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Inside Automotive (Jun 17th, 2019)

1. One member of the Tesla Motors Club forum shared pictures of what he believes is a redesigned Model S. Vinc, a member of the forum, said he was driving in Los Angeles, not far from Tesla’s design studio in Hawthorne when he spotted what is believed to be a matte black Model S with very “mismatched” wrapping. He noticed some of the panels were glossier than others, also seeing that the rear lights were a bit different than the vehicle. The vehicle was being followed by another Tesla vehicle, which some believe may either be a Model 3 or Model Y, also in matte black paint. Some people close to the automaker have said Tesla has plans to refresh both the Model S and Model X. — TESLA MOTORS CLUB

Your take: What do you think about this potentially refreshed Model S? Hit "reply" and let me know! 

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2. Hyundai and its sister brand Kia are partnering with Aurora Innovation on self-driving vehicles. Last week, it was revealed that Volkswagen would be scaling back its relationship with Aurora, while Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced it would be partnering with the startup on commercial self-driving vans. Hyundai Motor Group, which is the parent company of both automakers, will join Aurora’s Series B round of fundraising, which has reportedly raised over $600 million including investment from Sequoia Capital and Amazon. Hyundai has plans to launch an autonomous fleet of autonomous taxis by 2021, which will be powered with Aurora technology. — FINANCIAL TIMES

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3. Lyft is introducing a new type of scooter to its shared fleets. The new scooter, developed by Segway, features a sturdier, wider base and holds a charge for about 35 to 40 miles. The scooter also has a redesigned braking system, which is operated with a new hand brake located on the left handlebar. The brake will be capable of stopping both wheels when pulled, giving riders a safer slowdown. This comes after Uber announced a similar scooter revamp last week. Lyft will first make the redesigned scooters available in Denver. — THE VERGE

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4. Ford executives have sought advice from those in the airline industry, as autonomous vehicles may shift the relationship between automakers and consumers. The CEO of Ford’s autonomous vehicle business, Sherif Marakby, said the automaker hopes to resemble the airline industry’s maximization of airplanes with autonomous cars. Marakby noted that the fixed costs with both cars and airplanes “don’t change much,” which hopes to maximize revenue through round-the-clock operation of the vehicles. — AUTO NEWS

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5. GM CEO Mary Barra was interviewed on “Axios on HBO” on Sunday, saying the automaker will not deploy self-driving technology until it is safer than a human driver. Cruise had originally envisioned launching autonomous taxis at scale in San Francisco by the end of this year. — AXIOS

6. Intel self-driving unit, Mobileye, expects to launch an autonomous taxi trial next year in Israel. Software development for the project is expected to be completed by the end of this year. — BLOOMBERG

7. Automotive News’ Michael Martinez looks at Israel’s booming autonomous vehicle development scene. Why are so many autonomous vehicle startups brewing out of Israel? Martinez says it could be due to the country’s mandatory military service rules and other military-related development. — AUTO NEWS

8. In an op-ed for Road and Track, renown Tesla critic Bob Lutz commended the automaker’s work on the Model 3’s build quality, saying the car’s panel gaps are “world class.” — ROAD AND TRACK

9. Uber has plans to test unmanned aircraft at the Fort Worth Alliance Airport in Texas, ahead of the company’s rollout of Uber Elevate aircraft. — STAR TELEGRAM

10. Kim Kardashian West is backing a new project that will provide free Lyft rides to former inmates, in an effort to curb unemployment rates. — VOX

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This newsletter was written and curated by Johan Moreno. Johan is based out of Los Angeles, CA and has covered technology and automotive extensively for a variety of publications, including Forbes and The Orange County Register. Follow him on Twitter @dudejohan

Editing team: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside), David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology), and Bobby Cherry (senior editor at Inside, who’s always on social media).

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