Welcome back! And happy Friday! But who can tell what day it is anymore? I hope you and yours are healthy and safe.
Magna employees adjust to the new normal at work. Photos: Magna
The auto industry is sharing detailed return-to-work guidelines on how to shield employees from the coronavirus as it prepares to reopen its own factories in the coming weeks.
Why it matters: We might not shake hands again, but sooner or later, most of us will return to our jobs, whether in a factory, office or public venue within close proximity of others.
What's happening: Drawing lessons from China, where production has already resumed, automakers and their suppliers are plotting a coordinated effort to reopen North American factories, perhaps as early as May.
Case study: A 51-page "Safe Work Playbook" from Lear Corp., a maker of seats and vehicle technology, is a good example of what many companies will need to do.
Details: Everything employees touch is subject to contamination, so Lear says companies will need to frequently disinfect items like tables, chairs and microwaves in break rooms and other common areas.
In China, a government-sponsored mobile app tracks employees' health and location, but such tactics won't fly in North America, says Jim Tobin, Asia president of Magna International, one of the world's largest auto suppliers, which has a big presence in China and has been through this drill before.
The bottom line: Gathering around the water cooler is likely off-limits for the foreseeable future. Welcome to the new normal at work.
Go deeper: Read the full story
Nuro's R2 driverless delivery vehicle. Photo: Nuro
This week, Nuro received a permit to test its driverless delivery vehicles in Silicon Valley where customers could really use the service right now.
The big picture: Autonomous delivery seems made for the pandemic we're facing now. Home delivery has exploded as people hunker down across the country, and contactless delivery only makes more sense at a time when people are supposed to be avoiding one another.
Driving the news: Nuro's driverless testing permit is only the second one issued by California's Department of Motor Vehicles, after Waymo.
The catch: Nuro is close to finishing up development work on its new R2 low-speed driverless delivery van, which just got the green light from the federal government. But that work is on hold during California's shelter-in-place order.
The bottom line: Nuro will have to wait for the crisis to pass to try to demonstrate its value. In the meantime, it can still offer deliveries with a human-driven Toyota Prius.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
Wundermobility is teaming up with the World Economic Forum and others to launch a new global mobility initiative to help essential workers get where they need to go during the coronavirus crisis. The goal is to reduce dependency on public transit, where there's potentially higher risk of infection.
Why it matters: Transportation options have been sharply curtailed during the epidemic as public transit systems reduce service and ride-hailing drivers shift to delivering food. But essential employees like health care and grocery workers still need to get to work.
What's happening: #WeAllMove pulls all the available options together in a free, one-stop digital tool that givers these workers and hospitals a better view of the mobility landscape so they can connect with local providers that are still up and running.
What to watch: The service was aggregated to deal with a short-term transportation crisis, but it highlights the value in having a digital bird's eye view of an integrated, multi-modal transportation system.
Go deeper: Public transit's death spiral
Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios
This was supposed to be the year that electric vehicles begin to take off, but instead, global EV sales are projected to drop by 43%, according to the consultancy Wood Mackenzie.
Why it matters: Wood Mackenzie cites a series of overlapping problems — including the coronavirus outbreak, lower oil prices and consumers' wait-and-see approach — for the expected decline, reports my colleague Ben Geman.
What to watch: EVs remain a niche market, and the Wood Mackenzie report shows they now face even more speed bumps to adoption.
Spread out: Airlines are blocking off the middle seat as social distancing becomes a priority in the skies (Drew Jones — The Washington Post)
On hold: Electric truck startup Rivian pushes launch back to 2021 as COVID-19 delays Normal factory retooling (Robert Channick — Chicago Tribune)
Pit stops: Food lifeline runs via truckers who can't find bathrooms, meals (Courtney Rozen — Bloomberg Government)
Mazda CX-30. Photo: Mazda
I've developed a new pattern during this stay-at-home monotony: On Wednesdays, around mid-day, I go for a drive and try to find takeout food to support one of our Detroit-area restaurants.
This week my daughter and I took a red 2020 Mazda CX-30 for an hour-long spin and came home with delicious Middle Eastern food.
The big picture: The CX-30 is a new five-seat crossover that slots between the subcompact Mazda CX-3 and compact CX-5. Mazda says it's made for a wide range of fans, especially young people who are approaching significant life transitions.
My thought bubble: I'm a big fan of Mazdas, and I really love this little SUV.
Safety technology: The CX-30 comes with adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist with lane-departure warning, and automated emergency braking, among other features.
The bottom line: The CX-30 is another great Mazda.