Inside | Real news, curated by real humans
Inside Automotive

Inside Automotive (Aug 16th, 2019)

1. Nio co-founder Jack Cheng has left the EV startup. The Financial Times received an internal memo, saying the company founder and former executive VP left the company on Wednesday and retired “due to his age.” The 61-year-old was responsible for Nio's vehicle development, manufacturing and supply chain management. Other Nio executives that have also recently departed: former U.S. CEO Padmasree Warrior, former British head Angelika Sodian and former head of software, Li Zhang. — FINANCIAL TIMES

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

2. GM showed off images of its upcoming Menlo electric SUV. The vehicle will be available in the Chinese market, produced in a partnership with SAIC Motors. The images were leaked from a presentation in China about the vehicle, which may be one of the two all-new electric vehicles GM is expected to release globally. The Menlo will reportedly have a top speed of about 94 miles per gallon and a 174 hp output for the Chinese market. No word on the expected range. — ELECTREK

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

3. Follow Friday: Sasha Kekach 

Sasha Kekach (@sashajol) is a transportation and tech reporter for Mashable. I have been following her for quite some time, and she always shares awesome automotive and transportation updates. This week, in particular, she shared this really cool short video of her riding around in a Volkswagen ID Buggy concept electric vehicle at Monterey Car Week. The car has no roof or doors, and is largely inspired by the automaker’s iconic VW Beetle. 

You can follow her on Twitter here. You can also see her Mashable articles here - where she recently did a piece on Skip's new scooters and a new offering for Uber Pool customers. 

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

4. UPS has made an investment in autonomous trucking startup TuSimple. The delivery company, making the investment through its venture capital arm, has been using TuSimple’s trucks since May on a route in Arizona. Nor TuSimple or UPS disclosed the size of the investment. Earlier this year, Amazon was reportedly considering an acquisition of the startup. TuSimple works with other partners, including Amazon and the United States Postal Service. — REUTERS

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

5. Tesla has cut the warranty time in half for new car buyers in Australia. The automaker implemented the longer warranty last year, offering buyers 96 months or about 99,500 miles, whichever occurred first. The initiative was created to incentive drivers to buy vehicles in the country. Now, the automaker is offering buyers a four year or a 49,700 mile warranty, whichever occurs first. The warranty is on-pair or better than the warranties offered to buyers of luxury vehicles in the country, and other Tesla buyers internationally. — MOTORING

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

6. Tesla CEO Elon Musk gave some more details on the automaker’s audio team and what audio upgrades drivers can expect. Musk said support for Spotify Premium is “coming." Spotify functionality is already available in Europe, but not in the U.S. or Canada. He also answered a question on whether premium audio company Bang & Olufson plays a role in developing Tesla’s audio system. He said that many of the engineers that work on the audio system come from “B&O & many other companies." — @ELONMUSK/TWITTER

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

7. The California Highway Patrol is testing Tesla’s new Semi. According to the Facebook page of CHP Donner Pass field office, the truck is lugging around approximately 75,000 pounds and is meeting or exceeding range estimates. It is unclear if the agency paid full price to test the vehicle. The expected base price of the Semi is $150,000 for the 300-mile range model. — /R/TESLAMOTORS/REDDIT

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

8. Jaguar is looking to redefine the term “car” within the Oxford English Dictionary. The definition held inside the dictionary, at the moment, says a car is “a road vehicle powered a motor (usually an internal combustion engine).” Jaguar sent a formal application to edit the definition to also include alternative powertrains, including electric vehicles. — MOTOR 1

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

9. Volkswagen has hired Saad Chehab as its new chief marketing officer for the U.S. market. Chehab held positions at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Kia Motors America. At Volkswagen, he will be in charge of marketing a brand that hopes to move away from a diesel emissions scandal and that has plans to sell more electric vehicles. He will report directly to Volkswagen of America CEO Scott Keogh. — AUTO NEWS

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

10. FEEDBACK: Rivian working with Tesla

I got this awesome note from our reader Glenn M. about EV startup Rivian working with Ford.

“My guess (and it is only that) is that Rivian won't be so much a 'game-changer' for Ford as a 'game-preserver.'  Already over 100% of Ford's global profits likely come from the F line of pickup trucks.  In fact, the F150 line is probably the single most profitable platform in the world at present.  And loyalty among Ford pickup (PU) buyers is legendary.  And those buyers have followed Ford even as it took steps that might have been considered 'effete' by he-man truck buyers of even the recent past: downsizing engines and moving to a structure that used more aluminum (though note the frame rails are still steel).  So Ford must be doing something right! And pickup buyers are not exactly chomping at the bit for electric drivetrains: there is essentially zero cross-shopping between PUs and EVs.  That is in part of course because there is not yet a viable EV/PU.  So if EV eventually comes to PU, adding Rivian to the mix will further cement Ford's leadership in PUs.  Thus in my view the tie-up does not "change the game" for Ford, but helps to ensure they continue 'winning the game.'"

Thank you for your note, Glenn! I will say, I personally think Rivian (with backing from Ford and Amazon) is the most promising EV startup right now. I also think they’re going to appeal to customers who would have purchased a Land Rover or a Subaru, not necessarily serving as a direct competitor to Tesla. That would obviously change if/when Tesla comes out with their pickup truck. I think Ford is aware that a Tesla pickup may impact the EV market, which is why they are interested in developing an electric F150. We will see…

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

BONUS UPDATES

Tesla Model 3 Performance vehicle prices have gone by $1,000, according to users on the Tesla Motors Club forum. — TESLA MOTORS CLUB

An electric scooter caught fire inside Dropbox’s office in San Francisco. The scooter was a Tianrun R3 and the fire was quickly put out. No one was injured. — THE VERGE

Have a great weekend everyone! 

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

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

Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

  • Email gray

Subscribe to Inside Automotive