The planet may still be locked down (well, except Georgia) but the world of mobility is anything but still. Paris is going all-in on making a bike-friendly city, Ford is battling coronavirus-related delays, Moovit was acquired for nearly $1 billion, and TNCs are in trouble in Brazil. Speaking of trouble, what’s next for EVs? In a world of rock-bottom oil prices, cratering transit ridership, and changing government priorities, we take a look at five key implications of COVID-19 on the EV industry.
Join us Wednesday at 10 AM Pacific for the next edition of CoMotion LIVE: Heaven or Hell for Electric Mobility? Plotting the Prospects for EVs in a Post-COVID World.
Learn what comes next for an industry in flux from Boris von Bormann, Founder & Managing Partner of clean transport investment fund Renu Ventures; Stella Li, the President of China’s leading EV player BYD; Matt Petersen, the CEO of the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator; and Seth Weintraub, the Editorial Director & Publisher of Electrek. Our own John Rossant, CEO and Chief Curator of CoMotion, will moderate.
Episode 64. Continuing our examination of EVs, Greg Lindsay sits down with John Voelcker, a provider of global auto industry analysis, and Loren McDonald, content marketer and EV analyst, to discuss the rapidly approaching future of electric vehicles across the world. Greg also chats with Jonah Bliss about how the EV ecosystem will fare during and after the coronavirus crisis. Listen here.
What COVID means for EVs: the coronavirus epidemic is tearing across every industry on the planet, hitting fledgling industries hardest. So how exactly might COVID-19 impact the burgeoning EV industry? Take a look at this savvy write-up from CoMotion advisor Alex Pischalnikov. Alex is a Los Angeles-based consultant specializing in growth strategy and M&A advisory for utility, municipal, corporate, and investors’ clients across the globe.
Major acquisition: in a major tie-up, Intel has acquired Israel’s smart-transit startup Moovit — for some $900 million. Along with Intel’s prior acquisition of Mobileye, the Israeli company developing vision-based advanced driver assistance systems, Intel is muscling up in the mobility sector in a very significant way. Watch this space…
Crude crashes: The collapse of May futures contracts on crude oil was an unprecedented event. But how exactly did that happen? Bloomberg explores how “black gold” suddenly became a major liability.
EV ecosystem investment infusion: Heavy hitting financier Soros Fund Management is investing $13.2 million in LA-based electric charging startup Amply Power, a vote of confidence in the EV sector given current turmoil in energy markets.
Court vs. Cabify: Looks like LatAm leader Cabify is in trouble in Brazil. After a court found the TNC had taken insufficient measures to protect users against COVID-19, the company was ordered to offer drivers free hand sanitizer and vehicle cleaning.
The end of WFH: Major corporations are already making plans for reopening corporate offices, post-lockdown. One point of concern: how to deal with workers who may be worried about using transit to reach downtown skyscrapers.
Blame the system not the scooter: In a recent Mobility Perspective, Chris Cherry takes a look at how e-scooter safety is less about the scooters themselves and more about our city streets.
Paris takes a stand: Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is fighting for car-free streets as the end of lockdown looms. She says “it’s out of the question” that Parisians will allow themselves “to be invaded by cars, and by pollution.” Bike lanes and buses will be the order of the day.
Lyft layoffs: As the coronavirus crisis puts a serious squeeze on the ride-hailing industry, Lyft is laying off ~1,000 employees, 17% of its staff. Hundreds of people are being furloughed until further notice, and salary cuts are trickling across the entire company.
Deliveroo drops staff: UK-based delivery service Deliveroo is the latest company to feel the pandemic pressure. Not only have 50 employees been furloughed, 367 staff members have been laid off. All this, despite on-demand delivery soaring during global lockdowns. What gives?
Funding despite COVID: Nio, China’s Tesla-wannabe, just took in a $1 billion investment from several state-owned Chinese companies. Even with this influx of capital, Nio still faces an uphill battle against the downturn in the Chinese electric auto market.
