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GM Opens its Factory ZERO Focusing on EVs

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General Motors marked a major milestone in its commitment to an all-electric future, as the President of the United States – Joe Biden, Mary Barra Chair and CEO at GM, Gerald Johnson, GM’s Executive Vice President of Global Manufacturing and Sustainability, wider GM leadership, plant employees and other officials, celebrated the grand opening of the Factory ZERO EV assembly plant. Production is now set to begin at the former Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant, less than two years after GM announced the massive $2.2 billion investment to fully renovate the facility to build a variety of all-electric trucks and SUVs.

“GM’s manufacturing expertise is key to achieving our all-electric future,” said GM Chair and CEO Mary Barra. “This is a monumental day for the entire GM team. We retooled Factory ZERO with the best, most advanced technology in the world to build the highest quality electric vehicles for our customers. Factory ZERO will be home to the 2022 GMC HUMMER EV Pickup, 2024 GMC HUMMER EV SUV, Cadillac LYRIQ and the Cruise Origin, among other yet to be announced EVs.  Of the vehicles to be produced at the plant, the Chevrolet Bolt EUV, HUMMER EV SUV and Cadillac LYRIQ EV will soon be making their appearance to the Middle Eastern region.

The new production process will feed one of two distinct strategic business pillars of GM Middle East – supplying the many EVs that will accelerate the regional future of mobility agenda across electrification, autonomy and connectivity, through a green circular economy. “Regionally, the launch of Factory Zero strengthens our standing as a leader in the future of mobility. Majority of the nations in the Middle East are actively working to achieve their net zero plan, most of which tackle transport solutions. This is promising when we look at the future adoption of our EV and AV portfolio, which are now a step closer to being on Middle Eastern roads, following the large-scale production to take place at Factory Zero. In this vein, we can continue to extend efforts to bring national sustainability visions to life”, shared Luay Al Shurafa, President and Managing Director at General Motors Africa & Middle East.

The debut of the Ultium Platform at Factory ZERO
All Factory ZERO EVs will be built on GM’s Ultium Platform, the heart of the company’s EV product strategy. The Ultium Platform encompasses a common vehicle architecture and propulsion components like battery cells, modules, packs, drive units, EV motors and integrated power electronics, making it fundamental at plants where EVs are produced.

Through the Ultium Platform, GM will realize a strategic value chain shift across its network of vehicle assembly plants as the company is able to commonize and streamline machinery, tooling and assembly processes. This flexibility enables lower capital investments and greater efficiencies as additional assembly plant transformations occur. The platform is set to also feature across the EVs scheduled for arrival into the Middle East, as well as the autonomous GM backed Cruise, launching in partnership with Dubai’s Road Transportation Authority, in the form of a fleet of Cruise Origin self-driving vehicles, launching in Dubai from 2023, with plans to ramp up to 4000 vehicles by 2030.

Factory ZERO – a showcase of GM’s competitive advantage
GM retooled Factory ZERO for EV production for two-thirds of the capital required to build a greenfield plant, making the facility a model for future GM facility renovations.  As the company continues its transition for an all-electric future, GM will avoid up to $15 billion in capital costs by 2030 through the renovation of existing manufacturing facilities versus ground-up construction. The figure grows from $20 billion to $30 billion at 100 percent transition of GM’s manufacturing facilities to support EV production.  That capital can be redeployed more strategically for additional customer-facing products, services, and technologies.

Along with the capital advantages, GM’s commitment to renovating its existing network of manufacturing facilities during the EV transition also saves time. An accelerated launch and production start allow the company to get new, innovative EVs to customers sooner.  Pre-production of the 2022 HUMMER EV pickups began at Factory ZERO in September and GMC HUMMER is on track to deliver the first vehicles to customers in the Middle East in 2022.

Using virtual tools and working in parallel with production engineering teams, GM cut the manufacturing launch time in half – from two years to less than one – creating a competitive advantage.  By comparison, greenfield assembly plant planning and construction could take up to four years, from site selection to vehicle production.

GM estimates that 80 percent of the assembly process for an EV is the same as that for conventional vehicles. This is another driver of speed for GM. The company has refined and perfected its own standardized manufacturing processes over many decades, and will launch its expanding portfolio of EVs faster, with superior quality and a lower cost.

