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Welcome back to The Station, your central hub for all past, present and future means of moving people and packages from Point A to Point B.
Happy Labor Day weekend to all my U.S. and Canada-based readers! If you’re using the three-day weekend to take a road trip, travel safe.
For those in California, you may be asked to curb your energy use this holiday weekend. Particularly, if you own an EV. California’s power grid manager is calling on EV owners to avoid charging at peak times (4 p.m. to 9 p.m.) as part of broader effort to keep the state’s grid up and running during this heat wave.
The “alert” got me thinking about California’s recent decision to ban new gas cars by 2035 and what a flood of EVs might do to an already decrepit power grid.
Speaking of EVs, maybe you’re looking to buy one? I wrote up a guide to the new EV tax credit that you may find helpful. It’s more complicated these days. This guide tackles new EVs; look out for another article on used EVs and the tax credit.
Finally, if you want to check out TechCrunch Disrupt (and I suggest you do), here is a little gift for my readers. Go to this link and type in the code STATION to get 15% off passes, excluding online and expo tickets.
Rebecca Bellan is on a well-earned vacation and so this week’s micromobbin’ will be brief.
First up is a TC+ article by Bellan that explores why the biggest market for micromobility will end up being in the commercial space not focused on consumers.
In other scootin’ and bikin’ news …
Lime, Spin and Veo are in Milwaukee as part of a new shared scooter pilot that launched this week.
The Atlantic’s “The E-bike is a Monstrosity” column sparked outrage and criticism on social media and even inspired some to write counterarguments like this one in Outside entitled “The E-bike is Pure Joy.”
Vermont became the first state to offer an ebike rebate.
Deal of the week
The deal-making this summer has slowed to a drip. The difference from last summer — when the deal flow was more like a fire hose — is striking.
While the pace of deals has slowed, the desire for capital has not. It’s particularly palpable in the EV and mobility SPAC world where companies once awash with capital in a high-flying market are trying to get that spigot turned back on.
Lucid and Nikola are among a few EV SPACs that are seeking cash infusions through stock offerings to bring their delayed vehicles to market.
The CEO of self-driving tech firm Aurora has floated a number of options to the board to extend the company’s runway beyond mid-2024. And last month, Faraday Future (which I am shocked is even still here) said it will require additional funds by early September 2022 in order to continue operations. For those keeping track, that’s now.
The upshot? I expect more of this activity through the end of the year. It’s going to get desperate for some.
Other deals that got my attention this week … (subscribe for all the deals)
Ascend Elements, a U.S.-based lithium-ion battery recycling and engineered materials company, received a $50 million investment from SK ecoplant, the environmental unit of Korean conglomerate SK Inc.
Populus, the transportation data startup, raised $11 million in a Series A round to scale its existing product as well as its curb management software. The round was co-led by Zero Infinity Partners and Climactic with participation from Comcast Ventures and Robert Downey Jr.’s FootPrint Coalition Ventures.
SparkCharge, the mobile EV charging network provider, raised an additional $7 million from Cleveland Avenue that is an add-on to its previously announced Series A round. The total raise is now $30 million.
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