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January 2, 2018 News of the Day: Faraday Future CEO Jia Yueting Defies Order to Return to China, Aptiv and Lyft to Bring Self-Driving Rides to Las Vegas in January 2018

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【Summary】January 2, 2018 News of the Day

Eric Walz    Jan 02, 2018 1:59 PM PT
January 2, 2018 News of the Day: Faraday Future CEO Jia Yueting Defies Order to Return to China, Aptiv and Lyft to Bring Self-Driving Rides to Las Vegas in January 2018

Faraday Future CEO Jia Yueting Defies Order to Return to China

With his assets frozen and a court order ordering his return to China, a defiant Jia Yueting says he'll remain in the United States in order to secure funding for troubled electric car startup Faraday Future, where he is acting CEO.

"I'm deeply sorry and I blame myself for the huge negative impact the debt crisis of LeEco has brought," Jia said in message posted to a personal social media account in China on Tuesday, Bloomberg reports. "The financing of U.S.-based FF (Faraday Future) has made great progress and there is immense work that requires me to guarantee on-time mass production and delivery of FF 91 EV."

This was Jia's first announcement since the China Securities Regulatory Commission last week ordered his return to China to meet financial obligations promised to investors of the LeEco electronics and video streaming business. Days after the order was made, Beijing First Intermediate People's Court seized a number of his assets, including shares in the holding company that controls LeEco.

A statement issued by the holding company in October says Yueting had promised in 2015 to make two interest-free loans payable in 10 years or more worth a combined $872.6 million, while his sister had agreed to make loans valued at $260.2 million. In a more recent statement, the company said it has not been able to find a solution for its debt issues.

As reportered by Bloomberg, Jia in his social media post mentioned a single late payment in July as leading to the freezing of his assets and a series of early loan recalls. He also cited "false and malicious" reports that led to problems with creditors and suppliers.

Jia's financial troubles first came to light in November of 2016, when he came out with the statement that he was experiencing a cash crunch due to too rapid expansion of his various ventures. Since then his once successful LeEco business has generated a long list of creditors. Some have even taken to camping out in the lobby of LeEco's Beijing headquarters.

As for Faraday Future, the company has lost top talent and is needs more funding to get production of the FF 91 electric car off the ground. Although there have been reports of reprieve at Faraday Future in the form of $1 billion in equity financing loan, many doubt the funding will ever materialize.

Aptiv and Lyft to Bring Self-Driving Rides to Las Vegas in January 2018

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SAN FRANCISCO — Automotive technology company Aptiv (NYSE: APTV) and ride-hailing leader Lyft, today announced a partnership to demonstrate a first-of-its-kind fully automated point-to-point ride-hailing experience during next week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 in Las Vegas.

"This partnership represents a real-life application of scalable, automated driving technology that will have a significant impact on improving safety, emissions and urban congestion challenges," said Aptiv President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Clark. "Aptiv's automated driving platform is the most advanced automated system available and combined with Lyft's intuitive user app will allow CES attendees to have a true point-to-point self-driving experience. It is an exciting demonstration of the future of mobility at work."

In 2017, Lyft announced plans to enable self-driving developers and car manufacturers to plug into its network of nearly one million rides per day. Aptiv's automated driving platform will be integrated with Lyft's smart dispatching technology for a seamless consumer experience to hail rides around the Las Vegas Strip area. Lyft hopes that operating in challenging driving environments such as Las Vegas will help to accelerate the availability of automated driving platforms for commercial applications to beyond the city.

"Lyft's mission is to build the world's best transportation ecosystem in partnership with the most advanced self-driving technology and automotive companies," said Lyft CEO Logan Green. "Partnering with Aptiv for our open platform brings us one step closer to making our vision a reality. Together, we will define the future and we look forward to taking this monumental first step in Las Vegas at CES 2018."

Aptiv's recent acquisition, nuTonomy, has a strategic partnership and recently launched an automated driving pilot with Lyft in Boston.

The Aptiv-Lyft CES 2018 Automated Experience builds on Aptiv's previous CES drives, including a 6.3-mile driving loop of city streets and highways in 2017. Aptiv's autonomous vehicles completed complex everyday driving challenges, such as highway merges, maneuvering around pedestrians and cyclists, and staying on course while in a tunnel.

