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Inside Automotive (May 11th, 2018)

Here are the top ten Automotive stories of the day, ranked by importance. We always love to hear from readers, and if you have details or stories we don't know about or other information, hit reply and tell us. Thanks for reading!

Best, Johan, curator, Inside Automotive.

1. Panasonic executives are reportedly cautious about its future commitments to Tesla. Some executives at the battery manufacturer are expressing hesitation about new investments with the automaker on battery manufacturing. Yesterday, we reported that Tesla and Panasonic were potentially collaborating on a Gigafactory for the Chinese market, as Tesla is set to expand in the country. However, a person close to the situation says a Chinese Gigafactory is "not solidified yet" and "nothing is set in stone." Model 3 delays have apparently cut about $183 million from Panasonic’s operating profit. Anonymous Panasonic executives have also expressed concern at the way Tesla CEO Elon Musk treated analysts during an earnings call. — CNBC

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2. Tesla CEO Elon Musk made the top five in Bloomberg’s annual Pay Index. Bloomberg tracks compensation for executives in publicly traded U.S. firms. Musk ranked number four on the list, with a compensation of $150 million last year. Famously, Musk takes a low salary, $50,000, but makes up the majority of his pay based on option awards, worth nearly $150 million. Google CEO Sundar Pichai ranked fifth, with $144 million in compensation in 2017. Pichai received a $650,000 salary, $700,000 in “perks and other compensation” and $143 million in stock awards. Topping the list was Snap CEO Evan Spiegel, who made over $500 million, tied to the company’s IPO. Scott Nuttall and Joseph Bae, co-presidents of KKR & Co., received around $214 million each. — MERCURY NEWS

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3. Tesla has plans to launch in Turkey in 2018. @isayeter tweeted Tesla CEO Elon Musk, “when will we be able to make a test drive for roadsters? I came to CA from Turkey to test and to be one of the founders of the roadster, but no luck.” In response, Musk said, “Towards end of next year. Btw, planning to launch Tesla in Turkey later this year. Love your country & will be there in person for the launch.” — TWITTER

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4. The Boring Company’s first tunnel in Los Angeles is near completion. Company founder Elon Musk shared a video on Instagram from inside the tunnel, adding “Pending final regulatory approvals, we will be offering free rides to the public in a few months…As mentioned in prior posts, once fully operational (demo system rides will be free), the system will always give priority to pods for pedestrians & cyclists for less than the cost of a bus ticket.” It’s not clear what the exact distance of the first tunnel is and what points it connects. The Boring Company wants to build more tunnels throughout Los Angeles, connecting multiple points across the city. — NEW ATLAS

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5. GM still sees personal ownership in the future of autonomous vehicles. While GM is also planning a ride-hailing fleet of vehicles, with a potential launch next year, the company still envisions custom-designed self-driving vehicles that can be owned or leased by individual customers. GM is “thinking about several models” to drive revenue from self-driving cars. — REUTERS

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6. Enterprise is said to be managing Tesla’s fleet of loaner cars. On the Tesla Showroom Deals Facebook group, moderator Joseph Lam says, “Just got back from [the service center] after dropping off my car. To my surprise that their loaner [Model] S/X fleet is now owned by Enterprise! So grab any new discounted inventory deals you can find if you are looking as I am afraid there won't be a lot of deals left. Don't say I didn't warn you and you hear it first here from me!” It is not clear whether Enterprise is managing Tesla’s entire fleet of loaner cars across the country. Tesla has owned a fleet of vehicles that were used as loaner cars for its service center. Many potential Tesla buyers would receive discounts on loaner vehicles, which is why Lam mentioned “discounted inventory deals.” — FACEBOOK (The Tesla Showroom Deals Facebook group is private) 

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7. Uber says it will start testing food deliveries by drone. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says deliveries could take as little as five minutes by drone. Uber Eats has served as a bright spot for Uber in many markets, becoming profitable in 27 of the 108 markets it's in. — GRUBSTREET

8. Lyft will allow people with disabilities to pay with ABLE accounts. ABLE accounts are savings accounts for those with disabilities and their families with tax advantages. Through a partnership with the National Down Syndrome Society, those with disabilities can pay for Lyft rides without paying taxes. — ENGADGET

9. Uber is under investigation in Massachusetts over surge pricing. When the state’s governor declared a state of emergency during a March storm, officials sent an email to ride-hailing companies not to raise prices until the emergency was over. Uber apparently did not comply. — BOSTON GLOBE 

10. Thomas Daniels had his prison sentence commuted by President Obama. He started driving for Uber after he was released, but was then kicked off the app. Uber told him that convictions more than 20 years old were cause to stop him from driving. — PHILLY INQUIRER

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