The Fuse

This Week in AVs: Waymo Brings In New Investors; GM To Spend $20 Billion On EVs, AVs; And More

by Alex Adams | @alexjhadams | March 06, 2020

Waymo Brings In New Investors
Waymo has secured $2.25 billion in funding from a group of investors led by Silver Lake and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, marking the first investment in the AV developer outside of its parent company. Other investors in the deal, which was announced on Monday, include Abu Dhabi-based Mubadala Investment Companyventure capital firm Andreesen Horowtizvehicle parts manufacturer Magna International and AutoNation, the largest auto dealership network in the United States.  

The investment is Waymo’s biggest step to date toward eventually spinning out of parent company Alphabet

The investment is Waymo’s biggest step to date toward eventually spinning out of parent company Alphabet – a move which, according to Waymo CEO John Krafcik, “has always been on the road map.” In a Waymo blog post, Silver Lake co-CEO Egon Durban hints at international expansion, adding, “We’re deeply aligned with Waymo’s commitment to making our roads safer, and look forward to working together to advance and scale the Waymo Driver in the U.S. and beyond.” 

GM To Spend $20 Billion On EVs, AVs
GM announced this week that it plans to spend $20 billion through 2025 on electric and autonomous vehicles, as it seeks to take a leading role in an automotive sector that is shifting to a digitized, electrified future. Central to this effort will be the company’s Ultium battery technology, which is poised to cut battery cell costs to less than $100 per kilowatt-hour, Chairman and CEO Mary Barra told reporters yesterday. GM estimates the batteries will offer a driving range of 400 miles or more on a single charge. 

During the company’s “EV Day,” GM presented 11 future electric models – 10 of which had not been seen before including the Cadillac Celestiq, an all-electric sedan; the Cadillac Lyric, a crossover debuting in April; and pickup truck and SUV versions of the Hummer EV. GM also showcased the Cruise Origin, the autonomous shuttle unveiled in January that features neither a steering wheel nor pedals. A petition to deploy the shuttle on public roads is currently under consideration by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

Geely Invests In AV Satellite Manufacturing
On Tuesday, Geely announced that it is investing $326 million in a new manufacturing plant that will build satellites to aid autonomous driving. The company, with investments from Daimler, Volvo and Proton, plans to build 500 low-orbit satellites per year by 2025, which will provide more accurate data for self-driving cars and meet demand for high-speed connectivity that can deliver fast software updates. The low-orbit satellites, Geely claims, will be particularly helpful for AV driving as they are more accurate than current GPS satellites which operate at a higher orbit. “This accuracy is not only important for cars, it will also become essential for unmanned flight,” the company stated.