaching the Canadian Environmental Protection Act by importing vehicles that did not conform to prescribed emission standards, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) said. The charges included two counts of providing misleading information.
(Bloomberg) -- Germany has pulled ahead of Norway for sales of all-electric cars since the start of the year, putting Europe’s biggest auto market in position to become the regional leader on an annual basis for the first time.Through November, 57,533 new electric cars were registered in Germany, compared with 56,893 for Norway, according to statistics published by transportation agencies in both countries. The Nordic country has sold the most electric cars of any in Europe each year since at least 2010, when the Nissan Leaf, the first mass-market battery-powered car, made its debut.The numbers offer fresh evidence that the technology is becoming more mainstream in Europe’s car-making heartland, where Germany’s Volkswagen AG, BMW AG and Daimler AG are preparing for a major battery-car push. While Norway emerged as an early regional hot spot thanks to generous government incentives, the country has about 6.4% of the population of Germany and so growth is limited. Across the region, governments are ramping up subsidies.“The electric model offensive of the German manufacturers is in full swing,” Bernhard Mattes, head of the country’s VDA auto lobby, said last week. German manufacturers will triple their electric car offerings to 150 models by 2023 and invest 50 billion euros by 2024, he said.Read more: Europe’s Industry Behemoths Back Green Deal Ahead of Key SummitNorway and Germany have been neck-and-neck in electric-car sales this year. Norway held the upper hand for most of 2019, with Germany gaining momentum in recent months.Statistics published Monday by the Norwegian Road Federation OFV show sales in November of new battery-powered cars fell 27% to 3,697. In Germany, the number increased 9.1% to 4,651, according to data last week from the country’s Federal Motor Transport Authority, or KBA.Even with last month’s increases, however, electric vehicles remain a small part of overall sales and the greening of Germany’s car fleet still has a long way to go. Across Europe, sales of electrically-chargeable cars made up just 3.1% of new registrations in the third quarter, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association.Regional PushBefore the latest numbers, Germany was already a regional leader when taking into account hybrid and battery-only cars. It’s now displaced Norway for both types of electrified vehicles. Other countries will follow as consumers in the region adopt e-cars, according to Matthias Schmidt, a Berlin-based independent automotive analyst.“The Norwegian electric passenger-car market is currently a very large fish in a tiny European electrified pond, helped by the generous comparative fiscal benefits,” he said.Consumer appetite for electric models will be further tested next year when Germany’s domestic carmakers start to roll out competing models to Tesla Inc.’s most-affordable offering, the Model 3. Volkswagen’s ID.3 will go on sale starting at just under 30,000 euros ($33,000). That compares with 20,000 euros for the cheapest combustion version of the VW Golf, and roughly 44,000 euros for a Model 3.The German government has also sweetened cash incentives for electric cars as part of a large-scale climate package. The benefits would start on cars costing less than 40,000 euros, which Schmidt said should fuel demand for more affordable models. The European Union is debating this week whether to make the bloc climate-neutral by the middle of the century.In a sign of the importance of incentives for the market, sales in China have been dropping for four straight months after the government scaled back subsidies. China accounts for about half of the world’s sales of electrified cars. The U.S. is second, and until now, Norway has been third.Read more: China Raises 2025 Electrified-Car Sales Target to About 25% (1)\--With assistance from Paul Sillitoe, Chris Reiter and Stefan Nicola.To contact the reporter on this story: Oliver Sachgau in Munich at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at firstname.lastname@example.org, Tara PatelFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
German public prosecutors raided the Wolfsburg headquarters of Volkswagen on Tuesday in the latest investigation into the carmaker's diesel emissions scandal. Volkswagen, which admitted in 2015 to cheating U.S. emissions tests on diesel engines, said it was fully cooperating with the authorities, but viewed the investigation as unfounded. Volkswagen said the raids were linked to an investigation into diesel cars with engine type EA 288, a successor model to the EA 189 which was at the heart of the test cheating scandal.
(Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG is facing one of the largest-ever U.K. class action lawsuits, with almost 100,000 vehicle owners accusing it of misleading them by installing emissions-cheating software that made it appear their diesel vehicles met environmental standards.Lawyers for the drivers opened their case Monday, and must first prove that the allegations belong in court. They need judges to follow findings by regulators that led to vehicle recalls, and to rule that the software is a so-called defeat device that’s banned under European law. Then the case would proceed to another trial to decide whether the owners lost anything from buying the vehicles.The automaker has faced numerous lawsuits after the use of the software designed to lower emissions when being tested was exposed by a U.S. probe in 2015. That led to a recall throughout Europe that cost the company 29 billion euros ($32 billion). Regulators in the Netherlands and Italy have fined VW for use of the software, while a German probe last year fined the carmaker 1 billion euros.In its court filing, VW says that the law only prohibits devices that reduce the effectiveness of pollution control systems and not those, like the software, which enhance them. According to the driver’s lawyers, that argument is an abuse of the intention of the law.“The defendants’ case results in an understanding of the defeat device that is entirely divorced from the emissions test and the emissions limits,” Tom De La Mare, an attorney for the drivers, said in court. “It’s aimed at legitimizing the total subversion of the emission regime.”In his submissions, De La Mare pointed to an diagram from an internal VW document, showing how the software made the vehicle sacrifice its fuel consumption, driveability and engine noise when under testing, in order to dip beneath the legal limit on pollutants.A spokesman for Volkswagen said that the drivers didn’t suffer any losses and that the vehicles didn’t use prohibited defeat devices. The company also disputes the number of claimants involved in the class action, saying it’s closer to 85,000.Gareth Pope, a lawyer from Slater and Gordon representing the drivers, said in a statement that VW had perpetrated an “environmental scandal” and had spent “millions of pounds denying the claims our clients bring.”Many similar cases are proceeding in German courts, including a group action that involves thousands of Volkswagen drivers. They argue that they faced their vehicles being banned from the road and suffered losses as the resale value of their cars declined. Those cases hinge on whether the fact that a software update that made the cars legal to use invalidates the claim.VW in Germany has for years argued that the software used here was legal. That argument was tossed by Germany’s top civil court in February in a rare a rebuke of VW’s position.An earlier version of this story was corrected to reference to regulator fine in third paragraph.(Updates with detail on software in seventh paragraph)\--With assistance from Karin Matussek.To contact the reporter on this story: Eddie Spence in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at firstname.lastname@example.org, Christopher Elser, Peter ChapmanFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Tens of thousands of British drivers on Monday accused Volkswagen of fitting devices to cheat clean air laws at the start of the country's biggest class action lawsuit brought to tackle "dieselgate". Volkswagen has said about 11 million cars worldwide - and 1.2 million in Britain - were fitted with software that cheated diesel emissions tests designed to limit noxious car fumes and carbon dioxide (CO2) pollution. A hearing at the High Court is set to last for two weeks.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- After a week in which Daimler AG and Volkswagen AG’s Audi announced thousands of job cuts, it’s easy to forget that the German car industry once seemed unassailable.The 2009 recession forced a massive downsizing of America’s auto giants. General Motors Co. and Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection; Ford Motor Co. escaped a similar fate only by cutting its workforce to the bone. By contrast, Volkswagen, BMW AG and Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz overcame the crisis with barely a scratch. Afterwards they took full advantage as wealthy Chinese splurged on luxury German vehicles. Germany’s carmakers and their suppliers went on a hiring spree at home and abroad.There were early signs of hubris: Volkswagen paid its chief executive officer 17.5 million