Wij willen met u aan tafel zitten en in een openhartig gesprek uitvinden welke uitdagingen en vragen er bij u spelen om zo, gezamelijk, tot een beste oplossing te komen. Oftewel, hoe kan de techniek u ondersteunen in plaats van dat u de techniek moet ondersteunen.

Nikola Motor, the Arizona startup that made its debut as a publicly traded company June 4, will open up reservations later this month for a hydrogen fuel cell electric pickup truck that was designed to compete with the Ford F-150.

Reservations, or pre-orders, will open June 29 for the hydrogen-electric pickup truck known as the Badger, Nikola Motor founder and chairman Trevor Milton tweeted Tuesday.

The company’s initial focus has been to design, develop and eventually produce hydrogen-electric Class 8 trucks and build out hydrogen station infrastructure throughout North America. Since its founding in 2014, the company has expanded its hydrogen-electric vision to powersports and more recently to pickup trucks. The company shared in February the first details about the Badger pickup truck, which will be available as a battery electric or fuel cell vehicle.

Nikola Motor has not produced any products yet. It doesn’t even have a factory. The company is building a factory in Coolidge, Arizona. The site has been cleared and construction will begin in 2020, Milton told TechCrunch in a recent interview, adding that he hoped for it to start this summer.

Against that backdrop of bold vision but no products — or even revenue — Nikola Motor is valued at $ 28.63 billion as of market close Tuesday. Nikola’s market capitalization eclipsed Ford at one point Tuesday.

Nikola became a publicly traded company through a reverse merger with VectoIQ, a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company led by GM’s former vice chairman Stephen Girsky. Since its June 4 debut, the stock has had a short volatile ride, trading at more than 112% higher than its debut price of $ 37.55. Shares closed Tuesday at $ 79.73.

Badger takes aim at Ford, Tesla

“We went directly after the Ford F-150 market and it’ll be a direct competitor to the Tesla Cybertruck as well,” Milton told TechCrunch.

Milton said the pickup truck won’t compete with Rivian, which is also planning to produce an electric pickup truck.

“The Rivian is a small truck like a Toyota Tacoma and will not compete in the construction world nor the Ford F 150, bigger pickup market that’s focused on home businesses construction and things like that. The Rivian is more of a consumer model that is used for outdoor recreational activities.”

The Badger has some eye-popping specs, including up to a 600-mile range, 906 horsepower and 980 pound-feet of torque, according to Nikola Motor. The battery electric version will be able to travel 300 miles on a single charge and can be upgraded with fuel cells to double the range. The company expects the Badger to go into production in 2022.

But Nikola doesn’t plan to produce the Badger on its own, according to Milton. Instead, the company plans to partner with an OEM, which Milton said will be revealed later this year.


TechCrunch

Tesla’s board certified a financial milestone that unlocks the first tranche — worth more than $ 700 million — of an unprecedented multibillion-dollar pay package for CEO Elon Musk, according a document filed Thursday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The milestone allows Musk to purchase the first grouping or tranche of nearly 1.69 million shares at a steep discount. Tesla shares closed Thursday at $ 805.81, putting the value at $ 775 million. Musk is able to buy those stock options at a price of $ 350.02 per share.

“As of the date of this proxy statement, one of the 12 tranches under this award has vested and become exercisable, subject to Mr. Musk’s payment of the exercise price of $ 350.02 per share and the minimum five-year holding period generally applicable to any shares he acquires upon exercise,” the SEC document reads.

The compensation plan approved by shareholders in 2018 consists of 20.3 million stock option awards broken up into 12 tranches of 1.69 million shares. These options will vest in 12 increments if Tesla hits specific milestones on market cap, revenue and adjusted earnings (excluding certain one-time charges such as stock compensation).

When the board and shareholders approved the package, Musk was theoretically able to earn nearly $ 56 billion if no new shares were issued. However, last year Tesla sold $ 2.7 billion in shares and convertible bonds, Reuters reported at the time.

To access those first tranche of stock options, Tesla’s market value had to reach a six-month average of $ 100.2 billion and either $ 20 billion in annual revenue or $ 1.5 billion in adjusted EBITDA. To meet the next milestone, Tesla’s market cap must increase another $ 50 billion in value and $ 35 billion in revenue or $ 3 billion in adjusted EBITDA.

