Archive for the ‘GM’ Category

Cruise will soon hit San Francisco with no hands on the wheel

October 17th, 2020
Cruise has been testing its self-driving cars, with safety drivers, in San Francisco for about five years.

Enlarge / Cruise has been testing its self-driving cars, with safety drivers, in San Francisco for about five years. (credit: Andrej Sokolow | Getty Images)

Last week, Waymo, the self-driving-vehicle developer owned by Alphabet, expanded a first-of-its-kind service offering rides to paying passengers around Phoenix—with no one behind the wheel. Videos shared by Waymo and others show its minivans navigating wide, sunny streets with ease.

Now rival Cruise, a General Motors subsidiary, has taken a step toward running its own self-driving-taxi service—on the hilly, winding, pedestrian-swarmed streets of San Francisco. On Thursday, Cruise said the California Department of Motor Vehicles had granted it a permit to test up to five of its modified Chevy Bolts without anyone behind the wheel. In a blog post, Cruise CEO Dan Ammann said truly driverless cars would operate in the city before the end of the year.

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Nikola stock falls 14 percent after CEO downplays Badger truck plans

October 16th, 2020
A large pickup truck gradually vanishes.

Enlarge / The front half of the Nikola Badger. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Nikola Motor Corporation)

Nikola CEO Mark Russell downplayed the company's Badger pickup truck in comments to the Financial Times on Thursday.

“The Badger was an interesting and exciting project to some shareholders, but our institutional shareholders are mostly focused on the business plan,” Russell said. “Our core business plan since before we became publicly listed always focused on heavy trucks and hydrogen infrastructure.”

Russell's comments were published after markets closed on Thursday. Nikola's stock price plunged on Friday morning and is currently down about 14 percent for the day.

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Nikola’s deal with GM was supposed to close today—it didn’t

September 30th, 2020
A large pickup truck gradually vanishes.

Enlarge / The Nikola Badger. (credit: Aurich Lawson / Nikola Motor Corporation)

When Nikola and GM announced a partnership on September 8, GM said it expected the deal to close by September 30. Now September 30 has arrived, and the deal hasn't closed. Media reports indicate that the deal is unlikely to close today.

A GM spokesman confirmed the delay in an email to Ars. "Our transaction with Nikola has not closed. We are continuing our discussions with Nikola and will provide further updates when appropriate."

Also this morning, Nikola published a revised overview of the company's business strategy. It discussed Nikola's plans to manufacture semitrucks in Europe and the United States, build a network of hydrogen fuel stations, and even plans for an electric all-terrain vehicle. But conspicuously missing from the document was any mention of the Badger pickup truck—the one that GM was supposed to manufacture for Nikola under the now-delayed partnership.

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Nikola founder abruptly resigns amid fraud allegations

September 21st, 2020
A casually dressed man gives a presentation in front of a semitruck.

Enlarge / Nikola Chairman Trevor Milton unveils the Nikola One truck in December 2016. (credit: Nikola)

Trevor Milton, founder of electric truck startup Nikola, resigned his job as executive chairman of the company on Sunday—effective immediately. Nikola's stock plunged after the news and is currently trading at around $28 per share, which is down 18 percent.

Milton's resignation came just 10 days after a bombshell research report revealed that Milton wasn't telling the truth in 2016 when he unveiled the company's first product, the Nikola One, and claimed that it "fully functions." The report from short-selling firm Hindenburg Research also revealed that a Nikola One truck that appeared to be driving down a highway under its own power in a 2018 promotional video was actually rolling down a hill. Nikola acknowledged last week that it never got the Nikola One working.

The Hindenburg revelations put Nikola's management under immense pressure. Both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice have reportedly opened investigations into possible fraud by the company. Over the weekend, Milton offered (voluntarily, he says) to resign as executive chairman, and Nikola's board accepted his offer. Milton will also relinquish his seat on Nikola's board.

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Posted in cars, GM, Hindenburg Research, lol, Nikola, Trevor Milton | Comments (0)

GM has no reason to back out of its one-sided deal with Nikola

September 15th, 2020
Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, in 2019.

Enlarge / Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors, in 2019. (credit: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

GM CEO Mary Barra on Monday signaled that the company is standing by its deal to produce Nikola's Badger pickup truck.

"The company has worked with a lot of different partners and we’re a very capable team that has done the appropriate diligence," Barra said during a conference with RBC Capital Markets on Monday.

GM is standing by Nikola despite recent revelations that the startup misled the public about the capabilities of its first truck, the Nikola One. At its 2016 unveiling, founder Trevor Milton claimed that the Nikola One "fully functions." But on Monday, Nikola admitted that the company never had a working prototype of the truck. The company acknowledged that a 2018 promotional video showed the truck rolling down a shallow hill—not driving under its own power.

