Fisker enters Dumpster Fire territory and Tesla chases FSD revenue

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Welcome back to TechCrunch Dynamics – Your central hub for news and insights on the future of transportation. Remember in the last edition of TechCrunch Mobility, when I wrote that the wheels were starting to come off. Fisker bus? Sheesh. They did.

To catch you up: Fisker warned on March 18 that it was halting production for six weeks and had only $121 million in cash and cash equivalents, of which $32 million was restricted or not immediately accessible. The company was counting on $150 million in capital inflows through convertible notes and potential partnerships with other automakers. Those hopes evaporated as quickly as a gasoline-soaked rag when negotiations between Fisker and a major automaker — reportedly Nissan — took place, putting the convertible note deal in jeopardy.

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

All of those are symptoms of a larger problem within the company, including one particularly embarrassing one that TC reporter Sean O’Kane uncovered. The tl;dr: Fisker temporarily lost track of millions of dollars in customer payments because it sped up deliveries, leading to an internal audit that began in December and took months to complete.

Okay, let’s get to the rest of it, including the bankrupt EV startup arrival Assets exhausted, a profile on a startup Ionobel Recycled silicon battery materials hope to expand EV range, and $1 billion boost Lucid.

little bird

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

Got a tip for us? Email Kirsten Korosak at kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com or Sean O’Kane sean.okane@techcrunch.com. If you prefer to remain anonymous, Click here to contact usincluding SecureDrop (Instructions here) and various encrypted messaging applications.

Deal of the week

Station money

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

Amidst all the EV startup bankruptcies and other dark goings-on, there was a bit of positive news. LucidWhich has its own struggles, it raised another $1 billion from its biggest financial backer, Saudi Arabia. Ayer’s third investmentAn affiliate of Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund agreed to buy $1 billion worth of Lucid’s stock, adding to the kingdom’s current stake of about 60%.

A $1 billion boost is a lot of money, but it won’t last long if you’re trying to design, manufacture, sell and service vehicles. This gives Lucid an important capital buffer; However, that 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 scale.

Another deal that caught my attention…

Cyvl.ai, a Boston-area startup that helps municipalities and civil engineering firms track transportation infrastructure conditions, raised $6 million in a round led by Company Ventures, with participation from Argonne Ventures, Arrow X Ventures and Alumni Ventures. Existing investors MassVentures, Launch Capital and Riverpark Ventures also participated.

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

Ionobel, a seed-stage startup that says its silicon materials will be cheaper than established competition and help expand range in EV batteries, TechCrunch has learned exclusively, closed a hefty $3.9 million seed extension. Dynamo Ventures and Truck VC led the round.

Iron SheepdogA startup that developed trucking software for brokers and contractors has raised $10 million in a Series B round led by SJF Ventures with participation from Grand Ventures, supply chain ventures and other strategic partners in the construction industry.

Remarkable reading and other tidbits

ADAS

Tesla is giving every customer in the US a free one-month trial of its $12,000 full self-driving beta driver-assistance system, provided they have a car with compatible hardware. The company also reportedly mandated that potential buyers be given a demo of the software before purchasing a new Tesla, at CEO Elon Musk’s request. It seems Tesla is turning to FSD as another financial lever as profits on automotive sales decline.

Electric vehicles, charging and batteries

arrival Sold some of its assets, including advanced manufacturing equipment Kanu, another struggling startup trying to build and sell electric vehicles. You can’t make this stuff up, people!

This US Environmental Protection Agency announced New emission standards For heavy-duty vehicles sold in the U.S. from 2027 to 2032, a rule that would increasingly limit the amount of pollution emitted by new heavy trucks. rules Technically Don’t mandate that these non-polluting heavy trucks be electric and instead let manufacturers decide how to meet the standards, whether through hydrogen-powered fuel cells, better fuel efficiency or other alternative fuels. However, many believe that will mean the rise of battery-electric heavy-duty trucks. Consider the potential impact of this rule: The heavy-trucks category applies to more than 100 types of vehicles, including commercial vehicles such as delivery trucks, garbage haulers, public utility trucks, transit, shuttle and school buses, as well as tractor-trailer trucks. .

In-car tech

GM Another executive who was part of the company’s software and digital services efforts has been lost. You may recall that former Apple executive Mike Abbott, who was GM’s executive vice president of software and services, got down earlier this month due to health issues. Now gone is Edward Kummer, the former president of Nordstrom Rack’s online business who joined GM in 2021 to lead its new digital business team. The Detroit News reported.

This week’s wheels

Land Rover Defender 110-x

Image Credits: Kirsten Korosak

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

My experience with the Land Rover Defender is only with body-on-frame models that are decades old. So I was looking forward to finally getting the modernized version, which Land Rover officially brought back in 2020. The spec I drove, which cost just under $88,000 and included some expensive upgrades and 22-inch wheels, is probably worth it. The well-heeled urban consumer. But with different tires, this aluminum monocoque-structure Defender can handle off-road conditions perfectly. I played on dirt roads – no rock crawls – and it handled just fine, even on washboard terrain, with no squeaks, rattles or clunks.

I didn’t like the advanced driver-assistance system, especially how the driver engages the adaptive cruise control. But there were plenty of features I liked, including a very quiet ride, adaptive air suspension, black-on-white gloss detailing, a functional tailgate, and an air-cooled cubby for easy-access spare tire storage. Breakfast cool and an interior design that marries utilitarian function with strong, high-quality materials.

A final word on that interior – you won’t find a huge screen here. But tech-related details are mixed with buttons and knobs. My version had a wireless charger and plenty of charger ports, including one on the passenger side dash. And the user interface was actually quite decent.

One feature I liked was the drop-down menu on the media toggle that allowed me to quickly swap between Apple CarPlay and the original infotainment system that included Sirius XM Radio or local stations. It may seem counterintuitive, but I’ve been in a number of EVs lately that make switching between CarPlay and the native system very complicated.

#Fisker #enters #Dumpster #Fire #territory #Tesla #chases #FSD #revenue

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