The board certified the market cap and revenue milestone. The other operational milestone relating to $ 1.5 billion Adjusted EBITDA has been achieved but is subject to formal certification by the board, , according to the SEC filing.

Tesla SEC May 2020

Image Credits: Screenshot/SEC filing

The board must certify that each milestone has been achieved before Musk can exercise those stock options. To unlock every tranche, Tesla’s market cap will have to reach $ 650 billion.

Musk has never accepted a salary. Instead, he opted for, the shareholders approved, equity-based compensation plans. In a previous equity compensation plan, Musk was awarded stock options worth about $ 78 million in 2012 that vested only after Tesla hit production and market value milestones.

The 2018 CEO compensation plan not only ensured Musk would a be part of Tesla for the next decade, it also put an emphasis on market cap and revenue, not necessarily profitability.

Tesla’s annual shareholder meeting is scheduled for July 7, according to the document.


TechCrunch

In the days and weeks after Tesla CEO Elon Musk revealed the cybertruck — a post-apocalyptic inspired vehicle made of cold-rolled steel — there was a lot of speculation about whether it would be smaller once it actually made it to market.

Production of the Cybertruck is still a long ways off. There isn’t even a factory to build the all-electric truck yet. However, Musk did provide some clarification Saturday on its size. In a tweet, Musk wrote “Reviewed design with Franz last night. Even 3% smaller is too small. Will be pretty much the same size. We’ll probably do a smaller, tight world truck at some point.” (Musk was referring to Tesla’s head of design Franz von Holzhausen. And we assume Musk meant to write “light” not “tight” truck.)

The change is important to note since he told Jay Leno that the vehicle is actually 5% too big, according to a teaser video promoting an upcoming episode of Jay Leno’s Garage that will air Wednesday on CNBC. “If we just take all of the proportions and drop them by 5%,” he told Leno, later adding “it has to fit into a normal garage.”

Musk had previously said the company could probably reduce the width of the cybertruck by an inch and “maybe reduce length by 6-plus inches without losing on utility or esthetics.”

Tesla hasn’t shared the dimensions of the vehicle. And TechCrunch failed to bring a measuring tape at the launch. (Lesson learned).

In the past two months, Musk has provided a few other updates around the cybertruck via Twitter, noting that the company is increasing dynamic air suspension travel for better off-roading and that it “will float for awhile,” a claim he didn’t explain further.

Tesla said it will offer three variants of the cybertruck. The cheapest version, a single motor and rear-wheel drive model, will cost $ 39,900, have a towing capacity of 7,500 pounds and more than 250 miles of range, according to specs on its website. The middle version will be a dual-motor all-wheel drive, have a towing capacity of more than 10,000 pounds and be able to travel more than 300 miles on a single charge. The dual motor AWD model is priced at $ 49,900.

The third version will have three electric motors and all-wheel drive, a towing capacity of 14,000 pounds and battery range of more than 500 miles. This version, known as “tri motor,” is priced at $ 69,900.


TechCrunch

Nearly a year ago, Todd Howard, the director of Bethesda Games, said that the company’s “Fallout Shelter” game would be coming to Tesla displays. It arrived, via the 2020.20 software update, this week, which was first noted at driver’s platform Teslascope.

Fallout Shelter is the latest — and one of the more modern games — to join Tesla’s Arcade, an in-car feature that lets drivers play video games while the vehicle is parked. It joins 2048, Atari’s Super Breakout, Cuphead, Stardew Valley, Missile Command, Asteroids, Lunar Lander and Centipede. The arcade also includes a newly improved (meaning more difficult) backgammon game as well as chess.

The 2020.20 software update that adds the game, along with a few other improvements, hasn’t reached all Tesla vehicles yet, including the Model 3 in this reporter’s driveway (that vehicle has the prior 2020.16.2.1 update, which includes improvements to backgammon and a redesigned Tesla Toybox).

However, YouTube channel host JuliansRandomProject was one of the lucky few who did receive it and released a video that provides a look at Fallout and how it works in the vehicle. Roadshow also discovered and shared the JuliansRandomProject video, which is embedded below.

Fallout Shelter is just one of the newer features in the software update. Some functionality was added to the steering wheel so owners can use the toggle controls to play, pause and skip video playback in Theater Mode, the feature that lets owners stream Netflix and other video (while in park).

Tesla also improved Trax, which lets you record songs. Trax now includes a piano roll view that allows you to edit and fine tune notes in a track.


