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Tesla Supercharging explained, Hyundai doubles down on Motional, Bolt & Getaround debt to grow and a troubled Volocopter

Ride-Hailing & Taxi, Buses & DRT  🚙🚐

Bolt secures a €220M revolving credit facility. A revolving credit is a loan, which can be repaid and withdrawn as needed, up to the cap (€220M in this case). Bolt has declared that it wants to IPO in 2025; this loan will allow the company to hold out until then, and even to complete a strategic M&A deal if it so desires. 

SWVL publishes FY2023 results (full report) - and it is a mixture of good and less so. 

The good:

  • Gross profit margin increased to 18% (from 1% in 2022), which means that the unit economics are in place

  • Major improvement from 2022 numbers, which saw a net loss of $123.6M

  • Positive cash flow (even if only $31,510, excluding exchange rate changes)

The not so good / bad

  • Revenue cut from $44.1M in 2022 to $22.8M in 2023

  • Net profit of $3.1M achieved thanks to waiver of creditor balances, mainly associated with the SPAC transaction, in the sum of $18.7M (i.e. debt forgiveness)

  • G&A is minus $10.2M, meaning there is still much work to be done to get SWVL to safe havens 

Ola Cabs lets go (resigns?) of its CEO, after just 4 months, and cuts 180 jobs, roughly 10% of its workforce. Ola is gearing for an IPO, and is taking measures, such as this one and exiting all international markets, to achieve profitability. Bhavish Aggarwal, founder, now chairman and up to 4 months ago the CEO, will retake the CEO position. 

Bolt launched ride-hailing in Zurich. Hovr is a new Toronto-based ride-hailing company. Uber launches in Luxembourg, working via local taxi company WEBTAXI. Uber now shuts down in Pakistan but that’s actually old news. Back in October 2022 Uber left all cities but Lahore, with subsidiary Careem taking over. Now Uber has completed its exit, leaving Lahore as well. 

11,000 black cab drivers, represented by legal firm RGL Management, filed a £250M ($312M) lawsuit against Uber, alleging losses due to Uber's unlawful operations in London from 2012 to 2018. A similar case was settled in Australia two months ago, for the sum of $272M. Uber denies any wrongdoing.  

BuuPass, ground transportation booking solutions, acquires QuickBus, a Nigerian and South African intercity bus travel competitor. Afrikonekta, a Finnish online intercity bus booking platform, has extended its operations to Zambia. 

Blade is an Air Mobility Platform (helicopter travel) and it is launching… a luxury bus service. The company has an aerial route between New York City and the Hamptons, and now is starting a bus service on that route, with tickets priced at $195-$275 for a 2:30 hour trip. To compare, a helicopter would take 40 minutes and cost $1,050, and competitive “normal” bus solutions cost $40. 

Car Sharing/renting 🚗

Getaround secures $50M debt facility as it works to reach profitability. Zity leaves Lyon. In January Zity was fully acquired in full by Renault, who left Paris immediately after the acquisition. Now Lyon. Karos achieves 1 million carpool trips a month. 

Eloop files for insolvency to facilitate reorganisation, to focus on Tokenisation. Eloop combined the car-share experience with blockchain features; that didn’t help the company, now with 200 vehicles, escape the fate of many EV-only car-sharing companies, suffering from high interest rate, declining vehicle value and high maintenance costs. 

Avis published its Q1/24 report and it is worth noting the numbers; this newsletter deal a lot with innovation, early stage and growth companies, so let's look at Avis to remind ourselves what the potential is: $2.6 billion revenue (this is for Q1 only); $113M net loss, above analyst’s expectations; positive Adjusted-EBITDA of $12M. A challenging quarter for Avis. Despite a growing travel demand, the company needed to perform “strategic fleet adjustments and vehicle disposals aimed at aligning fleet size with market demand”. For the earnings release

Micromobility 🚲🛴 (formerly Helbiz) published its FY23 annual report - highlights:

  • Revenue $9.8M, down 36% YoY

  • Total operating expenses $73.8M

I honestly don’t understand how this can be turned around, other than sold to a larger player. The company has a strong presence in Italy, which brought in $7.6M of total revenue, or 77.5%, of 2023 revenue. 

Traficar, the largest car-sharing platform in Poland, goes multi-modal, introduces electric scooters. The company is rolling out 1,000 in Krakow. Budapest chooses Fluctuo to provide mobility management dashboard for car sharing. Superpedestrain, by Surf Beyond, extend in Nuremberg. In Singapore, Anywheels adds 5,000 vehicles, bringing the total to 35K. 

Delivery 🍽🧺

Getir acquired FreshDirect back in November 2023 - and says that FreshDirect will continue to operate, even with Getir exiting the US market. No further explanation was given as to the nature of the ownership or how the company will continue, as it was already distressed when Getir acquired it. TechCrunch general update on Getir’s closure. 

A Sifted read on “What’s left of Europe’s speedy grocery sector”: Zapp, GoPuff and Flink are the only “speedy”-delivery players left; Zapp and GoPuff operate in the UK only, Flink in Germany, the Netherlands and France. Grocery delivery is also done by the likes of Deliveroo, Wolt etc. in ±30 minutes or on-line supermarkets the likes of Rohlik and Ocado whose delivery time can be measured in days. 

DoorDash releases Q1 report:

  • Order numbers increased 21% YoY to 620 million

  • Gross Order Values (GOV) increased 21% YoY to $19.3 billion

  • Revenue is 13.1% of GOV, at $2.5 billion, which is 23% YoY increase and 0.3% percentage points revenue margin improvement 

  • Loss from operations $61M, 2.4% of revenue

stock fell more than 10% because these results are below expectations and investors are fearing rising costs. 

