Is Tesla really worth a trillion dollars? Opinions on the matter are mixed. And people will likely disagree on whether it’s worth paying $334 a week to rent a Tesla, which is the deal Hertz is now offering Uber drivers. Despite plenty of setbacks for President Biden’s proposed climate agenda, it appears the generous EV tax credit has survived negotiations between moderate and liberal Democrats. The big auto news this week comes from Toyota, which unveils its first battery electric vehicle, and from Lucid, which finally delivered its ultra-luxury Air Dream Edition to a select group of customers at a “Lucid Rally” in California. GM reveals a plan to increase the number of EV chargers in the U.S. by a third, while CEO Mary Barra says its AV startup, Cruise, will be operating driverless taxis in San Francisco by next year. Last but not least, driverless boats are cruising the canals of Amsterdam and New York City gets its first bonafide cyclist mayor.
What’s a trillion worth? For a bit of perspective: despite manufacturing only a tiny fraction of the world’s cars and having a junk bond rating, Tesla’s $1.18 trillion valuation is now greater than that of every other major automaker combined. Wait…how does that make sense? To some industry observers, it doesn’t. Others say it’s perfectly logical: Teslas are proving much more popular — so far — than competing EVs.
Does it pay to rent? Tesla’s market rally comes after rental car chain Hertz announces plans to buy 100,000 Tesla Model 3s by the end of 2022. It plans to rent out about half of those cars to Uber drivers through a partnership with the ride-hailing company, which is encouraging its drivers to shift to EVs in exchange for financial incentives.
According to Uber, it will cost $334 a week to rent the Tesla ––covering insurance and maintenance but not charging. Critics of the ride-hailing business have argued that drivers are often making poverty wages after accounting for the costs they incur (maintenance, fueling and vehicle depreciation) from working. Will renting offer drivers a better deal?
Tax credit survives: While Democrats have agreed to axe big parts of President Biden’s ambitious climate plan to satisfy the demands of moderates in the Senate, generous EV subsidies remain. If the legislation is approved, the maximum credit will be $12,500 for EVs that are union-made and American-made. EVs that are made by non-union workers would only qualify for the existing $7,500 credit.
GM gives U.S. big boost for charging infrastructure: The auto giant announces a plan to distribute 40,000 EV charging outlets to its dealers to make available to owners of any EV (not just GM brands). The new chargers will increase the nation’s existing supply (120,000) by roughly a third.
A Lucid rally: Luxury EV startup Lucid has finally delivered a vehicle. The $169,000 Lucid Air Dream Edition was made available to a select group of California buyers at a “Lucid Rally” at company headquarters in Newark, Calif. The base model, which will only cost $77,400, becomes available in the spring. Speaking of a rally, the company’s stock rose 49% on the announced delivery…
Toyota’s first BEV: The traditionally EV-resistant auto giant unveils its first battery electric vehicle, the Toyota bZ4X – a crossover SUV with a 280-mile range and an optional solar roof that the company says will be able to produce an average of 1,120 miles of electric power. Nice touch.
A third cheaper to maintain: An analysis by We Predict, a predictive analytics firm, finds that EVs are 31% less expensive to maintain than internal combustion engine vehicles. Not a surprise, but still.
Volvo Cars IPO signals EV confidence: Volvo Cars, a former subsidiary of Volvo now majority-owned by Chinese automaker Geely, goes public through a Stockholm stock exchange listing. The upmarket automaker’s valuation leapt 22% to $22 billion during its market debut Friday, suggesting investors are bullish on the company’s aggressive plan to transition to EVs.
Amazon’s big bet on Rivian: Ahead of its planned IPO, EV startup Rivian submits filings showing that Amazon has a 20% stake in the Irvine, Calif-based company. The investment has a “carrying value” of $3.8 billion. Amazon is also its biggest customer by far, having inked a deal to purchase 100,000 Rivian delivery vans.
Not a rowboat, but a Roboat: A group of MIT researchers have deployed a fleet of autonomous boats on the canals of Amsterdam. The Roboat can carry up to five people or 3,306 lbs of cargo.
Cruising driverless by 2022: GM CEO Mary Barra says that Cruise, the GM-backed AV startup, will begin running robo-taxis with no safety driver at some point next year. Cruise has gotten the OK from the California Department of Motor Vehicles to use driverless cars for commercial ride-hailing in San Francisco, but it still needs approval from the state Public Utilities Commission.
$200M for Tier: Tier, the Berlin-based scooter rental startup, raises $200 million at a $2 billion valuation in a Series D round led by SoftBank and the UAE’s Mubadala. The cash should help the startup expand operations. It boasts an existing fleet of 135,000 scooters in 16 different countries across Europe and the Middle East.
New York’s first bike mayor: Eric Adams, who will almost certainly be elected mayor of New York City Nov. 2, will likely be the most enthusiastic cycling proponent to ever hold the position. He has promised voters he will regularly bike to and from work and that he will add 300 miles of protected bike lanes across America’s largest city. We like.
The New York Times looks at a major obstacle to renewable energy: outdated utility equipment.
The Guardian explores the feasibility of electric air taxis in congested metropolises like São Paulo.
Jalopnik ponders a perplexing phenomenon: EVs are much more popular among men than women.
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