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Tesla's Robotaxis, Ugly Earnings, and More Car News This Week

It was an exciting week to be a fan of electric vehicle—if a real up-and-down one. On Monday, Elon Musk welcomed investors to Tesla’s Palo Alto headquarters for the company’s first Autonomy Day, where he made some serious news: He promised an all-electric, 1-million-car fleet of self-driving Tesla taxis would roam the earth by next year. The electric carmaker, which loves to do things differently, used the event to tout its new self-driving chip and to double down on its aggressive and heterodox approach to autonomous vehicles. Who cares if the self-driving experts are skeptical?

By Thursday, electric-vehicle fandom got messier. Tesla rolled out ugly quarterly earnings, snapping its two-quarter profitability streak by losing over $700 million last quarter. Ford announced it would pour $500 million into an electric-vehicle startup called Rivian. The 750-person automaker is dedicated to building electrics that Americans just might get behind—namely, pickup trucks and big, ol’ SUVs—and it’s leading a pack of auto-tech upstarts hoping to change the industry game.

Meanwhile, Waze is trying to sell the country on carpooling, LA wants to revamp its bus network using cellphone data, and we learn what it takes to build a big road through one of the most sensitive—and popular—archaeological sites on the planet.

Headlines

Stories you might have missed from WIRED this week

How electric vehicles and self-driving tech are coming together to loosen the imaginations of auto designers.

Take a trip inside the Mountain View headquarters of Kitty Hawk, the Larry Page–funded startup desperate to flee traffic by “going 3D”—and building honest-to-goodness flying cars.

A reality check on self-driving cars.

Tesla believes its voluminous data will help it build robotaxis faster than the competition. It thinks its new self-driving chip will help, too.

The electric car company lost over $700 million this quarter, amidst what it calls unforeseen overseas delivery issues.

Elon Musk settles his latest tweeting dispute with the SEC.

Electric-vehicle startup Rivian leads a new golden age of auto-tech startups.

Might LA’s redesign of its bus system prompt the city to become less a city for cars and more a city for people?

From WIRED Opinion: Why replacing Puerto Rican addresses with a techy geocode is a bad idea.

And when it comes to earthly passages, Stonehenge might get a update. Stonehenge! Where the traffic dwells. Where the tourists gander and it’s selfie-stick hell. Stonehenge! Where cars move like slugs, So the government wants a tunnel dug.

Biodegradable Hygienic Headliner of the Week

The Centers for Disease Control is still working on its first study of electric scooter injuries, but one thing is sure: It’s never a bad idea to wear a helmet. The scooter-share company Wheels, which rents sit-down scoots, has a new solution for those who don’t just happen to carry one around all the time: a “smart helmet” that locks into the back of each scooter. If the prospect of sharing headgear with strangers squicks you out, great news: Wheels has also developed a removable, biodegradable, hygienic headliner, which can be stripped out after each ride. Ride safe, ride lice-free.

Scooter-share company Wheels says users will be able to unlock its new helmets from its app.

WheelsStat of the Week-43%

The drop in global quarterly automotive deals since the first quarter of 2018, according to a report from the consulting firm PWC. Analysts say the economic outlook may have made mergers and acquisitions folk more cautious, but “deal fundamentals remain strong,” and automakers are focused on “strategic investments” in new tech.

Required Reading

News from elsewhere on the internet

What Motor City-Silicon Valley rivalry? Waymo will build self-driving cars in Detroit.

Thanks to a new electric motor, Tesla’s refreshed Model S Long Range can go 370 miles between charges.

Uber lowballs its IPO, reports it lost nearly $1 billion in this year’s first quarter, and sends Lyft stock plummeting.

Why the ride-hailing IPOs might lead to higher fares.

Ford’s mobility division lost $288 million in the year’s first quarter.

A Georgetown study finds a third of Uber drivers in Washington, DC, took on debt “as a result of” their work for the company.

Boston’s Logan Airport cracks down on Uber and Lyft.

In the Rearview

Essential stories from WIRED’s canon

Take a trip back to 2015 New York, when the best mint-green offering at the Auto Show was a $2.3 million Aston Martin.

