Porsche’s new synthetic gasoline may fuel Formula 1 races

70 percent of the cars Porsche has ever built are still on the road. Since it wants to keep it that way, its developing a synthetic fuel that emits 90 percent less CO2 than gasoline derived from fossil fuels.

Enlarge / 70 percent of the cars Porsche has ever built are still on the road. Since it wants to keep it that way, its developing a synthetic fuel that emits 90 percent less CO2 than gasoline derived from fossil fuels. (credit: Porsche)

Even with the best will in the world, it will be many years before we entirely decarbonize our transport. The UK, France, China, and even California have announced plans to phase out the sale of new vehicles with internal combustion engines in the late 2030s, but to our knowledge, none of these plans include a ban on vehicles already on the road. If those cars and trucks are going to keep driving for a while longer, it behooves us to get creative when it comes to the fuel they’ll burn.

Which is why I’m a little excited about a collaboration between Porsche and Siemens to do just that. As we reported earlier this year, Porsche and Siemens are developing a low-carbon synthetic fuel that combines green hydrogen (produced by wind-powered electrolysis) with carbon dioxide (filtered from the atmosphere) to form methane, which is in turn then turned into gasoline.

On Friday, the two organizations broke ground on the Haru Oni manufacturing plant near Punto Arenas in Chile. Assuming all goes to plan, the plant should be able to produce 34,000 gallons (130,000 L) of synthetic fuel in 2022, before scaling up to 14.5 million gallons (55 million L) by 2024 and 145 million gallons (550 million L) by 2026, at a cost of around $7.6 per gallon ($2 per L).

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#cars, #chile, #formula-1, #fuel, #gasoline, #internal-combustion-engines, #low-carbon-fuel, #porsche, #siemens, #synthetic-fuel

Porsche expands online marketplace to include US inventory of new cars

Porsche Cars North America has added its entire U.S. inventory of new cars to its online marketplace as the company seeks to keep up with customer demands and the industry’s shift to digital commerce.

When the online marketplace Porsche Finder launched in May 2020, customers were only able to search for pre-owned and certified pre-owned vehicles using the tool. That platform, which lets customers search by vehicle model and generation as well as price, equipment, packages and colors, now includes all new vehicle inventory from its 193 U.S. dealerships.

The platform, which was developed by automaker’s Porsche Digital subsidiary and PCNA, also includes features that let customers estimate a trade-in value and a payment calculator to compare leasing and financing options from Porsche Financial Services.

Online platforms that allow customers to search for products are not new. As customers shift their shopping to online — a trend that accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic — digital platforms have become a critical tool for companies.

Established automakers like Porsche, however, have had to balance the demand of its customers and dealership network. Porsche doesn’t have a direct sales model like Tesla and new entrants Lucid Group and Rivian.

“The dealership is still at the center of everything we do,” PCNA President and CEO Kjell Gruner said in a recent interview. “At the dealership, we believe very much in personal interaction — in looking somebody in the eye, reading their body language. And, of course, our products are very physical.”

While all 193 dealers are participating in the Porsche Finder tool, Gruner acknowledged that this large group includes those who have been more cautious about the move toward digital commerce.

“You always have some more innovative people, some more cautious,” he said. “COVID … really prompted a willingness to go digital and to use those tools for their own advantage.”

#automotive, #connected-cars, #e-commerce, #ecommerce, #electric-vehicles, #porsche, #porsche-911, #porsche-taycan, #tc

The Porsche Taycan 4S: Better than a 911? Believe it

It’s been almost two years since I first met the Porsche Taycan, the stylish and swift electric vehicle that ticks all the right boxes. Since then, withdrawal has set in. I’ve been desperate for another fix of this EV that still feels like the happy result of a transporter accident involving a Porsche 928 and an iPhone. My initial impressions were formed driving through Denmark and northern Germany, and I wanted to know if those held up on domestic roads and surrounded by our domestic EV infrastructure.

The introduction of the more affordable Taycan 4S seemed like a good reason to revisit the car, but Porsche wanted us to stretch the car’s legs on a proper road trip. There was one trip in particular that I had in mind: DC to Watkins Glen, NY, a trek to coincide with the annual six hour IMSA race. The pandemic dashed any hopes of attempting that trip in 2020, but this year the stars aligned, and so it is I recently spent a week with the sleek white four-door electric sports car you see above.

For a detailed technical look at the Taycan, please refer to our previous coverage here and here. Briefly, the 4S has a pair of electric motors (one for each axle) that output a combined 360 kW (482 hp) and 650 Nm (479 lb-ft) (or 420 kW/562 hp when using launch control), fed by a 93.4 kWh (net) battery. Our test car was equipped with the larger Performance Battery Plus option, which bumps the starting price from $103,800 to $109,370 before tax credits.

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#battery-electric-vehicle, #bev, #car-review, #cars, #dc-fast-charging, #electric-car, #electric-vehicle, #electrify-america, #ev, #features, #porsche, #porsche-taycan, #porsche-taycan-4s, #road-trip, #watkins-glen

Industrial cybersecurity startup Nozomi Networks secures $100M in pre-IPO funding

Nozomi Networks, an industry cybersecurity startup that aims to shield critical infrastructure from cyberattacks, has raised $100 million in pre-IPO funding. 

The Series D funding round was led by Triangle Peak Partners, and also includes investment from a number of equipment, security, service provider and go-to-market companies including Honeywell Ventures, Keysight Technologies and Porsche Digital. 

This funding comes at a critical time for the company. Cyberattacks on industrial control systems (ICS) — the devices necessary for the continued running of power plants, water supplies, and other critical infrastructure — increased both in frequency and severity during the pandemic. Look no further than May and June, which saw ransomware attacks target the IT networks of Colonial Pipeline and meat manufacturing giant JBS, forcing the companies to shut down their industrial operations.

Nozomi Networks, which competes with Dragos and Claroty, claims its industrial cybersecurity solution, which works to secure ICS devices by detecting threats before they hit, aims to prevent such attacks from happening. It provides real-time visibility to help organizations manage cyber risk and improve resilience for industrial operations.

The technology currently supports more than a quarter of a million devices in sectors such as critical infrastructure, energy, manufacturing, mining, transportation, and utilities, with Nozomi Networks doubling its customer base in 2020 and seeing a 5,000% increase in the number of devices its solutions monitor. 

The company will use its latest investment, which comes less than two years after it secured $30 million in Series C funding, to scale product development efforts as well as its go-to-market approach globally. 

Specifically, Nozomi Networks said it plans to grow its sales, marketing, and partner enablement efforts, and upgrade its products to address new challenges in both the OT and IoT visibility and security markets. 

#articles, #australia, #canada, #colonial-pipeline, #computer-security, #computing, #cyberattack, #cybercrime, #cyberwarfare, #energy, #funding, #internet-of-things, #malware, #manufacturing, #mining, #nozomi-networks, #porsche, #security, #technology, #united-states

What is LMDh and why are we so excited about sports car racing in 2023?

A sketch of the Porsche LMDh race car

Enlarge / This sketch is all we’ve seen of Porsche’s forthcoming LMDh hybrid racer. But now we know that when it starts racing in 2023, it will be run by Team Penske. (credit: Porsche)

In 2021, there is a real buzz building in the world of sports car racing. After many years of running incompatible technical regulations, the three organizations that are in charge of endurance racing in the US, France, and the rest of the world have managed to find common ground. Soon, a car that’s able to compete for the overall win at Le Mans will also be eligible to do the same at Sebring or Daytona, and vice-versa.

This convergence was meant to stimulate interest and draw in new entries, and it’s doing just that: Acura, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Glickenhaus, Peugeot, and Toyota have all confirmed programs. Entries are also expected from Cadillac, Hyundai, and Lamborghini. That level of manufacturer involvement hasn’t been seen since the glory days of Group C, and it’s fair to say the increasing field of competitors has fans excited at the prospect.

But sports car racing—which often involves multiple classes of cars racing at the same time—is nothing if not overly complicated. The news is good, but bear with us as we explain what’s going on.

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#aco, #acura, #audi, #bmw, #cadillac, #cars, #daytona, #dpi, #dpi-2-0, #endurance-racing, #features, #ferrari, #fia, #glickenhaus, #hybrid, #hypercar, #imsa, #le-mans, #le-mans-hypercar, #lmdh, #lmp1, #peugeot, #porsche, #racing, #sebring, #sportscar-racing, #toyota

#DealMonitor – Tiger Global investiert 175 Millionen in Contentful (Unicorn!) – Grover sichert sich 1 Milliarde-Asset-Backed-Finanzierung

Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 28. Juli werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.


+++ Der Über-Geldgeber Tiger Global investiert gemeinsam mit Base10 Advancement Initiative und Tidemark 175 Millionen US-Dollar in Contentful. Die Bewertung steigt auf 3 Milliarden Dollar – damit ist Contentful nun ein Unicorn. Das Berliner Startup, das 2013 von Sascha Konietzke und Paolo Negri gegründet wurde, positioniert sich als sogenanntes “Headless CMS”. Über das Startup können Content-Builder. also Entwickler, Designer und Content Creator, Inhalte erstellen und für alle Kanäle und Geräte verbreiten. Sapphire Ventures, General Catalyst, Salesforce Ventures sowie weitere Investoren investierten zuletzt 80 Millionen Dollar in Contentful. Die Bewertung soll damals – im Sommer des vergangenen Jahres – nahe der Unicorn-Marke gelegen haben, also bei knapp 1 Milliarde Dollar. Insgesamt flossen nun rund 333 Millionen in das Unternehmen. Mehr im ausführlichen Artikel zum Unicorn-Investment

+++ Der englische Kapitalgeber Fasanara Capital stellt dem Berliner Unternehmen Grover im Rahmen einer sogenannten Asset-Backed-Finanzierung rund 1 Milliarde US-Dollar zur Verfügung. “Das Fremdkapital wird einer Zweckgesellschaft bereitgestellt, die hiermit die Elektronikartikel erwirbt welche von Grovers Kunden gemietet werden. In dieser neuen Struktur werden das Eigentum und die Finanzierung der vermieteten Geräte getrennt von Grovers Technologie-Plattform, was es dem Unternehmen ermöglicht sich vollständig auf seine Kernaktivitäten der Produktentwicklung, Kundenakquise und internationalen Expansion zu konzentrieren”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Zudem erweitert die Jungfirma ihre Serie-B-Finanzierungsrunde. “Die aktuelle Series-B-Finanzierungsrunde erhöht sich damit von 71 auf 100 Millionen US-Dollar” heißt es in der Presseaussendung.  Zu den Investoren von Grover gehören unter anderem JMS Capital-Everglen, Augmentum, Viola Fintech, Seedcamp, Circularity Capital, coparion und Samsung Next. Das Berliner Startup, das insbesondere Unterhaltungselektronik vermietet, wurde 2015 von Michael Cassau gegründet. Bereits 2020 sicherte sich das Grownup, das 275 Mitarbeiter:innen beschäftigt, eine sogenannte Asset-Backed-Finanzierung in Höhe von 250 Millionen Euro. Grover ist derzeit in Deutschland, Österreich, den Niederlanden und Spanien aktiv. Mehr über Grover