euros ($19.3 million) in 2011. But Germany’s powerful trade unions made sure workers benefited too. In recent years production line staff at BMW and VW’s Porsche subsidiary took home almost 10,000 euros as an annual bonus. BMW spends an average of more than 100,000 euros per employee on salary, pension and social security costs, according to its annual report. Now that jobs boom has come to a screeching halt, and not before time. An industry facing unprecedented upheaval can’t afford such largess.The chief reason for the belt-tightening is, of course, the vast cost of moving beyond combustion engines. Volkswagen expects to spend an astonishing 60 billion euros on hybrid, electric and digital technology in the next five years. Doing this requires the hiring of even more people, but the products they’re developing aren’t always big money spinners yet.For a time, the industry will have to provide a full range of propulsion options. For their factories this means “peak complexity” — to borrow a phrase from Mercedes’s management. Eventually, however, many of these factory workers will become unnecessary because electric motors are much simpler to build than diesel and gasoline engines. Last week's job cuts won’t be the last.The German industry has been caught out too by an unexpected slowdown in demand. Continental AG, the supplier that’s cutting 20,000 jobs, expects production to stagnate over the next five years. Daimler said last month that sales haven’t matched its production capacity. Audi’s domestic plants are reportedly particularly under-utilized, not helped by the popularity of SUVs over sedans (the former tend to be built overseas).Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler will still generate about 24 billion euros of net profit this year, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg. But the era of 10% operating profit margins — long a benchmark for German luxury carmakers — is over. Mercedes thinks 4% is more realistic next year.The automakers therefore have to tackle their bloated fixed costs. In view of its spending commitments, Volkswagen was unwise to let its workforce swell to almost 700,000. That’s about 80% more than Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp., which builds a similar number of cars (though Volkswagen has a big truck unit too).Volkswagen’s labor expenses have crept higher as a percentage of sales since the last recession. Doubtless this reflects the influence of the German unions and hence it’ll be very difficult to rectify. Like their peers, German employees at the Volkswagen brand have job guarantees until 2029.Ultimately the German car jobs boom was a bet that demand would increase, combustion engines would have a long life and global trade would remain encumbered. Instead, the electric shift is happening faster than expected and Trump’s tariff crusades have turned the German industry’s global production presence into a liability.Cars are superfluous for many young people today, and if they do buy one it will soon have a simple electric motor, not a combustion engine made of hundreds of intricate components. The hiring practices of German carmakers look like a bubble that’s burst.To contact the author of this story: Chris Bryant at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: James Boxell at firstname.lastname@example.orgThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Chris Bryant is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies. He previously worked for the Financial Times.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Daimler said on Friday it will cut at least 10,000 jobs worldwide over the next three years, following others in the industry as they cut costs to invest in electric vehicles while grappling with weakening sales. It marks the third announcement on cost cuts this week by a major German car company as automakers seek to fund huge investments into cleaner and self-driving technologies while demand in China, their biggest market, is falling and a trade war between Washington and Beijing is curbing economic growth. "The automotive industry is in the middle of the biggest transformation in its history," Daimler said in a statement.
In 2018, South Korea's SK Innovation beat its larger, local rival LG Chem to a multibillion dollar deal to supply German carmaker Volkswagen with electric vehicle batteries in the United States. With great fanfare, SK Innovation (SKI) broke ground in March on a $1.7 billion factory in Commerce, Georgia, about 200 km from VW's Chattanooga plant, which will be the automaker's electric vehicle hub in the United States.
