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Electric Cars

The future of transportation is electric. Tesla proved with the Model S that customers would want to buy luxury vehicles powered by lithium-ion batteries. Other EV startups like Faraday Future, Byton, Lucid Motors, and SF Motors are chasing after Elon Musk. And major automakers like Jaguar, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz have each released their own Tesla challengers. There are obstacles, such as the need for a more robust charging network. But battery-powered cars are here to stay.

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A crucial Tesla Autopilot lawsuit starts today.

The family of a Tesla Model 3 owner who died in a fiery crash is suing the company, alleging that Tesla knowingly sold a product it knew to be defective. That product is Autopilot, the advanced driver assist system that is at the core of Tesla’s efforts to make a fully autonomous vehicle. The Washington Post spoke to legal experts about why this trial is so important:

“For Tesla to continue to get its technology on the road, it is going to have to be successful in these cases,” said Ed Walters, who teaches autonomous vehicle law at Georgetown University. “If it faces a lot of liability from accidents … it is going to be very hard for Tesla to continue getting this tech out.”

“I think in this decade, we’re gonna see, in the next handful of years, some very interesting products across all the price ranges.”

I asked Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe how long it might be until we get to a truly affordable EV, and he thinks it could happen in a not-to-distant future.

Right now, many EVs are very expensive, and a huge part of the cost is because of the batteries. The company launched its vehicles at the higher end of pricing, and Scaringe says that the company hopes to keep driving down costs over time.

Switching to NACS will benefit Rivian too, Scaringe says.

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said that the forthcoming switch to NACS will not only mean that Rivians can charge at Tesla’s Supercharger stations, but Teslas can also charge on Rivian’s own charging network. Hadn’t thought about that — nice perk!

A Rivian vehicle without a steering wheel? “That’s not in our roadmap today.”

CEO RJ Scaringe says that a vehicle without a steering wheel has a “relatively constrained” set of use-cases. It can also create a feeling of “steering anxiety,” which is an incredible term.

Scaringe: “We still think consumer will still represent a larger slice.”

Even though Rivian has a big commercial deal to make electric delivery vans for Amazon, consumer cars represent about 80 percent of Rivian’s business, he said.

The Verge
Scaringe on the Cybertruck’s one windshield wiper: “If you like that, it’s good.”

I don’t get the sense that Rivian is going to move to a one-wiper system.

Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe on Rivian’s customers vs. the Cybertruck’s: “There’s probably not a lot of overlap.”

But he’s happy that there’s competition. “I think it’s great that a product like that exists in the world.”

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Expect to see more EV chargers at more Marriott hotels.

The hotel chain announced a new deal with EV Connect to install branded electric vehicle charging stations at its hotels in the US and Canada.

Renting or traveling with an EV will be an easier choice if you know there’s somewhere to charge it, and Marriott may also need to compete with Hilton, which just announced a new charging deal with Tesla.

MKBHD got to check out an Amazon + Rivian electric delivery van.

I’ll admit that I’ve been curious to see the inside of one of these, and Marques Brownlee did a full tour on his Auto Focus channel. It looks like, well, a delivery van, but clearly a very highly-engineered one. (He shot the video on the iPhone 15 Pro, if you are curious about how video footage looks from that phone.)

Jaguar cuts a Tesla Supercharging deal, too.

In new US EV charging news, the automaker will adopt Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS) port in its next-generation EVs starting in 2025. Current and future I-Pace customers will also get adapters to use the 12,000-plus Tesla Superchargers beforehand, but there’s no timeframe for availability.

Jaguar is joining the likes of FordGMRivianVolvo, PolestarNissanMercedes-BenzFisker, and Honda on essentially the same deal to get on Tesla’s winning connector.

a jaguar vehicle parked in front of a tesla supercharger stall
Charge your I-Pace at a Tesla Supercharger with an adapter — whenever that comes out.
Image: Jaguar
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Saudi Arabia didn’t want to take Tesla private, but they may still get a factory.

The electric automaker is reportedly in talks to build a new manufacturing facility in the oil-rich nation, according to Wall Street Journal. But any deal would need to overcome a lot of hurdles, including Elon Musk’s contentious relationship with the Saudis (they declined to take Tesla private back in 2018) and the country’s majority stake in rival EV maker Lucid Motors. Much of the talks seem to center on Saudi Arabia’s desire for Tesla’s help securing more cobalt from Africa, which has been linked to human rights abuses. All in all, a tangled mess of foreign relations, late stage capitalism, and bruised billionaire egos!

The Verge
“Big Three” auto workers are now on strike.

A simultaneous strike at Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler’s parent company, Stellantis, has never happened, until now. The UAW is demanding pay increases, shorter working days, and stronger pensions. The US automakers claim they can’t transition to EVs and compete with the likes of Tesla, and its cheaper non-union workforce, due to high labor costs.

You can read what’s at stake at the link below.

Cybertruck wheel covers double as ninja death stars.

Dashcam footage of a pre-production model shows a plastic wheel cover being flung into busy highway traffic. Concerning for a company plagued by initial quality issues and the first production Cybertruck deliveries expected any day now. 

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Chevy’s recalling Bolt EUV chargers that could shock you.

GM is recalling 9,423 chargers that came with the Chevy Bolt EUV to repair a glitch in the software (Recall number: N232407300). The charger might not stop the flow of electrons when the ground connection is lost, possibly causing a brief shock when unplugging.

Chevy has plenty of time to make sure the next Bolt comes with better chargers.

Yes, you can run Firefox on your Volvo’s infotainment screen.

Reddit user Touchwiz worked their way into running Firefox in their XC40 on Android Automotive even though it’s not a Google-sanctioned app, and yes, it can play YouTube videos (via Mishaal Rahman).

It doesn’t “just work,” however. To pull this off, you’ll have to compile the open-source browser as another app and upload it to the Play Store using an active developer account.

Maybe don’t drive around while using it, though.