Isar Aerospace
+++ HV Capital, der Autobauer Porsche und die Bankengruppe Lombard Odier und weitere Altinvestoren investieren 64 Millionen Euro in Isar Aerospace. Insgesamt sammelte das Unternehmen in Series-B-Finanzierung nun rund 140 Millionen ein. Lakestar, Earlybird, Vsquared Ventures, Airbus Ventures, Apeiron und HV Capital sowie Bulent Altan, Ann-Kristin und Paul Achleitner investierten Ende des vergangenen Jahres rund 75 Millionen Euro in Isar Aerospace. Über die Erweiterung der Investmentrunde hatten wir bereits Mitte Juni im Insider-Podcast berichtet. Das 2018 von Daniel Metzler, Josef Fleischmann und Markus Brandl gegründete Unternehmen will kleinere Satelliten kostengünstiger in den Orbit befördern und entwickelt deswegen unter anderem an alternativen Antrieben für Trägerraketen. 180 Mitarbeiter:innen wirken derzeit für die Jungfirma. Mehr über Isar Aerospace

+++ Tier Mobility-Gründer Lawrence Leuschner sowie die Trivago- und Flaschenpost-Macher investieren 4,5 Millionen Euro in Roadsurfer – siehe Gründerszene. Erst Ende März investierten HV Capital, Heartcore Capital und die Altinvestoren 24 Millionen Euro in Roadsurfer. Das Münchner Startup, das 2016 von Markus Dickhard, Stephie Niemann, Christoph Niemann, Jean-Marie Klein und Susanne Dickhardt gegründet wurde, vermietet Camper. Derzeit bietet das Unternehmen nach eigenen Angaben über 2.500 Camper an 22 Standorten in mehreren europäischen Länder an – darunter Deutschland, Frankreich, Spanien und Portugal. Mittlerweile arbeiten 230 Mitarbeiter:innen für Roadsurfer. Der Münchner Angel-Verbund 10x Group, hinter dem Andreas Etten, Felix Haas, Jan Becker und Robert Wuttke stecken, investierte bereits frühzeitig in das Unternehmen.


MyValue Solutions
+++ finleap connect übernimmt den spanischen Open Banking-Anbieter MyValue Solutions. “Durch diese erste Akquisition gewinnt finleap connect die Vorteile der marktführenden Technologie und des bedeutenden Kundenstamms des zweitgrößten Open-Banking-Unternehmens auf dem iberischen Markt hinzu, einschließlich seines Status als vertrauenswürdiger Partner namhafter Finanzinstitute”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Das Geschäftskunden-FinTech finleap connect, das 2019 aus dem Zusammenschluss der beiden Unternehmen Figo und Finreach hervorgegangen ist, positioniert sich als Full Stack-Plattform für Open-Banking-Dienstleistungen. Die Bewertung von Finleap Connect lag offiziellen Angaben zufolge zuletzt im “dreistelligen Millionenbereich”.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #base10-advancement-initiative, #camping, #contentful, #fasanara-capital, #finleap-connect, #fintech, #grover, #hv-capital, #isar-aerospace, #lombard-odier, #munchen, #myvalue-solutions, #porsche, #roadsurfer, #tidemark, #tiger-global, #venture-capital

Automakers have battery anxiety, so they’re taking control of the supply

Battery joint ventures have become the hot must-have deal for automakers that have set ambitious targets to deliver millions of electric vehicles in the next few years.

It’s no longer just about securing a supply of cells. The string of partnerships and joint ventures show that automakers are taking a more active role in the development and even production of battery cells, .

Automakers are taking a more active role in the development and even production of battery cells.

And the deals don’t appear to be slowing down. Just this week, Mercedes-Benz announced its $47 billion plan to become an electric-only automaker by 2030. Securing its battery supply chain by expanding existing partnerships or locking in new ones to jointly develop and produce battery cells and modules is a critical piece of its plan.

Mercedes, like other automakers, is also focused on developing and deploying advanced battery technology. In addition to setting up eight new battery plants to supply its future EVs, the German automaker said it was partnering with Sila Nano, the Silicon Valley battery chemistry startup that it has previously invested in, to increase energy density, which should in turn improve range and allow for shorter charging times.

“This follows a trend that we’ve seen of automakers realizing how critical the battery is and taking more control of the production of the cells in order to ensure their own supply,” Sila Nano CEO Gene Berdichevsky said in a recent interview. “Like if you’re VW, and you say, ‘We’re going to go 50% electric by whatever year,’ but then the batteries don’t show up, you’re bankrupt, you’re dead. Their scale is so big that even if their cell partners have promised them to deliver, automakers are scared that they won’t.”

Tesla, BMW and Volkswagen were early adopters of the battery joint-venture strategy. In 2014,Tesla and Panasonic signed an agreement to build a large battery manufacturing plant, or a gigafactory as everyone is now calling it, in the U.S. and have worked together since. BMW began working with Solid Power in 2017 to create solid-state batteries for high-performance EVs that could potentially lower costs by requiring less safety features than lithium-ion batteries.

In addition to its partnership with Northvolt, VW is also in talks with suppliers to secure more direct access to supplies like semiconductors and lithium so it can keep its existing plants running at full speed.

Now the rest of the industry is moving to work with battery companies, to share knowledge and resources and essentially become the manufacturer.

#automotive, #basf, #bmw, #ec-mobility-hardware, #electric-vehicle, #ford, #general-motors, #greentech, #hyundai, #lg-chem, #lithium-ion-battery, #panasonic, #porsche, #renault, #sk-innovation, #solidenergy-systems, #tc, #tesla, #toyota, #transportation, #volkswagen

VW Group’s 10-year plan: A single EV platform across all its brands

VW Group CEO Herbert Diess presents VW's strategy for the next decade.

Enlarge / VW Group CEO Herbert Diess presents VW’s strategy for the next decade. (credit: Volkswagen Group)

On Tuesday, Volkswagen Group revealed its new strategy for the coming decade. Under the tagline “New Auto,” VW Group CEO Herbert Diess laid out how the company plans to increase profitability and streamline its operations by introducing a single battery electric vehicle (BEV) platform across all the group’s brands.

By 2030, VW says that it will make more money selling EVs than vehicles with internal combustion engines, and it expects mobility services and software to make significant contributions to the bottomline by then.

One platform to rule them all

VW Group has been one of the most successful pioneers of using flexible architectures across multiple brands to build a diverse array of vehicles. Currently, there are four internal combustion platforms (MQB, MLB, MSB, and MMB) and one BEV platform (MEB), with a second BEV platform called PPE coming online next year. MEB is for the volume brands VW, Seat, and Skoda, and PPE will be used by Audi and Porsche (and probably Bentley).

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#audi, #battery-electric-vehicles, #bentley, #bevs, #cars, #electric-vehicles, #porsche, #seat, #skoda, #volkswagen, #volkswagen-group

EU fines BMW, VW $1B for running emissions cartel since the 90s

As environmental issues really came of age in the 1990s, certain German automakers were meeting in secret groups to make sure their cars would continue to industriously contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. According to the European Union, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler have been illegally colluding to restrict competition in emission cleaning for new diesel passenger cars, essentially slowing the deployment of cleaner emissions tech. On Thursday, the EU issued fines of $1 billion (€875 million) to Volkswagen and BMW for their involvement in the emissions cartel.

“The five car manufacturers Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche possessed the technology to reduce harmful emissions beyond what was legally required under EU emission standards,” said executive VP of the EU Commission Margrethe Vestager in a statement. “But they avoided to compete on using this technology’s full potential to clean better than what is required by law. So today’s decision is about how legitimate technical cooperation went wrong. And we do not tolerate it when companies collude. It is illegal under EU Antitrust rules. Competition and innovation on managing car pollution are essential for Europe to meet our ambitious Green Deal objectives. And this decision shows that we will not hesitate to take action against all forms of cartel conduct putting in jeopardy this goal.”

All parties acknowledged their involvement and agreed to settle. Volkswagen, which owns Audi and Porsche, will have to pay around $595 million, and BMW will pay $442 million. Daimler would have had to pay around $861 million, but the company is evading fines by being the whistleblower. So we guess Daimler just gets off scot-free?

BMW made a net profit of $4.62 billion last year, and VW made about $12.2 billion and nearly $23 billion in 2019, so this fine sort of feels like a slap on the wrist. And let us remember, this is not the first time VW has gotten into an emissions scandal.

In 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to VW for intentionally adding software into its diesel engines to make it look like it was following emissions controls, when in reality its cars were actually producing far more than the legal amount.

In its action against the companies, the EU specifically homed in on the agreement reached by the companies on the sizes of tanks used for AdBlue, a solution that mixes with diesel car exhaust to neutralize harmful pollutants. The companies agreed not to compete on making cars cleaner even though they had the tech to do so.

Der Spiegel first broke the news about the cartel in 2017, and the companies set to work greenwashing. In the same year, all of the involved parties, as well as Ford Motor Company, joined forces to create a high-power charging network for EVs called Ionity. The plan was to build and operate around 400 charging stations across Europe by 2020, but it looks like Ionity only managed to install 300 across Europe, and it even significantly increased the price of a charge by 500% last year.

Earlier this week, VW’s heavy-truck business, the Traton Group, Daimler Truck and Volvo group joined up to invest nearly $593 million in a network of public charging stations for electric heavy-duty long-haul trucks and buses around Europe.



#audi, #automotive, #bmw, #daimler, #porsche, #transportation, #volkswagen

VW offloads Bugatti to Rimac to form new EV company Bugatti-Rimac

Croatian electric supercar startup Rimac Automobili is taking over Bugatti. Rimac will own a controlling 55% share in the new company, Bugatti-Rimac, with VW’s Porsche owning the remaining 45%, according to reports by the Financial Times.

“Rimac and Bugatti are a perfect match in terms of what we each bring to the table,” said founder and CEO of Rimac, Mate Rimac, in a statement. “As a young, agile and fast-paced automotive and technology company, we have established ourselves as an industry pioneer in electric technologies. With the Nevera, we have also proven that we can develop and manufacture outstanding hypercars, that are not only fast but also exciting and high-quality. Bugatti, with over a century of experience in engineering excellence, also possesses one of the most exceptional heritage of any car company in history.”

The company recently unveiled the Nevera, a hypercar powered by a 120kWh battery pack and four motors to achieve a staggering 1.4MW of power, which is about 1,914 horsepower. It can go from 0 to 60 mph in 1.85 seconds and has a top speed of 258 mph. The Nevera is expected to be the fastest sports car, a spot previously held by the Bugatti Chiron’s.

