This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. According to the Obama administration, seniors have saved on average $629 on their medications during the first half of this year. The Hill: HHS: Health Law Has Saved Seniors Nearly $4B On MedicationsThe Obama administration touted the health care law Wednesday for saving seniors billions of dollars on prescription drugs. The Medicare agency released figures showing that millions of seniors and people with disabilities have saved $3.9 billion on medications since the law was enacted. The data also showed that since the beginning of the year, more than 1 million Medicare beneficiaries have saved an average of $629 on prescriptions in the “doughnut hole” coverage gap (Viebeck, 7/25).CQ Healthbeat: CMS Releases New Donut Hole NumbersThe Obama administration continues to tout the impact of the health care overhaul on Medicare recipients who have up to now fallen into the prescription drug coverage gap. Out Wednesday with new figures, the administration says that in the first half of the year, more than 1 million beneficiaries have saved an average of $629 on their medicine. Since the law was passed in 2010, officials said, more than 5.2 million seniors and people with disabilities have saved more than $3.9 billion on prescription drugs. Under the law, the so-called Part D donut hole is gradually being closed — first with a rebate check, then drug discounts. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services says the coverage gap for brand name and generic drugs will be eliminated by 2020 (7/25).Baltimore Sun: Maryland Seniors Save $56.5 Million In Prescription Drug Charges Under Health ReformSeniors in Maryland have saved $56.5 million on prescription drug costs because of a provision under health care reform that has eased the Medicare donut hole, new government data has found. The savings were achieved with rebates and discounts to ease the burden of the donut hole, when patients reach certain limits that require them to pay 100 percent of their prescription drug costs. The $56.5 million in savings has occurred since health reform was adopted, according to The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. In the first half of this year 15,784 seniors with Medicare in Maryland saved $10.3 million (Walker, 7/25). CMS: Doughnut Hole Provision In Health Law Has Saved Seniors $4B
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. Meanwhile, a group of experts convened by the National Quality Forum has released its second annual round of recommendations on quality measures to be used in federal health programs. The Wall Street Journal: Hospitals Try House Calls To Cut Costs, AdmissionsTo keep patients out of the hospital, health care providers are bringing back revamped versions of a time-honored practice: the house call. In addition to a growing number of doctors treating frail patients at home, insurers and health systems are sending teams of doctors, nurses, physician assistants and pharmacists into homes to monitor patients, administer treatments, ensure medications are being taken properly and assess risks for everything from falling in the shower to family care-giver burnout (Landro, 2/4).Modern Healthcare: NQF Panel Weighs In On Quality MeasuresThe Measure Applications Partnership, a group of health care experts convened by the National Quality Forum to provide pre-rulemaking guidance to HHS, has released its second annual round of recommendations on quality measures for use in federal health programs. The MAP reviewed more than 500 measures currently under consideration by HHS for 20 federal programs, according to NQF. One hundred forty-one of those measures were green-lighted for immediate use. The MAP supported the direction of another 166 measures — including measures of early elective deliveries and shared decisionmaking for neurosurgery patients — pending more testing or NQF endorsement. The group did not support 165 measures for HHS programs and it also recommended phased removal of 64 measures, such as one for coordination of care for melanoma patients (McKinney, 2/4). Also in the news, NPR takes a look at how baby boomers are aging — NPR: Aging Poorly: Another Act Of Baby Boomer RebellionBaby boomers have a reputation for being addicted to exercise and obsessed with eating well. But that story didn’t jibe with what physician Dana E. King and his colleagues see walking through the door of their family practice every day in Morgantown, W.Va. (Stein, 2/4). Hospital House Calls: A Way To Cut Costs And Improve Quality?
GOP Senate May Not Be Able To Repeal Health Law, But It Could Cripple Key Provisions This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. News outlets examine what the future could hold for the health law especially as the Senate increasingly appears to be within GOP reach. Politico: A GOP Senate Could Take On Obamacare — But Not Repeal ItA Republican-controlled Senate cannot repeal Obamacare, no matter how fervently GOP candidates pledge to do so on the campaign trail this fall. But if they do win the majority, Senate Republicans could inflict deep and lasting damage to the president’s signature law. Republicans are quick to say they are not yet measuring the proverbial drapes. But they are taking the political measurements of repealing large parts of the health law, considering which pieces could be repealed with Democratic support, and how to leverage the annual appropriations and budget process to eliminate funding or large pieces of the law (Haberkorn, 9/15). Politico: Would a GOP Senate Be King Of The World?If the Republicans win the Senate in November, the first thing they’ll say is: Finally, we can pass all of our bills and force President Barack Obama to deal with them. The second thing they’ll say is: Oh, wait a second. This is the Senate. That tension — between their desire to bring Obama to his knees and their ability to actually do it — is the political reality that will determine the Republicans’ legislative strategy if they win the Senate majority (Nather, 9/14).Politico: Senate Showdown: GOP Frets Over Harkin Seat Few states are more important than Iowa in the battle for the Senate this fall. But anxiety is rising within Republican ranks that deep-pocketed conservative donors and outside groups are not doing enough, as Democrats outspend them by millions of dollars to retain the seat of retiring liberal Sen. Tom Harkin. Since GOP nominee Joni Ernst won the June primary, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and his allies have outspent Ernst and her supporters by more than $2.1 million …. Meanwhile, interest groups from the left are piling on. … Braley’s allies stress that he has also been getting hammered with attack ads — many over absences from House Veterans Affairs Committee hearings in the House and support for Obamacare. (Hohmann, 9/14).The Washington Post: In Just A Year Obamacare Goes From Top Congress Issue To Barely MentionedIt was last September when Republicans sparred with Democrats over the future of the health-care law, a disagreement that prompted a 17-day federal government shutdown and overall chaos. It was pretty much [all] anyone on Capitol Hill talked about. Republicans wanted you to know how terrible it was for America, and Democrats wanted you to remember to sign up on Oct. 1. In that month, a mere 12 months ago, the word Obamacare was uttered on the House and Senate floor 2,753 times, … With just one full week of work left this month, members of Congress have brought up Obamacare in floor speeches just 27 times (Itkowitz, 9/13).The Hill: Elections Poised To Expand ObamaCareDemocrats running in five highly competitive governors races this year have vowed to expand Medicaid coverage through ObamaCare if they are elected, something that could result in 1.7 million new people getting covered. The dramatic stakes in the governors’ races come even as Democrats are fearful they could lose the Senate …. If federal Medicaid programs are expanded in the five states — Florida, Maine, Kansas, Wisconsin and Georgia — it would also have a dramatic effect on the federal budget. … Republicans are favored to gain seats in the House and Senate, but the party is playing defense in the race for state houses (Ferris, 9/12).In other related news – The New York Times: Building Legacy, Obama Reshapes Appellate BenchDemocrats have reversed the partisan imbalance on the federal appeals courts that long favored conservatives, a little-noticed shift with far-reaching consequences for the law and President Obama’s legacy. … The shift, one of the most significant but unheralded accomplishments of the Obama era, is likely to have ramifications for how the courts decide the legality of some of the president’s most controversial actions on health care, immigration and clean air (Peters, 9/13).And, here’s news regarding how issues like Medicare and over-the-counter birth control are playing on the campaign trail – The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: OTC Birth-Control Fight Hits Airwaves In Colorado, North CarolinaPlanned Parenthood’s political arm is ratcheting up its fight with some Republican Senate candidates over the issue of possible over-the-counter contraceptives, calling the candidates’ support of [over-the-counter] pills “empty gestures.” Planned Parenthood Votes jumped into the middle of hotly-contested Senate races in Colorado and North Carolina with television ads denouncing GOP candidates there, Rep. Cory Gardner (R., Colo.) and Thom Tillis (Burton, 9/12).Tampa Bay Times: PolitiFact: Medicare, That Favorite Campaign Attack LineWhen it comes to claims about Medicare, some political talking points just never die. In Iowa and Virginia, Republicans have accused Democrats of cutting Medicare to pay for Obamacare. In Florida, a Republican was slammed for ending the Medicare “guarantee.” Other Medicare-related attacks have been deployed in Arkansas and Kentucky Senate races. The point of all the attacks is to convince midterm voters that one side or the other won’t protect the program (Jacobson and Holan, 9/12).
