Advanced rider assistance systems: Tech spawned by the politics of micromobility

The desire to achieve something as simple as keeping shared electric scooters off sidewalks has driven the development of some advanced technology in the micromobility industry. Once the province of geofencing, scooter companies are so eager to get a leg up on the competition that they’re now implementing technology similar to advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) usually found in cars.

Operators like Spin, Voi, Zipp, Bird and Superpedestrian are investing in camera-based or location-based tech that can detect and even correct poor rider behavior, sometimes going to the extent of slowing scooters to a stop if they’re riding on a sidewalk.

People riding or parking scooters on sidewalks is a big problem for cities and forms one of the main complaints from NIMBYist residents who dislike change all the more when it becomes a tripping hazard. Companies are trying to solve this problem with tech that effectively puts the onus of rider behavior on operators, which may result in cities requiring scooter operators to have this sort of ADAS tech.

Scooter ADAS is probably the most doable and cost-effective method that cities can use to prevent unwanted rider behavior. And, it’s far cheaper than trying to police rider behavior themselves, or, address the lack of protected cycling infrastructure.

“This technology comes from a need for protected bike lanes,” said Dmitry Shevelenko, co-founder and president of Tortoise, an automated vehicle positioning service for micromobility companies. “It exists in this world where riders kind of have to do things that aren’t that great for others, because they have nowhere else to go. And so that’s the true driver of the need for this.”

Cities can solve this problem for the long term by building bike lanes or creating scooter parking bays, but until that happens, operators need to reassure local administrations that micromobility is safe, compliant and a good thing for cities.

“Until cities have dedicated infrastructure for whatever new modality comes to play, you have to figure out a way to use technology to make sure things don’t mix poorly,” said Alex Nesic, co-founder and chief business officer of Drover AI, a computer vision startup that provides camera-based scooter ADAS. “That’s really what we’re after. We want to enable this kind of maturation of the industry.”

Street views versus satellite views

Drover AI works with Spin, while Luna, another computer vision company, works with Voi and Zipp to attach cameras, sensors and a microprocessor to scooters to detect lanes, sidewalks, pedestrians and other environmental surroundings.

#adas, #artificial-intelligence, #bird, #computer-vision-technology, #digisure, #e-bikes, #e-scooter, #ec-mobility-hardware, #ec-mobility-software, #hardware, #micromobility, #navmatic, #scooter, #spin, #startups, #tc, #tortoise, #transportation, #voi, #zipp

The Nuro EC-1

Six years ago, I sat in the Google self-driving project’s Firefly vehicle — which I described, at the time, as a “little gumdrop on wheels” — and let it ferry me around a closed course in Mountain View, California.

Little did I know that two of the people behind Firefly’s ability to see and perceive the world around it and react to that information would soon leave to start and steer an autonomous vehicle company of their very own.

Dave Ferguson and Jiajun Zhu aren’t the only Google self-driving project employees to launch an AV startup, but they might be the most underrated. Their company, Nuro, is valued at $5 billion and has high-profile partnerships with leaders in retail, logistics and food including FedEx, Domino’s and Walmart. And, they seem to have navigated the regulatory obstacle course with success — at least so far.

Yet, Nuro has remained largely in the shadows of other autonomous vehicle companies. Perhaps it’s because Nuro’s focus on autonomous delivery hasn’t captured the imagination of a general public that envisions themselves being whisked away in a robotaxi. Or it might be that they’re quieter.

Those quiet days might be coming to an end soon.

This series aims to look under Nuro’s hood, so to speak, from its earliest days as a startup to where it might be headed next — and with whom.

The lead writer of this EC-1 is Mark Harris, a freelance reporter known for investigative and long-form articles on science and technology. Our resident scoop machine, Harris is based in Seattle and also writes for Wired, The Guardian, The Economist, MIT Technology Review and Scientific American. He has broken stories about self-driving vehicles, giant airships, AI body scanners, faulty defibrillators and monkey-powered robots. In 2014, he was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, and in 2015 he won the AAAS Kavli Science Journalism Gold Award.

The lead editor of this EC-1 was Kirsten Korosec, transportation editor at TechCrunch (that’s me), who has been writing about autonomous vehicles and the people behind them since 2014; OK maybe earlier. The assistant editor for this series was Ram Iyer, the copy editor was Richard Dal Porto, and illustrations were drawn by Nigel Sussman. The EC-1 series editor is Danny Crichton.

Nuro had no say in the content of this analysis and did not get advance access to it. Harris nor Korosec have any financial ties to Nuro.

The Nuro EC-1 comprises four articles numbering 10,600 words and a reading time of 43 minutes. Here are the topics we’ll be dialing into:

We’re always iterating on the EC-1 format. If you have questions, comments or ideas, please send an email to TechCrunch Managing Editor Danny Crichton at danny@techcrunch.com.

#automation, #automotive, #california, #cvs, #dave-ferguson, #dominos-pizza, #dominos, #ec-mobility-hardware, #ec-1, #electric-vehicles, #emerging-technologies, #extra-crunch-ec-1, #fedex, #google, #kroger, #mit, #nuro, #nuro-ec-1, #robotaxi, #robotics, #science-and-technology, #seattle, #self-driving-cars, #tc, #technology, #transportation, #walmart

Automakers have battery anxiety, so they’re taking control of the supply

Battery joint ventures have become the hot must-have deal for automakers that have set ambitious targets to deliver millions of electric vehicles in the next few years.

It’s no longer just about securing a supply of cells. The string of partnerships and joint ventures show that automakers are taking a more active role in the development and even production of battery cells, .

Automakers are taking a more active role in the development and even production of battery cells.

And the deals don’t appear to be slowing down. Just this week, Mercedes-Benz announced its $47 billion plan to become an electric-only automaker by 2030. Securing its battery supply chain by expanding existing partnerships or locking in new ones to jointly develop and produce battery cells and modules is a critical piece of its plan.

Mercedes, like other automakers, is also focused on developing and deploying advanced battery technology. In addition to setting up eight new battery plants to supply its future EVs, the German automaker said it was partnering with Sila Nano, the Silicon Valley battery chemistry startup that it has previously invested in, to increase energy density, which should in turn improve range and allow for shorter charging times.

