02/25/2018

News

Even as California embraces electric vehicles, pickup trucks still rule its roads

California, easily the biggest market in the United States for electric-vehicle sales, is still very much in love with the pickup truck. In fact, data from the California New Car Dealers Association shows the Ford F-Series pickup outsold all pure electric vehicles combined in 2017. Californians bought 53,549 electric vehicles last year compared with 55,249 […]

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The Reality of Evs

This is an incredibly exciting time to be in the transportation industry. New cars and trucks are safer and more efficient than ever. Automakers are introducing new technologies every day and will be deploying scores of new models with technologically advanced drivetrains and other features in the coming years. Partnerships on highly autonomous vehicle deployment […]

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The fall of Faraday Future’s key backer threatens a California town’s dream

A group led by former Tesla Inc. executives brought a bundle of gutsy ideas from their new employer, Chinese tycoon Jia Yueting, who vowed to revive the 1-million-square-foot building and assemble a luxurious electric car that would surpass anything from Tesla’s Elon Musk. “The community was just thrilled to have an opportunity to have life […]

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There’s a Global Race to Control Batteries—and China Is Winning

There is a world-wide race to lock up the supply chain for cobalt, which will likely be in even greater demand as electric-car production rises. So far, China is way ahead. Chinese imports of cobalt from Congo, the world’s biggest producer of cobalt, totaled $1.2 billion in the first nine months of 2017, compared with […]

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A hot mess’ — Council members trash the rollout of L.A.’s recycling program

Lawmakers spent more than six hours reviewing some of the problems that have accompanied RecycLA, the commercial trash program that has sparked months of complaints from landlords, condominium owners and the city’s business groups. The feedback they received was frequently angry. One speaker accused the city’s private trash haulers of engaging in price gouging. A […]

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The solar industry lost jobs in 2017, but it still employs twice as many people as coal

More than 250,000 people work in solar, according to a report released Wednesday from the nonprofit Solar Foundation. That’s down from about 260,000 in 2016, when solar installations soared as companies raced to finish projects before the planned expiration of a federal tax credit. California kept its top spot as the country’s solar heavyweight with […]

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Solar jobs down 14% in California, 3.8% nationally

After experiencing consistent year-over-year growth, the number of jobs in the solar energy sector took a hit in 2017, with California absorbing the biggest blow. Solar employment dropped 14 percent in California last year, which was largely responsible for a 3.8 percent decline nationwide, according to the National Solar Jobs Census released earlier this week.

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Garbage In, Garbage Out in L.A.

When Los Angeles imposed a new trash-collection program last summer, supporters said the public would benefit from reduced landfill waste and greenhouse gas emissions and improved worker safety. Six months later, RecycLA has clearly benefitted the green and labor special interests that backed it, but for much of L.A. the experiment has been a dumpster […]

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National Solar Jobs Census 2017

The latest Solar Jobs Census found that 250,271 Americans work in solar as of 2017. This is a 3.8% decline, or about 9,800 fewer jobs, since 2016, marking the first time that jobs have decreased since the first Solar Jobs Census was released in 2010. At the same time, the long-term trend continues to show […]

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I Tried to Make My Home Energy Efficient and It’s Ruining My Life

Leonard McBean had been told for months that his south Los Angeles home was a firetrap. Decades-old wiring had never been replaced, a common situation in his low-income neighborhood. One Tuesday morning, McBean asked a friend about the electrical contractor working on their house. By Wednesday night, the same contractor—a man who gave his name as Yogi—had approved the Jamaican immigrant for $18,000 in energy-efficient improvements. “I said, ‘I don’t have that money,” McBean, a 67-year-old retired medical shuttle driver, told me. “He said, ‘Mr. McBean, don’t worry, you’re not going to pay a lot, just $100 a month.’ He said it was an Obama program.” When McBean electronically signed the contract two years ago, he didn’t realize he was consenting to have a lien placed on his house, meaning the county could take the home away for lack of payment. He didn’t know the escrow payment attached to his mortgage would jump $400 a month. He didn’t know the lien would make the home difficult to sell.

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Lithium battery maker to employ hundreds in Kentucky plant

A maker of lithium batteries is promising to provide an economic jolt to the Appalachian region, announcing plans Friday to relocate from California to Kentucky and build a factory employing hundreds of workers in an area reeling from the coal industry’s decline. EnerBlu Inc. announced it will invest $372 million and create 875 full-time jobs in eastern Kentucky with the production facility in Pikeville. The company also will move its headquarters from Riverside, California, bringing another $40 million investment and 110 administrative, research-and-development and executive jobs to Lexington, Kentucky’s second-largest city.

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Tesla troubles: Can California impose its blue values on the green economy?

In the waning hours of the legislative session, Democrats pushed through new labor requirements widely viewed as retaliation against Tesla, the electric car maker embroiled in a union-organizing campaign at its Fremont plant. Labor unions got lawmakers to insert two sentences into a cap-and-trade funding bill requiring automakers to be certified “as fair and responsible in the the treatment of their workers” before their customers can obtain up to $2,500 from California’s clean vehicle rebate program. At the time, Democrats openly wrestled with the concern that the United Automobile Workers, which is trying to maintain its role as the auto industry makes big bets on electric vehicles—was expanding its unionization campaign from the factory floor to the Senate floor. Sen. Steve Glazer of Orinda said the state should not “hold our environmental projects hostage to a fight with one progressive employer.” Sen. Connie Leyva of Chino countered that California shouldn’t want companies to succeed at the expense of workers.

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Ford to Move Electric Car Production to Mexico, Tags U.S. Plant for Driverless Car

Ford Motor Co. plans to produce a future electric car in Mexico rather than make it in the U.S., reversing plans announced in January to make its Flat Rock, Mich., assembly plant near Detroit its main electric-vehicle production site.

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How far can Democrats go to help unions?

It’s clearly aimed at Tesla at a critical moment in its brief history. It’s counting on sales of a new, lower-priced model to move into the mass market and become profitable, it needs rebates to entice customers, and it faces a potential loss of federal rebates.

Implicitly, politicians are telling Tesla to either cooperate with the UAW or be frozen out of rebates, which would still flow to customers of Tesla rivals.

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Why Electric Car Companies Don’t Need Batteries

No car company outside China makes batteries for their electric cars. Investors should hope it stays that way.

Japanese group Panasonic makes the battery cells in Tesla’s much-hyped “gigafactory” in Nevada. Other global car makers also outsource production of cells to East Asian specialists, even if they assemble them into battery packs in their own plants. Mercedes-owner Daimler is plowing $1.2 billion into what it calls “battery factories” in Germany, China and Tuscaloosa, Alabama, but these too will buy cells from others.

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