VW Group governance turmoil and the story of two Tesla earnings – TechCrunch

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Welcome back to The Station, your central hub for all past, present and future ways to transport people and packages from point A to point B.

Last week I noticed that July is the summer of the EV truck (for me). However, when I zoom out, it looks a lot more like the summer of the course correction. In other words, many companies, from automakers and tech giants to suppliers and startups, are restructuring, shuffling executives and laying off staff. And not just in the US; this is also happening in Europe.

Just look at Volkswagen Group. VW Group CEO Herbert Diess is leaving – and rather suddenly. The controversial CEO has been pulling the strings, as it were. I expected this day to come, but not now and not in this way.

The company announced his departure Friday, just hours after Diess published a pep talk-esque LinkedIn post. Porsche boss Oliver Blume takes his place, leaving me with many questions, including how this could affect Porsche’s plans for an IPO. Blume apparently stays in the top spot with Porsche and runs the entire VW Group. Other executive changes include Volkswagen of America CEO Scott Keogh, who is leaving to head VW’s new spin-off EV brand Scout.

In some other cases, entire businesses close. Perceptive Automata was one of those that suddenly closed. Autonocast, the podcast I host with Ed Niedermeyer and Alex Roy, recently spoke with Sam Anthony about the startup’s collapse, what he learned, and his thoughts on the AV industry. It’s rare for a founder to speak so candidly and so quickly after a collapse like this. Listen up.

And with that, we dive in.

As always, you can email me at kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com to share thoughts, criticisms, opinions or tips. You can also send a direct message to @kirstenkorosec

Micromobile

Welcome to the world of small electric vehicles. Let’s start right off with the news from last week.

Sales of e-bikes for freight doubled in the UK between January and May as gas prices soar.

GetHenry, a maker of bicycles and trikes, will henceforth be known as Cycle, Haje Kamps reports, scratching his head over the unoriginality of the new name choice.

Hawaii residents can now get a $500 e-bike discount, capped at 20% off the purchase price.

Ola Electric is investing $500 million to set up a battery innovation center in India after a series of moped fires.

The Mercedes-EQ Formula E team has created a collection of sleek, high-performance, luxury e-bikes. The minimalist design includes a hidden battery and motor, a digital dashboard, phone charging functionality and more. Currently taking pre-orders.

Swytch shows off its not-very-pocket-sized-but-still-very-small batteries that are part of the company’s DIY e-bike conversion kit.

Tier is testing its first internally developed IoT module, called ‘Parrot’, in London and then in Norway and France. Tier says Parrot offers scooters improved positioning and geo-fencing capabilities.

Weel has a new self-balancing bike made without chains or gears, but with lots of smart vehicle capabilities – including sensors like camera, radar and lidar.

YES Scooter has released a very cute e-scooter that goes up to 15 mph and costs $599.

ZapBatt has partnered with Toshiba to create a new micromobility battery option, one based on lithium titanium oxide, which the companies say will deliver a faster, smarter and cheaper battery.

See you next week!

— Rebecca Bellan

Offer of the week

money the station

This isn’t necessarily a deal of the week. More of a deal ecosystem created by Amazon’s drive to get as many products to customers as quickly as possible, combined with a decade of technological breakthroughs, labor shortages and skyrocketing e-commerce growth.

This fruitful convergence has led to acquisitions and major funding rounds for warehouse robotics startups. And the growth seems limitless, according to Locus Robotics CEO Rick Faulk, Berkshire Gray SVP Jessica Moran and Melonee Wise, who founded Fetch and is now VP of robotics automation at Zebra Technologies. I interviewed the trio at the TC Sessions: Robotics event last week.

Faulk revealed during the interview that Locus plans to go public in the next 12 to 18 months. Stay tuned.

Here are some other offers that caught my eye this week.

Bain Capital and a subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority have agreed to acquire Merchants Automotive Group, DBA Merchants Fleet and Merchants Auto.

Gbike, a Korean e-scooter company, has acquired Hyundai’s micromobility platform ZET.

Coffee Insurance, Brooklyn, a New York-based truck and transportation insurance company, has raised $11 million in a Series A financing round led by Anthemis Group, along with existing investors Lerer Hippeau Ventures and Plug and Play Ventures. New investors include CP Overture, Breakout Capital and Two Lanterns Venture Partners.

MOVS, a Swedish micromobility subscription service, has raised $4.3 million to expand across Europe.

Natron Energy, maker of sodium ion batteries, has raised $7 million from Nabors Industries.