Rimac’s meteoric rise from bootstrapping in a garage in 2009 to building supercars with one of the most desirable and well-known car brands demonstrates how electric vehicles are beginning to take over the luxury and sports car market. It’s not just about doing what’s right for the environment – it’s about pioneering speed in the future of automobiles.

Along with this announcement, Rimac said it would separate the development, production and supply of battery systems, drivetrains and other EV components into a new entity owned by Rimac Group called Rimac Technology, which will work independently with other global car manufacturers.

The formation of Bugatti-Rimac doesn’t affect the shareholder structure within Rimac Group. Mate Rimac will continue to hold his 37% share in Rimac Group, with Hyundai Motor Group holding the same 12% and other investors at 27%, according to a statement from the company. Porsche recently upped its stake in Rimac from 15% to 24%, but its total ownership doesn’t give It a controlling interest in the new EV company, the companies told FT.

Mate Rimac will lead Bugatti-Rimac, which will be headquartered in Zagreb, Croatia. Bugatti’s manufacturing will remain in Molsheim, France.

#automotive, #bugatti, #bugatti-rimac, #electric-vehicles, #hypercar, #mate-rimac, #porsche, #rimac-automobili, #supercar, #transportation, #volkswagen

The rumor is true: Rimac is taking over Bugatti with Porsche’s help

The Bugatti Chiron will be joined by new electrified models.

Enlarge / The Bugatti Chiron will be joined by new electrified models. (credit: Bugatti)

For almost a year, a rumor has been circulating that Volkswagen Group plans to offload Bugatti to Croatian electric vehicle specialists Rimac. That rumor turns out to be true: on Monday Porsche and Rimac revealed that they are forming a new joint venture called Bugatti-Rimac at the end of this year. It will be headquartered in Zagreb, Croatia, although Bugatti’s manufacturing will remain where it is currently, in Molsheim, France.

Originally founded in 1909 by Ettore Bugatti, the company became known during the interwar period for cars that were at the apex of style and speed, winning Grands Prix as well as the approval of the ultra-rich. Based in Molsheim in the Alsace region, it foundered following Bugatti’s death in 1947 and disappeared in 1963, before being resurrected by industrialist Romano Artioli in 1987. In this incarnation, Bugatti set up a high-tech factory in Campogalliano, Italy to build the carbon fiber EB110 supercar, before a faltering global economy put paid to Artioli’s ambitions.

In 1998, Bugatti began its third incarnation when Volkswagen Group bought the name and returned the company to Molsheim. The driving force was Ferdinand Piech, VW Group’s CEO at the time and grandson of Ferdinand Porsche. Piech wanted a car that had 1,000 hp (745kW) and a top speed of at least 260 mph (418km/h), and Bugatti delivered it with the Veyron 16.4 in 2005. Since then its hand-built a series of increasingly quick, extremely expensive hypercars, but questions have increasingly been asked about Bugatti’s relevance within VW Group at a time when the rest of the brands are all going electric.

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#biz-it, #bugatti, #cars, #hypercar, #porsche, #rimac, #volkswagen-group

Porsche to make high-performance batteries in joint venture with Customcells

Luxury sports car manufacturer Porsche AG is going into the battery business. The automaker said Monday it plans to open a new factory that will produce high-performance cells through a joint venture with lithium-ion battery developer Customcells.

Porsche invested in “the high double-digit millions” in the new joint venture, dubbed Cellforce Group GmbH, executive board member Michael Steiner told reporters in a media briefing ahead of the announcement. The factory also benefited from a €60 million ($71.4 million) investment from the German government and the state of Baden-Württemberg, where it will be located. Chemical company BASF SE was selected to supply the cathode materials.

The batteries will use silicon as the anode material, which Porsche says will significantly boost the energy density and their capacity to withstand high temperatures – both important variables for racing cars, which must be recharged quickly, but challenging in battery production (batteries don’t tend to like getting very hot).

For that reason, the factory will be small scale, at least compared to other automakers such as the 35 gigawatt-hour “gigafactory” capacity at the Tesla and Panasonic joint facility in Sparks, Nevada or even its parent company VW’s plan to bring 240 GwH of production to Europe by 2030. Porsche and Customcells’ aim is an annual capacity of 100 megawatt-hours, or around enough batteries for 1,000 vehicles, starting in 2024. The initial workforce is expected to grow from around 13 people to up to 80 by 2025.

The automaker has no plans to scale the technology for use in Porsche’s more mainstream lineup of vehicles, Steiner said, though he noted that there may be a chance for higher volume in the future if the company sees a potential to bring down production costs. “In this market, we are looking for special purpose cells for high-end cars and motorsports, and this is not available in the market today,” he said.

It may be a challenge to scale this technology to passenger vehicles. The silicon anode-based cell chemistry has not shown the capacity to function in very cold conditions or to remain stable over many charging cycles, Porsche said in a statement. But it wouldn’t be the first time that a Porsche vehicle benefited from technology developed for the race track: its leading electric model Taycan borrowed many of its technical features from the Porsche 919 Hybrid racing car.

Although the first vehicles to use these batteries will be Porsche-made, Steiner said the technology will be made available to other brands in the Volkswagen Group, like Lamborghini or Bugatti.

“The battery cell is the combustion chamber of the future,” Porsche CEO Oliver Blume said in a statement Monday. “This joint venture allows us to position ourselves at the forefront of global competition in developing the most powerful battery cell and make it the link between the unmistakable Porsche driving experience and sustainability. This is how we shape the future of the sports car.”

#automotive, #battery-ventures, #cellforce-group, #customcells, #electric-vehicle-batteries, #porsche, #transportation

Porsche will build a high-performance battery factory in Germany

Porsche plans to first use these new silicon anode cells in motorsports, but we don't know where that will be yet, since Formula E and LMDh will both require a spec battery. This car is the Porsche 920 concept from 2020.

Enlarge / Porsche plans to first use these new silicon anode cells in motorsports, but we don’t know where that will be yet, since Formula E and LMDh will both require a spec battery. This car is the Porsche 920 concept from 2020. (credit: Porsche)

Porsche is setting up a new factory for battery cells, called Cellforce, in Tübingen, Germany. The plant will be run as a subsidiary of Porsche in a joint venture with Customcells and will develop cells that use silicon as opposed to graphite for the anode material.

“We already started within research and pre-development to build up know how and knowledge about cell chemistry, and the company Cellforce Group will have around 60 engineers in development and about 20 in production; the main focus, at least in the beginning, is to take care about the development of the cell and cell chemistry,” said Michael Steiner, member of the executive board, R&D at Porsche.

But unlike other recent battery factory announcements, the goal for Cellforce is high performance, not high volume.

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#battery-factory, #cars, #cellforce, #customcells, #lithium-silicon, #lithium-ion-battery, #motorsport, #porsche, #racing, #silicon-anode

Just one more week to go until TC Sessions: Mobility 2021

Seven days, 168 hours or 10,080 minutes — no matter how you count it, there’s just one week left until the global mobility tech community gathers on June 9 for TC Sessions: Mobility 2021. If you’re one of the brilliant minds focused on changing the future of transportation, grab your pass and join your tribe of revolutionaries.

Whether you’re into AI, AVs, EVs, robotics (not everything’s an acronym around here) or hunting potential unicorns, you’ll gain insight from the leading voices in mobility. We packed the event agenda with an exciting variety of interactive presentations, panel discussions and breakout sessions. Bring your questions and join the conversation.

Here’s a peek at just some of the topics and people you can enjoy.

Supercharging Self-Driving Super Vision: Few startups were as prescient as Scale AI when it came to anticipating the need for massive sets of tagged data for use in AI. Co-founder and CEO Alex Wang also made a great bet on addressing the needs of lidar-sensing companies early on, which has made the company instrumental in deploying AV networks. We’ll hear about what it takes to make sense of sensor data in driverless cars and look at where the industry is headed.

Innovating Future Mobility for Global Scale: Learn how the California Mobility Center’s (CMC) model of bringing its clients’ new technologies to market is new and innovative, going beyond a typical demonstration or pilot program, to the point of product launch and sustaining market viability. Hear from an expert panel about how the CMC’s programming is unique, innovative, and game-changing.

Building an Electric Powerhouse: Rimac Automobili, today known for its electric hypercars and battery and powertrain development, began like so many storied startups do — in a garage. Mate Rimac has taken his company from tiny upstart to a 1,000-person company that has attracted Porsche as an investor and customer. And more is coming. We’ll talk to Mate about building a startup, his views on the EVs, and what is next for the company.

Don’t stress out about missing out — this is a no FOMO situation. Your pass includes live streaming and VOD access. That kind of flexibility lets you attend live and still get some work done at your desk. VOD lets you tap into any of the sessions you miss.

But don’t miss out on the 30 game-changing mobility startups showcasing their tech and talent in the expo area. Visit their virtual booths, ask for a demo, or strike up a collaboration. You’ll also get a chance to see them pitch during the Startup Pitch Feedback Session (listed in the agenda). Those feedback sessions can help you hone your own pitch, so check it out and take notes.

TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 takes place in just one week. Buy your pass today and keep the revolution rolling.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

#alex-wang, #artificial-intelligence, #av, #california, #mate-rimac, #porsche, #rimac-automobili, #tc, #tc-sessions-mobility-2021

When is a Porsche 911 not a Porsche 911? When it’s a Ruf

The Porsche 911 is one of the most instantly recognizable cars in the world. For decades and across multiple generations, Porsche has kept the same basic shape and the same basic format—a flat-six engine mounted behind the rear axle. But some of the most famous 911s don’t actually wear the Porsche crest. Instead, they’re officially recognized as the products of a company called Ruf, based in Pfaffenhausen, Germany. And there’s a new exhibition celebrating them at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles.

If you’re a car nerd, chances are you already know about Ruf. That might be because of Faszination on the Nürburgring. It’s a 20-minute promo video made by Ruf in 1987 and features a bright yellow Ruf CTR, also known as the Yellowbird. Based on the naturally aspirated 911 Carrera 3.2, Ruf seam-welded the chassis, replaced the body panels with lightweight aluminum (or fiberglass for the bumpers), and upgraded the suspension and brakes. Ruf also upgraded the engine, boring it out to 3.4 L and adding a pair of big turbochargers, resulting in at least 463hp (345 kW) and 408 lb-ft (553Nm)—well in excess of anything Porsche sold at the time.

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#cars, #gran-turismo, #gran-turismo-2, #kazunori-yamauchi, #nordschleife, #nurburgring, #porsche, #ruf, #ruf-ctr, #the-petersen-museum, #yellowbird

Electric hypercar phenom and founder Mate Rimac is heading to TC Sessions: Mobility 2021

A decade ago, Rimac Automobili was one-person startup in a garage. Today, the EV and technology company founded by Mate Rimac employs more than 1,000 people, has partnerships with Porsche and Hyundai Motor Group and is on track to launch its 1,914 hp, all-electric C_Two hypercar this year.

