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Welcome back to The Station, your central hub for all past, present and future means of transporting people and packages from Point A to Point B.
Good evening to all! I'm behind it Chevy Blazer EV press drive and i have some thoughts! But you'll have to wait until later this week to read about it.
Υπάρχει μια σημαντική είδηση που συλλέχθηκε κατά τη διάρκεια της συνέντευξης Τύπου από τον πρώην συνεργάτη of TC, ο οποίος έγινε συντάκτης του InsideEVs, Πάτρικ Τζορτζ, που ήθελα να επισημάνω σε όλους. Θυμηθείτε πώς GM killed the Chevy Bolt and Bolt EUV and then a few months later was like "never mind!" will we bring it back under the new ultium platform? Okay good. Well, now we know when he returns it will be EUV only. The smallest and original Bolt EV is done, dead, done.
Which makes me wonder how this will ultimately affect GM's Cruise subsidiary, which uses a standalone version of the Bolt? That is, if Cruise returns to business in 2024.
A few more important facts to share. I'm a regular at Stock podcast with TC+ editor Alex Wilhelm and senior reporter Mary Ann Azevedo. Listen to the latest episode here.
And Finally, I'm excited to share this: we're hiring Sean O'Kane as a senior reporter covering all things transportation. O'Kane hails from Bloomberg via The Verge, and I can't rave enough about his investigative and storytelling skills. I'll share his email next week once it's officially launched. Please welcome him!
Reminder that you can send us a note at [email protected]. If you prefer to remain anonymous, click here to contact uswhich includes SecureDrop (instructions here) and various encrypted messaging apps.
Offer of the week
Automakers love to talk about software-defined vehicles. However, that doesn't mean that automakers, who are eager to bring sophisticated digital platforms to vehicles, have actually surrendered to this software-defined future. A startup is cashing in on this demand.
Cubic Telecomwhich developed a networking system to make it easier to connect vehicles (and other devices) to mobile phone networks, received 473 million euros ($513 million) from SoftBank Corp. As part of the deal, Softbank Corp (not Vision Fund or Softbank Group) takes a 51% stake in the Dublin-based startup, valuing it at just over 927 million euros ($1 billion). As editor Ingrid Lunden wrote, this effectively makes Cubic Telecom a consolidated subsidiary of SoftBank.
Barry Napier will remain CEO and hold a seat on the company's board of directors. Daichi Nozaki, SoftBank's SVP of global business, as well as two other SoftBank appointees (as yet unnamed) will join the board, with the remaining three board seats filled by existing Cubic Telecom investors, which include CARIAD (the Volkswagen Group) and Qualcomm.
Another fun note: Cubic Telecom participated in TechCrunch's first Startup Battlefield in 2007!
Other deals that caught my eye this week…
AM batteries, lithium-ion dry electrode technology startup, has raised $30 million in a Series B round led by Toyota Ventures. Other new investors include Porsche Ventures, Asahi Kasei, RA Capital Management – Planetary Health, Wilson Sonsini and Industry Ventures. Existing investors Anzu Partners, TDK Ventures, Creative Ventures, Doral Energy-Tech Ventures, Foothill Ventures and Zeon Ventures also participated.
Generac Power Systems made a minority investment in the EV charging and management company energys Wallbox. The minority investment, which was not disclosed, includes the addition of a seat on Wallbox's board of directors and a global commercial agreement to provide Generac's residential and commercial customers with the next generation of energy management systems.
Foretellix, which creates verification and validation solutions for testing driver assistance and autonomous vehicle systems, raised $42 million to close its $85 million Series C. The full round was led by Israeli VC 83North, with Singapore's Temasek and Isuzu investing alongside Woven Capital (Toyota's venture fund), Nvidia, Artofin and earlier backers MoreTech, Nationwide, Volvo Group VC, Jump Capital , Next Gear Ventures and OurCrowd. The first close of this Series C was in May of this year at $43 million.
Stewart, a Paris-based last-mile delivery platform founded in 2015, has been acquired by Munich-based private equity firm Mutares. Terms were not disclosed.
