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Biden EV plan “the largest mobilization of public investment” since WW2
The US government plans to replace its fleet of vehicles with electric alternatives, part of a huge public investment in equipment that President Biden says will be the largest since World War II. The goal was announced today, as Biden discussed the Buy American Executive Order and strategies to strengthen American manufacturing and create jobs in the US.
“The federal government also owns an enormous fleet of vehicles,” Biden said during the press conference, “which we’re going to replace with clean electric vehicles made right here in America, creating millions of jobs, a million autoworker jobs, and clean energy, and vehicles that are net-zero emissions. And together this will be the largest mobilization of public investment in procurement, infrastructure, and R&D since World War II.”
Certainly, there’s no shortage of vehicles being used across the government’s various departments. Each year, those departments are required to submit records on owned, leased, and commercially leased vehicles in their fleets. For 2023, civilian agencies owned more than 158,000 vehicles, while military agencies owned more than 62,000 vehicles.
The biggest fleet, however, is used by the US Postal Service. In the 2023 figures, it reported owning more than 224,000 vehicles. Tallied across all the agencies, there’s more than 445,000 owned vehicles on the books, and more than 200,000 leased in some form, with total costs of around $4.4 billion.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 25, 2023
Typically, domestic vehicles already far outweigh the use of foreign passenger vehicles and trucks in use by the US government. Indeed, of the roughly 645,000 strong fleet in 2023, only around 6-percent were foreign-made. However, should even a small percentage be replaced with electrified vehicles, that could represent a huge shift in emissions.
The current reporting does not break down the vehicles by drivetrain type – beyond a separate category for low-speed electric vehicles (LSEV) – so it’s unclear how many might already be battery-electric or hybrids.
Still, it’s only in recent years that there have been viable options for replacing mainstream vehicles with zero-emission alternatives, and even then some categories are still awaiting production EVs. Ford and Chevrolet are both preparing electric pickup trucks, as is Tesla, and several American automakers are working on electric SUVs and sedans.
Startups like Rivian and Canoo are developing both passenger cars and SUVs and electric delivery vehicles, while Ford has an e-Transit in the pipeline, an all-electric version of its best-selling van. Earlier this month, GM announced a new brand, BrightDrop, to focus on electric logistics.
“The dollars the federal government spends on goods and services are a powerful tool to support American workers and manufacturers,” the White House said today. “Contracting alone accounts for nearly $600 billion in federal spending. Federal law requires government agencies to give preferences to American firms, however, these preferences have not always been implemented consistently or effectively.”
Full details of today’s executive order are yet to be published in the Federal Register by the government.
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Porsche is giving Taycan EV early-adopters some good news
Porsche has new software for the 2023 Taycan, bringing existing owners some of the headline updates from the latest 2023 model year car, though anybody used to Tesla-style OTA feature magic will be disappointed. Improvements around charging and route planning, wireless Apple CarPlay, and even music-themed ambient lighting are all being added in the free upgrade.
Perhaps most useful, there’ll be more charging infrastructure information shown on the EV’s dashboard display. Porsche says finding a charger – both within the Porsche Charging Service and outside of it – should be faster and easier, and there’s also more detailed traffic and lane-specific information within the navigation.
The Charging Planner has been tweaked, with new options to set a specific target charge level for DC fast charging. That can overrule the Taycan’s ability to decide when to stop charging. Also optional now is reducing the maximum DC charging rate, from the highest 270 kW that the EV supports, down to 200 kW.
While intentionally slowing down how fast your electric car recharges might seem counter-intuitive, Porsche says it can help optimize the service life of the battery packs, as well as their performance. Of course, you can also change it back if you need a quicker charge on occasion.
Those with the adaptive air suspension system will find Smartlift has been added. That allows the car to store certain positions where raising the Taycan is useful to avoid curbs or speed bumps, or navigate steeper driveways. When it reaches that location again, the EV will automatically rise up.