Some low-income consumers who bought bronze plans with low premiums but high deductibles are discovering they still can’t afford health care and are turning to the community health centers which cannot turn anyone away. Meanwhile, a study finds insurance costs for small businesses are lower through the SHOP exchanges, and South Dakota lifts a $2M cap on employees’ lifetime health costs.Modern Healthcare: Underinsured ACA Enrollees Strain Community Health CentersObamacare enrollees are straining the finances of community health centers around the country, some health center leaders say. The issue is that many lower-income patients with insurance coverage through the federal and state exchanges bought bronze-tier plans with lower premiums but high deductibles, coinsurance and copayments and no federal cost-sharing subsidies. When these patients face high out-of-pocket costs for care that falls below the deductible, they can’t afford it. So the centers are subsidizing that care by offering them means-tested sliding-scale fees. When the centers, which are not allowed to turn away patients for inability to pay, try to get the insurers to pay, the claims are usually denied, and the centers have to write it off as uncompensated care (Dickson, 9/25). The Washington Post: Obamacare’s Small Business Exchanges Offer Cheaper Health Coverage, Study ShowsDuring the lead-up to the rollout of the health care law a year ago, President Obama was adamant that new insurance marketplaces for small businesses would provide a start-to-finish online shopping experience for employers, where they could compare and buy plans with the click of a mouse. In addition, he said, by placing rates from different insurers side-by-side and offering tax breaks, the marketplaces would provide less expensive plans that what had been available to small companies. … It appears, based on one new study, that the exchanges are delivering [on the second promise] (Harrison, 9/24).Kaiser Health News: Debate Grows Over Employer Plans With No Hospital BenefitsAs companies prepare to offer medical coverage for 2015, debate has grown over government software that critics say can trap workers in inadequate plans while barring them from subsidies to buy fuller coverage on their own. At the center of contention is the calculator — an online spreadsheet to certify whether plans meet the Affordable Care Act’s toughest standard for large employers, the ‘minimum value’ test for adequate benefits (Hancock, 9/26).The Associated Press: State Lifts $2M Cap On Employee Health Care CostsSouth Dakota can no longer limit how much it pays out in health care coverage over the lifetime of state employees, but officials say for now that shouldn’t raise costs. Laurie Gill, the commissioner of the state’s Bureau of Human Resources, briefed legislators this week on how changes mandated by the Affordable Care Act will affect the state’s health plan. The Affordable Care Act prohibits health care plans from capping the amount of benefits employees incur over a lifetime. South Dakota had capped lifetime expenses at $2 million per individual, meaning any health care costs incurred over that amount weren’t covered. The change means the state could end up paying out more, but Tom Steckel, the state’s director of employee benefits, said in the past it’s been rare for an employee to reach the $2 million limit. Steckel said his office has been looking into how many workers surpassed the cap. So far, he said, he wasn’t aware that any had reached it last year (Burbach, 9/25). Underinsured Enrollees Flood Community Health Centers This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
The Hill: Banned Medicaid Providers Getting Around ObamaCare Rule This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. About 12% of providers kicked out of their state Medicaid programs for fraud, integrity or quality issues are still participating in other states’ Medicaid programs, according to a report released Tuesday by HHS’ Office of Inspector General. According to the report, 295 providers across the country who were terminated from their states’ Medicaid programs for cause in 2011 were still billing other states’ Medicaid programs in 2014. Under the Affordable Care Act, states are supposed to pull providers’ from their Medicaid rolls if they’ve already been removed from another state’s program for fraud, integrity or quality problems. (Schencker, 8/5) Modern Healthcare: Providers Booted From State Medicaid Programs Still Drawing Funds From Other States Reuters: Banned Medicaid Providers Still Participate In Some States, Report Says Some healthcare providers dropped by state Medicaid programs because of fraud or quality problems were still participating in other states’ programs, contrary to requirements in ObamaCare, according to an inspector general report. The Affordable Care Act requires that a state terminate a healthcare provider from Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the low income, if it is dropped for reasons like fraud or quality problems from a different state’s program. (Sullivan, 8/5) Hundreds of medical providers banned from a Medicaid program in one state are able to take part in another state’s program despite regulations designed to stop them, according to a report by an independent federal auditor to be released on Wednesday. The continued participation of banned providers leaves state Medicaid programs for the poor and disabled vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse, according to the study, which says the problem reflects a struggle by states to communicate with one another. (Pell and Cooke, 8/5) Banned Medicaid Providers Still Participate In Some State Programs, Report Finds The health law requires that states terminate a health care provider from the health insurance program for low income people if another state dropped the provider for reasons such as fraud or quality problems. But about 12 percent of programs find a way to avoid this circumstance, the inspector general reports.
