Everything we know about the $59,990 electric Cadillac Lyriq

On Wednesday, Cadillac formally revealed the production version of its next SUV. Called the Lyriq, when it goes on sale next year starting at $59,990, it will join the Hummer EV as part of General Motors’ third wave of electric vehicles (after Chevrolet’s experiments with the EV1 and Bolt EV).

If you think this vehicle looks familiar, you’re right—in August 2020, Cadillac presented a show-car version of the Lyriq, and the production version has changed very little. But, at the time, Cadillac wasn’t ready to talk technical specs. Now it is.

Propulsion to the rear wheels is provided by one of GM’s Ultium Drive motors that will appear in more than 20 new EVs in the coming few years. That electric motor endows the Lyriq with 225 kW (340 hp) and 440 Nm (325 lb-ft), which should mean the 2,545 kg (5,610 lb) SUV will be appropriately quick as opposed to face-meltingly fast.

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#cadillac-lyriq, #cars, #electric-vehicle, #general-motors, #ultium, #ultium-drive


Scale AI founder and CEO Alexandr Wang will join us at TC Sessions: Mobility on June 9

Last week, Scale AI announced a massive $325 million Series E. Led by Dragoneer, Greenoaks Capital and Tiger Global, the raise gives the San Francisco data labeling startup a $7 billion valuation.

Alexandr Wang founded the company back in 2016, while still at MIT. A veteran of Quora and Addepar, Wang built the startup to curate information for AI applications. The company is now a break-even business, with a wide range of top-notch clients, including General Motors, NVIDIA, Nuro and Zoox.

Backed by a ton of venture capital, the company plans a large-scale increase in its headcount, as it builds out new products and expands into additional markets. “One thing that we saw, especially in the course of the past year, was that AI is going to be used for so many different things,” Wang told TechCrunch in a recent interview. “It’s like we’re just sort of really at the beginning of this and we want to be prepared for that as it happens.”

The executive will join us on stage at TC Sessions: Mobility on June 9 to discuss how the company has made a major impact on the industry in its short four years of existence, the role AI is playing in the world of transportation and what the future looks like for Scale AI.

In addition to Wang, TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 will feature an incredible lineup of speakers, presentations, fireside chats and breakouts all focused on the current and future state of mobility — like EVs, micromobility and smart cities for starters — and the investment trends that influence them all.

Investors like Clara Brenner (Urban Innovation Fund), Quin Garcia (Autotech Ventures) and Rachel Holt (Construct Capital) — all of whom will grace our virtual stage. They’ll have plenty of insight and advice to share, including the challenges that startup founders will face as they break into the transportation arena.

You’ll hear from CEOs like Starship Technologies’ Ahti Heinla. The company’s been busy testing delivery robots in real-world markets. Don’t miss his discussion touching on challenges ranging from technology to red tape and what it might take to make last-mile robotic delivery a mainstream reality.

Grab your early bird pass today and save $100 on tickets before prices go up in less than a month.

#addepar, #alexandr-wang, #articles, #artificial-intelligence, #autotech-ventures, #clara-brenner, #deliv, #economy, #entrepreneurship, #executive, #general-motors, #greenoaks-capital, #micromobility, #mit, #nuro, #nvidia, #quora, #rachel-holt, #san-francisco, #scale-ai, #starship-technologies, #startup-company, #tc-sessions-mobility, #technology, #tiger-global, #transportation, #urban-innovation-fund, #venture-capital, #wang


General Motors leads $139 million investment into lithium-metal battery developer, SES

General Motors is joining the list of big automakers picking their horses in the race to develop better batteries for electric vehicles with its lead of a $139 million investment into the lithium-metal battery developer, SES.

Volkswagen has QuantumScape; Ford has invested in SolidPower (along with Hyundai and BMW); and now with SES’ big backing from General Motors most of the big American and European automakers have placed their bets.

“We are beyond R&D development,” said SES chief executive Hu Qichao in an interview with TechCrunch. “The main purposes of this funding is to, one, mprove the key material, this lithium metal electrolyte on the anode side and the cathode side, and, two, to improve the scale of the current cell from the iPhone battery size to the size that can be used in cars.”

There’s a third component to the financing as well, Hu said, which is to increase the company’s algorithmic capabilities to monitor and manage cell performance. “It’s something that we and our OEM partners care about,” said Hu.

The investment from GM s the culmination of nearly six years of work with the big automaker, said Hu. “We started working with them in 2015. For the next three years we will go through the standard automation approval processes. Going from ‘A’ sample to ‘B’ sample all the way through ‘D’ sample,” which is the final testing phase before commercial availability of SES’ batteries in cars.

While Tesla, the current leader in electric vehicle sales in America, is looking to improve the form factors of its batteries to make them more powerful and more efficient, Hu said that the chemistry isn’t that different. Solid state batteries represent a step change in battery technology that makes batteries more powerful, easier to recycle, and potentially more stable.

As Mark Harris wrote in TechCrunch earlier earlier this year:

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.

What SES is doing has brought the company attention not just from General Motors, but from previous investors including the battery giant SK Innovation; the Singapore-based, government-backed investment firm, Temasek; the venture capital arm of semiconductor manufacturer, Applied Materials, Applied Ventures; the Chinese automaking giant, Shanghai Auto; and investment firm, Vertex.

“GM has been rapidly driving down battery cell costs and improving energy density, and our work with SES technology has incredible potential to deliver even better EV performance for customers who want more range at a lower cost,” said Matt Tsien, GM executive vice president and chief technology officer and president, GM Ventures. “This investment by GM and others will allow SES to accelerate their work and scale up their business.”


#america, #applied-materials, #applied-ventures, #battery-technology, #electricity, #energy, #ford, #general-motors, #gm-ventures, #hyundai, #iphone, #lithium, #lithium-ion-batteries, #ontology, #semiconductor, #ses, #solid-state-batteries, #tc, #temasek, #tesla, #volkswagen


How a Very Weird Quirk Might Let Michigan Republicans Limit Voting Rights

State Republicans are pushing a voting law that Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has said she will veto. But a rarely used option for a voter-driven petition could allow the G.O.P. to circumvent her veto.

#corporate-social-responsibility, #democratic-party, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #law-and-legislation, #michigan, #politics-and-government, #presidential-election-of-2020, #republican-party, #state-legislatures, #united-states-politics-and-government, #vetoes-us, #voter-fraud-election-fraud, #whitmer-gretchen


The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV lowers the cost of entry for some of GM’s most advanced tech

The 2022 Chevy Bolt EUV may look like a larger, slightly longer Chevrolet Bolt, but under that boxy exterior lies a whole lot of tech that’s both affordable and very advanced. With the launch of the Chevy Bolt EUV, and its available suite of advanced driver assistance systems, GM is putting both advanced driver assistance technology and electric drivetrains within reach of the masses.

As part of GMs much-touted goal to introduce 30 new electric vehicles in the next four years, the company recently launched an updated Bolt, as well as the all-new Bolt EUV, or Electric Utility Vehicle. I had two separate opportunities to test prototypes of the Bolt EUV with GM’s advanced Super Cruise system.

While the Bolt and Bolt EUV share similar DNA, they are two different vehicles. The EUV is the longer and larger of the two, with more bells and whistles, like Super Cruise: An advanced driver assistance system that allows for hands-free driving on certain highways, available as a $2,200 option. Super Cruise is not available on the 2022 Bolt.

Nuts and bolts

The Bolt EUV is powered by a 288-cell, 65-kWh battery pack that Chevy says makes 200 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque. Chevrolet estimates that the EUV will get 250 miles on a full charge, and when charging on the go, can regain up to 95 miles of range in 30 minutes on a Level 2 charger.

On household power, (specifically 240V) the EUV will take around 7-8 hours to charge up to 100%, which is how Chevy says it expects most consumers will power their crossover. To assist with that, Chevrolet had teamed up with home charging installer Qmerit to offer free charger installation if you buy or lease a new Bolt or EUV. Installation of a home charger can cost as much as $2,000, so it’s a decent incentive.

