Welcome back to The Station, your central hub for all past, present and future means of moving people and packages from Point A to Point B. Reporter Rebecca Bellan is back in the driver’s seat the next couple of weeks as I stash my laptop and head out for some adventures (planes, ferries and bikes included).
India has been leading the shift to electric two-wheelers, but the rollback of a popular government incentive has caused sales to nosedive, Jagmeet Singh reports.
In May, the Indian government revised its incentive scheme, reducing subsidies from $183 per kWh (up to 40% of the vehicle price) to $122 per kWh of battery capacity (up to 15% of vehicle price). Changes to the scheme resulted in a sudden sales disruption. In June, sales dropped more than 56%, and it marked the lowest sales month in about a year.
This not only affects consumers, but it could also cause consolidation in the industry and even exits of some players. It just goes to show, government subsidies help people buy green alternatives, and they can boost nascent industries.
In other news . . .
We did a big e-bike roundup, so you can find the best electric bike to suit your needs — whether you’re a commuter or a delivery worker, a parent or a senior, a bargain hunter or a mountain biker. And the best part is, MANY of these companies are holding sales at the moment, so get in now for some great midsummer deals!
Former Aston Martin boss Andy Palmer wants his Hilo One to “be the Volvo of scooters.”
NYC is inviting delivery workers to apply for the city’s e-bike trade-in program to get potentially fire-causing e-bike batteries off the streets.
Upway is partnering with Super73 to handle reselling all pre-owned e-bikes.
A 12-year-old boy died while riding a Voi e-scooter in Birmingham, U.K., prompting the city to require selfie checks from riders in order to avoid underage riding.
Deal of the week
Deal of the week? More like no deal.
Troubled British commercial EV maker Arrival has killed off what would have been its second SPAC deal with Kensington Capital Acquisition Corp. The company announced a plan to de-SPAC (it debuted publicly via SPAC with CIIG Merger Corp. in 2021) in April 2023, but it appears that plan for liquidity has fallen through.
As regular readers of The Station might recall, this whole double SPAC business raised a few of our eyebrows. Wejo was the first double SPAC, meaning a company that went public via a SPAC merger and then made a second SPAC merger in search of more capital.
It’s not clear what prompted the death of the second Arrival SPAC. Was it the terms? And was it Arrival or Kensington that backed out?
Other deals that got my attention . . .
Finn, a German car subscription company with operations in the U.S., has signed a €25 million asset-backed facility with Avellinia Capital, to help fund its vehicle purchases. The company says this means it can dedicate future capital to growth initiatives instead of fleet financing.
Moove, an African mobility fintech startup raised $8 million from Absa Corporate and Investment Banking. It’s raised a total of $28 million to date.
NEU Battery Materials, a Singapore-based lithium-ion battery recycling startup, raised $3.7 million in a seed round led by SGInnovate. The round was also joined by ComfortDelGro Ventures, Shift4Good, Paragon Ventures I and other angel investors.
Nikola failed yet again to get enough shareholders to vote on a proposal that would allow it to issue more shares, and thus raise more capital. But a new law may soon help the company bypass the need to secure more than 50% of all outstanding shares. The company also managed to secure a $41.9 million grant from the California Transportation Commission to build six heavy-duty hydrogen refueling stations across Southern California.
RapidFlight, an unmanned aircraft manufacturing company headquartered in Virginia, acquired the intellectual property portfolio of defunct Local Motors. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Urban SDK, a company that sells cloud-based traffic management systems to state and local governments, raised an undisclosed amount in a seed round led by GOVO Venture Partners. DeepWork Capital, Florida Opportunity Fund, Techstars and venVelo also participated.
Notable reads and other tidbits
A group of safe street activists in San Francisco have been disabling Cruise and Waymo robotaxis by putting traffic cones on their hoods. The now-viral prank is done in protest of the vehicles that many accuse of malfunctioning and disrupting traffic flow, emergency vehicles and public transit.
