Inside Electric Vehicles - November 8th, 2019

Inside Electric Vehicles (Nov 8th, 2019)

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1. An expert review of Uber’s self-driving technology found the company’s software still contains proprietary information from Waymo. The expert software review came as a part of a trade secrets settlement with the Alphabet self-driving unit. Waymo alleged that its former engineer Anthony Levandowski downloaded over 14,000 files before ultimately leaving to join Uber. The companies settled on a deal that gave Alphabet a 0.34 percent stake in Uber, which was worth $245 million at the time of the settlement. However, after the analysis, it is likely that Uber will have to strike a licensing deal with the Alphabet unit or opt to re-write some of the code, which may be a costly process. — REUTERS

2. Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has raised $400 million from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) for his startup, CloudKitchens. When Kalanick served as Uber’s CEO, he raised about $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s PIF, which was the largest single investment from a foreign government to a venture-backed startup to date. That investment eventually drew controversy, as Uber tried to distance itself from the Saudi government in the aftermath of the assassination of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The deal is said to value CloudKitchens, which creates “ghost kitchens” for food delivery services, at about $5 billion. — WSJ 

3. Follow Friday: Sean O’Kane (@sokane1)

One of my favorite tech publications, since it launched in 2011 is The Verge. I think their reporting is high-quality and fair, as their reporters are experts in their respective beats.

One of those reporters is Sean O’Kane, a senior reporter at the publication who covers transportation, and is also a great follow on Twitter. O’Kane tweets out very relevant updates related to the automotive and transportation space, including this tweet where he noted the release of Tesla’s “Cybertruck” is also on the last press day of the LA Auto Show. 

He also tweets out interesting facts and figures, like Nio’s delivery figures right after they were announced earlier this week, and often shares his opinion on stories, like this one about Inboard’s demise

You can follow him on Twitter here

4. At the New York Times’ DealBook conference, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi defended the company's trajectory. At the conference, interviewer Andrew Ross Sorkin asked Khosrowshahi if he was happy the business had gone public to “avoid a situation like WeWork’s." Khosrowshahi said both companies were “very, very, very different," adding that Uber’s core ride-hailing business is still an attractive one with a promising future. He did acknowledge that Uber has faced a “reckoning” among private and public investors since it became a public company. — CNBC

5. Harley-Davidson teased pictures of its forthcoming electric bicycles. Not to be confused with the company’s electric motorcycle, the electric bicycles were teased at the 2019 EICMA Motorcycle Show in Milan this week. The bicycles, which will be offered in three different models, will be officially released next year, but few other details have been made available. — THE VERGE

6. Ola Källenius, Daimler chairman and Mercedes-Benz head, confirmed that the company is creating a “zero-emissions” version of its G-Class Wagon. The “G-Wagon” is an off-road vehicle with a starting price of $124,500. The vehicle is also a gas guzzler, rated at only 14 miles per gallon. Källenius said the company had discussed if they should eliminate the model, but ultimately decided to make a more "environmental" version of the vehicle. — ELECTREK

7. Volkswagen confirmed its ID Space Vizzion electric wagon is slated for production in 2021. The vehicle, which will make its production debut later this month in Los Angeles, was revealed as a concept vehicle in 2018. The concept vehicle had an engine capable of 302 horsepower and a battery range of 413 miles per charge, but it is unclear if the production version of the vehicle will match those initial projections. The vehicle will be available in North America, Europe and China. — AUTOCAR

8. There are no plans to scrap any of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) or Groupe PSA’s brands if a merger successfully happens, said PSA CEO Carlos Tavares. If approved, the $50 billion merger would bring together 13 automotive brands under one roof, including Jeep, Ram, Peugeot and Maserati, among others. Some industry watchers have wondered whether the combined entity would need all the brands, especially considering the heavy investment required to renew FCA’s vehicle lineups. — AUTO NEWS

9. Autonomous driving startup Ghost Locomotion has raised $63.7 million to create an aftermarket kit that gives vehicles self-driving capabilities. The startup has been operating in secret for over two years and said its product would support 20 popular vehicle models, from 2012 and onward when its product launches in 2020. The funding came from Keith Rabois of the Founders Fund, Mike Speiser of Sutter Hill Ventures and Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures. — VENTUREBEAT

10. Tesla shared some winter driving tips, while members of the /r/TeslaMotors subreddit offered their own suggestions. One Redditor advised other drivers to be careful with re-generative driving, saying quick changes in speed are “never a good idea on ice and snow.” Most Redditors suggested switching the vehicle to “Chill Mode” for winter driving, while the automaker suggests charging Tesla vehicles at the end of the day when not in use and turning on “Range Mode” to limit power used by climate control in the vehicle. — /R/TESLAMOTORS - REDDIT

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: Kim Lyons (Pittsburgh-based journalist and managing editor at Inside).

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