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Layoffs are coming for the AV world, VW plans ‘massive strikes’ in China and inside Cruise’s robotaxi outages – TechCrunch

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The Station is a weekly e-newsletter 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 shifting folks and packages from Level A to Level B.

Earlier than we soar in, I needed to flag that Rebecca Bellan is out this week, which suggests micromobbin’ can be taking a break (One micromobility story I believed was attention-grabbing: Amazon is swapping out vans for cargo bikes in central London).

Talking of Rebecca, she has been main our founders Q&A sequence that has been working for a yr now. As a part of the sequence, we’re checking in with founders a yr after their preliminary interview to see what has occurred, what they’ve discovered and even the place they’ve failed.

Our decide this month: Veo co-founder and CEO Candice Xie.

As at all times, you may e-mail me at [email protected] to share ideas, criticisms, opinions, or suggestions. You can also ship a direct message to @kirstenkorosec

Just a little hen

blinky cat bird green

Listed here are a few nuggets I’m listening to from the little birds which were whispering in my ear.

Layoffs are coming for the autonomous car world. One instance, which I wrote about, is Argo AI. However I’m listening to rumbles that extra layoffs can be coming this quarter at different corporations. Like Argo, these look like an effort to regulate from some over-hiring.

Seems like Wheels, which provides seated scooters and an built-in helmet expertise, is furloughing some workers. You would possibly recall that final month Helbiz mentioned it has signed a letter of intent to amass Wheels. These newest furloughs comply with one other spherical that occurred final month.

Deal of the week

money the station

Whereas we historically prefer to deal with two-, three- and four-wheeled automobiles and naturally, plane, typically it’s price highlighting a deal that can have an effect on transportation. I’m speaking about supply of products and particularly, Amazon’s investment into and partnership with Grubhub.

The industrial phrases of the settlement seems to be like it should give Amazon a stake in Simply Eat Takeaway, which owns Grubhub in the US.

Amazon tried to construct its personal supply competitor to Grubhub and Doordash after which scrapped that effort in 2019. This new technique goals to encourage extra sign-ups to its Prime subscription service and provides it a slice of the meals supply recreation. (Prime members can be supply free membership to Grubhub+ for one yr).

Why do you have to care? Amazon has its fingers in nearly every bit of logistics and supply, together with that burrito you need to order, and it’s both investing in, buying, partnering or internally constructing out robotics, autonomous automobiles expertise, EVs and drones. In some unspecified time in the future, all of those items will come collectively.

Different offers that obtained my consideration this week …

Antin Infrastructure Companions invested in RAW Charging, capital that can help the UK-based EV fast-charging startup’s £250 million ($300M) EV charger set up plan.

APFusion, an automotive B2B market for the auto salvage business, raised $6.5 million in a seed spherical co-led by Left Lane Capital and Bedrock Capital. Current investor M25 additionally participated.

EVCS, an EV fast-charging community, raised $68.8 million comprised of a $50 million debt facility from Spring Lane Capital, and a Sequence A fairness funding of $18.8 million co-led by Abdo Companions, Spring Lane Capital and the Copulos Group. EVCS mentioned it plans to greater than double its community footprint to just about 1,500 chargers by 2023.

Mullen Automotive, the EV SPAC, mentioned it eliminated $17.5 million in firm debt and lowered its total indebtedness from greater than $30 million final yr to an estimated $11 million presently.

Northvolt, the Swedish battery maker, secured new funds finally yr’s valuation of $12 billion, Bloomberg reported, citing an individual accustomed to matter. Individually, Northvolt mentioned it signed a $1.1 billion convertible notice to finance an enlargement of its manufacturing capabilities in Europe.

Scandinavian airline SAS filed for bankruptcy protection within the U.S., following a pilot strike that it mentioned was placing strain on its already squeezed funds.

Volvo Group’s enterprise arm made an undisclosed strategic funding in Optibus, an Israeli-based startup that makes use of AI to assist public transportation companies plan and function their networks. The funding comes about two months because it raised $100 million in a Sequence D spherical.

Notable reads and different tidbits

Autonomous automobiles

Argo AI has laid off about 150 people from its international workforce, which at present exceeds greater than 2,000 folks. The corporate continues to be hiring, however the tempo has slowed, one supply instructed me.

Cruise’s robotaxi outages stretched past the one roadblock incident we reported final week. Wired’s Aarian Marshall has an excellent article on a sequence of incidents during which GM subsidiary misplaced contact with its autonomous automobiles, leaving them frozen in visitors and trapping human drivers.

Outrider, the Golden, Colorado-based, is releasing a next-generation autonomy equipment for yard automation, FreightWaves reported.

The Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration opened a particular investigation into a crash in San Francisco involving a Cruise autonomous car that resulted in minor accidents.

Electrical automobiles & batteries

Shopper Experiences launched results of a survey that discovered 28% of U.S. respondents wouldn’t purchase an electrical car.

Can Polestar succeed the place different EV SPACs have failed?

Rivian produced 4,401 EVs at its manufacturing facility in Regular, Illinois within the second quarter and delivered 4,467 through the quarter ended June 30, the company reported. Rivian mentioned it’s on observe to hit its 25,000 manufacturing goal by the tip of the yr.

Tata Motors needs to sell 50,000 electric vehicles by the tip of the fiscal yr ending March 31, the corporate’s chairperson Natarajan Chandrasekaran mentioned throughout a shareholders’ assembly.

Toyota reached the 200,000-unit cap on electrical and plug-in-hybrid automobiles which might be eligible for a federal tax credit score of $7,500.

Volkswagen Group broke floor on the first of six battery factories it expects to construct in Europe, the official kickoff of a brand new battery enterprise known as PowerCo. The plan is to take a position $20 billion via 2030 to turn into a world EV chief.

In-car tech

Digital distraction in automobiles is getting worse, LA Times reports (subscription).

Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess mentioned the corporate is planning “massive strikes” in China, together with using several thousand people at its automotive software program arm Cariad.


One other week, one other 5 million Tesla tales.

  1. Attorneys representing two former Tesla workers who have been terminated in mid-June filed an emergency motion asking a decide to ban the electrical car maker from forcing employees to signal releases in trade for much less severance than federal legislation supplies.
  2. Elon Musk has tried to terminate his settlement to purchase Twitter. Reading the letter, that is going to be, um, nicely, tough. Let the authorized battle start! The announcement did present a small bump to Tesla’s share price.

  3. Tesla plans to start opening its Supercharger network to different electrical automobiles by the tip of the yr, in response to a White Home memo that shared the automaker’s plans.

  4. The Nationwide Freeway Site visitors Security Administration has opened an investigation right into a deadly crash involving a Tesla, in response to paperwork considered by TechCrunch.


The hazard of license plate readers in post-Roe America, from Wired.


ZF Friedrichshafen has appointed Holger Klein as its next chairman and CEO, succeeding Wolf-Henning Scheider, who will depart the corporate firstly of 2023. Klein is presently a ZF administration board member targeted on the Asia-Pacific area.

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