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VW just detailed its plans for cheaper EVs and easier charging
Volkswagen has detailed its ambitious EV goals for the next decade, teasing more affordable electric cars and broader availability of chargers for models like the VW ID.4. The automaker set out its technology roadmap for batteries and charging at VW Power Day today, looking to address some of the key concerns and tech challenges between now and 2030.
It comes as the first vehicles from the Volkswagen Group to use its MEB platform begin to reach the North American market. Designed with electric models in mind from the outset, MEB is set to be used across everything from urban runabouts such as the ID.3 already on sale in Europe, to the new ID.4 crossover, and beyond into large SUVs and minivans.
It’s built with flexibility in mind, with the option of front-, rear-, or all-wheel drive configurations, a variety of body sizes and styles, and support for different battery capacities. Batteries remain one of the most expensive components in any EV, not to mention one of the most contentious when it comes to providing realistic range without automakers running into excessive price, weight, or production bottlenecks. A sizable part of Power Day 2023, then, was devoted to how VW will handle that challenge.
“We aim to reduce the cost and complexity of the battery and at the same time increase its range and performance,” Thomas Schmall, Volkswagen Group Board Member for Technology, said at the event. “This will finally make e-mobility affordable and the dominant drive technology.”
To do that, VW aims to operate six factories for batteries in Europe by the end of this decade. They’ll have a total production capacity of 250 GWh, the automaker says, with the first being in Salzgitter and the Swedish city of Skellefteå. More sites will be identified later on, along with production partners.
What they’ll be building, meanwhile, will also be seeing some changes. VW plans to switch to a so-called unified cell, which it aims to put into production by 2023; the same design will also make transitioning to solid state cells more straightforward. By 2030, VW expects 4 out of 5 EVs produced by the VW Group as a whole to be using the unified cell design.
VW is also looking to how it can make better use of recycling, suggesting that up to 95-percent of raw materials could eventually be recovered. The new battery facilities, meanwhile, will run on electricity from renewable sources.
As for charging, there’ll be more investment in Europe, China, and North America. Electrify America, for example, aims to have 3,500 fast chargers available in the US and Canada by the end of the year. In Europe and the UK, VW is collaborating with BP to put around 8,000 DC fast chargers – capable of 150 kW – in service stations, primarily in Germany and the UK.
It’s not just putting power into an EV that VW is looking at. The automaker also plans to enable bi-directional power on MEB models from 2023, where electric vehicles will be able to act as temporary storage for power during periods of excess, and then supply it back to homes or the grid when it’s in demand. There’ll be new VW chargers that support that, too, along with versions scaled to suit businesses.
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Aston Martin roadmap spills its huge electric plans
Aston Martin may only just have inked a deal to get its hands on Mercedes’ electric vehicle tech, but the automaker already has plans on how to use it. Announced last week, the agreement should see Mercedes-Benz eventually take as much as a 20-percent stake in the legendary British sports car company, in return for access to the Germans’ tech.
It’s an expansion of an existing agreement, that already saw recent Aston Martin models use AMG-built V8 gas engines. Thanks to that, Mercedes already has a 2.3-percent stake in Aston Martin; the new deal will expand that to hybrid and pure-electric powertrains, along with software and other technology to accompany those.
That’s increasingly important, given Aston Martin has big electrification plans but not the research & development budget to deliver on them. The automaker has been working on a hybrid system, coupling electric motors with a new turbocharged V6 gas engine, for its upcoming Valhalla hypercar. Expected to begin production in 2023, the performance coupe is to be seriously exclusive, with only 500 being made.
Now, though, that could change. Speaking with reporters, Aston Martin CEO Tobias Moers said that though the in-house hybrid V6 is still being developed, “we now have alternatives” thanks to the Mercedes agreement, Automotive News reports. The final decision for what will end up in the Valhalla is “too early to say,” the chief exec continued.
What isn’t in question is how rapidly Aston Martin plans to implement electrification in other models. The DBX SUV, for example, which began production earlier this year will get a plug-in hybrid version come 2023, Moers confirmed. That will better position it to take on other high-end luxury SUVs like Bentley’s Bentayga Hybrid.
