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Hello and welcome back to The Station, a newsletter that deals with all current and future opportunities for people and packages to get from point A to point B. I am your host, Kirsten Korosec, chief transport reporter at theinformationsuperhighway.
For all US readers here, I hope you enjoy the vacation weekend.
I'm mixing the format this week because I'm responsible here, it's a holiday and I don't want this newsletter to be too formulaic. The newsletter today will highlight some mobility startups and some of their ideas that don't usually get much attention.
For those who are planning – or maybe already have – a road trip this summer, I'd like to hear what it's like out there. Figures from the peer-to-peer RV rental market RVshare indicate that it is overcrowded.
RVshare, a peer-to-peer marketplace for RV rentals, told me that rental bookings are three times higher than last summer and have increased 1,600% since the beginning of April.
"The weekend of July 4th is by far the best way to become by far the largest booking period in the company's history," said CEO Jon Gray.
Remember to contact me and email firstname.lastname@example.org to share thoughts, criticism, opinions, or tips. You can also send me a direct message on Twitter – @kirstenkorosec.
All right, Vamos.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit startups and established companies alike. Others like Lectric eBikes Thanks to the increasing demand for bicycles during the pandemic, we had a few random quarters.
The one-year-old startup based in Arizona has gone crazy with electric bikes. The company, co-founded by 24-year-old Levi Conlow and Robby Deziel, has generated more than $ 14 million in revenue with its Lectric XP e-bike.
Now the startup is starting a new e-bike called "Lectric XP Step-Thru". Pre-orders started last week. The $ 899 step-thru bike folds to less than half its size, has a top speed of 45 km / h, an LCD display, and a range of 25 to 50 km.
In the meantime, the better known Rad power bikes has unveiled a single-speed electric bike that starts at $ 999. The new product, called RadMission Electric Motor Bike, features a 500-watt, 50-pound-foot motor, a twist-grip throttle, and an integrated brake light that powers the main battery pack and a 48-volt battery pack Travel between 25 and 45 miles.
It's under 50 pounds, 30% lighter than Rad Power's other bikes. The bike is also equipped with an LED control panel that allows the rider to control the lighting and pedal assistance, as well as display the battery and assistance levels. Pre-orders are open and the company says the first Rad Mission motorcycles will be delivered in October.
Zoov, a French platform for sharing electric bikes, launched a new charging station this week that is said to improve traditional docking systems. The station is designed for four bicycles within one meter, compared to other systems that can only accommodate one bicycle in the same area. Bicycles can also be charged with or without mains connection. The stations, which are not connected to the power grid, use batteries that can be replaced and set up quickly, the company says.
One of the more interesting innovations is that the motorcycles create a common power connection. When bicycles are parked at the station, they are connected and can supply or receive electricity. The energy transfer between the bicycles is controlled by an algorithm that optimizes the state of charge of the bicycles – the maximum charging range is approx. 45 kilometers.
Each station has space for up to 15 bicycles. The company has already installed 40 of these stations.
Inspired by COVID-19
I have followed the ideas and small inventions that have surfaced in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic in recent months. There is an abundance of small “solutions”, some of which are better than others. I will call them from time to time.
For example, Nickelytics, a startup from the latest TechStars Mobility cohort, has somewhat modernized the old advertising game on and in vehicles. The company serves ads on ridesharing trips that travel at least 30 miles a day. It promises that drivers can earn up to $ 500 a month. The startup appeals to companies that it uses tracking technology to log every “impression”, ie the passenger who welcomed a trip. It takes this data and uses digital ads to target consumers.
The company has launched a new product called the "Ad Shield". The idea is to protect passengers and passengers while generating revenue. This is not a new idea. Anyone who has been in a taxi in a dense urban area has surely come across the more durable and sturdy shields that are placed between the front and rear seats as a safety measure.
However, the Nickelytics sign is designed for ridesharing. The plexiglass, which can be branded with a company logo or other marketing message, is flexible and can be quickly added to or removed from a rideshare vehicle.
