Ojo wants to be the electric scooter for commuters, but it’s not there yet

Commuting in a busy city like San Francisco can be annoying — between all the cars, bikes, Boosted Boards and other electric gizmos zipping and weaving through lanes. The Ojo Electric scooter, while it might help with your personal traffic woes, won’t do much to help reduce the overall annoyance commuters experience. The Ojo is designed to be an alternative mode of transportation… Read More

Apple said to be prepping self-driving employee shuttle service

 Apple’s first real-world use of some of the autonomous driving technology it’s working on could be a self-driving shuttle, according to a new report from The New York Times. The Times’ detailed progress (and some missteps) in Apple’s self-driving car ambitions, and one of those which still seems on track is a plan to create an autonomous shuttle to ferry employees from… Read More

Elon Musk shares first photo of SpaceX’s new spacesuit

 We now have our first look at the spacesuit SpaceX plans to use for its first crewed missions, courtesy of Elon Musk. The SpaceX CEO shared the image via Instagram, revealing that the picture was not a mockup, but an actual shot of a fully functional suit, which could withstand double the pressure of the vacuum of space.
Musk noted that getting the right balance of form and function was… Read More

Here is Uber’s first pitch deck

 On the ninth anniversary of the founding of Uber, its co-founder Garrett Camp shared the company’s initial pitch deck via a personal Medium post. The deck, and the short post, comes off quite sentimental because of how much has happened to the company since it was created.
But company growth and drama aside, there’s a lot to be learned from Uber’s 25 slide deck. Enjoy the… Read More

LG to build U.S.-based factory for EV components in Michigan

 LG is building a new factory in Detroit suburb Hazel Park to supply electric vehicle components, the company announced on Tuesday. The facility will be a 250,000-square foot manufacturing plant, and should result in almost 300 new jobs, LG says, with a $25 million price tag from the company and $2.9 million in grand money supplied by Michigan over the next four years. LG’s EV… Read More

Google Maps suggests BlaBlaCar for long-distance rides

 Google Maps on Android and iOS now has a new transportation option. If you live in a country where French startup BlaBlaCar operates, you can now open the BlaBlaCar app and book a ride straight from Google Maps. Google isn’t adding a new tab just for BlaBlaCar. Instead, BlaBlaCar appears as a new option in the public transportation tab. Read More

China’s Great Wall says it’s watching Fiat Chrysler, but no talks between companies yet

By Meg Shen and Brenda Goh

HONG KONG/SHANGHAI — Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor Co Ltd reiterated its interest in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Tuesday, but said it had not held talks or signed a deal with executives at the Italian-American automaker.

China’s largest sport utility vehicle (SUV) manufacturer made a direct overture to Fiat Chrysler on Monday, with an official saying the company was interested in all or part of FCA, owner of the Jeep and Ram truck brands.

Automotive News first reported the news, quoting Great Wall Motor President Wang Fengying as saying she planned to contact FCA to discuss acquiring the Jeep brand specifically.

Those comments sent FCA shares higher – but also raised questions over the ability of China’s seventh-largest automaker by sales to buy larger Western rival FCA, or even Jeep, which some analysts value at as much as one-and-a-half times FCA.

Great Wall sought to dampen speculation on Tuesday. It confirmed it had studied Fiat Chrysler, but said there was “no concrete progress so far” and “substantial uncertainty” over whether it would eventually bid.

“The company has not built any relationship with the directors of FCA nor has the company entered into any discussion or signed any agreements with any officer of FCA so far,” the company said in an English-language stock exchange filing.

It did not give further detail.

Fiat Chrysler stock dipped on the statement on Tuesday. Great Wall said trading in its Shanghai-listed shares would resume on Wednesday after having been suspended.

Fiat Chrysler declined to comment on Great Wall’s statement. On Monday, it said it had not been approached and was fully committed to implementing its current business plan.

Flushing out rivals? 

Great Wall Motor, which was early to spot China’s love of SUVs, had revenue of US$14.8 billion last year and sold 1.07 million vehicles – but that compares with FCA’s 2016 revenue of 111 billion euros ($130.6 billion).

Analysts said Great Wall would need to raise both debt and equity to complete any deal, meaning its chairman Wei Jianjun could lose majority control.

One possible scenario, according to analysts at Jefferies, would see Wei keeping a roughly 30 per cent stake, while Great Wall would raise US$10-$14 billion in debt and US$10 billion in equity – hefty for a group currently worth just US$16 billion.

Ultimately, politics could be the clincher.

Any bid now – and it would potentially be one of China’s largest ever overseas deals – would come at a time when Beijing is trying to limit extravagant Chinese purchases abroad, and when the political environment has cooled in the United States.

China’s cabinet on Friday issued rules on overseas acquisitions for the first time.

And the autos sector would also prove sensitive in both Europe and the United States, analysts said.

For FCA, for now, Great Wall’s approach may be more about flushing out rival interest.

European bankers said Fiat would likely consider doing a deal with a Chinese firm only if they could pay cash and bid for the whole company.

“FCA … is very much expected to use Great Wall’s interest to get to speak to all major EU car makers and ‘offer’ them a chance to get involved in the consolidation game,” said one banker, who asked not to be named.

© Thomson Reuters 2017

Uber said to have considered automaker joint ventures for self-driving

 Uber was reportedly approached by an unnamed automaker about a potential acquisition of its self-driving business, according to The Information. The idea was shot down by Uber execs, but the approach did prompt debate at the ride hailing company around potentially partnering with an automaker on development of self-driving tech, possibly even through the formation of a joint venture.… Read More