Between that and the Valhalla, meanwhile, will be the new Vanquish. That will be a mid-engined coupe with an electrified powertrain, though Moers didn’t say exactly what form that would take. Among the engines in AMG’s range are several using Mercedes’ EQ Boost system, where an electric starter-generator motor can add a temporary increase in horsepower and torque for short periods. Such cars aren’t plug-in hybrids, however, and aren’t designed to be driven on electric power alone.
Perhaps most exciting is the promise of a fully-electric Aston Martin. That’s now earmarked for 2025-26, Moers said, tapping Mercedes’ tech to accelerate the development process. What it won’t be, however, is a new Lagonda.
Despite Aston Martin’s previous plan to reboot the Lagonda brand as a pure-electric luxury performance nameplate – and indeed showing off two dramatic concept vehicles, the Lagonda Vision Concept and Lagonda All-Terrain Concept – that’s now been scrapped, Moers said. Lagonda has a different purpose for the future,” the CEO confirmed, suggesting that “electric-driven cars are supposed to be Aston Martins.” Exactly what that new purpose for Lagonda might be, Moers didn’t say.
The first vehicle to use the newly-unlocked Mercedes technology should appear in an Aston Martin by late 2023 or early the following year. By 2024, Moers predicted, as many as 1 in 4 new vehicles the automaker sells should be electrified.
Lucid Motors reveals the DreamDrive tech to eventually make its EVs autonomous
Lucid Motors has revealed the bevy of sensors its upcoming Lucid Air electric luxury car will be equipped with, as it paves the way for future autonomous driving capabilities. The Lucid DreamDrive system will consist of LIDAR, cameras, radar, and ultra-sonic sensors, in addition to extra driver-monitoring systems inside the vehicle, all in the name of either supporting the person behind the wheel or, eventually, replacing them altogether.
The Lucid Air, a four-door sedan aiming to take on not only Tesla’s Model S but luxury auto industry stalwarts like Mercedes, Audi, and BMW, will go into production from either late 2023 or early 2023. It’s intended to be the first vehicle to use the company’s DreamDrive suite, though Lucid intends to use it on future vehicles as well.
In total it’ll consist of 32 sensors. A long-range, high-resolution LIDAR laser rangefinder will be mounted at the front of the car, along with a long-range radar. There’ll be three front cameras and four short-range radar facing ahead, too.
Four side/rear facing cameras will be installed, along with a primary rear camera and a second rear camera equipped with a fish-eye lens. There’ll be twelve ultrasonic sensors in total, and four surround view cameras giving a 360-degree perspective of the EV.
Finally, there’ll be a driver monitoring camera. We’ve seen automakers like Cadillac, BMW, and Ford use those to track attention in hands-free assisted driving systems, such as Super Cruise and the upcoming Active Drive Assist on the Mustang Mach-E and F-150 truck. They allow the car to track that a driver is paying attention to the road situation around them, even if their hands are not in contact with the wheel.
Lucid says that the DreamDrive site will be initially used for 19 different safety, driving, and parking assistance features that the Air will launch with. They’ll include things like adaptive cruise control with lane-keeping assistance, automated parking where the car can maneuver itself in and out of parallel or perpendicular spaces at low speed, and braking assistance should vehicles, cyclists, or pedestrians be encountered in the roadway.
Beyond that, however, Lucid says it plans to add eight more features after that, via OTA updates. “Additional DreamDrive capabilities to enable Level 3 driving in certain conditions are also in development,” the automaker promises. Unlike Level 2 assisted driving, where the person at the wheel is responsible for the car even as the various technologies weigh in on things like speed, distance between vehicles, and lane-positioning, Level 3 allows the car to take over in select circumstances such as highway driving or in congestion.
Deciding just which combination of sensors comprises sufficient “future-proofing” for a vehicle that wants to one day ascend through the autonomous driving levels can be fairly contentious. LIDAR is still rare for production vehicles, given the cost of the sensors versus more available ultrasonic, radar, and camera technology. That has led some automakers – notably Tesla – to suggest that it’s not actually necessary for driverless cars.
