Category

Automotive

Category

Lyft Market Share Growing Faster Than Uber

Controversy After a series of unfortunate incidents for Uber, its main rival Lyft is surging in the market. Bloomberg has reported that company’s gross booking grew 25% to more than $1 billion in the second quarter from more than $800 million in the previous period. That is a faster rate than Uber, which told investors that it expected its growth projections to be in the mid-teens for the same period. Uber has been dogged by controversy for a number of months. Earlier this year, Uber CEO, Travis Kalanick, was caught on film beating one his own drivers. The public criticised the attitude of Kalanick towards his own drivers.  It was also discovered that Uber, for over two years, was shortchanging their own drivers, with losses to drivers amounting to tens of millions of dollars. Emil Michael, SVP of Business at Uber, and possibly the second most important figure in the…

Move Over, Tesla, This Is Real

Thunder Power, a Hong Kong-based electric-vehicle startup, proclaims an ambitious goal: to make the most desirable EV in China. “An obvious difference between us and (U.S. EV maker) Tesla is we have the key technologies before actually investing in manufacturing,” Wellen Sham, Thunder Power CEO, tells WardsAuto at a launch event in Shanghai. Thunder Power has filed more than 350 patent applications in the U.S. and China, and 70 have been granted, Sham says. Among them is a lightweight modular chassis system, that allows flexibility in the design of future car models, making development and assembly faster and more cost-efficient. “We are the world’s first company that got this modular-chassis patent,” Sham says. Along with the chassis system, the company has developed innovative, patented battery- and thermal-management systems. Thunder Power claims its battery-management system allows a range of 397 miles (650 km) compared with the 335 miles (539 km) offered…

Is Tesla (Or Any EV For That Matter) As Green As It Claims?

If you’re planning to buy a Tesla Model 3 today, you’re probably feeling pretty good about yourself. Not only will you have a sweet ride, but you’ll be doing something good for the environment! No gasoline-powered sports cars to get you through your midlife crisis, thank you very much. You care about global warming. But how green is a Tesla, really? Devonshire Research Group, an investment firm that specializes in valuing tech companies, dug into the data and concluded that Tesla’s environmental benefits may be more hyped than warranted. Devonshire isn’t saying that Tesla is pulling a Volkswagen, or that its cars are spewing greenhouse gases from invisible tailpipes. It’s arguing that Teslas (and, by extension, all electric vehicles) create pollution and carbon emissions in other ways. Each stage of an EV’s life has environmental impacts, and while they aren’t as obvious as a tailpipe pumping out fumes, that doesn’t…

Uber Promises to Fulfill Everybody’s Dream by 2020

Uber is taking ridesharing to the sky and it’s not a ‘Back to the Future’ parody.The company announced Tuesday that it plans to roll out a network of flying cars in Dallas-Fort Worth and, of course, Dubai by 2020. The flying electric taxis are being developed with aviation companies including Embraer and Bell Helicopter. While the technology is largely unproven, Uber believes the service will eventually cost about the same as its car rides. The kind of aircraft Uber envisions shuttling customers through the air—electric, with vertical takeoff and landing capability, and capable of flying 100 miles in just 40 minutes—don’t exist yet. Nor does the infrastructure to support them. The FAA, an agency not known for speed, must ensure these aircraft meet all federal safety regulations and figure out where and how they fit into a complex air traffic control system. Uber will face these many challenges as they…

Self-Driving Cars Can Learn a Lot by Playing Grand Theft Auto

Spending thousands of hours playing Grand Theft Auto might have questionable benefits for humans, but it could help make computers significantly more intelligent. Several research groups are now using the hugely popular game, which features fast cars and various nefarious activities, to train algorithms that might enable a self-driving car to navigate a real road. There’s little chance of a computer learning bad behavior by playing violent computer games. But the stunningly realistic scenery found in Grand Theft Auto and other virtual worlds could help a machine perceive elements of the real world correctly. A technique known as machine learning is enabling computers to do impressive new things, like identifying faces and recognizing speech as well as a person can. But the approach requires huge quantities of curated data, and it can be challenging and time-consuming to gather enough. The scenery in many games is so fantastically realistic that it…

F1 Car vs. Superbike Around a Racetrack: Hold On To Your Breakfast (video)

Everyone knows a modern Formula 1 car is fast, but it’s hard to understand just how badly it beats everything else on wheels. We generally see F1 cars racing against other F1 cars, so this video of David Coulthard racing a 2012 Red Bull RB8 against Guy Martin on a Tyco BMW Superbike is incredibly illustrative. Coulthard and Martin knew the F1 car would outrun the bike, so they made things more interesting: In order for Coulthard in his F1 car to win, he had to complete four laps quicker than Martin completed three on the bike. The bike is obviously incredibly nimble, but the F1 car has a huge advantage in its prodigious downforce. You’ll have to watch to find out how the race goes, but it’s illuminating to see the speed of RB8 in a new context.

This Super Silent Hydrogen-powered Chevy ZH2 Truck Is the Army’s Newest Secret Weapon

In preparation for its delivery to the U.S. Army for testing, General Motors showed off the Chevrolet ZH2 fuel cell electric military truck at the company’s Milford Proving Grounds, where it demonstrated its ability to churn through muck and mud silently. The ZH2, which was revealed late last year, is built on the racy new Colorado ZR2 off-road truck, but with a hydrogen fuel cell replacing the ZR2’s gasoline engine for propulsion. General Motors Co. The Army is hot for fuel cells because they offer many advantages over combustion engines, reports Paul Rogers, director of the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center. “Fuel cells have the potential to expand the capabilities of Army vehicles significantly through quiet operation, exportable power and solid torque performance, all advances that drove us to investigate this technology further.” General Motors Co. Not only that, but fuel cells produce pure water, which is a…

The Case for a Tesla-GM Merger

The business world is abuzz with the news: as of this writing, Tesla’s total value has soared past that of Ford and is heading towards the market’s valuation of General Motors. A lot of people are pretending to be very surprised about this; after all, Tesla is a money-losing small-batch builder of impractical and occasionally trouble-prone boutique Veblen goods, while Ford is a massive, highly competent, and frequently profitable automaker with enough factory-floor space to swallow Tesla many times over. The above does not matter. Ford is a much better carmaker than Tesla, but we live in an era where brick-and-mortar companies frequently play second fiddle to apps and platforms and clouds and other entirely ephemeral ideas. It suits the stock market just fine, because the stock market is much like the baseball-card market, or the art market, in that it serves more as a reflection of prevailing views than…

Watch Nio’s 1 Megawatt Ep9 Smash the Nürburgring Electric Vehicle Lap Record

We’re continuing this week’s theme of hypercars and electric vehicles with unnecessary amounts of power thanks to a video sent to us by the nice people at Formula E. You may remember late last year that the Nio EP9 set a new EV record at the Nürburgring Nordschleife, lapping the 12.9-mile (20.7km) track in 7:05.12. Well, the complete lap has now been uploaded to YouTube for your viewing pleasure: The man behind the wheel was Peter Dumbreck, who holds the distinction of being one of two people who have flipped a Mercedes endurance racer at Le Mans (the other is Mark Webber). Dumbreck has a much calmer time in the EP9, which looks to be extremely stable from the onboard video. The video doesn’t feature any telemetry so we don’t know what the car’s max speed is, but some very rough back of the envelope calculations suggest Dumbreck averages about 140mph on the…

Tesla’s Model 3 Is Coming. Here’s What We Know Now

WHEN DOES A six second video send the car and tech communities into a frenzy? When it’s posted by Elon Musk, and it shows his long-gestating new baby, the Tesla Model 3, peeling away from a standstill under heavy acceleration before braking to a hard stop 100 feet up the street. What makes this clip—grainy, short, stripped of context—so interesting? The same reasons that pushed rabid fans to mock up an online configurator, the automotive equivalent of fan fic. For one, Tesla has revealed close to zilch about the car since showing it off as a prototype a year ago, even though production should start this summer. And two, this is the most anticipated—and most important—vehicle the upstart automaker will ever build. Starting at $35,000 ($27,500 if you can land the federal tax credit) and offering 215 miles of range, the Model 3 is Tesla’s bid for the mass market, the…