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Everyone needs to get around. How we do it will change more over the next decade than it has in the last century. Legacy automakers, like Ford and GM, are scrambling to become technology-savvy companies, and the tech industry is trying to cash in on the change. New players, like Rivian and Tesla, are disrupting the industry and sometimes stumbling. We look at how self-driving hardware and software make the automobile better or, in some cases, deeply flawed. We cut through the hype and empty promises to tell you what's really happening and what we think is coming. Verge Transportation cares about all moving machines and the place they have in the future.

Is this Rivian’s R2 vehicle in the wild?

A number of photos appearing to show Rivian’s more affordable R2 vehicle at a photoshoot in LA have cropped up on the internet. They’re a little blurry, but they seem like they could be legit. Compared to an R1S, the new R2 vehicle is smaller and appears to have a different charging port and new wheels. Whether these images are real or not, we’ll get a much closer look at the official reveal March 7th.


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Toyota made an anime and it looks Supra.

Did you have a car company producing an anime series on your Friday afternoon bingo card? I sure didn’t. But the show is real and it’s called GRIP, will have five episodes released weekly starting February 26th, and is described as “a battle between the human spirit and computer control.” If we’re lucky, it’ll be something like an animated spiritual successor to The Hire series.


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At least in Canada, companies are responsible when their customer service chatbots lie to their customer.

A man was booking an Air Canada flight and asked for a reduced rate because of bereavement. The chatbot assured him this was possible — the reduced fare would be a rebate. When he went to submit the rebate, the airline refused to refund him.

In February of 2023, Moffatt sent the airline a screenshot of his conversation with the chatbot and received a response in which Air Canada “admitted the chatbot had provided ‘misleading words.’”

He took the airline to court and won.


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More states are throwing up roadblocks to e-bike ownership.

New Jersey is set to pass a bill that requires electric bike and scooter owners to acquire a form of liability insurance that doesn’t really even exist. The industry-backed bill would create more obstacles to owning low-speed electric micromobility vehicles that have positively linked to less car usage and fewer carbon emissions. Which is to say this bill sucks and I hope it fails. (It probably won’t.)

Other states are also considering bills that would make it harder to own an e-bike. I guess its cheaper than building protected infrastructure to make things safer for everyone on the road.


Rivian is keeping the oval headlights for its R2 vehicle.

You’d be mistaken if you thought Rivian would ditch the signature lights for its next-generation electric trucks and SUVs! Ovals for life, baby!

The R2 is getting a proper reveal on March 7th, which will be livestreamed on X.


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Rivian’s R2 vehicle is expected to be a smaller, more affordable crossover.
Screenshot: Rivian
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Airbus and Boeing are building the biggest overhead bins they can.

Sure, the checked bag fees play a role in the lack of overhead bin space but they aren’t the whole story! The rise in hardsided cases that can’t squish, as well as too-large or oddly-shaped luggage, contribute to the problem. So does traveler impatience.

Two experts told The Atlantic what I’ve already told you: Check a bag, you glamorous beast.


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You may encounter trouble booking an Uber to your Valentine’s Day date tonight.

That’s because thousands of Uber and Lyft drivers in over a dozen cities are going on strike for 24 hours to protest low wages and unfair practices by the gig economy companies. Their demands? A larger cut of fares, a living wage, transparency in pay calculations, and an end to unfair deactivations.

“The main challenge is surviving,” said Nupur Chowdhury, an Uber driver and ride-share organizer in Arlington who helped plan the strike in the Washington area. “We cannot make the same amount of money we used to make, even if we work double the hours.”


Typo sends Lyft stock on wild ride.

An extra zero mistakenly added to a closely watched profit margin metric sent the stock soaring over 60 percent before the CFO later corrected things. The stock is still up over 15 percent after the company forecasted better-than expected bookings and a path to profitability.


Up up and away.
Up up and away.
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A report suggests Tesla’s Full Self-Driving system may have been involved in a deadly 2022 crash.

Hans von Ohain, a former Tesla employee, was killed after his Tesla Model 3 veered off a Colorado road and into a tree, where the vehicle caught fire. However, The Washington Post interviewed the surviving passenger and obtained 911 dispatch recordings, which indicate von Ohain may have had FSD enabled at the time of the crash.

Colorado State Patrol investigators were never able to determine whether FSD was involved due to the extensive damage and closed the investigation last year. Elon Musk maintained Tesla’s FSD system caused no accidents or injuries just months before the crash occurred.


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It’s snowing in NYC, so this bus in Hawaii with a digital shaka display is giving me life.

As noticed by Jalopnik, the bus will display the digital symbol for “hang lose” if you let it merge — which is just delightful. Most drivers are big babies that need to be patted on the head when they do something good, so this is exactly the right kind of energy we need to be bringing to our roads.


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Joby signs a deal to launch air taxi service in Dubai by 2026.

Joby’s agreement with Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority gives the startup exclusivity to run its electric air tax services for six years. Part of the deal with Dubai includes a contract with Skyports to design, build, and operate four “vertiports” for vertical takeoffs and landings.

Joby recently performed a few exhibition flights in Manhattan (shown below) and plans to start flying commercial passengers in cities like New York and Los Angeles in 2025.


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Cruise finally has a chief safety officer.

