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#1 2019-03-03 16:12:00

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,710

Musk Specs

Put on Musk's X Ray Specs and things always look different:

"Our true competition is not the small trickle of non-Tesla electric cars being produced, but rather the enormous flood of gasoline cars pouring out of the world’s factories every day."

Hasn't he got it right again? 

If he can get electric vehicles within 20% of the cost of gasoline/petrol cars a vast, vast market opens up. I think the lower fuel and maintenance prices will do the rest - especially as governments nearly everywhere will privilege EVs over conventional cars in all sorts of way - e.g. charge-free entry to city centres.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#2 2019-03-03 20:30:42

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,823

Re: Musk Specs

The 10 cheapest cars at the end of the article
https://20somethingfinance.com/cheapest-new-cars

These are all gas vehicles under $20,000 which is a problem for electrical vehicles as they are not even close..

8 Cheapest Electric Vehicles For Sale In The U.S.

    8) Chevrolet Bolt – $36,620. ...
    7) Fiat 500e – $32,995. ...
    6) Kia Soul EV – $32,250. ...
    5) Volkswagen e-Golf – $30,495. ...
    4) Nissan LEAF – $29,990. ...
    3) Hyundai IONIQ Electric – $29,500. ...
    2) Ford Focus Electric – $29,120. ...
    1) smart fortwo ED – $23,800.

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#3 2019-03-04 06:12:36

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,710

Re: Musk Specs

SpaceNut wrote:

The 10 cheapest cars at the end of the article
https://20somethingfinance.com/cheapest-new-cars

These are all gas vehicles under $20,000 which is a problem for electrical vehicles as they are not even close..

8 Cheapest Electric Vehicles For Sale In The U.S.

    8) Chevrolet Bolt – $36,620. ...
    7) Fiat 500e – $32,995. ...
    6) Kia Soul EV – $32,250. ...
    5) Volkswagen e-Golf – $30,495. ...
    4) Nissan LEAF – $29,990. ...
    3) Hyundai IONIQ Electric – $29,500. ...
    2) Ford Focus Electric – $29,120. ...
    1) smart fortwo ED – $23,800.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#4 2019-03-04 06:17:33

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,710

Re: Musk Specs

Yes, he's not near yet but with those prices you do have to factor in fuel, road tax (in UK), cheaper maintenance and - in many countries - congestion charge payments (often zero for EVs). In the UK you could easily be saving $12,000 over 5 years if you use your car to commute. 

louis wrote:
SpaceNut wrote:

The 10 cheapest cars at the end of the article
https://20somethingfinance.com/cheapest-new-cars

These are all gas vehicles under $20,000 which is a problem for electrical vehicles as they are not even close..

8 Cheapest Electric Vehicles For Sale In The U.S.

    8) Chevrolet Bolt – $36,620. ...
    7) Fiat 500e – $32,995. ...
    6) Kia Soul EV – $32,250. ...
    5) Volkswagen e-Golf – $30,495. ...
    4) Nissan LEAF – $29,990. ...
    3) Hyundai IONIQ Electric – $29,500. ...
    2) Ford Focus Electric – $29,120. ...
    1) smart fortwo ED – $23,800.


Let's Go to Mars...Google on: Fast Track to Mars blogspot.com

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#5 2019-03-04 07:21:58

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,823

Re: Musk Specs

Sure when you only look one way for "prices you do have to factor in fuel, road tax (in UK), cheaper maintenance " it not all that different in the other just different. Cost of electricity is high here and in many parts of the us, road caused damage will be simular, road use and taxes would not change all that much as they are based on the vehicles cost/HP options....

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#6 2019-03-04 09:23:53

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,889

Re: Musk Specs

If electricity was free, for most drivers it'd still cost more to own the electric vehicle over the span of 2 to 3 years than an equivalent gas powered vehicle.  Ultimately, the "hide the cost" game is a fool's errand.  There's no hiding it and someone really does have to pay for it.  That's fine if you can convince people to do so, but if you can't then even coercive measures such as penalties for driving gas powered vehicles won't change cost.  Over time, the electric vehicle will pay for itself and will be a better value proposition than the gas powered vehicle.  That presumes the battery lasts long enough and you own the car long enough, but some people would, given the option to do so.  I try to hold onto a vehicle for as long as I can, for example.

