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Volkswagen Aims to Use Its Size to Head Off Tesla

Volkswagen is going all in on electric cars, with plans to build battery factories in Europe, install a network of charging stations and slash the cost of emission-free travel.That was the message Monday as the German carmaker staged a so-called Power Day to showcase its latest electric car technology. The event was Volkswagen’s answer to Tesla’s Battery Day presentations, which draw intense attention from investors and electric car buffs.The session included a number of attention-getting announcements, including a promise that Volkswagen would cut the cost of batteries by up to 50 percent by the end of the …

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China Turns to Elon Musk as Technology Dreams Sour

China is having its techlash moment.The country’s internet giants, once celebrated as engines of economic vitality, are now scorned for exploiting user data, abusing workers and squelching innovation. Jack Ma, co-founder of the e-commerce titan Alibaba, is a fallen idol, with his companies under government scrutiny for the ways they have secured their grip over the world’s second-largest economy.But there is one tech figure who has managed to keep the Chinese public in his thrall, whose mix of impish bomb-throwing and captain-of-industry bravado seems tailor-made for this time of dashed dreams and disillusionment: Elon Musk.“He …

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Why Japan Is Holding Back as the World Rushes Toward Electric Cars

TOKYO — Just over a decade ago, Nissan became the first automaker to offer a mass-produced car that ran on batteries alone. That hatchback, the Leaf, has been a smash hit, at least by electric car standards, with more than 500,000 sold by the end of last year.But as the trail that Nissan blazed becomes increasingly crowded, Japan’s mighty auto industry is in danger of being left behind. While governments and automakers worldwide are staking out bold pledges to transition to electric-only vehicles, Japanese car companies and regulators are hedging their bets.Japan dominates the global market for the current …

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Auto Dinosaurs Show They’re Not Dead Yet

A year ago, investors had pretty much given up the big global carmakers for dead. Shares of Daimler, General Motors and Ford Motor were at 10-year lows. Electric vehicle start-ups without any sales were sometimes worth more than traditional automakers with tens of thousands of employees and factories all over the world. The pandemic looked as if it would seal the dinosaurs’ fate.But it turns out the old behemoths may not be doomed just yet. Earnings reported by Daimler on Thursday underlined a remarkable comeback by some traditional carmakers. These companies have managed to survive the pandemic, reorient to …

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The Auto Industry Bets Its Future on Batteries

“Today’s batteries are not competitive,” said Jagdeep Singh, chief executive of QuantumScape, which is based in San Jose, Calif. “Batteries have enormous potential and are critical for a renewable energy economy, but they have to get better.”For the most part, all of the money pouring into battery technology is good news. It puts capitalism to work on solving a global problem. But this reordering of the auto industry will also claim some victims, like the companies that build parts for internal combustion engine cars and trucks, or automakers and investors that bet on the wrong technology.“Battery innovations …

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G.M. Announcement Shakes Up U.S. Automakers’ Transition to Electric Cars

And China’s decision late last year to require that most vehicles sold there be electric by 2035 is also critical because G.M. sells more cars in that country through its joint ventures than in the United States. And Britain, Ireland and the Netherlands have said they will ban sales of new gasoline and diesel cars starting in 2030.G.M. has been talking about moving to zero-emissions vehicles for about two years. Last March, it unveiled modular battery technology that it said would lower costs. A few months later, G.M. said it could reach a point where electric vehicles …

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Is Rivian the Next Tesla? Investors Bet Big on Electric Truck Maker

Another big trend reshaping the auto industry is autonomous cars. On Tuesday, Cruise, a unit of G.M. that is working in that area, announced it had raised $2 billion from Microsoft, G.M., Honda and other investors. Rivian and Tesla are also working on automated-driving technology.Rivian is different from Tesla in several respects. Tesla so far has grown by selling sporty sedans, a type of vehicle that is falling out of favor with consumers. Tesla intends to begin making an oddly angular, futuristic pickup, the Cybertruck, later this year. But it hasn’t yet put heavy focus on the …

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Tesla Might Finally Have Some Competition. From Ford.

The Mustang Mach-E and the Volkswagen ID.4, which is due in dealerships in March, go about 250 miles on a full charge — about the same as the cheapest version of Tesla’s Model Y — and start at about $43,000 and $40,000. The base Model Y starts at about $42,000, but the Ford and Volkswagen models are eligible for a $7,500 federal tax credit that will lower the final cost to well under $40,000, or close to the average price of new cars sold in the United States. The tax credit no longer applies to purchases of Teslas.Start-up automakers will also put new cars on the …

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Lack of Tiny Parts Disrupts Auto Factories Worldwide

The semiconductor shortage came out of left field, hitting the industry at a perilous moment. Sales have plunged worldwide. In Europe, for example, they were down 25 percent in 2020.This is all happening while automakers are trying to navigate a shift in basic technology from internal combustion engines to batteries, which has subjected them to new competition from Tesla, the California company that has become the most valuable automaker in the world by far, and emerging Chinese manufacturers like Nio.Exactly how long the shortage will last is unclear. It can take 20 to 25 weeks from the time new orders are placed …

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German Automakers Are Charged Up and Ready to Take on Tesla

Next year, Mercedes, a division of Daimler, will introduce the EQS, a battery-powered counterpart to the company’s top-of-the-line S-Class. The EQS, which will cost more than $100,000, will be the first vehicle built with Mercedes’s so-called electric vehicle architecture, the same idea as Volkswagen’s modular toolbox.Daimler says the EQS will be able to travel 700 kilometers, or 435 miles, on a charge. That would be slightly more than the current Tesla S. In 2022, Daimler will introduce additional models based on the electric vehicle platform, including a battery-powered S.U.V., to be produced at the company’s factory in …

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