July 28th, 2017 News of the Day: Bollinger Reveals Rugged Electric Truck, BMW Crossover to Have Level 3 Autonomy, Intel Forecasts Growth

July 28th, 2017 News of the Day

Eric Walz
    Jul 28, 2017 12:33 PM  PT
July 28th, 2017 News of the Day: Bollinger Reveals Rugged Electric Truck, BMW Crossover to Have Level 3 Autonomy, Intel Forecasts Growth
author: Eric Walz   

Bollinger Introduces a Rugged Stripped Down Electric Truck

The world's first electric truck isn't anything fancy. In fact, it's just the opposite, and that's the way electric truck maker Bollinger intended.

The B1 "sports utility truck," as Bollinger Motors founder Robert Bollinger called it at his unveiling party Thursday evening at the Manhattan Classic Cars Club, has an all-aluminum sharp, Jeep-looking exterior that can be converted to a halfback pickup truck.

The interior is devoid of any high-tech features including bright screens or flashing displays. Instead, there are simple, analog radio dials and battery level indicators, with storage for 95 cubic feet of cargo if you remove two of the four seats.

The 360 horsepower EV has a 200-mile range, all-wheel drive, has a top speed at 127 mph and achieves a perfect 50/50 weight balance.

Bollinger describes the rugged truck as perfect for "rangers, builders and do-it-yourselfers"—a slightly different demographic than the well heeled Model X or Nissan Leaf consumers.

"We went our own path with a back to the basics, American-made fully electric truck," Karl Hacken, Bollinger lead engineer told Jalopnik.

Four engineers, two designers, a welder, a painter, a communications officer and a "human resources" dog comprised the small team that built the car from the car from the ground up at an upstate New York development center.

Though Bollinger celebrated the emotional reveal of his car Thursday night, the team is looking ahead to bringing the EV to mass market.

Bollinger's truck is expected to cost around $60,000, and will look to begin deliveries within 19 months. Interested consumers can reserve a spot to the car on Bollinger's website for free, and the company will begin taking $1,000 for reservations in 2018.

BMW Electric Crossover to Have Level 3 Autonomy

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BMW's upcoming electric crossover will feature level 3 autonomous driving capabilities according to a report by InsideEVs.

SAE defines level 3 autonomy as a "conditional automation," a mode-specific system where the car takes over all driving functions, with the human required to be ready to intervene at times. This means the human driver can take their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road, but will be alerted to take over if the car decides it can't perform the functions on its own under the current conditions. BMWi's national manager in Canada, Kevin Marcotte, told InsideEVs, the electric crossover will be "a major leap forward not only in terms of electrification, but also in technology. It will be the next big thing for us in terms of leapfrogging the industry."

BMW has long been rumored to be working on an electric crossover, called the i5, until another rumor claimed the project had been killed off. BMW recently announced, though, that it would simplify its lineup to focus on electrics, and apparently an electric sport activity vehicle/crossover is still in the works. BMW is still working with the (not finalized) name iNext.

BMW also said the iNext will get a number of new technologies, without naming them. InsideEVs reports that BMW reconfirmed its 2021 release date for the iNext, and that we'll get an i8 roadster next year, a Mini BEV in 2019, and an all-electric BMW X3 in 2020.

Intel Forecasts Growth in AI and the Autonomous Driving Industry


Chipmaker Intel Corp raised its full-year revenue and profit forecasts on higher expectations for its mainstay personal computer business and growth in newer areas such as artificial intelligence and autonomous driving.

Shares of the world's largest chipmaker, which also beat second-quarter estimates, were up 1.3 percent in after-hours trading on Thursday.

Intel has been grappling with a declining PC industry it helped found and has been pushing into making chips that power data centers and also into autonomous vehicle technology. The company agreed in March to buy autonomous vehicle technology firm Mobileye NV for $15 billion, thrusting Intel into the forefront of the market.

Intel expects to close the Mobileye purchase in the current quarter, several months earlier than expected, Chief Executive Brian Krzanich said on a post-earnings call on Thursday. The company is also benefiting from lower-than-expected declines in personal computer shipments. Worldwide shipments of traditional PCs were down 3.3 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, slightly better than expectations of a 3.9 percent decline, research firm IDC said this month.

Revenue in Intel's client computing, the biggest contributor to sales and which supplies chips to PC makers, rose 12 percent to $8.21 billion. Analysts had expected $7.88 billion, according to financial data and analytics firm FactSet. "My biggest takeaway was kind of surprise with how strong the PC side of business was in a market where PC units appear to be declining in the 3 percent to 4 percent range every year," said Edward Jones analyst Dave Heger.

Revenue from the data center business, a focus for the company, rose 9 percent to $4.37 billion, but missed expectation of $4.41 billion, according to FactSet. The company's Internet of Things business grew 26 percent to $720 million. Intel said it expected full-year adjusted earnings to be $3 per share, plus or minus 5 percent, or $2.85 to $3.15. Intel also increased its full-year revenue forecast by $1.3 billion to $61.3 billion, plus or minus $500 million.

