TechCrunch Mobility: Fisker enters dumpster fire territory and Tesla chases FSD revenue | Tech Crunch

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Welcome back TechCrunch Mobility — your central hub for news and insights on the future of transportation. Remember when I wrote in the last edition of TechCrunch Mobility that the wheels were starting to come off. Fisker the bus? Sheesh. Did they

To catch you up: Fisker issued a warning on March 18 that it would halt production for six weeks and has just $121 million in cash and cash equivalents, $32 million of which is restricted or not immediately available. The company is counting on $150 million in capital inflows through convertible notes and a potential partnership with another automaker. Those hopes burned as fast as a gasoline-soaked rag when talks between Fisker and the big automaker, reportedly Nissan, failed, putting the convertible note deal in jeopardy.

Shares plunged 28%, trading was halted and, in a final blow, the New York Stock Exchange It said that steps are being taken to remove Fisker from the exchange.

All symptoms of a bigger problem at the company, including a particularly troubling one uncovered by TC reporter Sean O'Kane. tl;dr: Fisker temporarily lost millions of dollars in customer payments as it scaled back deliveries, prompting an internal audit that began in December and took months to complete.

Well, let's get into the rest, including the bankrupt EV startup of arrival Assets ended, initially profile Ionobel Hopes to Boost EV Range with Recycled Silicon Battery Materials and $1 Billion Boost obvious.

A small bird

Entrepreneurs, investors, engineers, policy benders and others tell us things. And we are here to provide verifiable information Small birds shared with us.

Got a tip for us? Email Kirsten Korosek or at kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com Sean O'Kane sean.okane@techcrunch.com. 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

Being an executive at an EV startup isn't easy these days. Just ask the folks at Fisker. (Sorry, too soon?)

Amid the EV startup bankruptcy and other murky developments, there is a bit of positive news. obviousIt has had its own struggles, raising another $1 billion from its biggest financial backer, Saudi Arabia. Ayer's third investmentA subsidiary of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund has agreed to buy $1 billion worth of Lucid stock, adding to the kingdom's existing 60% stake.

A $1 billion boost is a lot of money, but it won't last long if you're trying to design, manufacture, sell and service vehicles. This gives Lucid a significant capital buffer; However, this does not end its existential crisis. The company needs to successfully market its next vehicle, the Gravity SUV, and generate fresh business for its current Air sedan if it hopes to survive and scale.

Other deals that caught my eye…

Cyvl.ai, a Boston-area startup that helps municipalities and civil engineering firms track transportation infrastructure conditions, has raised $6 million in a round led by Company Ventures in partnership with Organ Ventures, Aero X Ventures and Alumni Ventures. Existing investors MassVentures, Launch Capital and Riverpark Ventures also participated.

Ember, Scottish startup Building One of the UK's first all-electric intercity bus networks, has raised $14 million in a Series A round led by Inven Capital. Investors 2150 and AENU also participated.

Ionobel, the seed-stage startup has closed a priceless $3.9 million seed extension that says its silicon material is cheaper than established competition and will help expand the range in EV batteries, TechCrunch has learned exclusively. Dynamo Ventures and Trucks led the VC round.

Iron Sheep DogThe startup, which develops trucking software for brokers and contractors, has raised $10 million in a Series B round led by SJF Ventures in partnership with Grand Ventures, Supply Chain Ventures and other strategic partners in the construction industry.

Notable reads and other tips

ADAS

Tesla It is offering a one-month free trial of its $12,000 fully self-driving beta driver-assistance system to every customer in the US, provided they have a car with compatible hardware. The company was reportedly ordered by CEO Elon Musk to provide a demo of the software to prospective buyers before purchasing a new Tesla. Tesla appears to be turning to FSD as another financial lever as profits on automotive sales shrink.

Electric Vehicles, Charging & Batteries

the arrival It sold some of its assets, including advanced manufacturing equipment but, another struggling startup trying to build and sell electric vehicles. You can't make this stuff up, people!

The US Environmental Protection Agency It announced new emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles sold in the US from 2027 to 2032, a provision that would further limit the amount of pollution emitted by new heavy trucks. Terms Technically Don't mandate that these pollution-free heavy trucks be electric, and instead let manufacturers decide how to meet the standards through hydrogen-powered fuel cells, improved fuel efficiency, or another alternative fuel. However, many believe it will boost battery-electric heavy-duty trucks. Consider the potential impact of this rule: The heavy-truck category covers more than 100 vehicle types, including professional vehicles such as delivery trucks, garbage haulers, public utility trucks, transit, shuttle and school buses, as well as tractor-trailer trucks. .

Technology in the car

GM The company lost another executive who was part of its software and digital services effort. You may recall that former Apple executive Mike Abbott, GM's executive vice president of software and services, stepped down earlier this month due to health issues. Edward Kummer, now the former president of Nordstrom Rack's online business, will join GM in 2021 to lead its new digital business team, the Detroit News reported.

Chakras this week

Land Rover Defender 110-x

Image Credits: Kirsten Korosek

I rarely test internal combustion engine vehicles, but I made an exception this week when I had the opportunity to put a few hundred miles on it. 2024 Land Rover Defender 110 X-Dynamic SE. And technically, folks, it has a six-cylinder mild-hybrid electric vehicle powertrain, so it still qualifies, right?

My experience with the Land Rover Defender has only been in decades-old body-on-frame models. I'm looking forward to finally getting the modernized version that Land Rover has officially brought back in 2020. The spec I drove costs just under $88,000 and includes some expensive upgrades and 22-inch wheels, which probably makes up for it. Well-off urban customer. But with different tires, this aluminum monocoque-structure Defender can handle off-road conditions perfectly. I played on dirt roads – no rock crawl – and it handled well with no squeaks, rattles or clanks, even on washboard terrain.

I didn't like the advanced driver-assistance system, especially how the driver engages the adaptive cruise control. But there are plenty of features like a very quiet ride, adaptive air suspension, white paint-on-black gloss details, a functional rear door and an easy-to-reach spare tire, air-cooled cubby for storage. Snacks cool and interior design that marries utilitarian function with tough, high-quality materials.

A final word on that interior — you won't find a giant screen here. But there are technical details along with the buttons and knobs. My version has a wireless charger and several charger ports, including one on the passenger side dash. And the user interface is actually pretty good.

One feature I liked was the drop-down menu on the media toggle, which allowed me to quickly switch between Apple CarPlay and Sirius XM radio or the local infotainment system that included local stations. This may sound counterintuitive, but I've been in several EVs recently that made switching between CarPlay and the native system very complicated.



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