Rebelle Rally 2023 has notched another successful year with a challenging 2,120-kilometer off-road and navigation competition. In a twist, this rally prohibited GPS and other electronic devices. Among the 65 teams, 10 vehicles were electrified, with four being all-electric Rivian R1T pickups. Notably, one Rivian team secured the top podium in the 4×4 class – marking the first time an all-electric vehicle dominated this category. The winners, Lillian Macaruso and Alexandra Anderson, are both affiliated with Rivian.
Tesla’s Financial Twists and Turns
Despite Tesla unveiling its Q3 earnings, its shares witnessed a slump. The gross margin shrunk to 17.9%, a decrease from the previous year’s 25.1%. As the margin fell, profits saw a steep decline of 44% to $1.85 billion. Analysts interpret this as a reflection of the growing competition in the EV market, coupled with economic factors like rising interest rates affecting consumer purchasing power. Interestingly, while Tesla’s solar deployments witnessed a drop of 48%, there was a 90% surge in energy storage deployments.
The long-awaited Cybertruck had its share of updates as well. Elon Musk revealed that the initial deliveries would commence on November 30 at Giga Texas, but also indicated that the pickup’s profitability could take up to 18 months. Musk candidly remarked on the challenges, stating they had “dug their own grave with Cybertruck”. However, he is optimistic about producing 250,000 Cybertrucks annually by 2025, though his past predictions suggest a possible delay.
The Micromobility America trade show highlighted some emerging trends in the industry. Bird, once delisted from the stock market, has made a comeback with e-bikes, collaborating with TradeHubb and Spring. The Electric Rider Alliance has been introduced to level the playing field for small electric vehicles. Additionally, Bolt Mobility is taking an innovative approach with distance-based pricing to promote safer riding habits.
Noteworthy Shutdowns and Startups
Convoy, a digital freight broker valued at $3.8 billion, has unexpectedly shut down due to what they described as a “massive freight recession”, highlighting the inherent challenges in disrupting traditional industries.
On the investment front, Hayden AI, which focuses on geospatial analytics, secured $53 million in a Series B round. Nirvana Insurance, targeting the trucking sector, raised $57 million, doubling its valuation to over $350 million.
Diverse Developments in the Auto World
Cruise, GM, and Honda are set to launch a robotaxi service in Japan by 2026. Foxconn and Nvidia are building “AI factories” to accelerate robotics and AVs. Tesla has pushed for stricter fuel economy standards, and Archer Aviation is planning to initiate air taxi services in Abu Dhabi in 2026.
The developments highlighted indicate an evolving landscape where electric vehicles are making significant inroads in various competitions. The financial challenges faced by giants like Tesla underline the complex dynamics of the EV market. Meanwhile, the micromobility sector continues to innovate, aiming for sustainable and safe solutions. The industry is undoubtedly in a state of flux, with disruptions and innovations happening concurrently.