In a surprising turn of events, Kyle Vogt, CEO and co-founder of Cruise, has stepped down from his position, leaving a void in the leadership of the autonomous vehicle company. Alongside Vogt, co-founder Dan Kan has also resigned. With their departure, Mo Elshenawy, the EVP of engineering at Cruise, will step up as president and CTO. Additionally, Jon McNeill, a member of GM’s board, has been appointed as the vice chairman of the Cruise board.
Canadian private equity firm Kinterra Capital has closed a $565 million fund dedicated to securing critical mineral assets for battery development. This investment aligns with increasing government incentives promoting domestic industry and reducing reliance on China. Kinterra Capital aims to capitalize on undervalued assets by investing in lithium mines, battery manufacturing plants, energy storage solutions, and more.
Following these leadership changes, Cruise has revealed a new business plan that aims to conserve cash and prioritize safety. As part of this plan, the production of the Origin robotaxi will be put on hold until 2024, allowing Cruise to focus on its Chevy Bolt AV instead. The company has also shifted its strategy from an aggressive multi-city launch to a more cautious approach, starting with one city and expanding from there.
While layoffs have not been officially announced, it is expected that Cruise will downsize its workforce in the near future, with further details likely to be revealed in mid-December.
Micromobility Takes Center Stage in City Planning
Amidst the news of Cruise, it is essential to highlight the significance of intelligent city planning in promoting greener forms of transportation. Recent developments in New York City and Auckland shed light on the importance of supporting micromobility options.
In New York City, Mayor Eric Adams has announced a plan to transform the Hudson River into a “marine highway” to facilitate the delivery of goods to Manhattan’s piers. Electric cargo bikes would then transport these goods to their final destinations, reducing reliance on traditional vehicles.
On the other hand, Auckland’s decision to scrap a planned micromobility center highlights the challenges faced in promoting sustainable transportation. Despite the benefits of cycling infrastructure and clean last-mile delivery solutions, Auckland’s mayor dismissed the $28 million center, ultimately exacerbating traffic congestion and air pollution.
These cases emphasize the urgent need for policymakers to prioritize sustainable transportation options and invest in infrastructure that supports micromobility.
Boost for Battery Material Mining
In the realm of battery technology, Kinterra Capital’s debut fund signals a significant shift in the sourcing and production of battery materials. Governments, including the Biden administration, have recognized the need to develop a robust battery supply chain, reducing dependency on foreign sources.
As part of its investment strategy, Kinterra Capital will focus on assets across North America, Western Europe, and Australia. This includes lithium mines, battery manufacturing plants, energy storage solutions, and raw materials manufacturing plants. By investing in critical mineral assets, Kinterra Capital aims to meet the growing demand for batteries in the evolving energy landscape.
Additionally, Chinese battery giant CATL is reportedly considering a second listing in Hong Kong, potentially expanding its reach and market presence.
Overall, these developments highlight the continued growth and importance of battery technology in the transition to a greener and more sustainable future.
That’s all for this week’s transportation news. Stay tuned for more updates in the world of moving people and packages from Point A to Point B.