Week in Review: Daimler’s diesel discharge, Lucid’s awesome range, & Uber out of CA
It’s been a busy week in the world of mobility and the news is not all good. The fight between Uber/Lyft and California over AB-5 is heating up as a California judge rules against the TNCs and the companies threaten to suspend service in the state, Daimler is paying billions in an American diesel emissions cheating scandal (sound familiar, VW?), and Rivian fires back against a lawsuit from Tesla. A bit of good news: the Lucid Air luxury EV will have a reported range of 500+ miles! So long, range anxiety… and read on for more reasons to be hopeful about the mobility of tomorrow.
How will inexpensive and continuous delivery change retail business models? How will autonomy change real estate patterns in urban cores and exurban peripheries? And how are investors choosing to bet on these new possibilities?
The CoMotion LIVE webinar Follow the Money: How AVs Will Reshape Cities & Society will dive into these important questions Wednesday, August 19th.
Our panelists are some of the leading lights in the field: Henry Greenidge, Esq., Fellow-In-Residence at the NYU McSilver Institute of Poverty Policy & Research, where he focuses on the intersection between race, poverty, transportation, and urban technology; Karina Ricks, Director of Mobility & Infrastructure for the City of Pittsburgh; Anthony Townsend, author of Ghost Road, a new and acclaimed book analyzing the profound impacts of the autonomous revolution; and Kevin Webb, Co-Director of SharedStreets, an organization building software, digital infrastructure, and governance frameworks to support new ways of managing and sharing the data that keeps cities moving.
California Uber Alles: there’s never a dull moment on the AB-5 battlefield. A California judge issues a preliminary injunction, ruling Uber and Lyft must classify drivers as employees, stating “drivers are central, not tangential, to Uber and Lyft’s entire ride-hailing business.” This comes as Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi proposes creating a “third way” for gig workers, a hybrid employment form where Uber would pay into a benefit fund that workers could draw on for PTO and health care. Following the judges ruling, the TNCs threaten to suspend service in the Golden State if they lose the appeal. As of Friday, the court denied the companies’ bid to delay the order, so we’re days away from either an emergency appeal — or one of Uber & Lyft’s largest markets will soon be rideshare-free.
Disliking delivery: “It’s not right… the fees are ridiculous” – restaurant owners sound off on their frustrations with delivery apps. From high commissions of 15-30%, to freshly cooked food being delivered cold or soggy, there’s plenty to complain about.
517 miles!!! That’s right, the new Lucid Air just achieved a record-setting 517 miles of range on the EPA test cycle. (For comparison, Teslas top out at ~370 miles.) That’s even more than your average ICE-powered car range of 250-400 — talk about eliminating range anxiety.
Crude spill: yet another tragic oil leak, vividly illustrating just how desperately we all need to transition to clean energy: a Japanese ship off the coast of Mauritius threatens to break apart, sending more oil into the Indian ocean. For us, the mobility revolution can’t come soon enough!
From cars to cards: the convergence of mobility and mobile payments is worth watching closely. Case in point: former GM CFO Dhivya Suryadevara makes the jump to Stripe, as the e-commerce boom continues to reshape retail and delivery.
Big idea, bigger exit: get the inside scoop on how Moovit went from a rough idea to a nearly billion dollar exit in under eight years. Moovit’s former president Omar Téllez shares the inside story about the MaaS maven’s impressive trajectory. Fascinating reading…
Starting small? Regulators cap the top speed of scooters, keep TNC vehicles out of designated zones, and price access for all sorts of new mobility modes — but what’s stopping these regulations from being applied to a far more dangerous vehicle: the car? Our friend David Zipper explains.
The “Tesla of the seas”? Seattle startup Zin Boats unveils its all-electric, carbon-fiber Z2R. Featuring BMW batteries and advanced navigation systems, this beauty will set you back a cool quarter mil. Watch this space, the future of e-boats is wide open!
CorvettEV? Hot off the Cadillac Lyric announcement, it looks like GM may have another lustworthy EV in the works. The Detroit automaker filed a trademark application for an “E-Ray”, hinting that an electrified Corvette Stingray may be on the boards…
Hoarding cash: $16.1 billion. $4.75 billion. $5.4 billion… The world’s major airlines are putting an unprecedented amount of money on the books as they hunker down for a rough few years. As JetBlue’s CEO put it, the “number one focus is cash.”
Dirty diesel dollars: it’s not quite Dieselgate’s record $35 billion in fines and settlements, but Daimler just agreed to fork over a hefty $2.2 billion to settle claims that its vehicles cheated American diesel emission tests. Here’s hoping the money goes to speeding up green mobility…
Canadian can-do: Halifax’s regional council is doing mobility right, endorsing two new rapid transit projects. The $768 million project will include new rapid bus routes, including electric buses, and three additional ferry terminals.
