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Tesla shareholder sweepstakes and EV layoffs hit Lucid and Fisker


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Okay, okay — remember last week when I suggested Tesla was being a bit extra in its bid to convince shareholders to vote in favor of relocating the company to Texas and to approve CEO Elon Musk’s $56 billion pay deal? 

I was wrong, y’all. Or more accurately put, I was premature in my declaration. Because this week Tesla took it to a whole new level by dangling the chance to win a factory tour with Elon and chief designer Franz von Holzhausen. That’s right, we’ve got a sweepstakes-for-votes scheme going on. Shareholders who vote could win a tour of the Tesla factory in Austin and an invitation to the June 13 annual meeting. 

What will they offer up next? Dinner with Elon? A Cybertruck? The stakes are high and the June 13 annual shareholder meeting is approaching — two ingredients that promise to bake up some entertaining developments. 

Before we jump into the news, just a heads-up that I will be handing the wheel over to reporter Rebecca Bellan next week as I head off for some idle time.

A little bird

Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

So many little birds came to us — and posted on social media — about a new round of layoffs at struggling EV startup Fisker. Based on our accounting, hundreds of workers were laid off

Fisker has been in a tailspin for months and has made several rounds of layoffs. This latest cut is getting close to the bone. The company employed about 1,135 employees as of April 19. Sources tell us that after layoffs in late April and this new, deeper cut, only about 150 people remain at the company. 

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Got a tip for us? Email Kirsten Korosec at kirsten.korosec@techcrunch.com, Sean O’Kane at sean.okane@techcrunch.com or Rebecca Bellan at rebecca.bellan@techcrunch.com. Or check out these instructions to learn how to contact us via encrypted messaging apps or SecureDrop.

Deals!

money the station
Image Credits: Bryce Durbin

Just a good old-fashioned roundup of deals this week. Here’s where the money is headed.

Orca AI, a London-based startup that claims to have powered the world’s first autonomous commercial ship voyage in congested waters, has raised $23 million in a round led by OCV Partners and MizMaa Ventures. 

Redwood Materials inked a deal to recycle EV battery production scrap for Ultium Cells, the joint battery manufacturing venture between GM and LG Energy Solution. 

Relectrify, an Australian startup developing an inverter-free battery, raised $17 million in a round led by One Ventures. Toyota Ventures, the Australian Clean Energy Finance Corp., Energy Innovation Capital, GS Futures, Creative Ventures, and NOAB Ventures also participated.

Zypp Electric, the Indian EV fleet startup, raised $15 million as part of a Series C round that its founder projects will eventually be between $35 million and $40 million when it closes this summer. Japanese oil and energy conglomerate Eneos led the investment. 

Notable reads and other tidbits

Autonomous vehicles

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has added nine more incidents to its investigation into Waymo’s autonomous vehicle software.

Electric vehicles, charging & batteries

Cylib has a compelling pitch for automakers that its founders say will give the Germany-based battery recycling startup an edge over bigger rivals.

Lucid Motors announced it was laying off about 400 employees, or roughly 6% of its workforce, as part of a restructuring ahead of the launch of its first electric SUV later this year. The layoffs come a little more than a year since it cut 1,300 jobs. 

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A reader reached out more than a month ago and asked, What happened to Onyx Motorbikes? TC reporter Rebecca Bellan spent weeks unraveling the story of what happens when the owner and CEO of a company suddenly dies without a succession plan. 

Archer Aviation continues to snap up partners in its bid to commercialize electric flight. This time, Archer and ride-hailing and parking company Kakao Mobility have agreed to work together to bring electric air taxi flights to South Korea starting in 2026.

In-car tech and apps

Apple and the Paris area transportation authority, known as  Île-de-France Mobilités (IDFM), rolled out support for transit passes in Apple Wallet, which will allow people to use their iPhone or Apple Watch as a Navigo pass to ride the metro, train, tram or bus. This is noteworthy on two fronts: The Apple integration is the result of years of negotiation between the tech giant and IDFM, and it’s coming online just two months before millions of people are expected to come to Paris this summer for the Olympic Games. And yep, Android users have been able to use their phone as a Navigo pass for a while.

Chinese EV makers haven’t made significant inroads in the U.S. just yet, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t worried. U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin will introduce a bill to Congress that would limit or ban the introduction of connected vehicles built by Chinese companies if they are found to pose a threat to national security.

Remember Spotify’s big launch into hardware with its Car Thing device? It was short-lived. Spotify stopped making the device in July 2022 but said it would support existing owners of the $100 device. Welp, those days are over. Spotify told customers that the Car Thing will stop working after December 9, 2024.

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This week’s wheels

cadillac-optiq-side profile
Image Credits: Cadillac

What is “This week’s wheels”? It’s a chance to learn about the different transportation products we’re testing, whether it’s an electric or hybrid car, an e-bike or even a ride in an autonomous vehicle. 

This week, TC contributor Emme Hall shared her views — and first-look impressions — of the 2025 Cadillac Optiq EV. This is the fourth EV that Cadillac has revealed since 2022, although it should be noted that only one — the Lyriq — is currently for sale. 

Hall goes into depth here, so please check it out. For those who want the tl;dr: Cadillac clearly wants to attract new, younger buyers in a bid to breathe new life into the luxury brand. The Optiq appears to be its answer — at least for now. As Hall notes, the vehicle is a “looker” and is the cheapest EV in the Cadillac lineup. In other words, Cadillac designed a thirst trap to hook young buyers. But will it work? With so many midsized crossovers on the market today, it’s tough to stand out and attract buyers.



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Miranda Cosgrove

My Miranda cosgrove is an accomplished article writer with a flair for crafting engaging and informative content. With a deep curiosity for various subjects and a dedication to thorough research, Miranda cosgrove brings a unique blend of creativity and accuracy to every piece.

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