TechCrunch

The Station is a weekly newsletter dedicated to all things transportation. Sign up here — just click The Station — to receive it every Saturday in your inbox.

Hi and welcome back to The Station, I’m your host Kirsten Korosec, senior transportation reporter at TechCrunch. If you’re interested in all the future and present ways people and packages move from Point A to Point B, you’re in the right place.

As I mentioned in the last edition, “how” our society opens back up is as important as “when” it does. A line from The Atlantic’s McKay Coppins, who wrote about a recent experience traveling via airplane, illustrated what I’ve been thinking about for weeks now.

The glittering allure of “normalcy” that waits on the other end of these stay-at-home orders is a mirage.

His words land with a gloom-laden thud. But I take more neutral view than perhaps Coppins was aiming for. Returning to “normal” isn’t always a good thing. That’s particularly true when you consider the inequity within our cities and transportation infrastructure. COVID-19 could be a positive catalyst for change.

We’re getting change whether we’re ready or not. What do you want that change to look like?

Please share your ideas. Reach out and email me at kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com to share thoughts on my above question or offer up opinions or tips. You can also send a direct message to me at Twitter — @kirstenkorosec.

Shall we get down to it? Vamos.

Micromobbin’

the station scooter1a

Uber and Lime made headlines this week with a deal that deepens ties between the two companies. Lime raised $ 170 million in a funding round led by Uber, along with other existing investors Alphabet, Bain Capital Ventures and GV.

As part of the deal, Lime has acquired Jump, the electric bike and scooter division that Uber bought back in 2018 for around $ 200 million. While Jump will no longer be part of Uber, the plan is to add more integrations between Uber and Jump down the line.

The deal values Lime on paper at $ 510 million after the round. For those keeping track, that’s a 79% drop from its previous valuation.

“Lime has the operational expertise and undivided focus needed to build a scaled, sustainable micromobility business,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement. “We’re glad that our customers will continue to have access to bikes and scooters in both our apps because we believe micromobility is a critical part of the urban landscape, now more than ever.”

Lime also got a new CEO. After Lime co-founder Toby Sun stepped down last year, Brad Bao took over. Now, Bao is moving into the chairman position and Wayne Ting, formerly global head of operations and strategy, is the new CEO.

Meanwhile, Spin, the electric scooter startup acquired by Ford in 2019 for nearly $ 100 million, has restarted operations in four U.S. markets as COVID-19-related closures begin to ease. The company has resumed operations in Orlando, Nashville, Columbus, Ohio and St. Louis. The ramp up of operations will depend on the city, the company said.

— Megan Rose Dickey & Kirsten Korosec

Deal of the week

money the station

COVID-19 might have slowed the deal pipeline, but it hasn’t dried up altogether.

Intel confirmed, after some early reports from TechCrunch and a few other outlets, that is acquiring Israeli startup Moovit. The deal values Moovit at $ 900 million, although Intel says that the growth of its existing stake in the startup effectively means that Intel is paying $ 840 million in this transaction.

Moovit applies AI and big data analytics to track traffic and provide transit recommendations to some 800 million people globally.

The plan is for Moovit to become part of Intel’s Israeli automotive hub, which is anchored by Mobileye, the autonomous driving company that Intel acquired for $ 15.3 billion in 2017. Specifically, Moovit’s tech will be used to expand and enhance Mobileye’s “mobility as a service” (MaaS) offering, Intel said.

Other deals that got our attention:

Autotech Ventures announced that it raised more than $ 150 million in its second fund with capital commitments from both financial and corporate investors, including Volvo Group Venture Capital AB, Lear, Bridgestone and Stoneridge, as well as other vehicle manufacturers, parts suppliers, repair shop chains, leasing corporations, dealership groups and trucking firms. The new fund brings the firm to more than $ 270 million under management to date.

San Francisco-based computer vision startup Invisible AI raised $ 3.6 million in seed funding. The deal was led by 8VC and included iRobot Ventures, K9 Ventures, Sierra Ventures, and Slow Ventures.

Sidewalk Infrastructure Partners, an infrastructure startup spun out of Alphabet’s Sidewalk Labs and co-founded by Google vets Jonathan Winer and Brian Barlow, raised $ 400 million in Series A funding from Alphabet and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.

Covariant, a startup dedicated to building autonomy for industrial robotics, raised a $ 40 million Series B, led by Index Ventures.