(Bloomberg) -- Want the lowdown on European markets? In your inbox before the open, every day. Sign up here.Audi plans to eliminate roughly 15% of its German workforce to lift earnings by 6 billion euros ($6.6 billion) as Volkswagen AG’s largest profit maker pushes ahead with a restructuring plan to help adapt to the costly transition to electric cars.The turnaround is aimed at regaining ground lost to luxury-car leaders Mercedes-Benz and BMW AG and counter pressure from Tesla Inc. Volkswagen has been scrambling to revive Audi’s fortunes after turmoil sparked by the aftermath of the 2015 diesel-cheating scandal.By 2025, Audi plans to cut as many as 9,500 jobs in Germany and streamline operations at its two main factories in its home country. The positions will be reduced through attrition and voluntary measures including early retirement, Audi said in a statement Tuesday after reaching an agreement with employee representatives.The approximately 50,000 remaining employees in Germany will have job guarantees through 2029, and Audi will create 2,000 new jobs to strengthen its engineering muscle for electric cars and digital offerings.“We are now tackling structural issues in order to prepare Audi for the challenges ahead,” Chief Executive Officer Bram Schot said in the statement. “In times of upheaval, we are making Audi more agile and more efficient.”Management ShakeupTalks with labor unions on the job cuts had dragged on for months, and Volkswagen appointed former BMW executive Markus Duesmann, 50, as the brand’s new chief starting in April to advance the process. He will replace Schot, who succeeded Rupert Stadler after his arrest in connection with the diesel crisis.“VW group has embarked on a potentially significant reorganization of its activities,” Timm Schulze-Melander, Redburn industry specialist, said in a note. “Things may not move in a straight-line, but progress is expected by investors given the significant challenges in 2021 in Europe.”VW shares fell as much as 0.8% in Frankfurt trading, paring gains for the year to 27%.Complying with tighter European emissions rules requires significant investment, while trade wars and uncertainty related to Brexit fallout adds to the complexity of managing the disruptive technology shift.Audi has been wrestling with stricter emission-test procedures that took effect in Europe last year and led to significant production bottlenecks that bogged down deliveries.Electric ExpansionThe world’s third-largest luxury-car brand has been pushing for a fresh start with a review of its product range, which led to the decision to halt the TT coupe. The former design icon will be replaced with a battery-powered model.To revive momentum, Audi will launch five fully-electric and seven plug-in hybrid models within two years and broaden the lineup to more than 30 electrified cars by 2025. But the transition will be costly after higher spending on electric models like the E-Tron contributed to returns last year dropping to 6% from 7.8%.Audi produces the E-Tron at its factory in Brussels. It will add electric-car production at its two main German factories in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm as well as part of the labor pact to ensure sufficient output.Audi targets slightly higher deliveries and revenue this year, and an operating profit margin between 7% and 8.5%. The cost-cuts are aimed it lifting margins back to a range of 9% to 11%. Audi didn’t specify whether it can reach the goal next year as planned.(Adds analyst comment in seventh paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Christoph Rauwald in Frankfurt at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at firstname.lastname@example.org, Chris Reiter, Tara PatelFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Not every advance in electric-vehicle technology takes place inside the sterile calm of a research laboratory.BMW AG, Volkswagen AG’s Audi and a Silicon Valley-based battery maker are helping push the boundaries by racing electric-powered cars through Saudi Arabia, New York, London and Seoul at speeds topping 170 mph.Breakthroughs made by competitors in Formula E, which started its sixth season over the weekend, are being incorporated into family SUVs and sedans –- and even India’s electric rickshaws -- as manufacturers seek to improve and extend their electric lineups while nations gradually phase out gas guzzlers. More powerful batteries and better motors, energy-management software and braking systems are all being transferred from the racetrack to the showroom.“What we are doing in Formula E is highly relevant back on the road,” said Dilbagh Gill, chief executive officer and team principal of India’s Mahindra Racing, the motorsport unit of Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. “We are able to come in and help them immediately in improving the product.”Formula E, which began in 2014 with an “E-Prix” in Beijing, has 12 teams, almost all of which involve automakers producing or developing battery-powered vehicles for consumers – such as Nissan Motor Co. and Tata Motors Ltd.’s Jaguar brand.Volkswagen’s Porsche and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz brand are new participants in the 14-race season that opened Friday in Saudi Arabia. The schedule runs through July, concluding with the two-day London E-Prix.Briton Alexander Sims, racing with BMW i Andretti Motorsport, won Saturday’s race on the outskirts of the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird won Friday’s opening race.Last season’s champion was DS Techeetah, the Chinese-owned team of PSA Group’s DS Automobiles. Its DS E-Tense FE20 machine can accelerate from zero to 100 kph (62 mph) in 2.8 seconds.DS Automobiles is taking the powertrain –- parts including the motor and inverter -– from its Formula E entry and putting it inside a concept car called the DS X E-Tense. It also will use the same operating software across its planned range of electric passenger vehicles.PSA Group, also home to the Peugeot and Citroen brands, is targeting a fully electrified fleet by 2025.