August 24, 2017 News of the Day: Cubic Telecom Raises $46 Million for Connected Car Tech, Battery Start-Up Romeo Power Raises $30 Million in Funding, NEVS Partners with Didi Huaxing

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【Summary】August 24, 2017 News of the Day

Original Eric Walz    Sep 30, 2017 2:30 PM PT
August 24, 2017 News of the Day: Cubic Telecom Raises $46 Million for Connected Car Tech, Battery Start-Up Romeo Power Raises $30 Million in Funding, NEVS Partners with Didi Huaxing

Cubic Telecom, a global Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity platform company, today announced the close of a €40M Series C investment round. The new investment, which brings the total funding to €75M, is funded by four participants, including previous investors Qualcomm Incorporated and Audi Electronics Venture GmbH, a subsidiary of AUDI AG. Other new investors include Valid Soluciones Tecnologicas SAU and Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

Connected Cars

Cubic provides mobility solutions that power connectivity for leading IoT and connected device companies across the globe, and is paving the way for autonomous vehicle technologies and innovative LTE connected car solutions to become mainstream.  

Cubic's global tier-one network delivers best-quality, high-speed 4G LTE voice and data services in partnership with over 30 mobile operators spanning more than 180 countries. The company counts some of the world's leading original automakers as customers, including Audi, VW Group and Porsche.

"Qualcomm and Audi have both been early investors and steadfast supporters in our vision, and their most recent investment, in partnership with new partners Valid and ISIF, will fuel our continued growth and market expansion," said Barry Napier, Chairman and CEO of Cubic Telecom. "Without exception, our customers are committed to providing an intelligent connectivity experience to their end-users, and today's announcement will help Cubic continue to deliver on that promise."

"We are pleased to strengthen our partnership by participating in this latest funding round, said Dr. Peter Steiner, Managing director Audi Electronics Venture GmbH. " By utilizing Cubic's unique technology we are able to offer seamless Audi connect services to our customers in many countries all over the world – without roaming costs and volume limitation."

The new investment will accelerate continued refinements of Cubic's market-proven IoT platform and extend its global footprint. The company will also expand its engineering capabilities in Dublin, bringing more job creation to the company's headquarters.

Battery Start-Up Romeo Power Raises $30 Million in Funding


Los Angeles California based Romeo Power aims to compete with Tesla founder Elon Musk's company producing lithium-ion battery packs for EVs and stationary storage applications.

Romeo has raised $30 million in seed funding as it ramps up production and finalizes installation of a new, fully automated 113,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Vernon, California, just south of Los Angeles.

"We've seen incredible momentum in a short period, and we're scaling manufacturing as fast as we can to meet demand," said founder and CEO Michael Patterson in a statement. "There's a massive market opportunity for energy storage technologies."

The company's modular battery packs which are composed of cylindrical lithium-ion cells, can be used in electric cars, power sport vehicles, motorcycles, trucks, buses, or forklifts.

Using the same design, Romeo's stationary energy storage for businesses, called PowerStack, harvests and stores electricity from the grid during off-peak hours for energy arbitrage, cost savings and use during peak times or outages.

The startup claims its technology offers the highest energy density on the battery market by 25 percent, dramatically increasing an electric vehicle's range, and says its batteries decrease charge times by 15 to 30 percent.

"We've applied technologies developed for applications in space and aerospace, and we've improved upon them to create products that break new ground for EVs and stationary energy storage," said co-founder and CTO Porter Harris, who developed the battery technology powering SpaceX's F9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft.

Founded by top engineers from Tesla, SpaceX, Apple and Samsung, Romeo started selling its products this year and has secured $65 million in initial orders that are scheduled for delivery in 2018.

Sweden Based NEVS Partners with Didi Huaxing


The Chinese-backed, Swedish-based car company NEVS has forged two new alliances as it prepares to start production of electric cars based on former Saab platforms.

