Transportation

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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What we're driving: Arcimoto FUV

Joann tooling around town in Arcimoto's FUV. Video: Bill Rapai for Axios

I've spent the past week on a joyride, tooling around town in a crazy-fun, three-wheeled mashup between an electric car and a motorcycle — an "autocycle" if you will — called the Arcimoto FUV.

Why it matters: If this is the future of mobility, sign me up!

The big picture: Arcimoto, based in Eugene, Oregon, wants to lead a shift to sustainable transportation — cleaner, smaller vehicles that help reduce congestion and CO2 emissions.

  • The $17,900 FUV ("fun utility vehicle") is part of a family of electric trikes that share the same basic design. There's also the Deliverator, the Rapid Responder, the Flatbed and the Roadster.

Details: Like the Polaris Slingshot or CanAm Spyder, Arcimoto's FUV has two wheels in front and one in back.

  • It's small — about one-third the weight and one-third the size of a typical car — but it has a surprisingly roomy cargo compartment that can hold three bags of groceries.
  • It seats two people — one in front of the other, not side-by-side.
  • There's a see-through roof and a windshield, but the sides are open, with removable half-doors.

How it works: The battery sends power to an electric motor on each of the front wheels, providing the instant torque that makes driving it so much fun.

  • It's highway-legal and goes up to 75 miles per hour, Arcimoto says — but I stuck to local roads and felt like I was flying at 45 mph, to be honest.
  • The driving range is up to 102 miles in stop-and-go city driving, with regenerative braking that puts wasted energy back into the battery. The faster you go, the shorter your range.

My thought bubble: I work from home and don't really need my car as much as I used to. This seems like a hip and handy alternative for errands around town.

What to watch: The company says it has more than 4,000 "pre-orders" and has delivered 230 to date.

  • So far it's available in just four states: Washington, Oregon, California and Florida — with Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona and New York to be added soon.
  • It's also for rent in some tourist destinations like Key West, Florida, San Francisco and San Diego.

What's next: Arcimoto's goal is to scale production within the next couple of years with help from a loan under the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program.

Sep 23, 2021 - Economy & Business

Individual car owners are competing with rental agencies

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

With rental cars in short supply, enterprising car owners have amassed their own small fleets of automobiles, renting them out to travelers at a premium.

A snapshot: If you need a car in Boston for a weekend in mid-October, you can rent a Ford Fiesta hatchback from Budget for about $500 — or pay the same for a Maserati Quattroporte from Turo.com, a car-sharing site.

United Airlines says 97% of U.S. employees fully vaccinated against COVID-19

Photo: James D. Morgan via Getty Images

United Airlines said Wednesday that over 97% of its U.S.-based employees are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to a company memo obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: United announced in August that it would require its 67,000 U.S.-based employees to get vaccinated by Sept. 27 or face termination. It's one of several airlines that set vaccine requirements even before President Biden issued his own vaccine mandate for employers with over 100 workers.

Sep 22, 2021 - Economy & Business

The outlook for automakers gets cloudier by the day

Photo: Francois Lo Presti/AFP via Getty Images

The outlook for global automakers and suppliers continues to worsen, amid heightened risk from supply chain disruptions, including the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage.

Driving the news: IHS Markit slashed its forecast for global light-vehicle production in 2021 by 6.2% — about 5 million vehicles. It's cutting even deeper — 9.3% or about 8.45 million vehicles — for 2022.

DOJ sues American Airlines, JetBlue to block "unprecedented" alliance

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Justice Department on Tuesday sued American Airlines and JetBlue to block an "unprecedented series of agreements" that will consolidate the two airlines' operations in Boston and New York City.

Why it matters: The civil antitrust complaint alleges that the planned Northeast Alliance (NEA) "will cause hundreds of millions of dollars in harm to air passengers across the country through higher fares and reduced choice," the DOJ said in a release.

Delta variant fears curb fall flying

Travelers in the Miami International Airport. Photo: by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Continued worries about the Delta variant are derailing fall travel plans.

Driving the news: Thanksgiving domestic flight bookings in August were 18% lower this year compared with 2019, according to a new Adobe Digital Economy Index report out Monday morning.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Sep 20, 2021 - Economy & Business

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky to herald "travel revolution"

Expand chart
Data: TSA. Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky will argue this week that the world is undergoing a "travel revolution," in which some parts of the industry stay shrunk but the sector ultimately comes back "bigger than ever."

Why it matters: Chesky, who faced the abyss when the world shut down last year, foresees a significant shift in how people move around, with more intentional gatherings of family, friends and colleagues — even if routine business travel is never what it once was.

Sep 17, 2021 - Economy & Business

What we're driving: The 2022 Nissan Pathfinder

2022 Nissan Pathfinder. Photo: Nissan

The Nissan Pathfinder has received a welcome makeover for 2022, going from run-of-the-mill crossover to stylish and rugged contender among family-friendly SUVs.

The big picture: It's the latest in a string of attractive models from Nissan, which has been mounting a turnaround effort after abandoning a profit-sapping discount strategy to fuel growth.

What's new: The 2022 Pathfinder was redesigned from the ground up, except for the carry-over V6 engine, which is now paired with a new 9-speed transmission.

I drove the $41,490 Pathfinder SL version with standard front-wheel-drive. (All-wheel drive is optional.)

  • It came with a $2,900 premium package that added features like a panoramic roof, heated second-row captain chairs and a 13-speaker Bose audio system.

The interior was spacious and comfortable, with one-touch access to third-row seating and desirable tech features like a 9-inch infotainment screen, Apple CarPlay, a wireless charging pad and a WiFi hotspot.

One cool feature: The hands-on, assisted-driving system (Nissan ProPILOT Assist) is linked to the car's navigation system, which means the Pathfinder knows when a curve or exit is coming up and will automatically slow down.

One annoying feature: The Pathfinder honked six times every time I exited the vehicle. It's Nissan's way of reminding drivers to check the back seat for kids or pets.

  • Hot-car deaths are avoidable tragedies, and a proposed law would require all cars to have a rear-seat-check reminder.
  • But safety advocates say technology that actually detects movement inside the vehicle is preferable.
  • It would also save my neighbors — and me — some annoyance.
Sep 16, 2021 - Economy & Business

Ford adds jobs to meet soaring demand for electric F-150 Lightning

Ford's first F-150 Lightning pickup truck prototypes are rolling out of the factory in Dearborn, Mich., for real-world testing. Photo: Ford Motor

The electric Ford F-150 Lightning pickup hasn't even gone on sale yet, but demand is so hot that the company is already expanding production.

Driving the news: The first Lightning prototypes are leaving Ford's Dearborn, Mich., factory for real-world testing, with the truck available to customers next spring.

Sep 16, 2021 - Economy & Business

New tolling systems are poised to hit highways

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Electric vehicles might be good for the environment, but they're terrible for state budgets, which depend on fuel taxes to pay for road maintenance. So states like Oregon and Utah are experimenting with new road user fees — known as "vehicle mileage taxes" or VMTs — that reflect changing mobility trends.

Why it matters: By charging drivers for the miles they drive — instead of taxing the gas they use — states can ensure that everyone pays their fair share for public roads. But some drivers might wind up paying more than they do now, and the preliminary technology involved is raising privacy concerns.

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