Lucid clearly doesn’t agree, and it has set up its EV architecture with the expectation that data-dense sensors like LIDAR will be onboard. The company’s so-called Ethernet Ring is the underlying electrical platform for the Air, linking systems like steering, brakes, and other modules, along with the redundant power sources and other fault-tolerant parts Lucid says will be instrumental in delivering a safe self-driving vehicle.
For DreamDrive, Lucid says it tapped the best of Tier 1 industry providers like HERE, Continental, and Bosch. The final integration, however, is all its own work, the automaker insists.
“We have ensured that the Lucid DreamDrive hardware and software platform not only offers a full suite of Level 2 features, but is also Level 3 ready, which means we’ll be able to quickly add features and functions over-the-air throughout the lifetime of Lucid Air and for future Lucid models,” Dr. Eugene Lee, Senior Director of ADAS and Autonomous Driving at Lucid Motors, says.
The production version of the Lucid Air is expected to debut on September 9, at which point we’ll see the final exterior and cabin designs and specifications. Pricing and trims will also be confirmed at the time. Lucid says it expects the first Air consumer cars to be delivered early in 2023.
Google’s keynote today was knocked by some observers for having a similar style to Apple keynotes: a funny video to start things off, an intro from the CEO to set the stage, and product leaders announcing new products that they work on. I don’t really buy into that as a critique. Apple usually does an impressive keynote; they use a format that other companies should copy.
Something else that stood out is Google’s habit of using subtle references to Apple critiques to pitch its products. That’s just not very Apple. There was a reference to ‘bumping phones’ a few years ago when Apple introduced AirDrop, but Apple tastefully avoided any combustion jokes when it introduced the iPhone 7 last month. Google, on the other hand, just couldn’t leave Apple out of its keynote.
Google’s Apple dings weren’t just limited to the easy headphone jack reference either. Three things I picked up at the start:
Google said customers want “more than 1,000 songs in your pocket” now; that’s a reference to Steve Jobs’ iPod introduction
Google said “our products just work” which sounds like a play on Jobs’ “it just works” line about Apple products
Google described its Pixel smartphone as having “no unsightly camera bump” which iPhones do have (and a lot of Android phones too)
The ‘1,000 songs in your pocket’ line seemed to be in the context of technology changing, but it didn’t come across as especially necessary considering the availability of streaming music services from a variety of companies not named Google. Describing products that “just work” is surely meant to be a slight against Apple services, and the camera bump line is odd considering how unattractive so many Android camera bumps are.
Speaking of the camera, Google’s new Pixel phone touts a DxOMark score of 89, which it says is the highest ever for any smartphone. For context, the iPhone 7 recently scored an 86 and the rating for the dual-camera system on the iPhone 7 Plus is “coming soon.”
Clearly Google and DxOMark coordinated the test and slide as it was included before the phone’s official announcement and included in the keynote, but it seems highly possible that the iPhone 7 Plus could also score an 89 if not higher. It’s unclear if DxOMark will wait for iOS 10.1 which includes the DSLR-like depth effect feature too.
DxOMark seems to be ignoring the iPhone completely when describing the quality of the Pixel camera:
“Overall, the Pixel did extremely well in capturing our natural test images, typically performing as well or better than other current flagship models. However, on our greenery test scene below, it didn’t perform as well as some of the other flagship phones, as it lost details in the shadows.”
It used the HTC 10 and Samsung Galaxy S7 (both rated 88) for reference, but Pixel seems targeted in part at iPhone switchers with its premium price. Google even touts how easy it is to switch from iPhone.
Then there’s the cheesy color names to discuss. We expected these but it’s even more cringeworthy to see on stage: Quite Black, Really Blue, and Very Silver. Contrast that with Apple’s iPhone 7 color lineup: Jet Black, Black, Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold. You can joke that Jet Black and Black is silly, but Quite, Really, and Very come across as self-parodying or self-deprecating, not serious. What’s wrong with black, silver, and blue?
Speaking of not serious, I can’t help but think that Android phone makers are going to regret mocking the iPhone 7’s lack of a headphone jack in a few short years. For starters, iPhone wasn’t the first smartphone to drop the headphone jack, it was merely the first to popularize it on smartphones. Motorola beat Apple to the punch in 2024.