Chowdeck, Nigerian on-demand food delivery, raised $2.5M seed funding to optimise its operations and support expansion into more cities across the country. Chowdeck was founded in late 2021, participated in Y Combinator, and serves 8 cities & 500,000 users. 

Glovo is shutting down operations in Ghana, effective May 10th. The company entered Ghana two years ago, and has not been able to reach profitability in the country. Bolt and Yango remain. In Singapore. foodpanda launches a private label to expand in the grocery business. 

Autonomous & remote-driving 🤖℡

Hyundai keeps Motional alive, invests close to $1 billion. $448M to buy out Aptiv, which will remain with 15% stake, and $475M direct investment in Motional. 

Haomo secures additional CN¥300M / $41.5M funding, bringing the total to roughly $200M. 

Elon Musk succeeded in getting China’s approval for Tesla to introduce its autonomous technology in China. Tesla needed to agree with China on data handling, as it receives access to high resolution maps via a commercial agreement with Baidu and as it processes car data originating in China. Remember that Tesla’s robotaxi planned launch in August doesn’t have to be in the US. 

Chinese GM-Backed self-driving company Momenta is said to file for an IPO in the US. Waymo expands across California - map. You enter Apollo Go’s autonomous car using a pin code - video. Wabbi opens an autonomous trucking terminal. Ford’s BlueCruise hands-free ADAS system under investigation, looking into two fatal crashes. Personal FSD progress tracker survey.  

Flying cars 🚁

Volocopter in urgent talks with investors to secure additional funding after failing to receive up to €100M in government convertible loans. So far, $780M has been invested in the company, which is planned to fly during the Paris Olympics. 

Joby progresses to the next flight testing stage and rolls 2nd aircraft off the production line. 

Tesla Supercharger Team Dismissal ❌

Tesla lets go of a very large part of its Supercharger team in the recent layoffs and it is causing a shockwave in the industry. Let’s dig in: 

  • The Supercharger network is exactly what it sounds like - a network of 6,249 fast charging stations with 57,579 ports, distributed across the world, intended for the use of Tesla drivers, allowing vehicles to charge to 80% in 30 minutes. 

  • It is considered highly reliable, and was a key factor in the transition to EVs, as it mitigated the “range anxiety” related to EV use. 

  • In 2023, the Supercharger network generated $1.74 billion revenue, which was “only” 1.5% of the total Tesla revenue. 

  • To put things in perspective, Tesla delivered about 8% of the public charging capacity demanded across the world last year, according to BloombergNEF. 

  • The past year has seen all other major OEMs with presence in the US adopt the Tesla NACS standard, in addition to the industry-agreed CCS standard. This was a huge win for Tesla, which could become a leading player in the charging infrastructure for the entire industry. 

  • There is a smaller team left at Tesla, and Musk says that “Tesla still plans to grow the Supercharger network, just at a slower pace for new locations and more focus on 100% uptime and expansion of existing locations”. 

  • This means that many projects, from government entities through deals with players such as OEMs (NACS adaptors) and Hilton (planned 20,000 chargers) and down to charging stations in condominiums, are at risk of being cancelled.  

Ok, so does this move make sense?

  • From CNN: “Charging is a difficult business, there’s no doubt about that,” the EV industry source said. “The margins are very slim and it’s quite cutthroat. They were ahead of the game, so it does strike me as odd to relinquish that a little bit.”

  • Revel CEO: “While I still don't see how it's good for Tesla, letting go of the supercharger team is great for the rest of the industry. They've burned landlord relationships. They've ceded market share. They've freed up top talent.” 

OK, so why? 

It could be for commercial reasons; that Musk is comfortable with the reach and adoption of the Supercharger network; that range anxiety is no longer a burning issue; and that charging is increasingly a commodity and that margins are too thin to continue large investment in the field.  

Or, maybe we are all overreacting. Or that, according to some reports, he got mad at Rebecca Tinucci, the executive in charge of the Supercharger division, which wanted to fire less than the 10% quota, and decided to fire everyone. 

OEMs 🛺⚡️

Rivian receives $827M in incentive package from the State of Illinois; stock jump. 

Fisker continues layoffs. Numbers are not clear.  Remember, unless the company sells or gets a new investment, it will go bankrupt. Meanwhile, lawsuits are coming

In other news 📰

NEoT Green Mobility raises €60M to finance zero-emission mobility. The company has €200M of assets under management or in deployment, and plans are to expand across Europe and to reach a €500 asset base. 

Fynch Mobility, business travel CO2 reporting, raises €1M. There is increasing regulation for companies to be able to track, report and mitigate travel emissions, which is what Fynch is trying to do. 

People 🧑‍🤝‍🧑

Pandora Shelley is the new COO @ The Routing Company

Robert Ziffling is the new Director Automotive Strategy @ HARMAN

Heili Toome is the new Global Engagement Director @ Mobility Data

Jarno Pajunen is the new Head of Vendors and Fleet Management @ Secto Automotive

Miguel Izquierdo is the new President @ A Plus Bus USA corp

Robert Heaver is the new Regional Manager @ Airpelago

Franziska Schär is the new Innovation & Venture Manager @ Mobility Cooperative

Robert Sykes is the new Client Relationship Manager @ Cleric Computer Services. 

Richard Donkor is the new UK B2B Business Manager @ Free2move. 

Sebastian Schröder is the new Project Manager Training Automotive @ Cognizant Mobility.

Fulvio Majorana Is the new BU Manager > Automation Service Spare Parts @ IMESA

Ali Shabbir is the new National Business Development Manager @ Autorola UK


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