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Welcome back to The Station, your central hub for all past, present and future means of moving people and packages from Point A to Point B.
Hey folks! I’m back and what a week it was. Top of the list? Two legacy U.S. automakers deciding to integrate Tesla charging tech into their next-generation of EVs, starting in 2025. Ford kicked off the trend in May and GM followed this week.
As TC’s Rebecca Bellen reported, when Tesla announced last year it would share its EV charging connector design to encourage automakers to adopt the technology and help make it the new standard in North America, few, if any, predicted competitors would bite. Now, it seems that the Tesla standard — dubbed the North American Charging Standard — is gaining some ground. And it is fueling an EV charging standards war, in which people and companies are picking sides.
Aside from the straight news on the GM and Ford deals, our crew dug into the ramifications and whether the Tesla supercharger network could take the strain.
Now onto the rest of the news of the week!
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Wanna know which is the best city to ride a bike naked in 2023? Check out this fun list! Surprisingly, Philadelphia is at the top of it! Unsurprisingly, Portland is a close second.
Canada’s Apollo Scooters revealed the prototype for its Explore 2024 scooter that promises to have built-in GPS, smart regenerative braking, self-healing tires, a Quadlock phone mount and more.
Beam is working with TAFE Queensland, a technical and vocational training provider, in a pilot program to build Australia’s first accredited vocational pathway for micromobility.
E-bike subsidies abound! Here are some updates:
• British Columbia, Canada is offering more than $6 million in rebates to about 9,000 citizens. Rebates are income-dependent and range from $350 to $1,400.
• Massachusetts has a proposal for a $750-per-person rebate.
• Minnesota is now offering up to $1,500 off the cost of an e-bike for income-qualified residents.
• Portland’s Climate Investment Plan aims to subsidize 6,000 e-bikes with $20 million in funding over the next five years. The plan also aims to contribute $600,000 to train and develop a local workforce of e-bike mechanics.
Keep track of all the subsidies with Ride Report.
eMobility Rentals says it wants to reinvent urban mobility in Romania and Europe. The company has built an ecosystem of small EVs that run on a universal interchangeable battery, which can be swapped via an expanding network of swapping stations.
Hilo unveiled its flagship e-scooter, the Hilo One, at Micromobility Europe. This smart scooter aims to address e-scooter safety issues and is built with AI computer vision to alert the rider and pedestrians of any dangers. The oversized front wheel gives the rider more stability and control on uneven surfaces. It’s available for pre-order for Q3 2024 delivery.
Montreal is giving drivers a $170 fine for blocking the bike lane. You can now also report on violators via a 24/7 hotline. And the one thing I hate more than snitches is cars in the bike lane.
Razor revealed a super powerful electric go-kart, the Ground Force Elite. It’s “for teens” but being an adult means you can buy yourself a go-kart if you want, and it’s only $550!
Roam, a Kenyan startup, launched its first solar panel-powered charging and maintenance hubs in Nairobi. The hubs offer battery swaps, fast charges, maintenance and more for Roam-branded electric motorcycles, many of which are used in East Africa’s “boda-boda” moto-taxi industry.
Segway-Ninebot had a lot of news come out this month to tie in with Micromobility Europe. First the company introduced their Lite L60E, an efficient e-scooter with a 40 mile range designed for shared micromobility operators. The company also announced a partnership with Metro Mobility to offer Metro’s ChargeLock stations, which will give shared micromobility operators low-cost docking stations that can also serve to charge e-scooters and e-bikes.
Finally, Segway also partnered with Drover AI and Luna Systems, two startups that build computer vision systems to detect and correct improper scooter riding. Now, Segway will offer customers the chance to integrate either Drover’s or Luna’s scooter ARAS into its own smart scooter.
Deal of the week
Just a bunch of deals this week! Here’s what stood out.
American Battery Materials, a Connecticut-based lithium extractor, agreed to be merge with special purpose acquisition company Seaport Global Acquisition II Corp.
Amogy, a New York startup developing ammonia-based fuels for trucks and ships, raised an additional $11 million in its Series B funding round from Marunouchi Climate Tech Growth Fund, Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America and Synergy Marine. The round now total $150 million.
Carvana has had a volatile week. The company’s share price shot up 56% on a rosy outlook of record profits, only to fall back down to earth the next day. Tl;dr: debt and declining revenue combined by a cool response from industry analysts overshadowed its sunny profit projections.
Driver Technologies, a driver safety company, raised $6 million in a strategic funding round led by New York-based investment firm IA Capital and CT Innovations, the venture capital arm of the state of Connecticut. Insurers Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures, State Auto Labs/Rev 1 as well as investors from The Social Entrepreneurs’ Fund, ID8 Investments, C2 Ventures and Kapor Capital also participated.
Billionaire Ivan Glasenberg is nearing a deal to buy iconic Italian bicycle maker Cicli Pinarello, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources.
Micromobility.com (previously Helbiz) signed a letter of intent to merge with EVMO, a provider of fleet management and vehicle rentals for rideshare and delivery gig economy. The merger with EVMO is meant to help the company accelerate its transition from a sharing business to a B2B enterprise, according to the company.
Since Helbiz was a SPAC, that makes this its second merger. And we find ourselves asking, once again, what the Helbiz? Lest you forget, Micromobility.com just went through a rebranding and a reverse stock split — a bid to get back into compliance with the Nasdaq after its share price dropped below $1. That move didn’t seem to work; the company’s stock is trading at around $0.23.
Mundimoto, a second-hand motorcycle marketplace in Europe, closed a €10 million funding round so it could expand to more countries.
