Carmakers join forces in Europe to make electrics widespread

Published: Friday, November 03, 2017 @ 4:50 AM
Updated: Friday, November 03, 2017 @ 4:50 AM


            FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 photo a car is connected to a charging station for electric vehicles in Hamburg, Germany. Major automakers say their joint European electric car recharging network will open its first stations this year in Germany, Austria and Norway in what the companies hope will be a big step toward mass acceptance of battery-powered cars. (Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa via AP, File)
FILE - In this Wednesday, Oct. 18, 2017 photo a car is connected to a charging station for electric vehicles in Hamburg, Germany. Major automakers say their joint European electric car recharging network will open its first stations this year in Germany, Austria and Norway in what the companies hope will be a big step toward mass acceptance of battery-powered cars. (Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa via AP, File)

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — A group of major automakers plans to open hundreds of fast-charging stations for electric cars in Europe in coming years and use a common plug technology in what they hope will be a big step toward mass acceptance of battery-powered vehicles.

BMW, Daimler, Ford and the Volkswagen Group with its Audi and Porsche brands have equal shares in the venture, Ionity, plans for which were first announced last year.

They said Friday that they will open the first of 20 stations this year in Germany, Austria and Norway at 120-kilometer (75-mile) intervals along major roads. They plan to expand the network to more than 100 stations next year and have about 400 in place across Europe by 2020.

The founding companies said "other automotive manufacturers are invited to help expand the network."

The aim is to make it easier for electric cars to travel long distances and render them more appealing to the mass market. Hours-long charging times have meant battery-powered cars are limited to use for short commutes and local shopping trips. Owners typically recharge overnight at home or in an employer's parking lot during the day. That has left battery cars as a second vehicle in some first-adopter households, with a conventional car kept for longer journeys. The chance to charge up fast far from home would make it possible to take an electric vehicle on a family vacation.

A typical electric car can take several hours to charge from empty using a 7 kilowatt-hour home plug. The Ionity network stations by contrast will have charging capacity of up to 350 kilowatts per hour. That's aimed at the future because currently available cars cannot charge at that speed. A BMW i3 electric would take 30 minutes to fast-charge at its maximum of 50 kilowatts per hour; at 350 kilowatts per hour, in theory the time could be cut to under 10 minutes. The hope is, drivers could charge in the time it takes to have a cup of coffee at the recharging station.

The new network will also use a standardized plug — the CCS, or Combined Charging System standard — that isn't tied to any one car maker.

It will set up the stations in partnership with operators of rest areas and gas stations in the three countries.

A pan-European fast-charging network "plays an essential role in establishing a market for electric vehicles," Ionity CEO Michael Hajesch said in a statement.

Uptake of electric cars across Europe has been patchy so far. Electrically chargeable vehicles were only 1.2 percent of European car sales in the second quarter, according to the European Automobile Manufacturers Association. Norway, where the government has aggressively pushed for low-emissions vehicles, is an exception with 29 percent market share for electrically chargeable vehicles. By contrast, Greece registered only 32 rechargeable cars last year.

The higher cost of the vehicles is a key reason, on top of limited range and lack of places to charge up, and for now government subsidies and tax breaks are important to supporting sales. Analysts say that electric vehicles may become more affordable as battery costs fall.

Automakers are sinking billions into developing electric cars in part as a response to ever-tougher limits on air pollution and carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas blamed for global warming.

The new company will be headquartered in Munich, Germany, and have 50 employees by the start of 2018.

Trump tweets he 'took a pass' at being named Time's person of the year

Published: Saturday, November 25, 2017 @ 1:34 AM

President Donald Trump said he
President Donald Trump said he "took a pass" at being named Time's Person of the Year.(NurPhoto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that he “took a pass” at being named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year,” but the company’s chief content officer said there “wasn’t a speck of truth” in the president’s social media comment, CNN reported.

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“Time Magazine called to say that I was PROBABLY going to be named ‘Man (Person) of the Year’ like last year, but I would have to agree to an interview and a major photo shoot,” Trump tweeted from his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, where he is spending his Thanksgiving holiday. “I said probably is no good and took a pass. Thanks anyway!” Trump wrote. 

The magazine issued a statement that disputed the President’s tweet, CNN reported.

“The President is incorrect about how we choose Person of the Year. TIME does not comment on our choice until publication, which is December 6,” the magazine wrote on its Twitter feed.

Time Inc.’s chief content officer, Alan Murray, tweeted that the President's tweet didn't have “a speck of truth.”

“Amazing. Not a speck of truth here — Trump tweets he 'took a pass' at being named TIME's person of the year,” Murray tweeted.

The President was named Time’s “person of the year” in 2016 after his victory over Hillary Clinton. 

Florida teen in custody at border, is ‘person of interest’ in grandmother’s death

Published: Saturday, November 25, 2017 @ 1:05 AM

Tyler Logan Mott, left, and his grandmother, Kristina June French, had been missing since Monday, officials said.
ActionNewsJax.com
Tyler Logan Mott, left, and his grandmother, Kristina June French, had been missing since Monday, officials said.(ActionNewsJax.com)

A 15-year-old Florida teen is in custody at the U.S.-Canada border, hours after police discovered the body of a woman believed to be his missing grandmother in a shallow grave near the boy’s home, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office reported.