More Great WIRED StoriesThe quietly lucrative business of donating human eggsThe antibiotics business is broken—but there's a fixAre we there yet? A reality check on self-driving carsWhat gets lost in the black horror renaissanceHow a scammy phone call led to the robocall king📱 Torn between the latest phones? Never fear—check out our iPhone buying guide and favorite Android phones📩 Hungry for even more deep dives on your next favorite topic? Sign up for the Backchannel newsletterRead More



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5 Things I Learned From a Quick Spin 2019-05-17 17:16:12The Tesla Model 3 is often seen as a game changer in the automotive industry. It battles the BMW 3 Series and offers at least 240 miles of range on el

5 Reasons to Choose the 2019 Ford F-150 2019-05-17 14:31:01Buyers who want a 2019 Ford F-150 with back seats have two cab choices: the F-150 SuperCrew with a full-size rear passenger area, or the smaller F-150

How the Humvee Compares to the New Oshkosh 2019-05-17 13:15:51May 18 is Armed Forces Day, so to honor the 1.4 million Americans who serve, we’re taking you back to one of the heaviest duty, up-armored compa

Refreshing or Revolting: 2020 Cadillac CT5 2019-05-17 12:09:08As consumer demand shifts to crossovers, Cadillac has revamped its entire sedan strategy. Instead of making “tweener” vehicles, Cadillac w

Classic Comparo: Camaro SS 1LE vs. Challenger R/T 2019-05-17 12:05:00Performance Ponycar Showdown The post Classic Comparo: Camaro SS 1LE vs. Challenger R/T Scat Pack vs. Mustang GT appeared first on Motortrend.

2020 Ford Police Interceptor Hybrid Review: 2020 Explorer 2019-05-17 06:00:37Yup, I’ve already been in the latest cop car. As the old joke goes, I was in the front seat—not the back. In fact, I am one of the first c

6 Cool Electric-Tech Features of the Mercedes-Benz EQC 2019-05-17 04:00:37The EQC isn’t just a new SUV from Mercedes-Benz—it’s the start of a completely new line of electric cars from the luxury automaker.

10 Small SUVs That Get Excellent Real-World Fuel 2019-05-17 04:00:33Small SUVs are hot right now, and they can be a great choice for customers who want a raised ride height and more cargo space without the large footpr

Volvo, BMW Earn 2019 Best Overall Value Awards 2019-05-17 04:00:25You don’t usually associate luxury cars with value. Between insane levels of depreciation, high purchase prices, and outrageous maintenance expe

Future Trucks! 2020 and Beyond 2019-05-17 04:00:14Truck makers aren’t standing still. How could they? Surprising new players are planning entries into the truck segment over the next few years,

2020 Audi A4 First Look: 5 New Features 2019-05-15 15:57:01The Audi A4 ranks near the top of its class thanks to its advanced cabin technology, excellent build quality, quick acceleration, and solid ride. For

How Volvo Plans to Fight Tesla in the 2019-05-15 15:16:14Volvo wants to make sure the Volvo and Polestar brands are major players in the electric vehicle space and took some major steps today to make sure th

WIRED

Tesla’s Latest Autopilot Death Looks Just Like a 2019-05-16 17:46:31A Florida man was killed March 1 when his Tesla collided with a tractor trailer that was crossing its path. A government report says the Autopilot fea

Lilium's 36-Motor Flying Taxi Takes Off for the 2019-05-16 03:01:00The latest aircraft vying for a piece of the not-quite-realized aeromobility space takes a big step toward becoming a reality.

VW Will Make Its Own Batteries to Power 2019-05-15 17:53:18The German automaker plans 70 electric models by 2028. So it's building a gigafactory to ensure it has enough batteries.

Daimler Plans to Make Its Cars Carbon Neutral 2019-05-14 08:00:00The carmaker's new climate plan is bold—for a company. But it falls short of recommended emissions cuts and shows the limits of corporate self-

Why Uber Is Fighting Cities Over Data About 2019-05-13 07:00:00Los Angeles and other cities want detailed data on the shared scooters on their streets. Uber, Lyft and other companies fear a Trojan horse that could

Uber's Underwhelming IPO, Lyft Earnings and More Car 2019-05-12 09:00:00A decade after it was founded, Uber went public. Its shares fell almost 8% on their first day of trading.

Uber's IPO, the Call to Break Up Facebook, 2019-05-10 19:15:22Catch up on the most important news today in 2 minutes or less.

A Bet on Uber Is a Bet on 2019-05-10 17:42:00Uber is scheduled to go public Friday, at an initial valuation of $82 billion, the largest for an IPO since 2014. But its future may rest on eliminati

On Eve of Uber's IPO, Ride-Hail Drivers Stage 2019-05-08 21:00:52Uber and Lyft drivers shut their apps Wednesday to protest for better pay and benefits, and recognition as employees rather than contractors.

