Motional loses a backer, another micromobility bankruptcy and a mobility startup unicorn is born | Tech Crunch

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

This week, read about an autonomous vehicle company Motionalwhy Tesla Discussions are likely to take place in the board of Elon Musk A 2018 $56 billion pay package, a new unicorn focused on student transportation and more.

Let's go!

A small bird

Here's a fun one for you all. Amidst all the layoffs and startup failures, hiring is also happening.

A little bird pointed us to an interesting hire at Elon Musk Boring company. Also known as Vignesh Swaminathan — Mr. Barricade to his 1.8 million TikTok followers — recently landed a position as a senior civil engineer. Why is it so important? Swaminathan is a well-known urban planner (and TikToker) who focuses on designing bikeways and pedestrian paths as the CEO and President of Crossroad Labs.

Crossroads Labs, a Cupertino, Calif.-based civil engineering design firm, appears to have closed in January. Swaminathan landed a job at The Boring Company a few weeks later. We wonder if his previous urban planner and bike-focused experience might work at The Boring Company?

Got a tip for us? Email Kirsten Korosek or at Sean O'Kane If you prefer to remain anonymous, Click here to contact usThis includes SecureDrop (Here are the instructions) and various encrypted messaging apps.

Deal of the week

Station money

A new unicorn is born. I am speaking JumA student transportation startup that provides an efficient and safe way for children to and from school by integrating a mix of buses, vans and other vehicles with software.

A startup, established and running Ritu Narayan, raised $140 million in a Series E funding round led by global investment firm GIC. Other investors include Climate Investment, Sequoia and SoftBank's Vision Fund 2. The funding raised its value to $1.3 billion.

Zūm has made strides over the past few years, locking in school district users in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Nashville and Maryland. Now it is focusing on converting its vehicles to all EVs by 2027 while increasing its footprint.

Other deals that caught my eye…

BluesmartThe Indian ride-hailing startup, which competes with Uber and domestic rival Ola, has raised $25 million from Switzerland-head quartered impact fund Response Ability in a mezzanine structure including partial equity dilution and debt.

Ok so this isn't so much of a deal breaker. Cake, a Swedish electric motorcycle startup, filed for bankruptcy on February 1 after failing to secure enough investment. Cake has joined the list of micromobility companies that have run into financial trouble in the past year VanMoof, Super pedestrian And the bird.

CuraA UK startup that combines school bus service with a software platform to protect students has been acquired by “Smart Buses” startup. In Zee.

Notable reads and other tips


XPengTesla's challenger from China is planning to bring its advanced driving assistance technology to international markets.

Autonomous vehicles

Motional A product of a joint venture between Hyundai and automotive supplier Optimum. But that relationship is changing. He said that no more capital will be allocated to the active effort. We explain why.

Electric Vehicles, Batteries & Charging

the arrivalA commercial EV startup is being delisted from the Nasdaq stock exchange as it accelerates toward liquidation.

Tesla 25 California counties have filed suit alleging the automaker repeatedly mishandled hazardous waste at facilities across the state. Two days later, the parties settled with Tesla agreeing to a five-year ban requiring $1.5 million in fines and inspections.

Technology in the car

Hesai, a Chinese company that manufactures lidar sensors, has been included in the US Department of Defense's list of “Chinese military companies”. Hesai called the inclusion “unfair, capricious and without merit” and said the sensors are for civilian use only. Hesai stressed that the company has no ties to any country or military.

the people

of Elon Musk A Delaware judge ruled that the $56 billion pay package was unfair. If the decision stands (many expect an appeal) it would nullify the largest compensation deal in corporate history.

Chakras this week

genesis gv60-external-

Image Credits: Kirsten Korosek

I recently spent a week in this mint-colored Hanuma Genesis GV60 performance. Top takeaways? It's a slick-looking and premium (inside and out) all-electric vehicle that's quick off the line and a lot of fun to drive, but doesn't excel in tight mountain turns.

An all-wheel drive vehicle (with electric motors in the front and rear) generally has better handling. When I push it, there is slight body roll through the turns. But let's be honest here, most consumers don't drive like they are on a test track. Nor should they.

A 77.4 kWh battery combined with electric motors produces 429 horsepower and 516 pound-feet of torque. This allows the GV60 to go from 0 to 60 miles in under four seconds – certainly fast enough to be appreciated by EV fans. 235 miles of battery range is low in this EV era. It's perfectly adequate for commuting and daily driving needs, but some consumers may resist shelling out the $69,550 base price for an all-electric SUV with a lower range than its peers.

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