“This follows a trend that we’ve seen of automakers realizing how critical the battery is and taking more control of the production of the cells in order to ensure their own supply,” Sila Nano CEO Gene Berdichevsky said in a recent interview. “Like if you’re VW, and you say, ‘We’re going to go 50% electric by whatever year,’ but then the batteries don’t show up, you’re bankrupt, you’re dead. Their scale is so big that even if their cell partners have promised them to deliver, automakers are scared that they won’t.”

Tesla, BMW and Volkswagen were early adopters of the battery joint-venture strategy. In 2014,Tesla and Panasonic signed an agreement to build a large battery manufacturing plant, or a gigafactory as everyone is now calling it, in the U.S. and have worked together since. BMW began working with Solid Power in 2017 to create solid-state batteries for high-performance EVs that could potentially lower costs by requiring less safety features than lithium-ion batteries.

In addition to its partnership with Northvolt, VW is also in talks with suppliers to secure more direct access to supplies like semiconductors and lithium so it can keep its existing plants running at full speed.

Now the rest of the industry is moving to work with battery companies, to share knowledge and resources and essentially become the manufacturer.

#automotive, #basf, #bmw, #ec-mobility-hardware, #electric-vehicle, #ford, #general-motors, #greentech, #hyundai, #lg-chem, #lithium-ion-battery, #panasonic, #porsche, #renault, #sk-innovation, #solidenergy-systems, #tc, #tesla, #toyota, #transportation, #volkswagen

Startups and investors are turning to micromobility subscriptions

Amid the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic and the murky path to profitability for shared electric micromobility, an increasing number of companies have turned to subscriptions. It’s a business model that some founders and investors argue hits the profit center sweet spot — an approach that appeals to customers who are wary of sharing as well as paying upfront to own a scooter or e-bike, all while minimizing overhead costs and depreciation of assets.

Many investors think the subscription model will broaden the micromobility market, positioning it essentially as a software-as-a-service business, which achieves a higher multiple.

Across the United States, Europe, some of Canada and at least one Middle Eastern city, existing mobility companies are adding a subscription business line to their repertoire, and entirely new companies are being formed on the basis of the hardware-as-a-service model. But will this new playbook push the unit economics of micromobility in a positive direction? And what will determine which companies win at the subscription game?

In general, subscriptions for everything from groceries and streaming video to exercise equipment and clothing are on an upward slope. Subscription businesses are expected to grow at a rate of 30% this year, according to a 2021 study by digital services monetization company Telecoming.

Micromobility vendors keen to follow other industries into this model are focused on several factors, according to experts following the industry: the ease of scaling, return on investment and cost-per-mile to operate.

“Subscription services for a single vehicle are far more interesting and scalable than the subscription model that was trialed by the shared mobility services,” Oliver Bruce, angel investor and co-host of the Micromobility Podcast with Horace Dediu, told TechCrunch. “The cost per kilometer is just an order of magnitude smaller, and it’s not constrained by citywide caps.”

Shawn Carolan, managing director at Menlo Ventures, is also bullish on the micromobility subscription model because it makes more sense for the consumer, as most people will prefer to pay a low monthly fee rather than a higher upfront fee.

“The best customers are repeat customers, commuters or local neighborhood trips,” Carolan said. “Repeatedly paying per ride is both expensive and cognitively taxing. People want low friction in transportation. Getting from here to there shouldn’t require a lot of thought.”

The key players: E-bikes

Bird and Lime might dominate the shared micromobility space, but they’re not leading the subscription market, largely because their bikes and scooters are built to be heavier and more robust in order to handle city usage. Their operating systems are also designed to manage fleets and keep the vehicles in specific territories within a city. Bird and Spin have announced intentions to offer subscriptions, but so far there’s only been a chance to sign up for a waitlist.

Meanwhile, subscription services tend to offer lighter-weight vehicles that can be carried up flights of stairs or even folded down.

Swapfiets, the bike-sharing company with the distinctive blue front wheel, is one of the pioneers in the world of bike-sharing. In 2015, Richard Burger, Martijn Obers and Dirk de Bruijn started the Dutch company as university students in Delft when they realized that owning a bike could be somewhat of a hassle. The Netherlands is renowned for having more bicycles than people, but that doesn’t make it any easier to buy, sell and maintain them, especially with such high fees at bike shops.

“We asked how we could shift this and get only benefits from using a bike to go from A to B and not have all this hassle,” Burger told TechCrunch. “And for us, the subscription model was really the realization that would fix that.”

#bird, #bive, #cabify, #e-bikes, #e-mopeds, #e-scooters, #ec-market-map, #ec-mobility-hardware, #ec-mobility-software, #electric-mobility, #grover, #lime, #revel, #startups, #tc, #transportation, #unagi, #venture-capital, #wire-rides, #zoomo, #zygg

Rimac Automobili founder Mate Rimac shares lessons from bootstrapping an EV company

Mate Rimac’s founder story has the makings of automotive folklore. He started Rimac Automobili in his garage in 2009 as a literal one-person operation that has grown to a company with more than 1,000 employees, supply contracts with automakers like Porsche and a new electric hypercar moving into production.

What might not be known is how close the company came to failing. “It has been such a wild ride,” Mate Rimac said during an interview at at the virtual TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 event. “The first seven years, we were like out of money and technically bankrupt all the time.”

The founder and CEO of Croatian electric hypercar and components developer Rimac Automobili joined TechCrunch on our virtual stage to talk about the company’s new Nevera vehicle, his interest in electric robotaxis and the prospect of an acquisition of Bugatti. Throughout the interview, he gave a candid account of some of the company’s lowest points, how he and the company survived and what other founders can learn from his experience.

“It was quite a ride.”

Today, Rimac Automobili is a household name in Croatia with plans to grow even larger. Rimac is currently building a headquarters and technology campus on a 49-acre site that is slated to be completed in 2023. It was a far more solitary experience the first few years of Rimac Automobili’s existence. Even when it gained recognition, the company came close to failing numerous times, Rimac said in the interview.

It has been such a wild ride. And like the first seven years, we were like out of money and technically bankrupt all the time.

We had situations where I can’t even start to explain what we survived. I set out this company 12 years ago, I was alone for two years. The first employee joined me in 2011. So it was really built from a garage.

#automotive, #cars, #croatia, #ec-croatia, #ec-europe, #ec-mobility-hardware, #electric-car, #europe, #mate-rimac, #rimac-automobili, #transportation

GM’s newest startup aims squarely at the commercial EV market

Ford and GM’s century-old battle for market share is no longer restricted to gas- and diesel-powered passenger car, truck and SUV sales. The hottest market in the next decade is commercial and electric.

