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Inside Automotive (Jun 20th, 2019)

1. Tesla will begin charging an extra $1,000 for black exteriors on its vehicles. “Solid Black” had been a standard color on all the automaker’s vehicles, with others colors ranging from an additional $1,500 to $2,500. Tesla CEO Elon Musk said now a simple white, not the current pearl multi-coat offered by the company, will be the primary color offered standard. Reactions on one Tesla message board, Tesla Motors Club, ranged from drivers being shocked that the automaker would charge an additional $1,000 for a black coat, while others celebrated the move, saying they would rather have a white Tesla. — @ElonMusk/Twitter

FEEDBACK: Why do you think Tesla is charging extra for black? Hit "reply" and let me know your thoughts!

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2. Ford-backed Argo AI is giving researchers free access to its HD maps. Argo says the objective in open-sourcing its maps is to give academic researchers tools to investigate the impact of perception and forecasting with HD maps, seeing this was a way to potentially spur breakthroughs with autonomous vehicle technology. The collection of data and maps will be branded as “Argoverse,” and will consist of a selection of data from HD maps in Pittsburgh and Miami. Earlier this week, Cruise Automation said it would open-source a data visualization tool called “Webviz.” — TECHCRUNCH

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3. Throwback Thursday: Before there was Lyft, there was Zimride… 

Ride-hailing service Lyft is now a household name in most of the US, worth over a reported $15.1 billion. But before that, it started as a project called “Zimride,” between two men who met on Facebook through a mutual friend, Logan Green and John Zimmer.

Logan was based on the West Coast and often shared rides from the University of California Santa Barbara campus to visit his girlfriend in Los Angeles. But he often used Craigslist to find rides and was often worried about the safety of such ride shares. Zimmer was based in New York and often rode from the city to Upstate New York to commute to his job at Lehman Brothers. The company was named “Zimride” after Zimbabwe’s grassroots public transportation system. 

The company initially connected carpools between students at universities, including Cornell University and UCSB, matching students who drove with other students who needed a ride to a certain destination. In May 2012, the company launched the Lyft app, which allowed for “instant” ride shares between peers. The rest is history… 

Read up a bit more about Lyft’s history as Zimride in this TechCrunch article

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4. The United Auto Workers (UAW) union will tell Congress that it is opposed to the Trump administration’s proposal to freeze fuel efficiency requirements at 2020 levels through 2026. The influential automotive workers’ union says it shares concerns with automakers that the proposal could limit growth and could lead to “protracted litigation.” 18 states, including California, plan to sue the government’s attempts to freeze emissions requirements. — REUTERS

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5. German automotive economist, Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, said Tesla is about four to five years ahead of its competition in the EV space. He said the automaker’s vehicle battery range and driving pleasure as “unmatched.” — CLEAN TECHNICA

6. Baidu announced its new autonomous driving system called Apollo Lite. The company claims that the system will be capable of SAE Level 4 autonomy, using a combination of cameras, LiDAR, radar and ultrasonic sensors. — ROADSHOW

7. Audi revealed its new e-Tron will receive a placement in the upcoming “Spider-Man” film. This follows a placement of the Audi e-tron concept vehicle in the film “Avengers: Endgame.” — ELECTREK

8. Former Lyft chief marketing officer Joy Howard reflected to Business Insider on what tech startups should do to build and sell a successful brand. — BUSINESS INSIDER

9. One Redditor on the /r/TeslaMotors subreddit “one-upped” Simone Giertz’s Tesla Model 3 pickup and shared a picture of a Tesla hearse. — /R/TESLAMOTORS / REDDIT

10. YouTuber Out of Spec Motoring traveled from Stamford, CT to Marco Island, FL in a Hyundai Kona EV. The trip took two days and spanned 1,400 miles. — OUT OF SPEC MOTORING / YOUTUBE

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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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