TechCrunch’s Mobility Report: Apple Job Cuts, EV Pricing Analysis, and Tesla’s Continued Promises of Robotaxis

TechCrunch Mobility: Apple layoffs, an EV price reckoning and another Tesla robotaxi promise Plus, more Fisker problems and a Waymo-Uber Eats tie-upWelcome back to TechCrunch Mobility — your central hub for news and insights on the future of transportation. The average price of an EV in 2023 was $61,702, while all other vehicles stood at $47,450. This downward pressure has forced automakers like Ford to delay future EV launches and put more resources toward hybrids. Even Tesla, a bellwether in the EV world, fell well below analysts’ expectations with deliveries down 20% from Q4 2023. What vehicles — including the two-wheeled variety — are you interested in reading about?

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Electric Vehicle Sales Reveal Importance of Pricing

Automakers have released their Q1 auto sales reports and it seems that the pricing of electric vehicles (EVs) is a key factor in their success. Edmunds conducted a survey that confirmed the importance of pricing, with a significant gap between consumer demand and the current market offerings.

According to the survey, 47% of consumers are looking to purchase an EV below $40,000 and 22% are specifically interested in EVs below the $30,000 threshold. However, currently there are no new EVs priced below $30,000 and only four models priced below $40,000. In comparison, the average price of an EV in 2023 was $61,702 while non-EV vehicles averaged at $47,450.

This mismatch between consumer demand and available options has put pressure on automakers to slash prices in order to move inventory. This has even caused some companies, like Ford, to delay future EV launches and focus more on hybrids. Surprisingly, even industry giant Tesla has seen a 20% decline in deliveries from Q4 2023 and its rival Rivian has also reported underwhelming results.

Tesla’s Solution? Slash Prices and Promote Full Self-Driving Software

Tesla has come up with a two-fold solution to combat their sales dip. Firstly, they have once again reduced prices and secondly, they are banking on revenue from their Full Self-Driving (FSD) software. Priced at $12,000, the FSD software is currently being offered as a free one-month trial to all customers.

Sad News for Ghost Autonomy as They Close Doors

It has been confirmed that Ghost Autonomy, an autonomous driving company that partnered with OpenAI and raised over $220 million, has closed its doors. The company, founded in 2017, had pivoted several times and recently focused on urban driving and last-mile delivery. However, according to founder and CEO John Hayes, the company was unable to secure the necessary funding to bring their products to market in a timely manner.

“Ultimately, the years required to bring the product to market could not be financed,” explains Hayes.

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Investment Opportunities with Maniv’s New Fund

If you’re a startup founder looking for funding, listen up! Maniv, an Israel and NYC-based VC firm, has just closed a $140 million fund dedicated to early-stage investments in the transportation, mobility, and energy sectors.

While their focus has expanded geographically and their investor base has diversified, Maniv remains committed to investing in startups at the intersection of mobility, transportation, and energy. Investors in the fund now include institutions such as BNP Paribas Personal Finance and Shell, as well as automobile companies like Toyota and Jaguar Land Rover.

Here’s a quick rundown of other notable deals in the industry:

  • Alsym Energy, a startup working on nonflammable battery technology, raised $78 million in a Series C round.
  • BlaBlaCar, an online carpooling and bus ticketing company, secured a €100 million revolving credit facility.

Tech Updates in the EV and Battery Industry

Apple’s Layoffs and Abandoned Electric Car Project

Apple recently announced layoffs of 614 employees in California, a result of their decision to abandon their electric car project. The company has reportedly lost interest and is now focusing on developing autonomous driving technology.

Faraday Future’s Close Call with Eviction

Faraday Future almost lost their headquarters in Los Angeles, but managed to reach an agreement with the building’s owner to stay until the lease expires in September 2025.

Fisker Faces Third Investigation into the Ocean SUV

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a third investigation into the Fisker Ocean SUV, this time over issues with door functionality.

Tesla’s Change of Plans for Lower-Priced EV

Despite its importance for the company’s growth, Tesla is reportedly abandoning its plans to release a lower-priced EV and instead focusing on a promised robotaxi using the same small EV platform.

Wheels to Watch Out For

This week’s wheels is taking a one-week break, but we have some exciting vehicles lined up for next week, including the Mercedes-Benz EQE 350 4Matic, the Lexus LC500 hybrid, and the Mercedes eSprinter. We’ll also be featuring some e-bikes in the future. If there are specific vehicles you’d like us to review, let us know!

Stay updated on all transportation news by subscribing to TechCrunch Mobility. See you next week!

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Ava Patel

Ava Patel is a cultural critic and commentator with a focus on literature and the arts. She is known for her thought-provoking essays and reviews, and has a talent for bringing new and diverse voices to the forefront of the cultural conversation.

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