Factory ZERO’s greatest asset is its people
GM’s Factory ZERO team is backed by more than 90,000 industrial problem solvers on GM’s global manufacturing team, who have 1.4 million years of collective experience. They are managing an average of 11 major launches every year, both internal combustion engine and EV. As a result, GM can produce an EV in the same number of working hours it takes to build an ICE vehicle.

“Our people are GM’s true competitive advantage — an advantage you simply can’t buy or quickly build,” said Gerald Johnson, GM’s executive vice president of Global Manufacturing and Sustainability.  “At Factory ZERO, we are building on that experience with the training that will deliver EV and AV launch success with safety, quality and speed while continuing to drive down cost per unit.”

Factory ZERO – a commitment to sustainability
As an EV assembly plant, Factory ZERO plays a direct role in GM’s commitment to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035 and become carbon neutral in its global products and operations by 2040. The company has already committed to invest $35 billion in electric and autonomous vehicles and plans to introduce more than 30 EV models globally by 2025.   Factory ZERO serves as a real-world proof point for GM’s commitment to running its business in a sustainable manner.

Factory ZERO highlights include:

  • GM reused or recycled almost every material that came out of the facility during conversion, including crushed concrete from the old plant floor, which was repurposed for temporary roads around the facility.
  • Storm water will be recycled to reduce discharge costs and offset the cost of potable water.
  • Treated storm water will be used in cooling towers and the plant’s fire suppression system.
  • The site features a 30-kilowatt solar carport and 516-kW ground-mount photovoltaic solar array from DTE Energy.
  • Factory ZERO’s site has a 16.5-acre wildlife habitat that is home to monarchs, foxes and turkeys.

Through Factory ZERO, GM is showcasing its manufacturing leadership capability and readiness for what will be a fundamental shift in mobility as the company transitions to an all-electric future.

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Hyundai Motor Shares Vision for Self-Driving IONIQ 5-based Robotaxi

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Hyundai Motor Company has launched a global manifesto campaign called ‘Innovation Begins, from Very Human Things’ to share its vision for self-driving robotaxis. Motional, the global leader in driverless technology, will work in partnership with ride-hailing services to deploy the Level 4 autonomous vehicles across major U.S. cities starting in 2023.

The all-electric IONIQ 5-based robotaxi, which was first unveiled at 2021 IAA Mobility to much acclaim, is an SAE Level 4 autonomous vehicle that can safely operate without a driver. To make the robotaxi a reality, Hyundai partnered with Motional, to equip the IONIQ 5 with an array of hardware and software to provide safe and secure driverless operation.

Hyundai’s vision for the technology and customer experience resonates with the assertion that the IONIQ 5 robotaxi is “a mobility solution with humanity inside — not just without a human driver.” In line with Hyundai’s brand vision of ‘Progress for Humanity,’ the company’s aim for the robotaxi is to go fully autonomous while retaining a humanistic touch. This narrative is depicted through two videos of the recently launched campaign.

The two campaign videos emphasize the humanistic qualities of robotaxis, showing how they adopt safe driving behaviors and care for passengers. The first episode emphasizes the robotaxi’s actions resembling those of a careful, considerate driver and the second episode focuses on the robotaxi taking care of passengers from teenagers to disabled and elderly.

In the first episode, a female engineer working in an autonomous lab for the IONIQ 5 robotaxi is inspired by her childhood memories of her father always driving carefully and considerately. Then, she applies his driving qualities when working on safety technologies for the Level 4 autonomous vehicle, which is later seen stopping for a cyclist, pulling over for emergency vehicles, and safely making a left turn after yielding to oncoming traffic

The second episode starts by showing a robot engineer-inspired teen taking a ride in the IONIQ 5 robotaxi with her friends after school. They’re surprised and delighted to see that the car is driving by itself and one of her friends unbuckles his seatbelt, causing the car to alert him to buckle up, much like a parent would if present. The video highlights how the self-driving robotaxi represents a mobility solution that anyone, including teenagers, disabled and elderly, can safely take a ride under any circumstances.

Hyundai and Motional plan to begin transporting public passengers in the IONIQ 5 robotaxi in 2023, starting in Las Vegas and then expanding to major cities in the U.S. and globally. Starting with this global manifesto campaign, Hyundai looks forward to providing the public more opportunities to experience Level 4 autonomous vehicles.

