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“It starts!” German minister says work on Tesla’s Gigafactory...

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    “It starts!” German minister says work on Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin has begun

    The start of preparations for Tesla’s Gigafactory Berlin have begun, trumpeted through an announcement from Brandenburg’s Minister of Economic Affairs Jörg Steinbach via social media channel Twitter.

    Tesla plans to build 150,000 Model 3 and Model Y electric vehicles per year at what will become the company’s fourth Gigafactory, at a site that the company secured for just less than an estimated €41 million ($A66 million) according to German media.

    “It starts! Construction work has started,” was the unofficial announcement from the German minister on Thursday evening (Europe time), accompanied by a photo of a heavy work vehicle in the forest situated on the land earmarked for the electric car maker’s fourth Gigafactory.

    The first two timber harvesters and auxiliary vehicles had already been seen on the edge of the 300-hectare Gigafactory property were reported on Monday, with more following on Thursday, German Tesla news site Teslamag reported.

    Official statement regarding the commencement of preparations came via Frauke Zelt, spokesperson for Brandenburg Ministry of the Environment.

    “Tesla is now allowed to start this work at it own risk, before a decision is made to approve environmental protection,” said Zelt in a statement on Thursday.

    Concerns about Tesla’s plans for environmental protection at the site gained media attention in January, centering around the clearing of trees and water usage (Musk noted in a Twitter post that the forest is not natural forest but plantation for cardboard).

    In January, Tesla’s plans to build on the Grünheide, Brandenberg property near Berlin attracted opposition from locals opposing clearing of the forested land.

    Tesla has said that it will reforest three times the area cleared and has also proposed specific areas for this, it was reported by RBB.

    This was backed up by CEO and co-founder Elon Musk on Twitter, who said, “Giga Berlin / GF4 will absolutely be designed with sustainability and the environment in mind.”
    Yes — Elon Musk (@ElonMusk) January 25, 2020

    By mid-March at the latest, around 90 hectares of pine trees are to be removed from the 300 hectare property; another 60 hectares are to follow in autumn, and no clearing is permitted in between due to the growing season, Teslamag reports.


    Tesla shares rally again on $3 billion share sale, talk of new Gigafactory

    Tesla stock has rallied again in the wake of – and despite – the surprising news that it will offer $US2 billion ($A2.98 billion) of common stock, sparking speculation that the electric car and battery storage pioneer may be considering a new gigafactory.

    “Tesla, Inc. (“Tesla” today announced that it intends to offer approximately $US2 billion of common stock in an underwritten registered public offering,” the company wrote in a blog statement regarding the stock offering, adding that it was allowing for up to $US300 million of over-subscriptions.

    CEO Elon Musk has committed to buying up to $US10 million ($A15 million) of common stock in the offering, while another director Larry Ellison has put his hand up for up to $US1 million.

    Tesla shares have skyrocketed 255.2% in the past six months, achieving a February 4 high just below $US900 ($A1,340) before it settled back around $US770 ($A1146).

    At first the news of the stock offer, which coincided with revelations of an SEC subpoena seeking information about “certain financial data and contracts including Tesla’s regular financing arrangements”, resulted in a 7% slump.

    The stock offer may also have caught the market off-guard because only two weeks ago Musk said that he didn’t think Tesla needed to seek additional funding.
    “We’re spending money, I think, efficiently, and we’re not artificially limiting our progress,” Musk told analysts at the Q4 earnings call.

    “And then, despite all that, we are still generating positive cash. So in light of that, it doesn’t make sense to raise money because we expect to generate cash despite this growth level.”

    But the initial shock boomeranged back within an hour of the market opening, and the stock closed 6% higher than the previous day at $US818 ($A1,217), with bullish analysts pointing out that the additional cash flow could fund further growth.

    Ross Gerber, co-founder and CEO of Gerber Kawasaki Wealth and Investment Management, was quoted by Benzinga as saying that the stock jump showed how differently the market is reacting to Tesla.

    “Normally that would have sunk Tesla 50 points or 100 points.

    This is not normal anymore.

    This is about a company proving to people that they’re going to accomplish their long-term goals, and the market likes it,” Gerber said.

    Leading Tesla Bull Cathie Wood, an analyst for Ark Invest which thinks Tesla’s shares could be worth $US7,000 ($A10,420) in five years, or even more, says that she would not be surprised if another Gigafactory announcement is in the offing.

    .@ARKInvest included $15B of equity dilution in its 5 year forecast for $TSLA, so $2 billion+ now makes sense. We wouldn’t be surprised if Elon announces plans for another #Gigafactory in China, a vote of confidence in the resilience of that country.
    — Cathie Wood (@CathieDWood) February 13, 2020

    If so, it would not be a complete surprise.

    In early February, Musk mused – on typical fashion via social media platform Twitter – about whether Texas might make a good location for another Gigafactory, asking followers to weigh in on a poll with a “Hell yeah” or a “Nope”.
    Garrett Nelson, an analyst with CFRA agrees that growth is behind the latest stock offering, given the recent growth in stock value and noting that it last issued equity in May at $243 a share.

