Notable reads and other tidbits
Tesla started rolling out version 11 of its Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta software to employees and testers after months of delays. While the company hasn’t officially shared release notes on FSD Beta V11.3, leaked notes and videos from beta testers have surfaced online. Here’s rundown of what is included.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has asked Tesla to provide more information after one of its vehicles crashed into a fire truck in California. The agency did not confirm to TechCrunch what kind of information it is seeking, but NHTSA likely wants to determine whether one of Tesla’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) — Autopilot or Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta — was engaged at the time of the crash.
Cruise hit 1 million “driverless” miles 15 months after its first ride without a human safety operator behind the wheel on San Francisco’s public roads.
Motional is moving one step closer to its goal of removing the safety driver from robotaxi operations by expanding its service in Las Vegas to nighttime rides. Motional is working towards a fully driverless service later this year.
Earnings season continues with Bird, Carvana, Joby Aviation, Lucid Group, Nikola and Stellantis posting full-year and Q4 reports. Next week, is Rivian!
The big takeaway, in terms of trends, is that EV SPACs are still struggling and the headwinds don’t seem to be abating. Lordstown, an EV SPAC that hasn’t report earnings yet, had bad news too. The company halted production and deliveries of its all-electric Endurance pickup because of performance and quality issues with certain components. The company is voluntarily recalling the 19 vehicles it has delivered to date because of “specific electrical connection issue that could result in a loss of propulsion while driving.” (gulp!)
Earnings highlights ….
Carvana has the distinction of losing $37 billion in market capitalization in the past year. And that’s not the bad news. The company reported a loss of $806 million in the fourth quarter, has forecast another drop in the first quarter and is facing rising interest payments.
Joby Aviation closed out 2022 with $1.1 billion in cash and short-term investments, including an upfront equity investment of $60 million from Delta. The company spent $291 million in 2022 and $84 million in the fourth quarter on operating activities and purchases of property and equipment. The company’s net loss of $66.9 million reflected operating expenses of $101.4 million.
Lucid Motors missed Wall Street estimates for fourth-quarter and full-year 2022 revenue, as well as 2023 production and delivery goals. As you might expect, shares dove. Lucid set 2023 annual production targets of 10,000 to 14,000, which is roughly half of the 20,000 to 22,000 deliveries analysts had expected for the year.
Nikola missed Wall Street expectations on revenue as the company failed to deliver enough trucks to bring in that sweet sweet cash. The company produced 133 battery-electric trucks in the fourth quarter and only delivered 20 to dealers. Nikola lost $222.1 million in the fourth quarter up from the $159.4 million it lost in the same period last year.
Stellantis, which includes brands Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep and Ram, had a helluva of a 2022. Net profits popped 26% to to 16.8 billion euros ($17.8 billion). Revenue increased 18% to 179.6 billion euros ($190 billion). The company had particularly strong growth in North America, where revenue rose 23% to 85.5 billion euros ($90 billion).
Electric vehicles, batteries & charging
Dongfeng Honda will not launch any new ICE vehicles in China, starting 2030, the company told TechCrunch.
Electrify America said that beginning March 6, 2023, the EV charging company will increase its per-kilowatt-hour (kWh) and per-minute pricing. Pass members will see the price per-kWh increase from $0.43 to $0.48. The price per-minute will increase from $0.16 to $0.19 for up to 90 kW, or $0.32 to $0.37 for up to 350 kW.
Ford extended a production shutdown of its all-electric Ford Lightning pickup truck by another week.
Sono Motors ended its Sion EV program to pivot to a business that aims to sell its solar vehicle technology to other companies. The company laid off 300 workers as a result of the change.
Panasonic shares what it learned ramping up production that the massive EV battery plant operated with Tesla. An interesting read from WSJ.
Tesla is making California the home of its global engineering headquarters. The company headquarters will remain in Texas. Side note: Gov. Gavin Newsom and Elon Musk spoke at the announcement event, which is how we now know that the governor put $100,000 down back in 2007 to reserve the Roadster.
Future of flight
Blade completed a live test flight marking the first demonstration of a piloted electric vertical aircraft in the greater New York City region. The aircraft, known as “ALIA-250,” is powered by an all-electric propulsion system with vertical takeoff and landing capability and a noise profile that is 1/10th the sound decibel level of conventional helicopters, making it ideal for use in urban areas, according to the company.
Dozens of bipartisan members of Congress have come together to urge Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg to issue stronger leadership in the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) sector.
Baidu revealed its much-anticipated intelligent Ernie Bot, widely seen as the search giant’s counterpart to ChatGPT, will make its way into in-car entertainment, among other applications.
Jaguar Land Rover will open three new engineering hubs in Europe, specifically Germany, Italy and Spain, to develop autonomous vehicle technologies. The new technology hubs are part of strategic partnership with Nvidia. The company already has six JLR tech hubs in USA, Hungary, Ireland, UK, China and India.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Tesla CEO Elon Musk still needs to get pre-approval from lawyers (aka Twitter sitter) before tweeting Tesla-related information.
Uber released an updated version of its app with a more straightforward homescreen that removes the friction of a few extra taps when booking a ride or ordering a delivery. It also allows customers to more easily access saved locations, and some iPhone users can track a ride’s progress on their lock screen.