Sleuth, an early stage startup focused on continuous delivery, raised a $ 3 million seed round.

From readers

I continue to hear from readers, a group that includes transit officials, startup founders, investors and AV developers and engineers. This week, I thought I’d share this note from Innoviz, the Israeli-based lidar company.

Co-founder and CEO Omer Keilaf sent this postcard — as well as a picture — from Israel explaining what life has been like and how his company is operating.

On stay-at-home orders:

“Restrictions are starting to lift in Israel. As employees start going back to the office, we’ve changed our shared office environment to maintain the 2-meter distance and continue to implement safety measures to minimize chances of contagion. We’ve created red and blue teams in the company to isolate critical production activities from the rest of the company: the red team for critical activities and blue team for all of the rest.”

On troubleshooting

“When restrictions in Israel were 30 % of employees allowed in the office, and then 15% of employees allowed in offices, we adjusted our project management activities and found that written reports kept communication and coherency in place.”

On how to hands on development has changed:

“LiDAR sensor development is very complex and requires a lot of hands-on activities. We spent a great deal of effort up front to adapt the remote control of our lab setups and allow continuity for testing and production, and other more critical activities of our products. Luckily, Innoviz’s advanced perception software, which turns our LiDAR sensor’s raw point cloud data into perception outputs, was not impacted by the current COVID-19 situation because software development doesn’t require hands-on activities like hardware development does.” 

On work-life balance:

“We launched virtual kids’ activities for parents and sent activity packages to employees all around the globe to help them entertain their kids.”

innoviz-lidar-distance-image005

A video stream showing engineers working from home for Innoviz, the Israeli lidar company.

All the other stuff

A lot happened this past week: far too much to cover, but I’ll try.

Uber and Lyft reported earnings — hoowee! 

First Lyft: A glimpse at Lyft’s stock price Wednesday, which soared as much as 16.77% after first-quarter earnings were reported, suggested all was well in the ride-hailing company’s world.

In this COVID 19-era, “well” is a relative term. Lyft’s net losses did dramatically improve from the year-ago quarter (a loss of $ 398 million versus $ 1.1 billion in Q1 2019). However, Lyft was clear in its earnings call: COVID-19 had a profound impact on its customers and its business and the future was uncertain. I dig into Lyft’s survival plan.

Now Uber: Uber reported Thursday a net loss of $ 2.94 billion in the first quarter. Uber’s adjusted EBITDA for the quarter came to a loss of $ 612 million. The ride-hailing company generated $ 3.54 billion in revenue in the first quarter, up 14% from $ 3.1 billion on a year-over-year basis. Its Uber Eats division grew like hell in the first quarter, but that doesn’t mean it’s profitable.

Uber also pushed its target to achieve a measure of profitability to a quarter in 2021, reversing a decision made just three months ago to move up the goal to the end of this year.

Uber will miss its target to reach an adjusted EBITDA quarterly profit in the fourth period of 2020, CFO Nelson Chai said during the company’s earnings call Thursday. The new target is a quarter in 2021.

Layoffs and cuts continue

Careem, the Dubai-based ride-hailing and delivery company that was acquired by Uber last year, cut its workforce by 31% and suspended its mass transportation business due to affects from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uber Eats said it was shuttering its on-demand food offering in the Czech Republic, Egypt, Honduras, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Uruguay and Ukraine. It’s also transferring its Uber Eats business operations in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to Careem, its wholly owned ride-hailing subsidiary that’s mostly focused on the Middle East.

Getting back to work

Waymo announced it will resume driving operations on May 11 in Arizona. The company said the decision was made after discussions with “our teams, partners and local and state authorities,” before restoring them in other cities, including San Francisco, Detroit and Los Angeles.

Lyft and Uber announced plans to require drivers and riders to wear masks. Uber could turn to its driver selfie technology, officially known as Real-Time ID Check, to make sure drivers are adhering to the rule. Real-Time ID Check is a security feature that uses Microsoft Cognitive Services and prompts drivers to periodically to share a selfie before being allowed to accept fares

Tesla drama

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said Saturday morning the company will file a lawsuit against Alameda County and threatened to move its headquarters and future programs to Texas or Nevada immediately, escalating a fight between the company and health officials over whether its factory in Fremont can reopen.

Hours later …. Tesla filed a lawsuit against Alameda County seeking injunctive relief. Later that evening, the company posted a blog that explains how it plans to reopen.

Tesla had planned to bring back about 30% of its factory workers Friday as part of its reopening plan, defying Alameda County’s stay-at-home order.

Some long reads …

Capgemini Research Institute released a report that looked at the key transportation trends that emerged from COVID-19. Here are a couple of findings: close to half (46%) of the consumers want to minimize visiting dealerships to compare deals and mainly use online channels for information search and purchase; and another finding found consumers are veering towards individual mobility over public transport and shared mobility services.

Wired wrote about Argo AI, the autonomous vehicle startup backed by Ford and Volkswagen. It’s a long one and provides some insights into the company and its founders. (on a side note and for full disclosure, I co-host Autonocast, a future of transportation podcast, with Alex Roy and Ed Niedermeyer. Roy works at Argo AI)

Speaking of the Autonocast, last week we talked to Boris Sofman, the former co-founder and CEO of Anki Robotics who now heads up engineering for Waymo’s autonomous trucking efforts. It’s worth a listen.

Slumping Auto Sales Cause Traffic Jam At Ports Swamped With Cars

New vehicles sit parked at an automotive processing terminal operated by WWL Vehicle Services Americas Inc., a subsidiary of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics, in this aerial photograph taken over the Port of Los Angeles in Wilmington, California, U.S., on Tuesday, April 28, 2020.


TechCrunch

Tesla filed a lawsuit Saturday against Alameda County in an effort to invalidate orders that have prevented the automaker from reopening its factory in Fremont, California.

The lawsuit, which seeks injunctive and declaratory relief against Alameda County, was first reported by CNBC. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for California’s Northern District.

Earlier Saturday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he was filing a lawsuit against Alameda County and threatened to move its headquarters and future programs to Texas or Nevada immediately.

Tesla had planned to bring back about 30% of its factory workers Friday as part of its reopening plan, defying Alameda County’s stay-at-home order. Musk was basing the reopening on new guidance issued Thursday by California Gov. Gavin Newsom that allows manufacturers to resume operations. The guidance won praise from Musk, who later sent an internal email to employees about plans to reopen based on the governor’s revised order. However, the governor’s guidance included a warning that local governments could keep more restrictive rules in place. Alameda County, along with several other Bay Area counties and cities, last week extended the stay-at-home orders through the end of May. The orders were revised and did ease some of the restrictions. However, it did not lift the order for manufacturing.

The lawsuit argues that by preventing Tesla from opening, the Alameda County is going against its own guidance.

“Alameda County has expressly recognized and publicized that “businesses may . . . operate to manufacture” batteries and electric vehicles,” the complaint reads. “Inexplicably, however, the Third Order as well as County officials have simultaneously insisted that Tesla must remain shuttered, thereby further compounding the ambiguity, confusion and irrationality surrounding Alameda County’s position as to whether Tesla may resume manufacturing activities at its Fremont Factory and elsewhere in the County.”

The term “third order” is a reference to a revised stay-in-place order issued by Alameda County.

On Friday, the Alameda County Health Department said Tesla had not been given “the green light” to reopen and said if the company did, it would be out of compliance with the order.

Read the full complaint here.

Tesla v Alameda County Comp… by TechCrunch on Scribd


TechCrunch

Tesla said it will reduce the price of its standard range Model 3 vehicle in China to meet the government’s new eligibility requirements for subsidies.

This marks the second time this year that the automaker has reduced the price. Several months ago, the base version of China-made Model 3 was lowered by 9%.

Tesla has to cut the price of the vehicle to continue to qualify for government rebates on electric vehicles. The Chinese government instituted new regulations that require prices below 300,000 yuan for electric vehicles to qualify for subsidies.

The base price of the standard range Model 3 made in China is 323,800 yuan, or $ 45,754 before subsidies.

The price reduction will go into effect tomorrow in China, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a earnings call Wednesday. Musk, who didn’t provide a specific figure, said he is confident the vehicle will deliver a gross margin despite the reduction in price.

Tesla chief financial officer Zachary Kirkhorn added that the cost of vehicles produced at its Shanghai factory in the first quarter is already lower than the cost to produce the Model 3 in the United States. That margin should improve as the company improves its local supply chain in China. Tesla still ships some parts from the U.S. to build cars at its Shanghai factory.


TechCrunch

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