Issue #5 • June 3, 2022
Happy Friday! This week in mobility... Cruise drives ahead, old dogs learn new tricks, and more.
Need to Know
In case you missed the big news… Yesterday, Cruise became the first company approved to operate a commercial, driverless ride-hail service in a major US city. Thanks to a Driverless Deployment Permit from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Cruise may now offer its San Francisco service at a max of 30 mph, from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., “when weather conditions do not include heavy rain, heavy fog, heavy smoke, hail, sleet, or snow.”
Staying ahead of the game has allowed the world’s mega-corporations to stay, well, mega. This week, a number have shared clues about what they have in store… Amazon started testing a new delivery system composed of independent contractors delivering locally purchased goods directly from third-party vendors to consumers. After some grumblings with its dealers, Ford shared that its future EVs will be sold directly online at non-negotiable prices. And in slightly more “didn’t see that coming” news, Chick-fil-A announced a partnership with Refraction AI, a last-mile robotic delivery company, for an autonomous delivery pilot — taking your nugget delivery high-tech.
In Other News
Leadership Shakeups. As Rivian reorganizes the business into two parts — one for passenger vehicles, the other for commercial offerings — executive changes are also underway. Lucid Motors has reportedly reassigned two top executives as quality issues continue to plague its Air EV production.
Vehicle Hype. DeLorean is returning, unveiling its Alpha5 electric GT, bringing the revived brand into the future. Olympian Motors teased its retro-themed O1 vehicle, looking instead to draw inspiration from the past. In a different vein, Candela, a Stockholm-based hydrofoil electric boat maker, unveiled its P-8 Voyager, the world’s first electric taxi boat. And Aptera, a solar electric vehicle maker, shared that it has more than 22,000 reservations for its first vehicle as it approaches production.
Expansion. Ford announced over 6K new manufacturing jobs and a $3.7 billion investment in facilities across the US Midwest. According to numerous reports, NIO may be planning a US factory to produce its EVs in a move to enter the US market. Zynga EV Mobility, a Delhi-based logistics provider, is deploying 18,000 last-mile delivery EVs across India.
Innovation. Mercedes-Benz plans to introduce a new MMA “entry luxury” EV platform in 2024 to push its offerings upmarket. Log9 Materials, a battery startup, announced India’s first cell production line, projecting that homegrown batteries could reduce EV prices by 40%. Finally, Scythe Robotics is ushering in an era of autonomous lawnmowers in the US.
Mobility as a Service. WattEV announced it will operate 12,000 electric trucks as a service and a charging network to support them by 2030. Glydways, a transportation startup, shared a vision for a new take on public transport using a network of automated “pod cars.”
Micromobility. Dott launched its shared e-scooter services in Israel, marking the company’s first deployment outside of Europe. ThinkBikes Nigeria has started delivering locally-produced electric cargo tricycles to customers. Gocycle, an electric bike maker, refreshed its business model and dropped prices on its new e-bikes.
Regulatory Landscape. The US Department of Energy announced $59 million to accelerate the production of biofuels and bioproducts to reduce emissions in hard-to-decarbonize sectors. The United States Postal Service (USPS) accelerates its EV buying strategy. Truck manufacturers are suing California to continue polluting… An association of companies filed a lawsuit to delay the Heavy-Duty Omnibus rule from going into effect. Finally, Colorado’s Governor signed an air-quality bill, which among other things, created a $65 million grant program for electric school buses in the state.
Committing to Change. Fiat announced that it would end the sales of all non-electrified vehicles in the UK on July 1. Buick announced its commitment to an all-electric portfolio by the end of this decade. In Geely’s ESG report, the company committed to a 5-year carbon reduction target of more than 25% and reaching carbon neutrality by 2045. Volvo became the first automaker to join the SteelZero Initiative, committing to procure 100% fossil-free steel by 2050. And Mazda committed to making its factories carbon neutral by 2035.
Investments & Acquisitions. Bosch acquired Five AI, a British self-driving software company, to bolster its automated driving armory. In addition, Rimac closed a $536 million round of funding to accelerate its new role as a high-performance electric component supplier.
Partnerships. Stellantis and Toyota Motor Europe expanded their relationship, with Stellantis producing a Toyota-branded large-size commercial vehicle for the European market. Uber partnered with the largest taxi service in Italy, IT Taxi, to accelerate pandemic recovery efforts. Spright, a medical drone delivery operator, partnered with Synerjet, a Latin American aviation company, to expand healthcare services via drones in Brazil. Volvo partnered with Epic Games to bring photorealistic visualization technology into its next-gen EVs. And Lloyd’s Register Maritime Decarbonization Hub and key partners launched the Silk Alliance, tasked with developing a fleet fuel transition strategy that can enable a Green Corridor Cluster.
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