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ZipCharge Announces the GoHub

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ZipCharge has revealed the GoHub, the world’s first portable EV charging infrastructure for shared, public use. The GoHub is a revolution in public charging provision, providing a community-based solution that can be installed anywhere, at a much lower cost and at a much faster rate, while enabling any parking space to be a charging spot. The ability to roll out Electric Vehicle charging infrastructure at speed is essential to allow national and local governments to deploy it at a faster rate where it is needed the most to support mass EV adoption. EV owners will now have the choice to purchase the Go outright, on a subscription, or rent one through the GoHub.

The GoHub hosts multiple ZipCharge Go EV power banks to address the need for convenient, flexible, and low-cost energy. It is a secure way of housing, recharging, and providing access to the ZipCharge Go so that anyone can access a portable power bank at the lowest cost. The GoHub is modular and flexible in size, suitable for a diverse number of locations, including on-street, in car parks, at work, and in private environments.

ZipCharge Co-founder, Jonathan Carrier “We intend to establish the world’s first vertically integrated ‘energy point operator’ (EPO) to serve hundreds of millions of people around the world so everyone can access convenient and low-cost energy. The ZipCharge Go and the GoHub enable the storage of clean energy, which can then be distributed for a multitude of uses from charging an EV to powering equipment.

“We predict our portable power banks will outsell fixed home chargers by 2030, in the same way, mobile phones overtook landlines. That’s because the Go can be used for more than charging EV charging, it’s a portable energy storage device for personal energy management. We have the bold ambition to deploy 100,000 GoHubs globally by 2030 to support EV charging, local grid resiliency, and energy democracy.”

ZipCharge Co-founder, Richie Sibal, “The Go and the GoHub are integral components of our future energy platform, one that combines hardware, software, and distributed energy storage in the home and our public energy points to provide a wide range of energy services for our customers. We will use technology to solve the inequality that exists around access to charging and energy by placing a ZipCharge Go unit within five minutes walk of where people live and park.”

In its base form, the GoHub comes in two variants; a single-sided unit that houses five ZipCharge Go portable power banks or a double-sided GoHub with ten. Both fit comfortably into a regular parking space. It can also be sited on the pavement or close to where power already exists. All GoHubs can be intelligently reconfigured, expanded, and connected together with minimal investment, growing in tandem with the adoption of electric vehicles.

Through the GoHub, ZipCharge Go power banks will be available to rent 24 hours a day with the option to pre-reserve a Go in the app. As the user approaches the correct bay door of the GoHub automatically opens. They then easily pull out the charger from its dock inside the GoHub, wheel it to the vehicle and plug it in. Once finished, the user is notified on their smartphone, they collect the Go and return it to the bay allocated via the app.

Anytime access will allow anyone to use a Go power bank for a simple to understand fee: £1, €1 or $1 for a 4kWh charge with no connection fee. This simple and transparent pricing allows everyone to know what their daily driving will cost. ZipCharge aims to provide lower prices per kWh compared to fixed AC charging given the integrated Energy Storage System in the GoHub allows ZipCharge to take cleaner, cheaper electricity overnight.

The GoHub has been conceived with every community in mind, integrating a range of optional technologies including rainwater harvesting, Wi-Fi hotspot, mobile device charging, a green living roof and renewable energy generation, including innovative wind turbines suitable for both urban and rural environments developed by Flower Turbines in the Netherlands. The GoHub can also provide sustainable charging solutions for other forms of mobility with an optional micromobility docking station for eScooters and eBikes that integrates with any provider.

The GoHubs re-use end-of-life batteries from the ZipCharge Go as the integrated Energy Storage System. This presents a genuine circular approach to extending battery life and usability, while also lowering cost. The integrated ESS in the GoHubs provides resiliency to the local grid by charging the Go chargers at times of peak grid demand, feeding the portable chargers at times of peak energy demand, reducing grid dependence, and building resiliency.

The GoHubs will be three times cheaper and three times faster to install versus fixed on street level 2 chargers, transforming the payback period for AC public charging from 8-10 years to less than two. This would allow the government and public funding support to install more chargers in more locations. They can also be placed where the grid can best cope with the extra load, as well as being far less disruptive to the streetscape.

GoHubs will come with a suite of technology support. They will all be networked to the ZipCharge cloud and back-office with energy management and remote monitoring software to ensure operational safety and optimise charging costs and energy use.