My Wild Ride in a Robot Race Car 2019-05-08 07:00:00On a track in Northern California, our writer tags along with the scrappy tinkerers of the autonomous-vehicle gold rush, who gather to share tech and

Lyft’s Loss Grows, but Execs Say the Bleeding 2019-05-07 20:35:19In its first quarterly results as a public company, Lyft said revenue almost doubled, but its loss grew even faster.

Cruise's $1 Billion Infusion Shows the Stakes in 2019-05-07 14:35:39Cruise, majority owned by GM, is at least the fourth company working on self-driving technology to raise $500 million or more in the past six months.

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Tough conditions hit Brose bottom line 2019-05-16 13:10:00The weakening automotive industry economy is affecting business development in the Brose Group where fiscal 2018 turnover of EUR6.3bn was just be

Grupo Antolin opens lighting plant and technical centre 2019-05-16 11:59:00Interiors specialist Grupo Antolin has officially opened its new lighting factory in Bamberg, Germany.

EU antitrust allegations unfounded - BMW CEO 2019-05-16 10:29:00BMW CEO Harald Kruger has robustly defended BMW over antitrust allegations brought against the company by the European Commission.

Renault shows off mobility moves at Viva Tech 2019-05-16 09:29:00Following on from its 2018 unveiling of three concept cars as its "vision of the mobility of the future", Renault Group has showcased new vehicles,

Geely Auto opens R&D centre in Germany 2019-05-16 08:59:00Geely Auto Group, which claims to be China's "leading privately owned automotive company", has opened a research and development facility at Raunhe

Russia monthly sales drop yet again as trend 2019-05-16 08:33:00Sales of new passenger cars and LCVs fell yet again in April in Russia, continuing a series of monthly drops, following a sustained rebound in 2018.

Hankuk Carbon opens first European office at MIRA 2019-05-16 08:26:00Hankuk Carbon, which self-describes as "a pioneer and leader in the Korean composite material manufacturing industry", has opened its first European

Nissan Skyline to feature next-gen driver assistance system 2019-05-16 07:49:00Nissan has unveiled a navigated highway driving system with hands-off single-lane driving capabilities.

Mitsubishi Electric and Here pilot road warning system 2019-05-16 07:48:00Mitsubishi Electric and Here Technologies have piloted a system enabling vehicles to automatically warn others about upcoming road

Kia reveals first image of new small SUV 2019-05-16 07:22:00Kia Motors has revealed the first image of its new small SUV. Due to be revealed fully in the summer, it says the new vehicle possesses the space and

Renault teams with La Poste for last mile 2019-05-16 07:07:00Groupe Renault is to conduct an initial experiment with La Poste of its EZ-FLEX light commercial vehicle to gain better understanding of future urban

Hyundai Motor Group develops 'intelligent air purification system' 2019-05-16 06:27:00Hyundai Motor Group says it has developed an intelligent 'Smart Air Purification system' that monitors interior air quality to automatically filter

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Swiss startup Piech to follow up electric sports 2019-05-17 17:30:00At this year's Geneva International Motor Show, the Swiss startup Piech showed the Mark Zero electric sports car, but it won't stop there. Piech has

Venturi first to sign up for Extreme E 2019-05-17 17:00:00Formula E plans to launch a new series focused on electric off-road vehicles called Extreme E, and it has its first committed team. Venturi, an electr

2020 VW Golf will introduce 48-volt mild-hybrid system 2019-05-17 16:00:00When the eighth-generation 2020 Volkswagen Golf goes on sale, the German brand plans to electrify the staple model in its lineup. On Thursday, VW anno

An original BMW 530 MLE, a precursor to 2019-05-17 15:00:00Before the M5 was even a thought at BMW, there was the 530 MLE. The 1976 motorsport special blazed a trail for BMW's motorsport prowess to come, and

Ford Explorer Hybrid cop car, 2020 Toyota Supra, 2019-05-17 14:00:00We drove a couple laps in the Ford Explorer Hybrid cop car; we finally slid behind the wheel of the 2020 Toyota Supra; we railed on the updated 2019 F

The Pagani Huayra and Zonda could technically live 2019-05-17 13:00:00The Pagani Zonda dates back to 1999, but to this day, the company continues to churn out one-off models based on the nameplate. That may never end, ac

