The transportation stories that drove 2022
2022 was a year that made us think, “What an opportunity to be alive and report on transportation.” The year was dominated by discussions about the realities of self-driving vehicles, the potential upheaval in the gig worker economy and micromobility dramas, and of course all things Tesla.
We looked back at the top-performing stories in transportation to determine what was most important to you, dear readers.
Argo AI, an autonomous vehicle startup, was founded in 2017 with a $1B investment. After Ford and Volkswagen pulled their investments, the company is gone.
This one shocked the AV community, especially because Argo was in the middle running a robotaxi pilot. Lyft Austin And Miami driverless technology testing. The company’s closure signalled two things: (1) A new round of consolidation is on the horizon for self-driving tech firms; (2) Scaling up Level 4 self-driving technology is still a long way off.
Both Ford and VW decided that they would invest in more immediate paths to profitability, specifically Level 2 or Level 3 autonomy, and advanced driver assistance systems. Jim Farley, Ford CEO, also spoke. He said that he didn’t believe the automaker would need L4 technology, but that it could be outsourced.
It’s the transportation mystery for the year. What happened to Bolt Mobility? The micromobility startup based in Miami that was co-founded by Usain Bolt, an Olympic gold medalist. In August, we reported that Bolt Mobility had disappeared from several U.S. markets. This left cities without equipment, unanswered emails, and abandoned calls. Portland was also affected by the company’s unpaid fees.
TechCrunch and many other city officials were unable to reach the company to inquire about what happened or what the company planned to do with all of the gear it left behind.
The company seems to have stopped operating — it hasn’t been active on social networks since July despite being on a growth streak for the past year. Bolt began 2021 with the acquisition of assets from Last Mile Holdings which opened up 48 markets for the startup. It just goes to prove that micromobility can be a difficult game to win, even when the odds seem in your favor.
If anyone has information on Bolt Mobility, I would be grateful.
Who doesn’t love a roundup! Automakers from the past and startups came together at the New York Auto Show to showcase their electric vehicles. These are the ones that caught our attention this year.
- The 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale is Alfa Romeo’s first compact crossover.
- The Chrysler Airflow Graphite Concept, a stylish crossover with Level 3 capabilities.
- Jeep’s Grand Cherokee High Altitude 4xe is a full-size hybrid SUV.
- The Vayanne EV hypercar by Deus Automobiles is a curvy roadster.
- Indi EV’s Indi One is a “lifestyle-focused” crossover that includes a built-in gaming machine.
- The subcompact SUV from Kia, the 2023 Niro is available in a hybrid, PEV, or EV powertrain.
- Kia also displayed its EV9 concept, a compact SUV that will be available on the U.S. market in 2023.
- The Genesis X Speedium Concept is a coupe with a bold design.
- Vinfast’s two SUVs: the VF8 & VF9.
Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, teased the release “Master Plan Part 3” on March 5, a day before it opened its Berlin gigafactory. This is a heavily influenced by themes of artificial intelligence as well as scaling operations to “extreme sizes.”
Musk stated that Tesla’s main subject will be scaling to extreme sizes, which is necessary to shift humanity away fossil fuels and AI. Tweet At the time. “But I will also include sections on SpaceX, Tesla, and The Boring Company.”
Part 3 of Tesla’s master plan includes mention of Musk’s other companies. Note: This article was published before Musk purchased Twitter.
Here’s a quick overview of parts one and 2. Part one was published in a 2006 post on the blog. It described Tesla’s proof-of-concept and involved building a sports car, using the funds to build more affordable cars while simultaneously providing zero emission electric power generation. Part twoThe ten-year-old publication was published in which it discussed plans to develop battery storage and launch other models, including a pickup truck or SUV.
Musk shared more details about the third part of his Master Plan later in the year. Musk revealed more details about his Master Plan part three during a companywide meeting.
Gas prices rose globally earlier this year due to Russia’s war against Ukraine. Uber and Lyft responded to the outbreak of war in March by adding Temporary fuel surcharges To help drivers pay the rising fuel costs, riders can purchase rider fares.
The Rideshare Guy is a podcast and blog that aims to help ride-share drivers make more money and keep up to date on industry news. It polled its Uber and Lyft drivers in America and found that 43% had quit driving or were driving less because of high gas prices. This number was 53% before the announcement of fuel surcharges.
Many drivers felt that the surcharge was too high and they would prefer a per-mile surcharge to cover the higher fuel costs on long trips, rather than a flat fee.
TechCrunch was told by a Lyft driver that the surcharge is an insult to drivers.
This article is crucial today because it covers many themes: our ability to panic when hot commodities prices rise; the ongoing aggravation for gig workers; the subtle dance Uber/Lyft perform to appease drivers, but not in a meaningful way.
Another major story of the year was the Proposed ruling by the Department of Labor on gig worker status The subsequent decline in stock prices of app-based companies. If the rule is passed, gig workers will be able to claim employment status if it can be proven that they are financially dependent on a company. Drivers who feel they have been repeatedly cheated by macroeconomic events and barely protected by Uber or Lyft may be hoping for real change at the federal level.
I’m a journalist who specializes in investigative reporting and writing. I have written for the New York Times and other publications.