The Bolt EUV won’t get the upgraded Ultium battery pack and underlying architecture that’s coming on the Hummer EV, Cadillac Lyric and other future GM electric vehicles. Instead, the Bolt EUV is built on the BEV2 architecture, the same one on which the 2021 Bolt is built. As mentioned, it also gets Super Cruise as an optional add-on.

Since Super Cruise’s introduction in 2017, the system has been siloed in Cadillac products, showing up on the 2018 CT6 and finally expanding to the 2021 CT5. The Bolt EUV is the first production vehicle outside of a luxury GM brand to offer the system even as paid upgrade.

The Bolt EUV starts at $33,995, which is $2,500 less than the 2021 Bolt that is sitting on dealer lots today. The 2022 Chevy Bolt ($31,995) is also around $4,500 cheaper than the 2021 Bolt. Chevy’s press department says that the goal is to “make EVs attainable to everyone.” Although this is also likely an effort to bring the new vehicles in line with earlier Bolt models that qualified for the $7,500 federal tax credit. That incentive in the U.S. disappeared after GM sold 200,000 EVs nationwide.

The Launch Edition, which included the optional Super Cruise, a lighted charging port and special badging, carried a sticker price of $43,495. As of this writing, reservations for the Launch Edition are completely full, but you can still reserve an LT or Premier trim in the 2022 Bolt EUV. Super Cruise, however, is only available as a $2,200 option on the Premier trim, which starts at $38,495. Keep in mind, these prices are all before including any state or local tax incentives or rebates for electric vehicles.

In contrast, a Tesla Model Y Long Range model, the most affordable of the bunch since Tesla dropped that vehicle’s base option, starts at $41,990 before incentives. Getting Tesla’s so called Full-Self Driving feature — which is not self-driving and is actually a driver assistance system — will cost you an additional $10,000.

User experience: Super Cruise

Super Cruise, while impressive, tends to err on the side of caution when it comes to implementing the technology. The system allows for drivers to take their hands and feet off the controls on more than 200,000 miles of mapped divided highway all over the country.

“If we can bring congestion and crashes to zero, then developing fully-autonomous driving is worth it,” Jeremy Short, the vehicle chief engineer who is responsible for the engineering, development, validation, testing and manufacturing of the Bolt EUV, said during my second time with the crossover. “The next 10 years are going to get really interesting in the autonomy space. Five years ago, would you have thought we would have what we have now with Super Cruise?”

That being said, Super Cruise isn’t perfect, and GM continues to iterate the product, even on the Bolt EUV. During my first drive in a Bolt EUV prototype from Marina Del Rey to Burbank and back in peak Los Angeles rush hour traffic, Super Cruise seemed a little bit “off.” The system ping-ponged in the wide lanes on the highway. When the vehicle was moving under 30 mph, the system lost track of the lane markings on mapped highways like the extremely busy 405, causing it to drift toward the other lanes and switch off a number of times.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV. Image Credits: GM

A few weeks later, on a second prototype drive that followed a 50-mile loop originating in Carson, the system appeared to have gained its sea legs. However, both Short, who was following in another prototype vehicle, and I noted that Super Cruise in the EUV still had problems when traffic slowed below 10 mph. When cars ahead slowed, the EUV would slow appropriately, but then begin to drift across the lane once traffic moved forward, as if it had lost the lane markings. Eventually, the alert to take over would sound and Super Cruise would shut off.

“I did notice some ping-ponging at low speeds,” Short said after our drive. He then joked that it will require some more engineers driving that stretch of road to teach the system to navigate it without bouncing around the lane. He also said that speed and California’s strange concrete roadbeds (they have textured surfaces that can look like lane markings to AI) can affect Super Cruise. “Think of it like tracer fire; the more data you have coming in, the more accurate the car can be.”

Short says that the Super Cruise system is continually learning and updating — even if it’s fully baked on vehicles like the CT5 and CT6. Every time Super Cruise is added to a new vehicle, the sensors, software and processing needs to be updated and tweaked because each car has different weights, potential speeds, dimensions, steering and braking, space for sensors and features. For example, you will be able to get a version of Super Cruise on the 2022 Cadillac Escalade which includes automatic lane changing features. The 2022 Bolt EUV, however, doesn’t get those sensors and therefore can’t automatically change lanes.

“Each vehicle that has Super Cruise implemented has different anatomy so it needs to process and do different things,” Short said. “The Super Cruise on the Bolt EUV was developed at the same time that engineers were developing it on the Escalade. There’s very different steering and braking in each car so the two systems are different.”

Super Cruise qualifies as an advanced Level 2 autonomous vehicle. As the driver, you still have to remain alert, and attentive, but you can remove your hands from the steering wheel and your feet from the pedals on roads where Super Cruise is available. Sensors embedded in the steering wheel track your eyes (even at night or when you’re wearing dark sunglasses) to ensure that you are paying attention to the road ahead and not watching a movie, napping or glancing at your phone. The system doesn’t give you much leeway to take your eyes off the road while using Super Cruise, either. At 65 mph, you can reach over and change the radio station on the 10.2-inch infotainment screen but alarms will sound if you look away for more than just a few seconds.

“If you were on a long drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas,” Short explained after I asked about it, “you’d essentially be a front passenger. Both you and your passenger would be looking down the road, keeping your eyes up for any potential issues. When I did that trip with a friend and used Super Cruise, I felt the same level of fatigue that he did, which is to say, not much.”

The other bells and whistles

We haven’t had the typical full week to test the 2022 Bolt EUV to fully evaluate. However, there was enough time to evaluate some of the vehicle’s features.

Chevy’s new onboard infotainment and navigation system runs on the company’s Infotainment 3 software. The system’s voice control, which has natural language processing, allowed me to do a quick search to find local charging stations.

The drawback? The system brought up a number of charging stations, but didn’t indicate which ones were available, in service, out of service, or if they were part of the EvGo system, the charging company that GM has partnered with. Driver’s also can’t page through results while using Super Cruise because the driver monitoring system will notice that their eyes aren’t on the road ahead.

In order to find EvGo chargers, owners need to use the myChevrolet App to locate the chargers and then send the directions to the navigation system. While driving, the system does lock out some features, and Short notes that you won’t be able to flip through pages of apps.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out once we get more time in the EUV. That being said, it’s not likely to be as seamless as the Tesla charging experience.

At its core, the 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV offers some of the most advanced driver assistance technology on the market in an EV package for an attainable price. After spending two separate four-hour stints in prototype versions of the EUV, it’s clear that this compact SUV has the space, power and high-tech capability that will allow it to go head-to-head with the likes of the Tesla Model Y, Volvo’s XC40 Recharge, Ford’s Mach-E and Volkswagen’s ID.4.

#automotive, #chevy-bolt, #electric-vehicles, #general-motors, #gm, #tesla-model-y, #transportation


GM idles more North American plants as chip shortage drags on

General Motors is idling more plants and extending shutdowns at other facilities in North America due to a continued shortage of semiconductor chips that are used to control myriad operations in vehicles, including the infotainment, power steering and brake systems.

In an update Thursday, GM indicated that eight assembly plants are affected by the temporary closures. CNBC was the first to report on the temporary plant closures. GM confirmed the shutdowns to TechCrunch and added that it plans to restart production next week at its Wentzville Assembly plant in Missouri.

“GM continues to leverage every available semiconductor to build and ship our most popular and in-demand products, including full-size trucks and SUVs for our customers,” a spokesperson wrote in an email. “Our intent is to make up as much production lost at these plants as possible.”

As global chip shortage has dragged on, automakers including GM and Ford have had to idle plants and shuffle resources to the production of higher margin vehicles like SUVs. GM told TechCrunch that it has not taken downtime or reduced shifts at any of its full-size truck or full-size SUV plants due to the shortage. It’s also prompted automakers to build vehicles without specific parts. For instance, GM said last month that certain pickup trucks would be produced without a fuel management module, a device that will prevent these vehicles from achieving top fuel economy performance.

Automakers have also issued guidance on how the shortage will affect financial results in 2021. Ford has said that if the semiconductor shortage scenario is extended through the first half of 2021, the shortage could lower its earnings between $1 billion and $2.5 billion, net of cost recoveries and some production make-up in the second half of the year.

