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Best of the Week – CW 6

Feb 8, 2019

Here’s a short summary of what happened in the world of mobility, logistics & transportation this week:

Volkswagen installing Tesla battery packs

Electrify America (the entity set up by Volkswagen as part of its settlement with U.S. regulators over its diesel emissions cheating scandal) will be using Tesla Powerpack battery systems at more than 100 of its EV charging stations this year. The battery systems will be deployed to mitigate higher power demand charges and manage operating costs by avoiding or reducing demand and energy charges during peak charging periods.

Electrify America’s bet on Tesla battery systems illustrates the deep need for electric vehicle charging infrastructure that is low cost, easy to access and as fast as possible. It’s not enough to simply dot highways and urban areas with public chargers.

Let’s see how this development in the US influences the charging station infrastructure in Europe.

Tesla 2: Energy Storage

In more Tesla news: The company is adding an energy storage company to its electric vehicle and energy business. They announced a $218 million deal with San Diego-based Maxwell Technologies, who build products for the grid, cars, trucks, transportation systems (like railroads), and more.

By purchasing Maxwell Technologies, Tesla will have better access to building cells, battery systems, and modules for its battery-powered vehicles, and energy supplies. Currently, Tesla’s Reno, Nevada Gigafactory is the main site for its own battery production with Panasonic

New $150M joint automotive venture with Tencent

Internet firms and automakers keep collaborating in a bet to win the race for deciding the future of mobility. Even state-owned agencies are getting in on the fun. For instance, ride-hailing startup Didi Chuxing, which owns Uber China, announced a new joint venture with state-owned BAIC. Then followed an announcement by Tencent, who will be working with the GAC Group. GAC os also working with Huawei and voice assistant startup iFlytec to upgrade its vehicles.

Baidu, instead chooses to operate an open platform for autonomous driving cars and has chosen state-owned Hongqi to test out its autonomous driving solutions. Lastly, Alibaba has also set foot in transportation with a smart sedan jointly developed with state-owned SAIC.

Joint Venture 2: Toyota & Softbank

In more joint venture news, Toyota and SoftBank have completed the investment in their joint venture, MONET Technologies Inc.

MONET’s three main business domains are as follows:

1) on-demand mobility services

2) data-analysis services

3) Autono-MaaS

The objective of MONET is to help realize a safer and more comfortable mobility society by combining SoftBank’s corporate philosophy, “Information Revolution – Happiness for everyone,” with Toyota’s vision of “Mobility for All.”

NYC collecting ridesharing data

In 2007, New York City’s Taxi and Limousine Commission, required that every taxi in NYC should accept credit card payments, which opened up access to a flurry of data for the TLC as with payments came GPS tracking. Now the city will be demand the same data from ride-hailing companies such as UberLyft, Via, and Juno.

The TLC is requiring them to provide the following data: the date, time, and location of pickups and drop-offs (at least down to the intersection), the vehicle’s license number, the trip mileage, itemised trip fare, route, and how much the driver was paid.

The indended use for this data is to learn more about what’s happening on the streets, and to plan the grid better, helping to improve road safety and enforcing the new minimum wage rule for app-based drivers—$17.22 per hour.

New York has long been more successful than smaller cities at keeping track of the ride-hail cars in its territory, so it will be interesting to see how this develops and how other cities can use the learnings to help enformce similar rules in their own neighbourhoods.

This week in investments…

Southeast Asian ride-hailing firm Grab announced that it has raised $200 million from Central Group, a retail conglomerate based in Thailand.

Also in Southeast Asia: One of Grab’s challengers in the region, the Indonesia-based ride-hailing company Go-Jek, has announced the first close of its Series F round. Although they aren’t revealing numbers, TechCrunch reports that the round is at more than $1 billion. Go-Jek is planning to raise $2 billion for the round, as reported last year.

The German car-leasing startup Cluno just raised €25 million. They offer a service where customers can get a car subscription without the paperwork by booking everything online.

The biggest at the end: Lime has raised another $310 million in a Series D funding round, bringing its valuation to $2.4 billion 💸 💸 💸