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Welcome again to TechCrunch Mobility – your central hub for information and insights on the way forward for transportation.
This week was a busy one with Rivian formally asserting the reveal date for its next-gen EV, a Waymo robotaxi placing a bicyclist (oh and one among its robotaxis was vandalized and burned late Saturday night time!), Arrival attempting to unload its UK belongings, plus just a few scoops on e-motorcycle startup Cake, Ford and Fisker. There’s a whole lot of floor to cowl, so come alongside for a trip.
Oh, however first, a little bit of late-breaking information over the weekend.
Joby Aviation, an organization growing all-electric plane for business passenger service, introduced Sunday an settlement with Dubai regulators to launch air taxi providers there by early 2026. Joby, a startup that went public in 2021 through a merger with a particular function acquisition firm, stated it’s focusing on preliminary operations as early as 2025.
It’s value noting that beneath the deal, Joby has unique air taxi rights in Dubai for six years and a few monetary “mechanisms”; Joby didn’t present additional particulars. Joby has additionally signed an settlement with Skyports, an organization that can design, construct and function 4 preliminary vertiport websites throughout Dubai.
A bit of chicken
We’ve had many little birds speaking to us about Fisker, the EV startup that went public in 2020 through a merger with a particular function acquisition firm. These conversations mixed with a assessment of inner paperwork, plenty of lawsuits and an investigation by federal regulators got here collectively in a riveting and troubling story by Sean O’Kane.
What did O’Kane discover? Fisker Ocean SUV clients have reported greater than 100 separate loss-of-power incidents in addition to a myriad of different issues, together with sudden lack of braking energy, problematic key fobs inflicting them to get locked inside or outdoors of the car, seat sensors that don’t detect the driving force’s presence and the SUV’s entrance hood all of a sudden flying up at excessive speeds.
Clients additionally complained concerning the service division. After our story was printed, one other little chicken advised us that Fisker’s world service director was just lately let go.
Obtained a tip for us? E-mail Kirsten Korosec at firstname.lastname@example.org or Sean O’Kane email@example.com. Should you desire to stay nameless, click on right here to contact us, which incorporates SecureDrop (directions right here) and varied encrypted messaging apps.
Deal of the week
India is without doubt one of the largest two-wheeler markets on the planet. And an entire new crop of startups — like startup River — are popping up on the scene due to demand for zero-emission automobiles.
River just lately raised $40 million in a Collection B funding spherical led by Japan’s Yamaha Motor. Current traders Al-Futtaim Automotive, Lowercarbon Capital, Toyota Ventures, Vehicles VC and Maniv Mobility additionally participated.
The startup is dealing with a aggressive market as many corporations are vying for a chunk of the EV pie. River is betting that it’ll win over Indian clients with Indie, a utility lifestyle-focused product that has been described as an “SUV” two-wheeler.
Different offers that acquired my consideration …
Elroy Air, a South San Francisco-based startup growing autonomous cargo drones, raised $48.9 million, in accordance with a regulatory submitting.
Guided Power, a French startup that raised $5.2 million from Sequoia Capital and Dynamo Ventures on the finish of 2023, is constructing a software program device that can assist EV fleet operators with cost administration and dispatch.
Oto, an Indian startup that constructed a financing software program platform for two-wheeled EVs, raised $10 million in a spherical led by GMO Enterprise Companions.
Starship Applied sciences, a supply robotics startup out of Estonia, raised $90 million in funding spherical co-led by two earlier backers: Plural and Iconical. It brings the overall raised by Starship to $230 million, with earlier backers together with the Finnish-Japanese agency NordicNinja, the European Funding Financial institution, Morpheus Ventures and TDC.
Notable reads and different tidbits
An administrative regulation decide with the California Public Utilities Fee held a settlement listening to concerning the October 2 incident that left a pedestrian, who had initially been hit by a human-driven automobile, caught beneath after which dragged by a Cruise robotaxi.
The listening to rehashed a lot of what Quinn Emmanuel – the regulation agency GM employed to research the October 2 incident — revealed in an impartial report. Nevertheless it’s value noting that all through the change, Cruise struck a particularly conciliatory tone. Craig Glidden, GM’s EVP of authorized and coverage who was appointed in December chief administrative officer at Cruise, was significantly ingratiating.
At one level, he appeared to agree with paying a better advantageous, which beneath statute could be $112,000. Right here’s what he stated.
“It was regrettable. It was a mistake and Cruise is trying to make proper with the error. I’m not right here to quibble about whether or not it’s $75,000 or $112,000. We need to get the matter settled as a result of we need to transfer ahead and we need to advance the mission of bringing driverless automobiles which can be safer to the general public and likewise better accessibility to the general public to the market. So we’re very happy to be compromised in any ways in which the court docket would see match or the fee would see match to get this matter behind us.”
