All Transportation stories

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Nov 17, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Investors shower love on Rivian and Lucid

Photo: Igor Golovniov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Here are two numbers that say a lot about how investors view two key electric vehicle startups: $232,000 and $89 billion.

Driving the news: That's luxury EV startup Lucid Motors Q3 revenue and its market capitalization at yesterday's close of trading.

Nov 17, 2021 - Economy & Business

Toyota joins the battery-powered EV craze

Toyota's Mike Tripp introduces the bZ4X, the automaker's first electric vehicle. Photo: Joann Muller/Axios

Toyota Motor is finally jumping into the electric vehicle race while defending its continued focus on hybrids as the best way to reduce carbon emissions.

Why it matters: Toyota earned a reputation for environmental leadership with its Prius hybrid back in 1997. But lately, it has been eclipsed by Tesla, the world leader in electric vehicles.

Mike Allen, author of AM
Nov 16, 2021 - Politics & Policy

First look: Biden's road-warrior campaign

Biden signing the infrastructure bill on Monday. Photo: Kyle Mazza/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

After yesterday's infrastructure-bill signing, President Biden, Vice President Harris and Cabinet members are beginning a months-long road show to showcase the benefits — beginning with a Biden trip today to a bridge in Woodstock, N.H.

The big picture: In addition to coast-to-coast travel, the plan includes local and national TV, social media, and Spanish-language and African American focused media.

Updated Nov 13, 2021 - Economy & Business

How autonomous trucks could fix our broken supply chains

Maura Losch/Axios

Driverless trucks can't arrive soon enough.

Why it matters: Ports are backed up and there aren't enough truck drivers to get all the containers where they need to be, leading to product shortages, inflation and stressed-out holiday shoppers.

DOJ sues Uber for allegedly overcharging people with disabilities

Photo: Robert Alexander/Getty Images

The Justice Department said on Wednesday that it is suing Uber for allegedly charging "wait time" fees to passengers with disabilities who need more time to get into vehicles.

State of play: The department's complaint says that Uber "violates the [Americans with Disabilities Act] by failing to reasonably modify its wait time fee policy for passengers who, because of disability, need more than two minutes to get in an Uber car."

U.S. auto safety regulator awards over $24M to Hyundai whistleblower

Hyundai Casper mini sport utility vehicles displayed at Gwangju City Hall. Photo: SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. government's auto safety regulator announced Tuesday it would award over $24 million to a former Hyundai employee who reported key information about safety defects.

Why it matters: Engineer Kim Gwang-ho provided evidence that Hyundai and sister company Kia were hiding a design flaw that was causing engines to seize and catch fire, according to law firm Constantine Cannon, which represents Kim.

Airline stocks surge as US eases travel restrictions

Data: FactSet; Chart: Axios Visuals

For airlines, one of the biggest remaining pieces of the recovery puzzle just fell into place — the ban that had killed most international travel lifted on Monday.

State of play: Stocks backing the U.S. airlines that most actively serve international markets — American, Delta and United — have surged by 13%-16% since President Biden signed the order on Oct. 25.

Driverless trucks are making daily runs for Walmart

Gatik's technology enables this Walmart truck to drive itself. Photo: Gatik

The country's first driverless trucks are now operating on local roads in Bentonville, Arkansas, shuttling merchandise for Walmart from a warehouse to a nearby store.

What's new: Walmart and its self-driving technology partner, Gatik, said today they had pulled the human safety driver from autonomous delivery trucks on a seven-mile route in the retailer's hometown — an industry first.

The big picture: Short urban routes are becoming more common as retailers like Walmart turn to hub-and-spoke distribution to fulfill growing online orders for same-day store pickup. Retailers need to be able to quickly move goods from micro-fulfillment centers to nearby stores.

  • Gatik has been developing self-driving technology incrementally, starting with this so-called "middle mile" of the supply chain — short, fixed, repeatable delivery routes.

What they're saying: “This milestone signifies a revolutionary breakthrough for the autonomous trucking industry,” said Gautam Narang, CEO and co-founder of Gatik, based in Mountain View, California.

  • “Our deployment in Bentonville is not a one-time demonstration. These are frequent, revenue-generating, daily runs that our trucks are completing safely in a range of conditions on public roads."

Details: Four-year-old Gatik has been working with Walmart on middle-mile logistics in Bentonville since 2019, initially with both a safety driver and a second operator in the passenger seat.

  • Now, with permission from the Arkansas State Highway Commission, the trucks are operating with nobody behind the wheel.
  • For now, the passenger still rides along as an observer, with limited access to the controls, to stop the truck in an emergency. A chase vehicle follows behind to observe as well.
  • The trucks move customer orders from a Walmart "dark store" (or micro-fulfillment center) to a nearby Neighborhood Market.
  • The initial driving route was selected to minimize risk: It avoids schools and hospitals, and favors right turns over unprotected left turns— a common practice among UPS drivers too.

The bottom line: Autonomous trucks are beginning to roll out.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Nov 4, 2021 - Economy & Business

A tale of two automakers

Ford is arguably the most exciting electric-vehicle manufacturer in the U.S. at the moment. Even so, its market value is just 6% of Tesla's.

Why it matters: Ford's valuation is barely a rounding error compared to that of Tesla — indeed, Tesla's valuation rose by more than two Fords in a single day last month.

Electric air taxis prepare for takeoff

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Electric air taxis might someday leap from rooftop to rooftop, delivering cargo or ferrying passengers above congested roadways — but not until they can solve a host of technical and regulatory hurdles.

  • A less complex e-plane under development could bring many of the same benefits by hopping among underused airports.