• Image Credit: Mini
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A decision on whether or not to build the Mini Superleggera has been pushed back. Earlier this year, Mini's Peter Schwarzenbauer hinted that the electric roadster concept could eventually make its way to production. Now, Schwarzenbauer is saying that a possible call is still at least six months away. "To really investigate seriously," Schwarzenbauer says, "you look into several different options, you come to the question: do we produce it ourselves, do we give it to somebody else?" Mini is considering whether or not to expand its seven-car lineup to 10 models, or scale it back to five "superheroes," which still wouldn't rule out more models. Read more at Reuters.

The first EV from Daimler and BYD's joint venture, Denza, is set to go on sale this month, with production already starting. The 50/50 partnership said earlier that it was "well on track" to begin sales in September 2014. Now, Daimler has announced that the first Denza has rolled off the production line. According to Daimler, the cars will be sold through an independent dealer network. The Denza, which has a range of about 186 miles, will start at about $60,000. China's generous subsidies could help bring that cost down quite a bit (by nearly $20,000) for customers. Read more at Want China Times, or in the press release from Daimler, below.

Local Motion wants to help organizations pool their transportation resources through fleet-sharing, with a focus on EVs. The company uses software to manage and track vehicle use, diagnostics, energy consumption, vehicle reservations and the like. The keyless technology allows employees to reserve and use the right vehicle for the job, and allows companies to save on vehicle ownership and maintenance. Local Motion is working with companies like Nissan to encourage the adoption of emissions-free driving, as well. Read more in the press release below, or at the Local Motion's website.
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DENZA rolls off production lines in China marking another key milestone for Daimler

- Daimler's joint venture with Chinese partner BYD is the first Sino-German joint venture dedicated to electric vehicles in China.
- Hubertus Troska: "DENZA is by far the most serious local electric vehicle effort in China, and a key pillar of our electric vehicle strategy in the country."
- DENZA is manufactured at a modern production line that follows Daimler's proven production management system.
- Arno Roehringer: "Throughout the entire production process we focus on quality to assure that our customers are getting the best Chinese electric vehicle."
- DENZA will hit the market at the end of September, starting at RMB 369,000 (about EUR 45,700) and entitled to subsidies totaling in almost RMB 120,000 (about EUR 14,900).

DENZA, Daimler's 'made in China, for China' electric vehicle, has started rolling off production line at Shenzhen BYD Daimler New Technology Co., Ltd. (BDNT), in Shenzhen. This milestone is the culmination of cooperative efforts at Daimler's technology joint venture with its Chinese partner BYD. The company is the first Sino-German joint venture dedicated to an all-electric vehicle in and for China, and targets raising the bar in the domestic electric vehicle market by combining Daimler's renowned engineering expertise as global forerunner in safety and quality with BYD's leading battery technology.

"DENZA is the first car that Daimler has engineered from the bottom up outside of Germany, and it clearly lives up to its promise to be the safest, most reliable and convenient electric vehicle from and for China," says Hubertus Troska, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for China. "Our joint investment of more than 300 million Euros proves that DENZA is both by far the most serious local electric vehicle effort in China, unmatched by any other European competitor, and a key pillar of our electric vehicle strategy in the country."

The quality of DENZA's production is secured at a modern production line that follows Daimler's proven production management system. Attention to quality is thereby extended to the complete supply chain and supported by significant investments into the latest technologies. For instance, through a Coordinate Measuring Machine whose precision is accurate up to 0.1 mm, the physical and geometrical characteristics of single parts and complete vehicles are assured to be compliant with defined requirements. Additionally, special on and off-the job training for staff, for example by Daimler's local production joint ventures or specific HV processes and specialists, complete DENZA's 'quality first' production philosophy.

"It is certainly the right time and place for our DENZA as China undoubtedly has the potential to become the most important electric vehicle market in the future," notes Arno Roehringer, COO of BDNT. "We have invested in a state-of-the-art production line and base our production mainly on renowned Daimler processes. Throughout the entire production process we focus on quality to assure that our customers are getting the best Chinese electric vehicle."

About the car

As a modern, urban vehicle concept for private and fleet customers, DENZA has been designed around its lithium iron phosphate battery which is solidly framed by a lightweight aluminum case with extrusion profiles. Intended to absorb large amounts of energy, it is located at the safest place in the car – underneath the body. With a driving range of up to 300 kilometers, DENZA offers the ease and convenience of emission free mobility for day-to-day use. The charging is equally as convenient: connected to a 22 kW wall-box customers can fully charge the DENZA in less than three hours, alternatively standard household power outlets can be used as well. Thanks to a wheel-base matching the Mercedes-Benz E-Class' level, DENZA offers generous legroom also in the rear compartment and trunk volume of 460 liters. The ample space for up to 5 adults is paired with an intelligent safety concept: DENZA attained 5 stars at China-NCAP's crash rating, a first for an electric vehicle.

Distributed by an independent dealer network, BDNT's first DENZA models will hit the market at the end of September. Starting at RMB 369,000 (about EUR 45,700), DENZA will immediately offer its customers three more convincing arguments: central and local subsidies totaling up to nearly RMB 120,000 (about EUR 14,900) which can be deducted from the vehicle price right away, free license plates in cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen, and lastly, a 10% purchase tax exemption.



