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Ciencia y Tecnología

Bird pierde la capacidad de volar en medio del caos financiero en la Bolsa de Nueva York mientras Uber intensifica su postura en contra de los taxis tradicionales y Tesla enfrenta una nueva demanda por supuesta discriminación racial.

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Welcome back to The Station, your central hub for all things past, present, and future of moving people and packages from point A to point B. The United Auto Workers strike continues to dominate the news cycle. And the strike, now in its third week, is escalating. After GM and Ford CEOs launched the attack, UAW President Shawn Fain responded by announcing that the strike would expand. Workers walked off the job at a Ford plant in Chicago and at the GM assembly plant in Lansing, Michigan. Stellantis did not take part in the expanded strike after making a last-minute concession. With emotions and tensions running high, it’s hard to see how this will be resolved in the short term. Before we move on to the rest of the news, here’s the latest episode of the Equity Podcast. Okay, let’s go. Want to send us a tip, comment, or complaint? Email Kirsten at kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com. Remember, you can send us a note at tips@techcrunch.com as well. If you prefer to stay anonymous, click here to contact us which includes SecureDrop (instructions here) and various encrypted messaging apps.

Micromobbing Bird has finally been delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. The official reason was that the company failed to maintain a market capitalization of over $15 million for 30 consecutive days, but Bird has also struggled to keep its share price above $1. The company will continue to operate on the OTC market and will appeal the decision. The timing is awkward, given that Bird acquired Spin from Tier just one week before its delisting. In a TechCrunch+ article, I analyze whether the Spin acquisition will be enough to prevent Bird from crashing completely. We don’t know how much runway Bird has without access to Spin’s balance sheets. But Spin’s reported revenues are only about one-fifth of Bird’s, and based on Bird’s own operating expenses, debt, revenues, and available cash (not to mention its turbulent history), I would say the company has a tough road ahead to regain investor confidence.

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A few words on battery fires. Representative Ritchie Torres introduced legislation to Congress that would require a national safety standard for lithium-ion batteries for micromobility devices. The bill emerged in part because online retailers like Amazon continue to sell unsafe batteries, despite the increase in battery fires over the years.

Deal of the Week I’m not sure if this sector will maintain its hot status forever, but for now, investors seem happy to pour money into electric boat startups. Arc is one of those. The Los Angeles-based electric boat startup just raised $70 million in a Series B round from a group of returning investors, including Eclipse, Andreessen Horowitz, Lowercarbon Capital, and Abstract Ventures. New investor Menlo Ventures, specifically its longtime partner and self-proclaimed boating enthusiast Shawn Carolan, also joined. Arc has raised over $100 million to date. Flush with fresh capital, co-founders Mitch Lee and Ryan Cook are planning to grow with a new, larger electric boat designed for wakeboarding, wakesurfing, and other water sports like tubing. That focus could prove lucrative, as most electric boat startups produce hydrofoil-style vessels, which do not create large enough wakes for use in water sports.

Other deals that caught my attention this week…
– H55, a Swiss developer of battery management systems and electric propulsion for aviation, raised around $49 million in a Series C financing round from ND Capital, Tippet Venture Partners, RTX Ventures, and other “prominent” private investors.
– Knerón, which is developing AI chips to power autonomous vehicles, among other autonomous machines, raised $49 million in an extension of its Series B round from investors including Foxconn, Alltek, Horizon Ventures, Liteon Technology Corp., Adata, and PalPilot. The company has raised $190 million to date.
– Wongnai, an on-demand delivery app in Thailand, is gearing up for an initial public offering in Bangkok that could raise around $300 million, Bloomberg reported, citing anonymous sources.
– Sierra Space raised $290 million in a Series B round to scale its Dream Chaser spaceplane and commercial space station projects. The commercial space transportation startup is now valued at $5.3 billion.

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Notable Readings and Other Tidbits
ADA Contributor Emme Hall tested Mercedes’ hands- and eyes-free driving system on a busy Los Angeles freeway. Here’s how it went.
Autonomous Vehicles The International Brotherhood of Teamsters sent a letter to U.S. auto safety regulators urging the agency to deny General Motors’ petition for an exemption to build its Cruise Origin AV without traditional vehicle standards such as a steering wheel.
Electric Vehicles, Charging, and Batteries Rivian has halted work on its planned $3.5 billion electric vehicle battery plant in Michigan, which was supposed to produce cheaper iron phosphate lithium-ion batteries using technology from China’s CATL. The factory has been controversial among local residents and nationally, where Republican lawmakers continue to press the automaker to share more documents about the deal with CATL. Ford insists it has shared everything. Side note: Ford’s timing is curious. Many have linked the decision to the UAW strike. But perhaps it’s something else. One theory floating in my circles is that Ford saw the recent interpretation by the U.S. Department of Commerce of the Foreign Entity of Concern under the CHIPS Act and expects similar language from the Treasury Department for the Section 30D Credit under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. In other words, it doesn’t expect the plant to meet the requirements to receive incentives. – Honda touted its massive network of EV partners in the U.S. Now it needs to start selling EVs in the country. – Lucid Group opened its first international factory in Saudi Arabia, the home of its largest shareholder. For now, the factory will reassemble the prefabricated Lucid Air vehicle kits that are built at the company’s U.S. factory in Casa Grande, Arizona. – Volkswagen’s $2.1 billion plan to launch a dedicated electric vehicle factory in Wolfsburg, Germany, has fallen apart. Instead, the automaker will modify two existing plants in the country.

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Gig Economy Uber, DoorDash, and Grubhub took a hit to their businesses in New York City after a judge ruled to allow the implementation of an $18 per hour minimum wage for food delivery workers in the city. Speaking of Uber, the ride-hailing company struck a multi-year partnership with Yellow Cab of Los Angeles and its five affiliated taxi fleets in Southern California. Under the agreement, taxi drivers will have access to Uber ride referrals in Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties.

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