Notable reads and other items
ο Autonomous Vehicle Industry Associationο US Chamber of Commerce, Alliance for Automotive Innovation and others sent a letter to Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg imploring the agency to support AV development or risk losing a competitive advantage against China.
Cruise μπορεί να αντιμετωπίσει πρόστιμα και κυρώσεις αφού δεν αποκάλυψε λεπτομέρειες για ένα περιστατικό της 2ας Οκτωβρίου — συγκεκριμένα ότι ένα από τα οχήματά της παρέσυρε έναν πεζό 20 apron, σύμφωνα με απόφαση της Επιτροπής Δημοσίων Υπηρεσιών της Καλιφόρνια. Το πρακτορείο διέταξε τον Κρουζ να εμφανιστεί σε ακρόαση στις 6 Φεβρουαρίου για να υπερασπιστεί τον εαυτό του ενάντια στις κατηγορίες.
Ganesh Venkataramananwho has led Tesla's Dojo supercomputer project for the past five years, left the company. For those who don't know, the Dojo supercomputer is considered the critical technology behind its self-driving car efforts.
Kodiak Robotics unveiled the autonomous vehicle resulting from a two-year, $50 million contract awarded by the US Department of Defense and more specifically the US Army. You'd be wrong if you guessed it was a semi truck. No, it's a Ford F-150 truck that the startup outfitted with its software and sensor stack. DOD uses the vehicle to test autonomous surveillance and reconnaissance missions in off-road terrain, diverse operational conditions and GPS-challenged environments.
Torc Robotics and Uber Freight have created a strategic partnership. Under the agreement, Torc will use data from Uber Freight's logistics network to help it improve its autonomous freight network design and expansion strategy, including learning which lanes are optimal for deployment, how to prioritize lane development and in various business planning areas and balancing supply and demand across autonomous truck supply chains.
There was a time when a self-driving truck developer YourSimple garnered a lot of buzz – not to mention investments and partnerships. Those days are over, at least in the United States. The publicly traded company is laying off most of its US workforce and selling assets here as it exits the country for Asia. About 150 US workers, or 75% of the workforce in the country, will be laid off. The remaining 50 employees will wind down TuSimple's US operations, including the sale of assets, and help transition the company into the Asia-Pacific region.
Electric vehicles, charging & batteries
Detector, the VW Group spinoff that aims to launch electric vehicles for North America, is still moving forward with development of a truck and an SUV. Few new details have emerged ahead of a supposed debut in Q3 2024.
Stellandis in conjunction with battery change start Sufficient to test the technology in the Fiat 500e city car. The two companies will launch the first phase in Madrid, where 100 cars on Stellantis' Free2move car-sharing service will be retrofitted to accept Ample's modular batteries. TC reporter Tim de Chant thinks battery swapping could work well in fleets, but wonders if consumers are ready for the technology?
Talking about it fiat 500e, this smaller EV will hit North American showrooms in the first quarter of 2024, starting with a Product Red model, in collaboration with the AIDS group co-founded by U2's Bono. TC reporter Harri Weber calls the Fiat 500e the anti-Cybertruck. Will Americans buy it?
Another Stellantis item. The automaker will temporarily cut a shift at its Detroit assembly plant that makes Jeep sport utility vehicles because of California emissions regulations. What is the connection? Stellandis sent a report opposes California's framework agreement, which was created in 2019 with four automakers (BMW, Ford, Honda and Volkswagen). Stellantis argues that frame companies can use total EV sales volume to comply with state emissions rules, while other OEMs can only use sales volumes produced in states that adhere to CARB rules. That has led Stellantis, which includes the Jeep brand, to overstock plug-in hybrids in California. Hence, a cut in production.
of Tesla The lowest-priced vehicle, the rear-wheel-drive Model 3, will not be eligible for the full $7.500 federal tax credit starting next year. Tesla isn't alone in losing the full tax credit. the Ford Mustang Mach E is not expected to qualify for the tax credit starting January 1st.
In other Tesla news, the automaker's battle with Nordic unions expands from Sweden in Norway.