Toyota to release electric car with 10 minutes fast charging in 2021
In a report released by Nikkei Asia, it has been revealed that Toyota plans to unveil an electric vehicle with a new solid-state battery by 2021. It promises a 310 miles (500km) range in a single charge and a rapid recharge from zero to full in just 10 minutes.
The technology is a potential cure-all for the drawbacks facing electric vehicles that run on conventional lithium-ion batteries, including the relatively short distance traveled on a single charge, as well as charging times.
Solid-state batteries are believed to be much safer than the more common lithium-ion ones. They also have more potential for higher energy density – the energy a battery can deliver compared to its weight. But as of yet, they have not been produced in large-scale or at a reasonable enough price to be competitive in the lithium-ion battery dominated market. Toyota has over 1,000 patents involving solid-state batteries. It seems that Toyota is working hard to become competitive in the area of electric vehicles and will likely secure itself a unique profitable place.
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Costco expects container shortages through March 2021
Container shortages at points of origin and West Coast ports in the USA are delaying Costco inventory replenishment by 2-4 days. Relief is not expected until March 2021.
To contend with container imbalances and other delivery issues in the over-taxed last-mile ecosystem, Costco is adjusting the expected delivery times shared with online customers, and has been reminding consumers to shop early this holiday season. E-commerce sales rose 86% YoY in the quarter ending November 22nd 2020. That figure could have been 100% if it were to include same-day, third-party players like Instacart.
Above-normal consumer spending, following a period of retailer hesitancy in the spring and summer has brought a wave of imports to US shores in recent months, which has led to delays in getting cargo inland from West Coast ports and a global imbalance of containers. US restocking of goods from Asia has led ocean carriers to be tens of thousands of containers short at Asian ports, with some encouraging use of 20-foot containers rather than 40-foot. These bottlenecks have been detrimental to freight movements, and the Federal Maritime Commission is seeking the root causes of congestion at the Port of New York and New Jersey, the Port of Long Beach and the Port of Los Angeles.
For Costco, these dynamics mean further struggles to keep warehouse shelves stocked. The retailer has streamlined supply chain, offering large discounts and quantities, but with few alternatives within merchandise categories. Keeping their inventories full enough to meet outsized demand was an issue in the first quarter due to supplier shutdowns and shortages.
For the most part, food supply issues are in the past, but items such as exercise equipment, appliances, electronics, housewares, nitrile gloves, paper products and cleaning suppliers remain a challenge to stay in stock.
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Progress on Brexit issues, but next few days are critical
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said she cannot tell if there will be a trade deal with Britain, but that progress has been made. The next few days will be critical.
The UK left the EU in January 2020 but both sides have been trying to seal a deal that would govern nearly a trillion dollars in annual trade before informal membership, known as the transition period which ends on December 31st.
Two issues remain outstanding in the talks about a trade deal, which are the level of playing field and fisheries. Issues linked to governance have now largely been resolved. One of the most difficult remaining issues is fish. Britain has insisted on taking control of its waters, while the European Union still wants access to their fishing grounds.
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Have a good weekend!