EV/AV Report: Charger collaboration, a Level 3 land grab and robotaxis

Toronto, Ontario — General Motors follows Ford’s lead and welcomes charger collaboration with Tesla, Mercedes-Benz gets the green light for Level 3 deployment in California and the NHTSA’s defects director dives into the robotaxi sector. This is the latest in electric and autonomous vehicles.

Charging clique

The bandwagon must be pretty comfortable as fellow legacy automaker General Motors has hopped aboard alongside Ford, joining the company in embrace of Tesla’s alluring Supercharger network.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra made the call via a Twitter Spaces meeting with Tesla’s Elon Musk on Thursday, effectively cornering the North American Charging Standard (NACS) as the go-to standard for much of the continent’s car parc, given Ford and GM’s prominence here.

Barra said “we have a real opportunity here to really drive (the NACS) to be the unified standard for North America, which I think will enable even more mass adoption.”

Tesla stock jumped nearly seven percent on the Friday following the announcement.

Caught snoozing

Mercedes-Benz earned a second notch under its belt last week, announcing that it has gained approval to deploy its Level 3 “DRIVE PILOT” automated driving system on designated highways in California.

Following comparable approval from Nevada’s government in January, Mercedes-Benz drivers with capable vehicles are now the sole beneficiaries of automated cross-border travel between Nevada and southern California.

Given that about 16 percent of its global deliveries occurred in California last year, according to Reuters calculations, this news marks a big win for Mercedes in what is effectively home turf for Tesla.

As it stands, Tesla has yet to deploy a Level 3 driving system in the U.S.

Working from within

A prominent executive from the U.S.’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a change of course recently, as Stephen A. Ridella starts a new position with Amazon-owned AV developer Zoox.

Ridella said via a LinkedIn post that he is “thrilled to join the company during this exciting time of development of the Zoox robotaxi.”

Zoox has been involved in robotaxi testing since at least February, according to Reuters, in the hopes of its from-scratch automated taxis standing up to competition from General Motors’ Cruise and Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo.

Ridella first started as the director of the NHTSA’s office of defects investigations back in 2017.


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