COVID-19

Volkswagen hosting Joe Bonamassa livestream fundraiser benefitting out-of-work musicians

A livestream fundraising concert featuring Joe Bonamassa will be sponsored by Volkswagen and Fender.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

COVID-19 pandemicGuitar legend Joe Bonamassa spends months each year on the road touring but lately he's been at home, not playing gigs. He's not the only one. Musicians across the world are seeing their incomes slashed due to shelter in place and stay at home orders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bonamassa's 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, Keeping the Blues Alive has begun an emergency initiative aimed at helping musicians struggling to survive in the difficult economy. The Fueling Musicians Program provides financial assistance for essential living expenses along with pre-paid fuel cards to qualified musicians in need.

Volkswagen Fender Joe Bonamassa livestream fundraiser Bonamassa will bring his signature blues rock style to the livestream.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

Volkswagen and Fender have teamed up to support a livestream fundraising concert by Bonamassa benefiting the program.

"We are so excited to be working with Joe on this meaningful and entertaining live stream," said Saad Chehab, Senior Vice President, Volkswagen Brand Marketing. "When given the chance to support individuals in the music industry during this time, it felt like a true Drive Bigger moment that we wanted to be a part of."

Bonamassa began his career as a child prodigy, opening for B.B. King at the age of 12 playing a 1972 Fender Stratocaster he called "Rosie". That lead to even bigger gigs, playing on The Mickey Mouse Club in 1991, just a few years before Christina Aguilera, Britney Spears, Ryan Gosling, and Justin Timberlake made it to the clubhouse.

Over the next 30 years, his fame continued to grow, playing with Greg Allman, Jethro Tull, Eric Clapton, and Warren Haynes among others. The 43-year old has won a Blues Music Award and been nominated for a Grammy all while showcasing his signature blues rock style.

Volkswagen Fender Joe Bonamassa livestream fundraiser Fender audio systems are available throughout the Volkswagen lineup as premium upgrades.Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

In addition to being an artist, Bonamassa is a collector, having amassed 1000 guitars and amplifiers according to a 2019 article on GuitarPlayer.com.

"My sincerest thanks and gratitude to both Volkswagen and Fender Premium Audio for their generous support of our Fueling Musicians Program," said Bonamassa. "Musicians have a tough road ahead and this will help them regroup until they can head out on the road again when everyone gets the green light."

To watch the event, visit the VW Facebook page here on Thursday, May 14 at 8 pm EST.

To donate to the Fueling Musicians Program or to complete an application for assistance, visit www.KTBA.org.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

The first all-electric Karma Automotive model is set to debut next year.

Photo courtesy of Karma Automotive

Karma Automotive is promising to debut its first all-electric car in 2021. To understand how we got here, it's important to look back a decade.

Fisker Automotive was founded by heralded car designer Henrik Fisker in 2007. For a brief moment in history, it produced the Fisker Karma, one of the world's first production luxury plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). The first Karma was delivered in 2011 but by 2014, the company was staring down liquidation.

That year, Fisker Automotive's Karma vehicle design, tooling, and manufacturing facility were purchased by Wanxiang Group, the largest China-based automotive components company by revenue. Henrik Fisker retried the Fisker trademarks and rights to the Fisker brand. He went on to launch Fisker Inc., a separate company that has big plans for all-electric vehicles, in 2016. Wanxiang Group renamed its vehicle company Karma Automotive.

And now here we are.

Karma Automotive has released an image of the GS as a teaser.

Karma Automotive says that the 2021 debut will be the first public step in a full line, which includes electrification options and leans on technological advancements to set itself apart. The GS Series model will be Karma's first-ever battery electric luxury sedan.

The new models will retain much of the same design as the Revero.

"We are pleased to announce that Karma will now offer our first all-electric vehicle next year as part of the GS series," said Dr. Lance Zhou, Karma's CEO. "Cost reductions in the BOM, streamlining our supply chain and standardized production methods also allowed for a new, more attainable pricing structure for the GS lineup allowing for higher market penetration, opening up the market to a larger group of entry level luxury buyers."

Though its looks, range, pricing, and options aren't yet public knowledge, customers can currently reserve their model at http://www.karmaautomotive.com/reserve. All reservations require a fully-refundable $100 deposit.

For years Chinese brands have been looking to break into the U.S. market without much success. Though there are a growing number of Karma dealerships in the U.S., sales of the vehicles are few and far between.

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The Volkswagen ID.4 will debut this year.

Photo courtesy of Volkswagen AG

The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 will be uvelied later this month. Before it is shown sans camouflage to the public, the automaker has revealed a plan that would give ID.4 owners three year of unlimited, free charging on Electrify America's nationwide network of ultra-fast chargers.

Electrify America currently has more than 470 charging stations and over 2,000 DC fast chargers nationwide. The company currently boasts two cross-country charging routes and recently announced a partnership with Love's Travel Stops for additional charging station placement. Additionally, the company will soon compete with Amazon and sell Electrify Home charging units, complete with installation.

Electrify Home Electrify America will compete with Amazon by selling at-home EV charging stations. Photo courtesy of Electrify America

Electrify America is currently the only open, public charging network to offer chargers with power levels up to 350 kilowatts. Across the country, 96 percent of the population live within 120 miles of an Electrify America charger.

"With a relentless commitment to driving the electric vehicle industry forward, Electrify America opened DC fast-charging stations at an accelerated pace of 1.2 per business day in 2019," said Giovanni Palazzo, president and chief executive officer of Electrify America. "As more and more electric vehicles are introduced to the market, and consumer interest grows, we are excited to announce this agreement with Volkswagen to deliver fast and accessible charging to ID.4 customers and a new wave of EV adopters."

"The ID.4 was engineered, loaded and priced to win the hearts of SUV owners who are simply ready to go electric—and fall in love with Volkswagen again," said Scott Keogh, CEO, Volkswagen Group of America. "By adding three years of fast charging at no additional cost through Electrify America, we are eliminating all barriers for mainstream compact SUV buyers to go electric."

Electrify America continues to expand. The company plans to install or have under development approximately 800 total charging stations with about 3,500 DC fast chargers by December 2021.

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