Anticipating an Influx of Electric Cars, Indian Government Calls for Bids on Charging Stations

India is growing into one of the world's largest car markets, making it a major source of transportation-related emissions. But the Indian government hopes to clean up the air with an aggressive electrification program.

The government is requesting bids for a network of electric car charging stations, reports the The Economic Times, and it wants them now. The request for bids went out Oct. 30, and calls for a company to supply 300 charging stations by Nov. 20. The request was issued in anticipation of the delivery of a large fleet of electric cars.

The bidding process will be overseen by Energy Efficiency Services Ltd., a corporation set up by India's Ministry of Power to manage energy efficiency infrastructure projects. EESL floated a tender for procurement of 4,000 charging stations earlier this year which drew interest from 14 companies, including ABB, Siemens, and Delat Power Solution India Ltd. However, most did not submit their charging equipment for testing, as required by EESL.

The new bid for 300 charging stations will support a fleet of 500 electric cars that EESL has on order. Supplied by Tata and Mahindra, the first cars are expected to be delivered Nov. 15. That explains the tight deadline for the charging stations.

This may be just the beginning, though. Last year, Indian Power Minister Piyush Goyal proposed making every vehicle on the country's roads electric by 2030. While some countries have proposed ending sales of new gasoline and diesel cars in the coming decades, Goyal wanted to completely replace internal combustion with electric power in just under 15 years.

Goyal proposed an incentive program to make electric cars affordable enough for every Indian driver, but such a massive undertaking would require more government involvement. To begin with, the government would need to oversee the installation of a huge number of charging stations, and overhaul its electricity infrastructure. India's grid is among the dirtiest in the world, which would lower the overall environmental benefit of a fleet of electric cars.

Panasonic Forecasts Production Increase at Tesla Gigafactory

Panasonic believes production bottlenecks at the massive battery "Gigafactory" it runs in cooperation with Tesla have been identified, allowing battery production to increase in support of Tesla Model 3 assembly.

Delays in the automation of the Gigafactory's battery pack production line meant that some packs had to be assembled manually, Panasonic CEO Kazuhiro Tsuga said during an earnings briefing Tuesday, notes Reuters. But the automation process will be completed soon, Tsuga said. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment.

Elimination of that bottleneck will allow the number of vehicles produced to "rise sharply," Tsuga said, without quoting a specific figure. In its latest earnings statement, Tesla said it had built just 260 Model 3 electric cars in the first quarter of production, falling far short of its goal of 1,500. The automaker blamed production bottlenecks for the low output.

Ironing out the issues with battery production is key for both Tesla and Panasonic. The Gigafactory was built largely so Tesla can achieve the economies of scale necessary to sell the 220-mile Model 3 at a base price of $35,000. That mass-market price and long range allowed Tesla to rack up hundreds of thousands of reservations over a year before the start of production, but now Tesla has to fill those orders—and then some.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said that he wants his company to have the capacity to produce 500,000 cars annually. That's a big leap for a company that only produced 83,922 vehicles last year, and growing pains are to be expected.

Meanwhile, Panasonic views the automotive business as its biggest chance for growth, and electric-car batteries are a big part of that strategy. The electronics giant is in the process of opening a new battery plant in China, and it's adding production lines in Japan. Panasonic and Tesla currently have an exclusive relationship, but it's not inconceivable to think the Japanese firm might court other automakers as well.

Panasonic's increased interest in automotive products represents a pivot away from consumer electronics, which has become a less-attractive business due to increased competition. At the same time, the rise of complex infotainment systems, electric powertrains, and the anticipated arrival of autonomous cars makes the automotive sector more alluring. Panasonic competitors Samsung and LG have also gotten more heavily involved in the auto industry recently.

Road Rage Among Many Emotions Linked to Air Pollution, Survey Finds

A survey of 2,000 British drivers has found that getting behind the wheel can unleash a barrage of emotions, and often, one of those is rage.

Over a lifetime of driving, the average British motorists will explode into rage 81 times while driving, cry 33 times, and be involved in 38 near collisions. Individual results will vary, presumably.

The study was conducted by the British Lung Foundation. The London-based nonprofit conducted the survey to highlight the toxic fumes drivers are exposed to, according to the organization.

The study found that the average driver spends nearly nine hours a week in his or her car. That's about 19 days per year. About 23 minutes of each week is spent motionless in traffic, or waiting for a light to change, amounting to nearly 20 stationary hours each year. Despite all of this time spent in cars, the average British motorist only covers 83 miles per week, ultimately 4,321 miles a year.

Over a lifetime, the average driver spends 1,080 days behind the wheel, sits still in traffic for almost 49 days, and goes a total of 257,355 miles, enough to circle the earth more than 10 times.

"As a nation we spend so much time in our cars, so it is important to think carefully about the damage we are doing to our lungs,” states a spokeswoman for the British Lung Foundation, in press materials. "Winding your windows up does not block air pollution from getting into your car.”

Just 2 percent of respondents currently drive a hybrid or electric vehicle, but 43 percent indicated they would consider replacing their current vehicle with a greener alternative in the future.

This is the Ringbrothers Hellcat-Powered AMC Javelin

Prestone and Wisconsin-based speed shop Ringbrothers have collaborated to create a custom build of one of the muscle car era’s most underrated cars. It’s a 1972 AMC Javelin AMX that Ringbrothers calls “Defiant!” (exclamation point and all) and it’s packing a modified, supercharged 6.2-liter SRT Hellcat Hemi V-8 under the hood.

Unveiled on Tuesday at SEMA in Las Vegas, this restomod has a stunning gold and black paint job that nicely combines the blend of retro and modern style that this Javelin is all about. It doesn’t have much of its original sheet metal with much of its body being sculpted from carbon fiber, making the car lighter.

Mechanical modifications include much more than just an engine swap. The Hellcat V-8 in this AMC has a 4.5-liter Whipple supercharger, bringing the horsepower rating up to 1,080. It also gets Flowmaster side-exit exhaust, HRE wheels, and Baer performance brakes.

The interior of this Javelin is modern and tasteful while still having a distinct muscle car vibe. It has white seats contrasting with the mostly-black interior with metallic trim on the doors and dashboard. In between the bucket front seats are the ignition, a USB port, and controls for the Kicker stereo.

Check out the unveiling of the Defiant! in the Facebook video below. What are your thoughts on this muscular restomod? Let us know in the comments section.