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EV/AV Report: July 18, 2022

Toronto, Ontario — In this week’s electric and autonomous vehicles report, the head of autopilot development leaves Tesla, a pioneering EV is discontinued just as the market heats up, and Turo partners with Hyundai to offer EV rentals for holidaymakers and prospective buyers alike.

Director’s Departure

Tesla’s senior director of artificial intelligence, Andrej Karpathy announced his departure from Tesla after five years in autopilot development.

“It’s been a great pleasure to help Tesla towards its goals over the last five years and a difficult decision to part ways,” said Karpathy in a Twitter post. “In that time, Autopilot graduated from lane keeping to city streets and I look forward to seeing the exceptionally strong Autopilot team continue that momentum.”

This departure follows the company’s continued downsizing, along with growing criticism of Tesla vehicles’ lacklustre autonomous performance.

At the time of writing, Karpathy’s successor has yet to be announced.

Turning an old Leaf

The Nissan Leaf, a pioneering electric vehicle is nearing the end of its life span—right around the same time that EVs have seen wider adoption in the mainstream marketplace, amidst rising gas prices and ecological concerns.

In an interview with the Verge, a Nissan spokesperson said that the company noted a renewed interest in the Leaf. At the same time, there are no plans to build a next-generation version of the Leaf, meaning that the updated 2023 model might be the final vehicle under the Leaf badge.

Despite being among the first budget-conscious and mass-market EVs, the Leaf has largely failed to make an impact on the mainstream automotive market. A victim of circumstance, it delivered an affordable alternative to internal combustion vehicles before supporting infrastructure for EVs became widespread.

Try before you buy

Ever wanted to try an EV? Hyundai is partnering with rental car network, Turo to offer its EVs for rental, and prospective buyers looking for a new vehicle.

According to Hyundai Canada, the Evaluate program aims to let consumers test whether electric vehicles are suitable for their lifestyle. Rather than just a test drive, this is program offers five days of rental on a sanitized Hyundai IONIQ 5 compact electric SUV.

It’s not just tourists that Turo is targeting though, with Hyundai aiming at consumers considering an EV as their next purchase. Renters who go on to purchase a Hyundai EV from a dealership will receive a $500 incentive, recouping a healthy chunk of the rental price.

Currently, the program is only available in select cities within Quebec and Ontario with only one vehicle available. However, the Kona Electric will be available for test drives later this year.

 

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