In this new race, the two companies are taking different strategies as they square off against each other — along with a growing list of EV startups — to win over as many delivery and fleet-vehicle customers as possible.

GM’s weapon is BrightDrop, a new startup incubated and launched at CES 2021 by Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. The venture boasts an ecosystem of EV hardware and logistical software products aimed squarely at fleet and delivery companies. GM’s interest in the space is far from merely exploratory; it anticipates that the market for delivery, including food and parcels in the United States, will be more than $850 billion by 2025.

For fleet managers, it comes down to the numbers on a spreadsheet, and thanks to incentives and lower maintenance costs associated with EVs, vans that run on electrons instead of dead dinosaurs make financial sense.

“Folks on the commercial side don’t really care about the technology — they care about the economics,” Brett Smith, director of technology at research firm CAR, told TechCrunch.

Electric vehicles might be more ecologically sound than traditional gas- or diesel-powered vehicles, but for fleet managers, it comes down to the numbers on a spreadsheet, and thanks to incentives and lower maintenance costs associated with EVs, vans that run on electrons instead of dead dinosaurs make financial sense.

#automotive, #brightdrop, #ec-mobility-hardware, #ec-news-analysis, #electric-vehicles, #fedex, #ford, #general-motors, #gm, #transportation

Veo CEO Candice Xie has a plan for building a sustainable scooter company, and it’s working

Startups are the embodiment of frenetic action. The rush to grow, outrun, and disrupt runs in the lifeblood of today’s entrepreneurs, driving their fervor and enabling them to capture markets from giants of industries too big to maneuver in a quickly changing landscape.

That has been truer for the mobility landscape than most other industries. Companies like electric scooter providers Lime and Bird have raised tons of capital to change how the urban population gets around, but that growth has come at the cost of a bottom line still in the red.

So it’s striking to see electric scooter company Veo take a different approach to the business. Rather than raising venture capital and scaling quickly, the company does business the old-fashioned way: Proving the model works in one market before moving to the next. This slower, more methodical approach has worked in Veo’s favor — it might be the only company in its industry that has been consistently profitable.

Veo’s approach reflects its co-founder and CEO Candice Xie’s belief that transportation is not an industry that allows companies to scale rapidly and turn a big profit within a year, and especially not if it’s going to make sense for a city. Electric scooters aren’t just a business to Xie — they’re a utility, a tool that can be best implemented through patient collaboration between public and private partners. The CEO has taken this ethos and executed Veo’s business model with the expectation that it will make the company the most impactful in the industry.

A former financial planner for automation solutions company, Schneider Electric, in Chicago, Xie launched Vue in 2017, partly inspired by the bike-share boom in Asia. She was decidedly against the poor quality bikes many operators were deploying at the time, and was also frustrated by the lack of affordable, safe and convenient transportation in Chicago. After some market research, Xie and her co-founder, Yanke (Edwin) Tan, a bike engineer, discovered the gap in last-mile transportation in the United States.

The following interview, part of an ongoing series with founders who are building transportation companies, has been edited for length and clarity. 

In your Medium post titled “Sorry, Boys. The First Profitable Micromobility Company Was Veo, Not Lime,” you fired some shots at Lime and the tech bro-ey micromobility industry at large. That was pretty bold. 

Thank you! I think because of the VC money and also the hype in the industry, a lot of people just forget how easy and simple the business should be. That’s why I put out the post. It was just time to say something in the industry and help people to understand.

What made you write it?

That was actually the time when Lime announced they were the first ones to achieve profitability, and that’s through EBITDA, and a lot of people were clapping for them. I was compelled to write because many people who follow the industry asked me, “Hey, it seems their approach is working? Should we follow suit? Why are you taking a different approach?”

I felt like that statement from Lime was quite misleading for a lot of people, and I don’t think that was a responsible statement, either. So that made me feel like I should use my insight and just explain things a bit more openly with our information.

#bird, #e-scooters, #ec-mobility-hardware, #electric-scooters, #electric-vehicles, #founders, #lime, #micromobility, #moped-scooter, #rideshare, #scooter-sharing, #scooters, #startups, #tc, #transportation, #veo

Refraction AI’s Matthew Johnson-Roberson on finding the middle path to robotic delivery

Refraction AI calls itself the Goldilocks of robotic delivery. The Ann Arbor-based company, which recently raised a $4.2 million seed round and expanded operations to Austin, was founded by two University of Michigan professors who think delivery via full-size autonomous vehicles (AV) is not nearly as close as many promise and sidewalk delivery comes with too many hassles and not enough payoff. Their “just right” solution? Find a middle path, or rather, a bike path.

The company’s REV-1 robot, which co-founder and CTO Matthew Johnson-Roberson debuted on the TechCrunch Sessions: Mobility stage in 2019, was built on a foundation of a bicycle. At about 4 feet tall and 32 inches wide, the three-wheeled vehicle can travel at up to 15 miles per hour, which means it can stop quickly to avoid obstacles while still being faster than a human.

The intermediate speed also means that the REV-1 doesn’t need to see as far ahead as a full-size AV, which allows it to function well on radars, sensors and cameras instead of requiring expensive lidar, according to the company.

Johnson-Roberson has spent nearly 20 years in academic robotics. Universities are home to many of the advances in field robotics, but the average person doesn’t see many such applications everyday when they look out their window. This desire to make something that is useful to the general public has been a huge motivator for the academic-turned-founder.

The following interview, part of an ongoing series with founders who are building transportation companies, has been edited for length and clarity. 

TechCrunch: You unveiled Refraction AI on the TechCrunch stage two years ago. How has it evolved since?

Matthew Johnson-Roberson: It’s been a really exciting ride. At that time, we had one vehicle — the one that we rolled out on stage — and now we have 25 vehicles in Ann Arbor and Austin, which we just announced. So things have changed quite a bit in the intervening years. We had already predicted a lot of changes around food delivery, specifically, and lots of those were accelerated by the pandemic.

#autonomous-delivery, #autonomous-vehicles, #ec-mobility-hardware, #ec-robotics, #logistics, #refraction-ai, #robotics, #startups, #transportation

The air taxi market prepares to take flight

Twelve years ago, Joby Aviation consisted of a team of seven engineers working out of founder JoeBen Bevirt’s ranch in the Santa Cruz mountains. Today, the startup has swelled to 800 people and a $6.6 billion valuation, ranking itself as the highest-valued electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) company in the industry.