Kaiser Health News: As States Try To Rein In Drug Spending, Feds Slap Down One Bold Medicaid Move Stat: Top Trump Health Official Calls On Congress To Do More On Drug Pricing States serve as “laboratories of democracy,” as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis famously said. And states are also labs for health policy, launching all kinds of experiments lately to temper spending on pharmaceuticals. No wonder. Drugs are among the fastest-rising health care costs for many consumers and are a key reason health care spending dominates many state budgets — crowding out roads, schools and other priorities. (Bebinger, 9/21) Pharmacy benefit managers, the drug industry middlemen who have been derided by everyone from community pharmacists to President Trump, have a new chief defender: longtime D.C. lobbyist JC Scott. Scott, who most recently served as chief advocacy officer and head of external affairs at the medical device lobby, the Advanced Medical Technology Association, announced Thursday he will succeed Mark Merritt as the head of the PBM lobby, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, starting Oct 15. (Florko, 9/20) ‘A Lot Of Opportunities’ Exist For Cutting Drug Costs, Trump Health Official Tells Congress Joe Grogan, OMB’s associate director for health programs, didn’t specify what lawmakers can do before year’s end to stem rising costs, but one bill with bipartisan support helps generic companies obtain samples of brand drugs as part of the development process. News on the industry also spotlights a new lobbying heavyweight for PBM and Medicaid pharmaceutical spending. Stat: PBM Lobbying Group Names A New President With Deep Capitol Hill Ties This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. A top U.S. health official on Thursday called on lawmakers in Congress to do more to help bring down drug prices, saying that the Trump administration had “given them a lot of opportunities to step in here.” “I think Congress can do more,” said Joe Grogan, associate director for health programs at the Office of Management and Budget. He added: “As we get to the sprint before the end of the year, there are a few things that they may take up, and we’re actively in discussions about that.” (Swetlitz, 9/20)
Join the conversation → Reddit Share this storyLoblaw profit beats expectations as more people shop at its food and drug stores Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Reuters Loblaw profit beats expectations as more people shop at its food and drug stores Canada’s largest grocer expands home delivery to compete with Amazon.com advertisement Loblaw Cos Ltd said retail same-store sales, both in the food and drug segments, grew 1.7 per cent in the quarter.Canadian Press ← Previous Next → Twitter Featured Stories February 21, 20197:24 AM EST Filed under News Retail & Marketing Sponsored By: Facebook 0 Comments What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation More Comment Recommended For You’We were experiencing headwinds’ — Canopy Growth stock heads south on poor sales ramp-upDefining the future of Canadian competitiveness: How partnerships between industry and educational institutions can help lead the way forwardTrans Mountain construction work can go ahead as National Energy Board re-validates permitsDavid Rosenberg: Deflation is still the No. 1 threat to global economic stability — and central banks know itBank of Canada drops mortgage stress test rate for first time since 2016 Loblaw Cos Ltd reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, as more people shopped at the Canadian retailer’s food and drug stores.In the face of stiff competition from Amazon.com Inc , Loblaw has been expanding its home delivery services in Canada, through its partnership with San Francisco-based online grocery chain, Instacart.Adjusted gross profit in the retail segment, the company’s biggest, rose 2.6 per cent to $3.25 billion.The company said retail same-store sales, both in the food and drug segments, grew 1.7 per cent in the quarter.Excluding items, the company earned $1.07 per share, beating analysts’ average estimate of $1.04 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.Net profit available to shareholders rose to $221 million, or 59 cents per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec.31, from $31 million, or 8 cents per share, a year earlier.Revenue rose to $11.22 billion from $10.99 billion.© Thomson Reuters 2019 Email
Bloomberg News Email June 18, 20191:24 PM EDT Filed under News Economy More Sponsored By: ← Previous Next → Twitter Erik Hertzberg Recommended For YouSterling sags on Brexit concerns, weighs on euroAsian shares inch up as cautious investors await U.S. data, earningsWheat slips on supply concerns; corn, soy also easeAustralia’s central bank ready to cut rates again ‘if needed’Tesla cuts price of mass-marked Model 3, lifts prices of premium EVs 0 Comments Drop in auto production leads surprise decline in Canada’s factory output Motor vehicle production fell 8.9% Motor vehicle production fell 8.9 per cent, mostly due to “temporary plant shutdowns and fewer units assembled,” according to Statistics Canada.Aaron Lynett / National Post Share this storyDrop in auto production leads surprise decline in Canada’s factory output Tumblr Pinterest Google+ LinkedIn Factory production unexpectedly fell in Canada on a temporary slowdown in the auto sector.Manufacturing sales fell 0.6% in April, Statistics Canada said Thursday from Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg were expecting factory output to increase 0.4 per cent.The pullback follows a revised 2.6 per cent gain in March, which was the largest since the end of 2017. In volume terms, sales fell 0.8 per cent.Slowing output in the transportation sector was the primary drag, declining 6.7 per cent. Motor vehicle production fell 8.9 per cent, mostly due to “temporary plant shutdowns and fewer units assembled,” according to Statistics Canada.The nation’s economy is emerging from two quarters of stagnant growth, but Tuesday’s report may shake confidence in a quick return to form. The Bank of Canada, which has indicated interest rates are on hold even as the Federal Reserve weighs a cut, expects output to pick up in the second half of this year.April’s sales drop, however, was somewhat isolated. Output fell in just 8 of 21 industries, and excluding the auto sector factory production rose 0.5 per cent. Inventories increased 1.3 per cent, led by petroleum and coal, bringing the inventory to sales ratio to 1.53 — the highest since 2009.Bloomberg.com Featured Stories advertisement Reddit Facebook Join the conversation → What you need to know about passing the family cottage to the next generation Comment
Audi Says No To Stocking e-tron At Dealerships: Special Order Only 28 photos Audi e-tron premiere SF It looks to us like Porsche will have a tough time keeping Taycan’s battery cool with an approach like Audi e-tron.Porsche has been advertising some pretty high power charging for their Taycan up to 350 kW and 800 Volts. They are claiming 0-80% charge in 15-20 minutes and in a recent article, Audi is now claiming 0-80% in 12 minutes! That’s a high C rate and lots of heat to get rid of.Audi e-tron has gotten the ball rolling with 150 kW and a charging time of 0-80% in 30 minutes.More Audi e-tron Coverage: Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 2, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Skeptic Applauds Tesla Following Reveal Of Lackluster Audi e-tron Specs To be fair, Porsche has not released a lot of technical details on their Taycan battery system. However, based on our analysis, they will have a tough time cooling the battery with a system similar to the Audi e-tron.Audi e-tron pack built for crashworthiness, not heat transferThis pack is built like a tank. First Audi puts 12 cells into an aluminum module (36 total).These modules sit inside an internal aluminum crash structure which sits in the housing tray which sits on top of the cooling tubes containing the glycol cooling fluid. The outside of the pack is surrounded by an external crash structure as well.Audi e tron pack built like a tank!On the other hand, Tesla uses the vehicle body structure as the primary crash resistance (ref).In the Audi e-tron system, the heat generated in the cells during high power charging must travel thru multiple layers of resistance: There’s the module housing, the tray, and the cooling tubes. On the other hand, Tesla attaches the cooling tube directly to the cell with a highly conductive thermal adhesive. So the heat goes straight from the cell to the cooling tube. It’s fairly obvious why Tesla’s cooling system (described in articles 1 and 2) has superior cooling to this Audi system.The results of ME systems detailed thermal analysis are presented below. The number is a measure of how much heat the TMS system will transmit. Think of it as the opposite of resistance. The higher the number the more heat the system can pass. If you need to transmit more heat then you must run a higher cell temperature.Here’s how ME systems chief engineer Keith Ritter summed it up:“I have concluded that the Model 3 TMS with glycol-cooled micro-channel snake tubes glued directly to the cells has better heat transfer capacity than any system that uses flat glycol bottom-plates with either passive conductive fins or natural-convective thermal loops. It is just physics and geometry. more effective heat transfer area + better effective U value. So I don’t see how Jaguar, Audi, Merc or Porsche can beat Tesla in the charge rate game if pure TMS heat transfer capacity is governing. The only way I can see that Audi (and maybe Porsche) can get away with high charge rates is because they “may” have significant electrode/tab-cooling (if our engineered-fluid scenario is correct) and therefore can let the cells get hotter than other designs. Safely charge despite a lower W/ deg. K”Implications of these resultsWhat does this mean? What does Porsche/Audi have up their sleeve to cool the battery when charging at 350 kW?Here’s a list of possible ways we think Porsche/Audi will make the system work.