It also seems plausible that most if not all smartphones could drop the headphone jack in a few years. USB-C audio is positioned to do what Lightning is doing on iOS, and wireless Bluetooth audio is cross-platform. But Google is using ‘3.5mm headphone jack’ as a feature on a spec sheet now. This wasn’t even worth a mention before the iPhone 7, right?
Headphone jack is the new “runs Flash!”
— Zac Hall (@apollozac) October 4, 2024
You could nitpick at the Pixel design too: it has the antenna lines that Apple just hid, the front has the chin of an iPhone 5 with the Touch ID-style fingerprint scanner moved to the back, and there’s no premium curved display like Samsung phones despite its premium price. It’s also not immediately evident that Google Assistant is superior to Siri. I use Siri a lot and noticed that most if not all of the demos for Google Assistant would work just as well using Siri since 2011. Sending a message, booking dinner with OpenTable, playing a song. Google’s contextual awareness of what’s on-screen is different but not new to Pixel.
One thing Google does get right is unlimited photo and video storage in the cloud when you buy its Pixel phone. By comparison, iPhones come with 5GB of free iCloud storage with paid accounts for up to 2TB available. I really wonder what stops Apple from using unlimited photo and video storage as a reason for customers to buy its iPhones. Surely there’s not a significant amount of revenue from iCloud storage upgrades from photo sync alone.
You can read 9to5Mac’s roundup of Google keynote here and checkout 9to5Google for full coverage of everything announced.
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Every entrepreneur who starts their business is going to inevitably deal with the problem of growing, or scaling, their business. The problem is that this term is horribly vague and undefined at its root, if you really look at it.
What does it mean to grow your business? The answers vary from person to person, but Advaion, an independent consulting firm, applies their global expertise specifically to help entrepreneurs and businesses through growth, scaling, and similar situations.
One of the most important things to remember about scaling your business, according to Advaion’s Pavan Satyaketu, is that it’s not a guarantee. Rather, you have to explicitly build a plan of attack to ensure you grow profitably.
Anybody can expand a business and hire more employees, which could technically be considered growing or scaling. However, not as many entrepreneurs and businesses can successfully scale so they remain profitable on their top lines throughout the entire process and beyond.
This is where Advaion can lend a helping hand. You have to have repeatable processes for your growth, and their experts can assess your current strategy and help you implement new processes, models, and infrastructure to ensure you grow successfully and profitably.
“When these web-based businesses initially launch, their policies work well for a small startup. But as they experience double and triple digit growth, they face enormous operational challenges that require changes in their technology infrastructure and accounting policies that better reflect their growing business needs”, explains Satyaketu. “We have worked with several fast growing technology companies to identify areas where they can feel an immediate impact on their bottom line.”
For Satyaketu and his colleagues, it all hinges on the question of what can be changed to make your current model more efficient.
That’s because the constantly expanding and shifting global economy provides a lot of opportunity for these small, web based businesses to continue to grow at exponential rates. The key to their success, though, is in their ability to adapt their companies from small businesses to large self-sustained and profitable global companies.
“Some of these companies are growing so fast, and they’re excited, but when you’re building that fast and revenue comes in that quickly sometimes you end up losing money on back end,” says Satyaketu.
Scaling for profitability becomes even more important when you consider the impact it could have on potential investments. Take, for example, a company that charges individual credit cards on payment periods for services rendered.
At first glance it might appear, to the founders and investors, that their revenue is high and the future looks bright. But what happens when your current infrastructure fails to predict the future accurately?
You’re expecting to collect similar revenue the following month only to find to your dismay that customers have left and credit cards have expired. You’re unable to charge the same amount of people, and now you’re top line has come down.
Plus, you can’t fundraise your way out of a financial loss. Sure, you can try, but it’s a hard truth to face when your investors ask to see your plan to generate sustainable revenue over the next five to ten years.
Advaion’s answer to all of this is simple: implement models, infrastructure, and processes to ensure this doesn’t happen with any type of business. It never hurts to admit that sometimes you may need a helping hand, and Advaion is there to help in whatever way they can.