Inside, there’s wireless Apple CarPlay support, added alongside the existing wired functionality. Apple Podcasts support and Apple Music Lyrics are also offered, if you sign in with your Apple ID on the Taycan’s infotainment system. On the more whimsical side, those who added the Ambient Lighting option to their Taycan will be able to switch on music-linked colors. That will adjust the cabin lighting according to the music playing.
Arguably the most controversial feature is support for more of Porsche’s Functions on Demand (FoD), where certain functionality can be subscribed to or purchased outright. Joining the Porsche Intelligent Range Manager that was previously the only available FoD option on the 2023 Taycan, owners will be able to add Active Lane Keep Assist and Porsche InnoDrive.
Finally, there’s recalibration for the powertrain and suspension control systems, from which Porsche promises “further improved driving dynamics and performance.”
The downside to the update is how you access it. Although the Taycan is a connected car, with an embedded modem for data, Porsche isn’t pushing this new firmware out OTA (over-the-air). Instead, they’ll need to bring their Taycan in to a dealer and have it installed, something Porsche says to expect two business days to complete. You will, at least, get a loaner vehicle while you wait. Those eligible for the new software will be contacted in due course by their dealer.
Introduction to Communication Plan
We as humans are driven by communication which is a source of our life and activities. We are the ventures of the organizations and their prolific creations, strategies, or ideologies that they want to present to their audiences or within their own corporate or non-corporate circles. This intensity to project drives these organizations towards adopting communication plans that would speak voluminously about them and their thematic proposals and schemes.
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So what is a communication plan, and why is it so imperative?
The following components constitute a communication plan:
Aims and objectives
Process and action plan
List of stakeholders or a team involved in the projects
Finding out people to whom the communication plan should be addressed?
How are you going to evaluate your projected profits?
As pertinent as a communication plan, the way to develop it is equally important, which is implanted by the needs of the corporate entities.How to Develop a Communication Plan?
Here are certain tips for developing an impactful communication plan!1. Study the communication trend and audit your research
Find out the communication trend in your organization. Some organizations are hiring firms to determine what’s going on, but this expenditure might burden your company’s budget. So you can save by studying how the others in the organization communicate, how they interact and accomplish their day-to-day operational activities, and whether they are getting concrete results.
To get the answers, you need to fix an appointment, brainstorm with your staff members and manager, and find the results or any drawbacks or issues that might hamper their communication process.
Select the person who would be taking the lead
Before starting the actual process (How to Develop a Communication Plan?), finding a spokesperson who would initiate the communication process and formulate the plan is imperative. He should meet the following criteria:
He should always be ready to cooperate, coordinate with the other team members and Staff, and set communication goals and plans.
He should be capable of allocating the time and Staff to meet the communication needs.
Have the capability to decide the requisite communication system and its effectiveness and impact it might have.
He should engage the evaluator and others in generating and revising the different communicative strategies and plans.
Have the ability to generate many creative ideas for the successful implementation of the communication plan,
Develop communication and trust among your peers and community
You should maintain strong communication and trust and manage the expectations of the concerned people, especially the partners, in your efforts. This creates a secure environment and reduces all the chances of any risk or rumors. Furthermore, the correct and timely information can help communities engage in active participation in the programs, get feedback, have meaningful engagement, and understand the benefits they can get from the program.
Define the Objectives and Goals
After all the information from the company, establish the objectives and goals of the plan and what you want to achieve. Your objectives conjure the objectives of the company, which includes
Your services towards the company,
How well can you create an impact
How can you centralize your communication network
Improve the product delivery
How does your communication plan impact the stakeholders, media, and government?
The goals are the resources required, whether human or mechanical, the process adopted for the project, the kind of products or services the company intends to produce or promote, and the improvements needed in the current processes or functioning.
Find out the potential audiences /readers of your communication plan
It would help if you found out the potential audience your associations might be contacting or trying to influence you. These audiences are your consumers, members, concerned associations, educators, industrialists, media, etc. This would include your study and research on the people who might directly impact the ongoing projects or the activities and find out the groups who are part of the organization or an outsider but are related to the project. This would enable you to prioritize your targeted audience and make a better decision.