If that weren’t enough, Rimac also launched a subsidiary company Greyp Bikes to produce electrically assisted bicycles. It’s a notable run for a company that Mate Rimac founded after converting a 1984 BMW into an electric vehicle that at one time was the fastest in the world. What makes it remarkable is he started the company in Croatia and at time that lacked the typical network found in Silicon Valley.

“Ten years ago today, I was still like one guy in a garage and we did this in a location in Croatia where there is not a lot of technology or industry in general,” he said in an interview with TechCrunch earlier this year. “So it was crazy, I didn’t have a single venture capital fund. There were no tech startups. There was no industry in general, not just like automotive, but industry as such. So, there was no talent, there were no buildings we could use. So, we had a very tough upcoming, and was very hard for us to start we were just surviving and, you know from month to month and trying to pay the bills and most of the times we were struggling with that so the first six or seven years of our life most of the time for me was focusing on keeping the company going and how the hell I’m going to pay the next payroll or the next rent and stuff like that.”

Rimac overcame those challenges, gaining Porsche and Hyundai as investors and importantly, generating revenue from the beginning — and even profits.

And Mate Rimac isn’t done.

The founder and CEO recently unveiled a design for new headquarters in Croatia that will include an on-site test track, an R&D and production facility, museum, gym and day care for employees and even an-site organic food production and farm animals. The complex, which is expected to be completed by 2023, will allow the company to ramp up from prototype and smaller projects to high-volume production of its high-performance electric drivetrain and battery systems for customers that include Porsche, Hyundai-Kia, SEAT, Renault and Pininfarina.

We’re excited to announce that Mate Rimac will be joining us at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021, a one-day virtual event that is scheduled June 9. We have a lot of ground to cover with Mate Rimac from how he started a company outside of a traditional incubator or VC network, his upcoming electric hypercar and plans for the company’s future.

In case, you’re not familiar, each year we bring together engineers and founders, investors and CEOs who are working on all the present and future ways people and packages will get from Point A to Point B. The agenda is packed with leaders in electric vehicles — that would be Mate Rimac — autonomous vehicle technology, micromobility and even urban and regional air taxis.

Among the growing list of speakers are Motional President Karl Iagnemma and Aurora co-founder and CEO Chris Urmson, who will team up to talk about technical problems that remain to be solved, the war over talent, the best business models and applications of autonomous vehicles and maybe even hear a few stories from the early days of testing and launching a startup.

Other guests include GM‘s VP of Global Innovation Pam Fletcher, Scale AI CEO Alexandr Wang, Joby Aviation founder and CEO JoeBen Bevirt, investor and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman (whose special purpose acquisition company just merged with Joby), investors Clara Brenner of Urban Innovation Fund, Quin Garcia of Autotech Ventures and Rachel Holt of Construct Capital, Zoox co-founder and CTO Jesse Levinson, community organizer, transportation consultant and lawyer Tamika L. Butler, Remix co-founder and CEO Tiffany Chu and Revel co-founder and CEO Frank Reig.

We also recently announced a panel dedicated to China’s robotaxi industry. We’re bringing together three female leaders from Chinese autonomous vehicle startups that have an overseas footprint: Jewel Li from AutoX, which is backed by Chinese state-owned automakers Dongfeng Motor and SAIC Motor; Huan Sun from Momenta, which attracted Bosch, Daimler and Toyota in its $500 million round closed in March; and Jennifer Li from WeRide, whose valuation jumped to $3 billion after a financing round in May.

Don’t wait to book your tickets to TC Sessions: Mobility as prices go up at the door. Grab your passes right now and hear from today’s biggest mobility leaders.

#automotive, #electric-vehicles, #hypercar, #hyundai-motor-group, #porsche, #rimac-automobili, #tc, #tc-sessions-mobility-2021

Here’s our first look at 2023’s electric Porsche Macan SUV

This morning, in an email extolling the flexibility of in silico development, Porsche sent Ars the first official images of its next Macan crossover. And this Macan, which is still a couple of years from being ready, is entirely electric. Unfortunately, the photos don’t give too much away about this electric vehicle replacement to one of Porsche’s biggest sellers; the prototypes are camouflaged, and that Safari-spec LED roof bar is presumably just there to help Porsche’s engineers test around the clock. The four-element LED headlights are probably the real deal, though.

Porsche first revealed that the Macan would go all-electric in early 2019. The car will use a new electric vehicle architecture called PPE (Premium Platform Electric), which Porsche is developing together with corporate sibling Audi. Audi recently briefed us on one of its first PPE-derived EVs, the 2023 Audi A6 e-tron, which uses an 800 V, 100 kWh battery pack and a motor for each axle, with a combined output of 350 kW (469 hp) and 800 Nm (590 lb-ft). Although Porsche isn’t ready to share its own specs yet, the A6 e-tron offers a ballpark within which we can guesstimate.

In its email, Porsche says that it has built 20 digital prototypes, with different departments conducting their own simulations. “We regularly collate the data from the various departments and use it to build up a complete, virtual vehicle that is as detailed as possible,” said Porsche’s Dr. Andreas Huber, who manages the digital prototypes. The aerodynamicists were among the first to start modeling the EV Macan beginning in 2017.

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#battery-ev, #bev, #cars, #electric-vehicle, #ev, #porsche, #porsche-macan, #ppe, #premium-platform-electric, #suv

Porsche and Penske: Two of racing’s most famous names join forces again

Porsche and Penske: two of the most storied names in racing. You could fill at least one library just with books about their exploits. In fact, you could probably fill a library just with stories of their exploits when working together—in the “anything goes” days of CanAm in the early 1970s or battling against the diesel Audis in the heyday of the American Le Mans Series. Now the two are coming together again as Porsche re-enters endurance racing with a hybrid LMDh race car in 2023.

As many have suspected, Penske will run Porsche’s factory racing teams with these new 670 hp (500 kW) prototypes. In fact, Penske will field a pair of teams: a two-car effort for the FIA World Endurance Championship, which includes the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and another two-car program for IMSA’s WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, which races here in the US. Additionally, Porsche plans to sell LMDh prototypes to privateer teams, something it last did with the RS Spyder in the mid-2000s.

“We are delighted that we were able to get Team Penske to form this partnership,” said Oliver Blume, chairman of the executive board of Porsche AG in a statement sent to Ars. “For the first time in the history of Porsche Motorsport, our company will have a global team competing in the world’s two largest endurance series. To this end, we will be setting up team bases on both sides of the Atlantic. This will enable us to create the optimal structures we will need to take overall victories at Le Mans, Daytona, and Sebring, for example.”

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#cars, #endurance-racing, #fia-wec, #imsa, #lmdh, #penske, #porsche, #racing, #world-endurance-championship

Porsche rumored to be entering F1 with Red Bull Racing

A blurry photo of a Red Bull Racing F1 car at speed

Enlarge / Red Bull is assuming control of its own engine development next year once Honda leaves the sport. But could we see Porsche badges on the cars before too long? The rumors won’t stop swirling. (credit: Lars Baron/Getty Images)

Even though we’re only two races in, this year’s Formula 1 season is already shaping up to be the most competitive in years. Thanks to the resurgent Red Bull Racing, Mercedes-AMG has a real fight on its hands for the first time since the introduction of hybrid powertrains in 2014.

Red Bull is in the final year of a partnership with Honda, and the Japanese OEM has pulled out all the stops in an effort to leave the sport with a little glory. Starting next year, Red Bull will take over the engine program from Honda, developing its own engines à la Mercedes-AMG, Ferrari, and Alpine. But could we see the energy-drink team partner with Porsche?

Rumors that Volkswagen Group is going to enter F1, either through its Porsche or Audi brands, are almost ever-present in the sport. Both Porsche and Audi scaled back their factory racing efforts as a result of dieselgate and then the pandemic, although both companies are planning to return to endurance racing at Le Mans and here in the US by 2023.

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#audi, #cars, #f1, #formula-1, #hybrid-powertrains, #mercedes-amg, #porsche, #racing, #red-bull-racing, #volkswagen-group

Porsche makes its case for an all-electric Taycan wagon

Porsche has always gone its own way when it comes to creating new vehicles. It is, after all, the company that continues to stick to the wacky idea that putting the weight of an engine in the rear of a sports car is a great idea. (It is!)

So, bucking the crossover trend to create an all-electric, soft-roading wagon with just 20 more millimeters of clearance than their popular electric Taycan sedan isn’t out of character for the brand. Instead, it’s another example of how Porsche approaches electrification.”You don’t make an electric car. You make a Porsche with an electric powertrain,” Calvin Kim, product spokesperson for the Taycan line, said in a recent interview.

The 2021 Taycan Cross Turismo fits that bill. Powerful, quick, comfortable, luxurious and tech-laden, the Porsche Taycan 4 Cross Turismo (one of four variants of the wagon) offers a blend of practicality with a whole lot of power and speed for under $100,000.

Why build an electric Porsche wagon?

Porsche upended the sports car enthusiast club when it launched the Cayenne nearly 20 years ago and is doing the same with the Taycan and the Taycan Cross Turismo. While the SUV and crossover business is still a tremendous cash cow for the company, nearly 4,500 Taycans were sold in 2020, according to a recent release from Porsche. That’s more than either the 718 or the Panamera line. Porsche also says that from cradle to manufacturing, the new Cross Turismo is carbon neutral — the first vehicle they’ve made that has achieved that status.

“Porsche wanted to create the most sporty capability we can make,” Kim said, “and a wagon version of the Taycan embodies that ethos.”

The 2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo is on sale today. Porsche says that it expects deliveries to start this summer.

2021 Porsche Taycan 4 Cross Turismo

Image Credits: Abigail Bassett

Taycan versus Taycan Cross Turismo

Beyond the obvious form factor, prospective buyers or EV enthusiasts might wonder why someone might opt for a Cross Turismo over the original Taycan?

There are a few important differences between the two vehicles that might push some customers over to the wagon. First up, the Cross Turismo offers more passenger and cargo space. Passengers get an additional 0.35 inches of headroom up front and 3.69 inches in the back. The wagon is also equipped with more cargo space — 15.7 cubic feet behind the rear seats or 42.8 cubic feet with them folded forward. Like the Taycan, the Cross Turismo has an additional 2.9 cubic feet of area in the frunk.

The Cross Turismo also has a skosh 20 millimeters (just short of 1 inch) more ground clearance than the Taycan sedan and an additional driving mode called Gravel. Gravel mode is activated by a soft key on the center console rather than by the mode wheel on the steering wheel. It raises the car’s height and makes changes to the stability control and torque management system for better grip on gravel, snow or ice. Unfortunately, on our short test drive, we didn’t get a chance to put Gravel mode to the test.

