Google Maps amplifies its app for electric vehicle owners

Google Maps is beefing up its app to help electric vehicle owners find the most suitable and closest place to charge up. Google Maps said Tuesday it’s adding an EV charging feature to the app that will give users information about charging stations. Google has featured charging stations for a number of years now. But […]

Google Maps is beefing up its app to help electric vehicle owners find the most suitable and closest place to charge up.

Google Maps said Tuesday it’s adding an EV charging feature to the app that will give users information about charging stations. Google has featured charging stations for a number of years now. But now, Google Maps is displaying more stations from supported networks and providing information about the stations themselves, including how many charging ports are available and how quickly they’ll be able to charge.

Users can type in keywords like “ev charging” or “EV charging stations” to see the nearest supported stations.

The EV charging search feature starts rolling out Tuesday on Android and iOS, with desktop launching in the coming weeks.

Google Maps now supports charging stations around the world, including Tesla and ChargePoint globally. In the U.S., the feature also includes SemaConnect, EVgo and Blink. ChargeMaster and Pod Point are included in Google Maps in the UK and ChargeFox stations will be shown in Australia and New Zealand.

Google Maps will show information about the business where the station is located, the types of ports available, charging speeds, and how many ports there are. Users will also see information about the station from drivers, including photos, ratings, reviews and questions.

There are other third-party apps out there with this kind of information, notably PlugShare, which has been a go-to source for many electric vehicles owners in the past. Innogy recently acquired PlugShare’s parent company Recargo.

Report: Lyft picks JPMorgan to lead IPO in 2019

Lyft and Uber’s race to an IPO is heating up. Lyft has selected JPMorgan Chase & Co. as the lead underwriter of its initial public offering along with Credit Suisse Group and Jefferies Group, the WSJ reported, citing “people familiar with the company’s plans.” Lyft declined to comment. Lyft is expected to file an IPO in the […]

Lyft and Uber’s race to an IPO is heating up.

Lyft has selected JPMorgan Chase & Co. as the lead underwriter of its initial public offering along with Credit Suisse Group and Jefferies Group, the WSJ reported, citing “people familiar with the company’s plans.”

Lyft declined to comment.

Lyft is expected to file an IPO in the first half of 2019. Choosing an underwriter marks the next official step in the process. Meanwhile, Uber is making it’s own preparations.

Uber, which has received proposals from banks that placed its value as much as $120 billion, is also considering an early 2019 listing.

Some people familiar with the plan said Lyft’s valuation will exceed the $15.1 billion it was valued earlier this year. While Lyft’s value is still considerably lower than Uber’s, it’s on the upswing.

Lyft said in June 2018 that it raised an additional $600 million in a Series I financing round led by Fidelity Management & Research Company, pushing its post-money valuation to $15.1 billion. The valuation had more than doubled in a 14-month span.

Lyft has spent the past 18 months aggressively expanding into new U.S. cities, as well as into Canada and pursuing its autonomous vehicle ambitions. Lyft has increased its market share in the U.S. to 35 percent. In January 2017, Lyft had just 22 percent market share in the United States.

Lyft has raised $2.9 billion in primary capital since April 2017. In total, Lyft has raised $5.1 billion since its inception.

Elon Musk’s settlement with the SEC approved by judge, sending shares higher

The saga between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which began with a now infamous “funding secured” tweet about taking the electric automaker private, is officially resolved. A federal judge has approved Musk’s settlement with the SEC over securities fraud allegations. Bloomberg was the first to report the judge’s approval. […]

The saga between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which began with a now infamous “funding secured” tweet about taking the electric automaker private, is officially resolved.

A federal judge has approved Musk’s settlement with the SEC over securities fraud allegations. Bloomberg was the first to report the judge’s approval.

Tesla shares jumped more than 4 percent on the news.

The SEC alleged in a complaint filed in September that Musk lied when he tweeted on August 7 that he had “funding secured” for a private takeover of the company at $420 per share. Federal securities regulators reportedly served Tesla with a subpoena just a week after the tweet. The SEC filed a complaint alleging securities fraud six weeks later.

