Disengagement self driving car
The subsidiary of Vietnam’s largest private conglomerate, Vingroup, was one of 57 auto companies allowed to test self-driving vehicles with a driver along with Apple, Tesla, BMW, and Volkswagen, according to the state Department of Motor Vehicles website.
An auto company needs to acquire testing permits with and without a driver each before it can receive permit for deployment in the state.
VinFast last month unveiled three new self-driving electric SUVs saying they all meet the highest global safety standards including five-star ratings from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the European New Car Assessment Programme.
Customers can start ordering the cars in May this year in Vietnam and in November in the U.S., Canada and the E.U.
VinFast sold 31,500 cars in Vietnam last year, with its VinFast sedan and SUV models among the bestsellers in their respective segments.
The company entered the auto industry three years ago. It has an auto plant in the northern province of Hai Phong and research and development centers in Australia, Germany and the U.S.
It said the manufacturing of electric bikes, buses and cars is part of a strategy to become a hi-tech global auto manufacturer and help develop green transportation and reduce emissions.
The slow sales of electric cars indicate that Vietnamese are still hesitating to use this kind of vehicle. The problem is not high price, but concern about operation and local infrastructure such as recharging stations.
VinFast announced it has successfully developed three smart SUV electric cars
VinFast, the 100 percent Vietnamese-owned automobile manufacturer, announced it has successfully developed three smart SUV electric cars VF31, VF32 and VF33, having a self-propelling feature and using AI.
The manufacturer plans to begin taking orders for VF31 standard version from May 2021 and deliver in November 2021. As for VF32 and VF33, it will begin taking orders from September and deliver from February 2022.
The Vietnamese electric car market, which began developing several years ago, is expected to warm up in the time to come with the presence of VinFast.
Agencies report that car demand in Vietnam is increasing rapidly, and is expected to reach 800,000 cars per annum by 2025 and 1 million cars per annum by 2030.
The rapid increase in the number of cars will lead to a high volume of emissions which will pollute the environment. Electric cars will be a good solution, especially in large crowded cities.
Three years ago, Mitsubishi Vietnam launched two models – iMIEV and Outlander PHEV. The former used 100 percent electricity, while the latter was a hybrid, using both petrol and electricity. With a full battery, the car could run 60 kilometers.
However, they didn’t sell well.
Porsche Vietnam in October 2020 distributed the electric Taycan model with three versions – Taycan 4S, Turbo and Turbo S. However, only two products were brought to Vietnam and shown at the product introduction ceremony.
Fuso, a brand of German Diamler, once had a plan to bring electric vans to Vietnam in 2019, but that has not occurred.
A survey by Frost & Sullivan, in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines, high prices are not the reason behind the modest sales of electric cars. The problem is that consumers have worries about the way the vehicles operate and about infrastructure quality.
Manufacturers say that electric cars are 27 percent more expensive than petrol-run cars, but their operation cost is 25 percent lower. It is estimated that the total amount of money spent on one electric car is equal to one petrol-run car after five years of operation. So, electric cars are affordable for many people.
Nguyen Minh Dong, an automobile expert, said the biggest disadvantage of electric cars is that they cannot go far. The best models go 400 kilometers at maximum. Meanwhile, it takes a long time to recharge cars.
One of the most important components of electric cars is the energy storage unit. All the electric cars now available use Lithium technology. However, the energy storage capacity of these batteries is believed to be critical. If manufacturers want to improve the energy storage capacity of the batteries, the weight of the batteries will be higher, which leads to high costs and poor performance.
In general, the current battery technology cannot satisfy the requirements on travel distance and cost optimization. And the currently used liquid batteries pose high risks of explosion and fire.
|Agencies report that car demand in Vietnam is increasing rapidly, and is expected to reach 800,000 cars per annum by 2025 and 1 million cars per annum by 2030.|
To successfully commercialize electric cars, it is necessary to improve the energy storage capacity to allow longer travel distance after each recharge and shorter recharging times.
The second problem lies in infrastructure conditions. There should be many fast recharging stations everywhere. But this has not occurred. Electric cars remain uncommon and are just considered vehicles that serve short-distance travel.
However, what concerned him was the poor infrastructure conditions in Vietnam and the lack of recharging stations. Finally, he gave up his intention to distribute electric cars.
He said that Tesla 3 can travel up to 300 kilometers, which is the distance from Hanoi to Vinh City. If drivers stop to recharge the car at a café or restaurant on the way, they will have to wait too long.
Automobile manufacturers can see the problem and they have tried to develop infrastructure. VinFast is joining forces with petrol retailers and some large cities to develop networks of recharging stations.
The stations would be set up at parking lots, convenience stores, basements of apartment buildings, schools, dormitories and filling stations. Drivers would just need to spend 15-30 minutes to recharge their cars.
