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Inside Automotive (Feb 8th, 2018)

Lyft considered buying Otto, the Anthony Levandowski-led startup at the center of the Uber-Waymo lawsuit. That's according to Lior Ron, who co-founded Otto along with Levandowski. Ron testified yesterday at the that selling Otto to Uber was not certain and the co-founders had started talking to Uber's chief rival Lyft as well. He added that Otto was formed because he and Levandowski wanted to explore autonomous solutions for commercial transport, away from Google's ride-hailing focus. He and Levandowski advocated for Waymo to add a separate team that would work on self-driving trucks, but parent company Alphabet was not interested, Ron said. As it turned out, Lyft was not interested in Otto, which led to the acquisition by Uber. Today, representatives from Stroz Friedberg, the firm that conducted due diligence on Otto before Uber acquired the company, testified that it found no evidence Levandowski transferred any Google data to Otto. Benchmark investor Bill Gurley also took the stand.  — RECODE

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Tesla's Q4 earnings beat Wall Street expectations.  The automaker posted a loss of $675 million, or $4.01 per share, on revenue of $3.29 billion. It was Tesla's biggest quarterly loss ever.  Adjusted for one-time items, the automaker lost $3.04 per share. Analysts had expected the company to lose $3.12 per share. Tesla is deferring some capital expenditures for Model 3 production to Q1 of 2018 as the company hopes to increase production capacity at its Fremont factory and Gigafactory, while expanding retail stores, service centers and Superchargers. — CNBC

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk doubled down on the company’s reluctance to use LiDAR for fully autonomous cars. Tesla’s self-driving system will only use cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors, skipping out on popular LiDAR systems used by many autonomous car projects. In Wednesday’s earnings call, Musk reaffirmed his commitment to go without LiDAR. “In my view, it’s a crutch that will drive companies to a local maximum that they will find very hard to get out of,” he said. Perhaps I am wrong, and I will look like a fool. But I am quite certain that I am not.” Musk has long argued against using LiDAR, citing it is too bulky and expensive. — THE VERGE

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Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing is setting up an EV car-sharing service. The service will include 12 automakers, including the alliance between Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi and Ford’s local partners. Didi plans to build a new energy car-sharing system that would allow users to use vehicles based on demand using an app. Didi is the largest player in the Chinese ride-hailing market, merging with Uber’s China operations last year, and also operates a bike sharing service in the country. — AUTO NEWS

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Jon McNeill has exited Tesla to become Lyft’s chief operating officer. McNeill was Tesla’s head of global sales. His responsibilities will be assumed by company CEO Elon Musk, with no plans for a replacement to be named. Musk announced the departure during Wednesday's fourth-quarter earnings call. A blog post on Lyft’s website detailed McNeill’s new position. Before his time at Tesla, McNeill served as a board member for Trek Bicycle, co-founded Sterling Collision Centers and served as CEO of Enservio. — THE VERGE

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