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#7 2019-03-04 12:13:24

GW Johnson
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From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,566
Website

Re: Musk Specs

The car buyer should consider initial cost,  the cost of the loan to pay off,  the expected costs of maintenance and repair,  the expected costs of refueling/charging/whatever,  and all the legal fees.  Plus,  is the refueling/recharging infrastructure out there where you can access it? 

Usually the legal fees are about the same.  The real kicker over the decades has been the costs of maintenance and repair,  which have always been higher than anybody ever expected,  however unrealistic that perception might have been.  Most buyers didn't care much about refueling/recharge costs,  until the advent of cartels jacking up fuel prices,  with the first oil embargo in 1974-ish.

In years past,  maintenance and repair costs were high for all cars,  with a few being egregious,  as in the big-engine sports sedans that required engine removal to change spark plugs,  when spark plug life was ~ 3000 miles with leaded gasoline.  In recent years,  maintenance and repair costs have fallen dramatically overall,  for some cars,  and at least somewhat for most cars.  Individual jobs are more expensive,  but far less frequent.

The various electrics are finally becoming more competitive.  They are finally getting somewhat attractive to the middle class.  With recharge infrastructure still largely missing,  some sort of a hybrid is the better deal.  Some sort of a series hybrid with a large hybrid battery is the best of these,  although my 2010 Prius is good enough to be worth its price to me.  That last is because I have had to do little but change its oil and replace tires since I bought it:  low maintenance and repair indeed. I just did several renewal items at ~150,000 miles.  That just ain't bad at all,  hybrid or not.

It'll get better,  just give it time.  There's a version of the lithium ion battery that is more proof against damage causing battery fires.  It's not on the market yet,  but I think it soon will be.

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2019-03-04 12:26:27)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#8 2019-03-04 13:14:38

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,889

Re: Musk Specs

GW,

Whenever a solid polymer electrolyte 500Wh/kg battery becomes available, presuming cost remains the same as current technology in terms of $/kWh, we'll see rapid growth in the EV market.  There won't be any more fires at that point, at least not from the battery, and people will rapidly "figure out" that cars that don't explode or catch fire are better than gas-powered cars that can explode, even if they cost a little more.

If someone can "figure out" that some of us don't have "range anxiety" and we just want a car that goes 200 miles, that would be great.  That covers 95%+ of all practical driving patterns.  Anything over the top of that, provided that cost remains the same, is gravy.

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#9 2019-03-04 16:24:42

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,513
Website

Re: Musk Specs

I strongly question the notion that cities will suspend their congestion charges for electric vehicles in the long term.

While air quality is one reason to try to limit the number of vehicles in a CBD, the main reason for congestion charges is exactly what it sounds like--congestion.

Consider the following image, which shows the amount of road space taken up by the same number of people on a bus, on a bike, and when driving alone:

6a00d83454714d69e2017d3c37d8ac970c-800wi

Perhaps in the suburbs and in the country, space is not an issue.  But in the main downtown of a large city (the sort of area typically affected by a congestion charge) there simply is not enough space for everyone to get places by car.  Land has value, and nowhere more so than at the heart of a big city.  While road space is typically built and maintained as a free public service supported by taxes, demand in these circumstances exceeds supply and it is therefore necessary to establish a use fee as a disincentive.  There's a funny take on the above image, which I can't seem to find, that has three panels that are the same as the rightmost.  The first is labeled "gasoline car", the second "electric car", the third "autonomous car".  The point being, neither of the two solves the main problem.

As an example: A Manhattan apartment building within the CBD (traditionally defined as the entire island below 60th St) is typically five stories high, with a typical two bedroom apartment containing two people with an area of perhaps 700 sqft and a rent for that apartment of perhaps $3,000 per month.  If you assume 20% of the building is given over to stairs, storage, and entryway you will have 875 sqft of ground-land generating $15,000 per month or $180,000 per year.  Our hypothetical "typical" building was built in, let's say, 1925 and therefore construction was paid down long ago.

