Welcome back to The Station, your one-stop shop for getting people and things from Point A to Point B in the past, present, and future. Reporter Rebecca Bellan is back in charge for the next two weeks while I put away my laptop and go on some adventures, which will include trains, ferries, and bikes.
India has been at the forefront of the switch to electric two-wheelers, but when a popular government reward was taken away, sales plummeted.
May saw a revision to the Indian government’s incentive programme that saw subsidies drop from $183 per kWh (up to 40% of the cost of the vehicle) to $122 per kWh of battery capacity (up to 15% of the cost of the vehicle). A unexpected interruption in sales was caused by changes to the plan. The lowest sales month in roughly a year occurred in June, when sales decreased by more than 56%.
Consumers are not the only ones who may be impacted by this; industry consolidation and even player exits may also result. Just goes to show that government aid may encourage new enterprises and assist customers in purchasing environmentally friendly alternatives.
In other news, we put together a comprehensive list of electric bikes so you can pick the ideal one for your needs, whether you’re a commuter, a delivery person, a parent, a senior, a deal hunter, or a mountain biker. The best news is that many of these businesses are currently having sales, so act quickly to take advantage of these fantastic summertime discounts!
Andy Palmer, a former executive at Aston Martin, wants the Hilo One to “be the Volvo of scooters.”
In order to remove potentially fire-starting e-bike batteries off the streets, NYC is urging delivery workers to apply for the city’s e-bike trade-in programme.
Super73 and Upway have a partnership to manage all used e-bike sales.
In order to prevent underage riding, Birmingham, U.K., now requires users to take a photo before getting on an electric scooter after a 12-year-old boy lost his life doing so.
The week’s best deal
Weekly special offer? No bargain, more like.
An agreement with Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp. that would have been Arrival’s second SPAC deal has been scrapped by the troubled British commercial EV manufacturer. In April 2023, the firm announced a strategy to de-SPAC (it made its public debut via SPAC with CIIG Merger Corp. in 2021), however it now seems that liquidity plan has failed.
Regular readers of The Station will likely remember that we had a few questions about this whole double SPAC thing. Wejo was the first double SPAC, or a business that went public through a SPAC merger and then underwent another SPAC merger to raise further funds.
It’s unclear what caused the second Arrival SPAC to perish. The terminology, perhaps? And who pulled out—Kensington or Arrival?
Other transactions that caught my interest…
In order to help finance its vehicle purchases, Finn, a German car subscription service with U.S. operations, has entered into a €25 million asset-backed facility with Avellinia Capital. According to the business, this enables it to divert future resources away from fleet financing and towards expansion efforts.
Absa Corporate and Investment Banking contributed $8 million to Moove, an African fintech firm focused on mobility. It has so far raised a total of $28 million.
Startup NEU Battery Materials, based in Singapore, raised $3.7 million in a seed round that was co-founded by SGInnovate. Shift4Good, Paragon Ventures I, ComfortDelGro Ventures, and other angel investors also participated in the round.
A plan that would have allowed Nikola to issue more shares and so generate more funds was once again unsuccessful in getting enough shareholders to vote on it. However, a new rule might soon enable the corporation to avoid having to acquire more than 50% of the total number of outstanding shares. In order to construct six heavy-duty hydrogen refuelling stations around Southern California, the company also succeeded in obtaining a $41.9 million grant from the California Transportation Commission.
Local Motors’ intellectual property portfolio was purchased by Virginia-based RapidFlight, a manufacturer of unmanned aircraft. Financial details weren’t made public.
In a seed round headed by GOVO Venture Partners, Urban SDK, a startup that delivers cloud-based traffic management tools to state and local governments, raised an undisclosed sum. Additionally present were DeepWork Capital, Florida Opportunity Fund, Techstars, and venVelo.
Notable reads and other tidbits
In San Francisco, a group of pro-safe streets activists has started using traffic cones to disable Cruise and Waymo robotaxis. The now-viral prank is being done in opposition to the cars, which many claim are malfunctioning and obstructing emergency vehicles, public transportation, and traffic flow.