COVID cuts: as the pandemic drags on, companies are feeling the economic pressure and are in turn laying off large percentages of staff. Take a look at which mobility companies have been hit hardest.
Airborne apothecary: CVS and UPS will now offer drone delivery of prescription drugs to Florida’s The Villages retirement community. As the nation’s at-risk population is still very much locked down and quite vulnerable, the service could wind up saving lives.
Pandemic postponement: Ford recently announced it will postpone the launch of its autonomous vehicle service until 2022. The strategic shift was made in response to COVID-19 concerns, which are spreading across the entire global auto industry.
Pivot for the people: GM’s Cruise has reactivated a small chunk of its fleet after idling vehicles due to COVID-19 concerns. Now, the AVs are making contactless meal deliveries from food banks to low-income, senior citizens in the Bay Area.
Sooner than later? Jianxiong Xiao, CEO and founder of AV startup AutoX, believes that cars could go completely driverless “very soon.” His unbridled optimism may be spurred on by the fact his company was recently approved to roll out a fleet of 100 AVs, seeing as fully autonomous driving is likely still many years away.
Oh là là: France is setting aside over $21 million to support cyclists after coronavirus lockdowns are lifted. The money will go to individual cyclists for bike repairs, in hopes of keeping people out of their cars so the skies can remain clear.
When Lime gives you lemons… in mid-March, e-scooter operator Lime pulled its offerings from cities around the world, due to COVID-19. Now it seems some of those exits may outlast the crisis—Lime notified the city of Santa Monica that it would permanently cease service.
There’s an app for that: Populus launched a new platform to make it easier for cities to plan and implement open streets during the COVID-19 pandemic.
100 mile club: Portland and New York have committed 100 miles of open streets for residents to walk and cycle and maintain their physical and psychological well-being while physical distancing. Pasadena, California has created “a network of over 100 miles of Slow Streets” with on-street signage. But Los Angeles drags its feet…
Street space opening globally: Much like in America, cities and countries around the world are opening up street space for alternative modes of mobility. In China, some cities are looking to cycling to avoid returning to auto gridlock and pollution; Paris is prepping for 650 kilometers of bike paths after the lockdowns are eased; Milan, Italy will implement a rapid road reconfiguration of 35 kilometers for more space for biking and walking; and U.K.’s Department for Transport has finally allowed streets to be used for people to walk and cycle.
Bikes are the new toilet paper: Australian bicycle retailers are having a hard time keeping up with demand as people seek two wheelers for exercise and mobility during the pandemic.
More like $150M: the bike-sharing arm of Didi Chuxing has raised $150 million, not the $1 billion originally reported. The remaining $850 million will come from Didi itself.
Adam Giambrone, sharing what the future of cities and transport might look like in a post-COVID world.
BBC, asking if we are witnessing the death of the car.
SportAndDev, wondering if cargo bikes will replace rickshaws in congested and polluted metropoles.
Market Urbanism, implying that automobiles, not public transit, seeded the massive coronavirus epidemic in New York City.
The Atlantic, explaining how the pandemic shows what cars have done to cities.
CityLab, questioning if commuters will ever go back to commuter trains?
SmartCitiesDive, looking at the trend of cities seeing a cycling surge amid COVID-19, asking if the trend will stick.
Startups & Corporate
Senior Product Manager – eBikes | Bolt | Alexandria, Australia
Artificial Intelligence Engineer | drivebuddyAI | Delhi, India
Internal Communications Manager | Spin | San Francisco, CA
Executive Assistant to the CEO | Goin | Evertt, WA
PCB Engineer, R&D Operations | Argo AI | Pittsburgh, PA
Buyer, Server Engineer | Postmates | San Francisco, CA
Customer Support Manager | Autzu | Toronto, Canada
Civic & Nonprofit
Transportation Manager | Flagler County General Services | Bunnell, FL
Transportation Analyst | Public Works | Miami, FL
Transportation Manager | Seattle Public Schools | Seattle, Washington
Have a job listing that’s perfect for the CoMotion community? Please send it to Jim Manning.
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