Lately I've noticed some transport-related apps that focus on security. The first is a company called! Important who launched their security app last month. The app markets itself to protect pedestrians, cyclists, wheelchair users and motorcyclists from collisions with nearby connected vehicles.
Here is the basic requirement that the inventor of the app, Bastien Beauchamp, recently explained to me: The app runs in the background and acts as another sensor that communicates with a nearby “connected car” to determine the exact location of a pedestrian or cyclist determine. The driver receives a warning from the approaching person. The app can even automatically brake the vehicle. There are a few catches here. The vehicle must have advanced driver assistance systems and the associated! Have essential software to make it work. And for this to really make sense, Beauchamp has to convince the car manufacturers to integrate the software into their vehicles and to get pedestrians, cyclists and other people to download the app.
It is early for! Important. But Beauchamp has already made some progress. As of January 2021, the app will be implemented in human-powered and autonomous vehicles in Reno as part of the Intelligent Mobility initiative in collaboration with the Nevada Center for Applied Research at the University of Nevada.
Cooperation with 12 universities is also important
Let us now turn to the drivers. Open road is a free app that started in January 2020. It detects car accidents and sends rescue workers if necessary. The app is only available for iOS and will soon be available for Android.
The app originated from True Motion, a company founded in 2012 that has developed a smartphone telematics platform for insurance companies. Insurance companies can use the platform to record driving data and offer their customers incentives for good driving behavior.
Open Road was designed as a consumer app. The app uses machine learning to detect crashes in real time and is aimed at trained emergency personnel who can send an emergency call to an ambulance or police if necessary. The data can also be used to speed up the insurance claim process for the user.
Open Road recently added an emergency contact feature that notifies some specific people in the event of a crash, as well as a Siri shortcut. When a user says "Hey Siri, please request crash support," one of the agents trained by Open Road immediately calls the user. The app also features an audio alert feature, where the user triggers an audio alert from their phone in the event of a crash to notify them of agent calls.
I would normally divide each of these sections into separate sections and provide some analysis and even original reports. This week I’ll provide a mini version of my typical newsletter. Read on for an overview of what happened last week.
The big news about micromobility this week comes from the UK, where the Department of Transportation announced that it allows e-scooter rental companies to legally operate across the country. This will be a pilot program that will start in August at the latest. Councils and other agencies, including across London and other major cities, are working to put together trials that could take up to 12 months according to government guidelines.
The regulations come into force on July 4, the DfT said. The first attempts should start a week later.
European micromobility company Dott I contacted the UK regulator to participate in the e-scooter study. Animal mobility is also prepared and ready. The two-year-old startup has over 1,000 scooters in its UK warehouse. It has also hired a general manager for the UK and a public order manager for Northern Europe. Fred Jones is the General Manager for the UK and Benjamin Bell will lead public policy for Northern Europe. Both Jones and Bell previously worked at Uber . Jones will oversee the launch of TIER-E scooters in British cities. Meanwhile, Bell will lead the company's collaboration with central and local government prior to the lawsuit.
Meanwhile, Leap The bikes returned to London through their new owner lime. London is the first city in Europe where jump bikes have returned since Uber relocated to Lime in a complex business that happened in May. In a financing round led by Uber, Lime, along with other existing investors, raised $ 170 million from Alphabet, Bain Capital Ventures and GV. As part of the business, Lime Jump acquired the electric bike and scooter division that Uber acquired in 2018 for around $ 200 million.
Earlier this year thousands of jump bikes were pulled off the streets in European cities like Berlin, Brussels, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Malaga, Munich, Paris, Rome and Rotterdam. Lime is unlikely to bring jump bikes back in all of these cities. According to sources, Lime plans to use jump scooters and bikes in London, Paris, Rome and Barcelona.
AVs and connectivity
BMW showed what the new operating system 7 software can do. Some of his ideas about providing upgrades and features were somewhat controversial. The company announced that all vehicles equipped with the latest "Operating System 7" software can receive wireless updates and plans to bill customers who want to improve certain features such as adding seat heating or advanced driver assistance systems.
