Rivian trims its workforce and a provide chain-tainted earnings season begins – TechCrunch
The Station is a weekly publication devoted to all issues transportation. Sign up here — just click The Station — to receive it every weekend in your inbox.
Welcome again to The Station, your central hub for all previous, current and future technique of transferring individuals and packages from Level A to Level B.
Hear up founders! In a couple of months, TC Disrupt will kick off on the Moscone Middle in San Francisco. This annual flagship occasion, wherein a whole bunch of founders have pitched their startups on our stage, is again in particular person. So, here’s a probability to take part.
Startup Battlefield 200 functions are closing quickly. Apply as we speak to affix Startup Battlefield 200 for the possibility to exhibit your startup at no cost at TechCrunch Disrupt this October and win the $100K equity-free prize. Functions shut August 5. Apply today.
Subsequent week, Rebecca Bellan might be taking on the entire publication present. Give her some love — aka ideas and options — by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
Provide chain constraints aren’t simply hitting the automotive world. Micromobility is feeling the ache as properly.
I reached out to about 20 firms constructing electrical scooters and bikes, and most of them instructed me the identical factor: Getting crucial elements, like motors, out of China is changing into more and more tough, and Russia’s struggle in opposition to Ukraine is making provides like nickel costly and onerous to supply. The consequence? Extra firms try to get at the least closing meeting as near the tip shopper as doable.
Watch this area. We’d start to see new factories cropping up in Europe and North America, which is able to empower some economies at the same time as others endure.
In different information …
Arcimoto unveiled an electric tilting e-trike, which it calls the Cybertrike version of its Imply Lean Machine, this week.
Dott introduced in €32M in 2021, with about 19 million rides in 29 cities.
HumanForest did a advertising factor with courting app Bumble that was really sort of cute. It gave individuals on Bumble entry to half-hour of free driving to encourage individuals to attempt an energetic, outside date.
TC’s very personal Haje Jan Kamps tried out a prototype of the Nimbus three-wheeled, mini-EV. Whereas it was a rickety little factor that’s clearly by no means prepared for public use, the automobile has acquired actual gumption, and Haje, like me, actually needs to like it. Fingers crossed this firm pulls off its closing design when the time comes.
Okai is launching a new fat-tire, off-road e-bike that may trip for 45 miles on dust or highway.
Shell is making e-scooters and battery banks, I assume. Sure, Shell, the gasoline firm that has helped us pollute the universe for over a century.
Tier has launched e-bikes to Ealing, in London, including onto its current e-scooter trial there. First time riders can get two free unlocks and 20 minutes of free driving utilizing the code ‘EALINGTIER’ on the app.
A number of phrases on bike lanes…
A brand new research bike lanes increase sales of local businesses as a result of they make the streets safer locations for pedestrians, which will increase foot site visitors, so THERE! Store homeowners ought to cease complaining to their native transportation authorities when parking spots get repurposed for bike lanes. The tip.
Rutgers College researchers are using VR to assist decide the feasibility of pop-up bike lanes in New Jersey.
In the meantime in New York Metropolis, a bill is being considered to install bike lane cameras to catch when drivers park up within the bike lane and nice them $50. We like to see tech serving to bikers keep secure.
— Rebecca Bellan
We hear issues and we share the tidbits that we will confirm.
We’ve been listening to rumblings for awhile that not all is correct over at Helbiz, together with that it was late paying staff in at the least two workplaces – one within the U.S. and one in Serbia. The late U.S. cost was solely about 4 days late, however Serbian employees have been ready on June pay till the second week of July.
This wasn’t the primary time Helbiz was late to pay staff. In early April, the operator missed payroll for U.S. staff, blaming a software program glitch. A former worker instructed us Helbiz additionally missed payroll in Serbia in December 2020, with staff not seeing a verify till February 2021.
It appears the problems prolong past late paychecks. Sources inform us that scooter provide shipments are additionally chronically late and complain the corporate is unstructured, inflicting points in all through the group.
It’s definitely troubling, particularly given the corporate’s plan to amass one other U.S.-based scooter operator, Wheels. For those who recall from final week, we reported that Wheels staff are being furloughed. Again in late Might/early June, Wheels furloughed “at the least 10 individuals” in keeping with one supply.
— Rebecca Bellan
Deal of the week
After plenty of forwards and backwards, the JetBlue-Spirit Airways deal really occurred.
The respective boards at JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airways approved a merger agreement at a diluted fairness valuation of $3.8 billion. JetBlue will purchase Spirit for $33.50 per share in money, together with a prepayment of $2.50 per share in money payable upon Spirit stockholders’ approval of the transaction.
The deal faces scrutiny from the Justice Division. But when it closes, it is going to create the fifth-largest airline in the USA.
Different offers this week ….
Drover AI, the startup that basically popularized utilizing camera-based laptop imaginative and prescient methods to cease scooter riders from driving all around the sidewalk, has closed a $5.4 million Series A.
Everrati, EV conversion startup, has landed an funding from former Nest CEO Matt Rogers, the Verge reported.
Common Motors bought $2.25 billion value of inexperienced bonds — at first for the automaker, Bloomberg reported.
Koenigsegg, the hypercar firm, invested as undisclosed amount into Lightyear, the Netherlands-based startup creating a photo voltaic automobile that’s anticipated to enter manufacturing this fall.