Engineered to the same standards as automotive electronics systems, the lightweight ZipCharge Go power bank is the size of a compact wheeled suitcase which can be charged in a GoHub, at home or elsewhere using a standard domestic plug at a lower cost per kWh of electricity when compared to public on-street charging. Using the retractable handle, users then wheel it to wherever they’ve parked their EV and plug it into the charging port.

The port locks the charging cable in, securing the charger with the vehicle. ZipCharge Go provides up to 20 miles (32km)* of range, providing sufficient range for the average daily commute (in UK/EU), in a little over 30 mins and can then be neatly stored in the trunk/boot, or at home. ZipCharge Go can be used in all normal weather conditions like a normal fixed charge point.

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Polestar 2 Launches in the UAE at a Price Starting at AED 161,900

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Swedish electric performance car brand Polestar and Al-Futtaim Trading Enterprises, a division of Al-Futtaim Automotive, announced the opening of its bespoke ‘pop-up’ Polestar Space, located in the City Walk district of Dubai. The Space has been created as a hub for customers to connect with Polestar, get to grips behind the wheel and purchase the 100% electric Polestar 2. The opening of the ’pop-up’ Polestar Space comes after the recent launch of Polestar in the UAE by Al-Futtaim Trading Enterprises, where selected media, VIP dignitaries and government officials were invited to discover Polestar 2.

The temporary pop-up is located on the main boulevard in Building 10 of City Walk, and will operate seven days a week from 09:00 to 21:00. Polestar Specialists will be on hand to provide customers the opportunity to explore the impressive electric performance fastback for themselves.

Polestar 2 sets a new benchmark for the electric age, with an uncompromising, minimalistic, detail-oriented approach to design reflecting the brand’s Scandinavian roots: an elegant avant-garde exterior appearance, exquisite details such as the frameless door mirrors and the expansive panoramic roof which provides a light and airy cabin environment. The interior design is simple and uncluttered, utilises innovative and sustainable materials, and is available with a choice of either vegan WeaveTech upholstery or ventilated Nappa leather.

Polestar 2 was the first car in the world to feature an infotainment powered by Android Automotive OS with Google built-in, making life on the road easier, safer, and more intuitive. Many features of the car can be voice controlled with the native Google Assistant, allowing the driver to focus on driving safelyGoogle Maps has been optimised for use in an electric car, and will plot the most efficient route, taking battery level and available charging points into account. Additional apps can be downloaded from the Google Play Store, including favourites such as Spotify and YouTube Music.

Mohamed Kassem, General Manager for Polestar in the UAE, says: “Anticipation for Polestar 2 in the UAE is high, and we’re excited to give customers the first opportunity to engage with both Polestar and the Polestar 2. As a performance and sustainability driven premium EV brand, Polestar has swiftly emerged as a benchmark in the industry. Polestar 2 is the car that the future promised, and we are proud to bring that future to the doorstep of UAE residents through the debut of Polestar at City Walk.

“The launch of Polestar in the UAE aligns with the government’s strategic target of Net Zero emissions by 2050. Al-Futtaim is proud to partner with Polestar and demonstrate our commitment to the UAE’s sustainability objectives.” Polestar 2 currently comes in three distinct versions, each offering a mix of performance and range. In the UAE, Polestar 2 starts from AED 161,900 for the Standard range Single motor version, featuring one electric motor with 231 hp and 330 Nm of torque and a 69 kWh battery pack providing up to 444 km WLTP electric range.

The Long range Single motor version is priced from AED 200,900, and comes with a larger 78 kWh battery and up to 542 km WLTP electric range. The range-topping Long range Dual motor variant is priced from AED 210,900 and features all-wheel drive with a total output of 408 hp, 660 Nm of torque, and up to 482 km WLTP electric range from the 78 kWh battery. Exclusively on the Long range Dual motor variant, an optional Performance Pack is available, including adjustable Öhlins dampers, Brembo brakes, forged 20-inch alloy wheels and signature ‘Swedish gold’ details inside and out.

Across all variants, Polestar 2 makes a strong sustainability statement, releasing its first Life Cycle Assessment report in 2020 with full methodology and transparency. In the UAE, the arrival of Polestar 2 will actively contribute to the country’s sustainability and environmental goals, aligning with its Net-Zero By 2050 commitments as well as the Environment Vision 2030.

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