As in any disruptive industry, the forecast may be cloudier than the rosy picture painted by passionate founders and investors.

It’s not the only air taxi company to reach unicorn status. The field is now dotted with new or soon-to-be publicly traded companies courtesy of mergers and special purpose acquisition companies. Partnerships with major automakers and airlines are on the rise, and CEOs have promised commercialization as early as 2024.

As in any disruptive industry, the forecast may be cloudier than the rosy picture painted by passionate founders and investors. A quick peek at comments and posts on LinkedIn reveals squabbles among industry insiders and analysts about when this emerging technology will truly take off and which companies will come out ahead.

Other disagreements have higher stakes. Wisk Aero filed a lawsuit against Archer Aviation alleging trade secret misappropriation. Meanwhile, valuations for companies that have no revenue yet to speak of — and may not for the foreseeable future — are skyrocketing.

Electric air mobility is gaining elevation. But there’s going to be some turbulence ahead.

Big goals and bigger expenses

Taking an eVTOL from design through to manufacturing and certification will likely cost about $1 billion, Mark Moore, then-head of Uber Elevate, estimated in April 2020 during a conference held by the Air Force’s Agility Prime program.

That means in some sense, the companies that will come out on top will likely be the ones that have managed to raise enough money to pay for all the expenses associated with engineering, certification, manufacturing and infrastructure.

“The startups that have successfully raised or that will be able to raise significant amounts of capital to get them through the certification process … that’s the number one thing that’s going to separate the strong from the weak,” Asad Hussain, a senior analyst in mobility technology at PitchBook, told TechCrunch. “There’s over 100 startups in the space. Not all of them are going to be able to do that.”

Just consider some of the expenses accrued by the biggest eVTOLs last year: Joby Aviation spent a whopping $108 million on research and development, a $30 million increase from 2019. Archer spent $21 million in R&D in 2020, according to regulatory filings. Meanwhile, Joby’s net loss last year was $114.2 million and Archer’s was $24.8 million, though, of course, neither company has brought a product to market yet. Operating expenses will likely only continue to grow into the future as companies enter into manufacturing and deployment phases.

What that means for the future of the industry is likely two things: more SPAC deals and more acquisitions.

Mobility companies, including those working on electrified transport, are often pre-revenue and have capitally intensive business models — a combination that can make it difficult to find buyers in a traditional IPO. SPACs have become increasingly popular as a shorter, less expensive path to becoming a public company. SPACs have also historically received less scrutiny than IPOs. Should the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission start to take a closer look at SPAC mergers in the future, it may impair the ability of other air taxi companies to go public this way, Hussain said.

That means market consolidation is nearly guaranteed, as smaller companies may find it more advantageous to sell than continue to raise more capital. It’s already begun: At the end of April, eVTOL developer Astro Aerospace announced the acquisition of Horizon Aircraft.

Horizon cited “greater access to capital” as one of the many benefits of the transaction, and other companies will likely find the buy or sell route to be the most beneficial on the road to commercialization. And just last week, British eVTOL Vertical Aerospace, which has an order for 150 aircraft from Virgin Atlantic, said it would go public via a merger with Broadstone Acquisition Corp. at an equity value of around $2.2 billion.

#aerospace, #air-taxi, #aviation, #ec-mobility-hardware, #electric-aircraft, #evtol, #joby-aviation, #startups, #tc, #transportation, #venture-capital, #volocopter, #wisk-aero

The rise of robotaxis in China

AutoX, Momenta and WeRide took the stage at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 to discuss the state of robotaxi startups in China and their relationships with local governments in the country.

They also talked about overseas expansion — a common trajectory for China’s top autonomous vehicle startups — and shed light on the challenges and opportunities for foreign AV companies eyeing the massive Chinese market.


Enterprising governments

Worldwide, regulations play a great role in the development of autonomous vehicles. In China, policymaking for autonomous driving is driven from the bottom up rather than a top-down effort by the central government, observed executives from the three Chinese robotaxi startups.

Huan Sun, Europe general manager at Momenta, which is backed by the government of Suzhou, a city near Shanghai, said her company had a “very good experience” working with the municipal governments across multiple cities.

In China, each local government is incentivized to really act like entrepreneurs like us. They are very progressive in developing the local economy… What we feel is that autonomous driving technology can greatly improve and upgrade the [local governments’] economic structure. (Time stamp: 02:56)

Shenzhen, a special economic zone with considerable lawmaking autonomy, is just as progressive in propelling autonomous driving forward, said Jewel Li, chief operation officer at AutoX, which is based in the southern city.

#adas, #aptiv, #artificial-intelligence, #automotive, #av, #china, #early-stage-2021, #ec-mobility-hardware, #ec-techcrunch-mobility, #ev, #robotaxi, #saic, #self-driving-cars, #tc, #techcrunch-mobility-event-2021, #transportation, #waymo

Arrival’s Denis Sverdlov on the new era of car manufacturing

Electric vehicle company Arrival wants to break the current auto manufacturing model. Instead of one giant factory and an assembly line, Arrival’s commercial electric vans, buses and cars are robotically built in small, regional microfactories, of which the company wants to open 31 by the end of 2025.

If you want to achieve something radically more efficient, you have to go deeper, into complex, high-level computational algorithms that are not normally used in consumer-facing products.

The London-based company, founded in 2015, joined the ranks of EV companies going public via SPAC, merging with blank-check company CIIG Merger Corp. in March. UPS has already ordered 10,000 of Arrival’s robotically engineered vans, and the company recently signed a deal with Uber to create purpose-built EVs for ride-hail drivers.

Arrival founder Denis Sverdlov has been at the intersection of technological advancement and societal change before. Born in the nation of Georgia, Sverdlov founded his first company at 22 selling IT consulting software to enterprise customers. Since then, he has built and exited multiple companies, most notably telecommunications operator Yota Group. Founded in 2007, the same year the iPhone came out, Yota eventually launched a 4G network across Russia, coupling it with an HTC smartphone that would facilitate the use of the network. Sverdlov sold the company in 2012 for $1.5 billion, did a brief stint as the Russian deputy communications and mass media minister, and then went on to start Arrival. Oh, and he founded electric autonomous car race Roborace in 2015, too, just ‘cause.