Steve Kenner has held safety-related positions at Apple and Uber, as well as autonomous vehicle companies like Aurora, Kodiak Robotics, and Locomation. He’ll be in charge of making sure Cruise adheres to safety standards as it seeks to re-deploy its robotaxis in San Francisco and beyond. The GM-owned company is trying to rebuild its reputation — and get back its operations permit — in the wake of an incident in which a pedestrian was stuck and dragged by one of its autonomous vehicles.


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Fisker’s electric SUVs keep losing power.

TechCrunch senior reporter (and Verge alum) Sean O’Kane got a bunch of internal documents from EV startup Fisker, and sudden-loss-of-power is just the tip of the iceberg.

Customers have also reported sudden loss of braking power, problematic key fobs causing them to get locked inside or outside of the vehicle, seat sensors that don’t detect the driver’s presence and the SUV’s front hood suddenly flying up at high speeds.

The hood on my 1985 Honda Accord flew up once when I was driving it. I don’t recommend it.


Apple Car engineer handed 120-day prison sentence for stealing trade secrets.

9to5Mac spotted that former Apple employee Xiaolang Zhang was sentenced by a Californian court on Monday. He faces three years of supervised release following imprisonment, alongside a $146,984 restitution bill.

In August 2022, Zhang pled guilty to stealing secret materials around Apple’s “Titan” self-driving car project before leaving to work for Chinese EV startup Guangzhou Xiaopeng.


A screenshot taken from the document sentencing Xiaolang Zhang.
He got off pretty lightly — the maximum sentence for stealing trade secrets is 10 years.
Image: 9to5Mac / United States district court northern district of California
Welcome to the first Thursday Decoder.

This week marks the launch of Decoder’s second episode, which will explain big topics in the news with Verge reporters, experts, and other friends of the show. (The other Decoder you know and love, featuring big interviews with CEOs and others, now publishes every Monday.)

For this episode, I sat down with Verge Transportation Editor Andy Hawkins, to discuss a fantastic article he wrote called, “The EV Transition trips over its own cord.” It’s all about how the momentum for electric cars in America has started to hit serious snags, even as more people than ever before go fully electric. Check it out.


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Taylor Swift sold one of her private jets.

Yup, she still has another one. But apparently, Swift sold her Dassault Falcon 900 in January — not long after her attorney sent a cease-and-desist letter threatening legal action against a college student who shares flight data and greenhouse gas emissions from Swift’s and other billionaires’ jets on social media. Swift topped a 2022 list of celebrities with the biggest carbon footprints from flying. But now she’s one jet down.


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GM brings in a ringer to help with its EV battery problems.

Kevin Kelty was the former battery tech chief at Tesla during the infamous “production hell” Model 3 ramp. He’ll take the role of Vice President of Batteries and will report directly to GM President Mark Reuss. He worked at Tesla for 11 years and Panasonic for 15 years, so safe to say that if he can’t help GM get its stuff together, no one can.

The company has run in numerous hurdles scaling up its EV and battery making operation, including recalls and persistent delays related to automation on its Ultium assembly line. Suffice to say, Kelty will have his work cut out for him.


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Maybe all the fuss about slower EV demand is way off?

Case in point: General Motors just inked a deal with South Korea’s LG Chem for $19 billion — yes, billion with a “b” — worth of EV battery material. That’s one of the largest EV supply deals of all time. The money will be spent over a decade and will fund the start of cathode production at the Tennessee plant operated by the two companies’ joint venture.

LG Chem said it will supply GM with half a million tons of cathode materials — nickel, cobalt, manganese, aluminum — which is enough to power over 5 million EVs with 300 miles of range each. Keep that in mind the next time someone tells you that EVs are just a fad.


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Is this a day in the life of Christopher Walken?

BMW’s i5 electric sedan Super Bowl commercial makes good use of Walken, who forever seems like a good sport.

It’s hard to know how close this ad is to showing what it’s like moving through the world while being Walken, but the constant barrage of impressions from random people feels right.


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Sounds like Tesla is prepping for some layoffs.

That’s the impression many employees got after the company asked managers to sort which jobs were “critical,” according to Bloomberg. Also biannual performance reviews were cancelled.

During the most recent earnings call, Elon Musk said Tesla was between “two major growth waves,” but warned of a sales slowdown in 2024. Tesla has roughly doubled in size since 2020, with around 140,000 on its payroll globally.


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Investigation shows four bolts were completely missing from the Boeing 737 Max door plug that exploded.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s report describes the defect that prompted immediate aircraft groundings as the FAA scrambled to investigate a nightmarish January 5th Alaska Airlines flight.

As reported by CNBC, it says “four bolts that prevent upward movement of the MED plug were missing before the MED plug moved upward off the stop pads.”


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SpaceX is being investigated for discrimination and sexual harassment.

The California Civil Rights Department is investigating complaints by seven workers that SpaceX execs “discriminated against women, joked about sexual harassment and fired workers for raising concerns,” reports Bloomberg and Reuters.

The same agency is also suing Tesla over charges of operating a “racially segregated workplace.”

In the SpaceX complaints, employees cite a pattern of discrimination, as well as inappropriate tweets by Musk that they said they couldn’t easily avoid because he uses the platform for important company announcements.


Should minivans come with tray tables?

Volvo’s first electric minivan puts them in the back seat, so your kids can bring their gaming laptops along for the ride to soccer practice.

The vehicle is headed to China only for now, and I’ve seen some criticism of in-car tray tables as potentially unsafe in the event of a crash — so don’t pull your laptops out just yet.


The back seat of Volvo’s EM90.
The back seat of Volvo’s EM90.
Image: Volvo