Remarkable news and other facts

Autonomous vehicles

Baidu, the Chinese search engine giant that has invested in AI and autonomous vehicle technology, has unveiled a new all-electric robotic axi that it plans to deploy widely across China.

Kodiak Robotics Founder Don Burnette Explains Why Autonomous Freight Could Eliminate Inflation (TC+ Subscription)

Pony.ai has been granted a license to charge for driverless robotic axi rides in Beijing, within an area of ​​60 square kilometers.

Tortoise (more teleops than autonomy) teamed up with hospitality giant Sodexo to bring a mobile smart store to Comic-Con this year.

Income

Earnings season is upon us and Tesla is the first to act. The result? Tesla’s second quarter earnings report tells two stories: one of quarterly declines driven by manufacturing challenges and another of eye-watering year-over-year growth. The question is, are the second-quarter pains now in the rearview mirror?

As usual, a lot of news came out of the call, including some surprisingly positive solar numbers (no solar roof tiles) and plans to raise the price of the brand’s “fully self-driving” beta software, the advanced driver assistance system CEO Elon Musk has said. this will mean the difference between the company’s “worth a lot of money or actually worth zero.” Musk confirmed that the Cybertruck will indeed arrive in mid-2023. Will this date slip again?

Another note: Tesla may be able to chug on its own, but major Musk projects may take a backseat to other distractions. In addition to controversies within Tesla, Musk also has a number of mounting issues and controversies outside the company, namely the soured and now contentious Twitter deal and an alleged affair with the wife of Google co-founder and long-time friend Sergey Brin can make things difficult for him to do. could focus on the business.

Electric vehicles

Amazon has started delivering packages to more than a dozen cities using the custom electric van built by Rivian.

Cadillac unveiled its six-figure Celestiq sedan that would set the stage for the brand’s electrified portfolio. It’s a great looking vehicle, but I wonder if the timing isn’t right (economically).

Ford has unveiled a plan showing how it plans to strengthen its battery supply chain as part of its global strategy to sell more than 2 million EVs annually by 2026. The automaker, which is investing $50 billion to scale its battery-electric portfolio through 2026, said it plans to increase battery capacity, shorten its supply chain and use lithium iron phosphate batteries for some of its EVs.

Tesla is getting a dedicated border patrol job for suppliers traveling from Nuevo León, Mexico, to Texas. The automaker is also subject to yet another special investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regarding the crash of a 2021 Tesla Model Y that killed a motorcyclist in California earlier this month.

Toyota cooperates with Suzuki Motor Corporation, Daihatsu Motor Co. and Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies to build small commercial electric vans next year.

Xiaomi, a Chinese consumer electronics manufacturer that makes e-scooters, among other things, will debut its first electric car next month.

Future of flight

Joby Aviation has applied for certification of its aircraft design in the UK. The eVTOL startup is also currently pursuing “type certification” with the US Federal Aviation Administration.

Rolls-Royce and Hyundai are collaborating to develop a fuel cell electric propulsion system for advanced airborne mobility.

Vertical Aerospace has partnered with Babcock International, an aerospace, defense and security company, to explore new applications for its VX4 eVTOL.

Ride Announcement and Delivery

Alto, a mobile company that doesn’t employ employees in the gig economy, expanded into its sixth market. Can it work?

Lyft has expanded its shared rides to other markets, including Chicago, Los Angeles, Nashville, Washington DC, Boston, Portland and San Diego. As it expands, it also cuts staff and terminates programs such as the in-house car rental program.

Uber Eats is updating its grocery delivery service with new features such as scheduled delivery, better support for in-store shoppers, and live order tracking for customers.

Uber agreed to settle a lawsuit alleging that the ride-hail company violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by overpaying disabled riders.

Britain’s App Drivers and Couriers Union has organized a 24-hour strike to demand that Uber be held accountable for the findings of the Uber files, a trove of leaked confidential documents showing how the ride-hail company was breaking laws, secretly lobbied governments and exploited driver safety to aggressively expand from 2013 to 2017.

People

A Hyundai Motor subsidiary has used child labor at a factory that supplies parts for the Korean automaker’s assembly line in nearby Montgomery, Alabama, Reuters reported. An absolutely stunning and terrible story that I am thankful for comes to light.


This post VW Group governance turmoil and the story of two Tesla earnings – TechCrunch was original published at “https://techcrunch.com/2022/07/25/the-station-executive-upheaval-at-vw-group-and-the-tale-of-two-tesla-earnings/”

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