Uber hits profit milestone, Ford creates EV skunkworks and Fisker fails

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Welcome back to TechCrunch Mobility – your central hub for news and insight on the future of transportation.

It's been a busy week Rivian Officially announcing the unveiling date of its next generation EV waymo Robotaxi hits a cyclist (oh and one of its robotaxi was vandalized and burned to death late Saturday night!). arrival Trying to Sell Your UK Assets, Plus Some Scoops on an E-Motorcycle Startup Cake, ford And fiskar, There's a lot of ground to cover, so come along for the ride.

Oh, but first, some breaking news from late over the weekend.

Joby AviationThe company developing all-electric aircraft for commercial passenger service announced a deal on Sunday Dubai Regulators will launch air taxi services there as early as 2026. Joby, a startup that went public in 2021 through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company, said it is targeting initial operations in early 2025.

It is worth noting that under the deal, Joby has exclusive air taxi rights in Dubai for six years and certain financial “mechanisms”; Joby did not provide further information. Joby has also signed an agreement with Skyports, which will design, build and operate four initial vertiport sites across Dubai.

let's go!

a little bird

shimmering cat bird green

We have several little birds we're talking about fiskar, EV startup that went public in 2020 through a merger with a special purpose acquisition company. Those conversations, combined with a review of internal documents, multiple lawsuits and an investigation by federal regulators, unfolded into an intriguing and troubling story. sean o'keane,

What did O'Kane find? Fisker Ocean SUV customers have reported more than 100 separate power loss incidents, as well as a myriad of other problems, including sudden loss of braking power, locking out of the vehicle due to problematic key fobs, seat Sensors included. The driver's presence may not be detected and the front hood of the SUV may suddenly fly off at high speed.

Customers also complained about the service department. After our story was published, another little bird told us that Fisker's global service director had recently been let go.

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

India One of the largest two-wheeler markets in the world. And a whole new crop of startups – like Startups River – The scene is booming due to demand for zero-emission vehicles.

River recently raised $40 million in a Series B funding round led by Japan yamaha motor, Existing investors Al-Futtaim Automotive, LowerCarbon Capital, Toyota Ventures, Trucks VC and Maniv Mobility also participated.

The startup faces a competitive market as multiple companies compete for a piece of the EV pie. River is betting that it will win over Indian customers with the Indy, a utility lifestyle-focused product, described as an “SUV” two-wheeler.

Other deals that caught my attention…

Elroy AirA South San Francisco-based startup developing autonomous cargo drones raised $48.9 million, according to a regulatory filing.

directed energyA French startup, which raised $5.2 million from Sequoia Capital and Dynamo Ventures in late 2023, is building a software tool that will help EV fleet operators with charge management and dispatch.

ottoAn Indian startup that built a financing software platform for two-wheeler EVs has raised $10 million in a round led by GMO Venture Partners.

Starship TechnologiesAn Estonian delivery robotics startup raised $90 million in a funding round co-led by two previous backers: Plural and Iconic. This brings the total amount raised by Starship to $230 million, with previous backers including Finnish-Japanese firm NordicNinja, the European Investment Bank, Morpheus Ventures and TDC.

Notable readings and other news

autonomous vehicle

an administrative law judge with California Public Utilities Commission A settlement hearing was held regarding an October 2 incident in which a pedestrian who was initially struck by a human-driven car became trapped beneath it and was then dragged. cruise Robotaxi.

The hearing reiterated what GM Quinn Emanuel, the law firm appointed to investigate the October 2 incident, revealed in an independent report. But it's worth noting that throughout the exchange, Cruz spoke in an extremely cordial tone. Craig GliddenGM's EVP of legal and policy, who was appointed chief administrative officer to Cruise in December, was particularly ungrateful.

At one point, he appeared to agree to pay a higher fine, which under the law would be $112,000. Here's what he said.