Logan Tyler Mott was detained by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection as he tried to enter Canada from Buffalo, New York, sheriff’s deputies said.

The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office had called Mott “armed and dangerous” and a person of interest in the death of his grandmother, 53-year-old Kristina June French.

Mott was being watched by French at her Neptune Beach home while his father, a Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office corrections officer, was on vacation.

Mott’s mother, Carrie Campbell-Mott, said the boy’s father, Eric Mott, was on vacation with his girlfriend. Eric Mott took an Uber home from the airport Wednesday after French never showed up to get them, Campbell-Mott said.

When they got home, the door to their home was open and the house was ransacked, Campbell-Mott said.

Eric Mott's guns were missing from a gun safe, Campbell-Mott said. French’s home in the Mayport area also was ransacked. Her weapons were gone, along with her Dodge Dart.

Mott and French were reported missing after Logan didn't show up to high school on Monday or Tuesday. French also didn't show up for work Monday or Tuesday. A warrant was issued for his arrest Thursday on a charge of auto theft, deputies said.

Originally, deputies believed that Tyler Mott and French may have been traveling together in the Dodge Dart. A missing child alert was issued by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

The teen and the missing vehicle were spotted Thursday on surveillance video in south central Pennsylvania, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office reported.

In a statement, Campbell-Mott she was “relieved” that her son was in custody.

“We just ask for everyone to give us time to sort out what happened,” Campbell-Mott said. “That no matter what, Logan is our child and we love him and are standing by him to help in any way. We want to find out what happened to Kristina and we need time for that to happen.”

Campbell-Mott said a sheriff’s detective will fly to meet Logan on Saturday.

In a statement, the May Institute, a nonprofit organization that employed French, said it was “truly devastated” to learn of her death.

“Kristina was a friend and a role model to so many people. … She was a true champion for people with disabilities and advocated tirelessly for human rights.

“We have lost a beautiful person and she will be dearly missed. It is a very sad day.”

David Cassidy's daughter reveals what she learned from father’s last words

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 11:27 PM

Katie Cassidy  (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)
Michael Tran/FilmMagic
Katie Cassidy (Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic)(Michael Tran/FilmMagic)

Days after “The Partridge Family’s” David Cassidy passed away from organ failure, his daughter Katie vowed to make the most out of time with her loved ones as she revealed her late father’s last words.

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“Words cant express the solace our family’s received from all the love & support during this trying time,” the actress tweeted on Saturday. “My father’s last words were ‘So much wasted time.’ This will be a daily reminder for me to share my gratitude with those I love as to never waste another minute….thank you.”

The 30-year-old actress had a complicated relationship with her father for most of her life, having been raised by her mother and model Sherry Williams and her stepfather Richard Benedon.

“Because I didn’t raise her, I didn’t have to parent her,” David told PEOPLE in 2009. “I’m always here and totally nonjudgmental. To be able to go to someone I’m genetically linked to, tell them anything and know that they’re not going to judge me -- it’s unbelievable.”

“It’s nice when your dad can be your friend,” Katie echoed her father’s words at the time.

However, the pair drifted apart over the years, and were no longer on speaking terms as of February of this year.

“I wasn’t her father. I was her biological father but I didn’t raise her. She has a completely different life,” David explained. “[But] I’m proud of her. She’s very talented. It’s hard for me to even accept how old she is now.”

The star was hospitalized last weekend for liver and kidney failure. Following his tragic death on Tuesday, his family announced that sad news and thanked fans for their support via a touching statement:

“On behalf of the entire Cassidy family, it is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our father, our uncle, and our dear brother, David Cassidy. David died surrounded by those he loved, with joy in his heart and free from the pain that had gripped him for so long. Thank you for the abundance and support you have shown him these many years.”

Cassidy is survived by his daughter Katie Cassidy; son Beau Cassidy; brothers Shaun, Patrick and Ryan; stepmother Shirley Jones; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.

Troopers: Naked couple crashes car while having sex; baby was in back seat

Published: Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 1:25 AM

Washington State Patrol.
David Ryder/Getty Images
Washington State Patrol.(David Ryder/Getty Images)

A naked couple, having sex in their car while their baby was in the back seat, crashed while driving, the Washington State Patrol said.

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The man was driving on Highway 7 near La Grande in Pierce County, naked and having sex with a woman who also was naked, when he missed a curve, went off the road and struck a tree, State Patrol spokeswoman Brooke Bova said.

The crash occurred Wednesday at 6 p.m. troopers said.

Witnesses told troopers both the man and woman were naked when they got out of the car, The Everett Herald reported. Troopers said they were also both impaired.

The woman wasn't wearing a seat belt. She was taken to the hospital with several broken bones. The 3-month-old child in the back seat was not injured.

The man was arrested and booked into Pierce County Jail on suspicion of driving under the influence, vehicular assault and child endangerment, the Herald reported.

Troopers said the man has three prior DUI convictions.