Tesla rolls right into a stress cooker, Paris mulls its scooter future, and the double SPAC arrives • TechCrunch

Deal Score0
Deal Score0

The Station is a weekly publication devoted to all issues transportation. Enroll right here — just click The Station — to obtain the complete version of the publication each weekend in your inbox. Subscribe at no cost. 

Welcome again to The Station, your central hub for all previous, current and future technique of shifting folks and packages from Level A to Level B. 

Let’s get proper to it, lets?

High of thoughts for me this week is Tesla. I do know, bizarre.

However actually, evidently stress is coming from all sides lately. The corporate’s determination to slash prices has angered current consumers (one solely want to show to Twitter to view the ire), shareholders have gotten extra vocal in regards to the lagging inventory value (it fell more than 64% up to now 12 months) and its dealing with mounting regulatory stress over Autopilot and its so-called FSD software program beta product that guarantees full self-driving. To be clear, Tesla automobiles are usually not self driving. The system is a complicated driver help product.

At any charge, these issues preserve piling up. How a lot can the corporate take?

Prior to now, Tesla and its CEO Elon Musk have managed to wriggle freed from criticism or issues it was stagnating, usually by showcasing a possible future product or hitting bold manufacturing and supply targets.

However Tesla narrowly missed its personal production and delivery guidance for the 12 months, and Wall Avenue’s This fall expectations. And shareholders, shoppers and regulators appear to be tiring of this cycle. To me, that is simply one other indication that Tesla is beginning to be considered (and handled) extra as a legacy automaker and never a whiz-bang upstart that may do no flawed.

You possibly can drop us a notice at ideas@techcrunch.com. If you happen to choose to stay nameless, click here to contact us, which incorporates SecureDrop (instructions here) and varied encrypted messaging apps.


Rebecca Bellan was out this previous week, however I nonetheless wished to share a few attention-grabbing micromobbin’ tales reported by yours actually and Romain Dillet, who hails from France.

First up is Romain’s article that takes a have a look at Paris and its looming scooter decision that would upend the micromobility trade there. I like to recommend you learn your complete article. Right here’s a small style.

On March twenty third, the destiny of the 15,000 colourful electrical scooters that at present spill throughout the streets of Paris may drastically change because the French capital weighs up whether or not or to not renew licenses for the three scooter corporations at present working within the metropolis.

Romain will get proper to the implications, which stretch far past Paris.

And this isn’t simply going to influence Dott, Tier and Uber-affiliated Lime — the three corporations which have held those licenses since 2020. The choice will set a precedent for the various cities world wide which have additionally let scooters onto their streets. If issues don’t go their approach, a unfavorable determination in Paris may have a chilling impact on micromobility startups globally.

2023 Bugatti Electric Scooter_Yellow 2

Picture Credit: Bugatti/Bytech

Subsequent up is a extra luxurious, high-performance scooter story. I’m speaking about Bugatti, sure Bugatti, and its new electrical scooter.

Bugatti, by means of a partnership with tech accent firm Bytech, launched a $1,200 electrical scooter in 2022. The 2 corporations paired up once more for a second-generation scooter that’s beefier, outfitted with new options and colours, and has bigger “self-repairing” tires.

The 2023 scooter is 10% bigger than its predecessor and is supplied with a 36-volt/15.6Ah battery and an electrical motor with a most output of 1,000 watts, in keeping with the businesses.

That battery and motor combo permits the scooter to deal with as much as an 18-degree incline, max velocity of twenty-two miles per hour and might cowl 35 miles on a single cost, in keeping with the corporate. (That’s up from the 22-mile vary within the earlier mannequin.)

No phrase but on the pricing for this larger second-generation mannequin. Maybe that is a kind of “if it’s important to ask” moments. ;D

See ya subsequent week!

Deal of the week

money the station

We’ve seen a number of SPACs the previous two years. however what a few double SPAC? Sure, it has occurred.

I’m speaking about Wejo, the British automotive knowledge change platform that went public in November 2021 after merging with particular objective acquisition firm by way of Virtuoso Acquisition Corp at an implied $800 million valuation.

However what’s this? The corporate introduced January 10 it has now agreed to merge with a SPAC created by non-public fairness agency TKB Capital, in a deal that would elevate up $100 million. And that’s cash Wejo wants.

Evidently this newest SPAC is the buoy Wejo is utilizing to maintain it afloat. It’s not simply that Wejo’s share value fell beneath $1 a share; the corporate can be burning by means of money.

