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The week ended with Tesla AI Day, a recruitment roadshow that lasted three hours. Yeah.
What have we learned and seen? Tesla has made progress on its Tesla bot, also called Optimus. He’s no longer a human in a robot costume, but a real robot. Will it shake Boston Dynamics or Serve Robotics? Probably not. But it was a moving robot, albeit briefly.
- The event was somehow simultaneously very dense and lacking in basic details that would help establish baselines and progress.
- Tesla made a point of featuring employees from the AI and hardware teams (which is unusual for typical Elon-centric reveals and events).
- There was an incredible focus on how the bot was equipped with components and technology used in Tesla vehicles, including Autopilot. There is efficiency that comes from shared parts and technology, but it can also be very risky. Especially when said technology – ahem Autopilot – is controversial and comes under increased scrutiny from regulators.
- Musk was asked if Tesla was still a sustainable energy company and he replied: “I think the mission does expand somewhat with the advent of Optimus for you know, I don’t know, making the ‘brilliant future.’ He also said he believes Tesla can make a significant contribution to general artificial intelligence.
- Tesla employees provided other updates, including its auto-labeling technology and the Dojo supercomputer. As Tesla employees explained them, Musk was offstage tweeter: “Naturally, there will be a catgirl version of our Optimus.”
There hasn’t been too much micromobility news this week, so we’ll keep it brief. Here’s what you need to know in the world of small electric vehicles.
Climate change kills bees, and that’s a big deal, because bees kind of help regulate the effects of climate change. What does this have to do with micromobility? Good, Cake launched a limited-edition Kalk bike model called Flower Power, available in seven colors. The company said 5% of profits from the bikes will be donated to the World Bee Project, which is dedicated to saving the planet’s bee population.
Delfast has unveiled a smaller electric moped it calls the Delfast California, which has a 750W motor and can reach a top speed of 28mph, making it slightly less intense than Delfast’s more badass bike, the Top 3.0 .
pure electric teases a folding scooter set to launch in early October. Are we detecting a large tire, or just a play of light?
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Offer of the week
When the news broke, this Chinese automaker Geely Holding Group acquired a 7.6% share of the British luxury carmaker Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdingsone of my colleagues (and an international journalist who covers China) exclaimed: Geely owns everyone!
It sure looks like it.
Geely aimed to own all of Aston Martin. Instead, he settled for a small stake. Geely didn’t even get a seat on the board. But regardless, Geely has already extracted plenty of seemingly empty juice vesicles.
Geely, which owns Lotus and is the largest shareholder in Polestar and Volvo Cars, took a 10% stake valued at $9 billion in Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, in 2018. Geely had no no longer a seat on the board of directors, but managed to exert its influence. on the business, including a joint venture with the German automaker that gave him partial control of the Smart car brand.
Aston Martin also announced that it has raised $732 million from investors including Mercedes-Benz and the Saudi Public Investment Fund. Yew Tree Consortium owns 19% of Aston Martin following the raise. The Public Investment Fund has become a new reference shareholder with an 18.7% stake in the company.
Other offers that caught my attention this week…
Faraday’s futurethe struggling EV SPAC, secured up to $100 million in funding through $40 million in convertible notes and warrant exercise payments and up to $60 million in convertible notes from the holding company of Hong Kong Senyun International.
gogoro signed a $345 million five-year credit facility agreement to increase liquidity in an uncertain economic environment. The loan comes from a group of 10 syndicated banks led by Mega International Commercial Bank Co., according to a regulatory filing.
Harley-Davidsonspin-off of the electric motorcycles division, LiveWire, raised less than expected and was priced below expectations when it went public this week via a SPAC combination. Shocking! LiveWire brought in $295 million in net proceeds, down from the $545 million projected when the deal was announced in December.
Want more offers? A whole list of them, including information on Aptiv, TerraWatt and TruckSmarter, were in the subscription version this week. Subscribe for free here.
Notable reads and other tidbits
Argo AI Robotaxis now operate on the Lyft network in Austin, Texas. It is a public service and the second city in which Lyft and Argo operate a commercial robotaxi operation after Miami, which launched in December.
Dawn announced its 4th generation Driver, which can now detect and maneuver around a variety of objects and debris on the road and detect painted lines in complex construction areas.
In a series of simulated tests, Waymo’s driver avoids accidents better than a virtual representation of a hyper-attentive driver.
Electric vehicles, batteries and charging
Arrival produced its first battery-electric van at the company’s micro-factory in Bicester, UK, which uses autonomous mobile robots instead of a traditional assembly line. The remaining vans built this year will be for testing, validation and quality control, rather than delivery to the customer.
ChargerHelp has partnered with You’re here improve reliability and consumer confidence in access to charging.
New York follows California and mandates that all new passenger cars, pickup trucks and SUVs sold in New York State must be zero emissions by 2035.
Airbnb co-founder and billionaire Joe Gebbia joined from Tesla board of directors as an independent director.
Charly Mwangithe former executive vice president of manufacturing at Rivian, who previously worked at Tesla, is now a partner at Eclipse Ventures.
Lyft canceled job interviews and froze hiring in the United States, according to the anonymous professional network Blind.
Treepz CEO Onyeka Akumah talks to TechCrunch’s Rebecca Bellan about how to succeed in transportation in the latest edition of our founder’s Q&A series.
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