March 4, 2024

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Welcome to TechCrunch Mobility – the identical weekly e-newsletter you’ve been studying, however with a brand new identify and some adjustments.

Don’t fear, that is nonetheless your central hub for information and insights on the way forward for transportation. This week, examine Amazon, EV startup Fisker, electrical boats, a bunch of recent funding offers and my time driving the all-new Kia EV9.

Let’s go!

Just a little hen

Just a little hen pointed us to a brand new web site with some electrical vans that certain do look acquainted.

Bear in mind Lordstown Motors, the EV startup that went public by way of a SPAC and has since filed for chapter safety? Steve Burns, who based and was then ousted from Lordstown Motors, is again with a brand new EV startup known as LandX Motors.

The brand new LandX Motors web site prominently shows the identical electrical Endurance pickup truck he as soon as promised would beat Tesla, Ford and Normal Motors to market.

An individual aware of the corporate’s plans instructed TechCrunch that it’s not a lot in regards to the Endurance truck, however the underlying platform, software program and engineering behind it. Nonetheless, with the previous Lordstown vans taking part in a starring position on firm’s web site and video, it’s unclear simply how developed this plan is.

Need to attain out with a tip, remark or grievance? Electronic mail Kirsten at [email protected] or [email protected]. When you want to stay namelessclick on right here to contact us, which incorporates SecureDrop (directions right here) and varied encrypted messaging apps.

Deal of the week

money the station

Provide chain logistics startup Flexport had a quite tumultuous 2023 that included founder Ryan Petersen ousting his hand-picked successor and taking again the CEO spot after which buying the property of shuttered digital freight community Convoy.

The startup is kicking off 2024 by shoring up its enterprise with a $260 million “uncapped convertible notice” from Shopify, a deal that was introduced by Petersen in a collection of posts on social media website X.

As a reminder, Shopify and Flexport are already connected. Flexport acquired in 2023 Shopify’s logistics arm. The deal gave Shopify 13% fairness stake in Flexport and a seat on the board.

Different offers that acquired my consideration …

Electra, the Paris-based EV charging startup, raised $330 million in a Collection B spherical led by Dutch pension fund service supplier PGGM and Bpifrance’s Massive Enterprise fund. Eurazeo, RIVE Personal Funding, the SNCF group via 574 Make investments and Serena additionally participated.

Franziska Bossart, the brand new head of the Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund, spoke to me about how the $1 billion fund is evolving. Tl;dr: She’s increasing its geographic focus to Asia and Europe, and homing in on three areas, together with AI.

Worldwide Battery Firm, a startup growing lithium-ion battery cells for EVs, raised $35 million in a pre-Collection A spherical led by RTP World.

Land Moto, the Cleveland-based electrical bike startup, raised $3 million in a spherical led by a particular goal enterprise car known as Nunc Coepi Ventures.

Lightship, an all-electric RV startup, raised $34 million in a Collection B spherical co-led by Apparent Ventures and Prelude Ventures. Different new buyers embody Allegis Capital and world RV producer THOR Industries and its funding associate TechNexus Enterprise Collaborative.

Northvolt, the Swedish battery startup, secured a $5 billion debt deal to assist pay for the enlargement of its first gigafactory. As TC+ reporter Tim de Chant writes: “Northvolt’s $5 billion mortgage gained’t be sufficient to ensure success, however it ought to be sufficient to assist ramp up its manufacturing to a focused 60 gigawatt hours.”

Uber shut down alcohol supply service Drizly three years after the cab-hailing firm acquired it for $1.1 billion.

Notable reads and different tidbits

Autonomous autos

TuSimple will delist itself from the Nasdaq inventory trade because it strikes ahead with its plan to completely exit the U.S. market.

Electrical autos, charging & batteries

BMW’s future development depends upon EVs, and it’s lastly going all in, TC+ reporter Tim de Chants writes.

Fisker’s electrical Ocean SUV is below investigation by federal regulators over braking loss complaints.

GM recalled 66 electrical supply vans made by its BrightDrop subsidiary after the entrance drive models in at the least two of them caught fireplace late final yr. The trigger seems to be associated to a producing defect.

Navier, the electrical boat startup, has launched a pilot program for its hydrofoiling watercraft by way of a partnership with Stripe to carry passengers from San Francisco’s outskirts to the downtown space.

Way forward for flight

Wing, the drone-powered supply firm operated by Alphabet, intends to introduce a bigger craft able to delivering heavier packages to clients.

This week’s wheels

kia ev9 press drive

Picture Credit: Kirsten Korosec

I headed to Napa Valley to check out the Kia EV9 – an all-electric SUV with three rows that many consider will carry a complete new batch of EV clients into the market.

Earlier than I give some abbreviated ideas on what I did and didn’t like, listed here are a number of specs. The Kia EV9 is available in 5 trims with the most affordable — the rear-wheel drive EV9 Mild — beginning at $54,900. I examined the GT-Line trim, an all-wheel drive top-of-the-line model that has a variety of 270 miles and begins at $73,900 (For comparability, the Rivian R1S, which is AWD, comes with customary with  260 miles of vary and begins at $78,000. The Kia EV9 Mild RWD trim geared up with the larger battery has the perfect vary of 304 miles.

What did I like? It remained nicely planted on winding roads, even when I pushed the car a bit. It’s additionally quiet, has the sort of inside particulars one would possibly count on in a premium-priced SUV, the seats are comfy and the superior driver help system is straightforward to interact. The third row isn’t precisely spacious, however actually higher than many three-row SUVs I’ve been in.

There have been a number of misses. I do assume that Kia missed a chance by not giving the EV9 rear-wheel axle steering and I’m undecided if the battery vary, which is between 230 miles and 304 miles relying on the trim, is sufficient for consumers. Lastly, the format of the inside cabin is sort of there, however I’m nonetheless undecided I like the position of the beginning button and kit shifter (it’s a inventory tucked behind the steering wheel).