Local Motion Fuels Car Sharing and Electric Vehicle Adoption for Corporations and Government Organizations with New Deployments and Partnerships

San Mateo-based Local Motion is helping organizations like Google, Verizon, 1-800Courier and the City of Sacramento gain up to 30 percent more mobility out of their fleets by pooling vehicles together;

Recently partnered with Nissan to showcase its user-friendly, keyless technology and promote adoption of zero-emission electric vehicles

SAN MATEO, CALIF-August XX, 2014-Local Motion (www.getlocalmotion.com) today announced some key milestones since receiving a $6 million strategic investment from Andreessen Horowitz. The company's growth is fueled by adoption from Fortune 500 companies including Verizon and Google, as well as key partnerships with Nissan and government solutions provider Carahsoft. Transportation takes up a significant percentage of an operational budget; organizations seeking to pool their vehicles together in order to better utilize their fleets while lowering operational costs turn to Local Motion's combination of hardware and software technology.

"With our current global customer base, we will have the potential to scale our deployment to nearly 90,000 vehicles," says John Stanfield, CEO and Co-founder of Local Motion. "Many of our clients were already sharing some portion of their fleet. On average, around 10 percent of vehicles were shared, but scaling up had been a challenge for them until they saw Local Motion's technology in practice. The benefits are indisputable. An organization with a fleet of 100 vehicles can get up to 30 percent more mobility out of their existing vehicles, translating to an average of $300K annually. And if that isn't convincing enough, in a fleet of this size, the sharing of automobiles alone can save 130 tons of C02 - even more if electric vehicles are introduced, which is something Local Motion facilitates."

Over the past year, Local Motion has bulked up its U.S. customer roster to include Verizon, the County of Nevada, iPhone repair service iCracked, Verengo Solar and ridesharing start-up Breeze. In Europe, through its team in France, Local Motion forged new relationships with France-based EDF, the world's largest electricity producer; Thriev, London's zero emission electric vehicle fleet; car rental service Drivy and French multinational company Air Liquide. The company has also begun working with 1-800Courier, who is leveraging the company's keyless technology to help manage and expand the fleet of Google Shopping Express delivery vehicles.

In this "instant economy," consumer demand for same-day delivery shows no signs of slowing down. For 1-800Courier, companies are relying on them to deliver goods to a shopper within hours of an incoming order. "Local Motion allows 1-800Courier to easily schedule drivers, getting them on the road quickly without worrying about locating specific keys or vehicles," said Mark McCurry, President of 1-800Courier. "The intelligence and guidance provided by Local Motion has empowered us to make decisions that increased our utilization by 20% and helped scale our fleet to 7x its original size - ultimately growing our bottom line."

Local Motion delivers real-time insight into fleet utilization and vehicle diagnostics, including battery charge status, which makes it easier to introduce electric vehicles into fleets. This is a top priority for many fleet managers, especially those working for government organizations that are set to comply with Executive order 13514. The order stipulates that any agency operating a fleet of 20 motor vehicles or more must reduce its consumption of petroleum products by a minimum of 2 percent annually through the end of fiscal year 2020.

To help facilitate distribution to the Government channel, Local Motion is working with Carahsoft Technology Corp., a government IT solutions provider. Also on the partnership front, the company has begun a pilot project with Nissan for their eNV200 demonstration program in the U.S. Nissan's eNV200 has Local Motion's technology installed and is making its way to different organizations around the country to showcase both the sharing and utility possibilities of the zero-emissions small van.

The heart of Local Motion's technology is a wallet-sized hardware component that plugs into the vehicle's data port and is mounted on the dashboard. Using M2M technology, the device 'communicates' the vehicle's status and reminders to drivers and fleet managers. Employees can either reserve a vehicle in advance through the web platform or mobile app, or simply walk up to any authorized vehicle that is available, as indicated by a color-coded light system (green= available, blue= reserved, red= blocked). The vehicle can be unlocked using their employee RFID badge or smart phone.

"Local Motion harnesses the fact that employees are primed for car sharing-they already share conference rooms, supplies, printers, break rooms and more," says Clement Gires, Co-founder of Local Motion. "We recognize that until sharing a vehicle meets or exceeds the experience of owning their own, they won't do it. With this in mind, we put forth a 'user-first' philosophy and built Local Motion to be frictionless for employees. No keys or complicated advance reservations are required. Our ease of use changes the perception of 'ownership' within fleets, fueling adoption within the organization."

Use of Local Motion's technology enables fleet managers to identify how vehicles are being used, anticipate maintenance requirements and determine which types of vehicles are needed most. Onboarding is quick and painless for both fleet managers and drivers, generating immediate and actionable feedback and increased sharing at the outset. Local Motion introduces efficiencies that enable companies to work smarter, faster and more cost effectively in relation to their employees' mobility.

About Local Motion

Local Motion brings the sharing economy to the enterprise, making any vehicle a shared vehicle. With our universal keyless technology, employees are given easier access to mobility, empowering organizations to do greater things with their existing fleet while lowering operational costs. Founded in 2010, the company is run by a team with expertise in alternative energy, vehicle sharing, and electric vehicle technologies with a mission to create the largest network of shared vehicles on the planet. Local Motion is backed by notable VCs and investors including Andreessen Horowitz, Jerry Yang, Tim Draper and Tony Hsieh, and boasts former Microsoft Windows president Steven Sinofsky as part of the board. www.getlocalmotion.com

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