GM said in February that the global shortage of semiconductors will have a short-term impact on its production, earnings and cash flow in 2021.

GM’s Spring Hill Assembly in Tennessee, which builds the Cadillac XT5, Cadillac XT6 and GMC Acadia, will shut down for two weeks beginning April 12. GM is temporarily halting production of the Chevrolet Blazer at the Ramos Assembly in Mexico and Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave at the Lansing Delta Township factory during the week of April 19.

GM also extended downtime at Lansing Grand River Assembly through the week of April 26. This plant, which builds the Chevrolet Traverse and Buick Enclave, has been down since March 15.

The automaker is extending the shutdown at its CAMI Assembly plant in Canada and the Fairfax Assembly plant in Kansas, which is where the Chevrolet Malibu and Cadillac XT4 are extended through May 10. Both CAMI and Fairfax have been down since the week of February 8, GM said.

GM’s Bupyeong 2 Assembly in Korea has been operating at half capacity since February 8, and its Gravataí plant in Brazil is taking downtime for the months of April and May.

#automotive, #ford, #general-motors, #gm, #semiconductor, #tc, #transportation


Biden’s Push for Electric Cars: $174 Billion, 10 Years and a Bit of Luck

The president is hoping to make electric vehicles more affordable to turn a niche product into one with mass appeal.

#automobiles, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #farley-james-d, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #infrastructure-public-works, #tax-credits-deductions-and-exemptions, #united-automobile-workers, #united-states, #united-states-economy, #volkswagen-ag


Taiwanese reassurances that water shortages won’t hit chipmaking show climate change’s direct threat to tech

A weekend statement from the Taiwanese government over its ability to provide water to the nation’s chip manufacturers in the face of an unprecedented drought make it clear that climate change is a direct threat to the foundations of the tech industry.

As reported by Bloomberg, Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen took to Facebook on Sunday to post about the nation’s capacity to provide water to its citizens and businesses in the face of the worst drought the nation has faced in 56 years.

The nation said that it would have sufficient water reserves to ensure manufacturing of semiconductors by companies like Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing wouldn’t stop.

These chips sit at the foundation of the tech industry and any disruption in production could have disastrous consequences for the global economy. Already, supply constraints have caused stoppages at automakers like General Motors and Volkswagen, and chip manufacturing facilities are running close to capacity.

The Biden administration has emphasized the need for the U.S. to strengthen its semiconductor manufacturing supply when it issued an executive order last month to address ongoing chip shortages that have idled manufacturing plants around the country.

“Taiwan’s water shortage and its effect on semis is a wake up call for every technology investor, every founder and the entire venture ecosystem. It is complexity theory made manifest and only serves to show that scalable, data-driven solutions rapidly deployed across large industrial markets are our only hope in correcting the course,” wrote Vaughn Blake, a partner at the energy-focused investment firm Blue Bear Capital.

Taiwan’s water woes and their ability to severely impact the semiconductor industry aren’t new. They were even flagged in a 2016 Harvard Business School case study analysis. And TSMC is already working to address its water consumption.

By 2016, TSMC had already worked to improve its water purification and recycling efforts — necessary for an industry that consumes between 2-9 million gallons of water per day. (Intel alone used 9 billion gallons of water in 2015). At least some of TSMC’s fabrication facilities have managed to achieve recycling rates of 90% on industrial wastewater, according to the Harvard case study.

But as Moore’s Law drives down the size and increases the demand for even more precision and fewer impurities in the manufacturing process, water use at fabs is going up. Next generation chips may be consuming as much as 1.5 times more water, which means better recycling is needed to compensate.

For startups, we need to be looking at ways to lower the cost and improve the performance of wastewater recycling and desalination, both increasingly energy-intensive propositions.

Some companies are doing just that. These are businesses like Blue Boson out of the UK, which purports to have developed a quantum-based water treatment technology. Its claims sound more like science fiction, but its website touts some of the best research universities in the world. Fido, a leak detection company also out of the UK tracks potential spots where water is wasted, and both Pontic Technology and Micronic are American companies developing water and fluid sterilization systems.

Numix, another purification startup, seems designed to remove the heavy metals that are part and parcel of industrial manufacturing. And Divining Labs out of Los Angeles is using artificial intelligence to better predict and manage stormwater runoff to collect more resources for water use.

“Upton Sinclair said, ‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on him not understanding it,’” Blake of Blue Bear Capital wrote. “Well, to all the founders and investors out there, it looks like all tech is climate tech for the foreseeable future, lest there be no tech at all.”

#artificial-intelligence, #biden-administration, #energy, #executive, #fido, #general-motors, #harvard, #harvard-business-school, #intel, #los-angeles, #manufacturing, #president, #sanitation, #semiconductor, #semiconductors, #taiwan, #tc, #tsai-ing-wen, #tsmc, #united-kingdom, #united-states, #volkswagen, #water-treatment


TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 is coming, save the date!

Buckle up, startup and tech fans. Save the date and get ready to rub virtual elbows with mobility’s best and brightest minds — the movers, shakers and policy makers that are shaping the future of transportation.

TC Sessions: Mobility returns for its third year on June 9, 2021. Can you say mobility three-peat? Yes, you can!

We’re excited to host another day dedicated to the people — and the technology they’re developing — that’s changing transportation. TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 goes beyond hunting for the next unicorn or showcasing the gee-whiz distraction of the moment. We’ll explore the latest trends, discuss regulatory, technical and ethical challenges and look at the costs and long-term effects on towns and cities.

Pro tip: Early bird pricing is now in play on all pass levels and June will be here before you know it. Keep your hard-earned money in your pocket. Buy your passes now and save 35% before the prices increase.

We’re building out the day’s agenda, and we’ll pack it with presentations, interviews and Q&As with founders, investors and inventors. Enjoy breakout sessions, dozens of exhibiting startups and plenty of time to network and recruit — with attendees from around the world.

Take a look at some of the mobility mavens and transportation titans who joined us on the virtual stage at last year’s event to get a sense of the quality programming you should expect on June 9.

  • JB Straubel, co-founder, CEO of Redwood Materials, co-founder and former Tesla CTO
  • Tekedra Mawakana, COO, Waymo
  • Matthew Johnson-Roberson, co-founder, Refraction AI
  • Nancy Sun, co-founder and chief engineer, Ike
  • Shin-pei Tsay, director of policy, cities and transportation, Uber
  • Peter Rawlinson, CTO and CEO, Lucid Motors
  • Margaret Stewart Nagle, head of policy and government affairs, Wing
  • Paul Ajegba, director, Michigan Department of Transportation
  • Celina Mikolajczak, vice president, battery technology, Panasonic Energy of North America, Panasonic
  • Reilly Brennan, founding general partner, Trucks Venture Capital

Will you benefit from attending TC Sessions: Mobility 2021? Take it from Rachael Wilcox, creative producer at Volvo Cars, who completed a TechCrunch hat trick in 2020 by attending Disrupt, TC Sessions: Robotics/AI and TC Sessions: Mobility.

Going to TechCrunch events, whether it’s Disrupt or TC Sessions, helps me stay ahead of emerging trends, technologies and startups that affect the future of mobility.”

TC Sessions: Mobility 2021 takes place on June 9, 2021. Learn from and engage with the industry’s mightiest minds, makers, innovators and investors. Buy your early bird pass, connect with your world-wide community and help build a new age of transportation.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: Mobility 2021? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

#artificial-intelligence, #automotive, #autonomous-vehicles, #battery-technology, #celina-mikolajczak, #co-founder, #companies, #coo, #director, #general-motors, #mobility, #nancy-sun, #panasonic, #reilly-brennan, #self-driving-cars, #startups, #tc-sessions-mobility-2021, #techcrunch, #technology, #tekedra-mawakana, #uber, #volvo-cars, #waymo


Why Japan Is Holding Back as the World Rushes Toward Electric Cars

The country’s stance would seem to put it on the wrong side of market trends. But with its huge investment in gasoline-electric hybrids, it has big reasons to proceed slowly.

#electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #general-motors, #honda-motor-co-ltd, #japan, #japan-automobile-manufacturers-assn, #nissan-motor-co, #tesla-motors-inc, #toyota-motor-corp


GM, LG Chem studying the feasibility of a second battery cell plant in the U.S.

General Motors is exploring building a second U.S. battery cell manufacturing plant with its joint-venture partner Seoul, South Korea-based LG Chem.

If the plant moves forward, it would be the latest in a series of investments aimed at building out the auto giant’s portfolio of electric vehicles. The company’s joint venture with LG, Ultium Cells LLC, is already at work constructing a $2.3 billion battery cell manufacturing facility in Lordstown, Ohio.

The companies hope to have a decision on the factory in the first half of 2021, GM spokesman Dan Flores told TechCrunch. He declined to specify possible locations for the site but Tennessee is high on the list, according to reporting from the Wall Street Journal.

GM has set ambitious targets for decarbonizing its operations and pledged steep investments to get there. Through 2025 alone the company said it would bring thirty EV models across its brands to the global market and spend $27 billion on electrification and automated technology—a 35% increase from 2020 spending. By the mid-2030s, GM said its fleet will be all-EV.

“Clearly, with our commitment to an all-electric future, we will need a lot of battery cells,” Flores said.

He declined to comment on the ongoing shortage of battery cells, which has affected EV manufacturers Tesla and Nikola. President Joe Biden issued an executive order at the end of February instructing federal agencies to identify risks in the supply chains for batteries, semiconductors, and other critical items, including where supply chains are dependent on “competitor nations.”

GM CEO Mary Barra said in a virtual investor presentation last week that the battery shortage is one reason the company is investing in its own battery cell manufacturing. She alluded to plans to grow the company’s battery cell manufacturing operations but did not go into specifics.

“There’s more coming than we’ve announced already,” she said.

#automotive, #ceo, #electric-mobility, #electric-vehicle, #electric-vehicles, #engines, #ev, #executive, #general-motors, #joe-biden, #lg, #lg-chem, #lithium-ion-batteries, #mary-barra, #mobility, #nikola, #ohio, #president, #semiconductors, #seoul, #south-korea, #supply-chains, #tc, #tennessee, #tesla, #the-wall-street-journal, #united-states


The City Where Cars Are Not Welcome

As automakers promise to get rid of internal combustion engines, Heidelberg is trying to get rid of autos.

#austin-tex, #automobiles, #batteries, #bicycles-and-bicycling, #bloomberg-michael-r, #buses, #c40-cities-climate-leadership-group, #copenhagen-denmark, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #energy-and-power, #energy-efficiency, #europe, #ford-motor-co, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #general-motors, #germany, #heidelberg-germany, #hydrogen, #international-council-on-clean-transportation, #jaguar-land-rover, #mercedes-benz, #oslo-norway, #portland-ore, #real-estate-commercial, #reckitt-benckiser, #roads-and-traffic, #rotterdam-netherlands, #sap-ag, #stockholm-sweden, #transit-systems, #united-nations-framework-convention-on-climate-change, #university-of-heidelberg, #wurzner-eckart


How To Buy an Electric Car

Even before G.M. announced it would work toward eliminating emissions from its vehicles, more automakers were putting E. V.s in their showrooms. Here’s a roundup.

#audi-division-of-volkswagen-ag, #automobiles, #bayerische-motorenwerke-ag, #chevrolet-division-of-general-motors-corp, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #hyundai-motor-co, #nissan-motor-co, #polestar-performance-ab, #porsche-ag, #quarantine-life-and-culture, #tesla-motors-inc, #volkswagen-ag


Auto Dinosaurs Show They’re Not Dead Yet

Daimler reported unexpectedly strong profits, underlining a rebound by traditional carmakers despite the pandemic.

#batteries, #company-reports, #daimler-ag, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #general-motors, #jaguar-land-rover, #kallenius-ola, #mercedes-benz, #musk-elon, #renault-sa, #stuttgart-germany, #tesla-motors-inc


Global Chip Shortage Challenges Biden’s Hope for Manufacturing Revival

A global shortage of a key component for cars and electronics has shuttered American factories and set off fierce competition to secure supplies.

#automobiles, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #computer-chips, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #electronics, #factories-and-manufacturing, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #shortages, #taiwan, #united-states-economy, #united-states-politics-and-government


There’s One Big Problem With Electric Cars

They’re still cars. Technology can’t cure America of its addiction to the automobile.

#fuel-efficiency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #general-motors, #infrastructure-public-works, #regulation-and-deregulation-of-industry, #tesla-motors-inc, #united-states-politics-and-government


Ford to go all electric in Europe by 2030

Ford today announced a new strategy for the European market that aims the automaker at primarily only selling electric vehicles by 2030. To do so, Ford intends to spend $1 billion to revamp a factory in Cologne, Germany, where it will produce EVs using a Volkswagen platform. The first production vehicle from the updated factory is expected by 2023.

Stuart Rowley, president of Ford of Europe, made the announcement today during an online news conference.

This new strategy involves phasing out gasoline-powered vehicles in favor of electric power. The automaker expects to have all commercial vehicles made by Ford in Europe be electric by 2024. Two years later, it expects to have converted its entire lineup into electric or plug-in hybrids. Gasoline-powered commercial vehicles will still be offered for sale in Europe after 2030, Ford says. However, the automaker currently sees electric models accounting for two-thirds of its European sales.

Ford’s announcement comes after a similar pledge from General Motors where the automaker said it intended to mostly produce EVs by 2035. Both Ford and General Motors are small players in the European market where GM has all but pulled out, and Ford only has a 5% market share.

#ev, #evs, #ford, #general-motors, #gm, #tc


Winter Storm Disrupts Automakers, Retailers and Delivery Services

Power outages, natural gas shortages and icy conditions made it hard for automakers, retailers and delivery carriers to operate across much of the South and Midwest.

#delivery-services, #factories-and-manufacturing, #fedex-corporation, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors, #midwestern-states-us, #natural-gas, #postal-service-and-post-offices, #power-failures-and-blackouts, #shortages, #shutdowns-institutional, #snow-and-snowstorms, #southern-states-us, #texas, #toyota-motor-corp, #trucks-and-trucking, #united-parcel-service-inc, #walmart-stores-inc, #weather


The Auto Industry Bets Its Future on Batteries

Carmakers, government agencies and investors are pouring money into battery research in a global race to profit from emission-free electric cars.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #automobiles, #batteries, #china, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #europe, #factories-and-manufacturing, #ford-motor-co, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #general-motors, #innovation, #lithium-metal, #start-ups, #tesla-motors-inc, #toyota-motor-corp, #united-states, #volkswagen-ag


Will Ferrell and GM want to prank Norway with pizza, but why?

GM and Will Ferrell took a Cadillac Lyriq EV to Sweden to highlight the fact that Norway buys more electric vehicles per capita than the US.

Enlarge / GM and Will Ferrell took a Cadillac Lyriq EV to Sweden to highlight the fact that Norway buys more electric vehicles per capita than the US. (credit: General Motors)

Although a bunch of automakers chose to sit out 2021, General Motors still saw value in advertising during this year’s Super Bowl. The automaker used the event to promote its electric vehicle aspirations, which include plans to have an all-electric lineup by 2035.

This project will be propelled by a new platform called Ultium and will start with next year’s Cadillac Lyriq and GMC Hummer EV. But you wouldn’t know that from the ad campaign—at least not at first. Instead, we learn that Will Ferrell is really angry with Norway, and he wants to prank the nation of more than five million by sending them all anchovy pizzas.

The cause of this rage? Norway is doing better at EV adoption than the US. Much better, in fact, as 54 percent of all new vehicles sold in the Scandinavian country in 2020 were electric. Here in the US, plug-in vehicles accounted for a mere 2.2 percent of the 14.6 million new cars and trucks sold last year (although in absolute numbers, the US still bought about three times as many EVs as Norway).

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#audi, #cars, #climate-change, #electric-vehicles, #evs, #ford, #general-motors, #norway, #plug-ins, #super-bowl


G.M.’s Profits From Trucks and S.U.V.s Fuel Its Electric Quest

The automaker earned more than $6 billion last year — money that it will plow into the development of electric and autonomous vehicles.

