TechCrunch Mobility: The wheels are starting to come off the Fisker EV bus

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welcome back TechCrunch Mobility – Your central hub for news and insight on the future of transport.

Before we jump into the startup and tech sector, I wanted to touch on some activity on the Hill – Capitol Hill, that is. Biden administration have released two new (and separate) proposed standards through Department of Energy (DOE) and Environmental Protection Agency – This will impact American automakers and ultimately you. While both rules have been softened to reassure the automotive industry, car dealers and unions, they have also created far stricter standards than before.

The DOE released a lighter “Petroleum Equivalency Factor”, which gives a type of score to EVs under the government's Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards. The original proposal would have made it more difficult for automakers to meet CAFE standards, which would have meant billions of dollars in fines. (E&E has a good explainer.)

Meanwhile, the EPA released its tailpipe standards for 2027 to 2032 model year cars and light-duty trucks, which will put stricter requirements on automakers but give them more flexibility to meet the proposed rules through different powertrains. do. In other words, the standards are technology agnostic and can be accomplished without transitioning entire fleets to battery electric. This is much less stringent than the original proposal which would have required EV sales to account for 67% of the total US passenger vehicle market by 2032.

What does this mean for EV startups? Not much, because battery electric vehicles, such as those made by Rivian, Tesla and Lucid, meet the CO clean car standard2 Limit of 85 grams per mile by model year 2032 (a 50% reduction from model year 2026 standards). This has real implications for legacy automakers, which are spending billions developing, manufacturing, and selling EVs but profiting from internal combustion engine vehicles. If there's a clear winner here, it might be the plug-in hybrid.

This week's news also includes articles about rivian's Partnership with Tesla, electric boat startup candelaFinancial decline continues fiskarA startup that's trying to tackle the uncertain world of extended warranties, and much more!

let's go!

a little bird

shimmering cat bird green

Last month, a little bird told us Cleavon, a company that began developing autonomous delivery technology in 2018, struggled to find new investment and was on the verge of closure. The company's co-founder said at the time (in an email seen by TechCrunch) that it was looking for buyers for its hardware and software IP and AV assets and even taking on its workforce. .

According to co-founder and CEO Sandor Sebastian Agur, Cleavon is still a work in progress. He didn't give too many details, but said the company was funded and that it “has entered into an exclusivity agreement for its merger with an American electric vehicle company.” This agreement is expected to be completed by the first fortnight of June.

Meanwhile, the company is having to make some cost cuts and about 17 employees are being laid off.

Got a tip for us? E-mail Kirsten Korosec at kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com or sean o'keane sean.okane@techcrunch.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, Click here to contact usIncluding SecureDrop (instructions here) and various encrypted messaging apps.

deal of the week

give money to the station

uber It seems to be everywhere, so it might surprise you that the company has made its first investment in a startup founded in Africa. And this is a big thing.

move awayRide-hailing and delivery apps, an African mobility fintech that provides vehicle financing to drivers, raised $100 million in a Series B funding round led by Uber. Sovereign wealth fund Mubadala, Dubai-based The Latest Ventures, AfricaInvest, Palm Drive Capital, Tritalum Advisors and Future Africa also participated in the funding round. The move is now valued at $750 million.

Why would Uber be interested in Move? Uber is Moov's largest car financing and vehicle supply partner. And the move, which has made EVs a big part of its business strategy, aligns with Uber's commitment to an entirely zero-emission fleet by 2040.

Other deals that caught my attention this week…

SkyFounded in early 2023, the Bay Area startup, which recently launched an aftermarket Tesla extended warranty product, has led a funding round co-led by Era and Primer Saaz along with Alcove Fund, Verta Ventures, Global Millennial Capital and Root & Shoot Ventures. Raised $3.18 million in seed round. attend.

candelaThe electric boat maker raised $25 million led by Groupe Beneteau with participation from EQT Ventures, Ocean Zero LLC and Caen Della AB.

Pelican MobilityA French startup developing fleet management software for commercial EVs raised €4 million ($4.4 million) in a seed round from Pale Blue Dot, First, Seedcamp and others.

Stellantis Invested an undisclosed amount in Steerlight, a French startup developing low-cost lidar designed for advanced driver assistance systems. In a separate non-car related deal, the automaker bought 8.3 million shares Archer Aviation store. Stellantis said it signals its confidence in Archer's plan to bring electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft to market as early as 2025.

