October in Transportation – Luxury EVs in the Spotlight

Rolls Royce Spectre

Written by Jeremy Ertl | Associate PR Director 

Welcome to the latest and greatest from the world of transportation, aggregated by our team at broadhead | HMH. Every month, we aim to share interesting links, thoughts on trending stories and more about the future of transportation. Let’s get into it. 

Total Rivian Recall

Rivian, a startup EV automaker backed by Amazon, recently voluntarily recalled 12,000 vehicles that were previously delivered due to a loose fastener. For context, this is almost every vehicle the startup has ever produced, and for more context, a fastener connects the front upper control arm and steering knuckle. When this piece is loose, it could cause vibrating tires, a steering wheel tilt and loss of steering control (via TechCrunch). We call that a “big yikes” in the business.

Recalls are also fairly common. Thousands of recalls currently exist on the market for almost every car manufacturer still in operation, but Rivian is being lauded for its response. Despite the small number of actual cases, the company initiated the recall out of an abundance of caution and will offer mobile service appointments to inspect and secure fasteners for effected vehicles.

The company’s shares slipped in the debacle, but Rivian still says it’s on pace to meet 2022 goals after production grew 67% in the third quarter (CNBC).

Be. Proactive. B-E PROACTIVE. 

Is a Pepsi OK?

Coke must have been on PTO.

From the freaky Optimus robot to C Y B E R T R U C K to taking over Twitter (don’t get me started on that one), what isn’t Tesla up to nowadays?

A whopping five years after Elon Musk revealed his semi-truck prototypes, Tesla will finally deliver 100 of its first semis to PepsiCo. Reserving the semis back in 2017, PepsiCo is set to receive them on December 1, 2022 (Automotive News).

According to an SEC filing, the delay in production of the semis was due to a shortage of battery cells and challenges within the global supply chain. Welcome to living on planet Earth. According to Chief Twit, the semis will have a range of 500 miles and are “super fun to drive.” With quotes like that, who needs PR?

And in other we’ll-believe-it-when-we-see-it news, Tesla is ditching its ultrasonic sensors in favor of camera-only driver assistance, including Model S and Model X as early as next year (The Verge).

Baby Driver(less)

Gatik, an autonomous tech company, has followed up its 2021 driverless pilot in Arkansas (running routes for Walmart, no less) by fully removing drivers from its box trucks in Toronto (FreightWaves).

Partnering with Canadian grocery chain Loblaws, the company will transport online orders for the supermarket’s PC Express service. To date, these multi-temperature trucks have completed more than 150,000 autonomous deliveries (with a safety driver) with no incidents.

According to Gatik CEO and co-founder Guatam Narang, this milestone makes Gatik the “first and only” autonomous trucking company moving goods without a driver across multiple customers and multiple sites (Forbes).

That’s one way to handle the truck driver shortage, eh?

Best Believe She’s Still Bejeweled

More than 120 years after Rolls-Royce co-founder Charles Rolls predicted the electric car, Rolls-Royce is fulfilling a prophecy by announcing the Spectre, the company’s first fully-electric car.

And this thing is BEAUTIFUL.

Unavailable to consumers until late 2023, the all-electric, luxury vehicle is one of the most highly anticipated EVs to hit the market in recent years. Over 300 deposits had been placed even prior to the vehicle being unveiled, according to CNBC.

Spectre will have a range of around 320 miles on one charge and can go from 0-60 miles per hour in 4.4 seconds. With a starting price tag of $413,000, the Spectre is officially the most expensive EV coupe currently for sale.

As a premium option, Spectre will offer the “Illuminated Fascia” version of its starlight headliner treatment offered in other models, featuring over 5,500 stars along the doors and roof that light up the car roof at night.

Pick us up at midnight.

The Notorious G.M.E.V.

GM’s really just building its own little electric empire over in Detroit, aren’t they?

The automaker announced the creation of a new business unit, GM Energy, a lineup of battery technology and energy management services that goes beyond cars to power trains, boats, and even commercial equipment and buildings (Axios).

GM will sell these new services to both residential and commercial customers, allowing EV owners to harness bidirectional charging, using their vehicles to put power back into their homes during outages, and even earn money by selling energy back to utilities (we’ve talked about the fabulous world of V2G before and this is it, folks).

The new unit will also provide solar and stationary energy storage products that are compatible with fuel cells (Automotive News). GM Energy components are expected to become available in Q4 2023, but initial rollout has already begun.

Quick miles:

  • Known as “gas station deforestation,” Manhattan EV-charging stations now outnumber gas stations 10:1, with other metropolitan cities to follow (Bloomberg)
  • Year 3000 tech like fingerprint unlock (in the new Genesis GV60 electric SUV) and digital license plates (California baddies only) are hitting the streets, both via Axios
  • Uber is breathing new life into its driverless rides & delivery program by partnering with Motional, via Bloomberg
  • EV maker Arrival is making the most of its remaining capital, planning significant layoffs in the UK as it shifts production to North Carolina, according to TechCrunch
  • Nobody puts Baby in an AI-powered stroller? We’ll see about that, via Axios
  • Ever wonder what’s in those driverless trucks? Waymo is hauling beer from Houston to Dallas, via Bloomberg
    • IKEA and Kodiak Robotics are also testing driverless deliveries in the Dallas area, via CNBC
  • German automaker Audi is considering its first US assembly plant following EV tax credits from the Inflation Reduction Act, according to Automotive News
    • They’ve also developed a filter for EVs that collects outside particulate matter, via Electrek
  • In a piece from The New York Times, the nation’s first high-speed bullet train (which would connect LA to San Francisco) has become “a multi-billion-dollar nightmare”
  • Delta is investing up to $200 million in eVTOL startup, Joby Innovation, and inventing the phrase home-to-airport, via Delta Newsroom
  • The 2024 GMC Sierra EV has hit the market with a six-figure price tag to compete with Hummer in the ultimate pissing contest, via Automotive News

In somber news, we’d like to take a moment of silence to remember Argo AI, the Ford & VW-backed autonomous startup that flew a little too close to the sun (TechCrunch). Rest in peace, little guy.

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