HomeNewsA bumpy road for electric vehicle manufacturers

A bumpy road for electric vehicle manufacturers

Rivian launched with the promise of revolutionizing the best way we take into consideration trucks and SUVs, but has now seen a little bit of a slowdown. In a move that screams, “Oops, we may be slightly outdated,” the corporate announced it will lay off 10% of its workforce. Why do you ask? Well, it seems the electrical vehicle market is slightly more cutthroat than expected, with pricing pressure mounting like tension in a nasty thriller. Rivian now faces the tough reality that making cars is tough and making them profitable is even harder. The current round of layoffs follows the 6% of employees who were laid off a 12 months ago and one other 6% who were laid off about 18 months ago.

The manufacturer is reportedly launching its R2 series vehicles early next month, which is able to reportedly improve the corporate's profit margins somewhat.

As Rivian navigates these turbulent waters, one can't help but wonder if that is only a bump within the road or an indication of more ominous clouds on the horizon. Who needs soap operas when there's an electrical vehicle market?

This week's most interesting startup stories

Photo credit: Hive folder

Let's stay within the automotive world: There is plenty of movement on the a part of the vanguard of electrical vehicle manufacturers.

Lucid Motors, in its daring bid to make lemonade out of the lemons that represented its 2023 sales, has decided to chop prices on its entire lineup of electrical sedans. The move screams, “Please notice us!” In a market where being the brand new kid on the block is about as advantageous as being a skateboarder in a Formula 1 race. The base model Lucid Air Pure, which was previously flirting with the $80,000 mark, now attracts potential buyers with a lower cost of $69,900. This follows the moderately humiliating admission that the corporate only managed to deliver 6,001 cars in all of 2023. The company once predicted it will deliver 90,000 cars in 2024 – it looks just like the actual number will likely be a tenth of that.

It's not only the brand new kids on the block who’ve problems. Founded a solid 104 years before Lucid, Ford has decided to chop prices on its electric Mustang Mach-E in response to waning demand, within the spirit of the playground tactic of “in the event that they can do it, we are able to do it too” premium electric vehicles . It seems the electrical vehicle market goes through a little bit of a reality check as consumers suddenly keep in mind that money doesn't grow on trees, even when those trees are saved by driving electric cars.

These price adjustments from Ford and Lucid follow the worth cuts of the electrical vehicle industry's flagship vehicle, Tesla, and indicate that the electrical vehicle market is maturing and customers have gotten more price-conscious.

A clearance sale of electrical motorcycles: The owner of a Florida retail store has taken over most of Swedish electric motorcycle brand Cake's U.S. inventory, including all Makka and Ösa motorcycles, accessories and spare parts that had found their option to the United States. Cake itself is on the verge of bankruptcy.

Despite all their anger, they're still only a rat in a Faraday cage: Troubled electric automobile startup Faraday Future owes the owner of its Los Angeles headquarters nearly $1 million after failing to pay rent for the past two months.

With your eyes on the streets: Hivemapper, the corporate making waves within the tech scene with its progressive mapping technology and attempting to tackle Google Maps, has just unveiled its latest creation: the Bee dashcam. This is not any odd dashcam: it's designed to gather and share street-level images, contributing to Hivemapper's global map.

This week's most interesting fundraising trends

AI agent concept with robot in a laptop with a speech bubble on a red background.

Photo credit: Carol Yepes/Getty Images

Global investment firm Partech recently closed its second Africa fund at a whopping $300 million, doubling its commitment to the continent's emerging tech ecosystem. The latest fund goals to bridge the gap between seed and Series C funding rounds and supply African startups with a much-needed continuum of economic support. The fund's strategy will not be only to supply capital, but in addition to supply strategic advice and access to a worldwide network to enable startups to scale each inside Africa and internationally.

OM Nom Nom: Bluestein Ventures, a Chicago-based early-stage enterprise capital firm, recently closed its third fund with $45 million in capital commitments. Founded in 2014, the corporate focuses on investing in consumer-facing technologies across the food supply chain, including health and wellness, proprietary food technology, commerce and digital technology.