By comparison, one parking space is perhaps 8 ft wide by 15 ft long, and therefore 120 sqft (roughly 1/7 of that land on which 5 apartments or more might be built; in other words the value of that parking spot might be calculated to be $25,000 per year), and is free for anyone to park in (if you can find a spot, and with the exception of various posted limitations). 

The point here is that there really ought to be a congestion charge on EVs the same as on gasoline cars (or perhaps just slightly lower), because in the core sections of dense cities people really ought to be taking public transit.  It's simple geometry: Much like a forest, a car is mostly empty space.  If governments choose to exempt EVs as a sort of subsidy or incentive I suppose that's their prerogative but there's no law of urban planning that means it must be so.

Indeed, NYC is about to implement just such a charge, and my understanding is that there will be no exception for electric cars.


-Josh

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#10 2019-03-04 16:35:28

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,823

Re: Musk Specs

As you noted elsewhere the E-bike has come along ways and if you never leave the city limits then they do make sense in that some can fold up when not in use. It also means cities need to go that next step as well to restrict vehicle traffic to pedestrian, bike use to get more people being active when land use is limited.

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#11 2019-03-04 18:25:06

louis
Member
From: UK
Registered: 2008-03-24
Posts: 4,710

Re: Musk Specs

Of course but a saving is a saving while it's there.

Another point, because EVs are currently heavier than hydrocarbon cars, they actually produce a lot of air pollution from tyre and brake wear.  That's something that needs to be addressed - induction charging on electric roads is obviously one way to go, so you can have smaller batteries on board and thus lighter vehicles.

JoshNH4H wrote:

I strongly question the notion that cities will suspend their congestion charges for electric vehicles in the long term.

Last edited by louis (2019-03-05 07:39:03)


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#12 2019-03-04 19:19:39

JoshNH4H
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From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,513
Website

Re: Musk Specs

Sure, I mean, depends what you're trying to do.  If your goal is to reduce emissions one really good way to go about it is to promote denser development and urbanization, which would mean pushing back on all driving rather than investing in infrastructure for EVs.  Mile per mile (given our current mix of electric power plants) a diesel bus generates less CO2 than a personal electric car, with electrified public transit (fueled by solar, wind, or nuclear ideally) being the best for both air quality and CO2 emissions.  This, by the way, is the reasoning behind the emphasis on transit in the Green New Deal.  While it doesn't seek to end air travel (as has been claimed) reducing air travel by providing greener alternatives like high speed trains is a good way to reduce emissions.  A cool stat on this score is that a high speed train from Beijing to Shanghai (1320 km or 820 miles) takes under 4.5 hours.  This range of distance is comparable to the distance from NY to Chicago, Washington, DC to Atlanta, Seattle to SF, or SF to San Diego.  All things considered it's probably faster than flying the same distance.  If a good train network cuts domestic air travel by 50%, that's a win for the climate and a win for consumers (since they're presumably choosing the trains over airplanes in this scenario).

I would say Musk's vision is different from that one.  Musk certainly looks to find ways to address climate change, but he also owns a car company.  You might say his vision is in some ways less sweeping than that of AOC: Where he seeks to buttress suburban sprawl with new technologies, she seeks to enable a new urbanism to flourish in the United States.  For various reasons I tend to lean more towards AOC's vision than that of Musk, but there's a lot of different ways to address climate change.

One thing Musk does offer is hope, something we all could use a little more of.


-Josh

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#13 2019-03-04 19:57:45

SpaceNut
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From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,823

Re: Musk Specs

Then there is this itsy bitsy issue going on https://www.ibtimes.com/tesla-closing-s … es-2770812

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#14 2019-03-05 03:45:14

Terraformer
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From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,062
Website

Re: Musk Specs

There's a funny take on the above image, which I can't seem to find, that has three panels that are the same as the rightmost.  The first is labeled "gasoline car", the second "electric car", the third "autonomous car".

That's not right. Autonomous cars need space for the empty vehicles driving to cheaper parking spaces, too. big_smile

I think Musk's plan is to have a dozen tunnels stacked on top of each other and make the cars go bumper to bumper at 120mph, or something.

