“Stellantis Chief Executive Spills Secrets on Waymo, Rivian Layoffs, and the Ongoing Decline of EV Enthusiasm”

TechCrunch Mobility is a weekly newsletter dedicated to all things transportation. Sign up here — just click TechCrunch Mobility — to receive the newsletter every weekend in your inbox. Welcome back to TechCrunch Mobility — your central hub for news and insights on the future of transportation. Of course, as he talked, I wondered if this was wishful thinking or an attempt to show the company was still part of the autonomous vehicle conversation? Robotic Research Autonomous Industries (RRAI), an autonomous vehicle company with a history of working with the Department of Defense, changed its name to Forterra.

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Welcome back to TechCrunch Mobility!

We are your central hub for news and insights on the future of transportation.

Last week, Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares and I sat down for a wide-ranging interview. We tackled topics such as the company’s targets on EVs, the threat of Chinese automakers, their deal with Amazon on software, and the progress of the Ramcharger and electric Dodge Charger (which are still on track, by the way!). Keep an eye out for more coverage in the coming week.

One surprising piece of news that came out of our conversation was that Stellantis is still committed to deploying commercial self-driving vans through a partnership with Waymo. Tavares mentioned that they’re working to deepen this relationship, and you can read more about it here. I couldn’t help but wonder if this was just wishful thinking or an attempt to prove that the company is still a part of the autonomous vehicle conversation. We’ll have to wait and see how things develop by this summer.

Now, onto this week’s news!

Got a tip for us? Email Kirsten Korosec at kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com or Sean O’Kane sean.okane@techcrunch.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, click here to contact us, which includes SecureDrop (instructions here) and various encrypted messaging apps.

Deal of the week

Just when I thought the micromobility industry couldn’t consolidate any more, Cooltra <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2021/03/12/cooltra-scoops-up-cityscoot-the-european-e-moped-startup-that-went-from-implosion-to-acquisition/”>acquired Cityscoot, the Paris-based service known for its iconic white-and-blue electric mopeds. Cityscoot had filed for insolvency and was placed under court-ordered receivership. Cooltra’s offer was approved by the courts and mainly focused on Cityscoot’s assets, including its user base. Other startups in the micromobility industry have faced similar challenges and we’ve seen a wave of bankruptcies and mergers. Keep an eye out for more developments as this trend continues.

Other notable deals

Haomo.ai, an autonomous driving startup backed by Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor, raised $14 million in a Series B funding round.

This week’s wheels

I’m back in another Genesis, this time the G80 EV AWD. I’ve only had a couple of days behind the wheel so far, but I already have a list of “likes” and “room for improvement.” The white matte model I drove is listed at $82,450. Genesis aficionados might recognize the G80 EV as it is nearly identical to the gas-powered G80 3.5T Sport. However, the transition from gasoline-powered to electric does come with some compromises. On the plus side, this EV is incredibly quiet on the highway. However, it does tend to get a bit noisy on rougher roads. The advanced driver assistance system is simple to use and includes adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. One thing that has been a bit frustrating is the interaction with the infotainment system. Using the large chrome dial on the center console to navigate is not exactly intuitive or easy to use, especially in bright sunlight. I might have muttered “Damn it, I didn’t want that!” a few times on my recent drive. Overall, the G80 EV is a solid car with some notable quirks. -Kirsten Korosec

Notable reads and other tidbits

Autonomous vehicles

Uber Eats has announced plans to launch a delivery service using Cartken’s sidewalk robots in Japan. The companies already have some limited operations in Fairfax, Virginia and Miami.

Waymo’s expansion plans for California have been slowed down by a delay at the California Public Utilities Commission. However, this is not as disastrous as some might suggest. The CPUC said their decision to suspend the application for further review is “not uncommon.” The most interesting piece of news from this is that Waymo had updated their application to include parts of San Mateo County that would allow for a route to the San Francisco International Airport.

Electric vehicles, batteries, and charging

The electric boating startup Arc has unveiled a new battery-powered wake sports boat called the Arc Sport.

Last week’s earnings reports show that the appetite for high-priced luxury EVs might not be as large as we once thought. Lucid Motors, Rivian, and Mercedes all had to revise their production targets or sales goals. Meanwhile, Ford is cutting prices of its all-electric Mustang Mach-E by as much as $8,100 to compete with Tesla and their increasingly affordable EVs.

In-car tech

Hivemapper, a mapping startup, is set to release a new dashcam later this year that may help them catch up to Google’s map data.

This week’s news

Here’s a piece of interesting news that combines high-end real estate with the automotive industry. Back in January, Mercedes-Benz made its real estate debut in Dubai with a $1 billion development in partnership with Binghatti Properties. The two companies have since announced another “Mercedes-Benz Places” development, this time in the US. Stay tuned for more details!

A Florida man has bought all of the Cake Makka and Ösa motorbikes that were shipped to the US, as well as the accessories and spare parts. Find out more about this story and how it all started with a tip here.

That’s all for this week! Keep an eye out for more news and updates in the world of transportation. See you next time!

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Dylan Williams

Dylan Williams is a multimedia storyteller with a background in video production and graphic design. He has a knack for finding and sharing unique and visually striking stories from around the world.

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