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April 13, 2020
Coronavirus Delays Release of New Vehicles
Source: Forbes
Extended production shutdowns stemming from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic have led to the delay of new model releases across the auto industry. The federal government has directed GM to produce ventilators, leading the company to postpone major redesigns for leading gas-powered models including the best-selling Silverado until 2021. Facing significant production delays, Ford is opting to deliver the revamped Bronco months later than originally planned. The largest auto industry event in Michigan, the Detroit Auto Show was canceled with the event grounds currently serving as a temporary COVID-19 response hospital.

While not disproportionately impacted by the production freezes, several new EV models are also facing extended delivery timetables. The Bolt, GM’s only EV currently in production, and a new offering on the Cadillac platform will both face delays. New players like Rivian are feeling the effects of the coronavirus, announcing last week that the first deliveries of their anticipated electric SUVs and pickups will be pushed into early 2021.

GM and others remain committed to bringing other new EVs to market before the year is out. GM representatives have indicated that the rollout of SUV version of the Bolt and the Hummer EV will not be adversely affected by the shutdowns. Other exciting new EVs including Volkswagen’s ID3 an Ford’s Mustang Mach-E are still on schedule for release later in 2020 as of the most recent updates. Some customers are likely to get their hands on these models in the latter half of 2020, although most new models will not reach full production until 2021.

Tesla has also been impacted by the production limits facing other automakers and has furloughed half of  their delivery and sales staff as they race to resume production by May 4th. Despite these challenges, the company reported a record first quarter for global deliveries and has begun deliveries of the crossover Model Y in the United States ahead of schedule. Tesla also maintains plans to deliver the Cybertruck in 2021 and continues to pull ahead of competitors by raising the bar on vehicle range.

As Tesla charges ahead, automakers including Ford, Fiat-Chrysler, Hyundai, and GM have offered new car buyers delayed payments or zero percent interest rates on vehicle financing to bolster waning demand. First quarter sales for all vehicles on the market are expected to come in 15 percent lower than 2019. Sales for the Ford F-150, the nation’s best-selling vehicle, were down at least 13 percent in the first quarter.

Reliable numbers on U.S. EV sales for 2020 are still few and far between. Despite this information lag, some groups are racing to project the impact the COVID-19 crisis will have on the industry. Woods Mackenzie made headlines last week after predicting a 43 percent decline in global EV sales for 2020, primarily due to coronavirus-related impacts. In China, the world’s largest auto market, EVs appear to be faring slightly better than conventional vehicles in the wake of sweeping shutdowns.

Time will tell how the EV sector will shape up as the global auto industry continues to weather this storm. With a 16 percent increase in global EV sales for February, some markets and manufacturers seem to be remaining afloat. Stay tuned as we continue to report on the EV and transportation-related outcomes of COVID-19 as more information becomes available.
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NYSERDA Adds $5 million to the Charge Ready NY Program

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) has added $5 million to the Charge Ready NY program which offers $4,000 rebates to public and private organizations that install Level 2 EV charging stations at public parking facilities, workplaces, and multifamily apartment buildings. This announcement brings the program’s total budget to $12 million. Since launching in September 2018, the program has supported more than 1,800 charging ports, of which over 1,000 have already been installed. Read More Here

National Grid and Oregon DOT Seeking Vendors for EV Charging Programs

In Massachusetts, the electric utility National Grid in Massachusetts has issued an RFI in order to execute residential off-peak charging rebate program. The survey seeks vendors that could provide charging data from varying technologies. The Off-Peak Rebate will pay customers a fixed per-kWh rate for charging their EV during the hours of 9 p.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. The survey will be open until February 28th and an RFP will be issued afterwards. 

In Oregon, the Department of Transportation is hosting a pre-proposal webinar to provide an overview of a new funding opportunity. Public agencies in the state are providing funding to upgrade and enhance Oregon’s network of 44 charging stations available as a part of the West Coast Electric Highway Initiative with new, dual-protocol, DC fast charging capability. The upgrades will allow fast charging using CHAdeMO or CCS connectors at each of the 44 sites. The pre-proposal webinar will be held on April 20th at 10:30 a.m. PST. Read More Here

2020 Federal Low or No Emission Program Funding Available

On January 17, 2020, the Federal Transit Adminsitration (FTA) announced the opening of the 2020 Low or No Emission (Low-No) Program. Under this cycle. approximately $130 million will be available for transit agencies in all states to go towards the purchase or lease of low or no emission vehicles as well as related equipment or facilities.

The main purpose of the Low-No Program is to support the transition of the nation’s transit fleet to the lowest polluting and most energy efficient transit vehicles. The Low-No Program provides funding to State and local governmental authorities for the purchase or lease of zero-emission and low-emission transit buses, including acquisition, construction, and leasing of required supporting facilities. Since 2015, the Low-No Program has awarded almost $350 million for ZEV transit buses and supporting equipment. This year’s allocation will be the largest amount of yearly funding to date. Proposals are due by March 17, 2020. Read More Here

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