McLaren spied testing new hybrid 2019-05-17 11:45:00A tester for McLaren's next hybrid has been spotted. The new McLaren is still at the test mule stage, with the new mechanicals hidden beneath the mak

2020 Ford Explorer, 2020 BMW M5 Edition 35, 2019-05-17 11:00:00The 2020 Ford Explorer Hybrid cop car has enough power to catch the bad guys and incredibly grabby brakes that can throw a perp into a rear-seat barri

2020 Bentley Flying Spur teased with retractable hood 2019-05-17 10:00:00Bentley has a redesigned Flying Spur coming for the 2020 model year, and the reveal must be coming up soon as the British firm has started giving us g

Cadillac XTS production to cease in October 2019-05-17 09:00:00Cadillac's aging XTS will finally bow out of production in October, according to information in a union bulletin published May 9. The front-wheel-dri

Usain Bolt's mobility company unveils an EV 2019-05-17 08:00:00Since stepping down from the Olympic spotlight in 2017, sprinter Usain Bolt, who is still the fastest in the 100- and 200-meter events, has turned to

Book celebrating Bentley's centennial costs more than a 2019-05-17 07:00:00Bentley is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its founding this year and one of the highlights planned is the launch of a special book, an opus of s

The Truth About Cars

Bentley Marks 100th Anniversary With $256,000 Book 2019-05-16 16:44:08Bentley’s celebrating its centenary this month, but rather than launch some dingus special edition, the automaker issued a promise that the all-

It’s My First Day: Self-driving Mobility Shuttle Pulled 2019-05-16 16:03:45Self-driving shuttle company May Mobility expanded its operations to include Rhode Island this week. The state agreed to pay the firm $800,000 fo

UK Cops Look to Crack Down on Distracted 2019-05-16 14:53:55As part of its push to eliminate the scourge of distracted driving, the UK has given the country’s notoriously rigid police force a new tool to

2020 Mini John Cooper Works Clubman, Countryman Launching 2019-05-16 14:19:07Even though Mini has issued teasers for the new batch of John Cooper Works models for months, we’ve been disinclined to take the bait. It&r

Rare Rides: This Chevrolet Beauville Is a Quigley 2019-05-16 12:57:02In The Current Year, new car lots are filled with family-friendly adventure vehicles. They’ve got lots of seats, lots of cladding, and some sort

NTSB: Autopilot Engaged at Time of Fatal Florida 2019-05-16 12:09:12A fatal March collision between a Tesla and a semi trailer that bore a strong resemblance to a crash in the same state three year earlier was more sim

2020 Hyundai Elantra Ditches the Manual, Ups the 2019-05-16 11:08:51Exactly a year ago, your suddenly fearful author found himself in the market for a new car. Hating the shopping experience, and with little free time,

Feeling the Burn: Tesla Issues Software Update Following 2019-05-16 10:00:25The spontaneous combustion of several Tesla vehicles in recent weeks has forced the automaker into action, issuing over-the-air updates in an attempt

Nissan’s ProPilot Aims to Get Your Hands Off 2019-05-16 09:00:18Will online videos soon emerge showing Nissan drivers taking naps or hopping into the backseat while underway? Maybe, but Nissan hasn’t been as

QOTD: Hit ’em Where They Drive? 2019-05-16 08:00:52As you read earlier this week, the state of Illinois wants motorists to pay up. Big time. A new proposal that stands a good chance of passing into law

This is Smart’s Send-off for the Internal Combustion 2019-05-15 16:23:26Before Smart goes all-electric next year, Daimler plans to offer “an exclusive and strictly limited special edition” model as a farewell t

De Tomaso Brand Returns With New Model in 2019-05-15 15:40:50De Tomaso, the idled Italian supercar brand that built a handful of drool-worthy models during its tumultuous lifespan, is poised for a resurrection.

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Nissan pledges hands-free option in Japan as early New! 2019-05-19 00:00:01Nissan will introduce truly hands-free highway driving this fall when it debuts its second-generation ProPilot system with several advances over the c

GM considered selling HQ amid 2018 restructuring New! 2019-05-19 00:00:01Talks between GM and billionaire Dan Gilbert did not advance far, at least in part because the Renaissance Center -- first built by Ford Motor Co

Mercedes tells U.S. dealers that products, trims will New! 2019-05-19 00:00:01The Germany luxury kings have seen exponential growth in their product offerings, but for Mercedes it's time for some pruning.