Porsche Taycan 4 Cross Turismo

Image Credits: Porsche

On top of these features, the Taycan Cross Turismo comes with all-wheel drive and standard air suspension (called Porsche Active Suspension Management or PASM), which, on the Taycan, is a $2,200 option. The Taycan Cross Turismo comes standard with the larger 93.4 kWh battery pack, which is a $5,780 option on the base Taycan sedan. The Cross Turismo is built on the same platform as the Taycan sedan, known as J1, internally.

There are four different variants of the Taycan Cross Turismo, including the one I drove. You can choose from the entry-level Taycan 4 Cross Turismo, the Taycan 4S Cross Turismo, the Taycan Turbo Cross Turismo and the Taycan Turbo S Cross Turismo. At the highest trims, base prices start at $188,000. Pricing for the Taycan 4 Cross Turismo that I drove starts at $92,250 (including delivery).

Each flavor of Cross Turismo comes with an optional off-road package that adds lower body cladding to prevent rock chips on gravel roads and raises the vehicle by 10 millimeters. Porsche doesn’t state the ground clearance for the Taycan or the Taycan Cross Turismo, but approach and departure angles increase from 12.1 and 15.2 degrees to 12.2 and 16.2 degrees in the electric wagon.  In true Porsche fashion, the company says that there are more than 21,000 option combinations based solely on which Cross Turismo you choose, wheel choice, exterior color and interior selection, not to mention details like badge deletion, stitching, technology options and seat types.

Charging speeds are the same between the Cross Turismo and the Taycan. Porsche says that on DC fast chargers, the Taycan Cross Turismo can recharge from 5% to 80% in just 22.5-minutes.

First drive

The Taycan Cross Turismo 4, which I drove, represents the entry point to the new all-electric wagon. While neither Porsche nor the EPA has released range estimates, the European-spec, ruby red machine had just over 250 miles of range at 99% charge when I hopped into it for a Monday afternoon jaunt from Glendale, California to Big Bear and back. That nearly 200-mile trip left me with 68 miles of range in the proverbial tank. While it may seem like that math is off, it’s not, thanks to regenerative braking that helps generate electricity and push some of it back into the battery.

The drive consisted of about 140 miles along the highway and some 60 miles on mountain roads. Thanks to the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive setup that comes standard on all Cross Turismos, the electric wagon felt planted and secure on misty and slightly icy mountain roads and took corners without a modicum of body roll. With a 375 horsepower (469 with launch control) and maximum available 368 lb-ft of torque, passing a sluggish motorist (or three at once) was handled with ease.

The Cross Turismo gets five different driving modes: Range, Normal, Sport, Sport Plus and Individual. On the highway, I started in Normal mode and noticed how easy it was to push the vehicle beyond the stated speed limit. Using the toggle on the wheel, I switched to Range mode, which helps conserve battery by limiting speed to just 80 miles per hour. All of the modes except Range allow the driver to take the Cross Turismo to its full 136-mile-per-hour potential.

Porsche Taycan4_Cross_Turismo

Image Credits: Porsche

My test vehicle was a European model. This meant that certain tech features that come with the Cross Turismo, including Porsche’s advanced driving assistance system InnoDrive and the navigation features, couldn’t be activated since my test drive was in the United States. However, the regular adaptive cruise control did work and I used it extensively on the highway run from Glendale to the base of the mountain.

The Taycan Cross Turismo’s adaptive cruise adapted quickly to the numerous drivers who cut into my lane. The feature handled these tricky moments the same way I would have, only with a bit more finesse. When a car swerved unexpectedly into my lane, the Cross Turismo slowed without slamming the brakes or stuttering and simply drew the 5,029-pound vehicle down to a slower speed and a comfortable following distance that was neither too short nor too long. As traffic sped up, the system would maintain the following distance without jostling or awkward pauses.

When I reached the base of the mountain, I had around 200 miles of range left. I toggled the Cross Turismo into Sport Plus mode and began the climb. In Sport and Sport Plus, the “engine noise” (for lack of a better term) inside the cabin becomes more audible. Porsche says that to create the sound, they recorded the motors’ audio, adjusted it and then piped the sound into the cabin. Outside the cabin in both modes, the vehicle becomes a bit louder but not nearly as raucous as a combustion Porsche.

The roads leading to Big Bear are more winter-worn than those in the Los Angeles Basin and have plenty of cracks and potholes after a wet season. On the day I drove the route, it was misty and around 40 degrees, with frost licking the tips of the pines at higher elevations giving them a silver hue. The road was wet and wound through dense patches of cloud and fog, causing a few small icy spots on the roadway. The Cross Turismo took all of those challenges in stride.

If you’ve ever hustled a heavy and relatively large vehicle up a technical and twisting road, you know the body roll battle all too well. It’s a non-issue in the Cross Turismo. Because the body weight (battery and motors) are set low into the floor, the Cross Turismo feels as planted, comfortable and capable as a 911. The steering is direct and communicative without being twitchy. On the climb, I managed to trim off roughly 10 minutes on my estimated arrival without breaking a sweat or really pushing the car anywhere near the limit. At the predetermined coffee stop, I’d worn the battery down to 118 miles — plenty to get me back to Glendale with room to spare.

I ran the mountain road in Sport and cruised back to the valley. At the bottom of the mountain road, I noted that the vehicle had gained a few miles back thanks to regenerative braking and had 124 miles remaining. Throwing range anxiety to the wind and vowing to keep my eyes up for potential speed traps, I kept the Taycan Cross Turismo in Sport mode and zipped my way through 3 p.m. traffic, arriving back at the studio with plenty of power to spare.

#automotive, #electric-vehicles, #porsche, #porsche-taycan, #transportation

Porsche will start testing a lower-carbon biofuel in racing

A barrel of fuel in front of a Porsche racing car in its garage.

Enlarge / Porsche is working on synthetic fuels and will begin testing them in racing as early as next year. (credit: Porsche)

In the grand scheme of things, the fuel used by racing cars on track amounts to a mere rounding error compared to the carbon dioxide emitted by all the spectators driving to watch each race. But optics are still important, and electric racing cars aren’t really suitable for use in endurance racing or Formula 1, so the industry is looking at lower-carbon (or even carbon-neutral) fuels as a way to keep using internal combustion engines.

Formula 1 has announced its plan to become carbon-neutral by 2030, and sustainable fuels are going to be part of that, but they’re not the only game in town. On Tuesday, Porsche revealed that the 2021 and 2022 seasons of Porsche Supercup—a race series for identical Porsche 911 racing cars—will be powered by Esso renewable racing fuel, “a blend of primarily advanced biofuels,” according to the press release.

But this biofuel blend is just the first version of Esso’s renewable racing fuel. Starting next year, Porsche will start testing the second-generation Esso renewable fuel. And that one will incorporate synthetic fuel, made from hydrogen and carbon dioxide at a plant in Chile that Porsche is developing with Siemens. By 2022, Porsche and Siemens are targeting 34,000 gallons (130,000 L) of synthetic fuel production, increasing to 14.5 million gallons (55 million L) by 2024 and 145 million gallons (550 million L) by 2026.

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#biofuel, #cars, #exxonmobil, #porsche, #racing, #synthetic-fuel

Porsche adds the all-electric Taycan to its subscription program

Porsche has added its first all-electric vehicle, the Taycan sports sedan, to its subscription and short-term rental program as part of a broader expansion that aims to build a new customer base of U.S. owners.

The German automaker said Thursday it is also expanding the Porsche Drive subscription and rental programs to five more cities — up from four. It’s now offered to customers living in Atlanta, Houston and Phoenix, and in California in Irvine, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Diego, San Francisco and San Jose. Porsche said it plans to continue its expansion in the United States throughout this year and into 2022.

Porsche’s programs are all about flexibility — and that comes with a price. The Taycan 4S model, which will initially only be available under the single-vehicle subscription or rental plans, cost about 20% more than the monthly cost of a comparable two-year lease. The Taycan 4S fee is $3,250 per month and the Taycan rear-wheel drive will be $2,500 monthly.

Renting a Taycan 4S under the short-term plan costs $335 per day for one to three days and $295 a day for more than four days. All prices exclude taxes and fees and any subscriber has to pay a $595 activation fee. Porsche is adding the Taycan rear-wheel drive model later this spring.

Despite the eye-popping price of these programs, they have been popular enough to warrant an expansion. Porsche Drive is booked out one to two months ahead in most markets, a company spokesperson told TechCrunch.

The automaker views these programs as a complement to selling and leasing cars, not a replacement, according to Porsche Cars North America President and CEO Kjell Gruner. About 80% of Drive customers are new to Porsche, Gruner said.

Porsche first piloted a subscription program in 2017 and has been tinkering ever since. There are now three plans, or tiers, that are all housed under its Porsche Drive vehicle subscription program, which was rebranded in 2020. The most robust plan is Porsche Drive – Multi-Vehicle Subscription, which offers customers the ability to swap through a variety of vehicles on a monthly basis. Porsche Drive-single vehicle subscription gives access to one vehicle for one or three months with an option to extend. Then there’s Porsche Drive – Rental, which as the name indicates, offers shorter-term rentals that are targeted to those who want access to the brand’s luxury sports cars and SUVs for a week or just a weekend.

All of these plans are accessed by the Porsche Drive app. Users can pick their vehicle and schedule concierge service for vehicle delivery and pick-up through the app. The subscription plans are all based on a flat monthly fee that covers vehicle maintenance and insurance.


#automotive, #porsche, #porsche-drive, #tc, #transportation

BMW takes the wraps off the i4, its first all-electric sedan

BMW plans to have 25 electrified cars in its lineup by 2025 and it’s taking a few more steps in this direction this year with the launch of the all-electric iX SUV and the i4 sedan. Today, for the first time, the German automaker shared a few more details of what we can expect from the i4, its first fully-electric sedan, in addition to sharing the first exterior shots of the new model.

At the top end, the i4 will have a power output of 390kW / 530HP. Going from zero to 100km/h will take four seconds.

BMW promises up to a 300 miles range, according to its own preliminary tests based on the EPA’s test procedures. Enough to go from L.A. to Las Vegas. That’s the same range as the iX will be able to cover on a single charge and a slight increase in horsepower compared to BMW’s new SUV. And while that range is less than what Tesla and some other competitors can offer, it’s still more than what’s possible with comparable all-electric Porsche and Audi models like the eTaycan and e-tron GT, which are in the lower 200s.

Image Credits: BMW

“With its sporty looks, best in class driving dynamics and zero local emissions, the BMW i4 is a true BMW. It makes the heart of the BMW brand now beat fully electric,” said Pieter Nota, member of the Board of Management of BMW AG responsible for Customer, Brands, Sales.

For now, we don’t have any pricing details or additional specs for the i4. It will become available later this year, so we’ll likely see more details in the summer.

