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Tuesday Ticker: Exec leaves NHTSA for Amazon AV operation; Tesla stock surges amid GM charging port deal

Toronto, Ontario ⁠This week, we look at a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration exec’s decision to take on a role at Amazon’s autonomous ride-hailing venture, while Tesla stock surges on an eleven-day winning streak. Plus, rumours about Rivian’s fate on the NASDAQ. 

Zoomin’ to Zoox

The NHTSA Office of Defects director is leaving the regulatory organization for Amazon’s autonomous vehicle ride-hailing company, he announced last week via a LinkedIn post.

Stephen A. Ridella said last Wednesday that he will serve as Zoox director of safety planning and regulatory reporting. Zoox was founded in 2013 and is an all-electric, fully autonomous vehicle fleet designer. The company was purchased by Amazon in 2020.

“I am thrilled to join the company during this exciting time of development of the Zoox robotaxi and to work across the organization to ensure that safety remains the priority as we progress to commercial launch,” he wrote. “Safety has been the focus of my entire career, and I am excited to continue this journey with my new team at Zoox.”

NHTSA has not responded to any media inquiries about whether this departure is related to a recently released public audit that said the organization routinely fails to meet internal timelines for auto safety defect inspections. 

Charged up

Tesla stock rose almost 15 percent in the last week, much of which was fueled by a new deal with General Motors.

Echoing the EV maker’s recent deal with Ford, GM’s electric vehicles will bear the Tesla charging port beginning in the model year 2025.

“I think we have a real opportunity here to really drive this to be the unified standard for North America, which I think will enable more mass adoption,” GM CEO Mary Barra said during a Thursday Twitter Spaces session.

At the time of writing, Tesla stock is on an eleven-day winning streak (its longest since January 2021), trading at US$240.07 per share.

Tesla shares are up 128.53 percent year-to-date. 

Rumours about Rivian

An analyst from JP Morgan Securities says Rivian is at risk of being removed from NASDAQ-100 with its shares down more than 90 percent since a record high of US$170.

Analyst Min Moon said that with the company’s diminished NASDAQ weight—which has dropped below 0.1 percent and remained there for the last two months⁠⁠—Rivian could risk losing its spot on the index.

The automaker has worked through difficult production ramp-ups during global supply chain disruptions and the COVID-19 pandemic, a key factor in the stock’s more than 90-percent drop since its launch in November 2021. The company, however, maintains that it is on track to produce its promised 50,000 units this year, doubling what it manufactured in 2022.

As of 12:30 p.m. Monday, shares of Rivian traded at US$14.15 per share, up 9.6 percent over the last month, but down 18.4 percent since the start of this year.

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