#automobiles, #barra-mary-t, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #company-reports, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #driverless-and-semiautonomous-vehicles, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #general-motors, #north-america, #tesla-motors-inc


A silicon chip shortage is causing automakers to idle their factories

A silicon chip shortage is causing automakers to idle their factories

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

You may have noticed that it’s difficult to get ahold of new high-end graphics cards and game consoles these days. In large part, that’s due to an ongoing global shortage affecting semiconductor foundries. As it turns out, the problem is even more pronounced in the auto industry. In fact, it’s getting so bad that a number of OEMs, including Ford and General Motors, have had to go as far as idling shifts and even entire factories.

Ford had to stop production in Kentucky in December of 2020, and in January, it ordered a month-long pause at a German factory. Stellantis (the new company formed by a merger between Fiat Chrysler and Peugeot) reduced output at factories in the US, Mexico, and Canada around the same time. As did Audi, which had to idle 10,000 employees in Germany, CEO Markus Duesmann said, telling the Financial Times that the problem involved “a very long chain with different supply levels on the components that we are short.” Subaru’s Gunma factory in Japan has been affected. Production of Toyota’s Texas-produced Tundra has, too.

This week, more hits keep coming. Mazda just announced it might have to cut output by 34,000 units this year due to a lack of chips. Nissan’s truck factory in Mississippi has reduced its hours. And on Wednesday, GM said it will halt production at factories in Kansas, Canada, Mexico, and South Korea. In many cases, the automakers are trying to prioritize their more in-demand products, but as some of those closures show, that isn’t always possible.

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#audi, #auto-industry, #bmw, #cars, #chip-shortage, #ford, #foundries, #general-motors, #mazda, #semiconductors, #stellantis, #subaru, #toyota, #volkswagen


E.V.s Force Carmakers to Reinvent the Wheel, and Brakes, and Mirrors …

Building electric cars, and repairing them, will require a huge change for the industry and usher in a new automotive era.

#audi-division-of-volkswagen-ag, #automobile-service-and-charging-stations, #automobiles, #batteries, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #ford-motor-co, #general-motors


G.M. and the Electric-Car Comeback

The end of the gasoline-powered car will transform the economy.

#alternative-and-renewable-energy, #automobiles, #barra-mary-t, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #electric-light-and-power, #energy-efficiency, #fuel-efficiency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #general-motors, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #oil-petroleum-and-gasoline, #united-states


G.M. Announcement Shakes Up U.S. Automakers’ Transition to Electric Cars

Every carmaker is trying to figure out how to make the leap before governments force it and Tesla and other start-ups lure away drivers.

#automobiles, #barra-mary-t, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #china, #dingell-deborah, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #environmental-protection-agency, #ford-motor-co, #fuel-efficiency, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #general-motors, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #tesla-motors-inc, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government, #volkswagen-ag


Electric Cars Are Coming, and Fast. Is the Nation’s Grid Up to It?

GM’s decision this week to phase out gasoline vehicles is the latest in a major shift that will mean drastic new demands on electric utilities. Here are four things that will need to happen.

#automobiles, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #environment, #general-motors, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #infrastructure-public-works


G.M. Wants to Make Electric Cars. China Dominates the Market.

With government support and lavish subsidies, Chinese companies have come to dominate the market for batteries, motors and other essentials Detroit may need for its new fleets.

#automobiles, #batteries, #china, #driverless-and-semiautonomous-vehicles, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #foxconn-technology, #general-motors, #international-trade-and-world-market, #lithium-metal, #politics-and-government


GameStop, Health Care, GM: Your Thursday Evening Briefing

Here’s what you need to know at the end of the day.

#ahmed-riz, #automobiles, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #emhoff-ella, #gamestop-corporation, #general-motors, #gorman-amanda, #united-states-politics-and-government, #vaccination-and-immunization


GM says no more tailpipe emissions by 2035, carbon neutrality by 2040

The GM logo has been superimposed over verdant leaves.

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson / Getty Images)

Around the world, governments are starting to discuss, or even schedule, banning the sale of new vehicles powered by internal combustion engines. Here in the United States, as is often the case, we may have to wait for private industry to move first, thanks to the sclerotic nature of US politics, particularly when it comes to climate change. This week, such a move happened, and it came from an unlikely source.

On Thursday, General Motors Chairwoman and CEO Mary Barra announced a new climate pledge. The nation’s largest automaker says it will become carbon neutral across its global operations by 2040, which it will achieve through “science-based targets.” GM has also now signed a pledge by businesses to try to keep global warming to 1.5˚C. That’s a remarkable change for an automaker that, until very recently, supported the previous administration’s plan to make US market cars less fuel efficient.

Making this happen will require GM to transition its vehicle portfolio to battery electric vehicles, as well as other hydrogen fuel cell EVs. In fact, the company says it has “an aspiration to eliminate tailpipe emissions from new light-duty vehicles by 2035.”

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#cars, #climate-change, #electric-vehicles, #general-motors


G.M. Will Only Sell Zero-Emission Vehicles by 2035

The move, one of the most ambitious in the auto industry, is a piece of a broader plan by the company to become carbon neutral by 2040.

#automobiles, #barra-mary-t, #biden-joseph-r-jr, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #fuel-emissions-transportation, #general-motors, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #united-states, #united-states-politics-and-government


FedEx will be the first customer for GM’s new electric delivery van

On Tuesday morning, General Motors Chairwoman and CEO Mary Barra announced a new business for the company during her keynote speech at this year’s all-virtual CES. It’s called BrightDrop, and the goal is to provide a range of electrified products for the logistics and delivery industries.

“We are building on our significant expertise in electrification, mobility applications, telematics and fleet management, with a new one-stop-shop solution for commercial customers to move goods in a better, more sustainable way,” Barra said.

BrightDrop’s first product is called the EP1, and it’s a pallet with an electric propulsion assist meant to transport things short distances, such as from a delivery van to the customer’s door, at speeds of up to 3mph (5km/h). The EP1 can carry up to 200lbs (91kg) and about 23 cubic feet (651L) of cargo, with adjustable shelves and lockable cabinet doors. GM says the EP1 will be available early this year.

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#brightdrop, #cars, #ces-2021, #electric-pallet, #electric-van, #ep1, #ev600, #general-motors


Carmakers Put Their Biggest Faces Forward

They look as if they could strain spaghetti: Grilles are making a design statement.

#automobiles, #bayerische-motorenwerke-ag, #design, #general-motors, #genesis-motors, #hyundai-motor-co, #jeep-division-of-chrysler, #lexus-division-of-toyota-motor-corp, #toyota-motor-corp


The Pandemic Sank Auto Sales. Vaccines Could Bring Buyers Back.

Carmakers say new models should also help lift the industry in 2021, after a 15 percent decline in its slowest year since it recovered from the Great Recession.

#automobiles, #company-reports, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #general-motors, #shutdowns-institutional, #sports-utility-vehicles-and-light-trucks, #toyota-motor-corp, #united-states, #united-states-economy


Shirley Young, Businesswoman and Cultural Diplomat to China, Dies at 85

Breaking barriers she rose in the advertising industry before General Motors took her onboard. She later used classical music to forge closer ties between Americans and the Chinese.

#advertising-and-marketing, #chamber-music-society-of-lincoln-center, #chinese-americans, #classical-music, #deaths-obituaries, #general-motors, #new-york-philharmonic, #united-states-international-relations, #young-shirley


Nikola’s stock crashes after announcing cancelation of contract with Republic Services for 2,500 garbage trucks

The undoing of Nikola continues. Today, the company announced the termination of its contract with Republic Services for 2,500 garbage trucks. Announced back in August, the deal had Nikola building garbage trucks in 2023 with on-road testing scheduled for 2024. This is the latest deal to unravel for Nikola as it tries to patch up following devastating reports.

According to Nikola, the separation of the two companies was mutual though it’s hard to picture Nikola’s SEC troubles didn’t weigh heavily upon Republic Services.