The complaint was filed after Musk and Tesla’s board abruptly walked away from an agreement with the SEC. The board not only pulled out of the agreement, it issued a bold statement of support for Musk after the charges were filed. The NYT reported that Musk had given an ultimatum to the board and threatened to resign if the board pushed him to settle.

A settlement was eventually reached anyway, albeit with stiffer penalties than the original agreement. However, this problematic chapter in Tesla’s history wasn’t over despite the two parties reaching a settlement.

An order by U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan asked the SEC and Tesla to submit a joint letter explaining why the court should approve the consent judgment. The joint letter was filed October 11. Nathan determined the consent judgment was “fair and reasonable,” and approved it Tuesday.

Musk agreed, in the settlement reached on September 29, to step down as chairman of Tesla and pay a $20 million fine.

Musk is supposed to resign from his role as chairman of the Tesla board within 45 days of the agreement. He cannot seek reelection or accept an appointment as chairman for three years. An independent chairman will be appointed, under the settlement agreement.

Tesla agreed to pay a separate $20 million penalty, according to the SEC. The SEC said the charge and fine against Tesla is for failing to require disclosure controls and procedures relating to Musk’s tweets.

Chinese electric automakers Nio exceeds Q3 delivery target for its ES8 SUV

Nio, the Chinese electric automaker aiming to compete with Tesla, reported that it delivered 3,268 of its new ES8 vehicles in the third quarter, beating its own target by 9%. The company planned to deliver between 2,900 and 3,000 ES8s in the third quarter, according to Nio CFO Louis T. Hsieh. Nio began deliveries of the […]

Nio, the Chinese electric automaker aiming to compete with Tesla, reported that it delivered 3,268 of its new ES8 vehicles in the third quarter, beating its own target by 9%.

The company planned to deliver between 2,900 and 3,000 ES8s in the third quarter, according to Nio CFO Louis T. Hsieh.

Nio began deliveries of the ES8, a 7-seater high performance electric SUV in China on June 28. The company reported that its year-to-date ES8 deliveries, as of September 30, 2018, totaled 3,368 vehicles. The first 100 vehicles were delivered in the last days of the second quarter.

“Growing our monthly deliveries from 381 in July to 1,766 in September demonstrates our steady production ramp, strong demand from users and the initial acceptance of NIO as a premium brand,” William Li, founder, Chairman and CEO of Nio, said in a statement.

The company, which shut down its ES8 production line for 10 days for routine maintenance and to install equipment for its second production line, warned that deliveries in October will be lower.

However, the company said it remains on track to hit its delivery target of 10,000 ES8 vehicles for the second half of 2018.

The company is planning to release the ES6, a 5-seater premium SUV,  in June/July 2019.

Nio, which raised $1 billion when it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in September, has operations in the U.S., U.K. and Germany, although it only sells its ES8 vehicle in China. The 7-seater ES8 SUV is priced at 448,000 RMB, or around $65,000.

Baillie Gifford  & Co., the second-biggest shareholder of Tesla stock, owns an 11.44 percent stake in Nio, according to a regulatory filing posted October 9.

Chinese electric automakers Nio exceeds Q3 delivery target for its ES8 SUV

Nio, the Chinese electric automaker aiming to compete with Tesla, reported that it delivered 3,268 of its new ES8 vehicles in the third quarter, beating its own target by 9%. The company planned to deliver between 2,900 and 3,000 ES8s in the third quarter, according to Nio CFO Louis T. Hsieh. Nio began deliveries of the […]

Nio, the Chinese electric automaker aiming to compete with Tesla, reported that it delivered 3,268 of its new ES8 vehicles in the third quarter, beating its own target by 9%.

The company planned to deliver between 2,900 and 3,000 ES8s in the third quarter, according to Nio CFO Louis T. Hsieh.