Porsche Vietnam, before importing Taycan to distribute in Vietnam, built two fast recharging stations in Hanoi and HCM City, which recharged 80 percent of battery capacity within 22.5 minutes.
Vietnam’s rising income per capita would soon move cars from a luxury product with a passenger vehicle density of 34 per 1,000 to a more ordinary one with a density level comparable to countries in the region.
Cars in Vietnam since 2021 are subject to new regulations such as registration fee, import tariff, and higher emission standards.
BHUBANESWAR — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was inoculated with the first dose of a home-grown coronavirus vaccine on Monday, kicking off an expansion of the country’s immunisation campaign as infections rise in some big states.
People above 60, and those who are 45 or more and suffering from certain medical conditions, are now eligible for the vaccinations. But some inoculation centres reported issues with the government’s Co-Win portal used to coordinate the drive, which could slow its progress.
India, which has reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases after the United States, has so far vaccinated 12 million health and front-line workers since starting its immunisation programme in mid-January. It wants to cover 300 million of its 1.35 billion people by August.
“I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine,” 70-year-old Modi said on Twitter, posting a picture of him getting the shot at a government hospital in New Delhi. “Together, let us make India COVID-19 free!”
The government said last week it would let people choose their vaccination centres, effectively letting beneficiaries pick either the home-grown COVAXIN shot or the AstraZeneca vaccine, unlike earlier.
The inoculation campaign has run slower than expected due to a reluctance of health and front-line workers to take COVAXIN, which was approved without late-stage efficacy data. Only about 11% of vaccinated people have opted for the product developed by Bharat Biotech and the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research.
Bharat Biotech has said efficacy data from a late-stage trial on nearly 26,000 volunteers who took COVAXIN will be out soon. The company, along with India’s drug regulator, says COVAXIN is safe and effective, based on early and intermediate studies.
“Inspired and humbled by Hon’ble PM’s remarkable commitment to build an Aatmanirbhar Bharat,” Bharat Biotech said in reply to Modi’s tweet, referring to his self-reliance pitch to back local products.
“Yes, we all shall fight COVID-19 together and emerge victorious.”
Initial glitches in the Co-Win portal had hampered vaccination, and some of the troubles resurfaced on Monday in states such as Odisha in the east and Maharashtra in the west, officials said.
Modi’s home state of Gujarat, however, said the roll-out was progressing fine.
“We haven’t faced any glitches,” said Jaiprakash Shivahare, Gujarat’s commissioner of health. “The government of India has assured us that there is no issue of vaccine availability and asked us to use the vaccines as early as possible.”
India has reported more than 11 million coronavirus infections and over 157,000 deaths. Of the 15,510 new cases recorded in the past 24 hours, Maharashtra state accounted for 8,293 followed by Kerala’s 3,254 infections.
The health ministry reported 106 deaths in the past 24 hours, with no fatalities recorded in 20 of India’s three dozen states and federal territories.
Bitcoin took another large stride toward mainstream acceptance on Monday after billionaire Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company Tesla Inc revealed it had bought $1.5 billion of the cryptocurrency and would soon accept it as a form of payment for cars, sending the cryptocurrency shooting higher.
The announcements, buried deep in Tesla’s 2020 annual report, drove a roughly 20% surge in the world’s most widely held cryptocurrency to over $47,000. At current prices, 0.8 bitcoins would be enough to buy an entry-level Tesla Model 3.
Investors anticipated other companies will soon join a list of firms that invest in or hold bitcoin including BlackRock Inc, the world’s largest asset manager, and payments companies Square and PayPal.
Musk has upended Wall Street over the last year and briefly became the world’s richest person as shares of Tesla surged nearly 500% to become the fifth most-valuable U.S. company, leaving other companies and investors eager to follow in his wake.
“If any lesser mortals had made the decision to put part of their balance sheet in Bitcoin, I don’t think it would have been taken seriously,” said Thomas Hayes, managing member at Great Hill Capital LLC in New York. “But when the richest man in the world does it, everyone has to take a second look.”
The news sparked heavy trading in cryptocurrencies and caused exchanges like Coinbase, Gemini, Binance to experience technical issues, according to Coindesk.
It also generated discussion on Reddit. While discussions of cryptocurrencies are banned on the WallStreetBets community that fueled the GameStop Corp trading frenzy, users in other subreddits posted “to the moon,” expecting more companies to follow suit after Tesla.
A well-known supporter of cryptocurrencies, Musk has weighed in regularly on the past month’s frenzy in retail investment, also driving up prices of the meme-based digital currency dogecoin and shares of U.S. video game chain GameStop.
Experts said they would not be surprised by a closer look from regulators given Musk’s bumpy past with watchdogs.
The Securities and Exchange Commission sparred with Musk and Tesla several times over his use of Twitter to discuss the company, ultimately resulting in his exit as company chairman and a pair of $20 million fines for Musk and Tesla.