-First and foremost, it seems obvious that they are relying on some new battery design that has lower internal resistance and an ability to withstand higher temperatures and charging rates. Maybe NMC 811?We modeled the Taycan 800v pack using the e-tron model as a starting point and ran it at 300 kW. When we did the model, cooling load went from 1.2 tons for e-tron to 4.7 tons due to the increased C rate. The cell temperatures increased 8 degrees C … despite having doubled the pack voltage to 800V.-Another conclusion from our modeling is that doubling the pack voltage does not change heat rejection (amperes) within the cells. You might think that at first since the pack voltage is doubled the pack current is half which is true (for the same power). The catch is you are running half the number of cells in parallel and twice the number in series so you just doubled the current through the individual cell after reducing it in half at the pack level, resulting in the same heat rejection (current). The cells don’t see a difference whether they are configured 4P108S or 2P216S. Another way to look at it is at the pack level. When you double the pack voltage you cut the pack current in half but now you have one half the cells in parallel and twice the number in series so your pack resistance went up by a factor of 4. The net result is no change in cell/pack I2R heat loss when we double the pack voltage. The benefit comes in the wiring of the cells and the size of the charging cords (and possibly the inverter loss).-Redesign the cooling system. This could be done in any number of ways: add a top cooling plate (explained here), attach the cooling tube directly to the cell (explained here). Or run the refrigerant directly in the cooling tubes (eliminate glycol) like BMW does in the i3 (see article here).-We are short on details about what is happening inside the modules. We think that Audi may be injecting the modules with some sort of heat transfer gel or liquid that allows them to pull heat from the tabs of the cells. This is called tab cooling and is described in an excellent video by Imperial Mechanical Engineering here. Tab cooling results in a more even distribution of temperature within the cells and allows the cells to withstand higher temperatures. Tab cooling is assumed in figure 3. The benefit is derived because the cells can withstand a higher operating temperature.Don’t confuse what we are theorizing inside the module with the gel that has been discussed in the media which is between the modules and the cooling tubes. We are talking about a heat transfer media that pulls heat from the cell tabs.-Design the battery specifically for high charge rates. It’s done all the time but generally, it leads to lower energy density of the cell.Here’s what Elon Musk said about this last approach:“The thing about a 350 kW charger is it doesn’t actually make a ton a sense – unless you’ve got a monster battery pack or have like a crazy high C-rate, in which case your energy density is going to be poor.”How do you readers assess the situation? What do you think the Taycan battery system will look like? Let us know in the comment section.Thanks for reading our articles.George and Keith*This article was a collaboration between the author and our heat transfer engineer Keith Ritter, BSME and owner of ME Systems in Redding, Ca.Audi e-tron Source: Electric Vehicle News First Look Inside & Out At The Audi e-tron By Autogefühl 22 photos
Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on October 3, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Kia Niro EV Gets Range Rating Of Over 300 Miles 301-Mile Kia Niro EV To Be Priced Well Under $40,000 In U.S. Source: Electric Vehicle News Extraordinary efficiency is the name of the game with this plug-in crossover SUV.VERDICT – 5.9 / 10Upon initial inspection, the Kia Niro PHEV (short for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) appears to be an unassuming member of the rapidly growing compact crossover SUV segment. But little details such as the extra fuel door on the front fender and the “electric” blue exterior trim pieces give away what this car is hiding: A fuel-efficient gasoline-electric powertrain that can be plugged in and charged to allow up to 26 miles of all-electric driving.More Niro News Source: Motor1 Robert de Niro Introduces Kia e-Niro Real world SUV practicality, blended with an intelligent powertrain and delightfully frugal gas consumption makes the Niro PHEV a worthy contender to challenge the segment-leading Prius Prime PHEV.Pricing⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀5/10Buying the PHEV version of the Niro is a $4,000 commitment over the regular hybrid model which starts at $23,340. PHEV prices start at $28,840 (including a $940 destination charge) for the base LX, though our top-trim EX Premium tester came in at $35,575, including destination and some carpeted floor mats.The added features found in the EX Premium bring the Niro PHEV to a higher price bracket. But compared to rival vehicles like the Toyota Prius Prime and Chevrolet Volt, the Niro PHEV’s pricing fits in just fine. Kia was also sure to pack in a decent amount of equipment with each trim-level upgrade, making the EX Premium’s higher price tag a worthy consideration.Design & Exterior⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀6/10If you’re looking for an extra pinch of spice in the Niro PHEV recipe, then don’t look at this plug-in’s mug. Some electrified vehicles have the ability to turn heads on the road (take the BMW i3, for example), but the Niro is not one of them. The design follows the compact crossover playbook rather closely, with minimal coloring outside the lines. The Niro is small, too, without much of a height advantage over a standard sedan.The Stinger is certainly the looker in the Kia family, and you can see Kia tries its hardest to bring some of the four-door coupe’s style to the front-end of the Niro. Where Kia perhaps falls short is in the small details. No major character lines grace the Niro’s body panels, and the rear hatch is as flat as a stack of pancakes. The Niro PHEV may be functional, but it’s certainly not memorable.Interior & Comfort⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀6/10The Niro’s grab-and-go interior is a nice contrast to the usual alien touches that come with so many electric vehicles (like the odd shift selectors in the Prius and the Leaf). In the Niro, you shift straight down to “D” and drive – no space-age design to overcome, here. The gauge cluster and center stack buttons are equally pedestrian and easy to use, and little touches like the “driver only” air conditioning option are pleasant reminders this is an eco-friendly crossover.Our test car came equipped with EX Premium goodies such as heated and cooled leather seats, which held their own in the hot Florida sun. The seats were supportive and offered adjustability in all the right places. While I couldn’t find a volunteer willing to test the heated steering wheel, I’m certain it does its job just fine.Front occupants have plenty of room in all directions, but those seated in the back have less liberty to move about. Both legroom and headroom are tight, but this is no surprise considering the overall size of the Niro. Leave the seats upright, and the Niro offers 19.4 cubic feet of cargo space to work with – 54.5 cubic feet if the rear seats are folded down. Plenty of room for a small family on the move.If there is a knock against the interior, it’s undoubtedly the massive