Nio began deliveries of the ES8, a 7-seater high performance electric SUV in China on June 28. The company reported that its year-to-date ES8 deliveries, as of September 30, 2018, totaled 3,368 vehicles. The first 100 vehicles were delivered in the last days of the second quarter.

“Growing our monthly deliveries from 381 in July to 1,766 in September demonstrates our steady production ramp, strong demand from users and the initial acceptance of NIO as a premium brand,” William Li, founder, Chairman and CEO of Nio, said in a statement.

The company, which shut down its ES8 production line for 10 days for routine maintenance and to install equipment for its second production line, warned that deliveries in October will be lower.

However, the company said it remains on track to hit its delivery target of 10,000 ES8 vehicles for the second half of 2018.

The company is planning to release the ES6, a 5-seater premium SUV,  in June/July 2019.

Nio, which raised $1 billion when it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in September, has operations in the U.S., U.K. and Germany, although it only sells its ES8 vehicle in China. The 7-seater ES8 SUV is priced at 448,000 RMB, or around $65,000.

Baillie Gifford  & Co., the second-biggest shareholder of Tesla stock, owns an 11.44 percent stake in Nio, according to a regulatory filing posted October 9.

Elon Musk: Teslaquila tequila is ‘coming soon’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed Friday in a tweet that the Tesla-branded tequila called “Teslaquilla”—the bottle of liquor that co-starred in his April Fool’s Day joke about the automaker filing for bankruptcy — is “coming soon.” Musk’s tweet was a response to a CNBC article that reported Tesla had filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to […]

Tesla CEO Elon Musk confirmed Friday in a tweet that the Tesla-branded tequila called “Teslaquilla”—the bottle of liquor that co-starred in his April Fool’s Day joke about the automaker filing for bankruptcy — is “coming soon.”

Musk’s tweet was a response to a CNBC article that reported Tesla had filed an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to trademark “Teslaquila.”

Musk later tweeted a photo of a Teslaquila label.

The Teslaquila story began on April Fool’s Day after Musk posted a photo of himself passed out against a Tesla Model 3 “surrounded by “Teslaquilla” bottles, the tracks of dried tears still visible on his cheeks.” In the photo, Musk is holding a cardboard sign that reads “bankwupt.”

It’s important to note that the filing Monday is an “intent to use” trademark, which, just like it sounds, means Tesla has a “bona fide intention, and is entitled, to use the mark in commerce on or in connection with the identified goods/services.”

Tesla vehicles ordered after October 15 lose out on full tax credit eligibility

Tesla customers who want the full $7,500 federal tax credit have until October 15 to order a Model S, Model X or Model 3 electric vehicle, a new deadline posted on the company’s website that could spark a flurry of sales. The October 15 deadline was added Thursday to the Tesla website. Earlier this year, […]

Tesla customers who want the full $7,500 federal tax credit have until October 15 to order a Model S, Model X or Model 3 electric vehicle, a new deadline posted on the company’s website that could spark a flurry of sales.

The October 15 deadline was added Thursday to the Tesla website.

Earlier this year, Tesla hit a bittersweet milestone when it delivered its 200,000th electric vehicle. The achievement — a noteworthy occasion for an automaker that didn’t exist 15 years ago — activated a countdown for the $7,500 federal tax credit offered to consumers who buy new electric vehicles.

The tax credit begins to phase out once a manufacturer has sold 200,000 qualifying vehicles in the U.S. Under these rules, Tesla customers have to take delivery of their new Model S, Model X or Model 3 by December 31. Tesla explained how the tax credit would phase out and the Dec. 31 delivery deadline two months ago.

Until Thursday, it wasn’t clear if or when Tesla would impose a deadline for customers to order their electric vehicle.

Tesla estimates that customers who order a Model X and Model S right now would take delivery of their vehicles in November. The Model 3, depending on the variant a customer chooses, could take up to eight weeks, according to the company’s website.