With the same sense that fast, mobile internet and big screens would change the telecoms industry back in 2007, Sverdlov began to see a perfect storm brewing in the EV world over the last decade. In 2015, he founded Arrival in anticipation of a switch to electric as well as advancements happening in material, research and development in the robotics industry. He predicts this will have an even bigger impact on the automotive industry than 4G had on telecommunications.

TechCrunch: Denis, your first company was a telecom operator and you were behind the creation of Roborace. Now you’re trying to change the way the auto industry makes cars with Arrival. Are you a serial entrepreneur who is already thinking about the next thing? Or are you pretty involved in this one?

Dennis Sverdlov: Yeah, I’m quite involved with Arrival, and I expect to see many new technologies and enablers come out of this journey. For example, if you take our robotic technologies, which we use for microfactories, you can easily see how that will be used in other industries, as well, so it’s not going to be used only for automotive.

But as a company, we need to focus on what we do today because we need to achieve a lot here, and I think it’s important to focus on that. But, yeah, I would also count myself as a serial entrepreneur because I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years.

How do you think that your past business decisions have informed your current strategy with Arrival?

#arrival, #automotive, #ec-mobility-hardware, #electric-vehicles, #lucid-motors, #tc, #tesla, #transportation

Bird Ride’s SPAC filing shows scooter-nomics just doesn’t fly

Scooter unicorn Bird Rides is going public, per an agreement to merge with a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. After rumors and reports circulated for months about an imminent deal, it has finally arrived.

First, a quick overview of the agreement and the players involved: Bird is merging with Switchback II at an implied valuation of $2.3 billion. Fidelity Management & Research Company will lead the deal’s $106 million in private investment in public equity, or PIPE. Apollo Investment Corp. and MidCap Financial Trust provided an additional $40 million in asset financing. (Disclosure: Apollo is buying TechCrunch’s parent company.)

Historically — and based on what we’re seeing in this fantastical filing — Bird proved to be a simply awful business. Its results from 2019 and 2020 describe a company with a huge cost structure and unprofitable revenue, per filings. After posting negative gross profit in both of the most recent full-year periods, Bird’s initial model appears to have been defeated by the market.

What drove the company’s hugely unprofitable revenues and resulting net losses? Unit economics that were nearly comically destructive.

Some of the numbers Bird shared in its investor deck show a business that is growing, in terms of users and geographic footprint. Bird is in 200 cities globally and reports more than 95 million rides to date, and 3 million new riders added during the pandemic. The investor deck also touts year-round positive economics during the COVID-19 era. That all looks positive. But looking into the line-item financials, a different story emerges.

The scooter shop managed to convert a $135.7 million gross loss in 2019 to a smaller gross deficit of $23.5 million in 2020, but it did not manage to shake up its upside-down economics during its full fiscal 2020.

#bird, #ec-mobility-hardware, #fundings-exits, #lime, #micromobility, #scooters, #spac, #startups, #the-extra-crunch-daily, #transportation

Revel’s Frank Reig shares how he built his business and what he’s planning

It’s only been three years since they hit the streets and Revel’s blue electric mopeds have already become a common sight in New York, San Francisco and a growing number of U.S. cities. However, Revel founder and CEO Frank Reig has set his sights far beyond building a shared moped service.

In fact, since the beginning of 2021, Revel has launched an e-bike subscription service, an EV charging station venture and an all-electric rideshare service driven by a fleet of 50 Teslas.

So we caught up with Reig to talk about what he learned from building the company, how Revel’s business strategy has evolved, and what lies ahead.

Before we get to the good stuff, here’s some background:

The idea for Revel seems like it came from the classic entrepreneur’s guidebook: Reig had a need that no existing company addressed. He’d seen mopeds used as major, if not dominant, forms of transportation as he traveled around Europe, Asia and Latin America, and he wondered why this logical (and fun) mode of transport was largely absent from American cities in general, and in his hometown, New York City, in particular.

So in 2018, Reig quit his job, raised $1.1 million from 57 people, and launched a small pilot program involving 68 mopeds in Brooklyn. In May 2019, he raised $4 million in VC funding, which helped him expand to 1,000 electric mopeds across Brooklyn and Queens. Revel secured another $33.8 million in September 2019, in a round that included funding from Ibex Investments, Toyota Ventures, Maniv Capital, Shell and Hyundai, according to Reig. This has allowed the founder to execute a grander plan to build an electric mobility company.

The company now operates more than 3,000 e-mopeds in New York City, and has another 3,000 across Washington, D.C., Miami, Oakland, Berkeley and San Francisco.

TechCrunch: You’ve added three new business lines and told us previously that you have more on the way. That’s a lot.

Frank Reig: Yes, we have had a busy start to 2021! We began the year announcing our fast-charging stations across the city that will help fill the large gap in infrastructure to support the wide-scale adoption of EVs. We launched our e-bike subscription program to offer New Yorkers another way to navigate their city, and with our newly announced electric ride-sharing program, we are solving the “chicken and egg” problem of EV charging and demand. We are focused on building out these business lines and our moped business as well and very much looking forward to what is to come.

When shared micromobility companies expand, they often just offer different vehicles. You seem to be going, “Ok, we’ll offer a different vehicle — an e-bike, but it’s a subscription. And we’re also doing electric vehicle chargers, and let’s add an EV rideshare to the mix.” It’s pretty broad.

If we’re talking about electrifying mobility in major cities, it starts with infrastructure. And we’re the company rolling up our sleeves and doing it now by building that infrastructure and operating fleets. Because in a city like New York, the infrastructure does not exist for electric mobility.

There are a few Tesla superchargers around the city, usually behind parking paywalls, so you have to pay the garage to even use it. And, of course, you need a Tesla for that infrastructure to even be relevant. And when you think about other public fast-charging access points in the city, they are few and far between. We’re building 30 in one site and many more beyond that in 2021.

New York is a complicated city to operate in, so it’s easier for us to add e-bikes as a service because I already have the infrastructure and on-the-ground operations that we built with the mopeds. I have multiple warehouses throughout this city. I have full-time staff that I’ve employed, from field technicians to mechanics, and a fleet of over 3,000 vehicles on the streets in New York. So it’s a natural extension of the platform to be able to add another product to it, to reach a new type of user, or to supplement the use case of our current moped users. All we needed to do was finance some e-bikes, and then you have another line of business.