Subsequent.e.GO Cell, the German producer of compact EVs, is going public by a merger with blank-check firm Athena Shopper Acquisition Firm at $913 million valuation that features debt.
Polymath Robotics, a brand new startup that got here out of stealth and is a part of the Y Combinator Summer time 2022 cohort, has landed quite a lot of high-profile angel investors, together with Catapult Ventures managing director Darren Liccardo, Thursday Ventures basic associate Matt Sweeney, Cruise co-founder and CEO Kyle Vogt and Oliver Cameron, the previous co-founder and CEO of Voyage who’s now at Cruise. (Polymath didn’t disclose the entire quantity of funding). Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, co-founder and CEO of Polymath is a well-recognized to the AV business ecosystem. He beforehand co-founded and led the now shuttered Starsky Robotics.
Notable reads and different tidbits
Cruise has despatched two of its autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electrical automobiles to Dubai to begin mapping the city in preparation for a deliberate launch in 2023, in keeping with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority.
Kodiak Robotics accomplished a commercial run between Texas, California and Florida for 10 Roads Categorical, as a part of a pilot program with the USPS mail provider.
Electrical automobiles & batteries
Apple has employed Luigi Taraborrelli, a 20-year veteran of supercar maker Lamborghini, to work on the tech firm’s not-so-secret electrical autonomous automobile program, Bloomberg reported.
Ars Technica launched a guide to EV charging.
Bentley Motors has delayed its first EV.
Common Motors launched a program and digital platform called EV Live to coach automobile buyers about EVs and goal first-time consumers, because the automaker searches for methods to catch as much as and outpace rival Tesla.
Faraday Future is faltering— once more. The corporate stated in a regulatory submitting that it has delayed production of its FF91 flagship electrical automobile attributable to lack of cash and provide chain points.
Rivian began shedding about 6% of its workforce (about 900 individuals) as a part of a restructuring plan, in keeping with an inner e-mail from founder and CEO RJ Scaringe (and considered by TechCrunch.) The layoffs are hitting each division with one main exception — manufacturing operations at its Regular, Illinois manufacturing facility.
Sono Motors’ photo voltaic EV is lastly right here! Nicely, type of; there’s the sticky enterprise of manufacturing to take care of. The startup unveiled the final production design of the automobile in addition to a photo voltaic bus package, a brand new product that may be a collection of photo voltaic panels designed to be retrofitted onto 12-meter public buses.
TechCrunch’s Tim de Chant takes a deep dive into the 725-page Manchin-Schumer bill, which incorporates some EV transportation spending. He additionally wrote up one other TC+ (subscription) article analyzing whether or not VW’s new CEO will hamstring its EV push?
U.S. Division of Power revived an outdated mortgage program and its first recipient is the joint battery venture between GM and LG Power Resolution, which obtained a $2.5 billion mortgage from the company to assist it finance the development of recent lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing amenities.
Ford launched the law enforcement version of its all-electric F-150 Lightning truck.
The large three U.S. automakers reported earnings this week and the massive themes that repeatedly got here up have been inflation, provide chain points, China and EVs.
Common Motors kicked issues off with a quite dismal Q2 report that noticed profits fall 40% yr over yr to $1.69 billion. The offender? GM blamed its weak efficiency on a drop in North American manufacturing attributable to provide chain disruptions and semiconductor chip shortages that precipitated bottlenecks at its factories. And let’s not overlook the pandemic-related manufacturing facility shutdowns in China.
One other tidbit: GM’s self-driving subsidiary Cruise is burning through cash with bills hitting round $550 million in comparison with $332 million throughout the identical quarter of final yr. Working losses topped $605 million, up from $363 million final yr. The rise in value might be attributed to a headcount improve from revving up Cruise’s robotaxi service, in addition to a change within the compensation expense, in keeping with CEO Kyle Vogt.
Ford additionally noticed losses in China, however positive factors in different areas helped the automaker herald $40.2 billion in revenue, a 50% improve from the identical interval final yr and an adjusted working revenue that tripled to $3.7 billion.
Spotify introduced throughout its second-quarter earnings name that it has stopped manufacturing “Car Thing,” the corporate’s in-vehicle gadget for controlling music.
Way forward for flight
City Motion Labs in Los Angeles is partnering with South Korea’s Institute of Aerospace Trade-Academia Collaboration (IAIAC) to discover analysis alternatives round air mobility planning and integration. IAIAC is working to combine superior air mobility throughout the Incheon metro area.
Bosch is reorganizing its Mobility Options enterprise sector, which is able to now be headed up by Markus Heyn.
Hyundai Motor North America promoted Randy Parker to be CEO of Hyundai Motor America efficient August 1.
Lyten, a complicated supplies firm creating lithium-sulfur batteries and different high-performance product, employed Celina Mikolajczak as chief battery know-how officer.
Uber is expanding its ‘Comfort Electric’ product, which is mainly simply all-electric Uber rides, to seven extra cities, together with Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Austin, Philly and Baltimore. Uber initially launched the luxurious EV service in Might in San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles.
Additionally in Uber information, the ride-hail large apparently doesn’t have to supply a wheelchair-accessible service in each market, a choose guidelines. This only a week or so after Uber settled a lawsuit from the DOJ for allegedly overcharging disabled riders.