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Fisker enters dumpster fire territory and Tesla chases FSD revenue | TechCrunch


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Welcome back to Mobility TechCrunch – your central hub for news and information on the future of transport. Remember in the last edition of TechCrunch Mobility, when I wrote that the wheels were starting to come off the Fisker bus? Sheesh. Do they have.

To catch you up: Fisker issued a warning on March 18 that it was suspending production for six weeks and had only $121 million in cash and cash equivalents, of which $32 million was restricted or were not immediately accessible. The company was counting on a $150 million capital influx via convertible bonds and a potential partnership with another automaker. Those hopes were dashed as quickly as a rag soaked in gasoline when negotiations between Fisker and the major automaker – believed to be Nissan – collapsed and put the convertible note deal in jeopardy.

Shares fell 28%, trading was halted and, ultimately, the New York Stock Exchange said it was taking steps to remove Fisker from the exchange.

These are all symptoms of a larger problem at the company, including a particularly embarrassing one uncovered by TC reporter Sean O’Kane. The tl;dr: Fisker temporarily lost track of millions of dollars in customer payments as it ramped up deliveries, leading to an internal audit that began in December and lasted for months.

Alright, let’s move on to the rest, including where the EV startup goes bankrupt Arrivals the assets have finished, a profile at startup Ionobelle hoping to increase the range of electric vehicles through recycled silicon battery materials and a billion-dollar increase for Lucid.

A small bird

cat flashing green bird

Founders, investors, engineers, policy specialists and others tell us things. And we are here to pass on the verifiable information that these little birds shared with us.

Do you have any advice to give us? E-mail Kirsten Korosec at or Sean O’Kane If you prefer to remain anonymous, Click here to contact uswhich includes SecureDrop (instructions here) and various encrypted messaging applications.

Offer of the week

money the station

It’s not easy being an executive at an electric vehicle startup these days. Just ask the folks at Fisker. (Sorry, too early?)

Amid all the electric vehicle startup bankruptcies and other dark events, there has been some positive news. Lucidwhich has had its own difficulties, raised an additional $1 billion from its biggest backer, Saudi Arabia. Ayar Third Investmenta subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, has agreed to buy $1 billion worth of Lucid shares, adding to the Kingdom’s current stake of around 60%.

The billion-dollar increase is a lot of money, but it doesn’t last long if you’re trying to design, manufacture, sell and service vehicles. This gives Lucid a large capital buffer; however, this does not end his existential crisis. The company must successfully market its next vehicle, the Gravity SUV, and generate new business for its existing Air sedan if it hopes to survive and evolve.

Other offers that caught my attention…, a Boston-area startup that helps municipalities and civil engineering firms track the condition of transportation infrastructure, raised $6 million in a round led by Companyon Ventures with participation from Argon Ventures , Aero X Ventures and Alumni Ventures. Existing investors MassVentures, Launch Capital and RiverPark Ventures also participated.

Ember, a Scottish startup building one of the UK’s first all-electric intercity bus networks, has raised $14 million in a Series A round led by Inven Capital. Investors 2150 and AENU also participated.

Ionobelle, an early-stage startup that says its silicon material will be cheaper than established competition and help increase the range of EV batteries, has closed a $3.9 million unpriced startup extension, it has learned TechCrunch exclusively. Dynamo Ventures and Trucks VC led the round.

Iron Shepherd Doga startup that developed trucking software for brokers and contractors, raised $10 million in a Series B round led by SJF Ventures with participation from Grand Ventures, Supply Chain Ventures and other strategic partners of the construction sector.

Notable readings and other information


You’re here will offer every customer in the United States a free one-month trial of its Full Self-Driving Beta driver assistance system worth $12,000, provided they have a car with compatible hardware. The company also reportedly required, at the request of CEO Elon Musk, that potential buyers receive a demonstration of the software before purchasing a new Tesla. It appears Tesla is turning to FSD as another financial lever to leverage as profits from auto sales decline.

Electric vehicles, charging and batteries

Arrival sold some of its assets, including advanced manufacturing equipment, to Canou, another struggling startup trying to build and sell electric vehicles. You can’t make this stuff up, folks!

THE US Environmental Protection Agency announced new emissions standards for heavy-duty vehicles sold in the United States from 2027 to 2032, regulations that will increasingly limit the amount of pollution emitted by new heavy-duty trucks. The rule technically don’t require these non-polluting heavy goods vehicles to be electric and instead let manufacturers decide how to meet the standards, whether through hydrogen-powered fuel cells, improved fuel efficiency, or another alternative fuel. However, many believe this will lead to an increase in the number of battery-electric heavy-duty trucks. Consider the potential effect of this rule: The heavy truck category applies to more than 100 vehicle types, including vocational vehicles such as delivery trucks, garbage trucks, utility trucks, buses transit, shuttles and school buses, as well as semi-trailer trucks. .

Embedded technology

General manager has lost another executive who was part of the company’s software and digital services efforts. You may recall that former Apple executive Mike Abbott, who was GM’s executive vice president of software and services, resigned earlier this month due to health concerns. Today, Edward Kummer, former president of Nordstrom Rack’s online business who joined GM in 2021 to lead its new digital sales team, left, the Detroit News reported.

This week’s wheels

land rover defender 110-x

Image credits: Kirsten Korosec

I rarely test combustion engine vehicles, but I made an exception this week when I had the chance to cover a few hundred kilometers behind the wheel of one Land Rover Defender 110 X-Dynamic SE 2024. And technically, folks, it has a six-cylinder mild-hybrid electric vehicle powertrain, so that still qualifies, right?

My experience with Land Rover Defender is only with decades-old body-on-frame models. So I couldn’t wait to finally get the modern version, which Land Rover officially brought back in 2020. The spec I drove, which cost just under $88,000 and included expensive upgrades and 22-inch wheels , is probably suited to the affluent urban customer. But with different tires, this Defender with aluminum unibody structure could handle off-road conditions perfectly. I played on dirt roads – no rock crawling – and it went very well, with no squeaks, rattles or thuds, even on washboard terrain.

I didn’t like the advanced driver assistance system, particularly the way the driver engages the adaptive cruise control. But there were plenty of features I liked, including the very quiet ride, adaptive air suspension, gloss white-on-black painted details, functional rear door and easy-to-reach spare tire, cooled compartment by air to keep snacks cool and an interior design that combines utility function with sturdy, high-quality materials.

One final word on this interior: you won’t find a massive screen here. But there are tech-related details mixed in with the knobs and buttons. My version had a wireless charger and numerous charger ports, including one on the passenger side dashboard. And the UI was actually pretty decent.

One feature I appreciated was a drop-down menu on the media toggle that allowed me to quickly switch between Apple CarPlay and the native infotainment system including Sirius XM radio or local stations. This may seem inconsequential, but I’ve driven a number of EVs recently that make switching between CarPlay and the native system far too complicated.


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