#e-bikes, #ec-mobility-hardware, #electric-vehicles, #ev-charging-stations, #frank-reig, #micromobility, #mobility, #revel, #startups, #tc, #transportation

Micromobility’s next big business is software, not vehicles

The days of the shared, dockless micromobility model are numbered. That’s essentially the conclusion reached by Puneeth Meruva, an associate at Trucks Venture Capital who recently authored a detailed research brief on micromobility. Meruva is of the opinion that the standard for permit-capped, dockless scooter-sharing is not sustainable — the overhead is too costly, the returns too low — and that the industry could splinter.

Most companies playing to win have begun to vertically integrate their tech stacks by developing or acquiring new technology.

“Because shared services have started a cultural transition, people are more open to buying their own e-bike or e-scooter,” Meruva told TechCrunch. “Fundamentally because of how much city regulation is involved in each of these trips, it could reasonably become a transportation utility that is very useful for the end consumer, but it just hasn’t proven itself to be a profitable line of business.”

As dockless e-scooters, e-bikes and e-mopeds expand their footprint while consolidating under a few umbrella corporations, companies might develop or acquire the technology to streamline and reduce operational costs enough to achieve unit economics. One overlooked but massive factor in the micromobility space is the software that powers the vehicles — who owns it, if it’s made in-house and how well it integrates with the rest of the tech stack.

It’s the software that can determine if a company breaks out of the rideshare model into the sales or subscription model, or becomes subsidized by or absorbed into public transit, Meruva predicts.

Vehicle operating systems haven’t been top of mind for most companies in the short history of micromobility. The initial goal was making sure the hardware didn’t break down or burst into flames. When e-scooters came on the scene, they caused a ruckus. Riders without helmets zipped through city streets and many vehicles ended up in ditches or blocking sidewalk accessibility.

City officials were angry, to say the least, and branded dockless modes of transport a public nuisance. However, micromobility companies had to answer to their overeager investors — the ones who missed out on the Uber and Lyft craze and threw millions at electric mobility, hoping for swift returns. What was a Bird or a Lime to do? The only thing to do: Get back on that electric two-wheeler and start schmoozing cities.

How the fight for cities indirectly improved vehicle software

Shared, dockless operators are currently in a war of attrition, fighting to get the last remaining city permits. But as the industry seeks a business to government (B2G) model that morphs into what companies think cities want, some are inadvertently producing vehicles that will evolve beyond functional toys and into more viable transportation alternatives.

The second wave of micromobility was marked by newer companies like Superpedestrian and Voi Technology. They learned from past industry mistakes and developed business strategies that include building onboard operating systems in-house. The goal? More control over rider behavior and better compliance with city regulations.

Most companies playing to win have begun to vertically integrate their tech stacks by developing or acquiring new technology. Lime, Bird, Superpedestrian, Spin and Voi all design their own vehicles and write their own fleet management software or other operational tools. Lime writes its own firmware, which sits directly on top of the vehicle hardware primitives and helps control things like motor controllers, batteries and connected lights and locks.

#artificial-intelligence, #automotive, #bird-e-scooters, #e-bikes, #e-scooters, #ec-mobility-hardware, #ec-mobility-software, #lime-e-scooters, #micromobility, #software, #spin-e-scooters, #superpedestrian-e-scooters, #tortoise, #transportation, #voi-e-scooters

What’s fueling hydrogen tech?

Hydrogen — the magical gas that Jules Verne predicted in 1874 would one day be used as fuel — has long struggled to get the attention it deserves. Discovered 400 years ago, its trajectory has seen it mostly mired in obscurity, punctuated by a few explosive moments, but never really fulfilling its potential.

Now in 2021, the world may be ready for hydrogen.

This gas is capturing the attention of governments and private sector players, fueled by new tech, global green energy legislation, post-pandemic “green recovery” schemes and the growing consensus that action must be taken to combat climate change.

Joan Ogden, professor emeritus at UC Davis, started researching hydrogen in 1985 — at the time considered “pretty fringy, crazy stuff”. She’s seen industries and governments inquisitively poke at hydrogen over the years, then move on. This new, more intense focus feels different, she said.

The funding activity in France is one illustration of what is happening throughout Europe and beyond. “Back in 2018, the hydrogen strategy in France was €100 million — a joke,” Sabrine Skiker, the EU policy manager for land transport at Hydrogen Europe, said in an interview with TechCrunch. “I mean, a joke compared to what we have now. Now we have a strategy that foresees €7.2 billion.”

The European Clean Hydrogen Alliance forecasts public and private sectors will invest €430 billion in hydrogen in the continent by 2030 in a massive push to meet emissions targets. Globally, the hydrogen generation industry is expected to grow to $201 billion by 2025 from $130 billion in 2020 at a CAGR of 9.2%, according to research from Markets and Markets published this year. This growth is expected to lead to advancements across multiple sectors including transportation, petroleum refining, steel manufacturing and fertilizer production. There are 228 large-scale hydrogen projects in various stages of development today — mostly in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Hydrogen breakdown

When the word “hydrogen” is uttered today, the average non-insider’s mind likely gravitates toward transportation — cars, buses, maybe trains or 18-wheelers, all powered by the gas.

But hydrogen is and does a lot of things, and a better understanding of its other roles — and challenges within those roles — is necessary to its success in transportation.

Hydrogen is already being heavily used in petroleum refineries and by manufacturers of steel, chemicals, ammonia fertilizers and biofuels. It’s also blended into natural gas for delivery through pipelines.

Hydrogen is not an energy source, but an energy carrier — one with exceptional long-duration energy storage capabilities, which makes it a complement to weather-dependent energies like solar and wind. Storage is critical to the growth of renewable energy, and greater use of hydrogen in renewable energy storage can drive the cost of both down.

However, 95% of hydrogen produced is derived from fossil fuels — mostly through a process called steam methane reforming (SMR). Little of it is produced via electrolysis, which uses electricity to split hydrogen and oxygen. Even less is created from renewable energy. Thus, not all hydrogen is created equal. Grey hydrogen is made from fossil fuels with emissions, and blue hydrogen is made from non-renewable sources whose carbon emissions are captured and sequestered or transformed. Green hydrogen is made from renewable energy. 

Where the action is

The global fuel cell vehicle market is hit or miss. There are about 10,000 FCVs in the U.S., with most of them in California — and sales are stalling. Only 937 FCVs were sold in the entire country in 2020, less than half the number sold in 2019. California has 44 hydrogen refueling stations and about as many in the works, but a lack of refueling infrastructure outside of the state isn’t helping American adoption.

