Inside Electric Vehicles - August 21st, 2019

Inside Electric Vehicles (Aug 21st, 2019)

Walmart is suing Tesla / DoorDash acquires autonomous driving startup / Mercedes-Benz will join California agreement

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Have you checked out my Top 100 list of the best automotive and transportation-related tweeps? 

This week, I removed a few accounts from some automakers, who are offering nothing but tweets that only advertise their vehicles. Removed: @Chrysler, @Dodge, @AlfaRomeoUK, @Lyft 

I added a few accounts I found this week, where we’ve actually featured some of their tweets in our newsletters this week. Added: @EforElectric, @gbrulte, @tesla_china, @evopinion

You can see the list here:

Thank you! 


1. Walmart is suing Tesla over “widespread negligence” that reportedly caused solar panel system fires. Walmart is asking a court to mandate that Tesla remove solar panels installed by SolarCity (acquired by Tesla in 2016) from over 240 U.S. stores. Walmart alleges that solar panels installed and maintained by Tesla were responsible for fires at seven Walmart stores, the company said in a filing in New York State Supreme Court. The retailer says the solar panel installations had problems, including loose wiring and “hot spots” on panels, and Tesla did not properly maintain the panels. Tesla did not respond to a request for comment. — REUTERS

2. DoorDash has acquired autonomous driving startup Scotty Labs. Scotty is currently working on technology that would allow people to remotely control self-driving vehicles. Scotty had raised $6 million in a seed round last year from Gradient Ventures, among other investors. The startup had also been working with Voyage on their autonomous vehicle project for retirement communities. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. This comes after DoorDash acquired Caviar earlier this month in a deal worth a reported $410 million. — TECHCRUNCH

3. Mercedes-Benz may reportedly join an emissions agreement with California regulators. Last month, Volkswagen, Ford, Honda and BMW reached a voluntary deal with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) to continue efforts to make vehicles more efficient through 2026. The Trump administration plans to freeze emissions requirements for new cars and trucks at 2020 levels through 2026. The New York Times says the White House is pressing other automakers to stand behind the president’s proposal. — AUTO NEWS

4. Tesla’s Shanghai-based Gigafactory has received its first comprehensive acceptance certificate. This comes after an inspection of the facility by government representatives, granted just three days after Tesla sent an application for the inspection. This set a new record for the approval timing process with inspectors and is a boon for the EV company that hopes to produce vehicles out of the factory by the end of the year. — TESLARATI

5. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will investigate whether Volvo’s subscription car service violates state dealer franchise laws. The California New Motor Vehicle Board voted unanimously to direct the DMV to investigate Volvo’s “Care by Volvo” subscription service and whether it violates provisions of the state’s vehicle code, specifically if the service is diverting customers from dealers to Volvo directly. — AUTO NEWS

6. BMW released images of its iNext EV pre-production prototype. The iNext has a crossover SUV  body type, with executives previously touting a range of 435 miles. But it is unclear what the specific details are about the vehicle, or how much it will retail for. The automaker says the vehicle will not arrive on the market until 2021, where it will face direct competition with Tesla’s Model Y crossover. — ELECTREK

7. The Honda Civic continues to be the best selling vehicle in California. According to a new report from the California New Car Dealer Association, the sedan was followed by the Toyota Corolla, Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Tesla dominated the “near-luxury” category overall, with about 33,005 vehicles being registered in Q2 of 2019. Hybrid and electric vehicles now make up about 13 percent of the market in the quarter. — ELECTREK

8. Porsche will offer in-car Apple Music streaming in the automaker’s upcoming electric Taycan. The vehicle will be able to stream music from the service, directly through the car’s built-in cellular connection, with no need for users to hook up a smartphone to deliver the audio. The vehicle will also feature Apple CarPlay integration. There is no word on the MSRP for the Taycan. — CNBC

9. Scooter sharing companies shared their visions on how they can accommodate disabled passengers, at a meeting in Oakland. Bird presented a sit-down “cruiser” style vehicle, while also showing a scooter that could attach to a wheelchair. Lime says it is accommodating ways for visually impaired riders to read the contact and scooter info, while Lyft presented a potentially adaptive device for the disabled. — @KERBYSIDE/TWITTER

10. What are some of your favorite sources for news about electric vehicles? That’s the topic of conversation in a thread on /r/electricvehicles. The Redditor is looking for websites other than Inside EVs, with users recommending websites like Driving Electric, Electrek and SpeakEV, among others. What are some of your favorite websites? Hit reply and let me know! I’ll add them to my reading list if they aren’t on there already. — /R/ELECTRICVEHICLES-REDDIT

Note: In last Friday's edition of Inside Automotive, I misspelled Sasha Lekach's name last week in our Follow Friday feature. My apologies for the error. You can follow her here

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).

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