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Auto Workers Ride a Triumph and Another Speed ​​​​Hump for Cruise and Waymo

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

I will be at the center of the startup universe next week. Where is it, you say? Disrupt 2023 in San Francisco, of course. I hope to see you all there!

A historic moment occurred Thursday evening when the United Auto Workers union decided to strike against the Big Three U.S. automakers – GM, Ford and North America’s Stellantis (known as Chrysler) – after both parties failed to reach an agreement.

Workers did not strike at all facilities at once, but have so far picketed at targeted locations. The situation is fluid and there have already been some repercussions. GM said it plans to close its Fairfax assembly plant in Kansas because of a shortage of stampings made at the Missouri plant where workers are on strike. Ford also made temporary layoffs for 600 workers at its Michigan assembly plant, near Detroit.

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Lime once again touted its ability to turn a profit in the cutthroat scooter game this week, and once again I wish the company had shown me its balance sheets so I could back up those claims.

And maybe I’ll be able to look behind the curtain soon. Alongside the announcement that Lime had achieved impressive adjusted EBITDA profitability of $27 million in the first half of 2023 ($20.6 million unadjusted) and was on track to be free cash flow positive in 2023, Lime said it is finally considering going public.

Lime has been planning to go public for years, but market forces, such as a pandemic and economic downturn, have thwarted the company’s path. It now appears that market sentiment is improving, with many more startups eyeing an IPO in 2023 and beyond.

“If the market responds well and as more and more companies come out [with IPOs]we have the economics, the growth, the profitability to take Lime public, hopefully, as soon as the market allows,” CEO Wayne Ting told TechCrunch.

In other news. . .

Germany appears to be wondering whether it wants scooters on its streets – just weeks after Paris’ ban on shared electric scooters came into force.

Honda has a new electric scooter called Motocompacto, which has an aesthetic that editor-in-chief Darrell Etherington describes as “irresistibly, heartbreakingly adorable.”

new York voted to create an exchange program that will make it easier for New Yorkers to exchange their e-bikes and lithium-ion batteries made with aftermarket parts for models that meet New York safety standards industry, either for free or at low cost.

Offer of the week

money the station

Battery manufacturers continue to receive absolutely crazy amounts of money from investors and governments.

Take Verkor, the Renault-backed French battery company that produces pocket-sized and cylindrical battery modules for electric vehicles and energy storage sites. The company said it had secured “more than 2 billion euros” ($2.1 billion) to accelerate construction of its Dunkirk gigafactory. Yeah, you read that right.

This huge sum includes an €850 million Series C funding round as well as €600 million in loans from the EU’s European Investment Bank. The $2.15 billion figure also includes €650 million in French grants yet to be approved, pending final approval from the European Commission. Macquarie, French infrastructure investor Meridiam and Renault participated in the Series C funding round.

As TechCrunch reporter Harri Weber notes, this stunning round follows other big raises from battery startups, including Lytenwhich announced this week that it had raised $200 million in a Series B round. That round was led by Prime Movers Labs, a venture capital firm of OpenGov co-founder Dakin Sloss, and included investments from Stellantis, FedEx and Honeywell.

Other offers that caught my attention. . .

Dancethe German startup which offers electric bicycles and mopeds via subscription plans, has added a handful of investors to complete its recent €12 million funding round and said it now has 10,000 active members and paying.

Evolelectrican EV technology company based in Long Beach, California, raised $15 million from Seismic Capital.

Colorsa Mexico City-based startup that connects intercity bus riders and bus drivers, has acquired B2B van pooling provider Urbvan for $12 million in cash.

Enjoy, the Spanish car subscription startup, has raised 115 million euros ($123 million). The financing is a combination of debt and equity: 100 million euros is structured financing intended for the development of the automotive network, and 15 million euros is equity invested in the company itself. Investors include KKR, Santander Consumer Finance and others who are not named.

Turo, the peer-to-peer carsharing company, may just be gearing up for the IPO roadshow, if its latest filing is any indication and if a Bloomberg report citing anonymous sources is to be believed. But don’t hold your breath. We’ve been here before. The company first filed its S-1 (IPO intentions) in January 2022, and it has repeatedly put a stop to those plans while waiting for better economic conditions. Is this the moment?

Notable readings and other information

Auto Workers Ride a Triumph and Another Speed ​​​​Hump for Cruise and Waymo

Autonomous vehicles

THE California Senate passed a bill that requires a trained human safety operator to be present whenever a heavy-duty autonomous vehicle is operating on the state’s public roads, effectively banning driverless AV trucks. The bill, AB 316, is now on Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk.

Cruise revealed a custom-made, wheelchair-accessible autonomous robotaxi prototype and said closed-course testing of the driverless vehicle would begin in October. The vehicle, called Cruise WAV, is the result of three years of product design, development and testing by Cruise and GM, as well as its project partners BraunAbility and Q’Straint.

San Francisco has formally asked state regulators to redo an August hearing that expanded robotaxi permits for Cruise and Waymo.

Electric vehicles, charging and batteries

Canou it’s, well, it doesn’t go very well in the land of public procurement. A filing Friday shows the company requested a transfer to the Nasdaq Capital Market, a tier intended for early-stage companies with small market capitalizations. For what? Canoo faced delisting due to its low stock price.

New Elon Musk Walter Isaacson’s biography contained a lot of information about Tesla, including an image of a compact two-door, two-seat “Cybertruck-like” robotaxi concept.

THE European Commission is considering imposing punitive tariffs to protect European Union automakers from Chinese imports of cheaper electric vehicles, which the agency says benefit from state subsidies.

Rivien CEO RJ is scary explained in an interview at the Morgan Stanley Laguna Conference how a hardware upgrade to its R1 vehicles – improvements that will roll out next year – will reduce costs. One of the biggest gains will come from redesigning the electronic control unit architecture.

You’re here plans to nearly double its supply of components from India to $1.9 billion this year, according to the country’s commerce minister.

Gig economy

Lyft has rolled out a new feature in five U.S. cities, including Chicago and San Francisco, that allows women and non-binary drivers to set a preference to only pick up women. The preference feature, called Women+ Connect, could help Lyft attract more female drivers to the app, which now stands at about 23%.

Embedded technology

Google announced that vehicles with Google built-in, starting with the Polestar 2 and some Volvo cars, will now have Amazon Prime video. The company also rolled out new apps to its Android Auto product, including Zoom and Cisco’s Webex for audio-only conference calls.

Grab your pass for TC Disrupt 2023

We’re covering all things sustainable mobility at TechCrunch Disrupt 2023, taking place in San Francisco September 19-21. Last minute passes are always available. Save 15% with code STATION. Register now!


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