Lyft Scooters Hit DC Streets (10-18-18)

Ride-hailing company Lyft joins the dockless electric scooter experiment in the District, rolling out its own Lyft-branded scooters across D.C. (Courtesy Lyft)

WASHINGTON — Ride-hailing company Lyft joins the dockless electric scooter experiment in the District, rolling out its own Lyft-branded scooters across D.C.

It is Lyft’s first scooter launch on the East Coast.

Read Full Story Here (via WTOP)

DC Launches Digital Taxi-Tracking Software (10-18-18)

Dive Brief:

  • Washington, DC’s Department of For-Hire Vehicles (DFHV) has launched a platform for riders to track taxis and limos in real-time.
  • Known as an application program interface (API), the software provides a visual representation of where the taxis and limos are and can also show the identification numbers of specific vehicles. Five developers, including TransitScreen and Redmon Group, have registered to use the service.
  • “It’s difficult to list all the benefits of our APIs, but it’s important to note that economic impact is among them,” DFHV Director Ernest Chrappah said in a statement. “Whether we facilitate the transport of business leaders or government officials to meetings, or ensure that a visitor enjoys a seamless sightseeing experience, the apps our APIs make possible can help ensure the District remains a commerce and tourism center.”

Read Full Story Here (via Smart Cities Dive)

Electric Cars Still Face A Big Hurdle: The Charging System (10-3-18)

 

Electric cars hit a new global sales record in 2017 — 1 million cars sold, with more than half of that in China — but there may be a hitch to mass adoption: the number of adequate charging stations available. Before consumers take the plunge on a new electric car, they need to know that they can charge it.

The number of electric charging stations in the US is small but growing. As of September 2018, there are an estimated 22,000 public charging stations in the US and Canada that are classified as level 2 and DC fast charging. (Typically, fast-charging stations supply 60 to 80 miles of range for every 20 minutes of charging.) By comparison, there are seven times more gas stations: about 168,000, according to FuelEconomy.gov.

JaguarAudiBMW, and Mercedes-Benzare all launching high-profile electric cars in 2019, and practically every major automaker is staking its future on lineups of fully electric vehicles. The rapid decrease in the price of batteries — more than 70 percent between 2008 and 2014 — and the introduction of more mass-market EVs is certainly encouraging some consumers to consider switching to electric. If these cars are going to be successful, though, drivers have to know they can recharge them.

Read Full Story Here (via The Verge)

Fully Driverless Waymo Taxis Are Due Out This Year, Alarming Critics (10-1-18)

Enlarge / John Krafcik on November 7, 2017—the day Waymo began testing fully driverless cars with no one behind the wheel.

Waymo, Google’s self-driving car project, is planning to launch a driverless taxi service in the Phoenix area in the next three months. It won’t be a pilot project or a publicity stunt, either. Waymo is planning to launch a public, commercial service—without anyone in the driver’s seat.

And to date, Waymo’s technology has gotten remarkably little oversight from government officials in either Phoenix or Washington, DC.

If a company wants to sell a new airplane or medical device, it must undergo an extensive process to prove to federal regulators that it’s safe. Currently, there’s no comparable requirement for self-driving cars. Federal and state laws allow Waymo to introduce fully self-driving cars onto public streets in Arizona without any formal approval process.

Read Full Story Here (via ars Technica)