Issue #28 • December 18, 2022
Happy Sunday and happy holidays! We’ll take a break next week due to Christmas, but we’ll see you all the following week to close out 2022 with a special year-end issue highlighting some of the major headlines and developments we saw in mobility this year and what to expect in the year ahead. With that, enjoy this issue!
This week in mobility... Cruise is under investigation for incidents of sudden braking and blocking traffic with its robotaxis, and more.
Need to Know
This week, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) launched an investigation into General Motors' autonomous vehicle unit, Cruise, following several incidents involving the company's robotaxis in San Francisco. NHTSA is looking into instances where Cruise's vehicles "engage in inappropriately hard braking or become immobilized," blocking the road or causing rear-end collisions. The agency is investigating three incidents where Cruise vehicles were struck from behind after suddenly braking, with a safety driver in each vehicle.
There are currently 242 Cruise vehicles in San Francisco, and the investigation could potentially lead to a recall. The news comes as Cruise and rival Waymo are expanding their service areas in San Francisco and increasing the number of fully driverless vehicles on the road.
In Other News
🏛 Regulatory. The US Department of Energy finalized its $2.5 billion low-cost loan to Ultium Cells, the battery JV of General Motors and LG Energy Solution. California approved a $2.9 billion investment plan to accelerate the state's electric vehicle charging and hydrogen refueling targets for 2025. New York state awarded $23 million for transportation electrification initiatives. Uber is suing the New York City Taxi & Limousine Commission over an approved fare hike for ride-hail apps and taxi drivers amid a post-pandemic driver shortage, rising operational costs, and higher inflation.
🚘 Vehicles. Toyota unveiled its first electric pickup truck in Thailand. Faraday Future announced a series of strategic actions designed to support the completion and launch of its Ultimate Intelligent TechLuxury FF 91 Futurist EV next year. Volvo confirmed its EX30 entry-level SUV is coming in 2023. CAKE is building an autonomous electric ATV that works with or without a rider. Ford teased the shape of its upcoming European midsized electric SUV. XPeng is reported to launch three new models in 2023. BYD plans to launch a new "professional and personal" electric car brand in 2023.
Tech Development. Polestar announced that it would show off its Smart Eye driver monitoring system at CES in January. Apple patents provided insight into their autonomous endeavors with exterior and interior “movable sensors.” Hankook launched EV-specific iON tires in the US to enhance mileage. Svolt Energy unveiled its Dragon Armor Battery, capable of giving EVs up to 1,000 km of range.
⚡ Mobility Ecosystem. TomTom, AWS, Meta, and Microsoft announced the formation of the Overture Maps Foundation, a collaborative effort under the governance of the Linux Foundation that aims to develop interoperable open map data. Toyota partnered with Oncor, an electric transmission and distribution company, on a pilot project around vehicle-to-grid technologies. Wallbox and Lyft announced a partnership to boost home EV charging access for drivers in North America. Autofleet launched its electrification simulator to plan the transition to EVs for fleets and charging point operators.
📍Go to Market. Amtrak unveiled details of its newest train – the Amtrak Airo – that will replace its 50-year-old trains starting in 2026. Vueron Technology, a Korean startup developing autonomous vehicles and LiDAR solutions, announced that it would launch an autonomous truck delivery business. Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous robotaxi subsidiary, is nearing full autonomy approval in San Francisco. Pepsi plans to deploy 100 Tesla Semis in 2023. SONDORS Metacycle electric motorcycles are now delivering to over half of the US.
💼 Business. Rivian walked away from its agreement to build electric vans with Mercedes in Europe. Uber Freight and Volvo announced a partnership to deploy Volvo’s autonomous transport solution on the Uber Freight network. VinFast and IMA announced a collaboration to provide roadside assistance for VinFast customers in Europe. Panasonic Energy and Lucid entered an agreement to supply batteries for Lucid’s EVs.
💰 Investments. Elon Musk sold $3.58 billion of Tesla stock as the company’s shares are down 60% YTD. Hexagon invested $100 million in Divergent for autonomous and sustainable manufacturing. SafeAI raised $38 million to retrofit more heavy trucks with autonomous tech. Geely’s luxury EV brand ZEEKR quietly filed for a US IPO, seeking a valuation of over $10 billion. WN VTech, a vehicle manufacturing specialist, secured £2 million in funding with Lombard for its electric bus fleet.
Autonomous trucking developers are slowing their roll.
A look at how General Motors’ BrightDrop is helping FedEx conquer holiday delivery this winter.
An article capturing why 2022 was a record year for EV battery supply chains.
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