Issue #11 • July 15, 2022
Happy Friday! This week in mobility... Canoo had a rough ride post-IPO but may have found its lifeline right in its backyard, and more.
Need to Know
Canoo dominated headlines this week with two announcements that may have been the saving grace the company needs to pull it back from the brink.
For those who don’t know, Canoo is an EV startup founded in 2017 by two former Faraday Future employees. Canoo went public via SPAC in 2020, but a few months ago, in an earnings call, expressed doubt about the company’s future.
Their luck may change with a new deal they announced with their Arkansas neighbor this week. Walmart agreed to buy at least 4,500 EVs from Canoo in a purchase agreement that allows for a purchase up to 5,500 more after that, in exchange for exercisable warranted shares totaling 20% of the entire company. While this deal aligns with Walmart’s sustainability commitments, wasn’t a massive gamble for the giant financially, and prevented Amazon from another potential partner, it was an enormous win for Canoo, restoring some company confidence.
After this announcement came news that the US Army selected Canoo’s Multi-Purpose Platform for analysis and demonstration as it looks to incorporate scalable EV technologies into its programs. While not necessarily groundbreaking — the Army can look at several technologies at any given time — it was another well-needed win for the company.
All to say, this could have been a potentially life-saving week for Canoo. Though it’s one of many EV companies, their woes aren’t just theirs — high costs of entry and growing competition make it a challenging space. We’ll have to see what the Bentonville team does next.
In Other News
🏛️ Regulatory. California regulator is looking into an anonymous letter from a Cruise employee alleging that the company’s robotaxi service wasn’t ready for launch. And NHTSA shared that it would not allow EVs to have unlimited or custom pedestrian alert sounds.
🚘 Cars. In the world of electric hypercars, Pininfarina started building the 1,900-horsepower Battista, and Rimac rolled the first Nevera off the production line. Lightship, an electric RV startup created by Tesla alums, launched a travel trailer equipped with an electric powertrain to increase the range of its towing EV. The Volkswagen ID. Buzz is now open for ordering in the UK. And Wuling, a Chinese mini-EV maker, announced it would enter the hybrid market.
🚛 Trucks & Buses. Equipmake will begin in-service trials of its electric bus in Buenos Aires. Morgan Olson and EAVX unveiled a Class 5 walk-in step van body. Karsan, a Turkish bus manufacturer, is regularly operating its autonomous e-Atak bus in Norway. And Peugeot launched its e-expert hydrogen fuel cell van.
Autonomous Tech. Xiaomi reportedly bought 200 BYD vehicles to test its self-driving technology.
⚡ Mobility Ecosystem. Volvo Trucks is partnering with several companies to construct a charging network throughout California for medium- and heavy-duty EVs. General Motors is collaborating with the Pilot Company, a petroleum company that runs truck stops and gas stations in the US, to set up a nationwide network of EV rapid chargers. Google Maps is preparing to expand its fuel-efficient routing options, specifically for EVs, hybrids, and more. Finally, Tesla asked its customers in Texas to avoid charging their electric vehicles during peak times to prevent overtaxing the state’s power grid.
📍Go to Market. VinFast has accelerated its path into the North American market this week, opening six stores in California and securing a $1.2 billion incentives package from North Carolina for its US factory. Nuro shared the closing of its Phoenix facility as it shifts its commercial strategy toward the San Francisco Bay Area and Houston. And Zoox shared that it has self-certified its robotaxi, meeting the FMVSS requirements for public road driving.
💼 Business. Geely launched its new outdoor lifestyle marque Radar Auto to produce electric pickups, SUVs, and ATVs. Mahindra shared that it plans to create a new subsidiary to run its EV business, with plans to debut its XUV400 SUV in September. Continuing its push towards microtransactions for high-end features, BMW has started selling subscriptions for heated seats. And Polestar saw a 125% increase in vehicle deliveries YOY.
🛑 Industry Shakeups. Rivian will share more details with its employees today about restructuring, including possible layoffs and plans to temporarily cut some programs. Nuro laid off Houston, Mountain View, and Phoenix employees as part of its strategy shift. Arrival plans to slash costs and cut up to 30% of its workforce to meet its EV van production target. Argo AI shut down its Washington, DC operation as part of a broader round of layoffs. Tesla closed its San Mateo office, laying off several employees. Unrelated, Tesla also lost its head of AI and computer vision. Huawei lost its executive over its autonomous driving system and automotive business unit. And Lordstown Motors named a new CEO.
🤝 Partnerships. BlueOval SK, a joint venture between SK On and Ford Motor Company for manufacturing electric vehicle batteries, was officially established. And Iveco Group partnered with Hyundai’s HTWO to provide fuel cells for its future hydrogen-powered buses.
✨ Investments. May Mobility closed a $111 million Series C funding round. Merlin Labs, an autonomous flight startup, closed a $105 million funding round. Swvl, a Latin America-based mobility startup, acquired Urbvan, a transport startup, for $82 million. The Rohatyn Group acquired Leader, an e-bike producer. And Sound Point Capital provided financing to Dura Automotive to continue its growth.
While the West Coast has long dominated the EV market in the US, a new study has found that demand growth is quickly shifting to more rural areas of the country.
In an interview with Volvo’s new CEO, Jim Rowan shared more about Volvo’s electric future.
General Motors has addressed a question posed by a recent study — why is the GMC Hummer EV’s emissions so high?
According to Bloomberg, we’ve already hit the tipping point in the US for an electrified future.
Thanks for reading Mobility Weekly! Subscribe for free to receive new issues and support my work.