February 13, 2018 News of the Day: Porsche Turns to 3D-Printing To Reproduce Classic Parts, Electric Vehicle Sharing Company Bird Founded by Former Lyft and Uber Execs Raises $15 Million

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【Summary】February 13, 2018 News of the Day

  Eric Walz  ·  Feb 13, 2018 1:52 PM PT
author: Eric Walz   

Porsche Turns to 3D-Printing Technology To Reproduce Classic Parts

Porsche has found a way to keep its heritage alive, by offering 3D printing for Porsche parts for cars that are no longer produced. While the company's own Classic division keeps stockpiles of obsolete parts, those it does have are reproduced with a 3D printer, according to the original design specifications. Many of these parts do not warrant retooling an entire manufacturing process.

Porsche efforts are similar to what its sister-company Bugatti is doing with its brake calipers and other components, the Porsche Classic department has turned to 3D printing for select components.

Some of these 3D printed parts include the clutch pedal for the 959 – the revolutionary supercar from the 1980s that many say saved the Porsche 911 from extinction. With only 292 of the Porsche 959 vehicles were made, reproducing the clutch-release lever in the original method from cast iron would be prohibitively expensive. But as seldom as they may be required, the part is put under immense stress. So Porsche is printing them out of steel.

The prototype component was pressure-tested with nearly three metric tons of force. And according to the manufacturer, it passed "with flying colors."

The clutch lever isn't the only component for which Porsche Classic has turned to 3D printing. It's undertaking the same process for eight other parts in either steel or plastic, and it's evaluating producing another 20.

Currently, Porsche offers some 52,000 parts to keep all the cars it's produced on the road and running like they're supposed to. But as costly as the process still is at present, we're becoming less and less surprised to see the new 3D printing technology finding its way into the automotive industry.

Electric Vehicle Sharing Company Bird Founded by Former Lyft and Uber Execs Raises $15 Million

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SANTA MONICA, Calif., — Electric scooters are becoming an attractive, environmentally friendly form of urban transportation. Bird, a last-mile electric vehicle sharing company, today announced it has raised $15 million in its Series A funding round. Led by Craft Ventures, the new fund launched by David Sacks and Bill Lee, the investment will support continued expansion of Bird's first-in-the-world fleet of shared electric scooters.

The investment comes as Bird experiences rapid ridership growth in its current cities and enters new markets across the United States. Tusk Ventures, Valor, Lead Edge Capital, and Goldcrest Capital also invested in the round.

The expanding company is headquartered in Santa Monica, California and has been attracting much attention in the city. Bird provides a fleet of electric called "Birds", shared scooters that can be accessed via a smartphone app. Birds give people looking to take a short journey across town or down that "last-mile" from the subway station or bus to their destination a way to do so that does not pollute the air or add to traffic. The company was founded in 2017 by transportation pioneer Travis VanderZanden.

"This is an enthusiastic vote of confidence in our company that reflects the passion we've seen from riders in each of the cities that Bird has debuted in," said Travis VanderZanden, founder and CEO of Bird. "More riders are taking flight on Birds each day – on their way to work, lunch, the bus stop, or campus – because it is a safe, low-cost transportation solution for short trips around town. We look forward to bringing our Birds to new communities across the country."

Bird provides a convenient, low-cost transportation option for people looking to take a short journey across town or down the "last-mile" from the subway or bus to their destination. Through the smartphone app, riders can access Birds, locate the most convenient one, and ride directly to their desired destination. Bird works closely with the cities in which it operates, making it a safe, reliable, and affordable transportation option for people who live and work there.

Since launching in September 2017 in Santa Monica, riders have logged more than 250,000 Bird rides, with more than half of those occurring in the previous month alone.

"Bird is solving the last mile of sustainable transport," said David Sacks, co-founder of Craft Ventures and member of Bird's board of directors. "It's convenient, it's green, it alleviates traffic and makes cities more livable. This product has the potential to transform urban areas."

Bird's founder, Travis VanderZanden, developed an early passion for transportation riding along with his mother, a public bus driver in Appleton, Wis. He then went on to be a pioneer in car ridesharing, serving as the first COO of Lyft and as VP of driver growth for Uber.

Bird's senior leadership also has deep experience across the transportation and technology industries, including: Stephen Schnell, VP of operations, previously at Lyft; Sean Sires, VP of corporate development, previously at Uber; Ryan Fujiu, head of growth, previously at Lyft; and Ryan Hupfer, head of launch, previously at Lyft. In addition to David Sacks, Justin Kan the co-founder of Twitch, and Dan Friedland, partner at Goldcrest Capital, have also joined the company's board of directors.

Birds are currently available in Santa Monica and Venice, California,. as well as select neighborhoods in San Diego and Los Angeles.

The company is rapidly expanding, and riders interested in learning when it will be available in their market can download and sign up at www.birdapp.com.

GM's Maven Car-Sharing Service Launches in Toronto

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General Motors launched its Maven car-sharing service in Toronto on Tuesday, continuing its North American expansion into Canada's largest city, where it will take on a trio of similar already established companies, including Daimler AG's Car2Go, Enterprise CarShare and Zipcar also operate in Toronto.

The Maven program is a keyless on-demand vehicle service, where members access and start a Maven vehicle with only their smartphone. Maven already operates in most major US cities where uses can rent GM vehicles by the hour a Chevy Malibu, Volt, GMC Acadia and Yukon, and Cadillac ATS sedan and XT5 crossover.

Unlike Uber and Lyft, people drive themselves in Maven's GM branded vehicles. They are available by the hour, day, week or month. All reservations include gas and insurance.

Maven will initially offer 40 vehicles in Toronto. They include the Chevrolet Cruze, Malibu, Tahoe, Trax and Volt; GMC Acadia and Yukon; and Cadillac ATS and XT5.

The service has selected key parking locations across the city, including Toronto's entertainment and financial districts.

Rolls Royce to Release its SUV Named Cullinan

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The upcoming Rolls-Royce luxury SUV is called the Cullinan, and today the company officially acknowledge its name. Referring to the enormous Cullinan diamond discovered in 1905, Rolls-Royce says the name befits the new "high-bodied vehicle," carefully steering around the SUV moniker.

"The name Cullinan has been hiding in plain sight since we revealed it as the project name some years ago," says Rolls-Royce CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös. The vehicle is named after the Cullinan Diamond, the 3,106-carat jewel discovered in a South African mine in 1905 which remains one of the largest flawless diamonds ever found.

Müller-Ötvös feels it is "perfect and brilliant." He says,"just like the Cullinan Diamond, it emerges when it is perfect and exists above all others." "It is the most fitting name for our extraordinary new product. Cullinan is a motor car of such clarity of purpose, such flawless quality and preciousness, and such presence that it recalibrates the scale and possibility of true luxury. Just like the Cullinan Diamond, the largest flawless diamond ever found, it emerges when it is perfect and exists above all others."

At the same time, Rolls-Royce also released new official photos of the Cullinan, though it is still wearing camouflage. One of the photos depicts a test mule climbing a muddy hill, a territory unclaimed by Rolls-Royces except for ones modified by privateer rally teams.

The Cullinan, based on a new proprietary aluminum space frame, is expected to be unveiled by late summer 2018, with deliveries starting in 2019. The vehicle's introduction is planned to lift the brand's yearly sales to 5,000 units per year, as they fell to 3,362 in 2017.

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