Tesla’s lineup just got a little bit cheaper, a cargo ship is currently on fire in the Pacific, Faraday Future is being sued again, and more on The Morning Shift for Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019.
1st Gear: Every Tesla Is Now $2,000 Cheaper
Since Tesla passed a total production of 200,000 electric cars in 2018, the full $7,500 federal tax credit for electric cars expired for Tesla at the switch to 2019, dropping the available tax credit down to $3,750.
To make up for it, Tesla has dropped the price of the Model 3, Model S and Model X all by $2,000, according to a statement from Tesla to Electrek. It doesn’t quite level out to the old credit, but still leaves shoppers better off.
The Model 3 now starts at $44,000, the Model S at $76,000 and the Model X at $82,000.
The company also reported an 8 percent increase in deliveries in the fourth quarter of 2018, up to 90,700 cars from the previous record of 83,500 in the third quarter of last year.
2nd Gear: Car Cargo Ship Ablaze in the Middle of the Ocean
A fire broke out aboard a Mitsui OSK Lines car carrier called the Sincerity Ace in the middle of the Pacific ocean on New Years Eve, according to the Wall Street Journal, forcing its crew to abandon ship.
The boat was headed from Japan to Honolulu when the captain reported the fire. Three of the crew members were reported unresponsive, two are missing, and sixteen were rescued by merchant vessels over 2,000 miles away from the Hawaiian island of Oahu.
The crew was rescued by a global voluntary sea rescue system, the Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System, which the U.S. Coast Guard sponsors and credits with the rescue of the sixteen sailors. The search for the rest of the crew is ongoing.
3rd Gear: Hyundai Predicts More Diminishing Growth for 2019
Hyundai and Kia are projecting only a 3 percent sales growth in 2019, after projected 2018 sales missed the company’s target of 7.55 million cars by about 300,000, Reuters reports.
The Hyundai-Kia conglomerate is currently undergoing a restructuring effort by Euisun Chung, who is expected to soon replace his father as head of the conglomerate. Here’s more from Reuters:
The complicated succession plans come as Hyundai contends with a bunch of problems that have cost it market share in China and the United States and stalled its rise up the ranks of global automakers.
It missed a boom in sports utility vehicles (SUVs), faces potential U.S. tariffs and a U.S. investigation over how it handled a vehicle recall, and lost ground in technological advances such as self-driving cars.
“Business uncertainties are heightening as the global economy continues to falter. Walls of protectionism are being constructed around the world,” Chung, 48, told hundreds of employees at the group’s headquarters in Seoul.
The plan for 2019 between the two automakers is to introduce 13 new or updated models, and a pilot program for autonomous vehicles in Korea which isn’t planned until 2021.
4th Gear: Faraday Future Sued by Pebble Beach for $2 Million
On Monday, we learned that the lawsuit between struggling automaker Faraday Future and its main investor, Evergrande, had ended and the two had come to a new agreement that would allow FF to seek external financing and investment going forward, as initially reported by Sean O’Kane at the Verge.
Another detail in the Verge’s report that we initially overlooked, though, is another lawsuit against Faraday Future from the organizers of Pebble Beach. Here’s more from the Verge:
The startup even planned a grand showcase in late August at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, one of the ritziest car shows in the world. But it backed out with just 12 days to go, according to a previously unreported lawsuit. Faraday Future is now being sued for nearly $2 million over breaking the contract with The Visionary Group, the company that was planning the event.
It would seem Faraday still has horrible luck when it comes to expos and car shows.
5th Gear: Cathay Airlines Accidentally Offers 96 Percent Discount on First Class Flights
Cathay Pacific Airways, the airline that forgot how to spell its own company name on a plane one time, is honoring ticket holders who got a great deal on first class flights earlier this week, according to Bloomberg. Here’s more:
Gary Leff, a travel and loyalty-program blogger on View from the Wing, wrote on Dec. 31 that the Cathay business-class round-trip from Da Nang to New York started at $675 for travel in August. On Wednesday, the same journey cost around $16,000 for July and September, according to the airline’s website. Prices weren’t available for August.
Travel from Hanoi to Vancouver and back in a mix of business and first class could cost less than $1,000, according to a post on One Mile at a Time.
Can you imagine having your $15,325 discount honored? I’d feel over the moon just knowing I got away with a $325 discount on the trip to Vancouver, even. That must feel incredible. Imagine riding into the new year with that kind of luck. Must be nice.
Reverse: Rare Unrestored 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante Coupe Found in Garage
Neutral: Should the Full Federal Tax Credit For Companies Like Tesla Be Extended?
The Federal tax credit on EVs was passed as a means of balancing the higher cost of early electric cars on the market and incentivize car buyers to go electric, but if it expires for companies like Tesla and maybe GM soon, should something like a Green New Deal work to reinstall it? Or are EVs already mainstream enough to sell on their own?