Volkswagen has begun testing autonomous vehicles in Austin with a fleet of ten ID Buzz all-electric cars that have Mobileye technology installed in them.
In order to test and use its robotaxis, delivery vans and other autonomous vehicles on public highways, China’s WeRide has obtained the first national autonomous driving licence from the United Arab Emirates.
Batteries, charge, and electric cars
EV chargers are easy to hack, which is a big problem because it puts cars and the power grid at risk.
We can’t get enough of the cute Topolino EV from Fiat. This week, the car company said that the quadricycle will have some strange features, like a small shower, “designed for those days spent on the beach along the Italian coast.” Definitely, definitely, the coast of Italy.
In the second quarter, Fisker didn’t make as many cars as it had planned. The new electric vehicle company made 1,022 Ocean SUVs, even though it had planned to make between 1,400 and 1,700. The company said that a lack of parts from its sub-suppliers was to blame.
Panasonic says it needs to build four more battery factories to meet its goal of increasing the number of electric vehicles sold each year to 200 GWh by the beginning of 2031.
Polaris is building a charging station for electric vehicles that can be used off-road in Michigan.
Rivian has started sending electric delivery cars to Europe for Amazon. Germany is where the first 300 will be seen on the streets. In the second quarter, the company delivered 12,640 more cars than in the first quarter. This sent the stock price up 16%. Rivian said that it is on track to meet its earlier goal of selling 50,000 units this year.
Tim De Chant, a writer for TC+, talks about the seven things that every fast-charging network for electric vehicles needs.
Gig workers’ minimum pay rules are being challenged in court by Uber, DoorDash, Grubhub, and Relay against New York City. They assert that in determining the new compensation criteria, officials exploited flawed data. Early this month, the new $18 minimum salary for delivery personnel was established.
Due to regulatory restrictions on who may work for ride-hailing applications, calling an Uber in Saudi Arabia is a nightmare.
A deep tech AI scale-up company in Munich called Konux is creating a predictive maintenance SaaS business to improve train infrastructure. Natasha Lomas reports that its goal is to use AI and IoT to drive digitization and change in the most sustainable mass transit choice.
This week, Tesla will have its own area. Let’s begin.
As it strives to expand its FSD (Full Self-Driving) beta and Autopilot suite outside of North America, Tesla has started hiring “ADAS Test Operators” from outside of Europe. Australia appears to be up next.
The Tesla guys are in a panic because there have been more and more Cybertruck sightings.
In the second quarter, the company delivered a record 466,140 units, an increase of 10% year over year. Given that a large portion of Tesla’s sales were fuelled by price reductions, investors will be watching for solid margins on earnings day.
Regarding price reductions,Tesla is currently reducing pricing on the Model 3 and Model Y in Japan.
The automaker, which is controlled by Elon Musk, sparked a price war in China and is now attempting to calm the situation. Along with other Chinese automakers, including its main rival BYD, Tesla signed a letter promising to uphold the country’s “core socialist values” and engage in fair competition there.
And yet…Tesla went ahead and launched a worldwide referral programme that rewards customers who buy the Model 3 or Model Y with $500 in cash back. The programme was launched across Tesla’s key markets, including China and the United States. (Also includes Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico, Germany, and France.)
More people are switching to Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS). The newest automaker to embrace NACS is Mercedes-Benz, joining a select group of other automakers like GM, Ford, Volvo, and Polestar. By 2024, Mercedes EVs will be able to use Tesla supercharging stations. The manufacturer also intends to increase the more than 2,500 chargers in its own North American charging network.
Additionally, in order for EV charging businesses to receive federal funding from a state programme to electrify roadways in Kentucky, they must now offer both the Tesla charging connector and the common CCS. Texas and Washington are considering it, but Kentucky is the first to actually do it.
As part of an ongoing investigation into the security of Autopilot, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has ordered that Tesla give further details regarding its driver-monitoring system.