Volkswagen has launched an autonomous vehicle test program in Austin using a fleet of 10 all-electric ID Buzz vehicles equipped with Mobileye’s technology.
China’s WeRide has secured the first countrywide autonomous driving license from the United Arab Emirates to test and deploy its robotaxis, delivery vans, and other autonomous vehicles on public roads.
Electric vehicles, charging and batteries
EV chargers can be hacked pretty easily, and that poses a catastrophic risk that can threaten drivers and the power grid.
We cannot get enough of Fiat’s adorable Topolino EV. The automaker said this week that the quadricycle will feature a series of odd accessories, including a little shower, “designed for those days spent on the beach along the Italian coast.” Totally, totally, the Italian coast.
Fisker fell short of its own production expectations in the second quarter. The EV upstart produced 1,022 Ocean SUVs, when it had expected to produce between 1,400 and 1,700. The company blamed a shortage of components from its sub-suppliers.
Panasonic says it needs to build four more battery factories to reach its target of boosting annual EV capacity to 200 GWh by early 2031.
Polaris is working on building off-road EV charging infrastructure in Michigan.
Rivian has begun rolling out its electric delivery vans for Amazon in Europe. The first 300 will be seen on the streets in Germany. The automaker also recorded a threefold increase in deliveries in the second quarter — 12,640 units to be exact — which sent shares flying 16%. Rivian said it’s on track to deliver on its previous guidance of 50,000 units this year.
TC+ reporter Tim De Chant weighs in on the seven things every EV fast-charging network needs.
Uber, DoorDash, Grubhub and Relay are suing New York City to block minimum pay standards for gig workers. They say regulators used faulty data to calculate new compensation rules. The new $18 minimum wage for delivery workers was set earlier this month.
Hailing an Uber in Saudi Arabia is a nightmare, and that’s due to state regulations about who is allowed to work for ride-hailing apps.
Konux, a Munich-based deep tech AI scale-up, is building out a predictive maintenance SaaS business to upgrade railway infrastructure. Its mission, as Natasha Lomas reports, is to drive digitization and transformation in the most sustainable mass transit option using AI plus IoT.
Tesla is getting its own section this week. Here we go.
Tesla has begun hiring “ADAS Test Operators” outside of Europe as it works to expand its FSD (Full Self-Driving) beta and Autopilot suite outside of North America. Apparently, Australia is next up.
There have been increasing Cybertruck sightings, and the Tesla bros are freaking out about it.
The company delivered a record 466,140 units in the second quarter, which is up 10% YoY. Investors will be looking out on earnings day for healthy margins, since many of Tesla’s sales were fueled by price cuts.
Speaking of price cuts…Tesla is slashing prices of Model 3 and Model Y vehicles in Japan now.
The Elon Musk–owned automaker started a price war in China, and now the company is trying to calm the waters. Tesla joined Chinese automakers, including its biggest rival BYD, in signing a letter pledging to enhance “core socialist values” and compete fairly in the country’s car market.
But then…Tesla went ahead and rolled out a global referral program, giving $500 in cash back to buyers who purchase the Model 3 or Model Y. The program was rolled out in Tesla’s largest markets, including the U.S. and, you guessed it, China. (Also Germany, France, Canada, Mexico, Hong Kong and Singapore.)
Tesla has more converts to its North American Charging Standard (NACS). Mercedes-Benz is the latest to adopt NACS, joining a handful of other automakers like GM, Ford, Volvo and Polestar. Mercedes EVs will have access to Tesla’s supercharging stations by 2024. The automaker also plans to expand its own charging network, with more than 2,500 chargers in North America.
And Kentucky now requires that EV charging companies include Tesla’s charging plug, as well as the standard CCS, if they want to secure federal dollars from a state program to electrify highways. Kentucky is the first to go through with it, but Texas and Washington are thinking about it.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has demanded that Tesla provide more information on its driver-monitoring system as part of an ongoing probe into the safety of Autopilot.
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