The Station: Rivian trims its workforce and a supply chain-tainted earnings season begins
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Supply chain constraints are not just hitting the automotive world. Micromobility is feeling the pain as well.
I reached out to about 20 companies building electric scooters and bikes, and most of them told me the same thing: Getting critical parts, like motors, out of China is becoming increasingly difficult, and Russia’s war against Ukraine is making supplies like nickel expensive and hard to source. The result? More companies are trying to get at least final assembly as close to the end consumer as possible.
Watch this space. We might begin to see new factories cropping up in Europe and North America, which will empower some economies even as others suffer.
In other news…
Arcimoto unveiled an electric tilting e-trike, which it calls the Cybertrike edition of its Mean Lean Machine.
Dott brought in €32 million in 2021, with about 19 million rides in 29 cities.
HumanForest did a marketing thing with dating app Bumble that was actually kind of cute. It gave people on Bumble access to 30 minutes of free riding to encourage people to try an active, outdoor date. l
TC’s very own Haje Jan Kamps tried out a prototype of the Nimbus three-wheeled, mini-EV. While it was a rickety little thing that is clearly not at all ready for public use, the vehicle has real gumption, and Haje, like me, really wants to love it. Fingers crossed this company pulls off its final design when the time comes.
Okai is launching a new fat-tire, off-road e-bike that can ride for 45 miles on dirt or road.
Shell is making e-scooters and battery banks, I guess. Yes, Shell, the gas company that has helped us pollute the universe for over a century.
Tier has introduced e-bikes to Ealing, in London, adding on to its existing e-scooter trial there. First-time riders can get two free unlocks and 20 minutes of free riding using the code “EALINGTIER” on the app.
A few words on bike lanes…
A new study shows bike lanes increase sales of local businesses because they make the streets safer places for pedestrians, which increases foot traffic, so THERE! Shop owners should stop complaining to their local transportation authorities when parking spots get repurposed for bike lanes. The end.
Rutgers University researchers are using VR to help determine the feasibility of pop-up bike lanes in New Jersey.
Meanwhile in New York City, a bill is being considered to install bike lane cameras to catch when drivers park in the bike lane and fine them $50. We love to see tech helping bikers stay safe.
A little bird
We hear things and we share the tidbits that we can verify.we’ve been hearing rumblings for awhile that not all is right over at Helbiz, including that it was late paying employees in at least two offices — one in the U.S. and one in Serbia. The late U.S. payment was only about four days late, but Serbian workers were waiting on June pay until the second week of July.
This wasn’t the first time Helbiz was late to pay employees. In early April, the operator missed payroll for U.S. employees, blaming a software glitch. A former employee told us Helbiz also missed payroll in Serbia in December 2020, with employees not seeing a check until February 2021.
It seems the issues extend beyond late paychecks. Sources tell us that scooter supply shipments are also chronically late and complain the company is unstructured, causing issues throughout the organization.
It’s certainly troubling, especially given the company’s plan to acquire another U.S.-based scooter operator, Wheels. If you recall from last week, we reported that Wheels employees are being furloughed. Back in late May/early June, Wheels furloughed “at least 10 people” according to one source.
Deal of the week
The respective boards at JetBlue Airways and Spirit Airlines approved a merger agreement at a diluted equity valuation of $3.8 billion. JetBlue will acquire Spirit for $33.50 per share in cash, including a prepayment of $2.50 per share in cash payable upon Spirit stockholders’ approval of the transaction.
The deal faces scrutiny from the Justice Department. But if it closes, it will create the fifth largest airline in the United States.
Other deals this week…
Drover AI, the startup that really popularized using camera-based computer vision systems to stop scooter riders from riding all over the sidewalk, has closed a $5.4 million Series A.
Everrati, EV conversion startup, has landed an investment from former Nest CEO Matt Rogers, the Verge reported.
General Motors sold $2.25 billion worth of green bonds — at first for the automaker, Bloomberg reported.
Koenigsegg, the hypercar company, invested as undisclosed amount into Lightyear, the Netherlands-based startup developing a solar vehicle that is expected to go into production this fall.
Next.e.GO Mobile, the German manufacturer of compact EVs, is going public through a merger with blank-check company Athena Consumer Acquisition Company at $913 million valuation that includes debt.
Polymath Robotics, a new startup that came out of stealth and is part of the Y Combinator Summer 2022 cohort, has landed a number of high-profile angel investors, including Catapult Ventures managing director Darren Liccardo, Thursday Ventures general partner Matt Sweeney, Cruise co-founder and CEO Kyle Vogt and Oliver Cameron, the former co-founder and CEO of Voyage who is now at Cruise. (Polymath didn’t disclose the total amount of funding). Stefan Seltz-Axmacher, co-founder and CEO of Polymath, is familiar to the AV industry ecosystem. He previously co-founded and led the now shuttered Starsky Robotics.
Notable reads and other tidbits
Cruise has sent two of its autonomous Chevrolet Bolt electric vehicles to Dubai to begin mapping the city in preparation for a planned launch in 2023, according to Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority.
