Mercedes joins the ChatGPT competition while Toyota races to catch up

The Station is a weekly transportation newsletter that covers all aspects of moving people and packages from one place to another. To receive the full edition of the newsletter every weekend in your inbox, simply sign up by clicking on The Station. Subscription is free. Welcome back to The Station, the central hub for everything related to transportation. Has ChatGPT reached its peak hype? The recent announcement by Mercedes, a typically cautious automaker, suggests that we might be getting close. Mercedes is rolling out software beta to about 900,000 vehicles that will add OpenAI’s ChatGPT to its MBUX infotainment system. Our in-house AI and science editor, Devin Coldewey, dives into the story and questions whether a car is the right environment for such a tool. In addition, reporter Haje Van Kamps analyzes an interesting market trend in the United States where there is a move towards bigger electric vehicles (EVs). However, the analysis suggests that this may not be the right move. Now, let’s move on to the rest of the news for this week! If you have any tips, comments, or complaints, feel free to reach out to Kirsten at or send a direct message to @kirstenkorosec. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you can contact us through SecureDrop or various encrypted messaging apps. Here are some highlights from this week’s news: – Bike buses are becoming a popular way for families to cycle their kids to school together, promoting safety in numbers. A study in the UK found that 66% of bikeshare users began cycling more after using the service, indicating its positive impact. – Clip, a Brooklyn-based startup, won Micromobility Europe’s startup competition with its portable device that can instantly transform any bike into an e-bike without the need for tools. – Cowboy, an e-bike company, announced that its integrated app will now feature navigation from Google Maps, hinting at future collaborations between the two companies. – DAB Motors and Peugeot Motorcycles are collaborating to create an e-motorcycle called Concept-E and plan to launch it for series production. Peugeot has also made a significant investment in DAB Motors and now owns a majority stake in the company. – Delivery workers in NYC achieved a historic win with a guaranteed minimum wage of $18 per hour. However, both the app companies and the deliveristas expressed disappointment, with the latter expecting $24 per hour and still not earning a living wage after expenses. – Joco and Grubhub opened the Joco Concierge, a delivery rider hub. As part of their partnership, at least 500 gig workers will have free access to over 1,000 e-bikes. – Leatt introduced its new 3.0 Enduro helmet, designed to protect the face, head, and ears of riders. – Harley-Davidson subsidiary LiveWire will begin delivering its new S2 Del Mar e-motorcycle this summer. The bike has a range of 100 miles and a price point of $15,499. – The Microcars Coalition, an alliance of tiny car manufacturers, aims to promote microcar-friendly legislation and attract more manufacturers. – is leaving unprofitable markets to focus on self-sustainability, although no specific details have been provided about which markets will be affected or how the company will regroup. – NYC has expanded its e-scooter pilot program to include Queens, allowing Bird, Lime, and Veo to operate in the borough. – Tern has released the 2023 edition of its HSD folding cargo e-bike, which offers a greater carrying capacity in the rear luggage rack and is still easy to compact. The starting price is $5,065, but the new Bosch motor makes it well worth the cost. – Today, a new global micromobility player, was formed by merging six brands and is owned by VC fund EFO Ventures. It currently has a fleet of 8,000 vehicles consisting of e-scooters, e-bikes, e-cargo bikes, and e-mopeds. – To-Move has introduced the TOM scooter, a 20 mph sit-down vehicle with a bamboo body that can be folded and carried in under 10 seconds. – Rad Power Bikes is hosting a competition called the “Most Bored Person” to bring fun back into people’s lives and give them a chance to win money, prizes, a trip, and/or a Rad bike. – XYZ offers a modular kit that allows users to design the perfect load-carrying vehicle for various jobs, with a capacity of 300 pounds. – Yup has unveiled the Dixie, a universal charging station that uses AI to charge small EVs and collects data on parking usage and carbon footprint. In other news, LeddarTech, an automotive sensor and perception software developer, announced that it will go public through a merger with special purpose acquisition company Prospector Capital Corp. The deal values the combined company at $348 million. Other notable deals include Axle Energy raising $1.6 million in a pre-seed funding round, Fernride securing $31 million in a Series A round, and Pebble Mobility raising $13.6 million in a seed and Series A round. Additionally, Saudi Arabia signed a $5.6 billion deal with Chinese EV maker Human Horizons, Standard Fleet raised $7 million in seed funding, and Stellantis invested a significant portion of its fund into 10 startups. Lastly, interesting reads include ADAS Xpeng expanding its City NGP to Beijing, Elon Musk’s statement that Tesla’s market cap is tied to solving autonomous driving, and various updates on electric vehicles, charging, and batteries. That’s it for this week’s recap! Stay tuned for more updates and news from the transportation world.

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