“It was regrettable. It was a mistake and Cruz is trying to correct that mistake. I'm not here to argue about whether it's $75,000 or $112,000. We want to resolve this matter because we want to move forward and we want to pursue the mission of bringing driverless cars that are safer to the public and have greater access to the market for the public. “So we are very happy to reach any settlement that the court deems appropriate or the Commission deems appropriate to get this matter behind us.”

waymo It has drawn the attention of regulators in California after one of its robotaxis hit a cyclist in San Francisco. The cyclist suffered minor injuries. Waymo said its robotaxi was stopped at a four-way intersection because a large truck was traveling in the opposite direction. After this the car went to the intersection and collided with the cyclist standing behind the truck.

Spoke to TechCrunch Department of Motor Vehicles And this California Public Utilities Commission – Two agencies control the permits that allow companies like Waymo to test, deploy and commercially charge for driverless rides. The CPUC said it is “gathering information from Waymo” and the DMV told me the agency is “reviewing the incident.” We'll see if it turns into something else.

another waymo item, At around 9 pm on Saturday evening, a crowd surrounded an empty Waymo robotaxi, began shaking it, breaking windows and eventually setting it on fire with fireworks. FriscoLive415 shared the video on X. Very crazy footage. A Waymo spokesperson told TechCrunch that the vehicle was not carrying any passengers and no injuries were reported. The company is “working closely with local security authorities to respond to the situation.”

Electric vehicles, charging and batteries

arrival announced that its UK division is entering administration, the country's version of bankruptcy.

electric motorcycle company Cake Founder and CEO Stephen Ytterborn told TechCrunch it was in talks with Harley-Davidson and other automakers in 2023 as it struggles to survive.

Shepherd The e-bike is launching an on-demand service program for basic maintenance, customization and repairs delivered to the owner's home.

ford Quietly working on low-cost EVs. The company created a Skunkworks project two years ago that is based in Irvine, California and led by an ex-Tesla and Ford advanced EV development boss. allan clarke, Notably, the team includes engineers from Auto Motive Power (AMP), the EV power startup that the automaker acquired in November 2023. AMP founder Anil Parayani, who coincidentally worked with Clark for nearly five years at Tesla, is also part of the Skunkworks project. ,

Rivian will unveil its smaller, cheaper R2 SUV on March 7. stay tuned!

toyota It will spend an additional $1.3 billion to prepare its Kentucky factory for production of a new three-row all-electric SUV designed for American consumers.

gig economy

uber Accomplished a huge milestone that a few years ago I wasn't sure would ever be accomplished. The ride-hailing and delivery app reported a full-year profit (driven by operating income) as a public company. And it looks like the profit momentum is expected to continue in the first quarter. Uber has made annual profits before, but that was largely due to its investments. The company's profit in 2023 also came from its operations.

remind him lift It will report its fourth-quarter and full-year earnings after markets close on Feb. 13.

People

ridA company that helps vehicle owners lease their cars, trucks and SUVs to other partners is cutting 30% of its North American workforce as part of a restructuring. Getaround cut its workforce by 10% in February 2023.

General Motors Battery expert and ex-Tesla executive hired kurt kelty Becoming the automaker's new vice president of batteries — a brand new role for the company.

this week's wheels

Image Credit: taylor hatmaker

This week's wheels may attract the attention of e-bike followers. Editor taylor hatmaker It writes about his “zombie” Van Moof,

My VanMoof e-bike isn't dead, but not quite alive either. i bought one x3 After reviewing the bike for TechCrunch in 2021, I was extremely impressed with the VanMoof. The bike was excellent; But it was also a personal revelation, one that empowered me – a lazy weather cyclist – to bike around my city (Portland, OR) when I might otherwise have used a car.

When I bought my VanMoof, which was on sale at the time, I knew it was a risk. I spent the money, knowing that in the worst case scenario my bike could turn into a $2,000 brick. That scenario occurred last year when VanMoof declared bankruptcy.

Lavoie purchased the remains of the company late last summer, raising a ray of hope that the notoriously fickle bikes loaded with specialized components would remain serviceable in the future. Meanwhile, VanMoof owners like me struggled to download apps like Byki ShepherdTo save the digital keys that link us to our bike.

I'm still very attached to my 30-pound potentially-future-paperweight, which I nervously turn on and connect to my phone a few times a week. It's been raining for months now – it's not the kind of weather I'd bike in anymore – but I'm hopeful that when spring comes my X3 will also show some new signs of life.