pieces of plastic overtaking the dash and side panels. Plastic is no stranger to this segment, but at $35,000, some alternative choices could liven things up a bit.Technology & Connectivity⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀7/10Spend a few moments with the Niro PHEV’s 8.0-inch UVO touchscreen infotainment system and you will see just how much of a strongpoint it is. Though the menu layouts are odd, UVO’s functionality won’t make you want to pull your hair out. If you’re not a fan of the Kia’s navigation system, then CarPlay and Android Auto are there to help as standard equipment.Scrolling between UVO’s menus is a breeze with very little lag or hesitation. Baked into the car’s settings is a fun tree-shaped display that shows just how efficiently you’re driving. In most cases, this was a happy progress report for us behind the wheel. Though too many highway on -ramps or acceleration bursts quickly kills the tree graphic and revokes your eco-driving accolades.The optional Harman Kardon audio system leads you to believe you’re sitting in something more expensive than a $35,000 Kia. UVO’s interface and sound system join in sweet harmony to make the Niro’s interior a very nice place to hypermile on the highway.Performance & Handling⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀5/10With this vehicle segment, any extra power or torque is more than appreciated without compromising efficiency. And, luckily, the Niro PHEV has electricity on its side to accommodate both. The powertrain is made up of two main components: a 104-horsepower 1.6-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine and a 60-horsepower AC electric motor. Combined output is 139 hp, though the 195 lb-ft of torque is what you appreciate most.Getting off the line is no chore, thanks mostly to the plug-in’s bigger electric motor. While the Niro PHEV is by no means quick, you never feel like you’re being penalized for buying an economical car while driving it. Thankfully, the ride is not compromised by the car’s extra battery weight. The suspension is just soft enough to soak up blemishes on the road – of which Florida has many – without compromising too much on handling ability.In mixed highway/city driving, the electric motor takes over when, and for as long as, it can. But press moderately on the throttle and you’ll feel the gas engine come in to save the day. The transition between gas and electric driving modes occurs rather seamlessly and almost undetectably. Sport mode kicks in when the gear selector is bumped over to manual mode. This is where the Niro does its best impression of a sportier car, complete with a glowing orange tachometer in front of the diver. Sport mode is always there if needed, but, with the Niro PHEV, your thrills will be found at the pump, not behind the wheel.Safety Features⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀7/10Kia earns praise with advanced safety tech, both as standard and optional equipment. Every trim level comes equipped with autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control. Both are still features you may pay extra for, even in more expensive vehicles.The radar-guided cruise system did just fine on highways, slowing appropriately to accommodate traffic, as well as last-second lane changes from surrounding vehicles. Blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert come with the middle-tiered trim level.Our EX Premium car came equipped with every available safety feature, and the standout hero was without question the rear cross-traffic alert system. It makes backing out of any parking space that much easier thanks to its subtle-but-purposeful beep that announces the detection of a a passing car. You will be thanking yourself in the mall parking lot on Black Friday for ticking that option box.Running Costs & Fuel Economy⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀9/10Fuel economy and electric range is where the Niro PHEV has to make its strongest argument against the cheaper, and still efficient, Niro Hybrid. Again, is it worth the $4,000 premium over the regular hybrid model to gain plug-in capability?For those with a quick commute to the office, the plug-in feature may indeed justify the extra dough. A full charge is achieved in two to three hours, and the Niro can travel on electric power alone for an EPA-rated 26 miles. This number bests the Prius Prime’s 25-mile EV range, but falls far short of the Chevy Volt’s 53 miles. Once the juice runs out, the EPA reports that owners can expect a combined 46 miles per gallon – exactly what the Niro’s on-board computer said we averaged during our week with the car. Compared to the Chevy Volt’s combined 42 combined MPG and the Prius Prime’s 54, the Niro PHEV sits right in the middle.***See all test drive images here
Vigo Electric Motorcycle Promises 400 Miles Of Range Watch Tesla Model 3 Autopilot Detect Lane-Splitting Motorcycles Startup Curtiss Motorcycles Launches Crowdfunding Electric Royal Enfield goes the distance.Back in October, we documented the project of two ambitious British blokes working on a documentary revolving around a 1,200-mile journey on an electric Royal Enfield titled Charging Bullet. At the time, their adventure had yet to unfold and the reality of running a homemade ev had yet to sink in. We checked back on the guys to see how the project is coming along and as farfetched an idea as their trip through UK seemed, it looks like they made it work.More E-Bikes Imagine what living with a homemade electric powertrain built into a 1961 Royal Enfield Bullet 350 for 20 days is like? Fred Spaven and Finn Varney found out and documented the venture on camera and also in writing. You can read about their journey across the UK on their blog and beyond the hurdles and the technical difficulties, there is something to be learned from their adventure. Not only are people a lot more willing to help out than we might think, but there are also wonderful things to be discovered and experienced when we slow things down.After 10 months of preparation and a rollercoaster of successes and fails, Spaven and Varney finally hit the road on October 8. Their goal was to do the Land’s End To John o’Groats run through England and Scotland on their e-Bullet and to make a documentary of it.To add to their challenge, the road north wasn’t exactly charger-friendly. Forget the 30-minute superchargers—the bike wasn’t equipped to support that technology. Instead, they had to proceed the good old way: ask people to borrow an outlet and take a break while the bike charges.That’s pretty much the end of the world for most people, right? But what if it wasn’t? What if stopping to smell the flowers was injected back into the way we travel? This is exactly what the crew was forced to do with only enough power to travel 50 miles and (mostly) conventional outlets to deal with along the way.What they ended up having to do though is probably what I find to be the most interesting part of their story: ask people for help to get a charge and take advantage of the downtime to talk with these people and see things they otherwise wouldn’t have seen. They made a pit stop at the Ariel shop where the brand’s iconic cars are built, visited a network of caves at Creswell Crags, and even visited a hydrogen generation station.The entire trip took them roughly 24 days—that’s 58 miles a day on average. They finally made it to John o’Groats in Northern Scotland on November 1st with precious footage and a still-running Enfield—not without a few hiccups. They calculated that they ended up putting 1,400 miles in total on the electric Enfield.For the trip back, they loaded the bike in the van and headed back south to Yorkshire. As Spaven commented on their blog: his work riding the e-Enfield is done; Finn’s work is only beginning and there’s long hours of editing ahead of him. The documentary is set to come out in 2019.Source: Charging Bullet Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on December 21, 2018Categories Electric Vehicle News Source: Electric Vehicle News
