Hello, and congratulations to somehow making it to Monday; it was definitely a whirlwind of a week! The Detroit OEMs are certainly making news: GM appears to be reworking its deal with Nikola, while it continues to further its AV-ambitions with self-driving startup Cruise; meanwhile, Ford has a new CEO. LA has an iconic new bridge, Bangkok is getting a brand new monorail, and Sweden’s autonomous electric truck startup Einride hauls in some fresh financing. Now that we’re officially in October, keep two things in mind: this Wednesday is California Clean Air Day, and more importantly: the movers and shakers of the mobility world come together at CoMotion LA LIVE next month. Join us November 17th to 19th!
But will they manufacture a “van down by the river?” Ford officially has a new CEO, Jim Farley. Get to know the latest top dog at the iconic OEM: he’s got some big ideas to shakeup the automaker, which he thinks needs to do a lot more to embrace change and technology. (And oh yeah – he’s a cousin of late actor Chris Farley.)
Mary & Trevor – will they or won’t they? Dramatic rumors continue to swirl around General Motors’ deal with EV upstart Nikola. With the latter racked by scandal and its founder ousted, the deal was looking DOA. Now things may be back on, with GM potentially taking a larger stake in the Arizona startup. (Which could just be due to Nikola’s sinking stock price.)
Monorail milestone: Bangkok’s under-construction monorail lines marks a major milestone, as Bombardier delivers the first train sets to the operator. The new Pink and Yellow Lines add 64 miles of rapid transit to the Thai metropolis’ MRT and should open in 2022.
New direction for Via: the shared van operator acquires Israel-based Fleetonomy, as Via moves to expand into the logistics and parcel market. Founded in 2017, Fleetonomy had previously raised $3M in a seed round.
An all-electric teamup! Texas’ AYRO and China/California’s Karma combine forces to produce over 20,000 electric urban delivery vehicles, which will be manufactured in Southern California. With COVID causing a surge in demand for parcel delivery (and delivery vehicles) – this looks like a smart move to us.
Another tough blow for the TNCs: the City of Seattle votes to set a minimum wage for Uber and Lyft drivers. Now any rideshare driver working in the Emerald City will be guaranteed to make at least $16.39 per hour.
Here come the trucks: Walmart Canada places a huge order for Tesla’s forthcoming Semi. With orders from big retailers piling up, it looks like Musk & Company will have to sort out their Battery Day delays sooner than later…
A bridge not too far: after six years of construction and $1.5 billion spent, Los Angeles and Long Beach inaugurate the new Gerald Desmond Bridge, sporting an iconic cable-stayed design.
Flying cars meet face masks? Take a look at the world’s only auto show to be still on its feet, where masked Beijing crowds gather to gawk at the latest models.
Spare the air: California Clean Air Day is this week! Join CoMotion and thousands of others statewide in pledging to combat air pollution in the Golden State.
Cash cab-less: Sweden’s Einride raises a fresh $10 million to continue development of its distinctive-looking autonomous trucks. Already counting partners like German grocery chain Lidl, the startup hopes the cash will be enough to get its “Pod” trucks ready for the open road.
Eye candy: inspired – it claims – by both the Hawk fighter jet and Maseratis, Britain’s Samad Aerospace reveals its new two-seater VTOL concept, the Q-Starling.
Going for a Cruise: GM has long stated that its new Ultium battery technology is set to power just about every type of vehicle, and it’s starting to make good on that promise. Now the automaker reveals that its battery tech is powering the self-driving Cruise shuttle.
Volocopter revealed: Germany’s Volocopter unveils its slick looking flying taxi. While the 18-blade autonomous VTOL may look dazzling, it’s definitely not meant for long hauls: it tops out at 68 mph and 22 miles of range.
Commuting like Olympians: Having taken enormous strides in making the city accessible to non-motorists during the pandemic, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo doubles down on her vision of equitable and green mobility ahead of the 2024 Olympics by unveiling seven new bike lanes on major thoroughfares.
Fundraising+: Neuron Mobility, out of Singapore, raises a Series A+ adding $12 million to its initial $18.5 million round with plans to accelerate its expansion in Australia and New Zealand. Neuron sees increased demand for car and transit alternatives during the pandemic.
Lemons out of lemonade: while the pandemic inititally forced Portugal, Europe’s hub for bike manufacturing, to close 40 factories and furlough 8000 employees, local heavyweight RTE Bikes is now barely keeping up with global demand, increasing production by 1000-2000 bikes per day.
It was inevitable: following the rental scooter’s incredible popularity, Ridepanda launches an e-bike and e-scooter ecommerce store run by former Bird, Lime, and Scoot employees, with curated wheels and helpful filters to help customers find the right ride for their needs.
Beemer or Benz? The company that created BMW’s scooter last year, Swiss Micro Mobility Systems AG, has a new offering for Mercedes-Benz: a sturdier, full suspension, 500 watt scooter. Looks like more and more automakers hope to cash in on the popular two-wheeler market.
Throwback Monday: take a look back at why Vespas failed to capture much market share in the U.S. and what the rising popularity of stand up scooters and the need for better ways of commuting mean going forward for the Italian manufacturer of the iconic moped.
Bloomberg taking a look, in the wake of the U.S. Presidential Debate, at the push to desegregate suburbia.
Pedestrian Observations analyzing public transportation in various megacities.
The Verge laying out the latest changes to mobility nerds’ favorite game: Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Bloomberg CityLab on which Americans get left behind when transit agencies cut bus service.
Job Trends by New Mobility Careers.
Another week, another set of interesting job patterns. Let’s dive in…
• Uber highlighted several new roles focused on the infrastructure required for AVs.
• Argo continued to push out new engineering roles in their Palo Alto office, which has been on a bit of a tear compared to their other locations in recent weeks.
• Last week it looked as though SPIN decided to finally kick off the big hiring push they touted was coming back in January. The surge continued this week with operational roles in several new markets.
• Hyundai’s Urban Air Mobility Group is adding a “conceptual design engineer.” Normally, this might just make the “unusual opportunities” list, but it highlights the curious approach Hyundai has taken to building their flying car division: they started with everything except the actual flying car itself. If LinkedIn is to be trusted, Hyundai is up to more than 80 employees, including a policy and government affairs team of half a dozen, while they have yet to hire the engineering team to design their concept!
• New roles at carsharing companies have been hard to come by as the slowdown in travel hit Turo and others hard. A new role to grow bookings for Getaround in Paris suggests the tide may be turning.
• If you prefer a more astral-inclusive definition of ridesharing, then this is the job for you.
• Want to work on a range of interesting planning projects in the Big Apple? This role at NYU might be up your alley (it originally was posted back in February, but was recently bumped back up.)
Have a job listing that’s perfect for the CoMotion community? Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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