“The iX is purpose-built, it’s spectacular and it’s a completely new BMW X product,” Frank Weber, BMW’s head of development, said at a press event earlier this week. “But what people are longing for is to see that we have a sport sedan that is fully electric. […] And the i4 has everything it takes to have a real sporty sedan from BMW that is fully electric.”

And indeed, unlike the somewhat quirky i3, BMW’s first all-electric car, the i4 is a standard, four-door sedan (with real passenger doors, unlike the i3) — something that buyers in the market for a sporty yet roomy electric car from BMW in the spirit of the existing 4-series will likely appreciate.

Earlier this week, BMW also announced version 8 of its iDrive operating system, which will feature a new dashboard layout and visual design, with two curved screens. It will make its debut in the i4 and iX.

#automotive, #bmw, #bmw-i, #cars, #environmental-protection-agency, #i3, #idrive, #las-vegas, #operating-system, #porsche, #sedans, #tc, #tesla

Porsche unveils two new electric bikes alongside the Taycan Gran Turismo

Porsche is taking its electrification ambitions to two wheels.

The German automaker unveiled two electric bikes Thursday, alongside the global debut of the Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo, the latest variant to its EV flagship.

Both electric bikes are said to be inspired by the Taycan, Porsche’s first electric vehicle that kicked off its broader EV ambitions. While the underlying inspiration and foundation are the same— both have have full-suspension carbon frames — each bike has a slightly different purpose and customer.

The bikes are a collective effort. They were developed in collaboration with eBike expert Rotwild and use components from well-known bike parts manufacturers Shimano, Magura and Crankbrothers. High-design touches from Porsche — the spit and polish — and customers get a luxe ebike priced between $8,500 and $10,700.

The Porsche eBikes, both of which are manufactured in Dieburg, Germany, will be available this spring in three frame sizes at Porsche dealers and select specialist bicycle outlets.

The Porsche eBike Sport is priced at $10,700, while the ‘cheaper’ Porsche eBike Cross costs $8,549.

Porsche eBike CROSS_side-view-left

Image Credits: Porsche

The Porsche eBike Sport is designed as a daily rider. The bike is equipped with a new Shimano EP8 motor, which provides motor support up to 25 km/h (about 15 mph), an Shimano electronic gear shifting system and Magura high-performance brakes that are integrated into the handlebars. The Sport bike also has M99 LED lights from Supernova, which are embedded in the handlebar stem and aerodynamic seat post.

In addition, high-quality suspension components such as the Magura upside-down suspension fork and the Fox rear shock absorber, in combination with smooth-running tires, provide a sporty and balanced ride on asphalt or gentle terrain.

Meanwhile, the Porsche eBike Cross is aimed at riders who might be seeking rougher roads. The Cross has a new motor developed by Shimano, Magura-MT Trail high-performance brakes with extra-large, heat-resistant brake discs for deceleration and a mechanical Shimano XT 12-fold shifting system for quick gear changes. The seat post is hydraulically adjustable from Crankbrothers. The handlebars also have a Shimano color display, which shows not only speed but also distance and range in real time.

#ebikes, #electric-bikes, #porsche, #taycan, #transportation

Allbirds is investing in plant-based leather substitute as it looks to further green its supply chain

The sustainability focused shoe maker Allbirds has taken another step to green its supply chain with a small $2 million investment in a new company called Natural Fiber Welding.

Announced this morning, the investment in Natural Fiber Welding will see Allbirds bring a vegan leather replacement option to customers by December 2021. It’s a natural addition for a company that has always billed itself as focused on environmental impact in other aspects of its apparel manufacturing.

Allbirds these days is far more than a shoe company and Natural Fiber Weldings suite of products that include both a purportedly tougher cotton fiber made using the company’s proprietary processing technology and a plant-based leather substitute.

Those materials could find their way into Allbirds array of socks, shoes, tshirts, underwear, sweaters, jackets, and face masks. Natural Fiber Welding already touts a relationship with Porsche on its website, so Allbirds isn’t the only company that’s warmed to the Peoria, Ill.-based startup’s new materials.

With the addition of Allbirds Natural Fiber Welding has raised roughly $15 million, according to data from Pitchbook. Other investors in the company include Central Illinois Angels, Prairie Crest Capital, Ralph Lauren Corp. and Capital V, an investment firm focused on backing vegan products.

Allbirds is far from the only clothier to make the jump to plant-based materials in the past year. The buzzy clothing company Pangaia invested $2 million into a company called Kintra which is making a bio-based polyester substitute in December.

By the far the biggest startup name in the sustainable fashion space is a company like Bolt Threads, which has inked deals with companies including Stella McCartney, Adidas, and the owner of the Balenciaga fashion house (among others).

Other startups that have raised significant capital for plant-based fabrics and materials are companies like Mycoworks, which raised $45 million last year from backers include John Legend, Natalie Portman along with more traditional investors like WTT Investment Ltd. (Taipei, Taiwan), DCVC Bio, Valor Equity Partners, Humboldt Fund, Gruss & Co., Novo Holdings, 8VC, SOSV, AgFunder, Wireframe Ventures and Tony Fadell.

With Natural Fiber Welding’s products Allbirds is boasting about a significantly reduced environmental footprint for its leather-like material. Natural Fiber Welding claims its material reduce the associated carbon footprint by 40 times and uses 17 times less carbon in its manufacturing than synthetic leather made from plastic.

The company does say that the plant leather will use natural rubber, an industry with its own history of human rights abuses, that’s also trying to clean up its act.

“For too long, fashion companies have relied on dirty synthetics and unsustainable leather, prioritizing speed and cost over the environment,” says Joey Zwillinger, co-founder and co-CEO of Allbirds, in a statement. “Natural Fiber Welding is creating scalable, sustainable antidotes to leather, and doing so with the potential for a game-changing 98% reduction in carbon emissions. Our partnership with NFW and planned introduction of Plant Leather based on their technology is an exciting step on our journey to eradicate petroleum from the fashion industry.”

TechCrunch has reached out to Allbirds for additional comment, but had not received a reply at the time of publication.

#adidas, #allbirds, #articles, #bolt-threads, #culture, #illinois, #john-legend, #leather, #manufacturing, #novo-holdings, #porsche, #shoe, #supply-chain, #sustainability, #taipei, #taiwan, #tc, #textiles, #tony-fadell, #valor-equity-partners, #welding

Why did the flywheel hybrid system never catch on for road cars?

A question mark has been superimposed over a cutting edge automobile component.

Enlarge / Why did the flywheel hybrid never catch on for road cars? (credit: GKN/Jonathan Gitlin)

When a Speed network television crew interviewed Margo T. Oge, then-director of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality, during the 10-hour long 2010 Petit Le Mans Series race at Road Atlanta, Porsche’s experimental 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car held down a top-20 position in the 45-car field.

The broadcast crew took every opportunity to call attention to the presence of the new Porsche. Hybrid street cars were becoming mainstream, and “road relevance” was repeatedly cited by Oge along with energy independence and low carbon emissions as EPA imperatives.

But, like its similarly new Formula One hybrid race car cousins, this special 911 GT3 R was not a street-going hybrid. This was a “flywheel hybrid.” Instead of parallel gasoline engine/electric motor drive systems combined with a battery, the 911 racer paired an internal combustion flat-six cylinder with an electro-mechanical flywheel energy storage system.

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#911-gt3-r-hybrid, #audi, #bus, #cars, #endurance-racing, #flywheel, #gkn, #hybrid-vehicles, #porsche, #r18-e-tron-quattro

#DealMonitor – Lengoo sammelt 20 Millionen ein – charly bekommt 3 Millionen – Porsche investiert in Rydes

Im aktuellen #DealMonitor für den 10. Februar werfen wir wieder einen Blick auf die wichtigsten, spannendsten und interessantesten Investments und Exits des Tages in der DACH-Region. Alle Deals der Vortage gibt es im großen und übersichtlichen #DealMonitor-Archiv.


+++ Der niederländische Geldgeber Inkef Capital, Polipo Ventures und Volker Pyrtek (ehemaliger CPO der Deutschen Telekom) sowie die Alt-Investoren Redalpine, Creathor Ventures, Techstars, Matthias Hilpert und Michael Schmitt investieren 20 Millionen US-Dollar in Lengoo. Die Berliner Jungfirma bezeichnet sich selbst als “Language-Tech-Unternehmen, das Fachsprache übersetzt”. Redalpine, Creathor Ventures, Piton Capital sowie einige Business Angels wie Kai Hansen investierten 2019 bereits 6 Millionen Euro in Lengoo, das 2014 von Philipp Koch-Büttner, Christopher Kränzler und Alexander Gigga in Karlsruhe gegründet wurde. Insgesamt flossen nun schon 34 Millionen in Lengoo. Mit dem frischen Kapital möchte “das Unternehmen die globale Expansion beschleunigen und das firmeneigene NMT-Framework für kundenspezifische, professionelle Übersetzungen weiterentwickeln”.

+++ Die Alt-Investoren investieren weitere 3 Millionen Euro in charly, eine Lern- und Marketingplattform für Studierende und Unternehmen, die früher als PrintPeter bzw. PlusPeter bekannt war. Insgesamt flossen nun schon 7 Millionen in das Berliner Startup. Zu den Investoren zählten in der Vergangenheit Core Ventures, der Gelbe-Seiten-Verlag Müller Medien, sowie Angel-Investoren wie Daniel Schütt, Stefan Peukert, Dieter Dahlhoff, Michael Brehm und Thomas Baum. Das EdTech-Start-up wurde 2016 von Cecil von Croÿ und Karl Bagusat, der 2019 gestorben ist, unter dem Namen PrintPeter gegründet. Mit Q&A Bib vertreibt die Jungfirma inzwischen auch eine Datenbank für prüfungsrelevante Themen.

+++ Der Revenue-Based-Geldgeber Round2 Capital investiert eine siebenstellige Summe in Logsta. Das frische Kapital soll dazu dienen, “weitere internationale Märkte zu erobern und die IT Plattform auszubauen”. Logsta wurde 2017 von Georg Weiß, Christoph Glatzl und Dominik Bieringer in Wiener Neustadt gegründet. Das Logistik-Startup Logsta richtet sich primär an KMUs, Einzelunternehmer und Startups, die im E-Commerce tätig sind und „nur kleine Mengen vertreiben oder spezielle oder kreative Verpackungswünsche haben“.

+++ Der Autobauer Porsche investiert über Forward31, dem Company Builder von Porsche Digital, in Rydes. Das Startup wurde 2018 im Lufthansa Innovation Hub angeschoben und wird nun ordentlich ausgegründet. Anfangs war Rydes ein Loyalitätsprogramm, das die Nutzung unterschiedlicher Mobilitätsangebote belohnt. Inzwischen können Rydes-Nutzer alle möglichen Mobilitätsdienste abrufen und auch buchen. “Sowohl Porsche als auch die Lufthansa Group sind fortan als strategische Minderheitsgesellschafter an dem Startup beteiligt”, teilt das Unternehmen mit.