Wow, what a year it has been!December 2018 will mark the 39th month of consecutive year-over-year monthly sales gains for plug-in vehicles.Each month, InsideEVs tracks all the plug-in EV sales/deliveries for the United States by automaker. The last five consecutive months are now the top five best-selling months of all time. We have no doubt December will make the list, but where will it fit in? Is there a chance it could shoot to the top, or will it fail to surpass September and November numbers?Other EV Sales-Related Content: If history repeats itself (and we believe it will), December will be the strongest month of the year. However, there are many variables involved. Tesla Model 3 deliveries have remained somewhat flat over the last few months. In addition, Chevrolet Bolt and Volt deliveries were way up in November. The same situation was true regarding the surprising escalation of Ford Fusion Energi, BMW 530e, and Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid sales in November. Keep in mind that these inconsistencies may not have played out the same for the month of December.Top Months for U.S. EV Sales to Date (estimated):September 2018 – 44,589November 2018 – 44,148August 2018 – 36,380October 2018 – 34,094July 2018 – 29,514As of the end of November 2018, an estimated 312,877 plug-in electric vehicles had been sold in the U.S. this year. That only leaves about 32,000 deliveries to push the number past the 350K-mark. Clearly, 350K will be easily achieved, but how much will 2018 sales exceed that threshold?Check Out: Contributor Josh Bryant’s 2018 yearly sales predictions hereIn December 2017, an estimated 26,107 plug-ins were sold in the United States. In August, September, October, and November 2018, we saw well over 100-percent gains from last year’s numbers. Will December be another repeat of this trend? Will we see deliveries pass 52,000? We don’t think so. September and November sales were epic, so it’s going to be tough for December sales to fare substantially better. Nonetheless, 2018 will still go down in the history books as a fantastic year for the segment.More Info: How about a deep dive into our estimates and methodology?Tesla likely delivered significantly more Model S and X vehicles in the U.S. in December than it did in November, and Model 3 sales are expected to be record-breaking. Our early estimates indicate that Tesla delivered about 33,000 vehicles in the U.S. last month, 24,500-25,500 of which were Model 3 sedans. We eagerly anticipate Tesla’s quarterly report and hope the automaker surpassed these preliminary numbers in its big end-of-the-month push.It appears that GM’s November sales push didn’t hold up through December. Inventory is down, and we estimate combined Chevrolet Bolt and Volt deliveries shy of 4,000. All other models — at least as a whole — should see reasonable gains over the previous month.Based on our initial estimates, we’re looking at over 48,000 electric cars sold in the U.S. for December 2018. Perhaps some surprises will push the number much higher.Stayed tuned and keep refreshing the pages throughout the coming days as we put the numbers to the dialogue. We will begin reporting EV sales Thursday morning (January 3, 2019) and continue through the end of week. However, if some automakers decide to release numbers on Wednesday, January 2, we’re prepared to begin reporting. In the meantime, below are some questions to consider. If you have a question you think deserves to be on our list, drop it in the comment section, and we may add it to the monthly report card.What are your estimates? Please share them with us in the comment section below.Questions entering December:Will Tesla Model 3 U.S. deliveries remain flat, rise marginally, or skyrocket?How much was Tesla able to ramp up U.S. Model S and Model X sales due to the upcoming expiration of the U.S. federal EV tax credit?Did the Toyota Prius Prime make another notable delivery surge last month?What do GM’s official quarterly numbers reveal about Chevrolet Volt and Chevrolet Bolt EV sales in comparison to our estimates?2018 Nissan LEAF U.S. sales have been on the downturn for the last two months. Can the LEAF close out 2018 with a strong December showing?Honda Clarity Plug-in Hybrid sales have been impressive all year, but especially over the last three months. Can December deliveries set a new record for the Clarity?Will the Jaguar I-Pace show exponential sales growth again in December?***InsideEVs’ journalist Wade Malone provided sales estimations and related analysis. Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on January 1, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News Monthly Plug-In EV Sales Scorecard Monthly Plug-In Report Card Archive November 2018 U.S. Plug-In EV Sales Report Card Source: Electric Vehicle News
Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on January 16, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News After 12,000 Miles, Is The Tesla Model 3 Still Reliable? Video Tesla Model 3 Rear Seat Lock Is Pure Genius: Video Source: Electric Vehicle News Tesla’s service experience on site was called awesome, so let’s hope that all Model 3 owners will be dealing with only such minor issues.From the video description:After 7 months, a couple of things broke on my Model 3 the other day. Frunk won’t open, and the glovebox won’t stay shut. Pretty minor, but annoying since I can’t fill up my washer fluid and it’s mid winter. This is my first experience with Tesla support…and they are awesome!! Content index is below. Catch me on the next one if this isn’t of interest to you.Index:Introduction: 0:01Glovebox won’t stay closed: 0:41Frunk won’t open: 1:44Tesla Canuck almost takes a header: 2:41Frunk issue continued: 2:51Support experience: 4:02One more thing: 6:00Fat hands: 6:42 Want A Baby Blue Tesla Model 3 Interior? Solution – Blue Jeans: Video Tesla Rangers solved the problems with easeTesla Canuck released a short update on issues with the Tesla Model 3 in Canada over seven months and on the Tesla support experience.The car seems to works fine beside two minor problems – one simple and one making life in winter annoying. The first is the glovebox, which refuses to stay closed while driving. The second one is a broken frunk, which won’t open. If you can’t open the frunk you will be in trouble because this is the only way to refill washer fluid.See Also
Germany-based startup ChargeX has closed its first round of financing, generating funding in the mid-six-figure range. The company will use the new capital to complete the development of its Aqueduct charging system, which is designed to enable the smart charging of multiple EVs at commercial properties and multi-family homes.The Aqueduct charging solution is aimed at the housing industry, parking providers and fleet operators. It can be extended with additional plug & play charging points and features integrated load management to ensure that available power capacity is not exceeded. An intelligent charging algorithm uses individual mobility data to charge EVs in a time-delayed and demand-oriented manner. Source: Electric Vehicles Magazine Source: ChargeX
Source: Charge Forward The first Tesla owners are starting to receive Tesla‘s Sentry Mode software update and it’s resulting in our first visual look at the new feature, which apparently includes a Space Odyssey AI Easter egg. more…The post First look at Tesla’s Sentry Mode with Space Odyssey AI Easter egg appeared first on Electrek.
Source: Electric Vehicle News Electric Jeep Wranglers Put Off-Roading Petrol Counterparts In Their Place – Video Wrangler fans should be happy that the plug-in hybrid looks just like the existing model.The Jeep Wrangler is about to go green, and these spy shots catch the upcoming plug-in hybrid’s development on public roads for the first time. Jeep has already confirmed the PHEV’s arrival for the 2020 model year, and we could see the debut at an auto show before the end of the year. Jeep Wrangler Plug-In Hybrid Confirmed For 2020 More Jeep PHEV news Jeep Wrangler PHEV Production Inches Forward With New Announcement Wrangler fans will be happy to see that the hybrid model looks practically identical to the existing version. The only noticeable change is the black body cladding that runs across the hood and over both fenders. There’s no other evident spot for the plug to go, so this concealment piece very likely hides where someone would feed the vehicle electricity. The taillights with clear center sections on the test mule indicate this is the European model of the Wrangler.Jeep hasn’t yet confirmed many specifics about the Wrangler PHEV’s powertrain, but the combustion part of the setup is reportedly the model’s existing 3.6-liter V6. The company says that the electrification tech sits in a protected area under the vehicle between the exhaust and the driveshaft. The company intends to produce some of the hybrid components in-house at a site near the Wrangler’s assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio.These shots show Jeep developing the PHEV powertrain on the four-door Wrangler Unlimited. At this time, it’s not clear whether the electrified powertrain is exclusive to the larger model or whether the tech would be available on the two-door Wrangler. Since the Gladiator pickup is so mechanically similar to the Wrangler and also comes from the Toledo plant, the truck could conceivably get the hybrid system, but Jeep isn’t discussing the prospect yet.Source: Automedia Author Liberty Access TechnologiesPosted on March 24, 2019Categories Electric Vehicle News