Tesla Set to Make History Today With the Model 3

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The Tesla Model 3 will start rolling off the Fremont, California assembly line tonight. CEO Elon Musk will hand over 30 new electric vehicles at a factory gala celebrating its production.

"The final step in the master plan," Musk said when he first stood on stage before an image of a curtain draped Model 3 in 2016. "A mass-market, affordable car." That final step is now here.

Everyone is excited for a reason. The arrival of Tesla's Model 3 signals a new chapter in automotive history, one that erases 100-plus years reliance on the internal combustion engine and replaces it with clean technology, design, and performance hot enough to make electric vehicles more than aspirational—to make EVs inspirational.

If Tesla gets this right, the Model 3 will be the iPhone of the car world, leading the way for a whole pack of imitators. It may even steer the world toward a road populated by not just electric vehicles, but driverless cars, and realize that reality faster than anyone—even Google—has managed thus far.

Customers today can walk into shiny white Tesla retail stores, order a car, a solar roof, and a home storage battery. They can take long road trips knowing they have access to a proprietary Supercharger network for high speed top-ups. It's a neat, tidy, contained ecosystem—just like Apple's.

As with Apple, the Tesla brand and Elon Musk's celebrity is enough to create a fanbase that is legion and enough potential buyers to excite competitors: Audi, Jaguar, and Porsche, have all shown electric car concepts that are not just functional, but really cool looking too. The Audi e-tron Sportback, the Jaguar I-Pace, and Porsche Mission E, all are designed to compete with Tesla.

The Model 3 should be a leader in self-driving as well. Right now, Tesla's Autopilot function is semi-autonomous, so the car will only drive itself on a highway and requires a person behind the wheel. But soon Tesla will send an over-the-air update that enables full self-driving for all its cars on the roads—no hardware changes needed.

It'll be like the day Apple introduced the app store. Flicking that switch led advances that nobody imagined from a phone: new ways to do things like date and move money, social media's dominance, and the rise of the sharing economy. This Tesla change will enable drivers will come up with clever ways to lend, share, and monetize their vehicles in ways that are inconceivable now.

Tesla already has some ideas. Musk's master plan is to help owners add their vehicles to a shared fleet at the touch of a button. Instead of sitting unused 22 hours a day, the car will be able to drive itself and passengers, to earn money for you while you sleep, work, or go on vacation.

Tesla has to get bigger with this new car. A lot bigger. The company wants to build 500,000 cars in 2018, about twice as many as Porsche built in 2016. (VW, Toyota, or GM shift over 10 million vehicles a year.) But there are probably limits to its bigness.

"If Tesla can pull off the launch of the Model 3, they'll establish a niche as the cool electric car maker," says Wallace Hopp, an auto business professor at the University of Michigan. "But I suspect the bulk of EVs are going to be built by the traditional automakers, who will make cheaper cars that are functional and reliable."

Tesla might never have the number-one spot in sales, just like Apple's iOS is outsold by Android. However, that won't matter—those aren't Elon Musk's goals. Musk always said the aim of Tesla is to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy. He seems on track to do just that. Welcome to the 21st century.

Israeli Automotive Technology Fund Raises $40 Million


A new venture capital fund focused on Israel's automotive technology sector said on Wednesday that it raised over $40 million, twice its target.

Maniv Mobile LP said it will help investors partner with emerging leaders in transportation technology, The Times of Israel reported. It currently has 15 companies—mostly Israeli startups—in its portfolio.

The fund benefited from the increased focus on Israeli automotive technology startups, especially in the wake of the March purchase of Mobileye by chip-making giant Intel.

Among the limited partners in the new fund are the equity crowdfunding VC OurCrowd, InMotion Ventures, a subsidiary of Jaguar Land Rover; and the $14 billion French multinational automotive supplier, Valeo.

"Automated vehicles will be electric, breaking oil's stranglehold and giving us cleaner air," Maniv's founder Michael Granoff said in a statement. "But these vehicles will do so much more: save lives and time through accident avoidance, expand mobility to the young, the old, the infirm, allow us to reclaim precious real estate from idle vehicles and more."

"Now that Israel is recognized as a world leader in this sector, there will be increased global attention to Maniv's portfolio companies, many of whom are already pioneers in emerging new technologies," added Jon Medved, CEO of OurCrowd.

Israel has more than 5,000 startups and 750 venture-capital-backed companies, and the country attracts more venture money than any other country in the world relative to the size of its economy. In addition, Israel's so-called "Silicon Wadi", or valley, has the second largest number of technology startups per capita, right behind California.

Even though Israel lacks a native automobile production industry, companies focusing on this global sector comprise about 15% of Israel's industry sector businesses, and their numbers are growing steadily. In the last two years, Israeli automotive startups have raised $820 million, according to Yoram Oron, founder of Vertex Ventures and a member of the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings. In addition, over 500 Israeli companies are currently focused on creating the infrastructure for driverless vehicles.

Some of the world's top automakers have set up research and development centers in Israel, including General Motors, Honda, Volvo, and Daimler. Last year, Ford bought an Israeli startup that specializes in machine learning. Globes also reported earlier this year that BMW (which was already working on driverless cars with Intel and Mobileye) is considering opening a "smart car" development center in Israel.