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Tesla to open Shanghai electric car factory, doubling its production

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Tesla is to open a new electric car production plant in Shanghai, its first outside the US, chief executive Elon Musk said from the city on Tuesday.

The new auto plant is slated to produce 500,000 cars a year, taking Tesla’s total global manufacturing capacity to 1m vehicles a year. Most automotive factories are tooled to produce 200,000 to 300,000 vehicles a year.

The Shanghai municipal government welcomed Tesla’s move to invest not only in a new factory in the city but also in research and development. It suggested it would help with some of the capital costs saying it would “fully support the construction of the Tesla factory”.

China has long pushed to capture more of the talent and capital invested by global automakers in advanced electric vehicle technology. Shanghai is one of the centres of the Chinese automotive industry.

Tesla said the first cars would roll off the Shanghai production line about two years after construction begins on the factory. Production will ramp up to 500,000 vehicles a year about two to three years later, roughly matching the planned output at Tesla’s current Fremont, California factory.

The announcement came as the price of Teslas made at the company’s US factory and sold in China rose as a result of the new 25% tariffs imposed by the Chinese government in retaliation for Donald Trump’s increase in duties on Chinese goods. Tesla had been in protracted negotiations to open a Chinese factory to help bolster its position in the country.

China is the world’s largest auto market with more than 28m vehicles sold last year, and annual sales are forecast to top 35m by 2025. It is also the world’s largest market for electric vehicles, driven by new regulations and China’s aim to have 100% electric vehicles by 2030.

Tesla shares were up 1.5% in early US trading, even as some analysts questioned where the loss-making company will get the capital required to build and staff such a large plant. Tesla has burned through more than $1bn in cash while struggling to ramp up production of its all-important mass-market Model 3 electric car.
Tesla recently hit its 5,000-a-week production target for its Model 3 and opened up its configuration system to those with vehicle reservations, of which it has over 450,000, requiring a further $2,500 (£1,886) deposit from each buyer.

Musk has said Tesla will be cash-flow positive this year. Analysts have predicted the company will raise capital to fund a list of new projects, including launching an electric semi truck, a pickup truck and a compact SUV, as well as new battery and vehicle production facilities that Musk has proposed for China and Europe.

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/10/tesla-to-open-shanghai-electric-car-factory-doubling-its-production

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WSJ: Cohen Under Investigation For Tax Fraud In New York

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Federal prosecutors in New York are homing in on possible tax fraud as part of their criminal investigation into the financial dealings of former Trump fixer Michael Cohen, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

A person familiar with the probe told the Journal that the possible fraud violations center on whether Cohen underreported the income he earned from his taxi medallion business on federal tax returns. Those funds amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars Cohen received in cash.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan U.S. attorney’s office are also investigating whether employees at New York’s Sterling National Bank allowed Cohen to take out loans for that business without providing appropriate documentation, according to the report.

Cohen is under investigation for a host of financial crimes, including campaign finance violations and bank fraud. The former Trump Organization executive has signaled his willingness to cooperate with prosecutors and turn over information damaging to the president.

As TPM has reported, the once-lucrative taxi medallion business was a significant revenue stream for the Cohen family during the 2000s and 2010s. New York taxi moguls Simon Garber and Gene Freidman paid Cohen and his wife a monthly rate for managing the medallions the couple owned. The price of medallions plummeted in recent years thanks to the rise of ride-sharing apps like Lyft and Uber.

The Journal reported that federal prosecutors have subpoenaed Cohen’s former accountant, Jeffrey A. Getzel, who also served as an accountant for Freidman. Freidman earlier this year agreed to cooperate with federal prosecutors as needed as part of a lenient plea deal. The former “Taxi King” of New York pleaded guilty to one count of criminal tax evasion after an investigation into his own taxi businesses.

Source: https://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/michael-cohen-under-investigation-tax-fraud-new-york

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Cost Comparison Of EVs & Gas Cars: New Tool from Con Edison And National Grid Show “Clearcost” Of Owning An EV

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Electric vehicles cost more than conventional cars. It’s a scientific fact, as Homer Simpson might say. But is it true? Consolidated Edison and National Grid have both enlisted the aid of Enervee, a Los Angeles company that invokes “data-science, behavioral science, and digital marketing” to help utilities steer their customers toward the purchase of energy-efficient appliances. Now it has applied its skills to create a website for both utilities that compares the cost of purchasing an electric car directly to the cost of purchasing a similar vehicle with an internal combustion engine.

