An analysis from Bank of America describes a “tsunami” of new EVs in 2022 that will deliver a powerful jolt to EV adoption among U.S. consumers. While Tesla’s Gigafactory outside of Austin gears up to produce Model Ys, GM announces plans to pour another $6.5 billion into battery and EV manufacturing in Michigan. Meanwhile, over in Kenya, a startup sees opportunity in electrifying Africa’s massive public transit bus market.
As Uber and Lyft prepare a campaign to overhaul ride-hailing labor regs in Massachusetts, a group representing drivers fights back –– with NFTs. Over in China, it’s not labor organizers but the all-powerful central government threatening to crack down on ride-hailing firms over their payment practices.
In the world of autonomy, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety casts doubt on the safety of driver assistance systems but there’s no word on what they think about autonomous coffee delivery or autonomous freight trains.
A ‘tsunami’ of EVs: A Bank of America analysis says that a “tsunami” of new EV options in 2022 will be a major turning point for the U.S. auto market. With dozens of new models at different price points coming out, BoA projects that EV market share will rise from 6% to 16% by 2024. It also anticipates Tesla’s dominance in the EV market to decline as other OEMs get involved.
An Opibus opportunity in Kenya: Opibus, the Swedish-Kenyan tech startup, begins testing 10 new battery-electric buses on the outskirts of Nairobi. The company is eyeing next year for a full commercial launch aimed at the public transit sector across Africa. It envisions offering new electric buses at around $100,000 while it will offer used buses that have been converted to electric for $60,000.
GM plans big Michigan investment: The auto giant is teaming up with battery maker LG Energy Solutions to invest $6.5 billion to either build new plants or overhaul existing facilities in Lansing and Orion townships.
A well-earned pension: Ford’s most tenured employee has finally called it quits. After 68-and-a-half years working in various factory jobs for the Blue Oval in Dearborn, Mich., Willie Fulton is retiring at the age of 89. Here’s to you, sir.
A nonfungible rat: A labor group representing ride-hailing drivers is hoping to raise thousands of dollars by issuing NFTs depicting ride-hailing corporations as giant rats wreaking havoc on American workers. Massachusetts Drivers United is issuing 50 copies of the NFT at a minimum price of $200 as Uber and Lyft gear up to launch a ballot initiative to classify drivers as contractors, much like they did through Prop 22 in California in 2020.
China warns ride-hailing firms: China’s transportation ministry warns the country’s four leading ride-hailing firms about complaints from drivers that the companies aren’t complying with pricing and safety regulations.
The Gigafactory is ready to roll: Sources say Tesla’s new Gigafactory outside of Austin will begin producing Model Ys by the end of this quarter.
Still not good enough: None of the existing advanced driver assistance systems include all of the safeguards recommended by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. So far, says IIHS president David Harkey, there is “no evidence” that driving assistance programs make car travel safer. The ADAS safety criteria developed by IIHS recommends that automakers put in place a number of measures to ensure that drivers remain focused on the road and can take control of the wheel at a moment’s notice. So far, according to IIHS, every driver assistance program on the market is lacking in this regard.
Starbucks courtesy of Mitsubishi: The electronics division of the Japanese auto giant is partnering with Cartken, a robotics startup, to test out autonomous coffee delivery at a mall in Japan. Customers will be able to get Starbucks delivered to a number of pickup points in or outside the mall. At this point Mitsubishi is simply the distributor for the robots, which are manufactured by Cartken, but the two companies will likely begin to collaborate in developing new technology.
Making freight rail cleaner and more efficient: Parallel Systems, a startup founded by three former SpaceX engineers, comes out of stealth with a $50 million Series A raise. Parallel is championing battery-electric railcars that autonomously load and move cargo. The system is far more flexible than conventional freight rail, since the railcars can travel independently or can “platoon” to carry larger shipments. Very cool!
Miami scooter crackdown: The city transportation department revokes permits for five of the seven scooter-sharing operators over their alleged failure to address safety concerns. Spin and Helbiz are the only remaining permitted operators. This comes two months after the city briefly paused its scooter-sharing program; it then reinstated the program after pledging to hold the companies to higher safety standards.
The best e-scooters: Wired spotlights the four best e-scooters on the market. It highlighted the Gotrex Apex, which retails at $370, as the best budget option. It deemed the Segway Ninebot F30 ($600) the best overall.
Milan’s massive bike plan: The Milan city government pushes ahead with a plan to build the largest network of protected bike lanes in Europe. The 750 km (455 miles) that the government plans to build by 2035 is even grander than the 680 km network in the Paris region.
The Mobilist takes a look at Oakland’s experiment with Universal Basic Mobility.
Bloomberg CityLab reports on a group of young climate activists trying to halt a highway expansion in Portland.
The Atlantic shows how laws aimed at protecting car dealerships are an obstacle to EV adoption
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