Happy Friday — and welcome to Shifting Gears! It’s the second week for our roundup of transportation news. Fittingly, it was a whirlwind with plenty of drama.
It was a busy week in transportation news across the board. Tesla’s chief executive Elon Musk was in Germany to accept yet another award for the company’s Model 3 sedan, where he also announced plans to build a factory near Berlin. And in the US, Boeing is no closer to returning its embattled plane to the skies, while Uber saw insiders cash out as its post-IPO lock-up period expired and the company finds a new regulatory fight.
Here’s what happened:
Driving the Future
Business Insider’s transportation team collaborated to report stories about the sector’s attempts to reduce carbon emissions. Transportation alone accounts for some 29% of US greenhouse-gas emissions, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Electric cars, of course, could help stave off a lot of the emissions from highways — but without drastic policy shifts, my colleague Matt DeBord points out, the US will likely remain well behind China and Europe on adoption rates. EV’s also don’t always have the cleanest supply chains, Mark Matousek reports.
Airlines are also a major source of pollution, but without any realistic alternative yet, jet engines aren’t likely go go anywhere anytime soon: David Slotnick reports on the incremental efforts thus far.
Amazon, meanwhile, has been ridiculed online in viral videos for plastic packaging, but Rachel Premack reports the outrage might be overblown.
Finally, I spoke to Lyft’s head of sustainability, Sam Arons, about the ride-hailing firms’ efforts to go completely carbon free. With most of its rides still occurring in gas-guzzling cars, mostly occupied by only one person, he’s got his work cut out for him.
Uber insiders continue to cash out
Uber’s founders kept cashing out of big chunks of their stakes in the ride-hailing giant as its stock price continues to slide. Travis Kalanick sold another large tranche this week, regulatory filings show, bringing his total sales to $711 million.
Board member and founder Garrett Camp, who self-funded one of Uber’s earliest rounds, also sold about $13 million this week, according to SEC filings.
I spoke to the head of Uber for Business, Ronnie Gurion, about how his division — one of the most lucrative — could help the embattled company finally turn a profit.
And let us not forget that Uber began the week with CEO Dara Khosrowshahi fervently backtracking after telling Axios that Saudi Arabia’s murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi “a mistake” and comparing it to when an Uber self-driving car killed a pedestrian in Arizona.
Tesla heads to Germany
On stage to accept an award from Auto Bild (which, full disclosure, is also owned by Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer) Elon Musk announced that Tesla plans to build a fourth factory, its first in Europe, near Berlin.
Details are scant, in classic Tesla fashion, but what here’s everything we do know, courtesy of my German colleagues at Welt.
In other Tesla news, the company is making progress on fixing a big problem with the Model 3 and Model S that put it at odds with Consumer Reports.
Boeing might deliver new 737 Max planes earlier than previously thought
The company said it had completed simulator test flights with the Federal Aviation Administration to certify software fixes to the plane. That could help Boeing resume deliveries of the grounded plane to airlines in December.
Boeing has faced increasing pressure as it halted deliveries while production continued. Though in April it cut its production rate to 42 planes per month from 52, it has had difficulty finding places to store the completed but undeliverable planes.
There’s a new world’s longest flight
Last month, David Slotnick took the world’s longest flight from New York to Sydney, Australia. Now, Qantas has completed a test flight of a similarly-strenuous version, totaling nearly 20 hours, from London to Sydney.
The route from London to Sydney is about 500 miles longer than the path from New York. However, due to trade winds, the flight is expected to take about the same amount of time.
What we’re reading elsewhere:
- Tesla/Germany: ‘glorious success’ or Schnapsidee? — Financial Times
- Uber fined $649 million by New Jersey for saying drivers aren’t employees — New York Times
- Elon Musk’s Boring Co. is run by a former bar owner who can quote Ayn Rand — Bloomberg
- Daimler’s new CEO warns electric-car shift will be painful — Bloomberg
- Amtrak’s new ticket rules won’t let passengers sue in a crash — Politico
- E-bikes are coming back to San Francisco after Lyft resolves issues with battery fires — The Verge
- Worker injuries, 911 calls, housing crisis: Recruiting Tesla exacts a price — USA Today