Kodiak Robotics completed a commercial run between Texas, California and Florida for 10 Roads Express, as part of a pilot program with the USPS mail carrier.
Electric vehicles & batteries
Apple has hired Luigi Taraborrelli, a 20-year veteran of supercar maker Lamborghini, to work on the tech company’s not-so-secret electric autonomous vehicle program, Bloomberg reported.
Ars Technica released a guide to EV charging.
Bentley Motors has delayed its first EV.
General Motors launched a program and digital platform called EV Live to educate car shoppers about EVs and target first-time buyers, as the automaker searches for ways to catch up to and outpace rival Tesla.
Faraday Future is faltering — again. The company said in a regulatory filing that it has delayed production of its FF91 flagship electric vehicle due to lack of money and supply chain issues.
Rivian started laying off about 6% of its workforce (about 900 people) as part of a restructuring plan, according to an internal email from founder and CEO RJ Scaringe (and viewed by TechCrunch). The layoffs are hitting every department, with one major exception — manufacturing operations at its Normal, Illinois factory.
Sono Motors’ solar EV is finally here! Well, sort of; there’s the sticky business of production to contend with. The startup unveiled the final production design of the vehicle as well as a solar bus kit, a new product that is a series of solar panels designed to be retrofitted onto 12-meter public buses.
TechCrunch’s Tim De Chant takes a deep dive into the 725-page Manchin-Schumer bill, which includes some EV transportation spending. He also wrote up another TC+ (subscription) article examining whether VW’s new CEO will hamstring its EV push.
U.S. Department of Energy revived an old loan program and its first recipient is the joint battery venture between GM and LG Energy Solution, which received a $2.5 billion loan from the agency to help it finance the construction of new lithium-ion battery cell manufacturing facilities.
Ford released the law enforcement version of its all-electric F-150 Lightning truck
The big three U.S. automakers reported earnings this week and the big themes that repeatedly came up were inflation, supply chain issues, China and EVs.
General Motors kicked things off with a rather dismal Q2 report that saw profits fall 40% year over year to $1.69 billion. The culprit? GM blamed its weak performance on a drop in North American production due to supply chain disruptions and semiconductor chip shortages that caused bottlenecks at its factories. And let’s not forget the pandemic-related factory shutdowns in China.
Another tidbit: GM’s self-driving subsidiary Cruise is burning through cash, with expenses hitting around $550 million compared to $332 million during the same quarter of last year. Operating losses topped $605 million, up from $363 million last year. The increase in cost can be attributed to a headcount increase from revving up Cruise’s robotaxi service, as well as a change in the compensation expense, according to CEO Kyle Vogt.
Ford also saw losses in China, but gains in other regions helped the automaker bring in $40.2 billion in revenue, a 50% increase from the same period last year and an adjusted operating income that tripled to $3.7 billion.
Spotify announced during its second-quarter earnings call that it has stopped manufacturing “Car Thing,” the company’s in-vehicle device for controlling music.
Future of flight
Urban Movement Labs in Los Angeles is partnering with South Korea’s Institute of Aerospace Industry-Academia Collaboration (IAIAC) to explore research opportunities around air mobility planning and integration. IAIAC is working to integrate advanced air mobility within the Incheon metro region.
Bosch is reorganizing its Mobility Solutions business sector, which will now be headed up by Markus Heyn.
Hyundai Motor North America promoted Randy Parker to be CEO of Hyundai Motor America effective August 1.
Lyten, an advanced materials company developing lithium-sulfur batteries and other high-performance product, hired Celina Mikolajczak as chief battery technology officer.
Uber is expanding its “Comfort Electric” product, which is basically just all-electric Uber rides, to seven additional cities, including Las Vegas, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Austin, Philly and Baltimore. Uber originally launched the luxurious EV service in May in San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles.
Apple reportedly considering touchscreen Mac laptop for 2025
Apple could release a MacBook Pro laptop with a touchscreen as soon as 2025, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Teams inside Apple are working on the project, and the first design would include a trackpad and keyboard as well as a touchscreen, according to the report.
The move, if it were to happen, would mark a significant reversal for Apple, which has said for years that touchscreen laptops are ergonomically inferior, even as competing Windows laptops now have touchscreens as a standard feature.
“We really feel that the ergonomics of using a Mac are that your hands are rested on a surface, and that lifting your arm up to poke a screen is a pretty fatiguing thing to do,” Apple’s head of software Craig Federighi said in 2018, adding that he’s “not into touchscreens” on PCs.
More recently, he was asked at a conference whether Apple would release a touchscreen laptop, and he said, “who’s to say?”
Apple’s Mac business doesn’t need a shot in the arm, though. Mac sales surged when Apple replaced Intel processors in most of its computers with its own silicon. The change improved battery life and reduced overheating. Apple’s Mac business generated $40.1 billion in revenue during the company’s fiscal 2022, up 14% from 2021.