Enervee’s calculator rates just about every car sold in America, determines the base sales price, calculates the cost of fuel or electricity over time, figures in any federal, state, and local rebates available, and arrives at the bottom line, which it calls its “clearcost.” It also assigns an efficiency rating for each vehicle. The result? In many cases, the EV actually turns out to cost less to own then the gasmobile, as reported by Greentech Media.

For instance, a Volkswagen Jetta with the 1.8 liter engine lists for $31,463. The clearcost of a Hyundai Ioniq Electric? $26,675. But wait, you say, the Jetta lists for $23,245 and the Ioniq lists for $29,500. How can the Hyundai cost less? Simple. The Jetta will use an estimated $8,218 in fuel over five years. The Ioniq will consume about $2,818 in electricity over the same period of time. Also, the Ioniq is eligible for a federal tax credit of $4,543 and a New York State Drive Clean rebate of $1,100. The net result is the Hyundai will cost almost $5,000 less to own.

Want another example? Consider a Tesla Model X. This car costs $14,000 more than a Lincoln Navigator but ends up costing more about $3,000 less over five years when all is said and done. Part of that is the $11,744 in fuel costs the Lincoln will incur over 5 years versus $4,078 worth of electricity for the Tesla. Add in the full $7,500 federal tax credit (if still available) and the New York rebate of $2,000, and the electric car actually will cost the owner less over time.

Now, are some of these estimates a bit fluid? Yes, of course. Electricity rates vary across the country; tax credits and rebates may come and go; gasoline prices could go rise or fall. None of these factors are certain. However, what this indicates is that both utility companies are looking at demand for electricity that is either flat or falling and wondering how electrified vehicles might improve their business model. The cost comparison websites are identical for both companies except for the logo at the top of the home page. It’s possible other utilities might elect to get together with Enervee to help boost EV ownership among their own customers.

Fei Wang, a senior analyst at GTM Research, says the websites are an outgrowth of utility backed marketplaces that already exist. They began as a way for customers to process rebates on energy-saving devices more efficiently. “We have seen marketplaces adding features like scheduling contractors, signing up for demand response and additional utility programs, and now a platform to compare EVs and non-EVs,” Wang says. “These additional features show that utilities are testing ways to play the energy advisor role, exploring additional revenues (through revenue-sharing or referral fees), and improving the customer experience.”

So now when someone tells you that EVs cost more than conventional cars you have a way to show them online how that perception is simply no longer valid. Sure, the utility companies are doing this in the hopes it will boost their bottom line, but anything that helps promote the EV revolution is welcome news indeed.

Source: https://cleantechnica.com/2018/07/24/cost-comparison-of-evs-and-gas-cars/

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Daily News newsroom cut in half by Tronc as top editor is ousted

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The meeting lasted less than a minute. By the time it was over, reporters and editors at The New York Daily News had been told that the newsroom staff was being cut in half and that Editor-in-Chief Jim Rich was out of a job.

Grant Whitmore, an executive at Tronc, the media company that owns The News, presided over the meeting, which took place shortly after 9 a.m. Monday in the seventh-floor newsroom in lower Manhattan. About 50 members of the newspaper’s staff were in attendance. The group did not include Rich or Kristen Lee, the managing editor, who is leaving as part of Tronc’s aggressive plan.

The new editor-in-chief is Robert York, currently the editor and publisher of The Morning Call, a Tronc-owned daily newspaper in Allentown, Pennsylvania.

At 1:40 a.m. Monday, Rich went public with his displeasure in a Twitter post: “If you hate democracy and think local governments should operate unchecked and in the dark, then today is a good day for you.”

Since Tronc, which is based in Chicago, bought The News from New York real estate developer and media mogul Mortimer B. Zuckerman in September 2017 — for a reported $1 — it has been examining the asset. In a memo sent to the paper’s employees minutes after the quick Monday morning meeting, the company said that it had been working to transform the tabloid into a publication better suited to the digital age.

It was not the first time The News had made sweeping cuts. In 2015, under Zuckerman’s ownership, the paper laid off dozens of employees, including virtually its entire digital team. A company that once had hundreds of employees has over the years dwindled to a newsroom staff of approximately 75 to 100.

The latest layoffs were yet another blow to the tabloid, which was once a no-nonsense staple publication for New York’s working class and had the highest daily circulation of any newspaper in the country. In 1947, The News boasted a 2.4 million daily circulation, its highest figure.

In recent years, its print circulation numbers have fallen to roughly 200,000, while its digital reach over the past year is 23 million.

Source: https://www.inlander.com/spokane/daily-news-newsroom-cut-in-half-by-tronc-as-top-editor-is-ousted/Content?oid=11054868

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