Activities that you need to put in before or after communication implementation
3. Design your key points
Find and design the important points or messages that you want to deliver. Then, it would help you to filter the unnecessary facts or information and deliver what is best, accurate, and effective. This would also help you understand the people’s needs and expectations and the questions they can ask. And help you to understand how the program and project can affect the community or state.
When deciding on the message, understand and evaluate the situation in which the communication process is implied and the audience’s mood, the language in which the message has to be conveyed, the type of message to convey, and the overall design. The message should be drafted while keeping the type of audience in mind. Also important if the audience is young, old, or children and then frame the message accordingly. As said by James Thurber, “Precision of communication is more important than ever, in our era of hair trigger balances, when a false or misunderstood word may create as much disaster as a sudden thoughtless act.”
Evaluate the Sensitivity of the audience
Find out the people’s moods and determine how the people should react to the situation mood and Sensitivity of the situation. No message should have any word or statement that disrespects the people’s language, culture, religion, or faith. Find out the audience’s general mood, and retain a correct balance for communication; retaining a positive tone will help reach more people rather than spreading negativity that may ignite fear or anger.
Know the language your audience speaks and whether the language you use is formal or informal, simple or sophisticated. If you are reaching out to the people, you must write and use the people’s language. Else for dignitaries or the corporate world, sophisticated language is required. The situation might come in deciding whether to choose an informal or a formal language. Sometimes too formal language might make the listeners feel you are not speaking to them. The language should be straightforward and clear, showing what you want to say and feel.
6. Find the mode of communication
Think of the best media mode for communication: electronic, print, or verbal. These mediums could include pamphlets, flyers, covers, websites, cards, and Television. Discuss the ideas with the managerial team and other Staff and develop the idea that would get you success. The medium needed for communication also depends on the audience being targeted during the communication process.
It would help if you ensured that the mode of communication you choose gets your message across to the concerned departments or people on time; for instance, some may require a PowerPoint presentation, while the press may need an interview with a head of the project team. Correct decision made on the choice of media entails your success in communication patterns and the framework you choose. It would help if you ensured the evaluation team members were comfortable with the different communication types. (How to Develop a Communication Plan?)
Given the various types, members of your evaluation team must be comfortable with the type of communication you are using or implying.
The type of Tools or medium in the communication includes:
Internet/Intranet Web page
Small group meetings etc
Find the factors that can affect the communication method
Set up the matrix
The best idea is to have a matrix with the communication plan related to the specific project, like reviewing the meetings and setting the status message. Explain the project’s theme, the key points of discussion, how the project will be delivered, the targeted audiences, and the responsibilities they share. This can help in setting expectations and setting boundaries for communication.
This process would lead to the conversion of the matrix into an informative piece, a graphic that could be shared and utilized by anybody whosoever is working on the project.
Set up a schedule
Once you have found your goals and objective, organize all the data in a calendar format and mention briefs about the projects that would be covered or the tasks that need to be accomplished as per the priority, and separate each task logically per the week or month.
Analyze the result
Create a method for generating a result; the evaluation process should be your monthly report, presentation or staff meeting, department report, or briefings of a staff executive. Your analysis or evaluation depends on the number of times you need to present the results. The situation might arise when you present the results before the concerned team, even before your evaluation process is over. You should also determine when constituents might want to review your result process.11. Resources needed
Determining the estimated budget and anticipated results from the expenditure is imperative. Then, calculate the cost and how you will gain from the investment.12. Find out about the anticipated hurdles or emergencies
As stated above, the communication process involves many paradigms and routes where hurdles or emergencies can erupt. The worst case can happen when a press release or a flyer is printed, an email and communication address is misprinted or erased, or a critical word is misspelled; a reporter might get the wrong information. A disaster might happen when an organization for you for which you are devoting your skills deny giving you credit. These issues must be anticipated before the plan and alternative solutions are found to overcome and rectify these issues.
