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News, knowledge, and insights for the automotive industry.

Apple Auto Engineers Go for the Forbidden Fruit

Apple is no longer planning to build its own vehicle, but some of its engineers still are. 17 auto engineers who specialize in elements present in both traditional and autonomous vehicles have left the Fruit for Zoox, a self-driving car start-up developing its own car for a fleet of vehicles. The Silicon Valley rival has been building its team over the past several months and is valued at more than $1 billion.

Uber’s New Kid on the Block

All eyes are on incoming Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and the road ahead for the company. In some of his first words to the company, he said, "this company has to change. What got us here is not what's going to get us to the next level." Some of the items at the top of Khosrowshahi’s to-do list including bringing order to the company’s board, using the core ride-hailing business to “pay the bills,” evaluating “far-out” initiatives, and going public. 

Thinking Bigger: Ford Broadens Approach to Self-Driving Fleet, Partnerships

Ford is shopping around for partners to help realize its self-driving potential. With a new CEO and VP of autonomous cars and electrification, the company is ready for a new approach. Larger commercial vehicles, ridesharing, and delivery services are all possibilities. [Reuters]

Domino’s Wants a Pizza the Autonomous Car Pie

No driver means no figuring out the tip, right? Domino’s wants to know it its customers would accept curbside pizza delivery- without a driver. The pizza giant is experimenting early before the autonomous delivery industry gets too sliced up, positioning itself as the leader of the self-driving pack. In essence, the research will boil down to how many steps pizza lovers are open to taking beyond their front door and their comfort in interacting with an unmanned car.

A Who’s Who of Who Isn’t Going to Build Self-Driving Cars

Autonomous cars originally had everyone who’s anyone diving in, but now Silicon Valley’s top companies are stepping back to see who will actually swim. Alphabet’s Waymo, Apple, and Uber are all companies that stepping back from building the actual vehicle, preferring to focus on the technology instead. With the most profitable technology company in the world, Apple, drawing the line at building cars, it looks like Tesla or the likes of Toyota, Ford, and GM need to put the tech on four wheels. Manufacturers, start your engines.

Tesla Hits the Long and Winding Road with Electric Truck

Trucking is seriously getting trendy. We recently covered Chanje’s bid in the industry, and now Tesla looks to be heading for the commercial freight market with a prototype of an electric big-rig truck expected next month.  The long-range truck is expected to run 200-300 miles on a single charge, which may fit well with the approximately 30 percent of US trucking jobs that cover regional trips of 100-200 miles. Good to know that long range has a short end.

Amid the Self-Driving Arms Race, Stop and Look Around

There’s going to be a brave new urban order out there before we know it. Researchers warn that cities must start thinking in systems, rather just zeroing in on self-driving cars. The new technology is expected to redefine residential areas and real estate markets, cast uncertainty over public transportation, and cement trends already started by ride sharing companies like increased city street stopping for drop-offs. Time to think bigger.

The Biggest Auto Market You’ve Never Heard Of

The competition is packed in the electric personal vehicle market, but one company, Chanje is heading into the “medium-duty electric truck” market. Not too heavy, not too light, just right. Anyway, medium-duty trucks are a rare breed, but Chanje’s trucks are not a concept- they’re ready for sale and leasing is expected to begin in the next weeks. Chanje has already struck a deal with Ryder, one of the largest medium-duty truck fleet management companies in the US.

The Most Eligible Electric Car Market? China

If the auto market were a dating reality show, China would definitely get a rose and a one-on-one date. With China surpassing the US as the biggest market for electric vehicles last year, the global auto industry has zeroed in on the opportunities in the country’s 40% share of the global market. Ford’s new joint venture with Chinese Anhui Zotye Automobile  Co. follows market entries by Volvo, General Motors, Volkswagen, Nissan, and other companies.

Law & Tesla: Lobbyist Intent

In the automotive market system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the manufacturers who make cars and the dealerships who sell their creations. These are their stories. The federal judge in Tesla’s suit against Michigan over the 2014 law that bans manufacturers from selling directly to customers recently said two state lawmakers must turn over records of their communications with lobbyists related to the law. The win is part of several records that Tesla has subpoenaed as part of the case.