#automotive, #bill-gates, #ec-food-climate-and-sustainability, #ec-mobility-hardware, #hydrogen, #hydrogen-fuel-cell, #sergey-brin, #tc, #transportation

Giving EV batteries a second life for sustainability and profit

Electric cars and trucks seem to have everything going for them: They don’t produce tailpipe emissions, they’re quieter than their fossil fuel-powered counterparts and the underlying architecture allows for roomier and often sleeker designs. But the humble lithium-ion battery powering these cars and trucks leads a difficult life. Irregular charging and discharge rates, intense temperatures and many partial charge cycles cause these batteries to degrade in the first five to eight years of use, and eventually, they end up in a recycling facility.

Instead of sending batteries straight to recycling for raw material recovery — and leaving unrealized value on the table — startups and automakers are finding ways to reuse batteries as part of a small and growing market.

That’s because the average electric vehicle lithium-ion battery can retain up to 70% of their charging capacity after being removed. The business proposition for second-life batteries is therefore intuitive: before sending the battery to a recycler, automakers can potentially generate additional revenue by putting it to use in another application or selling it to a third-party.

Low consumer uptake and the relatively recent introduction of EVs to the market has kept the supply of used batteries low, but automakers are already pursuing a number of second-life projects.

To name only a few such projects that have popped up in recent years, Nissan is using old batteries to power small robots; French carmaker Groupe Renault, with partners, is launching stationary energy storage systems made with old EV batteries; and Audi Environmental Foundation, the daughter organization of Audi AG, worked with Indian startup Nunam to build solar nanogrids out of used e-tron battery modules.

Other OEMs, like Lucid Motors, BMW and Proterra, are incorporating reuse principles into their battery design. In fact, Lucid has built its batteries to work across its electric vehicle and energy storage products, including in second-life uses, Chief Engineer Eric Bach told TechCrunch. And BMW has used a ‘plug-and-play’ concept with the batteries in its i3 model so that they can be easily removed and inserted into second-life applications, BMW spokesperson Weiland Bruch said in an interview with TechCrunch. “We believe that battery second-life will become its own self-standing business field,” he added.

A new lease on battery life

Automakers are increasingly bullish on second-life uses, though the size of their role in this budding market is still unclear. Matthew Lumsden, CEO of UK-based Connected Energy, told TechCrunch that he has noticed a shift in the past two years where some OEMs have begun viewing batteries as an asset rather than a liability.

#audi-ag, #automotive, #ec-mobility-hardware, #electric-vehicles, #lithium-ion-batteries, #lucid-motors, #proterra, #rivian, #tesla, #transportation, #volkswagen, #vw-group

Automakers, suppliers and startups see growing market for in-vehicle AR/VR applications

Augmented and virtual reality have been used for years in gaming, design and shopping. Now, a new battle for market share is emerging — inside vehicles.

Safety-glass windshields offer a new opportunity for suppliers, manufacturers and startups that are starting to adapt this technology: AR overlays digital information or images on what a user sees in the real world, while VR creates a seemingly real experience that changes as they move through it.

Despite all of the pomp and promises about the technology’s potential, there isn’t a clear understanding of market demand for bringing AR and VR to cars, trucks and passenger vans.

The potential for monetizing AR/VR is hamstrung by a number of factors: The long, expensive timelines required to develop, tool and test an automotive-grade product has constrained development to a small subset of startups and several large suppliers.

Despite all of the pomp and promises about the technology’s potential, there isn’t a clear understanding of market demand for bringing AR and VR to cars, trucks and passenger vans. Estimates of the global market range from $14 billion by 2027 to as much as $673 billion by 2025. That wide range shows just how nascent the market currently is and how much opportunity is present.

“At the vehicle manufacturer level, companies are witnessing a complete shift of emphasis of what their product offering is, to the user. Because of that change of emphasis, there’s a whole new paradigm of what the car is,” said Andy Travers, the CEO of Ceres, a Scottish company that specializes in creating holographic glass for AR applications. “There is a huge interest in AR and transparent displays because a car is no longer really differentiated by its engine size, especially as we get into electric vehicles. They are going to be identical skateboards. The question then becomes, how do you differentiate an electric car? You push it toward the user experience.”

It’s no surprise that the implementation of automotive AR (and in limited situations, VR) has been and will continue to be slow. It will largely lag the wider AR and VR market for a number of reasons. Vehicle systems — especially those using computing power and technology needed for AR and VR — must be robust enough to handle tremendous temperature swings, rough jostling and impacts over anywhere from three to 10 years, even if Tesla says that “it is economically, if not technologically, infeasible to expect that such components can or should be designed to last the vehicle’s entire useful life.”

These systems have to be nearly indestructible in extreme conditions for a very long period of time. They must also be compact and power-efficient, especially as electric vehicles become more prevalent. You don’t want your AR or VR system draining your battery and leaving you stranded.

As an example of just how much the automotive technology landscape differs from the consumer realm, consider how long it took for touchscreens to show up in vehicle cockpits. While Buick offered a rudimentary touchscreen in its 1986 Riviera, it was not the easy-to-use interface we’re used to today thanks to the advent of the iPhone.

This is partially due to the three- to seven-year iteration cycles most vehicle makers are on and because the technology simply wasn’t familiar enough to the consumer market to make widespread adoption profitable. In their current form, AR and VR have seen a far more successful uptake rate in industrial usage and application, in part because the technology is still so pricey.

It would be a mistake to exclude a discussion about the development of autonomous driving in this AR and VR conversation, too. The technology is instrumental in the development of fully autonomous vehicles, and while there are no full-autonomous vehicles on the road today, automakers are pushing to make them more than just vaporware.

The players

Many well-established brands like Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen already offer a suite of AR features in their top-end vehicles. Automotive suppliers like Continental, Denso, Visteon, ZF, Nvidia, Bosch, Panasonic and others are the biggest players in the AR and VR automotive space, supplying and making head-up displays (HUDs) and related components for a variety of established automakers.

Most of the AR features in these vehicles are focused on overlaying directional guides over camera images to help drivers navigate in unfamiliar territories or identify a particular building or landmark. Virtual reality, thus far, has been largely applied to the design, sales, demonstration and education of consumers about new technology and features in vehicles, although companies like Audi spinoff Holoride are working to offer passengers VR experiences that can help cut down on in-car motion sickness while simultaneously offering gaming, entertainment or business applications. Even ride-hailing companies are getting in on the AR and VR game, with Lyft and Uber exploring AR and VR options for riders.