Friends with webinars: on August 19th at 9 AM Pacific our own John Rossant is moderating an impressive group of mobility innovators at SparkLabs Group’s webinar: “Dynamic, Uncertain Future of Mobility” The pandemic is radically changing the face of mobility, from ridesharing and mass transit ridership declines, to challenges for micromobility operators and OEMs – even as the vast, secular disruption in mobility and transportation accelerates. Join in on the conversation.
Smart streets: Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs’ subsidiary Cavnue is looking to build a smart roadway for connected and self-driving vehicles, hoping to speed up the AV revolution in the heart of America’s auto industry: Detroit, Michigan.
Low-cost LiDAR meets geopolitical tensions: embattled Chinese telecom giant Huawei reveals a sub-$500 LiDAR, meant to bring AV development costs down to earth. Given the company’s ongoing spat with US regulators, will it be available to American automakers, or will this give China’s self-driving startups like AutoX and PonyAI a competitive advantage? Only time will tell.
Meet Motional: after a September tease, Hyundai and Aptiv reveal their new AV brand: Motional. The keys to this partnership’s success? Smart software, in-house automotive manufacturing capabilities…and deep pockets. The new company, already valued at $4 billion, is developing a full-stack AV system it plans to start selling to businesses and fleet operators in 2022.
Firing back: after Tesla filed a lawsuit accusing Rivian of poaching talent and stealing trade secrets, Rivian is asking a judge to dismiss the case. The Irvine-based automaker claims Tesla is only trying to drag a rival’s reputation through the mud and hurt its recruiting efforts.
Breeze goes bye-bye: Santa Monica, CA has long been known as a leader in micromobility innovation, with new startups and form factors fighting for the beach city’s limited curb space. One of its earliest operators, city-subsidized Breeze Bike Share, is now calling it quits. Faced with increased competition, shrinking municipal budgets, and aging equipment, the organization will cease operations around its fifth birthday.
Off-road unicycle racing? Is off-road micromobility the new extreme sport? Grit your teeth and watch these daredevils take electric OneWheels down a mountainside race course. We don’t, however, recommend your trying this at home.
Is it a scooter? Or a motorcycle? Austria’s KTM unveils the brand new “Emotion,” revealing a funky form factor that bridges the two vehicle types.
Tracking targets: a new tool at the fascinating intersection of micromobility and data: the New Urban Mobility Alliance (NUMO) releases a platform that lets cities see if their scooter and bikeshare policies are advancing policy goals.
Go long! Bogota, Colombia aims for an aggressive long term goal of having 50% of all in-city trips be via bicycles and micromobility, in part by adding 280km of bike lanes to its already robust 550km network.
Going down the Silk (bike)Road: Turkey opens “world’s longest uninterrupted bike path” connecting two towns in an on-and-off-again 50 year project. The path is part of a larger, ambitious strategy of creating a massive network of 4,775 kilometers of lanes by 2023.
Totally Rad: the largest US e-bike brand, Rad, is a classic startup garage story, $100 million in sales and 100,000 units sold even before the pandemic’s bike surge.
Carbon fighting: A new study surveying North American riders found that electric bikes significantly cut local transportation carbon emissions with every e-bike reducing 225 kg of CO2 every year.
Grown-up micromobility: BMW files patents providing serious upgrades to the traditional large scooter, with multiple crumple zones, a roof, a carbon safety cell, a 4 point harness, and airbags.
SmartCitiesDive, highlighting the strong business case for governments to support sustainable urban transportation.
CleanTechnica, with a new study that found air pollution is killing honeybees.
Bloomberg CityLab, reporting on how expanding roads to add bike lanes can leave behind those with disabilities.
TransportDive, offering five ways that outdated tech causes trucker dissatisfaction and leads to high driver turnover.
Gallup, explaining that in order to build more equitable cities, planners need to listen to the people who actually live there.
The New York Times, wondering if in a post-pandemic Big Apple, might cars return to their position of dominance on the city’s streets?
Startups & Corporate
Chief Technology Officer | PBSC Urban Solutions | Montreal, Québec
Senior Software Development Engineer | Platform Science | San Diego, CA
Aircraft Cyber Security Engineer | Lilium | Munich, Germany
Civic & Nonprofit
Transportation Planner | MTA | New York, NY
Administrative Coordinator | Allegheny County Airport Authority | Pittsburgh, PA
Deputy Director – Special Initiatives (Planning and Economic Recovery) | SCAG | Los Angeles, CA
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