Recharge Wrap-up: TRU's solar roadway, analysts impressed by Tesla's progress

VWFS appoints Mobility Services Director; leasing companies responsible for more ULEVs.

Canada's first solar roadway will be installed at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. The "Solar Compass" to be installed in front of the school's Arts and Education building is one of four sustainability projects the school recently approved. "If you look at the way in which the world is evolving and looking at renewable energy, we have the ability to embed technology in existing infrastructure like roads, sidewalks, bicycle paths, and we just have to take advantage of all of this infrastructure," says Professor Michael Mehta of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies. "The other advantage in solar roads is you can include things like fiber optics, lighting, network services, signage, smart sensor technology, and potentially you can charge electric vehicles as they drive." The solar pavement - made up of thick glass plates over photovoltaic panels - at TRU will generate 10,000 kWh per year. See the video above, read more from TFCJ Today, or from Thompson Rivers University.

Analysts are bullish on Tesla after a factory tour. Representatives from Stifel Financial, Credit Suisse, and Robert W. Baird toured the automaker's Fremont manufacturing facility and spoke with Tesla CFO Jason Wheeler. After upgrading the factory to the tune of nearly $1.6 billion in advance of the Model 3, Stifel analyst James Albertine calls Tesla's progress "truly stunning." The analysts noted quicker vehicle assembly, lower battery costs, and new stamping equipment and paint shop with increased output. They believe that Tesla has learned a lot from the Model S and Model X, and is prepared to roll out its newest vehicle. Read more at Teslarati.

Leasing companies are responsible for an increased uptake of ultra-low emission vehicles. New data from the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association ( BVRLA) shows that 4.7 percent of vehicles leased in the last quarter of 2015 were plug-in cars, beating the market penetration of 1.3 percent. "We've been encouraged by the growing number of fleets realising the multiple advantages of electric vehicles," says Poppy Welch, head of Go Ultra Low, "and BVRLA members continue to play a pivotal role through education on whole-life costs and employee benefits. More businesses need to be bold, opening their thinking to incorporate electric vehicles and the cost-savings they bring." Read more in the press release from BVRLA.

Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) has appointed a new Mobility Services Director. Mark Forton will be in charge of the company's mobility strategy for the UK market as customers demand "more novel approaches to car ownership," according to VWFS Fleet Director Ian Tilbrook. "This paradigm shift is a truly exciting time for the automotive industry as traditional models change facilitated mostly due to internet-enabled technology and services." Read more in the press release below.

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Volkswagen Financial Services (VWFS) has appointed Mark Forton as Mobility Services Director. The appointment comes in response to changing customer needs resulting in an increased demand for more flexible solutions to vehicle ownership and access.

Mark will be responsible for developing the mobility strategy, and the associated products and services for the UK market. He joins with 20 years' experience in the industry, with particular expertise in vehicle rental, fleet management and commercial vehicles. His most recent appointment was Managing Director of Landar Ltd, an outsourced fleet management and administrative support service provider.

Commenting on Mark's appointment, Ian Tilbrook, Fleet Director at VWFS said "Our customers' needs are changing whether they are individual or fleet customers. They are demanding more novel approaches to car ownership and Mark will be leading our strategy to develop our future offering. This paradigm shift is a truly exciting time for the automotive industry as traditional models change facilitated mostly due to internet-enabled technology and services."

Last week, the Volkswagen Group announced its intentions to become a leading mobility provider by 2025 at the Geneva International Motor Show.

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