Waymo has the eye of regulators in California after one among its robotaxis struck a bicyclist in San Francisco. The bicycle owner suffered minor accidents. Waymo stated its robotaxi was stopped at a four-way intersection as a big truck was driving in the wrong way. The automobile then moved into the intersection and collided with the bicycle owner who was behind the truck.
TechCrunch spoke to the Division of Motor Autos and the California Public Utilities Fee — the 2 businesses that management permits that permit corporations like Waymo to check, deploy and commercially cost for driverless rides. The CPUC stated it was “gathering info from Waymo” and the DMV advised me the company “is reviewing the incident.” We’ll see if this turns into something extra.
Another Waymo merchandise. At round 9 p.m. Saturday night, a crowd surrounded an empty Waymo robotaxi, started rocking it, smashing home windows and finally lit it on fireplace courtesy of fireworks. FriscoLive415 shared the video on X. Fairly insane footage. A Waymo spokesperson advised TechCrunch the car was not transporting any riders and no accidents have been reported. The corporate is “working carefully with native security officers to answer the scenario.”
Electrical automobiles, charging & batteries
Arrival introduced that its U.Okay. division is coming into administration, the nation’s model of chapter.
Electrical bike firm Cake held talks with Harley-Davidson and different automakers in 2023 because it fought to remain alive, founder and CEO Stefan Ytterborn advised TechCrunch.
Cowboy is rolling out an on-demand service program for fundamental upkeep, customization and repairs, delivered on the e-bike proprietor’s house.
Ford has been quietly engaged on a low-cost EV. The corporate created a skunkworks venture two years in the past that’s primarily based in Irvine, California and led by ex-Tesla and Ford Superior EV growth boss Alan Clarke. Notably, the crew contains engineers from Auto Motive Energy (AMP), the EV energy startup that the automaker acquired in November 2023. AMP founder Anil Paryani, who coincidentally overlapped with Clarke for about 5 years at Tesla, can be a part of the skunkworks venture.
Rivian will reveal its smaller, cheaper R2 SUV on March 7. Keep tuned!
Toyota will spend an extra $1.3 billion to arrange its Kentucky manufacturing facility for manufacturing of a brand new three-row all-electric SUV designed for U.S. shoppers
Gig economic system
Uber hit a serious milestone that just a few years in the past I wasn’t positive would ever be met. The ride-hailing and supply app reported a full-year revenue (pushed by working revenue) as a public firm. And it appears that evidently revenue momentum is predicted to proceed into the primary quarter. Uber has hit an annual revenue earlier than, but it surely was largely attributable to its investments. In 2023, the corporate’s earnings additionally got here from its operations.
Reminder that Lyft will publish its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings after markets shut February 13.
Getaround, an organization that helps car house owners hire out their automobiles, vehicles and SUVs to different friends, is reducing 30% of its North American workforce as a part of a restructuring. Getaround minimize 10% of its workers in February 2023.
Basic Motors employed battery professional and ex-Tesla govt Kurt Kelty to be the automaker’s new vice chairman of batteries — a model new function for the corporate.
This week’s wheels
This week’s wheels would possibly get the eye of e-bike followers. Editor Taylor Hatmaker writes this about her “zombie” Van Moof.
My VanMoof e-bike isn’t lifeless, but it surely’s not fairly alive both. I purchased an X3 from VanMoof after I reviewed the bike for TechCrunch again in 2021 and got here away wildly impressed. The bike was glorious; but it surely was additionally a private revelation, empowering me —a lazy fair-weather bicycle owner — to bike round my metropolis (Portland, OR) after I would possibly in any other case use a automobile.
After I purchased my VanMoof, on sale on the time, I knew it was a danger. I spent the cash, realizing that within the worst-case situation my bike may flip right into a $2,000 brick. That situation arrived final yr when VanMoof declared chapter.
Lavoie purchased the corporate’s stays late final summer time, offering a glimmer of hope that the notoriously fickle bikes stuffed with bespoke parts will nonetheless be serviceable sooner or later. Within the meantime, VanMoof house owners like myself scrambled to obtain apps like Bikey, made by Cowboy, to salvage the digital keys linking us to our bikes.
I nonetheless have a whole lot of affection for my 30-pound possible-future-paperweight, which I nervously energy on and join my cellphone to some instances every week. It’s been pouring for months — not the type of climate I’ll bike in any extra — however I hope when Spring rolls round that my X3 exhibits some recent indicators of life too.