Lyfts The self-driving vehicle division resumed testing on California public roads a few months after the interruption in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some of his autonomous vehicles are on the road again in Palo Alto and on the closed test track. The company has not resumed a pilot program that has enabled Lyft employees to travel in Palo Alto.
TuSimple presented a plan to create a mapped network of shipping routes and terminals for autonomous truck operations that will span the United States by 2024. UPS, which has a minority stake in TuSimple, transports US Xpress, Penske Truck Leasing and Berkshire Hathaway's groceries and food service supply chain company McLane Inc. are the first partners in this so-called autonomous freight network (AFN).
Velodyne Lidar, the leading supplier of a sensor that is generally considered critical for the commercial use of autonomous vehicles, has signed a merger agreement with Graf Industrial Corp. completed with a market value of $ 1.8 billion. Yes, another SPAC!
Daimler deepened a strategic partnership with the Chinese battery cell manufacturer Farasis Energy, which includes a stake of around 3%. Daimler Greater China will invest several million euros as part of the Farasis IPO under the agreement.
EV startups in China didn't do so well, Automotive News reported. In June alone, at least three startups shut down, including Bordrin and Byton.
Lucid Motors According to CNET's roadshow, the aircraft will have a drag coefficient of 0.21, which measures the resistance of an object moving through a liquid environment.
Rivian published a few photos of his electric truck. I asked the Twitter verse this question: What color is that? What do you think? I think the best answer might have been Werther's original.
Tesla has made reservations in China for its all-electric cyber truck, which will test the market's appetite for a massive, futuristic truck. The cyber truck, which was launched in November at the Tesla Design Center in Hawthorne, California, is expected to go into production in late 2022. But that didn't stop thousands of U.S. consumers from paying a $ 100 refundable truck deposit. Now Tesla is testing the potential interest of Chinese consumers.
Tesla also reported its delivery and production figures for the second quarter. Tesla delivered 90,650 vehicles in the second quarter. This corresponds to a decrease of 4.8% compared to the same period in the previous year. This is due to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which ceased production at its main US plant for weeks. Despite the headwind, Tesla was able to exceed expectations.
Chinese EV manufacturer Xpeng engines has started delivering its P7 electric sports sedan to customers nationwide. On May 19, the automaker received its official production license from the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology for its new plant, the intelligent industrial park Zhaoqing Xpeng Motors, in the home province of Guangdong in Xpeng. The production of the P7 at the Xpeng plant in Zhaoqing has an annual capacity of 100,000 units.
Daimler intends to sell its smart car assembly plant in Hambach, France, as part of a comprehensive restructuring plan aimed at supporting the company's finances in the face of dampening demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The sale will have a negative one-time effect of approximately $ 500 million ($ 562 million) in the second quarter.
Jaguar Land Rover Set up a subscription service called Pivotal that is supported by the automaker's venture capital and mobility service provider, InMotion. The subscription gives customers access to Jaguar and Land Rover models, including the all-electric Jaguar I-PACE and the latest plug-in hybrids, Range Rover Evoque and Land Rover Discovery Sport.
Lincoln Continental will cease production at the end of the year.
"Lincoln is investing in growth segments and the brand will have a full portfolio of SUVs in the future, including an all-electric vehicle," said theinformationsuperhighway in an email statement. “Lincoln will continue to keep its latest SUVs fresh and we will be releasing more news later this year. However, with the full-size premium sedan segment continuing to decline in the United States, we plan to discontinue production of the Lincoln Continental by the end of this year. "
To meet the needs of Chinese luxury customers, Lincoln China will offer a Continental model year 2021 next year, the company said.
Over He has reportedly made an offer to buy a grocery delivery service for postmates, the New York Times reported. Just one day after this news, other reports claimed that Postmates had revived its IPO plans and may have tried to go public with the help of a special acquisition vehicle called SPAC.
Postmates, a company caught somewhere between DoorDash's surge and Uber's ability to lose hundreds of millions every quarter on its Uber Eats delivery service, is likely to have several options welcome. Alex Wilhelm digs himself in.