Notable readings and other news

Apps

Apple The lawsuit was filed this week by US Department of Justice For alleged monopolistic practices. Here's an explainer and our complete coverage to date. Hidden inside the lawsuit is a section on the automotive, known as Smartphone Projection Feature Apple CarPlay. The US government claims in the lawsuit that “Apple has told automakers that the next generation of Apple CarPlay will take over all screens, sensors, and gauges in the car, giving users an iPhone-centric driving experience if they want.” will be able to do.” To use any features provided by CarPlay.” Some have also speculated that this explains why General Motors abandoned Apple CarPlay altogether.

We're a little skeptical here. For one, automakers can choose which screens to display Apple CarPlay on, just like it does with competitor Android Auto. And automakers still have their own built-in original software, which, by the way, is increasingly coming from Google.

Electric vehicles, charging and batteries

Shepherd has launched an all-road electric bike to attract riders beyond European city centres.

fixer's Financial health is deteriorating – and fast. The company said it had only $121 million in cash and cash equivalents as of March 15, of which $32 million is restricted or not immediately available. The company has halted production of its electric Ocean SUV for six weeks as it struggles to raise cash.

India This is a shocking statistic. The number of startups in India's electric two-wheeler market has increased from 54 to over 150 in 2021 due to government incentives to promote clean vehicles and cut oil imports, reports TechCruncher's Manish Singh.

Rivian Customers can now request an adapter to tap into Tesla's vast North American network of Superchargers, making it the second automaker after Ford to do so.

steve burnsFounder, Chairman and CEO of bankrupt EV startup ousted Lordstown Motorshas settled with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over allegations it misled investors about demand for the company's flagship all-electric Endurance pickup truck.

techcrunch Contributor emme hall took 2025 Honda CR-V e:FCEV – a hydrogen fuel cell-powered version of the popular crossover – out for a first drive and finds out why this automaker would launch a car where there's hardly any infrastructure. Oh, and he discovered this vehicle has a little plug-in hybrid twist.

flight

Doordash Expanded its partnership with Alphabet wing To bring its autonomous drone delivery pilot to the United States. It's still quite limited; Select users in Christiansburg, Virginia will be able to order eligible menu items from their local Wendy's.

Joby AviationThe startup developing electric air taxis said it will deliver two aircraft to MacDill Air Force Base in 2025 as part of the eVTOL company's AFWERX Agility Prime contract with the U.S. Air Force.

US Department of Transportation The largest US airlines are planning to conduct their first industry-wide review of data security and privacy policies. The agency says it will investigate whether U.S. airline giants are appropriately protecting their customers' personal information and whether airlines are “unfair or deceptively monetizing or sharing that data with third parties.” Have been.”

technology in car

NVIDIA held its annual GTC developer conference last week. You can check out all of our GTC coverage here, including some surprises from the co-founder and CEO Jensen Huang's Keynote speech. Automotive News described how Nvidia's computing architecture is being used by companies like Cirence, SoundHound, and Wave to design user interfaces that incorporate generative AI into the car.

this week's wheels

subaru solterra ev 2024

Image Credit: Kirsten Korosec

i spent some time there 2024 subaru solterraA battery electric crossover built as part of a joint project with Toyota to experience what has changed or improved since the vehicle was launched a year ago. And there have been changes!

The most obvious is the steering wheel, which is no longer a circle and now has a square shape, a change made following consumer feedback. You'll notice that the instrument cluster is actually located above the steering wheel, which takes some getting used to. The new shape helps improve visibility.

Two other things worth noting, once I paired the Subaru Solterra app with the vehicle: the infotainment experience was fine. There were some bad moments and there is no intuitive and easy swipe or click way to move between Apple CarPlay and the original software system. It wasn't the best software experience I've had in a car, but it certainly wasn't the worst.

On the advanced driver assistance front, Subaru has added a Traffic Jam Assist feature that provides hands-free steering in low-speed traffic jams up to 25 mph. This is an extremely specific use case that many drivers will never need due to speed limitations. Thanks to Phoenix Traffic, I was able to test it out. Lane Change Assist – another new feature that will automatically change lanes when the driver hits the indicator – I had a little trouble understanding when I could use it. (This feature only works between 55 and 85 mph.)