The big picture

Clean trucks are paving the road to the electric vehicle era

The impact of the pandemic on e-commerce is adding to the urgency.

Dec 4, 2020 - Economy & Business
Boeing expects to sell fewer planes over the next decade

The lowering demand is a direct result of the economic shock from the coronavirus pandemic.

Oct 6, 2020 - Economy & Business
Eyeing the end of gas-powered cars

"Europe and China have woken up to the fact that [the combustion engine] is dead."

Sep 25, 2020 - Economy & Business
Elon Musk is channeling Henry Ford in auto manufacturing

Musk is embracing many of Ford’s ideas like vertical supply chains and manufacturing efficiency

Aug 14, 2020 - Economy & Business
Poor communities at risk as strapped public transit starts up again

The pandemic and recent protests put a spotlight on transportation inequities, giving urban planners new motivation to get it right.

Jun 26, 2020 - Economy & Business
Transportation's looming overhaul

"It’s a gamble based on what you think will happen, but if you don’t do anything, then for sure you’re out of business."

Oct 18, 2019 - Energy & Environment

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GM slows production in some plants due to semiconductor chip shortage

Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

General Motors is reducing production in some of its North American plants due to a global semiconductor chip shortage.

Why it matters: The chip shortage is affecting automotive companies around the world, with semiconductors functioning as a key component for steering systems, car brakes and other automobile features.

Apr 7, 2021 - Economy & Business

Dogfight erupts between air taxi startups over trade secrets

An image included in Wisk's court filing compares a Wisk prototype, left, to one later produced by Archer. Image: Wisk

Archer Aviation, an air taxi startup planning to go public soon through a SPAC merger, is now facing a federal investigation and accusations that the company stole trade secrets from a key rival.

Why it matters: The dispute between Archer and Wisk Aero, a joint venture of Boeing and Google co-founder Larry Page's Kitty Hawk, underscores the intense competition to dominate the still-unproven market for flying cars.

Apr 6, 2021 - Economy & Business

GM to build electric Chevy Silverado pickup in Detroit

2021 Chevrolet Silverado. An electric version is coming soon. Photo: GM

General Motors announced Tuesday it will introduce an electric version of its popular Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck that will be built at the company’s Factory ZERO assembly plant in Detroit.

Why it matters: GM is rapidly expanding its portfolio of battery-operated vehicles, with a plan to deliver more than 1 million EVs globally by 2025. It just unveiled the GMC Hummer electric SUV last weekend, joining the previously announced GMC Hummer electric pickup.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Apr 5, 2021 - Economy & Business

The electric vehicle sales surge

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Tesla's stock was up over 7% in premarket trading this morning after it reported record deliveries in the year's first quarter on Friday. But it's not the only manufacturer seeing sales increases this year.

Why it matters: Even as gasoline-powered sales return from the pandemic, cars with plugs are going faster, albeit from a much smaller base.

Apr 3, 2021 - Economy & Business

Supersonic travel is about to make a comeback

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In a few years, it might be possible to fly from Washington, D.C., to Paris in four hours — instead of eight — or from San Francisco to Tokyo in just six hours aboard a new crop of supersonic jets.

Why it matters: High-speed air travel promises to shrink the planet, putting far-away vacation destinations within closer reach and enabling business travelers to attend meetings on another continent and return the same day.

Tesla delivered 184,800 cars in the first quarter

Tesla CEO Elon Musk. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Tesla said Friday it delivered 184,800 cars in the first quarter — exceeding analyst expectations (177,822).

Why it matters: That tops the previous record set in Q4. It's also more than double the vehicles delivered at the same time last year.

Apr 2, 2021 - Economy & Business

Waymo chief steps down

John Krafcik, who is retiring as CEO of Waymo (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Auto industry veteran John Krafcik said he is stepping down as CEO of Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving subsidiary, which named two senior executives to replace him as co-CEOs.

Why it matters: Krafcik, 59, was hired in 2015 to transition Google's self-driving car project into a commercial enterprise. He raised $3.25 billion in outside capital, launched Waymo's fledgling robotaxi service in suburban Phoenix and laid the groundwork for an autonomous trucking operation called Waymo Via.

Amtrak unveils vision of expanded rail map under Biden's infrastructure plan

The proposed map for an expanded rail service by Amtrak. Photo: Amtrak.

Amtrak released a proposed map Wednesday of an expanded U.S. rail system that could be built with funding from President Biden's infrastructure plan.

Why it matters: The expanded rail system — funded with the $80 billion Biden's infrastructure plan allocates to rail specifically—would "create jobs, improve the quality of life, reduce carbon emissions and generate economic growth,” Amtrak said in a statement.

Delta to stop blocking middle seats on May 1

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Delta Airlines will begin filling middle seats again on May 1 — reversing a change made in April 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, per a news release.

Why it matters: Delta is one of the last airlines to unblock middle seats. The company says increased consumer confidence and the rollout of coronavirus vaccines have lowered potential risks. All passengers will still be required to wear face masks.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Mar 31, 2021 - Economy & Business

Electric plane startup Lilium goes public in bid to take commercial flight by 2024

Lilium Jet. Photo courtesy of Lilium

Electric aviation startup Lilium is going public via merger with a special purpose acquisition company as it looks to commercialize a seven-seat vertical takeoff and landing plane (VTOL) for regional travel.

Driving the news: The Munich-based company yesterday announced a merger with Qell Acquisition Corp. that values the combined company at roughly $3.3 billion.

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