Triple strike by auto workers and another boost for Cruise and Waymo

Triple strike by auto workers and another boost for Cruise and Waymo

Welcome back to The Station, your central hub for all past, present and future ways to transport people and packages from Point A to Point B.

I’ll be at the center of the startup universe next week. Where is that, you say? Disrupt 2023 In San Francisco, of course. I hope to see you all there!

A history-making moment occurred Thursday evening when the United Auto Workers decided to strike against all three major U.S. automakers – GM, Ford and North America’s Stellantis (known as Chrysler) – after both sides failed to reach an agreement .

The workers did not strike in all facilities at once, but instead demonstrated in selected locations for the time being. The situation is fluid and there has already been some impact. GM said it expects to idle its Fairfax assembly plant in Kansas due to a shortage of stampings at the Missouri plant where workers are on strike. Ford also temporarily laid off 600 workers at its Michigan assembly plant near Detroit.

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the scooter1a station

lime again this week touted its ability to turn a profit in the unforgiving scooter game, and I once again found myself wishing the company would show me its financial statements so I could back up those claims.

And maybe I’ll be able to take a look behind the scenes soon. Along with the news that Lime had achieved impressive adjusted EBITDA profitability of $27 million ($20.6 million unadjusted) in the first half of 2023 and is on track to be free cash flow positive in 2023, said Lime said it was finally actually considering an IPO.

Lime has been touting plans to go public for years, but market forces like a pandemic and an economic downturn have thwarted the company’s plans. Now it looks like market sentiment is improving, with many other startups targeting an IPO in 2023 and beyond.

“If the market responds well and more companies come into the market [with IPOs]“We have the economics, growth and profitability to hopefully take Lime public as soon as the market allows,” CEO Wayne Ting told TechCrunch.

In other news. . .

Germany appears to be considering whether it wants scooters on its streets – just a few weeks after Paris’ ban on sharing e-scooters came into force.

Honda has a new e-scooter called the Motocompacto, whose aesthetic editor-in-chief Darrell Etherington describes as “irresistible, heartbreakingly silly and enchanting.”

NYC voted to establish a trade-in program to make it easier for New Yorkers to exchange their e-bikes and lithium-ion batteries made with aftermarket parts for ones that meet industry safety standards, for free or at a low cost .

offer of the week

Station money

Battery companies continue to receive absolutely insane amounts of money from investors and governments.

Take Decor, the Renault-backed French battery company that makes pouch and cylindrical battery modules for electric vehicles and energy storage sites. The company said it had secured “more than 2 billion euros” ($2.1 billion) to accelerate construction of its gigafactory in Dunkirk. Yes, you read that correctly.

The huge sum includes an €850 million Series C funding round as well as €600 million loans from the EU’s European Investment Bank. The $2.15 billion also includes 650 million euros in yet-to-be-approved French subsidies, which are still awaiting final approval from the European Commission. Macquarie, French infrastructure investor Meridiam and Renault participated in the Series C round.

As TechCrunch reporter Harri Weber notes, this eye-catching round follows other sizable raises from battery startups including Lytes, which announced this week that it had raised $200 million in a Series B round. This round was led by Prime Movers Labs, a venture capital firm owned by OpenGov co-founder Dakin Sloss, and included investments from Stellantis, FedEx and Honeywell.

Other offers that caught my attention. . .

DanceThe German startup, which offers electric bikes and mopeds through subscription packages, has added a handful of investors to top up its latest €12 million funding round and said it now has 10,000 active and paying members.

Electrica Long Beach, California-based EV technology company has raised $15 million from Seismic Capital.

KolorsA Mexico City-based startup that connects intercity bus drivers with bus drivers has acquired B2B van pooling provider Urbvan for $12 million in cash.

Wallow, the car subscription startup from Spain, raised 115 million euros ($123 million). The financing is a combination of debt and equity: 100 million euros is structured financing for the expansion of the car network and 15 million euros is equity investments in the company itself. Investors include KKR, Santander Consumer Finance and others who are not named .

Turo, the peer-to-peer car-sharing company, may be gearing up for its IPO roadshow, if recent filings are any indication and a report from Bloomberg citing unnamed sources is anything to go by. But don’t hold your breath. We’ve been here before. The company first filed its S-1 (initial public offering) intentions in January 2022 and repeatedly announced these plans as it waited for better economic conditions. Is now the time?

Notable reading and other tidbits

Autonomous vehicles

The California Senate has passed a law requiring the presence of trained safety personnel every time a self-driving, heavy vehicle operates on public roads in the state – effectively banning driverless AV trucks. The bill, AB 316, is now on Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.

cruise unveiled a prototype of a custom-built, wheelchair-accessible, self-driving robotaxis and said testing of the driverless vehicle on closed routes would begin in October. The vehicle, called Cruise WAV, is the result of three years of product design, development and testing by Cruise and GM along with its partners in Project BraunAbility and Q’Straint.

San Francisco formally called on state regulators to repeat an August hearing that expanded robotaxi permits for Cruise and Waymo.

Electric vehicles, chargers and batteries

canoe In the land of public markets, I’m, well, not doing particularly well. A filing Friday shows the company has applied to transfer to the Nasdaq Capital Market, a tier for early-stage, small-cap companies. Why? Canoo was delisted due to its low share price.

The new Elon Musk Walter Isaacson’s biography contained plenty of Tesla tidbits, including an image of a two-door, two-seat “Cybertruck-like” compact robotaxi concept.

The European Commission is considering imposing punitive tariffs to protect European Union automakers from cheaper Chinese electric vehicle imports, which the agency says benefit from government subsidies.

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe discussed how a hardware upgrade in its R1 vehicles – improvements that will be introduced next year – will reduce costs in an interview at the Morgan Stanley Laguna Conference. One of the biggest benefits will come from redesigning the architecture of the electronic control unit.

Tesla The company plans to nearly double its component sourcing from India to up to $1.9 billion this year, according to the country’s trade minister.

Gig economy

Lyft has launched a new feature in five US cities, including Chicago and San Francisco, that allows women and non-binary drivers to set a preference to pick up female-only drivers. The preference feature, called “Women+ Connect,” could help Lyft attract more female drivers to the app, which currently sits at about 23%.

Technology in the car

Google announced that vehicles with Google built-in, starting with the Polestar 2 and select Volvo vehicles, will now have Amazon Prime Video. The company also introduced new apps for its Android Auto product, including Cisco’s Zoom and Webex for audio-only conference calls.

Grab your pass to TC Disrupt 2023

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