Nikola failed to get enough investors to vote on a proposal that would allow it to issue more shares — and, in turn, raise more capital. Nikola adjourned its annual meeting of shareholders until July 6 in an attempt to secure the requisite number of votes needed to add shares to the marketplace.
Oxccu, an Oxford University spinout that converts carbon dioxide and hydrogen into industrial and consumer products, raised $22.7 million a Series A funding round led by Clean Energy Ventures. Aramco Ventures, Eni Next, United Airlines Ventures, Sustainable Flight Fund and Braavos Capital, Kiko Ventures, University of Oxford Trafigura, TechEnergy Ventures and Doral Energy-Tech Ventures also participated.
Rose Rocket, a transportation management software provider for trucking companies, raised $38 million in a Series B. The company aims to address logistics challenges like supply chain visibility, capacity and labor shortages.
Surf Air Mobility, a Los Angeles-based electric aviation travel company, filed for a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange. The company, which intends to trade under the ticker symbol SRFM, had previously explored going public via a SPAC merger.
Trucksters, the Spanish road freight operator, raised 33 million euros ($35.5 million) in a Series B round
that included investment from the venture arms of supplier Continental and automaker Volvo Group, the European Investment Bank and Spain’s FondICO. Existing investors Amplifier VC, Metavallon VC, Big Sur Ventures, Bonsai Partners, Kibo Ventures, and The Valley VC as well as Glovo co-founder Sacha Michaud also participated.
Notable news and other tidbits
Mercedes-Benz received a permit from California regulators that will allow the German automaker to sell or lease vehicles in the state that are equipped with its conditional automated driving system that allows for hands-off, eyes-off driving on certain highways. Mercedes is seeking approval from every U.S. state for its Drive Pilot system, even when there isn’t an official permit to give. Why? Mercedes is a cautious company. And it should be since its taking responsibility (liability) for this system.
Cruise is teaming up with food recovery non-profit Replate to deliver food to people in need via driverless vehicles — starting with surplus food from Blue Bottle to non-profit HealthRight360 in San Francisco.
TuSimple has received a fully driverless test permit in Shanghai, allowing it to conduct driver-out testing in designated test areas in the city. The company also announced it was doing regular test runs on an expressway in Japan.
Waymo reported to California regulators that one of its self-driving cars struck and killed a dog in ‘unavoidable’ incident in San Francisco. The vehicle was in autonomous mode with a human safety operator behind the wheel.
Electric vehicles, batteries & charging
Acura’s ZDX EV will be the company’s first auto equipped with “Google built-in,” which includes Google Assistant, Google Maps and more through the Google Play store.
Fisker said it plans to open a delivery center in China in 2023 and commence deliveries of the Fisker Ocean SUV in Q1 2024. Meanwhile, the first U.S. deliveries will begin June 23. Chairman and CEO Henrik Fisker said he believed the company will be able to “get production up and running in China as early as next year, potentially adding capacity of 75,000 Fisker Oceans annually.”
Lordstown Motors is preparing to sue Foxconn, the Taiwanese manufacturer once considered a savior to the beleaguered EV maker.
Lucid is turning to China to power up sales of its luxury Air sedan (and its many variants.) There was widespread coverage this week touting the hiring of Zhu Jiang, a former executive at Nio and Ford, but technically this hire happened waaayyyy back in September. Lucid told me, when I asked about its China plans that the automaker “continues to increase its global footprint, with deliveries now taking place to customers from the U.S., to Canada, to Europe and the Middle East. As we have long stated, we intend to expand to additional markets, including China.”
Porsche kicked off its 75th anniversary by unveiling Mission X, battery electric hypercar concept the automaker described as a “technology beacon for the sports car of the future.”
Toyota plans to build a $48 million lab at its North American research and development headquarters in Michigan to develop and evaluate the quality of its EV batteries. The lab is expected to begin operations in 2025.
Volvo revealed the small, simple and inexpensive EX30 electric SUV.
Aviant, a Norwegian drone logistics company, is launching its drone home delivery service called Kyte. Kyte drones have a delivery range of up to 19 miles and can deliver autonomously from depot to door in about 24 minutes. Aviant also secured €1M from Innovation Norway to delivery prescription meds to people in remote locations.
Apple said EV owners will be able to see real-time EV charging availability information via Apple Maps, one of a bevy of new features and services that will be available in its upcoming iOS 17 software update. Apple also plans to launch a SharePlay feature that will make sharing control of in-car entertainment easier for iPhone users.
Luminar and Plus have partnered up. Per the deal, Luminar will be the exclusive provider of lidar for PlusDrive, Plus’s factory-installed assisted driving system for commercial vehicles. And Plus will be the exclusive third-party provider of AI-based driver assist software for Luminar’s solution for commercial vehicle OEMs.
CharterUP, a charter bus platform, hired Tyler Baldwin as its new Chief Revenue Officer. Baldwin was previously CEO and CRO at real estate fintech firm Reali and has also held positions at LinkedIn, McKinsey & Co., and Pinterest.
LiveWire, the electric motorbike brand of Harley-Davidson, appointed Karim Donnez as its new CEO. Donnez, who previously worked at Bombardier Recreational Products, replaces Jochen Zeitz. The company said Zeitz will remain chairman of the LiveWire Group’s board.
Woven Capital promoted Michiko Kao to partner. Kao was WC’s first hire and backed investments in Nuro and Ridecell.
Ride hailing and delivery
Uber is trying to pass a Prop 22 equivalent in Australia.
Speaking of Uber, the company held another Go-Get product event, this time in London and with a focus on sustainability. One of its announcements: a plan to bring peer-to-peer car sharing to North America, starting with Toronto and Boston.
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