    “We are not surprised by the capital raise considering (Tesla’s) ambitious growth plans, including a new factory in Germany and a possible factory in Texas,” Nelson was quoted as saying by Market Watch.

    But other factors may have also contributed to the company’s decision, says Nelson.

    “Recent speed bumps including a coronavirus-related delay in vehicle deliveries from its new China factory and the Model X recall likely factored into management’s decision to proceed with the offering,” he was quoted as saying.


    UK energy utility acquires EV charging network Pod Point in shift to electric

    Source: Pod Point

    EDF, the French energy giant whose UK offshoot is one of the biggest utilities in that country, has acquired electric car charging network provider Pod Point, in a joint venture that it hopes will secure a leading position in the growing electric mobility market.

    In the UK there are 32 million petrol and diesel cars on the road and a switch to electric vehicles (EVs) could save some 65 million tonnes from being emitted, according to Pod Point.

    The announcement of the joint venture with Legal & General Capital comes hot on heels of new that the UK will bring forward – by five years to 2035 – the ban on all new sales of internal combustion engine (ICE) cars.

    Pod Point, which was founded in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis by London-based entrepreneur Erik Fairbairn, has powered 156 million electric miles (254 million kilometres) according to the company’s website.

    The deal will compliment electric vehicle initiatives by EDF – one of the “Big Six” energy providers in the UK and the largest provider of electricity by volume – which includes offering electric vehicle charging tariffs to customers.
    “Electric vehicles will be crucial in reducing the UK’s carbon emissions and fighting climate change. With the addition of charge points, we can help our customers to reduce their carbon footprints and benefit from lower fuel costs by going electric,” said Simone Rossi, UK CEO of EDF in a statement.

    Rossi says that the additional electricity demand from EVs will also mean urgent investment in low carbon generation from renewables and nuclear – which makes up more than 40% of the UK’s grid mix according to the UK government office of gas and electricity markets.

    “This new acquisition is perfectly in line with the EDF Group’s Electric Mobility Plan launched in 2018. It fulfills our ambition to be the energy leader in Europe.

    Pod Point, a major player of charging solutions in the UK, will play a leading role alongside our subsidiaries IZIVIA and DREEV,” said Yannick Duport, electric mobility director at EDF Group in a statement.

    As part of the joint venture, Legal & General Capital will raise its current stake in Pod Point from 13 per cent to 23 per cent.

    “It’s been just over a year since we made our investment in Pod Point. By investing our capital in clean energy assets, businesses and technologies, we can accelerate the progress to a low-cost, low-carbon economy,” said John Bromley, head of clean energy at Legal & General Capital in a statement.

    “Our capital has enabled Pod Point to make substantial progress and execute its growth strategy over the last 12 months. Today we have increased our stake from 13% to 23%, creating value for our shareholders and forming a landmark partnership with EDF.”

    Fairbairn says the deal with EDF will herald a new chapter for Pod Point.

    “This is an incredibly exciting next chapter for Pod Point. We set out in 2009 with the vision that travel shouldn’t damage the earth and a mission to put a charge point everywhere you park. So far, we have made great progress towards those goals,” said Fairbairn in a statement.

    “By joining up with EDF we can take things to the next level and accelerate our national roll out of charging points and make it even easier for drivers across the UK to go electric. I’m immensely proud of what the Pod Point team has already achieved but think it is only a fraction of what we will now be able to do with EDF.”


    Skoda announces first electric SUV, the ENYAQ

    Czech automobile manufacturer Škoda has this week announced the name of its first all-electric SUV, the ENYAQ, which will be the first Škoda model to be based on the Volkswagen Group’s Modular Electrification Toolkit (MEB).

    Announced on Wednesday, the Škoda ENYAQ debuts the company’s new nomenclature that combines the “E” in electricmobility with the traditional Škoda SUV “Q”.

    Very little is known about the actual car itself – with Škoda’s press release focusing primarily on the nuances of its new naming preferences.

    But the company did highlight the fact the ENYAQ will be the company’s first series-production vehicle based on the Volkswagen Group’s Modular Electrification Toolkit and the next of the series of more than ten electric vehicle models set to be launched under the Škoda iV sub-brand by the end of 2022.

    Škoda expects that, by 2025, all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will account for 25% of sales, and that by 2021 the company will have invested €2 billion ($A3.24 billion) in the development of electric models as well as “a holistic, interconnected ecosystem for modern and environmentally friendly mobility solutions.”

    “It is the first Škoda model built as an electric car from the very beginning, which means a real breaking point for the whole company,” said Alain Favey, Škoda Board Member for Sales and Marketing.

    “The A segment where Škoda belongs holds the major market share of car sales in Europe. Moreover, the SUV bodytype enjoys an incredible rise in popularity among customers, especially within the A segment. This trend is expected to continue in the coming decade.”
    Reports are that the ENYAQ will be a production version of its Vision iV concept vehicle unveiled nearly a year ago and which is expected to go on sale in 2021.

    Autocar UK claims the ENYAQ will be a coupe-SUV blend and, in its concept form, boasted “a 302bhp four-wheel-drive EV powertrain offering a 310-mile range and the ability to charge up to 80% in 30 minutes.”


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