Auto IQ weekly news, including BMW, Volvo, Veoneer, plus e-scooter update

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Tom Phillips
07/03/2020

We've continued our look back at highlights from our Autonomous Vehicles Online event. This time we've posted video of the session delivered by chief technology officer of COAST Autonomous, Pierre Lefevre.

His talk took on 'How do you control a self-driving car?' and gave a number of examples of how COAST's mobility solution is being tested in real-world scenarios.

We also hosted our Automotive Safety and Security Online event this week. If you missed it, head to the event website and click on the session titles to watch each presentation.

Our latest Top Five takes a run through the most influential electric cars of modern times. From the GM EV1 1996 through to the Tesla Model 3, we profile our picks here.

Here's a couple of other stories that caught our eye:

BMW emphasizes commitment to electric power

This week, BMW opened the Competence Centre for E-Drive Production at its Dingolfing plant in Germany. The factory will produce fifth-generation versions of BMW's in-house designed battery modules, high-voltage batteries and electric motors on eight production lines.

The company will add four additional lines, which will boost the location’s production capacity even further. By 2022, the factory will produce e-drives for 500,000 cars per year.

BMW's mid-term plan is that by 2023, the firm will offer 25 electrified models, with around half being pure EV, including the next-generation 7 Series.

BMW has been making electric vehicle components at the site since 2013, beginning with batteries for the i3 EV. The factory has expanded from 8,000 square meters in 2015 to 80,000 square meters today, and currently employs 1,000 people. BMW is looking to double that figure, too.

Volvo Cars and Veoneer divide up Zenuity

Zenuity, the ADAS and autonomous driving 50:50 joint venture founded by Volvo Cars and Veoneer in 2017, is officially no more.

Having decided back on April 2 to divide up Zenuity, that process was finalized on July 1, and we know how the assets have been split.

Volvo Cars has created a new, as-yet-unnamed autonomous drive company, 100 per cent owned by Volvo, that will focus primarily on the development of a Level 4 and Level 5-capable software platform. It will employ about 600 of the current 800 Zenuity staff in Gothenburg and Shanghai.

Veoneer will continue to design, manufacture and sell ADAS and autonomous software and hardware systems, and bring in the remaining 200 Zenuity staff to help further that cause. We'll keep an eye on both firms to see how this develops.

UK finally gives the green light to e-scooters

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The UK will jump on the e-scooter bandwagon at long last. From July 4, e-scooter companies will be able to offer scooter rentals in certain areas on a 12-month trial basis.

The move was announced by Transport Minister Rachel Maclean, who confirmed that scooters have to be limited to 25kmh – five kmh faster than the limit in Germany – and users must hold a full or provisional car, motorcycle or moped license. Riders must be aged 16 or over, and helmets are recommended, but not compulsory.

The trial only covers official rental schemes, so individually owned e-scooters will stay illegal for the time being.

Given controversy surrounding the provision of e-scooters around the world, plus resistance from charities that represent visually impaired people, the scheme will be very closely monitored before gaining longer-term approval.

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Geschäftsführung: Silke Klaudat, Richard A. Worden, Michael R. Worden