German automaker Volkswagen announced it plans to invest more than 20 billion euros ($24 billion) in zero-emission vehicles by 2030, primarily electric cars. The world’s largest automaker said this week it would add 80 new electric cars across its multi-brand group by 2025, up from a previous goal of 30, and wanted to offer an electric version of each of its 300 group models by 2030. The “dieselgate” scandal from two years ago has prompted a dramatic shift in the company’s approach to the auto market.  To start its “roadmap E”, Volkswagen has started a tendering process for the selection of partners in China, Europe and North America to provide battery cells and related technology worth more than 50 billion euros (($60 billion).  The firm believes it will require capacity equivalent to at least four gigafactories to produce the batteries to service its fleet of electric cars. Chief Executive Matthias Mueller stated:

“A company like Volkswagen must lead, not follow. We are setting the scene for the final breakthrough for e-mobility.”

Daimler said its Mercedes-Benz luxury brand planned to offer electric motors for all models by 2022. The company set a target of saving 4 billion euros ($4.8 billion) by 2025 to help fund the cost of its electric cars. Planned electric Mercedes models will initially be half as profitable as gasoline and diesel vehicles, Daimler warned. This will force the group to find savings by outsourcing more component manufacturing internationally, which may in turn threaten German jobs.

Meanwhile, competitor BMW remarked it was readying its factories to mass produce electric vehicles by 2020 and expected to have 12 purely battery-powered models on offer by 2025.

Amitabh Kant, CEO of think tank NITI Aayog, predicts India will see 31 million electric vehicles sales by 2040. He projects 7..3 million EV sales by 2030, and 30.81 million by 2040. “Low per capita car ownership gives India an opportunity to expand. At present we have 20 cars per 1,000 people while the US has 800,” he said. India sold only 25,000 EVs in the past year and there are currently only 206 community charging stations across the country.

A study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute, Texas A&M Transportation Institute, and Columbia University supports the notion that ride sharing services, like Uber and Lyft, could reduce the demand for car ownership by giving urban dwellers a cheaper and more efficient way of mobility. Based on events over several years in the US city of Austin, Texas, the researches found that when ride sharing companies were available, people used their own car less. The conclusion seemed to be that the study shows ride-hailing can make it easier to limit the use of personal cars in large cities.

Ride sharing companies like Uber will be banned from using vehicles that are not a hybrid or fully electric in the UK city of London from 2020, as part of a plan to help reduce air pollution. For other UK cities the 100% hybrid and electric deadline is 2022. By 2025 all of its cars in London must be fully electric or a plug-in hybrid.

Kaohsiung City in Taiwan will open an electric car rental station next month as part the city’s electric car sharing system. Five electric cars will be available during the month for people to try out the new service free of charge. Over the next two years, 50 electric car rental stations will be opened offering a total of 84 vehicles in the city. The rental rate is tentatively set at NT$150 (about US$5.00) per 30 minutes. Users will be able to book and rent a car and make payments through their mobile phones. The first 10 stations will be set up in areas near the high-speed rail system’s Zuoying Station, railway stations, bus stations, department stores, and hospitals.

Car sharing firm DriveNow has opened a new service in Lisbon, Portugal. It will use 211 BMW and Mini cars, including electric vehicles, for use in the Portuguese capital. The service will allow customers to leave or pick up the car anywhere within a defined operating area of the city. Pick up and drop off at the airport will be available in future.

Renault has announced a new electric car sharing service in Madrid, Spain to commence next month. Called Zity the project will be launched within the M-30 beltway with 500 Renault ZOEs – the Z.E. 40. The vehicle has 41 kWh battery and 300 kilometer (186 mile) range.

Daimler said it is investing 50 million euros (£46 million) in a new joint venture with U.S.-based ride-hailing start-up Via to offer on-demand shared shuttle services in European cities starting with London this year. Via already offers 1 million rides a month in Chicago, New York and Washington. The joint venture plans to develop buses and vans with electric and autonomous vehicle technology.

Ride sharing firm Lyft is partnering with self-driving car startup Drive.ai to offer rides in semi-autonomous vehicles to passengers in the San Francisco Bay area of California. Passengers will be asked if they want to participate in the program, and if they choose to take part, their trip in the semi-autonomous vehicle will be free. The car drives itself for some portions of the trip, but a driver will still be there to monitor the semi-autonomous system and take over when the car has issues or if it goes to an area where it can’t drive itself. Lyft is looking to autonomous-car technology to greatly reduce its operational costs.

Scotland’s 50 largest railway stations are adding electric chargers for cars. The charging points will be free to users.

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