The newly imposed deadline may spur sales, giving Tesla an added boost to close out 2018. However, these delivery-sensitive sales come with added responsibility — and the potential of angering new customers if Tesla fails to meet that deadline.Tesla federal tax credit deadline

 

Uber Freight’s app for truck drivers is getting an upgrade

Uber Freight, the newly spun out Uber business unit, will push out an upgraded app in the coming weeks with better, more intuitive tools to help truck drivers connect with shipping companies. The redesigned and updated app comes just two months after Uber announced it would make Uber Freight a separate unit and more than double […]

Uber Freight, the newly spun out Uber business unit, will push out an upgraded app in the coming weeks with better, more intuitive tools to help truck drivers connect with shipping companies.

The redesigned and updated app comes just two months after Uber announced it would make Uber Freight a separate unit and more than double its investment into the business.

“This is an industry that is just fraught with a lot of manual processes,” Adam Schwabe, senior product designer at Uber Freight told TechCrunch. “A lot of work that has to go into running the business is the overhead. The way we approached this is to design an app in a very user-centered way around the truck drivers.”

That meant going to a lot of truck shows and getting the app into drivers’ hands, Schwabe added.

The result is an upgraded app with new navigation features that make searching for and filtering loads easier to customize and more intuitive. The new redesign has a search bar across the top of the screen, an easy place where all of the driver’s preferences can be found. If drivers change their selections — say putting a preference on maximizing the rate per mile — the  search bar will update in real time about how many load matches are found.

Uber Freight also added a date picker to the app that lets carriers and their drivers jump to a pick-up date of their choosing with just a tap, so they can plan their weeks more efficiently.

Drivers also can sort for the factors that are the most important to them, according to Uber Freight product manager Xinfeng Le.

The search and sort upgrades will be available on iOS and Android in the coming weeks.

The app is also getting an updated map view, which will roll out to all users in 2019. The map view provides a brand new way for truck drivers to look for loads around their location. The app is already equipped with a list view, which shows them many loads at once. The map view is handy because users can drag the map to areas where they’ll be traveling.

Uber Freight has been scaling up its business since launching in May 2017, growing from limited regional operations in Texas to the rest of the continental U.S. The company, which is led by Lior Ron, has offices in San Francisco and Chicago.

The company has launched a series of programs and features since March, including “fleet mode” and Uber Freight Plus, which gives app users access to discounts on services such as fuel, tires and phone plans.

Uber Freight also started an advisory board of truck drivers and introduced a platform that lets shippers into the company’s network and lets them manage shipments directly from their desktop.

Self-driving car startup Aurora becomes Pennsylvania’s first ‘authorized’ tester

Aurora, the buzzy self-driving car startup, has become the first company officially authorized by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to test its vehicles on public roads. Aurora has been testing its autonomous vehicles on public streets in Pittsburgh since late 2017. And other companies such as Argo AI also test autonomous vehicles there. So receiving […]

Aurora, the buzzy self-driving car startup, has become the first company officially authorized by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to test its vehicles on public roads.

Aurora has been testing its autonomous vehicles on public streets in Pittsburgh since late 2017. And other companies such as Argo AI also test autonomous vehicles there. So receiving an “authorized tester” designation might seem a bit backwards.

Welcome to the wacky world of autonomous vehicles, where the state and local agencies are often playing policy catch-up to technological advancements.

Pennsylvania, and specifically Pittsburgh, is already a hotbed of AV testing and research with Carnegie Mellon University, Aurora, Argo AI and Uber ATG all located in the area.

This authorized tester designation is part of an automated vehicle testing guidance developed by a task force and released in July. The guidance is meant to help regulators better monitor and track autonomous vehicle testing in the state.

The key word in there is “guidance.” Pennsylvania law allows testing of highly automated vehicles as long as there’s a licensed driver behind the wheel who can take control if needed.

In other words, going through an application process to become an authorized tester is voluntary. And Aurora was the first to comply.

Aurora explained in a blog post Wednesday that it voluntarily complied with PennDOT’s request “because we believe this will help the communities in and around Pittsburgh to be aware of Aurora, our testing, our commitment to safety, and our vision for a self-driving future.”