“This was the right decision for both companies given the resources and investments required,” said Nikola CEO Mark Russell said in a released statement. “We support and respect Republic Services’ commitment to achieving environmentally responsible, sustainable solutions for their customers. Nikola remains laser-focused on delivering on our battery-electric and fuel-cell electric commercial truck programs, and the energy infrastructure to support them.”

News of this deal is sending Nikola’s stock down 10% in pre-market trading. If this level holds upon the stock market’s open, Nikola will be trading at its lowest levels following it’s monumental rise over the summer months.

The deal with Republic Services was originally a victory banner for the once-high flying electric vehicle startup. Signaled as mainstream acceptance of the company, Republic Services’ contract came before a mega $2 billion investment from General Motors. That deal is also cancelled following several key revelations about the company that lead to an SEC investigation and the company’s chairman stepping down.

In a statement, Nikola says deliveries will begin of Nikola Tre battery-electric semi-trucks in the US in 2021 and the company expects to break ground on its first commercial hydrogen station in 2021, too. And then in 2023, the company expects to produce its fuel-cell-electric semi-trucks at Nikola’s Coolidge, Arizona facility.

#arizona, #ceo, #chairman, #companies, #electric-vehicle, #electric-vehicles, #general-motors, #laser, #nikola, #nikola-motors, #tc, #u-s-securities-and-exchange-commission, #united-states


G.M. Scales Down Nikola Deal

A new agreement, supplying hydrogen fuel cell technology from General Motors, is less sweeping than the strategic partnership outlined in September.

#automobiles, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #general-motors, #hydrogen, #milton-trevor-1981, #nikola-motor-co, #trucks-and-trucking


G.M. Drops Its Support for Trump Climate Rollbacks and Aligns With Biden

General Motors said it would no longer back President Trump’s lawsuit seeking to strip California of the power to set fuel economy standards.

#biden-joseph-r-jr, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #environment, #environmental-protection-agency, #fuel-efficiency, #general-motors, #global-warming, #greenhouse-gas-emissions, #trump-donald-j, #united-states-politics-and-government


The Station: Lime scoots towards profitability, a framework for AVs, and another electric vehicle SPAC

The Station is a weekly newsletter dedicated to all things transportation. Sign up here — just click The Station — to receive it every Saturday in your inbox.

Hi folks, welcome back to The Station, a newsletter dedicated to all the present and future ways people and packages move from Point A to Point B.

Let’s get right to it. Companies tried to pack in the news before the Thanksgiving holiday, which means we have a lot to um, digest.

Email me anytime at kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com to share thoughts, criticisms, offer up opinions or tips. You can also send a direct message to me at Twitter — @kirstenkorosec.


the station scooter1a

COVID-19 has obliterated entire business models, while boosting others. Micromobility startups were some that suffered in the early days of the pandemic. However, there appears to be a recovery. Lime is the latest example.

Lime said this week it has moved beyond the financial hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, is now largely profitable. Alex Wilhelm and I raised our eyebrows at this and asked for more detail. As you might know, there are all kinds of tricks to be able to claim profitability. What we learned from the company — and yes, reader I know, it’s a private company and therefore no public filing — was rosier than we expected.

Lime said it was both operating cash flow positive and free cash flow positive in the third quarter — a first — and is on pace to be full-year profitable, excluding certain costs (EBIT), in 2021. In general, cash flow positivity is an important threshold for a startup to reach because it implies that the company can largely self-fund from that point forward, limiting its dependency on external cash for survival.

Lime also claimed that it “reached EBIT positive at the company level over the summer.” The specifics of the phrase “EBIT positive” are important. Was the company employing strict EBIT on its math and not discounting share-based compensation, or was it measuring using adjusted EBIT as many startups do, removing the cost of share-based compensation that shows up in GAAP results? According to the company the number did exclude share-based compensation, making the news slightly smaller.

And finally, the last most bullish data point. The company said it expects to be full-year profitable in 2021. TechCrunch asked for specifics because again how one measures profitability matters. It turns out, Lime is basing this projection on EBIT, as opposed to more traditional net income. For a startup this is not a surprising decision, but before we declare Lime fully “profitable,” we’ll want some more GAAP metrics.

In other Lime news …

The company launched its fourth-generation scooter in Paris, a device designed to last more than two years. The Gen4 will roll out across Europe in early 2021. Much of the Gen4 work was done by engineers at Uber’s Jump micromobility unit. Lime did some tweaking to the Jump team’s work, specifically improving the scooter’s durability and swapped out some parts that would allow the company to reuse parts from existing Lime vehicles.

Lime also teased that a “third mode,” beyond bikes and scooters, is also in the works for the first quarter of 2021, as well as the addition of third-party companies to its platform.

I recommend that you take the time to read an article by two of TechCrunch’s European reporters Natasha Lomas and Romain Dillet. The pair examined the urban transformation that is underway in Paris, Barcelona, London and Milan, specifically policy decisions aimed reclaiming streets for feet and two wheels.

A few highlights include Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s efforts to create a “15-minute city” and Barcelona’s ambitious pedestrianization plan focused on creating ‘superilles’ or ‘superblocks.’

Grab a coffee and get comfortable for this detailed breakdown.

Oh! wait … a couple of other micromobbin’ items …

Voi, another European electric scooter startup, is equipping its devices with computer vision sensors to detect pedestrians and sidewalks. The aim, VentureBeat reports, is to help users avoid collisions and comply with local legal requirements.

Zipp Mobility, the Irish micromobility startup, is now operating in two Buckinghamshire towns under a year-long pilot program. The company will launch with 25 electric scooters in each area, with plans to increase the fleet size to 300 scooters over the next two months.

Deal of the week

money the station

The summer of the SPAC has spilled over into fall and is threatening to continue into 2021. Startups aiming to produce and sell electric vehicles seem to be particularly fond of this path to becoming a public company. We have Canoo, Fisker, Lordstown Motors, Hyliion, Nikola and now Arrival.

Arrival was an unknown UK startup that operated quietly for about five years until bursting on the public scene in January with a $110 million investment from Hyundai and Kia. It soon became one of the UK’s most valuable startups with a valuation of $3.4 billion.

Arrival’s aim is to produce electric vehicles that are competitive in price with traditional fossil fuel-powered vehicles and lower than other EVs. Arrival’s pitch is that its modular electric “skateboard” platform, which can be used on a range of different vehicle types, along with its use of microfactories are the key ingredients to its price competitive sauce. So far, the company has two vehicles — an electric van and bus. Production of its buses are expected to start in the fourth quarter 2021 and its vans in 2022.

OK, so the gist of the deal is this: Arrival agreed to merge with special purpose acquisition company CIIG Merger Corp. with a market valuation up to $5.4 billion. Arrival raised $400 million in private investment in public equity, or PIPE, from investors that included Fidelity Management & Research Company, Wellington Management, BNP Paribas Asset Management Energy Transition Fund and funds managed by BlackRock. Arrival will have about $660 million in cash proceeds.

On a side note, the company was founded by Denis Sverdlov, who also created Roborace.

Arrival electric bus van

Image Credits: Arrival

Other deals that got my attention this week …

Electric Last Mile Solutions, a Michigan-based electric vehicle startup founded by former Accuride and Ford executive Jason Luo, is in talks to go public through a merger with Forum Merger III Corp., Bloomberg reported. The startup aims to produce mre than 100,000 vehicles a year at a plant in Indiana. Caveat: the terms are not finalized.

Fenix, a new Abu Dhabi micromobility startup, raised $3.8 million in a seed round investment led by Israel-based venture firm Maniv Mobility. The deal is notable for a few reasons. Remember Circ? It’s the Middle East scooter company that Bird acquired and then shuttered in several cities. The founders of Circ, Jaideep Dhanoa and IQ Sayed (who were also colleagues at Careem), started Fenix. Maniv Mobility founder and managing partner Michael Granoff told me this is the first Israeli VC to invest in a UAE-based tech company. Granoff is joining the Fenix board. “Aside from more momentum toward clean and practical urban mobility, I think it heralds an amazing new age of cooperation in the Middle East,” Granoff wrote me in an email touting the deal.