Aptiv's automated driving technology is seamlessly integrated into any vehicle design, without bulky sensors mounted on the top or sides of the vehicle, unlike many other automated vehicles on the road today. Aptiv will be ready to scale in production by 2019.

The CES rides will demonstrate Aptiv's automated system and Lyft's user platform to offer rides to more than 20 destinations throughout Las Vegas. Lyft passengers can request a self-driving ride using the Lyft smartphone app. Once passengers get into their self-driving vehicle, there will be a safety driver in the front seat and an in-car host, who together will provide a safe, and educational, experience during the trip.

The self-driving opportunity will be available to Lyft passengers in Las Vegas from Jan. 9 to 12, 2018.

China's Nio Capital Plans to Build Alliance Among Automakers to Share Technology

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Nio Capital, the venture capital arm of Chinese electric vehicle maker Nio, is investing in automotive technology and energy start-ups with the ultimate goal of getting at least one-third of all Chinese carmakers to adopt and share the new technologies.

Ian Zhu, a partner at Nio Capital, said the traditional way of innovation used for combustion engine cars needed a shake-up, as disruptive technology had now put the industry into unfamiliar territory straddling energy, artificial intelligence and digital content. This made a collaborative approach among carmakers necessary as they could no longer operate in silos.

"Through getting at least one-third of Chinese car makers into an alliance, larger carmakers can enjoy the best car components and technologies that we have invested in. For example, our battery swapping stations should be able to swap batteries for electric vehicles made by multiple manufacturers," Zhu said. He did not elaborate on the proposed alliance.

Nio Capital's overall strategy is to invest in companies in the entire ecosystem of new energy, intelligent and connected vehicles. Zhu has named the approach the "blue sky alliance", which he said resonates with Nio Capital's Chinese name, Weilai, which connotes blue skies ahead.

"In autonomous driving and connected cars, there are a lot of technologies that need to be co-developed. You need advanced algorithms, content, big data, internet of things, etc. These companies today are not yet an integral part of the supply chain of the automobile sector, hence, you need help from start-ups and tech giants alike," said Zhu.

Nio Capital, which manages a 10 billion yuan (US$1.5 billion) fund, was co-established by Nio and investment firms Sequoia and Hillhouse Capital in the central Chinese city of Wuhan a year ago, and counts Hubei Yangtze River Industry Fund as an anchor investor.

Nio Capital has invested in 16 start-ups in China. Zhu said about a third of the 10 billion yuan has been invested. In November, Nio Capital was reported to be raising a new fund of up to US$500 million.

Zhu declined to confirm the amount but said around 70 to 80 percent of the capital raised would be invested in China.

Nio plans to build more than 1,100 battery swap stations by 2020, and in December launched its first electric sports utility vehicle, the ES8, and laid out plans to offer mobile charging with vans equipped with battery packs and on-board chargers.

China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology has said that annual production and sales of new energy vehicles (NEVs) would reach two million units by 2020, or roughly four times the number sold today.

Ryde Inc Launches its Luxury Car Rental Service in Los Angeles

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LOS ANGELES — Ryde Inc, a new online and mobile luxury car-sharing rental service, announced the official launch of its service on Jan. 1, 2018. Using the Ryde smartphone app, users can rent a luxury vehicle with a wide range of make and model selections. This unique concept in trip customization eliminates the wait time and unreliability of airport shuttles, taxis and for-hire drivers. The service also includes auto insurance at no additional cost for both car driver and renter.

"We are excited to announce the launch of the Ryde App which will be available on all Apple and Android devices as of January 1st, 2018," said Thanura Yapa, Founder and CEO of Ryde, Inc. This streamlined experience of total trip customization with a wide range of luxury vehicles at the customer's disposal is "set to revolutionize the transportation industry," said Mr. Yapa.

"We believe that our new App will allow our customers to enhance their trip experience and to navigate the vehicle selection process." Yapa adds that"unlike any existing car-share experience, Ryde offers an auto insurance package for no additional charge to its customers and renters to give them the peace of mind they want and ensure customer loyalty from the time of drive-off to the return of the keys to the vehicle owner."

Ryde, Inc. will launch initially in Los Angeles, California with a selection of premium luxury vehicles in their database and continue to amplify their robust selection daily. Plans to expand to additional major metropolitan areas in 2018 are currently in development.


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