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Metropolis

Why the well-being of cities depends on a people-first approach

For the last 70 years, cities around the world have been torn apart, retrofitted, and codified to accommodate 2-ton vehicles at the expense of all other modes of transportation. These deeply engrained patterns have dispersed people and businesses out to a sprawling landscape of dependency, diluted our places of vibrancy, and have left behind environmental devastation. In a silver lining to an otherwise devastating year, it only took a few months and a bit of political leniency to revert to a pre-car world.

Life as we know it came to halt in March of last year. As people sheltered in…


Metropolis

Why EV’s are false prophets in the fight for a better world

A Tesla driving in freeway traffic
A Tesla driving in freeway traffic

Few narratives in the last decade have generated as much momentum as that of electric vehicles. They’ve been heralded as a revolution. Saviors to our gasoline addiction and warriors in the fight for a more sustainable world. Federal departments have noted they have the potential to dramatically improve public health and reduce ecological damage. Financial observers have christened EVs as the next frontier for outsized opportunity and returns. To be seen in one is the ultimate status symbol, signifying that you’re not only someone, but someone who cares about the world, and how the world thinks of you. …


Where Are They Now

In between the minivan’s decline and the SUV’s surge, one of the century’s most beloved — and despised—cars experienced a brief moment of fame

A black and white photo of a PT Cruiser photoshopped onto a thought bubble.
A black and white photo of a PT Cruiser photoshopped onto a thought bubble.

Do you remember the PT Cruiser? Yeah, you do: Chrysler’s po-mo hot rod with the funny name and the Dick Tracy-esque curves? It’s in the first shot of the new CW series Superman and Lois, because it’s the closest thing on the road to the car on the cover of Action Comics #1, the 1938 comic book in which Superman makes his debut. It’s just right — like the current comic-book universes, the PT Cruiser was designed to be contemporary, entertaining, and a very loud echo of the past.

It was also supposed to be as ubiquitous as the DC…


Electric car charging is operating on a version of the freemium model — cheap only until you are hooked

Over the last few months, three big U.S. electric vehicle charging companies have announced multibillion-dollar reverse mergers to take themselves public. In the latest, Volta Industries said Monday that it will go public at a value exceeding $2 billion and walk away with $600 million in cash to build out its charging network. It is part of a massive expansion of EV charging that is underway — one that, according to McKinsey, will grow to as many as nine million U.S. charging points by 2025.

The public consensus about our EV charging future — from industry experts, analysts, and investors…


Number of the Day

17% of the country’s Cadillac dealers accepted a buyout from GM rather than invest in electric car infrastructure

150 — How many Cadillac dealers have opted to stop selling the brand rather than invest in electric car infrastructure.
150 — How many Cadillac dealers have opted to stop selling the brand rather than invest in electric car infrastructure.

150: That’s how many Cadillac dealers have opted to no longer sell the brand rather than invest in electric car infrastructure.

This was the ultimatum from GM to the dealers: Install $200,000 worth of electric car charging infrastructure, heavier lift equipment to accommodate weightier electric vehicles, and specialist tools, or accept a buyout and give up the Cadillac brand. The buyouts were attractive—$300,000 to $1 million, the Wall Street Journal reported—and about 17% of the country’s Cadillac dealers accepted the exit offer.

This isn’t surprising: Since the start of the new EV age a decade ago, dealers have been asking…


After years of hesitation, the legendary car manufacturer has finally tried to ignite its own electric vehicle frenzy

When it comes to electric vehicles, GM has spent a decade looking ambivalent. In 2010, the carmaker released the Volt, the world’s first major plug-in hybrid electric car. Then, in 2016, it debuted the Bolt, the first 200-mile, fully electric vehicle. Critics fawned over both cars, but GM seemed to shun the fanfare, designing the vehicles with what appeared to be almost deliberate frumpiness, and failing to promote either. Both have been sales failures, and last year GM stopped selling the Volt altogether.

What was with GM’s hesitation? Didn’t it want buzz? …


The carmaker’s $2 billion deal with an unproven upstart reveals just how little confidence it has to beat Tesla

In December 2016, a half year before Tesla released its mainstream-priced Model 3, GM delivered its first all-electric Bolts to customers. The arrival of the two vehicles marked a crucial moment in the industry, when it would finally be possible to know whether the mass market was prepared to buy electric vehicles in large numbers.

The Tesla was swankier, but in almost every other way the cars were comparable: Like the Model 3, the Bolt went more than 200 miles on a single charge and was priced at around $35,000 before government rebates. Technology experts gave the Bolt rave reviews…


The EV truck startup has a $23 billion valuation — staggering for a company that generates virtually no revenue and has yet to sell anything

Every successful company produces imitators, but truly great companies are hard to copy. So the only question with a close imitator is who are they trying to fool: themselves or their investors?

In the ’80s and ’90s, there were reams of books published about how companies could be more like GE. In the late ’90s, traditional retailers tried to glom onto the internet boom: K-tel, which sold music through infomercials, spiked from $3 a share to $34 after launching a website. Books-a-Million did even better, rising from $3 to $50.

Today, the world’s most famous, if not eccentric, CEO is…


Gas prices are plummeting, but GM’s new EV Hummer will debut a game-changing battery

Another unsuspecting victim of Covid-19 should be electric vehicles: Oil prices have cratered, making gasoline-fueled cars dirt-cheap to run. But a little-noticed breakthrough in automotive batteries has shaken up China’s EV market, and now is about to arrive in the United States, where GM and VW already have their hands on it.

The advance is the result of a global race to substantially reduce expensive cobalt in lithium-ion batteries. Until now, cobalt has been 20% to 33% of the cathode, the heart of lithium-ion batteries. The advance reduces that to 10%, a drop that researchers were calling highly unlikely just…

Marker

Pop business for the intelligent reader. A publication from Medium.

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