Forto, a digital freight forwarder, raised $50 million in a funding round led by Inven Capital, a growth fund out of the Czech Republic. Additional investment came from Iris Capital as well as existing investors Rider Global, Northzone, Cherry Ventures, Unbound (Shravin Mittal) and the Italian venture fund H14.

Gojek, the ride-hailing firm, raised $150 million from Indonesia’s biggest telecom network Telkomsel. This is being sold as a “strategic partnership,” and seems to expand upon the companies’ existing relationship. Since 2018, Gojek and Telkomsel have maintained a deal to subsidize the cost of mobile data consumed by the ride-hailing firm’s driver partners.

Lightning EMotors, a Colorado-based fleet electrification company, is in advanced talks to go public through a merger with blank-check firm GigCapital3 Inc., Bloomberg reported. There is still some ways to go on this deal, however. GigCapital3 is trying to raise about $100 million in new equity to support a transaction that would create a combined entity worth $700 million to $1 billion, including debt.

Loadsmart, an on-demand digital freight platform, raised $90 million in a Series C funding round co-led by funds under management by BlackRock and Chromo Invest. Strategic investor TFI International, a leader in the logistics space, also participated in this round. Maersk, a global oceanic shipping leader and one of Loadsmart’s strategic backers since its Series A round, also participated.

Ride Vision, an Israeli startup building an AI-driven safety system to prevent motorcycle collisions,  raised a $7 million Series A round led by crowdsourcing platform OurCrowd. YL Ventures, Mobilion VC and motorcycle mirror manufacturer Metagal also participated in this round. The company has now raised a total of $10 million.

Strava, the activity and fitness data-tracking platform, raised $110 million in new funding, in a Series F round led by TCV and Sequoia, and including participation by Dragoneer group, Madrone Capital Partners, Jackson Square Ventures and Go4it Capital.

Election day mobility: scooters

Spin, the micromobility subsidiary of Ford, sent me an interesting graphic and some data points about its ridership on Election Day.

Now, this is just one company’s data. We don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and make wild presumptions. Think of this an interesting tidbit on how some people were getting around November 3 and one company’s strategy to encourage ridership to the polls.

Spin recorded a 31.45% overall increase in ridership on Election Day from the previous Tuesday. The company offered a $10 discount for riders commuting to the polls November 3 under its SpinToVote campaign, which certainly helped push those ridership numbers higher. Spin said nearly 3,000 riders used the SpintoVote discount.

Cities with the highest increases in ridership on Election Day were Chicago with a whopping 243% rise, Cleveland with 193%, San Francisco with 25% and Atlanta with a10% increase. Spin also tracked use of its “Spin to Vote” campaign. Riders in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, San Diego and Washington D.C. had the highest opt in for that discounted ride campaign.

Update: Lime sent me some of their data, which they also posted in a blog. The company said riders used the Lime to the Polls promotion code for 20% of all U.S. trips on Election Day. This is double the percentage of trips taken during the company’s first Lime to the Polls campaign for the 2018 midterm elections.

How did you get to your polling location? (for those who didn’t mail in their ballot)

spin-election day statistics

Image Credits: Spin

Notable reds and other tidbits

Seriously, folks. So.much.news.

California Public Utilities Commission approved Thursday two new programs to allow permitted companies to provide and charge for shared rides in autonomous vehicles. While the industry mostly cheered the news, some have argued that the approval process to secure one of these permits adds unnecessary bureaucracy that could delay deployments by more than two years.

General Motors had a bunch of announcements this week. First up, the company is getting back into the insurance biz, but this time more in step with the connected-car era. The service, called OnStar Insurance, aims to leverage the vast amounts of data captured through its OnStar connected car service, which today has more than 16 million members in the United States.

The U.S. automaker also upped its budget for electric vehicles and automated technology by 35%. GM said it will spend $27 billion over the next five years on EVs and AVs. GM is also accelerating its go-to-market timeline and adding more EVs to its portfolio plans. The new plan is to bring 30 new electric vehicles to a global market through 2025.

Lordstown Motors said it plans to establish an automotive R&D center in Farmington Hills with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today. The project is expected to create 141 jobs.

Luminar locked in a supplier deal to furnish Intel subsidiary Mobileye with lidar for its fleet of autonomous vehicles. The deal will see a rising star paired with a company that has long dominated the automotive industry. I breakdown why this is seemingly small deal is worth paying attention to.

Motional, the Aptiv-Hyundai $4 billion joint venture aimed at commercializing autonomous vehicles, received approval from the state of Nevada to test fully driverless vehicles on public roads. The company plans to begin driverless testing on public roads in Las Vegas sometime in early 2021.

National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration officials released an advance notice of proposed rule-making for automated driving. Remember last week when I said rumor had it that U.S. regulators planned to make some moves that will affect the autonomous vehicle industry? Specifically, I noted that UL 4600, a standard created by Underwriters Laboratories that offers a guide for how to build the safety case for an AV design, is rumored to be the front runner.

Welp … the framework released this week includes a whole section for UL 4600. You can view the NHSTA Framework for Automated Driving here.

NYT does a deep dive into the arms race in car stereos.

Panasonic signed a preliminary agreement with the Nordic energy company Equinor and engineering and industrial company Norsk Hydro to collaborate on building a battery business in Northern Europe. Ok, I know, it’s a “preliminary agreement.” This got my attention because of the battery supplier battle that between LG Chem and Panasonic. And as TechCrunch’s Jonathan Shieber notes: Panasonic’s push into Northern Europe alongside two big regional players in hydrocarbons and renewable energy is a sign of the potential that exists in the European market beyond automotive.

#automotive, #ford, #general-motors, #lime, #spin, #transportation


G.M. Accelerates Its Ambitions for Electric Vehicles

General Motors says it will increase its investment and model offerings over the next five years “to expedite the transition to E.V.s.”

#automobiles, #barra-mary-t, #batteries, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #general-motors, #parks-doug


Verizon partners with Apple to launch 5G Fleet Swap

Apple and Verizon today announced a new partnership that will make it easier for their business partners to go all-in on 5G. Fleet Swap, as the program is called, allows businesses to trade in their entire fleet of smartphones — no matter whether they are currently a Verizon customer or not — and move to the iPhone 12 with no upfront cost and either zero cost (for the iPhone 12 mini) or a low monthly cost.

(Disclaimer: Verizon is TechCrunch’s corporate parent. The company has zero input into our editorial decisions.)

In addition, Verizon also today announced its first two major indoor 5G ultra wideband services for its enterprise customers. General Motors and Honeywell are the first customers here, with General Motors enabling the technology at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center, the company’s all-electric vehicle plant. To some degree, this goes to show how carriers are positioning 5G ultra wideband as more of an enterprise feature than the lower-bandwidth versions of 5G.

“I think about how 5G [ultra wide band] is really filling a need for capacity and for capability. It’s built for industrial commercial use cases. It’s built on millimeter wave spectrum and it’s really built for enterprise,” Verizon Business CEO Tami Erwin told me.

It’s important to note that these two projects are not private 5G networks. Verizon is also in that business and plans to launch those more broadly in the future.

“No matter where you are on your digital transformation journey, the ability to put the power of 5G Ultra Wideband in all of your employees’ hands right now with a powerful iPhone 12 model, the best smartphone for business, is not just an investment for growth, it’s what will set a business’s future trajectory as technology continues to advance,” Erwin said in today’s announcement.

As for 5G Fleet Swap, the idea here is obviously to get more businesses on Verizon’s 5G network and, for Apple, to quickly get more iPhone 12s into the enterprise. Apple clearly believes that 5G can provide some benefits to enterprises — and maybe more so than to consumers — thanks to its low latency for AR applications, for example.

“The iPhone 12 lineup is the best for business, with an all-new design, advanced 5G experience, industry-leading security and A14 Bionic, the fastest chip ever in a smartphone,” said Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice president of Markets, Apps and Services. “Paired with Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband going indoors and 5G Fleet Swap, an all-new device offer for enterprise, it’s now easier than ever for businesses to build transformational mobile apps that take advantage of the powerful iPhone 12 lineup and 5G.”