#ar, #augmented-reality, #automotive, #ceres, #continental, #ec-market-map, #ec-mobility-hardware, #ec-mobility-software, #transportation, #virtual-reality, #vr

From electric charging to supply chain management, InMotion Ventures preps Jaguar for a sustainable future

Since InMotion Ventures, the independent investment and incubation initiative set up by Jaguar Land Rover, launched in 2016 the firm has focused on backing companies across the mobility space broadly. Its 15 active investments run the gamut from autonomous vehicles, to car insurance tech, to ride-sharing, and travel planning, but increasingly the firm is focusing its efforts on vehicle electrification and sustainable supply chains.

As the mobility market moves to embrace electrification, InMotion wants to make sure its portfolio is in the mix.

That’s evident from its most recent investment in Circulor, a company that monitors supply chains from raw material inputs to finished outputs with an eye toward sustainable sourcing.

As an OEM nowadays it’s increasingly important to have increasing transparency and visibility into how all of those materials have been sourced,” said the firm’s managing director, Sebastian Peck. Circulor already has a strong footprint in the automotive industry, Peck said, and is working with a major oil company on tracing the share of recycled plastics that have come from that provider. “It has applications across any industry.”

Jaguar Land Rover is also using Circulor’s technology to track a material that’s being used in the interior of one of the company’s vehicles, Peck said. The stealthy project hasn’t been publicly revealed yet, but the company has worked with a university and supplier to trace the material from its point of origin to the finished product.

Sustainable supply chains aren’t the only priorities Peck laid out in a recent interview with TechCrunch.

As the mobility market moves to embrace electrification, InMotion wants to make sure its portfolio is in the mix and Peck said it would be looking to make investments in a number of different areas around electric vehicles and batteries.

“We have looked at a number of companies who are developing new battery chemistries. We haven’t made an investment yet,” Peck said. “We don’t have a deep enough insight into the IP portfolios of the big battery suppliers to really be able to reliably benchmark those new chemistries. We have not had enough conviction to make an investment or back a particular company. From a value chain it is two or three steps away from us. It’s a space we’re looking at.”

#automotive, #ec-mobility-hardware, #electric-vehicle, #inmotion-ventures, #jaguar-land-rover, #sebastian-peck, #startups, #tc, #transportation, #venture-capital

Can solid state batteries power up for the next generation of EVs?

Lithium-ion batteries power almost every new phone, laptop and electric vehicle. But unlike processors or solar panels, which have improved exponentially, lithium-ion batteries have inched along with only incremental gains.

For the last decade, developers of solid state battery systems have promised products that are vastly safer, lighter and more powerful. Those promises largely evaporated into the ether — leaving behind a vapor stream of disappointing products, failed startups and retreating release dates.

For the last decade, developers of solid state battery systems have promised products that are vastly safer, lighter and more powerful.

A new wave of companies and technologies are finally maturing and attracting the funding necessary to feed batteries’ biggest market: transportation. Electric vehicles account for about 60% of all lithium-ion batteries made today, and IDTechEx predicts that solid state batteries will represent a $6 billion industry by 2030.

Electric vehicles have never been cooler, faster or cleaner, yet they still account for only around one in 25 cars sold around the world (and fewer still in the United States). A global survey of 10,000 drivers in 2020 by Castrol delivered the same perennial complaints that EVs are too expensive, too slow to charge and have too short a range.

Castrol identified three tipping points that EVs would need to drive a decisive shift away from their internal combustion rivals: a range of at least 300 miles, charging in just half an hour and costing no more than $36,000.

Theoretically, solid state batteries (SSB) could deliver all three.

There are many different kinds of SSB but they all lack a liquid electrolyte for moving electrons (electricity) between the battery’s positive (cathode) and negative (anode) electrodes. The liquid electrolytes in lithium-ion batteries limit the materials the electrodes can be made from, and the shape and size of the battery. Because liquid electrolytes are usually flammable, lithium-ion batteries are also prone to runaway heating and even explosion. SSBs are much less flammable and can use metal electrodes or complex internal designs to store more energy and move it faster — giving higher power and faster charging.

The players

“If you run the calculations, you can get really amazing numbers and they’re very exciting,” Amy Prieto, founder and CTO of solid state Colorado-based startup Prieto Battery said in a recent interview. “It’s just that making it happen in practice is very difficult.”

Prieto, who founded her company in 2009 after a career as a chemistry professor, has seen SSB startups come and go. In 2015 alone, Dyson acquired Ann Arbor startup Sakti3 and Bosch bought Berkeley Lab spin-off SEEO in separate automotive development projects. Both efforts failed, and Dyson has since abandoned some of Sakti3’s patents.

Prieto Battery, whose strategic investors include Intel, Stout Street Capital and Stanley Ventures, venture arm of toolmaker Stanley Black & Decker, pioneered an SSB with a 3D internal architecture that should enable high power and good energy density. Prieto is now seeking funding to scale up production for automotive battery packs. The first customer for these is likely to be electric pickup maker Hercules, whose debut vehicle, called Alpha, is due in 2022. (Fisker also says that it is developing a 3D SSB for its debut Ocean SUV, which is expected to arrive next year.)

Another Colorado SSB company is Solid Power, which has had investments from auto OEMs including BMV, Hyundai, Samsung and Ford, following a $20 million Series A in 2018. Solid Power has no ambitions to make battery packs or even cells, according to CEO Doug Campbell, and is doing its best to use only standard lithium-ion tooling and processes.

Once the company has completed cell development in 2023 or 2024, it would hand over full-scale production to its commercialization partners.

“It simply lowers the barrier to entry if existing producers can adopt it with minimal pain,” Campbell said.

QuantumScape is perhaps the highest profile SSB maker on the scene today. Spun out from Stanford University a decade ago, the secretive QuantumScape attracted funding from Bill Gates and $300 million from Volkswagen. In November, QuantumScape went public via a special purpose acquisition company at a $3.3 billion valuation. It then soared in value over 10 times after CEO Jagdeep Singh claimed to have solved the short lifetime and slow charging problems that have plagued SSBs.

#automotive, #ec-market-map, #ec-mobility-hardware, #electric-vehicles, #gm, #lithium-ion-batteries, #panasonic, #quantumscape, #tesla, #transportation