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Inside Automotive (Jul 6th, 2018)

1. California’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has opened another probe into Tesla’s factory. The state’s agency for occupational safety opened a third investigation on June 21 into workplace-related safety matters at the company’s Fremont factory. However, the agency did not give details on the investigations beyond confirming that they are active and ongoing. The two first probes opened on April 12 and 17. Tesla did not immediately respond to a request for comment. — REUTERS

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2. Uber and ride-hailing company Careem are looking into a potential merger in the Middle East. The companies have discussed a number of potential deal structures, but have yet to come to an agreement. People close to the talks say Uber is looking to own more than half the company, as a part of a merger deal. Uber has also considered purchasing Careem outright. This comes as Uber explores a possible IPO in 2019, and is looking to invest in more lucrative markets to become more attractive to investors. Careem is also in talks with investors to raise $500 million, which would potentially value the ride-hailing company at $1.5 billion. The company is said to have also held early talks with banks about a potential IPO earlier this year. — BLOOMBERG

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3. China may continue to cut subsidies to EV buyers in the country. The government hopes to push automakers to innovate, rather than to depend on fiscal policy to spur demand for electric vehicles. The average purchase incentive per electric vehicle may be lowered by more than a third from 2018 subsidy levels. Vehicles would also have new requirements in order to be eligible for incentives including a requirement to go at least 125 miles on a charge. This comes as China, the world’s largest market for EVs, continues to scale back government subsides on the vehicles. — BLOOMBERG

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4. Intel’s Mobileye unit is partnering with Chinese tech giant Baidu on autonomous vehicle technology. Through the partnership, Baidu will be allowed to incorporate Mobileye’s Responsibility-Sensitive Safety system into Baidu’s autonomous vehicle software platform Apollo. This deal comes on the heels of Baidu’s announcement that it would be launching autonomous buses in Japan, under the project name of “Apolong.” Baidu launched its $1.5 billion equity investment fund, named the Apollo Fund, last year to invest in new technologies. — VENTURE BEAT

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5. Uber and Lyft have held acquisition talks with crowdsourced bus startup Skedaddle. Uber has been in discussions with Skedaddle for over a month, according to a person familiar with the discussions. Another person close to the discussions confirmed that Lyft was also in talks with Skedaddle. Skedaddle and Uber declined comment. A Lyft spokesperson said the company was not in discussions to acquire Skedaddle. Skedaddle has developed a platform that allows individuals to crowdsource private bus rides, and is largely based on the East Coast. Both companies are looking to expand their offerings beyond ride-hailing. — TECHCRUNCH

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6. Tesla CEO Elon Musk acknowledged service issues to Norwegian customers. “Norwegians are right to be upset with Tesla,” Musk wrote in a tweet. “We are having trouble expanding our service facilities in Oslo especially. Can solve quickly with Tesla mobile service vans, but awaiting govt permission to do so.” According to the Norwegian Consumer Council, the automaker ranked fourth on a list of companies that received the most complaints in the first half of 2018. The agency said it was contacted 118 times by consumers about Tesla. A Tesla spokesperson said the automaker has increased its service team in Norway by 30 percent and aims to double the group by the end of the year. — BLOOMBERG

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7. Elon Musk said SpaceX and Boring Company engineers will help rescue a youth soccer team from a cave in Thailand. The 12 boys and their coach went missing in late June while exploring the Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand. They were discovered this week by rescuers. Musk tweeted, “SpaceX & Boring Co engineers headed to Thailand tomorrow to see if we can be helpful to govt. There are probably many complexities that are hard to appreciate without being there in person.” — THE VERGE

8. Uber looked into acquiring bike sharing company Motivate. According to a person close with the matter, Uber walked away out of concern with Motivate's unionized workforce and city contracts. Lyft ultimately acquired the company for a reported $250 million. — CNBC

9. Daimler has received a permit to test Level 4 self-driving vehicles in China. Mercedes-Benz’s parent company is the first non-Chinese company to get approval to test autonomous cars in the country. — ROADSHOW

10. Alibaba and others will invest up to $700 million into Xiaopeng Motors. The Chinese EV startup, which uses Xpeng as its brand name, will raise the funds at a valuation of close to $4 billion. — THE INFORMATION

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