There’s really never been a better time than now to be a fan of electric vehicles and everything they have to offer. Not only are current brands and models getting better with each passing year, but new models are being announced, and more manufacturers are getting into the game. Whether you’ve been driving an EV model for years, had an interest in them while waiting for the right time to invest, or you’re interested in auto technology in general, this is a great time to be alive.
With so much happening in the EV field, however, it’s easy to miss something that’s well worth your time. So today, I’m going to round up some of the more interesting EV stories and announcements that have been in the news lately. I can’t promise I got them all, but at least you’ll have a good sense of what’s going on. And if I missed one, or there’s something you think I should be talking about, then let me know!
Tesla has a Profitable Year
Now, this might seem like strange news if you’re not one to follow Tesla, as a company, very closely, but here it is: Tesla made a profit in 2020. If you’re wondering why this is in any way newsworthy (considering the kind of profits that other auto manufacturers like GM and Ford post each year), well, it’s simple: this is the first time that Tesla has had a profitable year. No, really, Tesla is now in the black for the first time ever.
Like many startups, Tesla has always put so much money into research and development, constantly re-investing in itself, that it never actually posted a profit. Until now. Part of that has come from Tesla selling their regulatory credits to other auto manufacturers to help them avoid fines from states and countries with emissions requirements – so it’s not all car sales. But the point is that for the first year since it came into existence, Tesla is profitable.
GM to be All-Electric by 2035
Nearly as exciting as the fact that Tesla had a profitable year, GM recently announced that their entire lineup would be EV models by 2035. This isn’t entirely shocking, since GM has been quite vocal in their support of developing more EVs across their brands – as many as 30 different models from Cadillac, GMC, Buick, and Chevy by the end of 2025. But this is the first time GM has committed itself to a deadline to not only have expanded its EV lineup but completely embraced it.
By 2035, if all goes according to plan, there will be no more vehicles coming from GM with conventional gas or diesel engines. And over the next 14 years, the internal combustion engines they do produce will continue to get more efficient until they’re replaced completely. By 2040, GM aims to be completely carbon neutral in terms of production and their vehicles overall. It’s a bold goal and one that will certainly take some work, but achieving it will be an amazing accomplishment for the industry.
Tesla Cybertrucks to Start Showing Up this Year
Love it or hate it, the Tesla Cybertruck certainly got a lot of attention and made some waves when it was unveiled in late 2019. Since then, however, there hasn’t been a ton of info about it. While it would have been premature to question if it was still in the works, the silence was certainly noticeable. However, recently, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced that the manufacturing of the Cybertruck should get underway this year and that he hopes to have the first models delivered before the end of the year.
Most people won’t see one until sometime in 2022, however, so if you need a truck in the next month or so, you’re not going to want to wait for Tesla’s model. Still, the fact that it’s nearing production and will start hitting the road before the end of this year is great news for Tesla fans.
Tesla Roadster Still on the Way
Speaking of Tesla fans (yes, there’s more Tesla news – they’ve got a lot going on), big news: the Tesla Roadster has not turned into vehicular vaporware. It’s been a while since the second-generation Roadster was first teased and talked about, but it hasn’t been abandoned. New information has been released about its development, though no updates to the specs were announced.
If all goes according to plan, it will be able to go from 0 to 60 in less than 2 seconds, have a top speed of over 250 mph, and a range of more than 600 miles on a full charge. The current word is that development will be complete by the end of this year, with production starting in 2022. That means we might actually see the Tesla Roadster in real use by the end of 2022.
Sony sees EV Market as a “Big Opportunity”
Sony, well known for its TVs, audio equipment, and poor ability to share Spider-Man with Marvel Studios, has been toying around with finding a place for itself in the auto industry. Recently, a concept car from Sony called the Vision-S has been seen and shown off as an all-electric prototype. However, don’t get too excited about driving a Sony car, as Sony’s senior vice president of AI robotics has made it clear that Sony is not looking to become a car manufacturer.
That being said, he added that “electrification of vehicle architectures is a big opportunity for Sony,” and they’re setting their sights on the tech that goes into cars. Sony is not only working on advanced speaker and audio systems for use in vehicles but is also building on their experience with cameras and sensors to develop new automated driving systems. So while you’re not going to see a Sony Drivestation hitting the road any time soon, it’s likely that over the next decade or two, vehicles will use Sony parts and software in their advanced safety systems and automated driving technology.
Big Updates for Tesla Model S and Model X
Heading back to Tesla, big updates were recently unveiled for both the Model S and the Model X, two of their most popular vehicles. Images were recently released showcasing major changes coming for the Model S, including the replacement of the steering wheel by an aircraft-inspired yoke controller, a huge landscape-oriented infotainment display, and the complete lack of stalks on the steering column. One statement from Elon Musk indicates that there will be no signal indicators or gear shifter. Instead, the car will anticipate where you’re going and shift gears for you – with the ability to manually override these things using touchscreen input.
The Model X is going to have similar options available for its interior redesign, though the Model S has gotten most of the press. In large part, this is due to the announcement of a new Plaid+ trim for the Model S, which will feature the ability to go from 0 to 60 in less than 2 seconds and have a range of more than 520 miles on a full charge. There are some questions about whether a yoke steering controller is even legal (though early reports point to it being allowed), and it’s likely that a standard wheel will still be available to those that want it. But who could pass up the chance to pretend you’re playing Microsoft Flight Simulator while you’re driving to work each day?