Notable reads and other tidbits
Now that Nikola founder Trevor Milton is out of the day-to-day picture, the company is engaged in the necessary task of clearing out the mess and attempting to build investor confidence. Nikola chairman Steve Girsky, who took over the role after Milton left, is clearly making moves to get the company back on track.
The company announced that it appointed Steve Shindler as a new independent director. He will also chair the company’s audit committee. Shindler most recently served as CFO of VectoIQ Acquisition Corp, the special purpose acquisition company that Girsky formed in 2018 and merged with Nikola in June.
Meanwhile, Nikola said that Lonnie Stalsberg has decided to retire after more than three years on the board.
The company also issued a lengthy press release that laid out its business plans and production targets, stating that it “remains committed to achieving” a set of milestones it had previously announced. It should be noted that Nikola did cancel its Nikola World event that was scheduled December, citing COVID-19 related regulations.
The strategy has so far seemed to ease investors concerns, helping Nikola shares recover some of the losses it experienced in the past three weeks.
In other news …
Karma, the EV company, has tapped Ayro, an engineer and manufacturer of light-duty, urban and short-haul electric vehicles, as its contract manufacturer. The companies aim to be able to deliver more than 20,000 light-duty trucks and electric delivery vehicles over the next three years. The partnership will initially serve customers in North America.
Agero has added a new rideshare option to its digital accident claims management platform. The new option will be serviced by Lyft. Under this new option, participating insurers can offer a Lyft ride from the scene of an accident, or at any point during the repair process.
GM said its testing the Cruise Origin’s Ultium battery system on the track at its proving grounds in Milford, Mich., and will have preproduction vehicles coming next year. If you remember the Cruise Origin, you’ll recall that this is the purpose-built, all-electric and self-driving vehicle that combined the resources of GM, Honda and Cruise. The vehicle will be built at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant and will be powered by its Ultium battery system.
Electrify America is deploying eight new solar-powered, off-grid charging stations across Fresno County in California. As someone who has made the drive from Arizona up to San Francisco multiple times in a variety of electric vehicles, I’ve always wondered and wished why more charging stations didn’t have solar. Yes, I know Tesla CEO Elon Musk has made promises about solar-power superchargers since the network first began scaling in 2012. Today, there are fewer than five.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration released a preview of 2019 data from the Fatality Analysis Reporting System and preliminary estimates for the first half of 2020. The upshot: traffic deaths decreased 2% in 2019 from the year prior with 36,096 fatalities in motor vehicle traffic crashes. The fatality rate for 2019 was 1.10 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, the lowest rate since 2014.
This year though, welp … NHTSA said FARS data indicate the traffic fatality rate per 100 million VMT is projected to increase to 1.25 in the first half of 2020, up from 1.06 in the same period in 2019. NHTSA says the rise is because the total traffic volume decreased by more than 16% in the first six months of 2020. So, fewer drivers and yet more crashes.
TuSimple hired Jim Mullen, the former Acting Administrator of the FMCSA (the government agency that regulates trucking in the U.S.). as its chief legal and risk officer. He will oversee legal affairs, risk management strategy, and help continue to develop TuSimple’s approach to safety, the company said.