Inside Transportation - October 15th, 2019

Inside Transportation (Oct 15th, 2019)

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1. Uber laid off about 350 employees in its “third and final” phase of job cuts. Areas affected include the company’s “Eats” delivery service, performance marketing, advanced technology unit and recruiting. About 70 percent of those affected were employed in North America. Last month, the company laid off about 435 employees across its product and engineering teams. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi called the cuts “difficult but necessary.” An Uber spokesperson said the layoffs represent about 1 percent of the company. In Q2 2019, the company said it lost more than $5 billion, although most of the losses were reportedly linked to paying out employee stock-based IPO compensation. — TECHCRUNCH

2. Jia Yueting, the founder of Faraday Future, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The former LeEco and Faraday Future CEO filed for bankruptcy in a Delaware court in a bid to satisfy his debts in China. Jia claims he still owes about $3.6 billion to more than 100 creditors, which has kept him out of his native country. He is offering to satisfy debts through a trust, backed by his ownership stake in Faraday Future. Creditors would be able to receive their money from the trust in cash, if and when Faraday goes public. If the Chapter 11 bankruptcy deal is not approved by his creditors, he may need to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy and liquidate all of his assets, which he said may net less cash for his creditors. — THE VERGE

Why this matters: Jia Yueting still owns a considerable stake in Faraday Future. A potential bankruptcy re-organization could put the company in new hands, and possibly change its long-term plans.

3. Porsche unveiled a lower-cost, entry-level version of its Taycan EV, which will be available next year. The Taycan 4S has a starting price of $103,800 and is less powerful and lighter than the flagship Taycan Turbo S. The 4S can travel 253 miles on a charge, while also offering 522 horsepower. By comparison, the Turbo S can travel 280 miles on a charge, deliver up to 750 horsepower and comes in at $150,900 MSRP. The 4S has a redesigned front-end, when compared to the Turbo S, and has smaller 19-inch wheels. — USA TODAY

4. Harley-Davidson is halting the production and delivery of its LiveWire electric motorcycle due to a quality issue. The company said it found a “non-standard condition” during a final quality check on the vehicle, but is not recalling existing motorcycles. Harley said it has begun additional testing and analysis on the issue, but did not provide any details on when production or deliveries would resume. The electric motorcycle retails for $29,799 and yields 105 horsepower. — TECHCRUNCH

5. Renault and Waymo are exploring the creation of an autonomous mobility service that would connect Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris to a business district west of the city. The companies have the goal of launching the service in time for the 2024 Olympic Games and would involve about $110 million in investment. The route would be targeted to business travelers as it would connect to La Defense, where some of France’s largest companies are based. The route from the airport to La Defense is about 20 miles, but can often take up to an hour and a half to travel because of traffic conditions. — AUTO NEWS 

6. Bird may be in the process of launching its shared electric moped. The company unveiled the vehicle in June, saying the moped would be available in the “summer,” but Bird has yet to release the mopeds in the wild. That may change soon, according to screenshots obtained by @CaliAlec, who shared moped on-boarding tutorial animations from the Android app. Those screenshots show that the company may require riders to wear a helmet to operate the moped, which will be stored in a box on the vehicle. — ELECTREK

7. Uber argues Los Angeles International Airport’s new proposed ride-hailing and taxi pick-up area will cause more traffic congestion and longer waits for rides. The airport is creating a new, streamlined area where travelers can catch a ride from Uber, Lyft or taxi services, banning pick-ups from the curb. Travelers will need to take a shuttle or walk to an area near Terminal 1 to get a pick-up from the service. Uber’s security team said it was concerned that the system would not have a trial run before it goes live. A similar move at San Francisco International Airport rolled out earlier this year got off to a rocky start. — LA TIMES

8. Tesla CEO Elon Musk teased out a new neural net that will be used to improve vehicles’ windshield wipers. In response to a Twitter driver saying the automaker had to adjust the sensitivity of the wipers, Musk said the “Deep Rain™ neural net was coming soon.” Musk added that the company is not “trademarking any other Autopilot neural nets, just this one, because rain is deep.” Musk did not provide more details, however, on how exactly the neural network would improve the performance of the vehicles’ wipers. — @ELONMUSK/TWITTER

9. Skip is phasing out its electric scooter fleet from San Francisco. The company lost its license to operate in San Francisco’s pilot program, replaced by Lime, Uber-owned Jump, and Spin. As tweeted by @sashajol, the company let its chargers know that as of October 15, the scooters are no longer be available in rent in the city. — @SASHAJOL/TWITTER

10. Feedback: Yesterday, I asked you all about Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s comments about Los Angeles Times journalist Russ Mitchell’s support of Plainsite. Here’s what some of you said: 

Joseph B: It is an interesting website and I can appreciate how something like this can serve some public good, though given how outspoken and opinionated the person who runs the site is, I would question if that bleeds into the work of Plainsite…Is this because the site is popular with Tesla critics so those cases are getting “upvoted” or is it some sort of intentional bias from the operator of the site?

Ken R: Greenspan is out to make a buck - his, and other short sellers like him, should be called out and investigated for ALL their at-best pseudo legal, morally reprehensible activities designed to nothing but line their pockets with cash based on the hard work of Tesla employees and stockholders. 

As always, feel free to hit reply and let us know if you have feedback or questions about any of the stories in our newsletter!

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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