Welcome back to another edition of CoMotion>>NEWS! We hope this finds you in good health, both physical and mental — isolation isn’t easy on anyone. How about giving video chatting with your friends and relatives a break and join us at our inaugural CoMotion LIVE webinar this Wednesday at 10 AM PDT, as we discuss how early-stage mobility companies can navigate today’s choppy financing waters. In the news this past week, automakers started manufacturing much needed ventilators, an electric vehicle manufacturer is about to get back to business (in China of all places), and airlines are feeling the squeeze as travel grinds to a halt. And in a CoMotion>>NEWS exclusive, Gotcha’s CEO talked about a recent acquisition, and about micromobility’s resilience in the face of COVID-19. Plus, the US Congress just doled out a big pile of cash for transit operators, airlines, state DOTs… and just about everyone else. Will it be enough?
Join us on Wednesday at 10 AM Pacific for the inaugural edition of CoMotion LIVE, a new webinar series examining the most pressing mobility and economic issues of the day.
This week’s conversation will explore the question: is it now nuclear winter for venture funding? Maybe not… Learn how to navigate a challenging funding environment — and how savvy mobility companies can continue to prosper.
Episode 59. Greg Lindsay sits down with Paul Comfort, Vice President of Business Development at Trapeze, to discuss how transit agencies are pivoting to stay solvent during these troubled coronavirus times. Greg also chats with Jonah Bliss to fill you in on the latest happenings in mobility as the world goes into quarantine. Listen here.
Cash for Cazoo: this British startup, similar to America’s Vroom and Shift, is taking used car shopping online. In less than 18 months, Cazoo’s raised £180m, including a fresh £100m last week, showing that even in these tough times, promising ideas can still find backers.
Manufacturing med-tech: In a much needed assembly effort, Ford is building respirators, ventilators and face shields at their MI plant. With the first 1,000 face shields already ready, production is set to ramp up to 100,000/week. Great to see the automotive community stepping up!
Still on track: Stage 2 of Singapore’s Thomson-East Coast Line is set to open this summer, to the benefit of some 60,000+ commuters. Despite COVID-19 affecting ridership, testing of the new trains is proceeding as scheduled, preparing the line for a post-pandemic world.
Production proceeds: Despite automotive manufacturing being stalled around the world, Volvo has begun production of its all-electric Polestar 2 at a plant in China’s Zhejiang province. With temperature screenings, thorough disinfecting processes and masks for every worker, the factory is putting a big emphasis on worker health and safety.
CoMotion in the news: In a new interview with VoyageMIA, our own Jonah Bliss shares his thoughts about the world of transportation, and explains why Miami is the perfect place to gather mobility’s brightest minds.
H2 arrives: Moving towards its goal of making public transit emission-free by 2030, Denmark just welcomed a fleet of fuel cell buses to its public transit roster. Looks like FCEVs are finally tough enough to brave those frigid Scandinavian winters.
Flights fall: As COVID-19 spreads, air carriers are cutting capacity across the globe. United Airlines is the latest airline to announce cuts, with domestic flights reduced by 52%. Along with international cuts, United will reduce overall capacity by 68% in April alone. On the flip side, Qatar Airways looks to be a rare outlier, recently adding an extra 10,000 seats back to their network after previous cuts.
Mobility money: Thanks to the tireless work of advocates, the CARES Act now includes $25B for transit systems large and small. Combined with billions for airlines, cargo operators, state DOTs and Amtrak, this should help stabilize mobility operators across the U.S.
Salaries shrink: Some thanks for helping make those emergency respirators… GM recently announced pay cuts for its salaried workforce. As execs are seeing packages squeezed too, it looks like belts are being tightened all across Detroit.
Via’s value vaults: Exor NV, holding company of the Italian Agnelli family (who played a big role in founding Fiat and have invested in many automotive endeavors) have just made a $200 million investment into NY-based Via, the transportation network company. The investment gives Exor a 9% stake, bringing Via’s valuation to $2.25 billion — all the more impressive given the current economic climate.
