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Motions - Issue #52
Cruise's Sudden Suspension, UAW's Historic Contract Triumph, and Stellantis's €1.5B Leap into Leapmotor 🚘📈
🌟 In the Spotlight
Cruise's abrupt suspension of its driverless operations has stirred discussions across the automotive and tech sectors, marking an unforeseen bump in its pursuit of autonomy. Known for its association with GM and its ambitious approach in the autonomous vehicle space, Cruise's decision may have larger implications. Here's what you need to know...
What happened: Cruise announced a halt to all driverless operations just two days after the California DMV revoked Cruise's robotaxi operating permits in the state. This suspension impacted their driverless activities in Austin, Houston, Phoenix, and Miami.
Why it matters: The suspension underscores the challenges and complexities of bringing autonomous vehicles to market, especially concerning safety and public trust. Cruise's action signifies the importance of these factors, even for giants in the field.
The other side: While Cruise emphasized that the pause is to "rebuild public trust" and isn't due to any fresh on-road incidents, the backdrop involves the California DMV's concern over withheld video footage of an accident. The situation raises questions about transparency and the rigor of testing protocols in real-world scenarios.
What's next: Although full driverless operations are on hold, Cruise plans to continue with supervised autonomous vehicle operations, meaning a human safety operator will be present. The automotive community will be keenly watching how Cruise navigates this phase, re-establishes trust, and potentially reshapes the landscape of driverless testing.
🗓 October in Review
🪧 UAW Strike: After weeks of striking against major automakers, the United Auto Workers secured historic contract deals, with members receiving an average 6.6% wage raise in 2023. Toyota, though non-unionized, followed suit with its wages as the union plans to expand its reach.
🚗 Vehicles: Honda abandoned plans to build affordable EVs with GM. Foxconn revealed its MODEL N electric cargo van. B-ON announced its Pelkan electric light commercial vehicle. Geely and Baidu launched the JiYue 01, an AI-powered electric SUV. Tesla announced that Cybertruck deliveries will start in November. Pebble, an electric travel trailer startup, unveiled their Pebble Flow vehicle. Nikola announced the commercial launch of its hydrogen fuel-cell truck.
💼 Business: Hyundai revamped its design organization to enhance its design capabilities. BP bought Tesla fast charging hardware for its BP Pulse Network. VinFast received an EV battery company donated from its chairman. Volkswagen hired a former Tesla, Rivian, and Google executive to lead a new software design hub for future EVs. Rivian issued another $1.5B in convertible debt, though their CEO has reassured investors that its to create an additional buffer rather than reflecting concerns over cash. Cash-strapped EV maker Arrival laid off more workers. BMW Group plans to launch a direct sales model across Europe, starting in January with MINI in three countries. Hertz slowed its Tesla and EV plans, citing collision repair costs.
🏛️ Regulatory & Policy: The Biden-Harris Administration allocated $100M to repair and replace existing EV chargers. The California Energy Commission is putting $38M towards tackling the low-income EV fast-charging gap. Colorado partially adopted California’s EV rules but fell short of 2035 ICE ban. The UK Government announced £89M in funding to advance electric vehicle technology. Tesla received nearly $150M in EU funding for Supercharger Network expansion. Lordstown’s former CEO was given permission to buy back the company’s assets for $10M.
💫 Startups & Partnerships: Volta, an electric truck startup, announced plans to file for bankruptcy. Self-driving startup Plus split its US and China operations amid tensions. Roam unveiled an EV bus model to tap Kenya’s mass transit sector. Hyundai plans to build EVs for BAIC Motor’s Arcfox brand. Honda and Cruise plan to work together to commercialize robotaxis in Tokyo. BMW, Ford, and Honda formed a new company to streamline electrical grids, inviting other automakers to join. Porsche and Google expanded their collaboration to bring deeper integration of Google Services in Porsche vehicles.
💸 Investments & Acquisitions: Stellantis became a strategic shareholder of Leapmotor with €1.5B investment. Pony.ai secured an $100M investment to bring autonomous rides to the Middle East. Didi's autonomous vehicle arm raises $149M from state investors. Union Square Ventures backed Indian EV infrastructure startup Bolt.Earth with $20M in funding. Bird acquired Spin Scooters, becoming the largest micromobility company. Tesla sold its Wiferion wireless charging startup but kept on its engineers.
🚀 On the Horizon
Looking forward, here's a sneak peek into some of the things we're keeping our eyes on this month… Uber is joining hands with Los Angeles Yellow Cab, marking a significant shift in its relationship with taxi fleets. Fisker is set to debut its Shanghai Lounge by early 2024, heralding its ambitious push into China's EV market. Lucid is primed to unveil its Gravity electric SUV at the LA Auto Show, touted to rival even the most luxurious EVs in performance and range.
🔎 Interesting Read
Detroit is facing a pivotal moment. As fluctuating gas prices continue to influence US buying habits, major automakers like Ford and GM are caught between advancing their EV initiatives and adhering to traditional models. Is this simply a cautious approach, or is there a more calculated strategy in play? Dive into this analysis to understand the complexities influencing their decisions and the potential implications for the future of the automotive sector.
Thank you for joining us for this month's journey through the world of transportation and mobility services! We'll return in December with more of the latest and greatest mobility news. 📰🚘
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