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General Motors will engineer and build Nikola’s hydrogen pickup

September 8th, 2020
The Nikola Badger.

Enlarge / The Nikola Badger. (credit: Nikola Motors)

On Tuesday morning, General Motors announced that it was entering into a partnership with Nikola Motor Company, the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) startup. For its part, Nikola is bringing $2 billion to the table in the form of newly issued stock, an 11 percent share in the company. In return, it appears GM will do pretty much everything else—engineering, homologating, validating, and manufacturing battery EV and FCEV variants of the Nikola Badger pickup truck.

"This strategic partnership with Nikola, an industry leading disrupter, continues the broader deployment of General Motors’ all-new Ultium battery and Hydrotec fuel cell systems. We are growing our presence in multiple high-volume EV segments while building scale to lower battery and fuel cell costs and increase profitability," said General Motors chairperson and CEO Mary Barra in a statement.

"Nikola is one of the most innovative companies in the world. General Motors is one of the top engineering and manufacturing companies in the world. You couldn’t dream of a better partnership than this,” said Trevor Milton, founder and CEO of Nikola.

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Posted in cars, FCEV, General Motors, GM, hydrogen fuel cell, Nikola, Nikola Corporation, Ultium | Comments (0)

Feds will pay GM $489 million to make 30,000 ventilators by August

April 8th, 2020
Old woman with Ventilator mask on Hospital bed

Enlarge (credit: Soumen Nath / Getty Images)

The Trump administration will pay General Motors $489 million to manufacture 30,000 ventilators, the Department of Health and Human Services announced on Wednesday.

GM, of course, is a car company, not a supplier of medical equipment. Rather than designing a ventilator from scratch, GM will be using a design borrowed from Ventec Life Systems. GM and Ventec announced a partnership to work on ventilators more than two weeks ago.

"GM is proud to deploy its purchasing and manufacturing capability alongside the respiratory care expertise of Ventec," GM said in a press statement.

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Posted in cars, coronavirus, GM, ventilators | Comments (0)

Tesla plans to retool solar panel factory to make Medtronic ventilators

March 26th, 2020
A serious man in a suit.

Enlarge / Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak. (credit: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Tesla is planning to retool its solar panel factory in Buffalo, New York, to manufacture medical ventilators, CEO Elon Musk said in a Wednesday tweet.

"Giga New York will reopen for ventilator production as soon as humanly possible," Musk tweeted. "We will do anything in our power to help the citizens of New York."

Tesla is making the ventilators in partnership with Medtronic. Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak confirmed the relationship in a Wednesday interview with CNBC.

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Ford aims to resume production in less than three weeks despite pandemic

March 26th, 2020
Ford aims to resume production in less than three weeks despite pandemic

Enlarge (credit: jetcityimage / Getty)

A week after Ford shuttered its North American factories over coronavirus concerns, the Detroit automaker says it is aiming to re-open some of those factories in April. Specifically, Ford plans to test the waters by operating a single shift at the Hermosillo Assembly Plant in Mexico on April 6. A week later, on April 14, Ford hopes to resume production at several US plants, including facilities in Michigan, Ohio, Missouri, and Kentucky.

Ford says it plans to introduce "additional safety measures to protect returning workers."

April 14 is one day after a sweeping "stay home" order from Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is scheduled to expire.

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Posted in cars, coronavirus, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, GM, pandemic | Comments (0)

At Trump’s request, Ford and GM help ventilator makers boost output

March 24th, 2020
At Trump’s request, Ford and GM help ventilator makers boost output

Enlarge (credit: Taechit Taechamanodom)

One of the most crucial things the United States can do to prepare for the surging coronavirus outbreak is to beef up our stockpile of ventilators. These mechanical breathing machines are crucial for keeping patients with severe cases of COVID-19 alive. The United States currently has around 170,000 of the devices; experts say that may not be enough if the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow exponentially.

On Sunday, President Donald Trump tweeted that "Ford, General Motors and Tesla are being given the go ahead to make ventilators and other metal products, FAST!" (Presumably he meant "medical products.")

This is an apparent reference to new guidance from the Food and Drug Administration, published Sunday, that dramatically loosens the agency's normally strict oversight of ventilator technology. The new policy not only gives medical professionals broader latitude to modify existing FDA-approved ventilators, it also creates a streamlined process for complete newcomers to the ventilator market to get FDA approval.

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Posted in cars, coronavirus, Donald Trump, Ford, GM, science, Tesla | Comments (0)