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  • Writer's pictureMike V.

Weekend Reading

Bloomberg: Michigan Pulls $600 Million From Ken Fisher After Lewd Remarks

The State of Michigan Retirement Fund’s pension account, worth more than $70 billion, ended its relationship with the investment firm of Ken Fisher in the latest backlash to offensive remarks the billionaire made at a conference. The $112 billion Fisher Investments was responsible for managing $600 million in retirement funds for Michigan, and has been associated with the state body for about 15 years. Jon Braeutigam, Michigan’s chief investment officer, notified the state investment board of the termination in a letter dated Oct. 10.

Ford announces plans for EV charging, partners with Amazon and Greenlots

Last year, Ford said that it was going “all-in” on EVs. Hackett formed a new internal team, called “Team Edison,” to oversee electric car programs. He also shifted one-third of internal combustion engine investments to electric cars, but the company is still investing more in the former than the latter. Ford confirmed that its first next-gen electric vehicle will be inspired by the Mustang. Among people who already own or want to purchase electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, 48% say that a lack of charging stations is one of their main concerns. By offering industry-leading charging access, we are dismantling those barriers, allowing more customers to confidently enjoy the benefits of owning an electric vehicle.

Here are the main points in Ford announcement:

Ford is offering its all-electric vehicle customers North America’s largest electric vehicle public charging network, with more than 12,000 places to charge, including fast charging, and more than 35,000 charge plugs — more than any other automotive manufacturer, addressing a big concern for those switching to all-electric cars.

New Ford all-electric vehicles, including the Mustang-inspired SUV arriving next year, will come standard with a Ford Mobile Charger that can charge regardless of outlet power (120- and 240-volt outlets); for those with longer commutes or who want greater peace of mind, a Ford Connected Charge Station can fully power a vehicle overnight while they sleep. Ford is collaborating with Amazon in the U.S. for all your installation services — from 240V outlets to the Ford Connected Charge Station.

Through FordPass on a mobile device or in each vehicle’s on-screen dashboard, customers will be able to monitor charging at home, and easily find and pay for easy, one-stop charging at FordPass Charging Network stations.

The network with 12,000 stations is called “FordPass Charging Network,” and it consists of existing stations through a partnership with Greenlots and Electrify America. Amazon has been seriously getting into electric car charging stations lately. Last year, the company announced a new electric car charger program with installation as a turnkey solution. Amazon has been selling home and mobile charging stations for a long time. They now have over 100 products available. Automakers like Audi and Kia have been partnering with the retail giant to oversee the sale and installation of charging stations for their buyers. Ford is now adding itself to the list, and it said that it aims to make “EV home charging as easy as charging a smartphone, which is where most all-electric vehicle drivers currently charge.”

Bloomberg: Record Slump in China’s Auto Market Continues in September

Chinese auto sales fell in September for the 15th month in 16, extending their unprecedented slump despite government efforts to support the world’s largest car market. Sales of sedans, sport utility vehicles, minivans and multipurpose vehicles dropped 6.6% from a year earlier to 1.81 million units, the China Passenger Car Association said. The only increase since mid-2018 came in June, when dealers offered big discounts to clear inventory. The market has been hurt by a slowing economy and stricter emission rules, prompting the government to urge local authorities to boost consumption. Measures included easing car purchase curbs put in place to reduce pollution and traffic jams, though there’s not been much impact yet. The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers forecasts vehicle deliveries to dealers in 2019 will fall for the second time in three decades. Sales of new energy vehicles — all-electric, fuel-celled autos and plugin hybrids — dropped for a third-straight month, tumbling 33% after the government scaled back incentives for purchases of such cars. Local brands, which had previously dominated the segment, began lose their grip as foreign joint ventures won market share. Particularly with plugin hybrids, joint-venture brands surged 80% in September while local brands slumped 60%, according to PCA. Sales of traditional hybrid cars jumped 61% to 29,000 units last month. China sees electric vehicles as a strategically important industry and is mulling a target for 60% of all automobiles sold in the country to run on electric motors by 2035, people familiar with the matter have said. But China, which is flooded with about 500 aspiring electric-vehicle makers nationwide, is also seeking to raise the bar with the Ministry of Industry and Information and Technology issuing draft rules Wednesday proposing companies should have startup capital of at least 6 billion yuan ($850 million) to set up manufacturing operations. As to individual automakers, General Motors Co.’s third-quarter deliveries in China tumbled 18% from the same period in 2018, while local manufacturer BYD Co. said September sales fell 15% from a year earlier.

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