This information is brought to you through a sponsorship from our partner Advaion.
See also: The best Verizon deals
As you work your way through this page, we’ll do our best to explain your pre-paid options. However, we should note right away that Verizon reserves the ability to deprioritize any prepaid data connection, so you may see your speed suffer at times. We’ll also highlight some of the best devices you can try on Verizon’s prepaid network. If you’d rather have some of the perks of MVNOs, we’ve included a few to choose from as well. Ready to learn all about your potential future carrier? Let’s get started.Verizon at a glance
Big Red has existed in one form or another for decades — but it hasn’t always been called Verizon Wireless. The carrier many people rely on today launched in 2000 as a joint venture between Bell Atlantic and Vodafone of the UK. It’s no longer Better Business Bureau accredited and carries just over a one-star rating. Verizon is also one of the most complained about carriers with the BBB, closing a whopping 26,700 issues in the last three years.
Verizon’s massive 4G LTE network extends into all 50 states, and the carrier has claimed the Root Metric reliability award for the last 13 years — in a row. Its 4G coverage reaches more than 300 million Americans, and its 5G coverage is available in parts of 35 major cities. Luckily, Verizon’s prepaid plans now include Nationwide 5G access, though you’ll have to pay extra for Ultra-Wideband support.
For a better picture of Verizon’s coverage, head on over to its product map.
Pre-paid Verizon plans
Unlimited talk and text
International service from $5 per month
Users who want to save money and don’t need data.5GB pre-paid
Once you add data to the mix, it might relieve you to see that Verizon skips the cute plan names. Instead of figuring out what’s in a name, you can instantly see just how much data you’re working with. For example, this 5GB prepaid plan comes with 5GB of 4G LTE or 5G Nationwide data. Better yet, you can use as much of that data as you want for a full-speed hotspot.
In addition to the $5 autopay discount, the 5GB prepaid plan is the first to introduce Verizon’s loyalty incentives. After keeping your plan for just three months, you can save an extra $5 per month. Nine months on the network knocks off another $5 per month for a total of $15 off with autopay.
Loyalty discount after three months
Unlimited talk and text
5GB of 4G LTE data
Mobile hotspot with a data cap
Users who need some data, but mainly stay on wi-fi
Users who plan to stay with the network for loyalty discounts15GB pre-paid
Loyalty discount after three months
Calling to Canada and Mexico included
15GB of 4G LTE or 5G Nationwide data
Mobile hotspot with a data cap
Users who call Canada and Mexico frequently
On-the-go users who need hotspot accessUnlimited pre-paid
Unlimited talk, text, and data
Talk, text, and data in Canada and Mexico
Mobile hotspot for $5 per month
Users who don’t want to worry about data limits
Users who plan to spend time in Canada or MexicoUnlimited pre-paid plus 5G Ultra-Wideband
Unlimited talk, text, and data
5G Ultra-Wideband included
Users who want the fastest speeds possibleWhich of Verizon’s prepaid plans is right for you?
If you’re set on joining Verizon’s prepaid service, the 15GB and Unlimited plans are your best bets. Most users will have no trouble staying under the 15GB cap, and you won’t have to pay anything extra for a mobile hotspot. The unlimited prepaid plan is the best for your money if you’re a heavy-duty data user. You’ll have to pay a bit extra for a hotspot, but you can use it as much as you want.
The unlimited plan edges out the 15GB plan when it comes to international service. It includes data, talk, and text in Canada and Mexico, while that perk is $5 per month with limited data plans. There’s a good chance you won’t need the Ultra-Wideband 5G access either, as it only offers support in select cities.Verizon Prepaid vs the competition
Kris Carlon / Android Authority
If you really want to decide on the right carrier, you’ll have to pit the best options against one another. We’ve set Verizon’s prepaid unlimited plan against AT&T and T-Mobile’s prepaid options. Our table also includes Visible for good measure, a Verizon-owned subsidiary. You can learn more about all of the plans at the US’s Best prepaid and no-contract plans.
