A Tesla hacker has added Autopilot to a first-generation Model S. Jason Hughes (AKA "wk057") is at it again, this time by retrofitting his wife's 2014 P85 to take advantage of the electric automaker's autonomous driving feature. It took about $9,000 and 50 hours of labor to make it happen. Hughes also recently posted a teardown of the Autopilot module (possibly as research for this project) Hughes says that the retrofit, "was a pretty crazy project to take on, and honestly I'm not going to do it again." He also won't be publishing a detailed enough tutorial for others to follow. See the full rundown of the project on Hughes's blog, and read more at Teslarati.
Germany has approved incentives for electric vehicles. The German Cabinet voted in favor of cash subsidies and tax breaks to help put cleaner cars on its roads. Battery electric vehicles will be eligible for a €4,000 (about $4,490) subsidy, which plug-in hybrids will be eligible for up to €3,000 (about $3,367). They'll be exempt from vehicle taxes for 10 years. The government and automakers will share the costs of the program. Read more at Automotive News Europe.
Vision Ridge Partners has taken a majority interest in EVgo. NRG will maintain a significant interest in the charging network. The investment from Vision Ridge's Sustainable Asset Fund, combined with NRG's previous commitments, leaves EVgo with over $100 million in infrastructure funding, according to EVgo Vice President Terry O'Day. The firm's portfolio also includes the EV bus company Proterra and electric scooter-sharing service Scoot. Read more from NRG, or in the press release below.
Investment Will Expand EVgo's Market-Leading Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure to Even More of the U.S.
BOULDER, Colo., May 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Vision Ridge Partners, a climate action-oriented investment firm, announced today that it will be making a major investment in EVgo, the nation's leading public fast charging network for electric vehicles. The investment will allow EVgo to expand its charging network even further to accelerate and support the widespread deployment of electric vehicles.
"EVgo has the infrastructure and vision to make electric vehicles a mainstream form of transportation," said Reuben Munger, Managing Director of Vision Ridge. "More and more consumers recognize that electric vehicles are not only better for the environment, but also fun to drive, reliable, and better for their wallets. Under our partnership, we will work to build a comprehensive, consistent, and dependable national charging network, so that EVgo can accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles in the U.S."
EVgo currently operates 665 fast chargers in more than 50 top metro markets across the country. Vision Ridge's new capital, in conjunction with NRG's continued commitments under the California settlement, positions EVgo with more than $100 million of infrastructure funding to expand beyond its industry-leading metro area fast charging solutions. The expanded EVgo network will use the latest technology to give drivers fast charging options across the nation, eliminating any range concerns. EVgo Stations are equipped to charge any electric vehicle on the road today and can deliver a nearly full charge to most vehicles in less than 30 minutes.
"NRG is proud of the leadership that EVgo has established under our guidance," said Arun Banskota, President of EVgo. "As NRG looked at potential partners and investors for EVgo, it was important for us to align our business with a firm that is focused on building and investing in a sustainable energy future. We are confident that Vision Ridge will provide the added resources and specific expertise to take EVgo to the next level in sustainable transportation."
Since its development, EVgo has worked closely with automakers like Nissan, BMW, and Ford to develop a vehicle-centric customer experience. These partnerships have brought customers faster charging speeds and more charging locations, supporting both traditional car ownership as well as new transportation models, like ride-sharing, that are shaping the ways people choose to travel. The improved charging infrastructure made possible by today's investment paves the way for more drivers to purchase and use electric vehicles nationwide.
Vision Ridge is investing in EVgo through its Sustainable Asset Fund, which is one of the largest private portfolios focused on late-stage sustainable technology in the industry. Today's announcement strengthens Vision Ridge's leadership in building the future of transportation, advancing electric vehicle adoption, and demonstrating that sustainable projects can deliver impressive financial returns while preventing further impacts from climate change.