Another week (at home) has come and gone, but the world of mobility continues to spin. In the news, we’ve seen Indian Railways step up to transport essential commodities to those in isolation, BMW break ground on a Chinese EV plant, and Airbus’s UAM division Voom shutter due to travel restrictions. On the home front, CoMotion gathered three of mobility’s most important VC players for a lively discussion on how savvy mobility companies can navigate the current crisis. If you missed this first edition of CoMotion LIVE, you can still catch up on it here.
As the world continues to lock down, and we’ve all been stuck indoors way more than usual, why not relive all the great moments from CoMotion LA ’19? Pick your favorite theme, dive in, and pretend you’re actually at the world’s greatest meeting of mobility minded mavens. View it all here.
Materials matter: the mobility modes of the future need to be made of sustainable materials. Read on and learn why that’s so important in our latest Mobility Perspective from Varun Malpani of Covestro. Read it here.
Episode 60. Greg Lindsay sits down with Harry Campbell, Founder & CEO of The Rideshare Guy, to get some real insight into how coronavirus is affecting gig economy workers like rideshare drivers and delivery people. Greg also chats with Jonah Bliss again, to discuss the pandemic’s continued effect on the world of mobility. Listen here.
Free cars for first responders? Hiyacar, London’s peer-to-peer car sharing platform, has told customers not to share their cars as usual, but to instead offer them to National Health Service staff and other key medical workers in London and Brighton to help fight coronavirus.
Railroading relief: Indian Railways is doing what it can to help COVID-19 patients by transporting parcels of essential commodities to quarantined patients in isolation. Medicine, masks, food and more are being shuttled by eight special trains, with 20 more routes coming soon.
Expanding its offerings: doing its part to help people get basic necessities during the pandemic, DoorDash is partnering with over 1,800 convenience stores across the US. As grocery store shelves empty, these partnerships could give folks a better shot at finding essential goods.
Battery Bimmers: looks like Chinese auto manufacturing is already ramping back up: construction of a BMW plant in Tiexi is underway, set to produce 150,000 EVs a year. With a healthy $3.24 billion investment into the operations from BMW, production will begin in 2022.
Voom doom: Already struggling to scale, looks like travel restrictions were the death knell for UAM player Voom. Owner Airbus spun this as a positive, saying the valuable data they collected during four years of operations will help them stay ahead of the competition.
Wisco Weekly: Dennis Wisco spoke with ridesharing expert Harry Campbell, and CoMotion’s own Jonah Bliss, to answer the ever-looming question: has ridesharing plateaued? Check out the latest episode of the Wisco Weekly Podcast to learn more.
Pandemic partnerships: Uber Eats has stepped up and increased partnerships in markets struggling to cope with coronavirus. Uber partnered with stores and pharmacies in France, Spain and Brazil to help get people basic necessities. Naturally, all deliveries will be contactless.
EV acceleration: Toyota has been slow to bring full EVs to the global marketplace, though after partnering with China’s BYD, its electric offerings should accelerate. The automaker’s specific aim is to develop BEVs that appeal to customers — think more Tesla, less Prius — in hopes of spurring widespread adoption.
Wounded, not dead: when the topic of micromobility weathering the storm of a global pandemic came up at CoMotion LIVE, CoMotion’s new webinar series, our panel of VCs were surprisingly optimistic about the future of shared mobility — despite coronavirus.
Shifting gears: Uber co-founder Garrett Camp is stepping down as board director to become a board observer, able to attend board meetings, but with no voting right. The move was made so he could focus on product strategy for the TNC, as it weathers a number of challenges including coronavirus, drivers fighting for full employment, and a volatile stock price.
Mobility Moment: check out the latest episode of CoMotion’s Mobility Moment, where Jonah Bliss and Have A Go’s Terenig Topjian discuss how the CARES Act is bailing out transit in the nick of time and how different micromobility operators are responding to the current pandemic. Thanks to Velvioo!
Produce, yes; contact, no: Chinese startup Unity Drive Innovation (UDI) has been using an autonomous van to carry up to 1,000 kilos of cargo around 16 communities in Zibo, in Eastern China. For the past two months, the AV has been providing contactless delivery of produce for residents. The vans have already made some 2,500 autonomous trips since February.
Taking top talent: Lyft has hired Sacha Arnoud, who formerly led Waymo’s team on perception software, which gave self-driving vehicles the ability to see obstacles. It’s a homecoming of sorts, as Arnoud actually previously worked under Luc Vincent, Lyft’s current AV department head. As Lyft has been a bit late to the self-driving game, we’re curious to see where this is headed…
Essentially speaking: the Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency updated the US essential workforce guidance to include “bicycle maintenance” during the COVID-19 shutdowns. Meanwhile, in the UK, bike shops already deemed essential are seeing a substantial surge in business as more people are relying on bicycles to access and provide essential goods and services.
Emergency measures: Bird laid off 30% of its workforce in the wake of pulling its scooters from cities on COVID-19 lockdown. Competitor Lime sought an emergency capital injection, at the risk of reducing its valuation by up to 80%.
Essential infrastructure: with the need for everyone to access essential goods and services, as well as maintain psychological and physical wellbeing while safely social distancing, Streets For All calls on Los Angeles to pilot a temporary emergency safe streets network. It also wants to create an accelerated path for street closure requests following the examples of many other cities worldwide.
Self-cleaning scooters? Wheels will install nano-tech based self-cleaning handlebars and brakes on its pedal-free electric bicycles to allow delivery and gig workers to continue working. Maybe we should try coating the rest of the world in this magic material as well?
Another flock lands: Blue Duck Scooters recently entered into an agreement with a Texas developer to deploy a fleet inside a large mixed-use development in College Station. Looks like micromobility’s winter isn’t so cold in Texas.
Shared scooters step up: Lyft is making its bikes and scooters free or discounted for those directly helping the corona pandemic. In the same spirit, micromobility software platform Joyride is waiving fees for “for anyone launching vehicles that support service workers and food delivery systems that are directly assisting with coronavirus pandemic relief.”
SmartCitiesDive, reimagining the chaotic urban curb.
WIRED, positing we should build cities for bikes, buses, and feet — not cars.
Curbed, streaming its panel on designing streets that save lives.
The New York Times, shining a light on how those who can’t afford to quarantine are still forced to brave the subway.
CleanTechnica, reporting that gas stations are facing bankruptcy as demand plummets.
CityLab, mapping how cities are reclaiming street space.
ThePointsGuy, asking how will airlines rebuild their route maps after the coronavirus?
Startups & Corporate
Email Marketing Manager | Via Transportation | New York City
Software Engineer – Full-Stack | Flow Labs | Oakland, CA
Vehicle Engineer, New Vehicle Introduction | Cruise | San Francisco, CA
Product Manager, Merchant App | Postmates | San Francisco, CA
Senior User Acquisition Analyst | Postmates | San Francisco, CA
Software Engineer ( iOS and Android ) | Sunryde | Los Angeles, CA
Manager, Product Security Engineering | SpaceX | Redmond, WA
Civic & Nonprofit
Transportation Manager | City of Santa Clara | Santa Clara, CA
Transportation Consultant | Dept of Public Instruction | Wake County, NC
Finance and Administrative Assistant | UCP Wheels for Humanity | Chatsworth, CA
Have a job listing that’s perfect for the CoMotion community? Please send it to Jim Manning.
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