Toyota takes issue with Trump proclamation 2019-05-18 06:45:31In an unusually strong-worded statement, Toyota said Trump’s proclamation that the U.S. needs to defend itself against foreign cars and componen

Why Clarios is sticking with lead-acid batteries 2019-05-18 00:00:01The world's biggest vehicle battery supplier believes it has more growing to do, even as the industry shifts from the combustion engines that those b

Plant problems take toll on Visteon 2019-05-18 00:00:01Visteon is working to perfect a tricky new product, and was waylaid by a bungled plant move.

Turbochargers move from the showroom to the track 2019-05-18 00:00:01The list of technologies that migrated from race cars to street-legal vehicles is long. Rarely, however, does technology pioneered for regular product

FCA issues two recalls for more than 600,000 2019-05-17 16:31:27The two recalls covered nearly 200,000 Pacifica minivans and more than 400,000 pickups in the U.S. No injuries or accidents were reported. 

Berkshire Hathaway dealership bill passes Texas legislature 2019-05-17 16:15:29The Texas House approved a bill that would allow a vehicle manufacturer or distributor to also own a dealership, as long as it was for a different typ

GMC Sierra with carbon fiber box starts at 2019-05-17 16:10:03GM plans to produce less than 1,000 of the carbon fiber boxes for the 2019 model year, followed by less than 20,000 for 2020.

Multimatic's new driving simulator near Detroit will create 2019-05-17 12:09:58The Canadian auto supplier -- most recently known for building Ford's $450,000 GT supercar -- will develop technology for hybrid and electric vehicle

Ford to build more Lincolns for Chinese market 2019-05-17 11:47:07Ford Motor has lower levels of localized production than rivals General Motors or Volkswagen Group, who make more vehicles in China for Chinese consum

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Entry-Level BMW Z4 sDrive20i Now Available With Manual 2019-05-17 13:26:00Remember when Toyota announced they’d bring back the Supra with BMW underpinnings? The Japanese did keep their promise, but a manual transmissio

2021 Volkswagen Tarek Compact Crossover Coming To the 2019-05-17 12:38:02Known as the Tharu in China, the Tarek has been confirmed by Volkswagen for North America. From Mexico to Canada, the compact crossover with Skoda Kar

Cadillac XTS Production To Halt In October 2019 2019-05-17 10:27:19It’s the end of the road for the XTS as General Motors plans to discontinue the XTS in October 2019. Along with it, the Chevrolet Impala will le

Blue Origin and SpaceX Fight to Build NASA's 2019-05-17 09:44:16The ink has not yet dried on the NASA amended budget request for the fiscal year 2020, but the agency has already set in motion the wheels that will e

Ducati Enduro Training Program to Launch in the 2019-05-17 08:59:49The Flying Iron Horse Ranch in Utah is the place where starting this June the Ducati Riding Experience Enduro program (DRE) will take place. It is the

600,000 Ram Pickups and Chrysler Pacifica Recalled by 2019-05-17 08:03:18American car company FCA announced on Friday (May 17) the recall of over half a million cars from two of its brands, making for one of the biggest suc

Lo and Behold, This Is the Final C7 2019-05-17 07:10:17A small-block V8 up front, drive to the rear axle, and a thumpin’ great supercharger for good measure. This Z06 is the last Corvette of its kind

Skoda Citigo EV Design Sketch Reveals the Obvious 2019-05-17 06:43:34On May 23rd in Bratislava, Skoda will take the veil off the electric version of the Citigo. Also there and then, the Czech manufacturer will unveil th

A Bentley Anniversary Book Is More Expensive Than 2019-05-17 05:49:08Bentleys don’t come cheap. In the U.S., the least you can pay for one is around $165,000 for the Bentayga SUV, Then come the Continental GT, Fly

2020 Subaru Ascent SUV Priced from $31,995, Same 2019-05-17 04:59:39Having launched the current generation of the Ascent on the American market last year, Japanese carmaker Subaru is giving the model a minor refresh th

2020 BMW M5 Edition 35 Jahre Takes Competition 2019-05-17 04:07:25BMW thinks of its M5 of decades ago as a segment-creating machine, and at the same time the world’s first high-performance sedan. To honor that

300 HP Version of the Alpine A110 Is 2019-05-16 16:46:06Exotic car on a budget? Forget about second-hand Ferraris and just get yourself the Alpine A110. Or better yet, wait about a year and just get yoursel


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