Tuesday Ticker: July 13, 2021

Toronto, Ontario — Apple’s co-founder declares support for the Right to Repair movement, Uber Canada shifts its operations from the Netherlands to Canadian soil and all eyes set sights on EV stocks in anticipation of a U.S. presidential infrastructure announcement⁠—all in this week’s Tuesday Ticker! 

Wozniak’s words

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak voiced support for the Right to Repair movement last week in a clip shared through video sharing site Cameo.

In a post to Louis Rossman, a right to repair advocate and YouTube personality, Wozniak said he was “totally supportive” of the right to repair movement

“We wouldn’t have had an Apple had I not grown up in a very open technology world,” said Wozniak. “It’s time we recognize the right to repair more fully.” 

The Apple co-founder also noted the Apple II⁠—the computer that sustained Apple for roughly a decade⁠—shipped with full schematics, designs, software, and code listings. Wozniak is seemingly conflating the right to repair with the ability to conduct aftermarket modifications on owned equipment in many markets.

He believes companies “inhibit” information required for repairs because it “gives the companies power, control over everything.” 

“I guess, in a lot of people’s minds, power over others equates to money and profits,” he added. “Is it your computer, or some company’s computer? Think about that. It’s time to start doing the right things.” 

Apple has previously fought right to repair initiatives in the U.S. and overseas, lobbying against bills that would expand consumer repair options beyond first-party services and company-authorized businesses. The company said it maintains in-house repairs to ensure a consistent user experience and protect consumers from potential harm.

Wozniak did not speak directly on the right to repair movement and its application to the automotive repair aftermarket. 

New home base for Uber Canada

Uber’s Canadian ride-hailing and food delivery business will now be based in Canada. Previously, the company headquartered its Canadian operations in the Netherlands. 

The change came into effect July 1 and will affect the company’s tax bill. Uber said the shift will result in no new fees for most restaurants, drivers or couriers, but current fees will be subject to GST, PST and HST and those using its Eats Pass subscription program might also see a sales tax introduced. The change will allow restaurants, drivers and couriers to claim tax credits and will require them and other users of Uber’s apps to sign new agreements with Uber’s new Canadian entities.

The company said it has been considering and working toward shifting its Canadian operations from the Netherlands since 2018, and has already made similar moves in the regions of Australia-New Zealand and Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Uber began considering the move after Ontario Uber Eats driver David Heller filed a class-action lawsuit against the company in 2017. He was hoping to get Uber to recognize drivers as employees and provide them with a minimum wage, vacation pay and other protections under the Employment Standards Act. Uber fought the case and obtained a stay because it had a contract clause requiring all disputes go through mediation in the Netherlands, where it was incorporated.

The case eventually made its way to the Supreme Court of Canada, which sided with the company’s drivers, paving the way for a class-action lawsuit.

Stock shock

Electric vehicle investors should be ready to act this week following a Presidential announcement on electric infrastructure spending for the United States. 

U.S. President Joe Biden is set to announce a new US$2.5 trillion electric vehicle plan and involves a large infrastructure project, reportedly the biggest since the U.S.’s highway system was built in the 1970s. 

The funds, however, won’t all be spent on typical infrastructures like roads, highways and bridges⁠—billions of dollars are instead dogeared for the vehicles driving on these roads.

Market analysts are eyeing Ford, green ride-sharing company Facedrive and Rivian, as well as General Motors, Toyota and Chinese companies Nio Limited and Li Auto for significant gains following the announcement. 

Detroit-based Ford recently made headlines with the announcement of the Ford F-150 Lightning, an electric version of the bestselling truck in both Canada and the U.S. Biden has even taken the model for a test spin at the company’s motor plant in Dearborn, Michigan. So far, there have been nearly 45,000 reservations for F-150 Lightnings destined for American drivers.

Facedrive, which offers green transportation solutions for ridesharing, food delivery and more, is also garnering interest as the announcement nears. The company⁠—which allows consumers to choose between hitching a ride in an EV, hybrid or gas-powered vehicle⁠—operates in both Canada and the U.S., with operations soon coming to Europe, and has been making acquisitions left and right.

Facedrive acquired Steer last September, enabling the company to offer subscriptions on electric vehicles. Rather than shelling out $40,000+ for a brand-new model, subscribers can simply hop in and drive for a fraction of that cost, and choose from a range of high-end EVs.

Rivian has also been breaking headlines recently as the electric vehicle maker teases plans for an initial public offering (IPO). 

Another longtime Detroit-based automaker, General Motors is also looking to hitch a ride on the EV bandwagon, particularly seeking to claim a stake in the delivery market. The OEM changed its logo in early 2021 to align with the future of the automotive industry, and also recently dropped the bomb on its new business unit, BrightDrop. 

Toyota is also an automaker-to-watch, with its fuel cell system module set to hit models next Spring in a bid to promote hydrogen use and carbon neutrality goals. 

Overseas, market analysts are suggesting investors keep eyes on Chinese companies Nio Limited⁠—a direct competitor to Tesla in China’s EV market⁠—and Li Auto, a company currently focused on pushing its crossover hybrid SUV.



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