Share on LinkedIn Championship Martin Rose Share on Messenger Wigan Athletic Bruce makes second Kapo swoop Share via Email Birmingham City Share on Facebook Topics Olivier Kapo is close to being reunited with his former manager Steve Bruce after Wigan Athletic agreed a £3.5m fee with Birmingham City for the French international forward.Kapo underwent a medical at the JJB Stadium yesterday and, despite suggestions last night that the deal had broken down, is poised to become the club’s second signing of the summer following the capture of the winger Daniel De Ridder, also from Birmingham, on a free transfer.Bruce spent £3m to take Kapo to St Andrew’s before the start of last season and his successor at the Midlands club, Alex McLeish, said he would not stand in the way of the 27-year-old if he wanted to leave the club newly relegated to the Championship. Marseille were also interested in the player.West Bromwich Albion have signed the left-back Marek Cech from Porto for £1.4m. The 25-year-old Slovakia international has joined on a three-year contract with the Premier League newcomers.Cech, who can also play on the left side of midfield, has linked up with Tony Mowbray’s side on their pre-season tour of Holland and Germany. He has made 29 appearances for his country, scoring three goals, and will challenge Paul Robinson for a first-team place at The Hawthorns.The Greek international striker Georgios Samaras has completed his move from Manchester City to Celtic, having spent four months on loan with the Scottish champions last season. Samaras signed for City for £5m in 2006 and has switched to Gordon Strachan’s team on a three-year contract for an undisclosed fee. He scored six times in 21 appearances for them last season. “I wanted to stay here, Celtic wanted to keep me here and both sides are happy with this transfer,” said the 23-year-old.Gabriel Tamas is set to complete a £3.5m move to Celtic after the club received permission to speak to the Auxerre defender. The 24-year-old Romania international is set to become Strachan’s second fresh face of the summer following the recruitment of Paddy McCourt from Derry City. Tue 15 Jul 2008 19.01 EDT Olivier Kapo was born in Ivory Coast but has played nine times for France. Photograph: Phil Cole/Getty Images Share on Twitter Wigan Athletic Share on WhatsApp Share on Twitter First published on Tue 15 Jul 2008 19.01 EDT Championship 2008-09 Premier League Share on Facebook Share on Pinterest Shares00 Share via Email Reuse this content
For purposes of this post, I invite you to stipulate two things.First, FCPA Professor is a free, public website and a leading source of FCPA information that is widely read by a world-wide audience. Some might have difficulty stipulating to this, but the following is what others have said about FCPA Professor. FCPA Professor is the “the Wall Street Journal concerning all things FCPA-related,” and “the most authoritative source for those seeking to understand and apply the FCPA,” FCPA Professor is a Top Law Blog for in-house counsel by Corporate Counsel, a Top 25 Business Law Blog by LexisNexis, and a top 100 Legal Blog by the American Bar Association.Second, DOJ FCPA officials routinely speak to on-line information sources on topics relevant to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and certain of these outlets often put the official’s comments behind a paywall.Against this backdrop, this post highlights the DOJ’s long refusal to engage with FCPA Professor and frequent denial of FCPA Professor interview requests. Should DOJ officials engage with FCPA Professor? In posing this question, this post, among other things, shares the comments of a former high-ranking DOJ official on the question posed.I am occasionally asked by readers about my relationship, if any, with DOJ FCPA enforcement attorneys. My standard response is that several former DOJ officials are among the most valued readers of FCPA Professor, contributors to this site, and self-described “biggest fans” and “biggest boosters” of FCPA Professor. Yet, the relationship with current DOJ FCPA officials is non-existent.My efforts to engage with the DOJ on FCPA topics dates back several years.For instance, as highlighted in this prior post, in the aftermath of the November 2012 FCPA Guidance, I submitted two basic questions about the Guidance to my DOJ press office contact. No response. Three additional efforts were made. No response. As stated in the prior post, so much for that transparency thing the DOJ talked about in the FCPA Guidance press conference (i.e. the DOJ strives to be “transparent” in its FCPA enforcement.).Fast forward to a more recent snubbing by the DOJ.On April 5th, I dialed in to the DOJ’s press conference announcing its FCPA “Pilot Program.” When doing so, the moderator asks one to state your name and affiliation and I complied. At the first available opportunity when listeners were prompted, I requested to ask a question. However, I never got the opportunity to ask my questions – rather all of the questions chosen were from non-lawyer journalists some of which – it was perfectly clear – knew very little about the FCPA.No big deal, a press conference can only last so long and perhaps it was just bad luck.On May 4th, I e-mailed my DOJ press office contact as follows.“As you know, Mr. Weissmann has participated in several interviews with online media sources in recent months, including as to the recently announced FCPA pilot program.I respectfully invite Mr. Weissmann to do either a written Q&A for publication on FCPA Professor or be a guest on the FCPA Flash podcast to discuss various aspects of the pilot program.Unlike other media sources to which Mr. Weissmann has granted interviews, both FCPA Professor and the FCPA Flash podcast are free public resources.[…]Thank you for the consideration.”My contact at the DOJ (who I should note has always been very cordial and professional) responded “I’ll check and get back to you on this.”A week passed without a further response.So, I tried again.A week passed without a further response.So, I tried again.Another week passed without a further response.So, I tried again.Another week passed and finally I received the following response from the DOJ press office. “Thanks for reaching out and sorry for the delay in getting back to you. We’ll decline the opportunity for an interview at this time. I’ll let you know if that changes.”Denied once again by the DOJ.And to think, the DOJ did not even know what my questions were going to be.Fast forward to June 1st.Like many, I had just read that Daniel Kahn was appointed the permanent DOJ FCPA Unit Chief. Perhaps, I thought, Mr. Kahn would like to engage with a leading FCPA information source that would publish for free – for all the world to see – his FCPA goals and insights.So, once again, I e-mailed my DOJ press office contact and stated:“I appreciate the consideration as to Mr. Weissmann.I understand that Daniel Kahn was recently named the FCPA Unit Chief. I would like to request to interview Mr. Kahn (either a written Q&A or interview Mr. Kahn on the FCPA Flash podcast).”Unlike the prior request, this second request was promptly denied as the press office contact stated: “We’ll decline the opportunity for an interview with Mr. Kahn at this time. Again, will let you know if that changes.”Denied once again by the DOJ.And again, the DOJ did not even know what my questions were going to be.I fully understand and accept that DOJ FCPA officials (like other public officials) do not have a legal duty to speak to all people.However, given the DOJ’s frequent reference to engagement and transparency in the FCPA space, I remain hopeful that some day DOJ FCPA officials will conclude it is worth their time to engage with a leading FCPA information source that is a free and publicly available.If you are reading, the invitation is always open.I recognize that my feelings towards this issue are not exactly distintered.Thus, I reached out to certain long-time, valued FCPA Professor readers and posed the general question of whether the DOJ should be willing to engage with FCPA Professor.A former high-ranking DOJ official responded to my question as follows:“Clearly, they are not happy with your periodic observations that the emperor has no clothes, or that the revolving door has hit someone else in the ass, but your criticisms are usually fairly mild. […] What the government folks don’t seem very anxious to do these days is to articulate why they are taking some of their more leading edge interpretations of the [FCPA]. […] Keep up the good work.”An FCPA practitioner responded as follows:“[The DOJ] should grant interviews to all reputable sources which includes FCPA Professor at the top of this list. Their avoidance of a leading source of FCPA analysis, which can be critical and test assertions of DOJ, speaks volumes.”