In addition, the company is highlighting the iPhone’s secure enclave as a major security benefit for enterprises. And while other handset manufacturers launch devices that are specifically meant to be rugged, Apple argues that its devices are already rugged enough by design and that there’s a big third-party ecosystem to ruggedize its devices.

#5g, #5g-network, #apple, #detroit, #general-motors, #hardware, #honeywell, #internet-of-things, #iphone, #mobile, #mobile-phones, #smartphone, #smartphones, #susan-prescott, #tc, #telecommunications, #ultra-wideband, #verizon, #verizon-communications, #verizon-media, #verizon-media-group


Proterra, which makes big honkin battery systems and electric buses, raises $200 million

Proterra, the battery system technology developer for heavy-duty electric vehicles, said it has raised $200 million in a new round of funding.

The new cash comes from Cowen Sustainable Investment Advisors, which led the round, along with money from Soros Fund Management, Generation Investment Management and Broadscale Group.

Cowen took the bulk of the round with $150 million while Soros, Generation and Broadscale forked over another $50 million.

This new capital infusion follows a year’s worth of speculation about a potential public offering for the big honkin battery systems developer. TechCrunch last reported in August 2019 that Proterra had hit a $1 billion valuation according to investors and would be seeking a potential IPO at the time.

The company said the new money would go to support the company’s ongoing research and development efforst into battery and electric drivetrain technologies and business development to increase the company’s footprint in additional commercial vehicle segments.

Proterra’s also looking at charging and energy management technology development to lower fleet management costs associated with operating electric fleets.

To date, Proterra has raised equity and debt totaling at least roughly $1 billion from investors including G2VP, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Constellation Ventures, Mitsui & Co. as well as BMW i Ventures, Edison Energy, the Federal Transportation Administration, General Motors’s venture arm and Tao Capital Partners .

Proterra, mainly makes buses for local, state and federal agencies that can travel 350 miles on a single charge. The Burlingame, Calif. company, which has a number of former Tesla employees in leadership positions, including the company’s former chief executive Ryan Popple, has also diversified its business to provide its power trains to other heavy- and medium-duty commercial electric vehicle manufacturers.

The company is now working with OEMs like Thomas Built Bus, Van Hool, FCCC, BusTech and Optimal-EV to bring 100% battery-electric vehicles powered by its technology to market, the company said in a statement.

“As demand grows for battery-electric vehicles and 100% zero-emission fleets, we are excited to collaborate with CSI as well as our other investors to accelerate the transition to clean, quiet transportation for all and deliver even more Proterra Powered vehicles around the world,” said Jack Allen, Proterra’s current chairman and chief executive.

BofA Securities acted as sole placement agent on this transaction.

#california, #electric-vehicle, #general-motors, #generation-investment-management, #kleiner-perkins-caufield-byers, #mitsui-co, #proterra, #soros-fund-management, #tao-capital-partners, #tc, #tesla, #transport


Tesla Third-Quarter Auto Sales Surge

Tesla reported record deliveries in the third quarter as growing interest in electric vehicles and other cars boosted sales across the industry.

#austin-tex, #automobiles, #berlin-germany, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #electric-and-hybrid-vehicles, #factories-and-manufacturing, #fremont-calif, #general-motors, #musk-elon, #shanghai-china, #tesla-motors-inc


Trevor Milton of Nikola Resigns Amid Fraud Claims

Trevor Milton, founder and executive chairman of Nikola, resigned after an investment fund accused him of making false assertions about the company’s technology.

#appointments-and-executive-changes, #automobiles, #general-motors, #milton-trevor, #securities-and-exchange-commission, #short-selling, #stocks-and-bonds


This family of electric motors will drive GM’s new electric vehicles

It might be too early to say that the auto industry is undergoing a great electrification. But more and more automakers are headed in that direction as product pipelines swell with new battery electric vehicles arriving over the next few years. Take General Motors—it plans to bring 22 new BEVs to market between now and 2023, starting with a reborn GMC Hummer to be debuted later this September. To make matters simpler, GM is standardizing the components it will use to build what promises to be a wide variety of vehicles.

We already learned a little about GM’s modular Ultium battery packs, which it claims will break the $100/kWh barrier “early in the platform’s life.” As the reveal of the Hummer approaches, it’s opening up about other aspects of its new BEV brigade. And this week it was time for motors to take to the stage. GM has developed a new family of modular drive units called Ultium Drive that it will mix and match in cars, crossovers, SUVs, and trucks.

In total, there are five drive units, each of which integrates the power electronics as well as the electric motors. There are drive units for front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, and an assist all-wheel drive unit, a truck drive unit that can be used for the front or rear axle, and a (rear) dual motor drive unit for trucks. And inside each drive unit is one of three electric motors in the Ultium Drive family: a permanent magnet primary front-wheel drive motor, a permanent magnet primary drive motor that’s happy in either front- or rear-wheel drive configurations, and a smaller induction magnet assist motor.

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#battery-electric-vehicle, #cars, #electric-motor, #general-motors, #ultium


General Motors will engineer and build Nikola’s hydrogen pickup

The Nikola Badger.

Enlarge / The Nikola Badger. (credit: Nikola Motors)

On Tuesday morning, General Motors announced that it was entering into a partnership with Nikola Motor, the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) startup. For its part, Nikola is bringing $2 billion to the table in the form of newly issued stock, an 11 percent share in the company. In return, it appears GM will do pretty much everything else—engineering, homologating, validating, and manufacturing battery EV and FCEV variants of the Nikola Badger pickup truck.

“This strategic partnership with Nikola, an industry leading disrupter, continues the broader deployment of General Motors’ all-new Ultium battery and Hydrotec fuel cell systems. We are growing our presence in multiple high-volume EV segments while building scale to lower battery and fuel cell costs and increase profitability,” said General Motors chairperson and CEO Mary Barra in a statement.

“Nikola is one of the most innovative companies in the world. General Motors is one of the top engineering and manufacturing companies in the world. You couldn’t dream of a better partnership than this,” said Trevor Milton, founder and CEO of Nikola Motors.

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#cars, #fcev, #general-motors, #gm, #hydrogen-fuel-cell, #nikola, #nikola-corporation, #ultium


General Motors takes $2 billion stake electric truck startup Nikola

Nikola and General Motors today announced a strategic partnership. Through the deal, GM gets 11% ownership in startup Nikola, and will, in turn, produce Nikola’s wild fuel cell pickup truck by the end of 2022.

Both companies’ shares jumped on the news, with Nikola trading up 45% and GM up 11% in pre-market trading.

The deal nets GM a $2 billion stake in Nikola, one of the hottest vehicle startups. Along with the financial stake, the General gains one seat on Nikola’s board of directors in exchange for in-kind services.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra said that she sees this as another path to deploy GM’s battery and fuel cell systems.

“We are growing our presence in multiple high-volume EV segments while building scale to lower battery and fuel cell costs and increase profitability,” CEO Barra said. “In addition, applying General Motors’ electrified technology solutions to the heavy-duty class of commercial vehicles is another important step in fulfilling our vision of a zero-emissions future.”

The partnership names GM as the exclusive fuel cell supplier for Nikola’s upcoming class 7/8 trucks.

For Nikola, this deal nets the startup a significant partner as it moves closer to production. GM will “engineer, validate, homologate, and build the Nikola Badger” electric and fuel cell pickup. General Motors will also take over the manufacturing of the pickup.

Nikola Founder and Executive Chairman Trevor Milton in a released statement. “By joining together, we get access to their validated parts for all of our programs, General Motors’ Ultium battery technology and a multi-billion dollar fuel cell program ready for production. Nikola immediately gets decades of supplier and manufacturing knowledge, validated and tested production-ready EV propulsion, world-class engineering, and investor confidence. Most importantly, General Motors has a vested interest to see Nikola succeed. We made three promises to our stakeholders and have now fulfilled two out of three promises ahead of schedule. What an exciting announcement.”

The deal enables Nikola to hit the market faster by offloading the manufacturing duties to one of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers. This, in turn, returns value to Nikola’s investors quicker, and with likely less risk. For GM, at least on paper, the automaker gains a significant asset that has serious momentum.

#general-motors, #gm, #nikola, #tc, #tesla