In the article How to Develop a Communication Plan? The communication plan is a mouthpiece of the organization’s dreams which needs to be strategically drawn with eyes on minute details. It is best to prepare a plan three or four days before the schedule and evaluate it thoroughly. A well-documented plan will smooth the whole process and bring order to diversified activities that you might be performing.Recommended Articles
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Imagine you’re a tech startup with a great new Web service or product idea. You get enough funding to build out the staff and start developing the product in earnest. A year later, you realize the market’s changed; another company already offers 90 percent of the functionality of your SuperWebWonderWidget along with a bunch of features you don’t have.
It’s time to go to Plan B, but guess what? B doesn’t need to mean ‘Beaten’, rather it can be Beautiful. That’s according to Randy Komisar, co-author with John Mullins of the new book “Getting to Plan B: Breaking Through to a Better Business Model.”
Komisar spoke earlier this week at a Churchill Club event “in conversation” with New York Times reporter John Markoff. As a venture capitalist, virtual CEO and executive of a number of Silicon Valley tech companies (WebTV, TiVo, GlobalGiving, senior counsel at Apple), Komisar has seen his share of firms that had to change business plans quickly.
(Photo by David Needle)
For example, he recalls when he was a director at Tivo in the company’s early days when its focus was on home networking and licensing its technology to companies like Sony and Philips. “That was in the late 1990s when they hadn’t figured out entertainment was the opportunity,” he recalls.
Komisar says it brings an “Apple-like elegance” to surfing the Web. “My guess is there will be a Plan C, ” said Komisar.
Most Plan A’s fail
But he says it’s all part of a process. “Most plan A’s fail, you have to start with that premise. The problem many company’s have he says is “Plan A” thinking or sticking to the original goals and business plan regardless of changes in the marketplace, inventory backups and other signs that the plan isn’t working.
He admits moving to Plan B takes a well-reasoned “leap of faith” but it’s one companies have to risk to move forward.
Working with coauthor Mullins, their book explains how to develop a dashboard process for justifying a new business plan like determining whether the backend of the business will actually scale.
“If it comes out wrong, you course correct,” says Komisar. He also explains he’s not suggesting a company rush into a new direction, specifically he says its important to preserve capital for further changes that may be needed.
Flexibility and tenacity
When looking for startups and companies to invest in Komisar says the people behind it are key.
“Flexibility and tenacity are some of the most important things I look for in an entrepreneur,” he said.
“The last thing we want is someone who says something like ‘This is a software-as-a-service company’,” said Borchers. “We look for great teams and ideas. Over the course of 5-to-7 years a successful venture will probably have changed quite a bit from the original idea.”
Iterate with discipline
Komisar spent a lot of time talking about the need for companies to iterate and develop new ideas so after the event I asked him what he thought of Google’s 20 percent program that lets engineers and designers work on projects that interest them.
He said Google seems to have too many projects and “experiments” and that some should be killed off.
“The 20 percent idea sounds good, but it needs discipline, more rigor and accountability,” he said.
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This is GM’s fix for EV charging headaches
GM is building a simpler way to charge its electric cars, cutting through the confusion of multiple charging networks. What the automaker isn’t going to do is echo Tesla or Volkswagen-owned Electrify America and build a charger network of its own. Instead, GM plans to integrate its vehicles and its services more tightly with existing third-party charging infrastructure.
There’s some form there already. Back in April, GM inked a deal with EVgo for a dedicated DC fast charge network for the Chevrolet Bolt EV. However, that was for use by drivers on GM’s Maven car-sharing platform, not for regular EV owners.
Now, though, it’s those individuals who are getting some attention, and Chevrolet is looking further afield than just one charging network. A deal with not only EVgo but ChargePoint and Greenlots will see charger data and access brought together into a single platform for Bolt EV drivers.
For example, the myChevrolet app for iOS and Android will be able to show the real-time status of individual charging stations, so that users will be able to see whether the location they’re headed to is in use, out of action, and compatible with their car. Rather than requiring Bolt EV drivers to have to register three times, individually with each charger network, Chevrolet plans to create a single interface in its app that deals with all of them.