Scrutiny alerts and updates, just plain silly, #precisionmatters, and for the reading stack. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.Scrutiny Alerts and UpdatesSociete GeneraleAs highlighted in this 2014 post, Societe Generale, among other companies, has been under FCPA scrutiny regarding its dealings with Libya’s government-run investment fund. The French financial services company recently disclosed:“In the context of the investigations by US authorities (the US Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission) regarding IBOR submissions and the DOJ investigation of transactions involving Libyan counterparties, Societe Generale has entered into a phase of more active discussions with these US authorities with a view to reaching a resolution of these two matters within the coming weeks. Although the financial impact of the disputes cannot be determined with certainty, as of 31 December 2017, the Bank has booked in its financial statements a provision for disputes for EUR 2.3 bn, in compliance with IFRS standards. Within this provision, approximately 1 bn [$1.23 billion] in euro equivalent is allocated to the IBOR and Libyan matters.”CemexAs highlighted in this December 2016 post, Cemex SAB de CV, a Mexico-based building materials company with shares traded on the NYSE, disclosed that it was under FCPA and related scrutiny by the SEC and the Colombian Attorney General and that “it is possible that the United States Department of Justice or investigatory entities in other jurisdictions may also open investigations into this matter.”Sure enough as CEMEX recently disclosed “on March 12, 2018, the DOJ issued a grand jury subpoena to CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. relating to its operations in Colombia and other jurisdictions.” The full disclosure states:“In December 2016, CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. received subpoenas from the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) seeking information to determine whether there have been any violations of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act stemming from the new cement plant being built by CEMEX Colombia S.A. (“CEMEX Colombia”) in the department of Antioquia in the municipality of Maceo, Colombia (the “Maceo Project”). These subpoenas do not mean that the SEC has concluded that CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. or any of its affiliates violated the law. As discussed in “Item 4—Information on the Company—Regulatory Matters and Legal Proceedings—Maceo, Colombia—Legal Proceedings in Colombia” in CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V.’s annual report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2016, internal audits and investigations by CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. and CEMEX Latam Holdings, S.A. (“CEMEX Latam”) had raised questions about payments relating to the Maceo Project. The payments made to the non-governmental individual representing CI Calizas y Minerales S.A. in connection with the Maceo Project did not adhere to CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V.’s and CEMEX Latam’s internal controls. As announced on September 23, 2016, the CEMEX Latam and CEMEX Colombia officers responsible for the implementation and execution of the above referenced payments were terminated and the then Chief Executive Officer of CEMEX Latam resigned. CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. has been cooperating with the SEC and the Colombian Attorney General’s Office (the “Attorney General’s Office”) and intends to continue cooperating fully with the SEC and the Attorney General’s Office.CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. previously disclosed that it was possible that the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and other investigatory entities in other jurisdictions could also open investigations into this matter. In this regard, on March 12, 2018, the DOJ issued a grand jury subpoena to CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. relating to its operations in Colombia and other jurisdictions.CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. intends to cooperate fully with the SEC, DOJ, and any other investigatory entity. As of March 14, 2018, CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. is unable to predict the duration, scope, or outcome of either the SEC investigation or the DOJ investigation, or any other investigation that may arise, or, because of the current status of the SEC investigation and the preliminary nature of the DOJ investigation, the potential sanctions which could be borne by CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V., or if such sanctions, if any, would have a material adverse impact on CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V.‘s results of operations, liquidity and financial condition.”Just Plain SillyThis guest post on the FCPA Blog titled “U.S. Enforcement Is Down, But International Enforcement Is Up” is just plain silly.Of course corporate enforcement will appear “down” if one’s only point of reference is 2016’s record breaking year. In addition, there is NO reference at all in the post to 2017 individual FCPA enforcement by the DOJ which was significantly up compared to prior years as well as historical five year averages. (See here for the prior post).Further, since when is comparing one nation’s enforcement (U.S.) to an entire continent’s enforcement (Europe) even a valid comparison? #precisionmattersWhile DOJ compliance counsel, Hui Chen called out much compliance commentary for its “lack of precision and intellectual rigor.”Chen encouraged all to “hold each other accountable for precision, accuracy, and intellectual rigor in the statements we make” by using #precisionmatters.Duly noted and #precisionmatters for Chen’s latest piece titled “Seven Signs of Ineffective Compliance Programs.” In large part, the article is a collection of little more than vague generalities and catchphrases (“financial discipline” “lack of visibility” “dominated compliance” “continuous improvement” etc.). In the article, under the heading “Disproportionate Focus on Gifts-Meals-Travel-Entertainment,” Chen writes:“This is a sibling of the FCPA-focused compliance, one that demonstrates a rudimentary understanding of risks. I have never seen a company whose largest category of spending are in these categories, yet I have seen multiples of compliance hours spent on these than on million-dollar distributor discounts or hundreds of dollars on marketing funds. In immature compliance programs, the amount of time and angst sweated over these categories is disproportionate to the risk they represent.”Um .. maybe, just maybe, this is because business organizations are reacting to FCPA enforcement actions actually brought that contain allegations about “golf in the morning and beer drinking in the evening”, spa and sauna sessions, food and entertainment, and evenings at karaoke bars.When are DOJ or SEC officials (current or former) going to realize that business organizations are reacting to the compliance landscape they are creating?Going on OffenseVenezuela’s PDVSA is notoriously corrupt, but continues to go on offense. In this recent complaint against over a dozen companies and individuals, PDVSA US Litigation Trust alleges:“This action arises from an on-going conspiracy among international oil companies and traders, their banks, and co-conspirators, including corrupt agents and officials of the Venezuelan state-owned energy company Petrleos de Venezuela, S.A. (“PDVSA”): (a) to fix prices, rig bids, and eliminate competition in the purchase and sale of crude oil and hydrocarbon products by PDVSA; (b) to misappropriate PDVSA proprietary data and intellectual property; and (c) to systematically loot PDVSA by causing corrupt PDVSA officials not to collect monies due PDVSA, to pay inflated prices for products and services acquired by PDVSA, to accept artificially low prices for products sold by PDVSA, to overlook the failure to deliver products and services paid for by PDVSA, and to fraudulently conceal what was owed to PDVSA.[…]By bribing and corrupting PDVSA agents and officials, the … Enterprise was able to favor the Oil Company Conspirators and disadvantage, or exclude, many legitimate American and other competitors, including by: (a) structuring tenders for PDVSA contracts to favor the Oil Company Conspirators and [Enterprise] and disadvantage, or exclude, competitors; (b) securing inside, proprietary information concerning PDVSA’s requirements and plans before such information was publicly available, again with the purpose and effect of advantaging the Oil Company Conspirators and disadvantaging, or excluding, competitors; and (c) securing inside, proprietary information concerning competing bids so that the Oil Company Conspirators could beat them.By bribing and corrupting PDVSA agents and officials, the … Enterprise also induced such agents and officials not to collect the full amounts due to PDVSA for the sale of PDVSA products to the Oil Company Conspirators and to overlook the failure of the Oil Company Conspirators to deliver the full amount of products bought and paid for by PDVSA.Initially, the … Enterprise acquired the proprietary inside PDVSA information used to implement its schemes by bribing and corrupting PDVSA agents and officials to provide such information on a case-by-case basis.However, as the conspiracy progressed, the … Enterprise was able to obtain direct access to PDVSA’s proprietary servers, including by installing an interconnected, “clone server,” and otherwise obtaining direct access to PDVSA’s servers, that enabled the … Enterprise to misappropriate PDVSA inside and proprietary information on a real-time basis.The losses to PDVSA and the gains to Defendants as a result of the misdeeds by the … Enterprise amount to many billions of dollars.”Reading StackAn informative post here from Eric Carlson (Covington & Burling) regarding social media use in China and challenges raised by the following factor in the DOJ’s November 2017 FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy: “apropriate retention of business records, and prohibiting the improper destruction or deletion of business records, including prohibiting employees from using software that generates but does not appropriately retain business records or communications.”An informative read here from Professor Donald Langevoort “Caremark and Compliance: A Twenty Year Lookback.” FCPA Institute – Boston (Oct. 3-4) A unique two-day learning experience ideal for a diverse group of professionals seeking to elevate their FCPA knowledge and practical skills through active learning. 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Lost your password? Ohio-based MPLX and its sponsor, Marathon Petroleum Corporation announced Monday their plans to purchase Denver-based master limited partnership, MarkWest Energy Partners. The companies say the transaction, which is valued at $20 billion and includes about $4 billion of debt, will create the fourth-largest MLP based on a market capitalization of $21 billion . . .You must be a subscriber to The Texas Lawbook to access this content. Password Not a subscriber? Sign up for The Texas Lawbook. Remember me Username