The best Verizon Prepaid competition comes from the second-largest US carrier, AT&T. Big Blue’s service is the most expensive at $75 per month, but that price falls to just $50 with autopay. For your money, you get unlimited 4G LTE data and 5G access, and 10GB of hotspot access.
AT&T Prepaid is the way to go if you want to stream your favorite shows too. You can watch in HD quality, just as long as you have stream saver turned off. The Unlimited Plus plan even includes talk, text, roaming in Mexico and Canada, and texting to 100 countries.
Save $25 per month with autopay
Unlimited data and 5G access included
International texting to 100 countriesT-Mobile Prepaid
10GB hotspot included
Each additional line costs $30
If you’re dead-set on Verizon’s service, Visible takes a slightly different approach. It’s not technically an MVNO as it’s a wholly-owned Verizon subsidiary. There’s just one plan to choose from, and it offers unlimited talk, text, and data. Like the proper Verizon prepaid plans, Visible now offers 5G access as part of its plan. You also can finally call internationally to Canada and Mexico.
Visible’s service regularly costs $40 per month, but you and as many friends as you want can drop it to just $25 with Party Pay. You are billed individually, and late payments won’t impact the others, but you’ll all save money. If you have some family and friends you’d like to bring to the network, you can refer up to one per month, and each of you will pay just $5 for your service.
One simple plan
Hotspot and unlimited data included
Save big with Party PayOther MVNOs that run on Verizon’s network
So you want prepaid service and Verizon’s great network, but you don’t necessarily want to deal with Verizon directly. Visible is one of your best options, as we mentioned before. However, there are several other MVNOs to consider too. Check out our table for quick information about some of our favorites:
US Mobile is a unique Verizon MVNO in that you can build your plan just how you like it. In fact, everyone in your entire family can customize a plan. You pick your talk, text, and data, and US Mobile gives you a price. There’s even an unlimited plan that costs just $40 per month. The unlimited plan offers your choice of subscription services for free with 2, 3, and 4 line plans.Red Pocket
You may not be as familiar with Red Pocket, but it’s an effective way to save money, thanks to its variety of plans. There are plenty of limited service options to choose from, all the way up to unlimited access. Red Pocket runs on all Big Three networks, but you’ll lock into a carrier when you sign up.PagePlus
PagePlus is similar to Red Pocket, with limited and unlimited service tiers. The pricing structure is about the same, but PagePlus warns on its website about using more than 60GB of data per month. You can also opt for pay-as-you-go minutes, data add-on cards, and international add-on cards.Total Wireless
Total Wireless has many single-line and family plans, and each includes unlimited talk and text. The data is endless as well, though you have to pay more for unlimited high-speed access. Total’s basic unlimited plans offer just 1GB of high-speed data before you fall back down to 2G speeds.Visible
We’ve already talked about Visible in the previous section on competition, but it offers one plan at one price. You can save with Party Pay, and unlimited talk, text, and data are included. There’s finally a little bit of international access, and you can read about our own experiences with Visible in the review right here.What phones can you use on Verizon Prepaid?
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
Verizon’s prepaid plans support nearly all of Big Red’s post-paid devices. If you can think of it, there’s a decent chance that it works on the network, from the Samsung Galaxy S22 family to the Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G and even the Google Pixel 6 Pro. If you want a full rundown of options, take a peek at our list of the best Verizon phones. Of course, some phones are specifically built with Verizon’s prepaid network in mind, and you can find them here.
It’s also pretty easy to bring your own device to the Verizon network — at least as long as it’s a CDMA phone that supports all Verizon’s bands.
At one point, Bell and Vodafone were among Verizon’s owners. These days Verizon is owned by Verizon Communications, and it is a fully US-based company.
Disney Plus is included with select plans, including Play More Unlimited. Basic and prepaid plans do not offer the perk, however.
The great thing about Verizon is you might not have to unlock your phone! Unless it’s a prepaid device or an ancient iPhone 3G World device, Verizon phones are already unlocked for use on other supported carriers. However, we have a complete guide to walk prepaid and 3G World phone users through the unlock process.
Yes, Verizon has one of the strongest 5G networks in the US, with at least partial support in over 35 cities. 5G is included with most of Verizon’s plans at no extra cost.
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