“The cars that win in Formula E are the most energy efficient, which is largely driven by software,” Paris-based DS Automobiles said. “Everything we do in Formula E with algorithms and software we try to replicate in series production.”Rules intended to limit costs for teams and keep the series competitive mean racers use a standardized lithium-ion battery manufactured by a unit of Newark, California-based Lucid Motors Inc.During the first four seasons of Formula E, drivers needed to change cars in the middle of a race -- leaping from one cockpit into another -- because the power packs couldn’t complete a whole event, which typically lasts about 45 minutes.Lucid’s batteries, introduced last season, eliminate the need for that switch.“The real reason we are doing this is to demonstrate that we have world-class technology, which will find its way into our forthcoming road car,” said Chief Executive Officer Peter Rawlinson, previously chief engineer of Tesla Inc.’s Model S.The company plans to start producing its Lucid Air sedan in Arizona next year, boasting of a range topping 400 miles and a speed exceeding 200 mph.Lucid’s Formula E batteries pack in more energy than alternatives that are commercially available for regular cars, said James Frith, a London-based analyst for BloombergNEF.“If Lucid can transfer this technology to commercial electric vehicles, it could give them a real advantage,” he said.Another key focus for Mahindra, DS Techeetah, Audi and the others is finding the best way to slow a car down.Since most vehicles lose energy as heat when a driver hits the brakes and causes friction, electric race cars use regenerative braking systems. In effect, a car’s motor goes into reverse to both slow the wheels and act as a generator to send power back into the battery.The technology helps to boost driving range, meaning passenger cars could use smaller batteries, said Allan McNish, team principal of Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler.“Regenerating energy is going to be a key factor for the development of road cars,” said McNish, an ex-Formula 1 driver and a three-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race.For Nissan, the technology transfer goes both ways, Azusa Momose, a spokeswoman, said. Racing engineers working with the Nissan e.dams team are drawing on the company’s experience developing the electric Leaf hatchback.“They share the same DNA,” Momose said in an email. Formula E cars are at the leading edge of energy management and powertrain development, she said.Yet not all the gains are connected with technology or software.Mumbai-based Mahindra will share racers’ cockpit tips with India’s auto rickshaw drivers to help them extend their battery’s range between refills. India is home to about 1.5 million battery-powered, three-wheeled rickshaws. Mahindra is among the manufacturers of electric versions.“As soon as they improve range, their earning capacity improves,” Gill said.Putting high-speed EVs onto circuits using regular city streets is considered another major benefit to the racing series, lifting the profile of the battery-powered sector in key consumer markets. Formula E races last season drew more than 400,000 spectators and a cumulative TV audience of 411 million people, the series said in September.Last season’s racers zipped along Brooklyn’s Clinton Wharf and Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbour. This season, competitors will loop around the National Monument in Jakarta, and, in the U.K., teams will tackle a circuit that weaves inside the ExCeL London exhibition center and then back outside onto the city’s Royal Docks.“You are racing in the heart of cities, and that’s where electric vehicles will be driven,” McNish said. “You are effectively taking your product to the people.”\--With assistance from Ed Ludlow and Tsuyoshi Inajima.To contact the reporter on this story: David Stringer in Melbourne at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski at firstname.lastname@example.org, Michael Tighe, Will DaviesFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Volkswagen has told a sports arena in western Germany to cover up the carmaker's name when the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party holds an event there. The AfD is holding a national congress at the Volkswagen Halle arena in the city of Brunswick on Nov. 30-Dec.1. A spokesman for VW's works council said the lettering at the stadium spelling out Volkswagen must be covered as the carmaker wants to distance itself from a party that promotes an "ethnic, nationalist" agenda that goes against the company's values.
GUANGZHOU, China/SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Volkswagen AG , the top foreign automaker in China, said on Thursday it expects the world's biggest passenger car market to stabilize next year with low growth levels likely for three to four years. Hit by a slowing economy, the U.S.-China trade war and chaotic implementation of new emission rules, China's vehicle sales are expected to slide some 8% this year after a 2.8% fall last year to 28.1 million - the first decline since the 1990s. "Next year we predict a stable total market environment, maybe moderate small growth," VW Group China CEO Stephan Woellenstein told Reuters at the Guangzhou autoshow.