+++ Der Helvetia Venture Fund investiert in Taxly – siehe startupticker.ch. Das Startup aus Zürich, das 2019 von Daniel Kershaw gegründet wurde, entwickelt eine Software, die beim Erstellen und Einreichen der Steuererklärung unterstützt. Auf der Website heißt es: “Taxlys virtueller Assitent führt Dich durch einige einfache Fragen zur Steuererklärung. Der Vorgang sollte etwa 10 Minuten in Anspruch nehmen”.

Crocus Labs 
+++ Der High-Tech Gründerfonds (HTGF) investiert 300.000 Euro in Crocus Labs. Das Unternehmen entwickelt eine smarte LED-Technologie für den Gartenbau. “Belichtungslösungen der nächsten Generation könnten effizienten Indoor Farming Methoden zum Durchbruch verhelfen und damit einen Sprung zu nachhaltigerer Lebensmittelproduktion ermöglichen”, teilt das Unternehmen mit. Crocus Labs aus Berlin wird von Prashanth Makaram geführt.

+++ TV-Löwin Dagmar Wöhrl investiert in Floristy, einen jungen Flash-Lieferdienst für Blumen. Hinter dem Startup stecken die 
Grace-Gründer Nina Wegert und Kirishan Selvarajah, die seit etlichen Jahren haltbare Rosen verkaufen. Die Berliner nennen ihre neues Projekt einen “Last-Mile Flower Delivery Service”. Floristy liefert innerhalb von 90 Minuten oder zum Wunschtermin bis an die Haustür der Kunden. Wöhrl ist seit 2017 an Grace beteiligt


+++ Schon die neue Insider-Ausgabe mit Sven Schmidt gehört? in der aktuellen Folge geht es um 10x Group, Glore/Fure, Vytal, Outfittery, Dental21, Gorillas, Bring und Adjust.

Abonnieren: Die Podcasts von deutsche-startups.de könnt ihr bei Amazon Music – Apple Podcasts – Castbox – Deezer – Google Podcasts – iHeartRadio – Overcast – PlayerFM – Podimo – Spotify – SoundCloud oder per RSS-Feed abonnieren.

Achtung! Wir freuen uns über Tipps, Infos und Hinweise, was wir in unserem #DealMonitor alles so aufgreifen sollten. Schreibt uns eure Vorschläge entweder ganz klassisch per E-Mail oder nutzt unsere “Stille Post“, unseren Briefkasten für Insider-Infos.

Startup-Jobs: Auf der Suche nach einer neuen Herausforderung? In der unserer Jobbörse findet Ihr Stellenanzeigen von Startups und Unternehmen.

Foto (oben): azrael74

#aktuell, #berlin, #charly, #crocus-labs, #dagmar-wohrl, #edtech, #floristy, #forward31, #grace-flowerbox, #helvetia-venture-fund, #high-tech-grunderfonds, #logistik, #logsta, #lufthansa-innovation-hub, #porsche, #porsche-digital, #round2-capital, #rydes, #taxly, #taxtech, #venture-capital, #wien, #zurich

Porsche and Axel Springer increase investment into their APX accelerator to €55M

Berlin-based early-stage fund APX today announced that its two investors, European publisher Axel Springer and sports car maker Porsche, have increased their investment in the fund to a total of €55 million.

With this, APX, which launched in 2018, is now able to deploy up to €500,000 in pre-Series A seed funding per company. That’s up from up to €100,000 when the fund launched. So far, the group has invested in more than 70 companies and plans to increase this number to close to 200 by 2022.

When APX launched, the fund didn’t disclose the total investment from Porsche and Axel Springer. Today, the team said that the new investment “more than doubles APX’s total amount for investing in new and current companies.” APX also stressed that the total volume of the fund is now “at least” €55 million, in part because the investors can always allocate additional funding for outliers.

In addition to the new funding, APX also today announced that it is doing away with its 100-day accelerator program and instead opting for a long-term commitment to its companies, including participation in future rounds.

“We will try and invest into 50 or more companies this year — and we were at 35 last year. So this is quite some growth,” APX founding managing director (and folk music aficionado) Henric Hungerhoff told me. “We think that our deal flow systems and our entire operations are settled in well enough that we can have quality founders in our portfolio. That’s our goal — and that might even increase to 70 the year after. […] We see really nice synergies or network effects within our portfolio, with founders helping other founders and learning from each other.”

Image Credits: APX

Hungerhoff tells me that the team is quite confident in its ability now to identify quality deal flows. The team is using a data-driven approach. And while it leverages its own network and that of its founders, it has also set up a scout program at leading European universities to identify potential founders, for example.

As APX founding managing director, and the former CEO of Axel Springer’s Plug and Play accelerator, Jörg Rheinboldt noted, APX never asks its founders to pitch. Instead, the team has multiple conversations with them about the product they want to build, how they came up with the idea — and how it changed over time.

“And then, we do multiple things simultaneously,” Rheinboldt said. “One is, we look at team dynamics. How do the founders interact? We also stress them a little bit — in a friendly way — where someone asks very fast questions, or we focus a little bit on one person and see how the others rescue them. We want to know about the team dynamics and then we want to understand the strategy, how we can help them best?”

The idea here is to be able to invest quickly. In addition, though, with the new funding, the team isn’t just able to invest into more companies but also invest more into the individual companies.

Image Credits: APX

“We want to invest deeper per startup at a very early stage,” Hungerhoff said. “So far, […] our typical approach was a non-dilution, pro-rata follow-on strategy with most of our portfolio companies. And this is something we want to pledge in the future. Looking at the past, 100% of the times in equity rounds, we do the pro-rata follow-on or more, but now, we have developed a strategy that we will, for the fastest-moving of fastest-growing companies, we want to deploy significantly more cash in a very early phase, which means an amount of up to €500,000.”

What the team saw was that the companies in its portfolio would raise a small pre-seed round from APX and other investors, with APX typically taking a 5% stake in the startup. Most founders would then go on and raise extended pre-seed or seed rounds soon thereafter.

“We more felt like we missed out when we saw these companies raising really nice financing rounds and we did our investment,” Rheinbolt said. “We felt very good that we can do a pro-rata investment. but we looked at each other and said: we knew this, we knew that they would do this 12 weeks ago. We could have given them a check and maybe the round would have been done in eight weeks and maybe [our stake] wouldn’t be 5% but 7%.”

Given this new focus on supporting startups throughout their lifecycle, it’s no surprise that APX did away with the 100-day program as well. But the team still expects to be quite hands-on. With a growing network, though, the partners also expect that founders will be able to learn from each other, too. “We now see the value that is coming from this,” Hungerhoff said. For example, a team that we’ve invested in two months ago, they’re now thinking about the angel round. They can actually get the best advice on this — or just experienced sharing — from another team, rather than talking to Jörg who did this maybe 30 years ago — no offense.”

The team also spends a lot of time thinking about its community, which now includes founders from 20 countries. The COVID pandemic has obviously moved most of the interactions online. Before COVID, APX often hosted events in its offices, which helped create the kind of serendipity that often leads to new ideas and connections. Looking ahead, the team still believes that there is a lot of value in having face-to-face meetings, but at the same time, maybe not every company needs to move to Berlin and instead visit for a few days every now and then.

Bonus: Here is Hungerhoff’s latest album with St. Beaufort.

#automotive-industry, #axel-springer, #cars, #europe, #funding, #fundings-exits, #porsche, #startups, #tc

Ad-supported EV charging network developer Volta raises $125 million

Volta, the developer of a network of electric vehicle charging stations that monetize using advertising, has raised $125 million in new funding in a process managed by Goldman Sachs.

Volta builds and operates a network of electric vehicle charging stations that are sited in parking lots around grocery stores, pharmacy chains, banks and hospitals.

The company has placed its charging stations, with their 55-inch digital displays in locations at 200 cities across 23 states, according to a statement.

The charge is free for vehicle owners and is supported by the retailers and consumer goods companies that want to reach the EV audience.

With the new financing, Volta has now raised over $200 million in funding and intends to use its cash to begin expanding internationally.

Companies who have placed Volta’s chargers on their sites include Albertsons Companies, Giant Food, Regency Centers, Wegmans and TopGolf. Brands advertising on the company’s screens include GM, Hulu, Nestlé, Polestar, Porsche and Unilever.

“Since our initial investment in Volta in 2018, excitement and interest in electrification — and specifically solving for public charging solutions — has continued to gain momentum,” said John Tough, Managing Partner at Energize Ventures, a major and existing investor in this round. “Our conviction in this team has similarly grown, and we believe Volta is poised to lead this market as the most capital-efficient and highly utilized EV charging network in the country.”


#charging-stations, #electric-vehicle, #electric-vehicles, #electrical-engineering, #goldman-sachs, #green-vehicles, #inductive-charging, #managing-partner, #nestle, #network, #porsche, #tc, #unilever, #volta

Four-point-whoa: The 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS

Accidentally scheduling two different appointments for the same time slot is probably something all of us have done at least once or twice. In my case, that meant mistakenly booking a pair of test cars for the same week late last year. And they couldn’t have been more different cars. I’ve already written about the Toyota Venza—it’s an attractive and efficient hybrid crossover that charmed me far more than I expected after I drove from DC to upstate New York and back. I was already expecting good things from that week’s other car—a 2021 Porsche 718 Boxster GTS—yet it, too, exceeded them.

The 718 Boxster is the entry point into the Porsche sports car range, but there’s nothing entry-level about the $88,900 GTS. It sits almost at the top of the tree, between the cheaper, more everyday 718 Boxster S and the more expensive 718 Spyder, a car with which it shares an engine, which in this case is a 4.0L flat-six, an engine that makes Porsche nerds get a little weak at the knees.

Most of Porsche’s power units have turned to turbocharging in the past few years—including the lesser variants of the 718—but not this four-liter lump, which remains resolutely naturally aspirated. Installed in the GTS, it makes 394hp (294kW), 20hp less than in the stripped-out Spyder. (Both GTS and Spyder make an identical 309lb-ft/420Nm). Although the engine isn’t quite as rev-happy in the GTS as in the Spyder, it’s not far off—the torque peak is between 5,000 to 6,500rpm, and peak power arrives at 7,000rpm, with a 7,800rpm redline to call time on things.

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#cars, #porsche, #porsche-718, #porsche-718-boxster-gts

Porsche is researching synthetic fuels to make gas-powered cars sustainable

The road to sustainable vehicles likely ends at electric cars, yet the route to this goal isn’t clear. There are multiple ways to get there, and Porsche is looking at synthetic fuels as a potential path. These so-called eFuels are produced from CO2 and hydrogen. If produced using renewable energy, they can help vehicles powered internal combustion engines (ICE) become more sustainable before the end of their life.

Earlier this week, Porsche AG’s Detlev von Platen spoke to this alternative fuel at TechCrunch Sessions: Mobility.