Exclusive interview: CoMotion sat down (virtually) with Gotcha CEO Sean Flood and gained some insight into how the micromobility operator has the resiliency to withstand these troubled times, especially after its recent tie up with Last Mile Holdings (formerly OjO).
Mobility Moment: in our latest episode, Jonah Bliss and Have A Go’s Terenig Topjian talk about big auto stepping up to make ventilators and how bike shops were deemed essential services during the pandemic. Thanks to Velvioo!
Developing delivery drones: UPS has partnered with German startup Wingcopter to develop a new eVTOL for its Flight Forward drone delivery unit. The collaboration would see Wingcopter’s 75 mile range drones become an integral part of UPS’s commercial delivery efforts in the US.
Flying taxis funded: Munich-based UAM startup Lilium just took in an additional $240 million to fund the development of its eVTOL flying taxi. With this fresh injection of capital, Lilium is on track for its 2025 launch date.
Scoot to the station: While the coronavirus pandemic has changed the face of transportation in the short term, micromobility will still be a viable option once life in cities returns to a more familiar form. Take a look at CoMotion>>NEWS’ graphs and gain some insight into how e-scooters make it easier (and more likely) for the public to use mass transit.
Free pass: Lyft is doing its part to help those combating the coronavirus — the rideshare giant is offering free and discounted bike-share passes for hospital workers, transit employees, and first responders in New York City, Boston, and Chicago. Good going, Lyft!
An issue of space: As “shelter in place” continues, the need for new bike networks and open streets for pedestrians is becoming increasingly urgent. Former public transit users still need to access vital goods and services, as well as get exercise and fresh air to maintain psychological/physical health.
City bike spike: City bike sharing programs have seen a large spike in ridership, with Chicago’s Divvy soaring over 100% and New York’s Citibike jumping 67%. In China, Mobike and Hellobike are seeing longer trips on two wheels as well.
Welsh walkers, Scottish cyclists: In the United Kingdom, 50 academics and public health and mobility experts sent an open letter to government officials stressing the need for open streets to mitigate sidewalk and public park crowding.
Mass micromobility exodus: Shared mobility operators like Bird, Lime, and JUMP have been pulling out of cities en masse. Seeing as scooter providers won’t be getting a bailout from Congress, they’re left on their own to weather the storm.
Sour notes: COVID-19 lockdown cuts Lime’s runway down to a reported 12 weeks as management considers laying off between 50-70 employees in a bid to stem the bleeding, while Bangalore-based Bounce also laid off 120 employees due to similar coronavirus-related cashflow issues.
Hit pause: Following other major scooter providers, European Voi “pauses” rentals in most of its service areas.
Supply chain pain: Given micromobility’s reliance on Chinese manufacturing, coronavirus has begun causing delays in production of vehicles as well as components for maintenance.
When times get tough: With so much turmoil in the shared micromobility space, Grüv announced it will continue its role as a vital transportation provider for critical trips even offering free rides to people in essential services. Following suit, Revel will also be offering free rides for healthcare workers.
Curbed, offering up the Green New Deal as a way to help transit after coronavirus tanks global ridership.
Politico, looking into how Uber’s coronavirus response could sway the fight over gig workers.
CityLab, taking a look at France’s high-speed hospital train.
StateTech, explaining why cities should apply data analysis to transportation systems.
Startups & Corporate
Mechanical Engineer (Starship) | SpaceX | Brownsville, TX
Global Marketplace Associate | Via Transportation | New York
Outside Sales Enablement Lead | DoorDash | San Francisco
Autonomous Vehicle Simulation Software Engineer | Azevtec | Golden, CO
Technical Project Manager | Zuum transportation Inc | Irvine, CA
Strategic Finance Analyst | Deliverr | San Francisco
Senior Front-end Engineer | Transfix | New York City
Civic & Nonprofit
Transportation Consultant | Dept of Public Instruction | Wake County, NC
Transportation Planner | City of San Antonio Aviation | San Antonio, TX
Executive Director | Santa Barbara Bicycle Coalition (SBBIKE) | Santa Barbara, CA
Have a job listing that’s perfect for the CoMotion community? Please send it to Jim Manning.
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