Aurora will provide PennDOT information about where it’s testing, the conditions under which it tests, the internal checks and safety measures used, the vetting and training of vehicle operators and details about how its self-driving system works.

Aurora doesn’t hire independent contractors as test drivers. Instead it uses full-time employees who go through a 12-week training program that includes a defensive driving course and coursework on how to operate the self-driving system safely. The test drivers undergo weekly, quarterly and annual refresher trainings, according to Aurora. The company also requires two people in test vehicles when driving in autonomous mode.

It’s a small, notable progression in Aurora’s big year of firsts. The company, founded by Sterling Anderson, Drew Bagnell and Chris Urmson, announced partnerships with Volkswagen Group, Hyundai and Chinese electric vehicle startup Byton. It’s made some key hires, including SpaceX’s former head of software engineering, Jinnah Hosein, who is leading a software engineering team. And it has three locations — its headquarters in Palo Alto as well as offices in San Francisco and Pittsburgh.

It’s also noteworthy for the state. The guidance lays the foundation for future legislation or policies that would provide greater oversight on autonomous vehicles testing and even opens the door for testing vehicles without a human driver behind the wheel.

Waymo’s self-driving cars hit 10 million miles

Alphabet’s self-driving car company Waymo has spent years testing its autonomous vehicles on public roads. What started as a trickle of miles driven each day has exploded in the past few years. And now, the company has hit a new milestone as it prepares to launch a commercial ride-hailing service with fleets of self-driving vehicles. Waymo […]

Alphabet’s self-driving car company Waymo has spent years testing its autonomous vehicles on public roads. What started as a trickle of miles driven each day has exploded in the past few years.

And now, the company has hit a new milestone as it prepares to launch a commercial ride-hailing service with fleets of self-driving vehicles.

Waymo announced Wednesday that its autonomous vehicles have driven 10 million miles on public roads in the United States. Keep in mind that the company hit 8 million miles in July and had logged just 4 million miles in November 2017. In other words, Waymo’s pace is quickening.

These autonomous vehicle miles were logged in 25 cities, notably in Google’s hometown of Mountain View, California and in the greater Phoenix area, where the company launched an early rider program to shuttle passengers around the city. More than 400 early riders use the Waymo app and ride in their autonomous Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid minivans.

The company’s progress on public roads is made possible by its investment in simulation, Waymo CEO John Krafcik noted in a post on Medium. The company will hit 7 billion miles driven in its virtual world by the end of the month.

“In simulation, we can recreate any encounter we have on the road and make situations even more challenging through ‘fuzzing,’ ” Krafcik wrote. “We can test new skills, refine existing ones, and practice extremely rare encounters, constantly challenging, verifying, and validating our software. We can learn exponentially through this combination of driving on public roads and simulation.”

Of course, it’s not just about racking up miles.

Companies like Cruise and Waymo with large numbers of autonomous vehicles have been challenged to develop self-driving cars that can safely navigate complex urban environments and fit in with the millions of human drivers on the road. It’s not always smooth, and traffic can stack up behind these cautious autonomous vehicles, sometimes requiring the human test driver to take manual control of the car.

“Today, our cars are programmed to be cautious and courteous above all, because that’s the safest thing to do,” Krafcik wrote. “We’re working on striking the balance between this and being assertive as we master maneuvers that are tough for everyone on the road. For example, merging lanes in fast-moving traffic requires a driver to be both assertive enough to complete the maneuver without causing others to brake and smooth enough to feel pleasant to our passengers.”

For now, Waymo vehicles are more circumspect and are designed to take the safest route, even if that means adding a few minutes to the trip, according to Krafcik.

The next 10 million miles, Krafcik said, will focus on building out the ride-hailing service to make it more convenient and efficient. For instance, the company is working to improve its routes, pick-ups and drop-offs.

Waymo engineers are also applying advanced artificial intelligence and new in-house-designed sensing systems to navigate complex weather conditions like heavy rain and snow, Krafcik said.