NEVS's goal is to become an electric car company and provider of mobility services. One of NEVS's future mobility services is likely to be intertwined with ride-sharing, as the electric car startup in June signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Didi Huaxing.

No details on the collaboration between Didi and NEVS have been revealed as the two parties don't expect to have a binding agreement until the fall. In a statement, NEVS said Didi will be a major partner.

Didi, whose investors include Apple, Alibaba, and Tencent, is considered the Uber of China. Didi is also closely linked with Uber. The Chinese ride-sharing giant acquired Uber's Chinese operation in 2016 after the American firm pulled out of the market in 2016.

Separately, NEVS on Wednesday said it has a new partner for its Chinese joint venture that will be responsible for producing cars in the Chinese port city of Tianjin. The new partner is technology investment firm Beijing Zhenghuon Technology which just bought a stake worth $108 million in the joint venture.

"This is really good news for NEVS," CFO Jörgen Scribe said in a statement. "This means we get new money and that we get an active owner in our JV (joint venture)."

Scribe added that Beijing Zhenghuon Technology has "a lot of competence" with banks and firms looking to invest in new technologies. This is important as NEVS is developing not only new cars but also new machinery and plants.

NEVS bought the assets of Saab following the Swedish firm's bankruptcy in late 2011. NEVS's original plan was to revive Saab, but after running into its own financial difficulties and losing the rights to the Saab name, NEVS formed its own brand and started focusing on electric cars and mobility. NEVS is hoping to start production of the 9-3 electric sedan in 2018.

Ford Paying Customers $2600 to Scrap Their Old Cars in Britain

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Ford is looking to get older, less efficient vehicles off the road and replace them with more environmentally friendly models in Britain.

Ford's U.K. arm is offering a 2000-pound (approx. $2,600) trade-in fee for cars originally registered in 2009 or earlier, and will send all of them straight to the scrap yard.

The deal is aimed at getting the most-polluting vehicles off the road, and applies to both diesel and gasoline-powered cars and trucks.

The move comes amid pressure from governments to reduce air pollution and end the sale of the most polluting types of diesel engines. Automakers are also rushing to adapt to new technology, such as electric cars, in part to address air quality concerns.

Andy Barratt, managing director of Ford in Britain, said that removing the most polluting vehicles would have an immediate and positive effect on air quality.

"We will ensure that all trade-in vehicles are scrapped," Barratt said. "Acting together we can take hundreds of thousands of the dirtiest cars off our roads and out of our cities."

Replacing old gasoline and diesel cars alone could save 15 million tons of CO2 annually, the company said.

Royal Mail Begins Mail Delivery in the UK Using EVs

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Royal Mail operates a large fleet — it has 49,000 vehicles on the road. Now the company is taking a big step towards a more sustainable future for its vans. The UK mail service is set to start testing nine fully-electric commercial vehicles in partnership with Arrival, the firm formerly known as Charge Auto an automotive technology company based in Oxfordshire.

The trucks are constructed with ultra-lightweight composite materials that significantly reduce their weight and cost of operation by more than 50%. Inner city deliveries are optimized through the use of a battery that gives the maximum range to weight ratio, enabling the vans to produce zero emissions for up to 100 miles.

"Cities like London will benefit hugely from a switch to electric, in terms of both pollution and noise," said Denis Sverdlov, CEO of arrival. "most importantly we are priced the same as diesel trucks removing the main barrier to go electric", he added. Paul Gatti, Royal Mail Fleet's managing director, said the vehicles will be used for mail collection from its larger sites.

The vehicles have a large front window that wraps around the driver's position and allows them to have a wider field of view than in other vehicles. It's also stated the trucks meet Transport for London's Direct Vision Standard, which says drivers or large vehicles should be able to see pedestrians and cyclists without using mirrors or cameras.

The Arrival mail delivery vehicles have been designed to be able to run on their battery for 100 miles and the firm says they will produce zero emissions for this time. A dual power mode within the vehicles can be used after the first 100 miles to top-up the battery. The final versions of the vehicles may one day be autonomous-ready.

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