2022 was the kind of year that made us think, “What a time to be alive and reporting on transportation.” This year was absolutely dominated by conversations around the realities of bringing self-driving cars to market, the potential upheaval of the gig worker economy, micromobility dramas and, of course, all things Tesla.
We took a look back at our top-performing transportation stories to determine what stood out as important to you, our dear readers.
Autonomous vehicle startup Argo AI came onto the scene in 2017 with a $1 billion investment. Today, the company is no more after Ford and Volkswagen pulled out their investments.
It’s the transportation mystery of the year. What happened to Bolt Mobility, the Miami-based micromobility startup co-founded by Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt? Back in August, we reported that the company up and vanished from several of its U.S. markets, leaving cities with abandoned equipment, unanswered calls and emails and lots of questions. It also left at least one city, Portland, with outstanding fees.
No one — not TechCrunch nor many city officials — was able to get in contact with the company to ask what happened and what it planned to do with all the gear the company left on the ground.
The company appears to have shut down — it hasn’t been active on social media since July — despite having been on a growth streak the year prior. Bolt started out 2021 by acquiring the assets of Last Mile Holdings, which opened up 48 new markets to the startup. It just goes to show, micromobility is a tough game to win, even if it looks like the odds are in your favor.
If anyone has any information about Bolt Mobility, I’m still dying to know what went down there.
Because who doesn’t love a roundup? In April at the New York Auto Show, automakers legacy and startup came together to show off their electric vehicle offerings. Here are the ones that got our attention this year:
A day before Tesla opened its Berlin gigafactory in March, CEO Elon Musk teased the release of Tesla’s “Master Plan Part 3,” which leans heavily on themes of artificial intelligence and scaling operations to “extreme size.”
Part 3 of Tesla’s master plan is the first to include mention of Musk’s other companies. Note: This was published before Musk bought out Twitter.
Later in the year, Musk revealed more details about his Master Plan part three. Per a companywide meeting, the plan’s raison d’etre is: “How do you get to enough scale to actually shift the entire energy infrastructure of earth?”
The Rideshare Guy, a blog and podcast dedicated to helping ride-share drivers earn more money and stay up to date with industry news, polled its community of Uber and Lyft drivers in the U.S. and found that 43% quit or were driving less due to high gas prices. Before the fuel surcharges were announced, that number was at 53%.
Many drivers said the surcharge wasn’t enough and they’d have liked to see a per-mile surcharge to account for the increased fuel expenditure on long trips rather than a flat fee.
One Lyft driver told TechCrunch the surcharge is “an insult to drivers.”
This article is important today because it encapsulates many themes — our ability as a species to panic the moment prices for hot commodities increase; the ongoing aggravation of gig workers; the subtle dance Uber and Lyft play as they try to appease drivers but seemingly never in a way that’s actually meaningful.
The transportation stories that drove 2022 by Rebecca Bellan originally published on TechCrunch