Here’s a short summary of what happened in the world of mobility, logistics & transportation this week:
China has called upon all EV manufacturers to send location data reports to the government, which mostly happens without the owners’ knowledge or consent. The Associated Press has discovered that “more than 200 manufacturers, including Tesla, Volkswagen, BMW, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Mitsubishi and U.S.-listed electric vehicle start-up NIO, transmit position information and dozens of other data points to government-backed monitoring centres”.
In an interview with CNN, Richard Branson revealed that Virgin Galactic would be sending astronauts into space by Christmas. The billionaire entrepreneur told CNN Business’ Rachel Crane this week he is “pretty confident” his space tourism venture can achieve its milestone by the end of the year. Check out the full interview over at CNN.
Volkswagen has announced that their next generation of combustion-engine cars will likely be its last. According to a report by Bloomberg, the German automobile giant is fading out the era of the combustion car after it rolls out its next-generation gasoline and diesel cars beginning in 2026.
Just two weeks ago Volkswagen announced a 44 billion euro investment in future technologies by 2023 with about 3/4, that is 30 billion euros reserved for e-mobility alone. VW also confirmed that they were checking the possibility of entering mass production of battery cells, with SK Innovation as the potential partner.
The Berlin-based mobility startup has raised $22 million in seed funding, joining recent raised rounds by other e-scooter startups such as Sweden’s VOI ($50 million Series A led by Balderton) and Germany’s Tier (€25 million Series A led by Northzone). All three companies are attempting to be pan-European from the get-go.
The difference: Wind Mobility’s scooters are made for sharing. “Currently, almost all the scooters on the market are from Ninebot, which is designed for personal use rather than sharing,” says co-founder and CEO Eric Wang. “Our own scooters are specifically designed for sharing: longer battery range, swappable battery, more capability to climb hills, sturdy and more fit for sharing. We can also tailor our scooters to the requirement of certain cities. This gives us an edge in continuing to adopt to customer needs and regulatory requirements.” (via Techcrunch)
On Monday, SpaceX launched 64 satellites. With this, the company set a new record for the number of missions to orbit by a private company in a calendar year. They thereby beat their own record of 18 launches in 2017. More on why Space X carries the hopes of future space exploration in this article by Quartz.
In other space news: Three astronauts arrived safely on the International Space Station (ISS) following a previously failed launch. The station’s current crew of NASA’s Serena Aunon-Chancellor, Russian Sergei Prokopyev, and German Alexander Gerst were waiting to greet the newcomers. They are scheduled to return to Earth on Dec. 20.
Audi and Disney have teamed up on an in-car stealth project that will be revealed at CES 2019.