Some people claim autonomous cars will be shared. But in that case, why not just take the bus or train? I'd much rather get on a bus with a dozen strangers than in an autonomous car with one.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#15 2019-03-05 04:09:04

elderflower
Member
Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 1,096

Re: Musk Specs

Electric vehicle braking is largely done by regeneration so brake wear is actually less than in a conventional ic vehicle.

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#16 2019-03-06 22:23:37

GW Johnson
Member
From: McGregor, Texas USA
Registered: 2011-12-04
Posts: 3,566
Website

Re: Musk Specs

There's even some of us that go gentle on brakes in a conventional car.  We get phenomenal brake life in hybrids,  precisely because of the regenerative braking. I just replaced the disc brake pads in my 2010 Prius hybrid at about 150,000 miles,  and the pads were only half worn!  The rotors did not need turning!  Turned out to be an easy,  fast job in the farm shop. Did it myself,  for just the cost of the new parts.

Regenerative braking has been in production hybrids since the first ones hit the market.  It makes quite a difference to the effective range you can get out of the battery. 

I liked Josh's pictures (post #9 above) to illustrate the land use efficiency of public transport vs individual cars.  Makes real sense in big cities.  A few years ago,  we visited Tokyo,  running all over the place seeing all sorts of stuff.  With 1 exception,  everywhere we went,  we went by rail.  It was great.  I wish we had that here in the US. Generally speaking,  we don't.

GW

Last edited by GW Johnson (2019-03-06 22:27:37)


GW Johnson
McGregor,  Texas

"There is nothing as expensive as a dead crew,  especially one dead from a bad management decision"

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#17 2019-03-07 11:24:22

elderflower
Member
Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 1,096

Re: Musk Specs

Japanese railways should be a lesson for every urban rail system. The trains turn up on time and stop within inches of the white lines on the platforms, the doors open and people pour out, but nobody is in their way as the departers are all standing to the sides behind the white lines. The waiting people pour on when the arrivals have got off and for very crowded services there are pushers to ensure that everyone is clear of the doors. Then the doors shut and the train leaves ON TIME. Maybe if it doesn't somebody is expected to disembowel himself!
I also noticed that the rails weren't in very good condition and that the rolling stock was old, but everything was clean! And the prices were low.

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#18 2019-03-07 13:20:28

kbd512
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Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,889

Re: Musk Specs

Elderflower,

Shinkansen is quite punctual, but nobody dies if the train is slightly off-schedule.  It's a marvel of modern engineering, to be sure.  I was impressed with it.  It's the closest thing to a magic carpet that I've ever rode on.  I've seen the world fly by in small aircraft, but being on the ground and watching everything fly past while feeling virtually nothing was like engaging the warp drive from Star Trek.

For these light rail schemes to work here in the US, the company involved must be staffed by people who can actually pull off a project.  The tax payers have dumped billions into high speed light rail and have very little to show for it.  In order for me to show support, I demand a functional prototype that's delivered and working as advertised.  Short of that, we shouldn't waste a dime on another one of these projects.

Come to think of it, I want an exact copy of Shinkansen if we ever decide to do this here in the US and I want the Japanese to build it.  They have the best track record on the planet, bar none.  I don't know what the exact number is, but so far as I know there have been multiple billions of passengers served and zero fatalities.  So...  Get the Japanese to agree to build it and I'd support such a measure.

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#19 2019-03-08 04:10:05

elderflower
Member
Registered: 2016-06-19
Posts: 1,096

Re: Musk Specs

I wasn't referring to crack, prestige trains. The ones I was talking about are local commuter services, which continue to function near perfectly despite handicaps such as restricted investment and massive demand.
If you want to see a really top system of commuter railways go to Singapore.

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#20 2019-03-08 08:31:31

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,889

Re: Musk Specs

Elderflower,

We have one of their trains in testing between Dallas and Houston.  Our municipal governments have drawn out the process by which this train should've been in operation starting this year into a multi-year money spending game.  It should already be in service.  They've identified the locations it could operate from, have tested it (it works- big surprise there), but for some reason it's still not in service yet.  This is exactly what I was talking about.  All we need to do is copy success.  There's no need to reinvent the bullet train service here in America.  It's reliable and it's guaranteed to reduce motor vehicle traffic deaths.  What more do you think you're going to get?  I wish I knew what it would take to simply ram this project through and be done with it so that we, the people, get the benefit of better technology.

