Stories by Raphael Gindrat

Expert Voices

Automakers envision a business model for AVs: selling miles, not cars

A blue car sitting atop a pile of money
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

If AVs eventually dominate the car industry, automakers could start charging for miles travelled instead of vehicles sold — potentially a much bigger revenue opportunity.

The big picture: Automakers and tech companies are investing in AV technology because it offers, among many things, a new revenue stream if people shift from owning vehicles to buying access to transportation.

Expert Voices

Solving the efficiency riddles of microtransit

Illustration of roads in the shape of a penrose triangle
Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Companies like Bridj, Ford and Sweden's Kutsuplus have shut down their microtransit shuttle services, in part because optimizing the trips has proven both difficult and costly.

The big picture: In theory, moving more people with fewer vehicles is a good business model. But microtransit requires companies to purchase and maintain vehicles and to pay drivers for the duration of their shift, not just when they are carrying paying passengers.

Expert Voices

The ride-hailing challenges autonomy can't solve

gray van with Uber and Lyft stickers on the window
A ride-hailing vehicle in New York City. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Ride-hailing companies like Uber, Lyft and China's Didi have dominated the emerging mobility market and are now investing in autonomous technology, which Goldman Sachs projects would accelerate growth and increase profitability by eliminating driver subsidies.

The big picture: Even with AV fleets, however, ride-hailing companies may struggle to improve their bottom lines without addressing other inefficiencies in their business model. The time ride-hailing vehicles spend empty (traveling 2.8 miles for every mile in service) only exacerbates the role they have played in slowing city traffic, by up to 20% in New York and 51% in San Francisco.