Automobile sales

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.

Expert Voices

China's looser rules may usher in a new era for EV and AV companies

Illustration of a car with a price tag made of the Chinese flag.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Tesla recently began construction on its first gigafactory in China, suggesting that foreign automakers may be eyeing new opportunities in China following the country's decision to dismantle its requirement that foreign automakers create joint ventures with Chinese firms to make and sell vehicles there.

The big picture: The rule relaxation, which applied to EVs immediately and will cover all vehicles by 2020, could increase incentives for EV and AV companies to develop and sell vehicles there. But removing the joint venture requirement doesn't remove all risks.

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