“We’re talking about a billionaire with one of the most valuable companies in the history of the world who has seemingly gotten away with poking the SEC before,” said Tyler Gellasch, head of the Washington-based Healthy Markets Association and former SEC official. Still, Gellasch said that “examination doesn’t mean this is likely to be an enforcement case.”
Tesla said in a filing the decision to move nearly 8% of its reserves into bitcoin was part of its broad investment policy as a company aimed at diversifying and maximizing its returns on cash, including holding gold. The report said it ended 2020 with $19.38 billion in cash and cash equivalents.
“We expect to begin accepting bitcoin as a form of payment for our products in the near future, subject to applicable laws and initially on a limited basis, which we may or may not liquidate upon receipt,” the company said.
Tesla said it had invested an aggregate $1.5 billion in bitcoin under the changed policy and could “acquire and hold digital assets from time to time or long-term”. (bit.ly/3q53p1m) Shares of the company rose 1.3% Monday.
Gold jumped more than 1% Monday while ethereum, another cryptocurrency, surged to a record high.
Long-term store of value?
Central banks remain skeptical of digital currencies, but analysts say the more real world uses appear for bitcoin, the more attractive it will prove as a long-term store of value.
Bitcoin has rallied as far as $47,565 after Tesla’s disclosure. The cryptocurrency is up 1135% since March 2020, thanks in part to interest from institutional investors.
“The argument for bitcoin is evolving. It used to be negative (reasons to buy), but suddenly there are positive reasons, and that’s why you see bitcoin at (new highs),” Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic advisor of Allianz, told CNBC.
Tesla is the latest company to add bitcoin to its corporate treasury, following similar moves by Square, the payments company led by Twitter Inc chief Jack Dorsey and U.S. software firm MicroStrategy Inc.
Apple Inc may be the next big company to enter the cryptocurrency market, both by allowing bitcoin to be exchanged on its Apple Wallet service and investing some of its own reserves in units of the cryptocurrency, said Mitch Steves, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets.
“If this becomes a trend in corporate treasuries the downside of staying on the sidelines will only become costlier over time,” said Maya Zehavi, a blockchain consultant.
|Graphic shows Bitcoin hitting record high on Tesla investment.|
Tesla’s move to put some of its corporate reserves in bitcoin may be a signal that it expects the cryptocurrency will emerge as another store of long-term value alongside the dollar and gold, said Graham Tanaka, president and chief investment officer of Tanaka Capital Management in New York.
“Companies are very careful when it comes down to their reserves,” he said. “This doesn’t appear to be a flash in the pan. It appears to be something that may be a fundamental change.”
TOKYO — Solid demand for technology goods drove extended growth in Asia’s factories in February, but a slowdown in China underscored the challenges facing the region as it seeks a sustainable recovery from the shattering COVID-19 pandemic blow.
The vaccine rollouts globally and pick-up in demand provided optimism for a vast number of businesses that had grappled for months with a cash-flow crunch and falling profits.
In Japan, manufacturing activity expanded at the fastest pace in over two years while South Korea’s exports rose for a fourth straight month in February, suggesting the region’s export-reliant economies were benefiting from robust global trade.
On the flip side, China’s factory activity grew at the slowest pace in nine months in February, hit by a domestic flare-up of COVID-19 and soft demand from countries under renewed lock-down measures.
“The big picture, supported by the latest figures, is that China’s growth remains fairly robust, but it is slowing from previously very rapid rates,” Mark Williams, chief Asia economist, wrote in a note to clients.
China’s was the first major economy to lead the recovery from the COVID-19 shock, so any signs of prolonged cooling in Asia’s engine of growth will likely be a cause for concern.
With the global rebound still in early days, however, analysts say the outlook was brightening as companies increased output to restock inventory on hopes vaccine rollouts will normalise economic activity.
“The recovery in durable-goods demand is continuing, which is creating a positive cycle for manufacturers in Asia,” said Shigeto Nagai, head of Japan economics as Oxford Economics.
“As vaccine rollouts ease uncertainties over the outlook, capital expenditure will gradually pick up. That will benefit Japan, which is strong in exports of capital goods,” he said.
China’s Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 50.9 in February, the lowest level since last May but still above the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction.
That was in line with official manufacturing PMI that showed factory activity in the world’s second-largest economy expanded in February at the weakest pace since May last year.
Activity in other Asian giants remained brisk.
The final au Jibun Bank Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) jumped to 51.4 in February from the prior month’s 49.8 reading, marking the fastest expansion since December 2018, data showed on Monday.
In South Korea, a regional exports bellwether, shipments jumped 9.5% in February from a year earlier for its fourth straight month of increase on continued growth in memory chip and car sales.
The Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam also saw manufacturing activity expand in February, a sign the region was gradually recovering from the initial hit of the pandemic.