Once that’s in place, the charging process could get even easier. One possibility Chevrolet says it might developer is starting the charging through the app, rather than needing to swipe a membership card as is currently required. Of course, what we’re really hoping to see is a Plug&Charge technology such as that which Electrify America said earlier this week that it would implement. That way, simply plugging the charger into the socket on the car is enough to authenticate the account, authorize the session, and get the EV charging.
While the functionality is focused on the Bolt EV for the moment, that’s probably because it’s the only model in General Motors’ overall lineup that would really benefit from it. Where things get interesting is when the automaker’s next EVs come down the pipe. That will see GM’s other brands get involved.
This morning, GM confirmed that it would be Cadillac that debuted the automaker’s new, all-electric architecture. Flexible enough to power front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive vehicles, it’ll also be able to cater to different battery pack sizes for varying range. GM chairman and CEO Mary Barra, though, did describe 300 miles as the range sweet-spot.
Addressing the charging headache is a big deal for any company with realistic ambitions in the EV space. Tesla’s strategy of building out its own Supercharger network is one route; Volkswagen’s approach, with Electrify America, is another. Given the latter operates as a standalone entity, there’s nothing to say that GM couldn’t add that network to its list of supported charging systems in the future, too.
If all goes to plan, GM says it expects to have the deals with EVgo, ChargePoint, and Greenlots finalized by the end of Q1 2023.
Karma Revero takes Fisker from ashes to EV reboot
If at first your electric Tesla rival doesn’t succeed, go bankrupt, get bought out, ditch your running gear, team with BMW on powertrains, and – if you’re Karma – rebrand. Out of the ashes of the Fisker Karma, the slinky electric sedan which took plenty of federal incentives but then showed more of an inclination to set itself on fire rather than save the planet, comes the Karma Revero.
At first glance, you might be tempted to think that the only thing different about the Revero is its badging. Turns out, however, that there’s more than meets the eye about the luxury sedan.
That’s courtesy of a deal with BMW that brings the German automaker’s EV smarts to Karma’s car. While Henrik Fisker’s exterior design has been preserved – no bad thing, given it’s still one of the more striking four-doors out there, even several years after first being unveiled – it’s now on top of the battery system and some of the powertrain technology BMW has been using in its own cars, like the i8 and i3.
It’ll be paired with an as-yet-unnamed gasoline engine, for a hybrid setup just like the original Karma. That’s almost certain to be a different powerplant too, given the particular GM-sourced 4-cylinder 2.0-liter is now out of production.
Providing the cash is Wanxiang, a Chinese conglomerate which bought up the Fisker assets in 2014 after the automaker’s high-profile bankruptcy.
The original Karma car had been positioned as a $100k+ range-extended hybrid alternative to mainstream luxury options from Mercedes-Benz and BMW, but was plagued with quality issues. Less than 2,000 were sold, several of which went up in flames after overheating.
Plans for a second model, the Fisker Atlantic, were delayed repeatedly and then ditched altogether as the company dumped its workforce, defaulted on its US Energy Department loan, and then finally declared bankruptcy in 2013.
For Chinese auto-parts maker Wanxiang it was an opportunity to get into actual car building, shifting manufacturing of the new Karma to the US from Finland, and putting an executive team sourced from traditional automakers at the helm.
In addition to renaming the company from Fisker to Karma, the car itself will be christened Revero and play heavily on its individual, hand-built heritage. Performance, pricing, and specific availability are yet to be announced, though the Revero is expected to go on sale midway through 2023.
What remains to be seen is whether there’s a market for a niche high-end hybrid, something Cadillac struggled with when it launched the cooly-received ELR. Tesla’s domination of the high-end EV segment has only grown in the years the Karma project has taken to regroup and try again, breaking out of the luxury space and now sitting on over 400,000 reservations of the Model 3, an all-electric car which will come in at a fraction of the price of the Model S and, almost certainly, the Karma Revero.
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