Looking at Porsche’s current lineup, it’s easy to see where the automaker is heading: Electric sports cars. Right now, in 2020, the automaker has one electric sports sedan and an electric version of its small SUV coming soon. The automaker has a handful of plug-in hybrids available, too. The automaker says half of its vehicles will be electric by 2025.

“We are seeing a lot of new regulations coming up everywhere in the world,” Detlev von Platen, Member of the Executive Board, Sales and Marketing, said at Sessions: Mobility. “California is one example. Europe and China will become even more complicated in the future, and we see the transformation coming up very quickly. And to a certain point of time, developing and producing combustion engines and cars around this technology will become even more expensive than a battery vehicle. Things are moving very fast.”

Governments worldwide are using aggressive regulations to push automakers towards an electric future though that goal doesn’t address the millions of gasoline-powered vehicles already on the road.

von Platen explains that its Porsche’s goal to reach the commitments laid out by the Paris Climate Accord ahead of schedule. To do so means reducing the environmental impact of the entire car industry, and Porsche sees eFuels as a way to reduce the environmental impact of current and future internal combustion vehicles. If produced using renewable energy, it would result in ICE-powered vehicles being powered by a renewable source fuel.

Porsche is in a unique position: 70% of the vehicles it ever produced are still on the road. Their owners are generally enthusiastic and unlikely to trade-in their classic air-cooled Porsche coupes for an electric vehicle. The company sees eFuel as a way to reduce the environmental impact of those vehicles while keeping them on the road.

This new type of synthetic fuel is produced out of hydrogen and CO2. Porsche says that this fuel shares properties with kerosene, diesel, and gasoline produced from crude oil in its most basic term.

“This technology is particularly important because the combustion engine will continue to dominate the automotive world for many years to come,” said Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board, Research and Development, in a statement released in September. “If you want to operate the existing fleet in a sustainable manner, eFuels are a fundamental component.”

Synthetic fuels were tried in the past and gained little long-term traction. Porsche wants to influence this new breed of synthetic fuel specifications to ensure the eFuel works within Porsche’s performance engines. “When E10 came onto the market, the blend had some disadvantages. It must be different this time: it must have advantages,” Steiner said.

“We started a pilot program to talk about the industrialization of this fuel technology to make it cheaper as it is still quite expensive compared to fossil fuels, von Platen said. “If this works in the future, we can have something that will increase the speed of creating sustainability besides battery technology.”

Full Panel — Exclusive to Extra Crunch subscribers

#porsche, #tc

Hear how Porsche is preparing for the electric future at TC Sessions: Mobility

Detlev von Platen is a car guy, and in this age of new mobility, that’s important. Platen has been at Porsche for over 30 years and is currently on Porsche’s executive board as the sales and marketing executive. Before his current role, he lead Porsche North America, where he oversaw incredible growth.

We’re thrilled Platen is speaking at TechCrunch Sessions: Mobility next week.

Porsche is in a curious position. As part of the Volkswagen family, Porsche has the manufacturing might of a giant, but a niche brand’s narrow focus. Right now, its lineup is largely unchanged over the last decade. The iconic 911 sits as Porsche’s halo car. The 718 Boxster sits under the 911 as an enthusiast option. The two SUVs are Porsche’s top-selling models, and the low-slung Panamera is a fantastic option for those looking for a sporty sedan. And then there’s the electric Taycan.

Last year, Porsche pulled the sheet off its first electric option, and so far, the electric Porsche Taycan is well-received. Like the rest of Porsche’s lineup, it’s a sports car first. We’re excited to speak to Platen about how Porsche can maintain and cultivate a strong brand identity even as consumer expectations change.

Porsche has been in this position in the past and excelled. In the late ’90s, the automobile world started turning its collective back on cars in favor of sport utility vehicles. And Porsche didn’t have an SUV. Porsche went on to build and sell the Cayenne starting in 2002 and, now in its third generation, is now the company’s top-selling model by an autobahn kilometer.

With the Cayenne, Porsche demonstrated it could infuse Porsche’s sports car identity into a four-door SUV. Can it do it again with electric vehicles?

The timing is critical. The State of California just announced an ambitious plan to ban the sales of cars powered internal combustion and it’s rumored the European Union will announce a similar deadline. Will Porsche be ready by California’s 2035 deadline? Will Porsche — gasp — sell an electric 911? We have a lot of questions, and we hope Platen has answers.

Please note, Detlev von Platen is replacing Klaus Zellmer at our event.

Three weeks ago, we announced Porsche Cars North America CEO Klaus Zellmer as a speaker at Mobility. Then, one week later, he became VW’s sales chief. Platen is a perfect replacement for our event. Before becoming Porsche’s top sales executive, he held Zellmer’s position as the CEO of Porsche Cars North America and has a great overview of Porsche’s electrification strategy.

TechCrunch Sessions: Mobility runs October 6-7, and tickets are still available. Thanks to COVID-19, the event is virtual, allowing anyone to participate in the interviews, demos, and breakout sessions where attendees can ask speakers questions.

We hope you can join our talk with Platen at TechCrunch Sessions: Mobility 2020. The event is virtual this year, therefore making it more accessible to attendees from around the world. Platen joins other mobility executives, including Bryan Salesky of Argo AI, Peter Rawlinson of Lucid Motors, and Tekedra Mawakana of Waymo.

#porsche, #tc

Porsche boosts battery capacity by 27 percent for 2021 Panamera hybrid

It takes a lot of time and money to design and then produce a new vehicle, so the longer the car stays on sale, the more time there is to recoup that investment. Eight years is about the lifespan of a new model, which unfortunately is long enough for customers to get bored.

Enter the midlife refresh. The idea is as simple as it sounds—halfway through a model’s lifespan, it gets treated to a makeover. There are always things that can be tweaked to make production easier, to satisfy customers, or to take advantage of some new gadget or gizmo that showed up in the meantime.

Such is the case for Porsche’s Panamera sedan, which emerges fresh from the styling department with a sharper new face, a subtle tweak to the taillights, and of most interest to our audience, a 27 percent bump in battery size for the plug-in hybrids in the model lineup.

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#cars, #plug-in-hybrid, #porsche, #porsche-panamera-4s-e-hybrid

Hear from the CEO Porsche Cars North America on electrifying the sports car

Few electric cars made a bigger splash than the new Porsche Taycan. As President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America Klaus Zellmer has the tall order of bringing the electric sedan to America and selling it against Tesla on Tesla’s home turf. He also oversees Porsche’s digital assets in the U.S. market namely the customer portal My Porsche and a digital sales platform — a critical test in the era of Covid-19.

We invited Zellmer to speak at TechCrunch Sessions: Mobility due to his unique positioning inside Porsche. He’s well-suited to speak on a variety of topics critical to founders, engineers, and venture capitalists within the mobility space.

Many see Porsche well positioned to be a key player in electric vehicles and the Taycan is just the start. As CEO of Porsche Cars North America Zellmer can speak directly to the challenges and opportunities facing automakers and startups alike in the North American market.

Likewise, as the President and CEO of Porsche Digital, Zellmer has deep insights into the user experience expectations of today’s drivers including online sales. As Covid-19 continues to strain retail, dealerships are feeling strains as well. More customers are turning to online dealerships — something Zellmer can speak directly to.

Porsche Digital launched its first US-based operations in Silicon Valley in 2017 and later expanded to Atlanta in 2019. When writing about the Atlanta opening in 2019, TechCrunch writer Darrell Etherington noted that Porsche maintains facilities in global hubs of tech talent and speculated that the company uses these facilities for attracting engineering talent and potential acquisitions of complementary early-stage companies.

We hope you can join our talk with Zellmer at TechCrunch Sessions: Mobility 2020. The event is virtual this year, therefore making it more accessible to attendees from around the world. Zellmer joins other mobility executives including Bryan Salesky of Argo AI, Peter Rawlinson of Lucid Motors, and Tekedra Mawakana of Waymo.

#america, #atlanta, #bryan-salesky, #car-dealership, #cars, #ceo, #darrell-etherington, #lucid-motors, #online-sales, #peter-rawlinson, #player, #porsche, #porsche-digital, #tc, #tesla, #united-states, #waymo, #writer

Porsche experiments with subscription pricing, expands to Los Angeles

Porsche is rolling out a less expensive subscription plan in four U.S. cities as the German automaker experiments with different pricing and products in an effort to expand its customer base.

Porsche now has three plans, or tiers, that are all housed under its newly rebranded Porsche Drive vehicle subscription program. This new plan, called Porsche Drive-single vehicle subscription, squeezes in between two other existing tiers.

The most robust plan is Porsche Drive – Multi-Vehicle Subscription, which offers customers the ability to swap through a variety of vehicles on a monthly basis. The multi-vehicle plan costs $2,100 or $3,100 a month, depending on whether the customer wants access to its high-performance models like the 911. Then there’s Porsche Drive – Rental, which as the name indicates, offers shorter-term rentals. The price of the rental depends on the vehicle and starts at about $245 daily for the Macan to $2,415 for weekly use of a 911.

The new single-vehicle plan is less expensive than the multi-vehicle plan, but that doesn’t mean it’s cheap. The single-vehicle plan starts at $1,500 a month for the Macan and pops all the way up to $2,600 a month for the Porsche 911. All of the plans require a $595 activation fee unless a customer commits to the single-vehicle plan for at least three months.

Notably, no amount of money will get customers access to the all-electric Porsche Taycan. It’s the one vehicle not available in any of the plans.

This middle tier single-vehicle subscription program will be offered to customers in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Phoenix and San Diego. Customers who opt for this plan will have access to a single Porsche model for one or three months, beginning September 25. Like the other Porsche Drive programs, the monthly fee for the single-vehicle plan covers the vehicle, delivery, insurance and service.

The subscription program, formerly known as Passport, was first launched in 2017 in Atlanta. During the pilot, the average subscription has been about four months. The most common reason customers suspended their membership was because of extended travel plans, according to the company. The initial aim was to build a new customer base of Porsche owners by offering a product that was flexible. It attracted enough interest that Porsche expanded the program to several other important U.S. markets, such as Phoenix and San Diego. Now, it’s pushing into Los Angeles.

“If California were a country, it would be our fifth-largest market in the world. After bringing Porsche Drive to San Diego last summer, Los Angeles was an obvious choice to allow customers to experience a variety of Porsche sports cars and SUVs at the touch of an app. Now, in addition to our Porsche Experience Center Los Angeles track, LA residents or those visiting LA have another way to enjoy a Porsche,” said Klaus Zellmer, president and CEO of PCNA.

Porsche contends that data shows the subscription program has been successful. The company said 80% of participants have been new to Porsche, many are younger than the average age for current Porsche buyers or lessees and more than one-third enroll for at least four months. Porsche said it added the single-vehicle option based on data that show some members prefer to stay in one model instead of switching vehicles.

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