A touchscreen Mac would require significant software changes to accept finger taps, which require larger buttons, instead of mouse clicks. Apple’s iPhone and iPads use an operating system designed for touchscreens, while macOS can currently only be controlled with a mouse and keyboard.
Amazon’s Twitch CEO steps down nearly 10 years after acquisition
Emmett Shear, the CEO of Amazon’s livestreaming service Twitch, is stepping down from his role effective immediately, the company announced Thursday.
Amazon acquired Twitch for almost $1 billion in 2014. The site is most known as a popular livestreaming platform for video gamers. After buying Twitch, Amazon was largely hands off with the business, though it has offered Prime subscribers perks on the livestreaming platform, such as free games and in-game loot.
Shear will be replaced by Twitch President Dan Clancy, who has been a “close partner” to Shear, he wrote in a blog post. Shear said he’s stepping away to spend more time with his newborn son. Shear will continue to work at Twitch in an advisory role.
“With the arrival of my son, the time has come for me to focus my energies on building that tiny little startup family, and I’m ready to dedicate my energies there,” Shear wrote. “Twitch will always remain part of my extended family, a community where I grew in so many ways alongside Twitch itself.”
Shear’s resignation adds to a recent exodus of leadership under CEO Andy Jassy. Earlier this month, Ring CEO Jamie Siminoff announced he was stepping down from his role at the home security subsidiary. Last year, executives overseeing Amazon’s Alexa and hardware research and development group, known as Lab126, exited the company. Last July, public policy chief Jay Carney announced he was leaving to join Airbnb, and 23-year Amazon veteran Dave Clark resigned as retail chief the same month.
How to Fix HP Black Ink Not Printing
If your HP printer is not printing in black color, there may be some issues with the black cartridge. However, HP printers have a special ink-backup mode that allows printing using only tricolor cartridges (C, M, Y) when the black cartridge encounters a problem.
In such cases, the black color can either disappear on the printout or appear as a grayish color instead of true black. Mostly, a low level of black ink is responsible for the issue. Sometimes, a mispositioned or clogged printhead can also prevent the printer from printing in black color.
Check the Level of Black Ink
If your HP printer is refusing to print in black color, you should first check the level of black ink on the cartridges. There are multiple ways you can check the ink levels on your HP printer.
If you have an HP Ink Tank series printer, you can inspect the ink levels from outside the printer only. Otherwise, you can use the HP assistant tool to check it.
- Open Control Panel.
- Click Hardware and Sound.
- Click Devices and Printers on the next window.
- Double-click the HP printer profile.
- Again double-click HP Printer Assistant.
- Go to Estimated Levels.
- Now click Estimated Cartridge Levels to see the level of black ink on your printer. Consider refilling the ink tank or changing the ink cartridges if the ink levels have gone too low.
You can also refer to this guide to learn about multiple ways to check ink levels in HP printers
Change Paper Settings
An incorrectly configured paper setting is another reason the printer refuses to print in black color. Not only black, but it can also sometimes cause problems printing in color. It is because the ink spraying mechanism of the printer varies depending on the paper type.
So, you should always set the paper size and paper type that exactly matches the papers in the input tray of the printer. Also, make sure you are using papers compatible with your printer.
- Hit Windows and R keys simultaneously on your keyboard.
control printersin the text area.
- Click the OK button.
- On the new Control Panel window, look after the HP printer name and right-click it.
- Select Printing preferences.
- Click the Paper/Quality tab.
- Choose the correct Paper Size and Paper Type from the respective drop-downs.
- Click OK.
Align the Printheads
The printheads of your printer should be correctly aligned so that it can properly spray the ink onto the paper and generate quality printouts. Even a slight change in the position of the printhead can prevent the colors from getting to the paper. Aligning the printheads also helps if you have started facing issues after installing the cartridge.
- Open HP Printer Assistant from Control Panel.
- Go to the Maintain Your Printer menu.
- Now click the Device Services tab and select Align Cartridges.
- Click Print alignment page > Next.
- You will get a printout of an alignment page like this.
- Insert the printout over the scanner assembly.
- Now click the Scan button.
- You will get an alignment successful popup after the printer completes the alignment process.
You can consult this comprehensive guide to learn more about aligning the printheads of HP printers.
Run the Printhead Cleaning Cycle
Running a printhead cleaning cycle will be helpful if the printhead of the black cartridge is blocked due to ink residues or any foreign bodies. We recommend you run about three cycles of printhead cleaning for better results.
- Open the Run application on your PC.https://9db0732cdace87f6755b80f95f544792.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-40/html/container.html
control printersand click OK.
- Double-click HP printer > HP Printer Assistant.
- Select Maintain Your Printer.
- Click the Device Services tab.
- Click Clean Cartridges.
- Your printer will eject a diagnostic report after completing the cleaning process.
You may also read our other article on how to clean the HP printheads and learn more about the manual process of cleaning them.
Running a manual clean cycle will help if you cannot sort out the issue after performing the automatic cleaning cycle.
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