Wejo warned in November it had a $15 million money steadiness, which might maintain the corporate for a “very brief time frame.”

Wejo is about two years away from producing life-sustaining-nope-we’re-not-going-to-file-for-bankruptcy income. So as to add a little bit additional monetary drama to the situation, Wejo additionally owes Palantir thousands and thousands of {dollars}, per an op-ed piece by Chris Bryant in Bloomberg.

This double SPAC is an odd one. I’ve this nagging feeling that another failing SPACs will do that identical tactic.

Different offers that received my consideration this week …

Apollo Future Mobility Group agreed to purchase Chinese language electrical automobile maker WM Motor Holdings for $2.02 billion. The acquisition should nonetheless meet regulatory approvals.

Hystar, a inexperienced hydrogen startup primarily based in Norway, raised $26 million in a Collection B spherical co-led AP Ventures and Mitsubishi Corp. Different buyers included Nippon Metal Buying and selling, Belgium-based funding firm Finindus, Hillhouse Funding, Trustbridge Companions, SINTEF Ventures and Firda.

Ottopia, an Israeli teleoperations firm targeted on the agriculture, development, last-mile supply, logistics and mobility industries, raised $14.5 million in its Collection A funding spherical that attracted public transport big ComfortDelGro as an investor. Different contributors included AI Alliance Fund, MizMaa Ventures, IN Enterprise and Subsequent Gear Ventures. T

Oxbotica, a startup out of England that develops software program to energy autonomous automobiles, raised $140 million in a Collection C spherical that included funding from Japan’s Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance coverage Co. and company VC ENEOS Innovation Companions. Current buyers BGF, security gear group Halma, hospitality and recreation investor Hostplus, Kiko Ventures, the web buying firm Ocado Group, Tencent, Enterprise Science and automotive part maker ZF additionally participated.

Tianqi Lithium Corp. agreed to buy Australian lithium explorer Important Metals Ltd in a A$136 million ($94 million) deal that’s estimated to supply sufficient provide for round 10 million electrical automobiles.

Notable reads and different tidbits

Autonomous automobiles

Aurora offers a progress report to FreightWaves.

What subsequent for Pittsburgh’s autonomous vehicle scene?


The Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration is outwardly “working really fast” on the Tesla Autopilot investigation it opened in August 2021. Talking of stress on Tesla, there could also be much more coming after The Intercept published videos and photos of an eight-car pile-up on San Francisco’s Bay Bridge attributable to a Tesla Mannequin S. The motive force claimed “Full Self-Driving” was energetic on the time of the crash.

Electrical automobiles, batteries and charging

Lucid Group produced 7,180 of its luxury Air sedans in 2022, exceeding its beforehand lowered steering for the 12 months. Lucid adjusted its steering final fall, stating it could produce 6,000 to 7,000 automobiles in 2022.

Nikola is formally shifting its battery manufacturing from Cypress, California to its Coolidge, Arizona manufacturing facility. The transfer is anticipated to be accomplished early within the third quarter. Manufacturing will proceed in Cypress by means of the second quarter.

Proterra produced its first business EV battery at its new factory in Greer, South Carolina. The corporate is asking the manufacturing facility “Powered 1,” and believes it would be the largest battery manufacturing facility in the USA devoted to electrical business automobiles. 

Tesla plans to invest about $770 million into an enlargement of its manufacturing facility close to Austin that features a die store, a facility for battery cell testing and one other to fabricate cathode and drive models. Tesla indicated it desires to construct the brand new services this 12 months.

Zeekr, the premium model underneath Geely Holding Co., began serial manufacturing of its second mannequin, an electrical van known as Zeekr 009.


Carvana, the web used automobile seller, continues to battle and it’s cutting workers as gross sales gradual and it makes an attempt to handle its $7 billion debt load.

Cruise has Nilka Thomas as its new chief human sources officer. Thomas, who most not too long ago served in the same place at Lyft, succeeds Arden Hoffman at Cruise. Thomas additionally spent 13 years at Google main efforts targeted on recruitment, D&I, worker engagement, HR governance and worker relations.

Hyzon Motors, the heavy-duty gasoline cell electrical automobile provider, appointed John Edgley as president of worldwide operations.

Scale AI, the San Francisco–primarily based firm that makes use of software program and folks to label picture, textual content, voice and video knowledge for corporations constructing machine studying algorithms, laid off 20% of its workforce. The corporate didn’t say how many individuals work at Scale AI. Nevertheless, again in February 2022, the corporate advised TechCrunch it employed about 450 folks.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply