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Welcome back to The Station, your central hub for all past, present and future means of moving people and packages from Point A to Point B.
Before I dive into the news of the week, check out this lovely discount to attend TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco. Go to this link and type in the code STATION to get 15% off passes, excluding online and expo tickets.
It will be an in-person event and I couldn't be more excited. I'll be interviewing Rivian founder and CEO RJ Scaringe on the main stage. Other guests include Marc Lore, Serena Williams — yes, the Serena Williams — OnlyFans CEO Ami Gan, Campfire co-founder and CEO Joshua Ogundu and investors from a16z, Forerunner, Redpoint and Y Combinator. And a helluva lot more, which you can check out here.
There is also the TechCrunch+ stage and roundtable discussions, where founders can get insights and advice from experienced leaders and investors about to how navigate some of the trickier parts of running a business. And then, of course, we will have Startup Battlefield.
Come meet me at Disrupt!
Amid all the coverage of Queen Elizabeth II's death, one piece of history that might have been forgotten is her role as an ambulance driver and mechanic. Jalopnik has a nice little write up. Check it out.
OK, let's go.
It's another short one this week as our expert micromobber, Rebecca Bellan, is just coming back from vacation.
Our founder Q&A series continues over at TC+. The premise — in case you're unfamiliar — is to interview founders in the transportation sector and then check in on them a year later.
In our latest edition, Bellan interviewed Drover AI co-founder and CEO Alex Nesic about the possibilities of integrating computer vision tech into privately owned scooters, what it means when a larger company steals your idea and why tech pedigrees are overrated when it comes to running a startup.
Meanwhile, interest in seated electric scooters continues to ramp up and Razor is here for it.
The company, which might bring back memories kicking and coasting down the block to your friend’s house for a playdate, is expanding its line of adult electric scooters. The company launched a new seated electric scooter that is designed to carry cargo, or if you like, another passenger on the back.
Deal of the week
The EV SPAC world is a weird and wild place for investors hlding onto the hope that money can be made. But it's a risky endeavor.
The latest example is Mullen Automotive. The EV SPAC acquired a 60% controlling interest in Bollinger Motors for $148.2 million. The move is intended to strengthen the two EV companies’ positions within the fast-growing electric sport utility and commercial vehicle markets.
Just a day after this announcement, Mullen disclosed it received a minimum share price warning from Nasdaq. Mullen's shares have traded under $1 a share for 30 consecutive business days (hat tip to Bloomberg's Sean O'Kane, who first spotted the filing).
Why does this matter? Mullen risks a delisting, although it has about six months to turn things around. The company has 180 days to close above $1 for 10 consecutive business days. There are extensions available if Mullen shares fail to nudge above that $1 mark.
Other deals that got my attention this week … (subscribe for all the deals)
Amply Power, EV fleet charging and energy management provider for fleets that was acquired by BP in 2021, has officially been folded into the energy giant's brand called "bp pulse."
United Airlines continues to invest in the future of flight. The company announced a conditional purchase agreement for 200 four-seat electric aircraft from Eve Air Mobility plus 200 options, expecting the first deliveries as early as 2026. United said it is also investing $15 million in Eve.
Notable reads and other tidbits
Cruise has been charging the public for rides in its robotaxis for a couple of months now. And it hasn't always been smooth. The latest glitch came during a ride documented in a segment for the Today Show. when a bug caused the AV to shut down when it attempted to go into reverse. Cruise, which described this as an "infrequent bug," fixed the issue.
I tweeted that this "seems like kind of an important thing to figure out." Cruise founder and CEO Kyle Vogt responded. His tweet: "High visibility issue, certainly. Extremely rare (handful of instances, ever) and only happens when AV already stopped -> lower priority. Was still fixed in 3 days."
I would caution any other AV developer out there with schadenfreude. I expect every AV company will experience glitches and maybe even bigger problems when commercial operations begin and then scale.
To be clear, this doesn't mean I don't have more questions: how does Cruise prioritize issues and when is a bug a big enough to warrant pulling the fleet back?
Mobileye has expanded its AV testing program into Detroit.
Uber will use Nuro autonomous delivery vehicles to shuttle meals and other goods to its Eats customers as part of a 10-year commercial deal between the two companies. As you might expect, this is going to start small (certain sections in Houston and Mountain View, California) and grow from there.
Electric vehicles & batteries
BMW said that its future line of EVs will use newly developed round battery cells supplied by CATL and EVE Energy.
BYD plans to build a new passenger car factory in Thailand, CNBC reported.
Want to read more? The Station’s weekly emailed newsletter has a lot more and includes a roundup of AV, EV and other news and a “A Little Bird,” a section in which I share verified insider news. Sign up! It’s free!