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#21 2019-03-08 12:01:15

JoshNH4H
Moderator
From: Pullman, WA
Registered: 2007-07-15
Posts: 2,513
Website

Re: Musk Specs

For whatever reason, train service of all sorts tends to be more expensive to establish and operate in the United States than in other countries. 

The blog Pedestrian Observations has tried to catalog certain infill subway projects (i.e. underground train service in dense cities) and their costs as compared to foreign projects here.  The US is something of an outlier insofar as our costs are higher than pretty much any other country.

Because that post is dealing with underground projects in cities it doesn't speak specifically to high speed rail, but I think one major problem with High Speed rail projects in the United States is our strong belief in (and legal protection for) absolute property rights.

In the first era of rail construction most of the land in the country belonged to the government, who could dispense it to the railroads as it wished.  Trains in those days were slower and access was a bigger deal than speed because there were no real alternatives.

These days, the vast majority of the land in the country is either in use or protected.  Projects to build new rail corridors get caught up in years of expensive court battles over eminent domain, with even one loss having the ability to derail (pardon the pun) the whole project.  This is emphatically the case in California, where the State was spending years in court battles with Central Valley farmers.  In this respect I suppose a rail project faces similar challenges to a border wall.

Projects in California, Texas, and Florida nonwithstanding, the absolute best place for a true high speed rail corridor in the US is the northeast.  Look at this:

250px-Boswash.png

The cities of Boston (10th most populous metro), Hartford (47th most populous), New York City (1st), Trenton (142nd), Philadelphia (8th), Baltimore (20th), and Washington DC (6th) lie along a straight line just 400 miles long.  Unfortunately, the high population density that makes this corridor ideal for high speed rail also makes it expensive and difficult to acquire and build on the land along that straight line.  For comparison this is about the same as the distance between LA (2nd) and San Francisco (12th).  From Dallas-Fort Worth (4th) to Houston (5th) is about 240 miles.

Pedestrian Observations has taken a whack at explaining the reasons for high costs and it seems like a solid start.  Link here if you're interested.


-Josh

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#22 2019-03-08 12:26:04

Terraformer
Member
From: Lancashire
Registered: 2007-08-27
Posts: 3,062
Website

Re: Musk Specs

The Japanese also manage to run profitable railways... which aren't government owned.

Commuter systems could use suspension railways (Monorails!). That allows them to use existing right of way above roads, so there's no need for eminent domain.

They could probably go 100+MPH, too. That sure beats the 70mph traffic below them on the interstate.


"I guarantee you that at some point, everything's going to go south on you, and you're going to say, 'This is it, this is how I end.' Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work." - Mark Watney

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#23 2019-03-08 15:31:33

kbd512
Moderator
Registered: 2015-01-02
Posts: 2,889

Re: Musk Specs

Terraformer,

If we had a real monorail system around the major loops in Houston, nobody in their right mind would get on the freeway to go to work.  Maybe it's just the traveling associated with consulting work, but I've come to despise the freeways.  I appreciate the fact that we have something to use to get to work, it's just that 2 extra hours have to be devoted to go to and from work.  They may as well be called parking lot conveyer systems... because that's exactly what they are during rush hour.  If all business travel could be diverted to monorail loops, we could all get to work a lot faster and with less aggravation associated with distracted drivers.  However, someone needs to work the details out of how this would work.  It requires both buses and trains to work properly.

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#24 2019-03-08 17:39:45

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,823

Re: Musk Specs

Trains in the north east are pretty much dead other than in the big cities transit systems which include the underground subway systems. Since I am not in the cities I can only speak to what the Trains haul which is agregates, sands but not sure of what else.

Some of the small cities like Portsmouth have a few blocks that are pedestrial traffic only.

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#25 2019-03-12 21:23:42

SpaceNut
Administrator
From: New Hampshire
Registered: 2004-07-22
Posts: 15,823

Re: Musk Specs

Another business that is jumping into the fray of the EV business.
Volkswagen is betting its future on electric cars.

The Volkswagen Group announced in a statement Tuesday that it now plans to build 22 million electric cars across its brands by 2028

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