Ready Player 2: The global video game industry faced a difficult 12 months in 2023, with significant layoffs and a five-year low in enterprise funding, despite its immense revenues that exceeded those of movies and music combined. However, VCs remain optimistic a couple of turnaround in 2024.

That's an enormous bag of moolah, folks: Moonshot AI, an emerging artificial intelligence startup from China, has reportedly secured over $1 billion in a Series B funding round, setting a brand new record for the most important single funding round for Chinese large language model (LLM) developers. This financial boost pushes Moonshot AI's value to a powerful $2.5 billion.

This week's big trend: The AI ​​train rumbles on

OpenAI Sora

Photo credit: OpenAI

OpenAI has introduced a brand new generative AI model called Sora, capable of making videos from text descriptions or still images. Sora excels at creating high-definition movie-like scenes that may include multiple characters, different movements, and detailed backgrounds. This model also can augment existing video clips by adding missing details, demonstrating a deep understanding of language and the physical world.

Sora's capabilities extend to creating videos in quite a lot of styles, comparable to photorealistic, animated and black and white, with durations of as much as a minute – significantly longer than most existing text-to-video models. Despite some limitations, comparable to occasional inaccuracies when simulating complex physics or specific cause-and-effect scenarios, Sora's output maintains a high level of coherence, avoiding common pitfalls of “AI weirdness.” The model will not be expected to be made available to the general public.

In other OpenAI news, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has rejected the corporate's try to trademark “GPT,” ruling that the term is “descriptive only” and due to this fact can’t be registered.

Yes, that is what it looks like: Dili, a platform to automate key investment due diligence and portfolio management steps for personal equity and VC firms using AI, has raised $3.6 million in enterprise funding. The company goals to scale back the burden of due diligence tasks by leveraging generative AI, particularly large language models, to streamline investor workflows.

Is there anything AI can aid you with today?: Sierra's approach to customer support AI focuses on augmenting human agents moderately than replacing them. The company believes AI can handle routine and repetitive requests, freeing up human agents to concentrate on more complex and nuanced customer interactions. The company has raised $110 million to this point.

Focusing on the XX: In a New York Times article late last 12 months, the Gray Lady explained how the present AI boom got here about. The article went viral not due to what was reported, but due to what it didn't mention: women. We take a take a look at the ladies making waves in AI.

More must-read TechCrunch stories…

Every week there are all the time a number of stories that I need to share with you, but they in some way don't fit into the categories above. It could be a shame for those who missed them. Here is a random number of goodies for you:

Onshoring: Don't miss Aria's great profile of Chris Power, the founder and CEO of Hadrian, an industrial automation startup. Its mission is to defy historical patterns of empire decline through innovation in American manufacturing. Based on his observations of historical cycles through which empires crumble on account of the outsourcing of core industries, Power launched into a journey from Australia to the United States in 2019 with the thesis that the US industrial base was in massive decline. In this decline he saw a chance.

Give me all of your money: Ransomware has grow to be a lucrative business model for cybercriminals, generating billions of dollars in revenue annually. This malware encrypts the victim's data, making it inaccessible and demanding a ransom for the decryption key. Carly investigates the way it became such a lucrative criminal enterprise.

Hello, that is Mr. I: Y Combinator's latest solicitation for startups (RFS) is well price reading, and never simply because the incubator has been sharing the ideas and categories that its partners “would really like to see more people working on” for a while. Including a request for more startups working on cancer treatments.

Domo arigato, bricklayer robot: Robotic bricklayers aren't exactly an untapped concept, but Amsterdam-based Monumental, which focuses on the more familiar red number of clay, caught our reporter's attention.

Confiscation of the technique of production: Amazon, SpaceX and Trader Joe's have recently launched legal motion that challenges the constitutionality of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and potentially jeopardizes national employee protections which were in place for nearly a century.


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