Allow me to get a bit philosophical here: History is only smooth in retrospect. Few earth-shaking shifts are inevitable. Change only looks easy from a rocking chair. Which is all to say, it was a rocky week for electric vehicles, the motorized transports that are supposed to help us save the planet. Tesla underperformed in its first quarter production and delivery numbers, pulling that one-step-back routine after taking two steps forward in late 2018.
We spend a lot of time talking to researchers here at WIRED Transport. Those are the gals and guys filling the spreadsheets, tapping out the algorithms, and splaying in fear as they ride yet another roller coaster for science. This week, we spoke to engineers and developers who have sacrificed mind and body to solve problems, ones like car sickness and unfair school bus schedules. They want to create tools that work for disabled farmers, and electric trucks that drive themselves. Hard stuff, sure, but there's fun to be had along the way.
He says a panel of experts found a smarter way to fix tunnels damaged by 2012's Hurricane Sandy--and according to engineers we spoke to, Cuomo might be right. Will the city stick with its plans, formed over the course of three years, to revamp bike and bus lanes and pedestrian spaces? Meanwhile, we're still a little stuck on 2018, which was filled with exciting advances for Tesla, scooter-share, and even self-driving cars (sometimes). It's been a few weeks. Let's get you caught up.
On the floor of the New York Auto Show this week, Genesis showed off its sweet little Mint concept, an electric two-seater with a very abbreviated sedan body. The Hyundai luxury arm does not, however, have any plans to put the adorable thing into production--perhaps because, as we learned this week, getting world-changing tech into the market takes a fair amount of elbow grease. Elon Musk's Boring Company is slowly making its way through the necessary paperwork to make its DC to Baltimore Loop concept a real, live thing. Uber is rounding up the oodles of cash it needs to develop self-driving vehicles. "Flying taxi" engineers are trying to get their concepts past now-nervous aviation regulators.
This week, the WIRED Transportation team highlighted (as we often do) a few exciting developments in self-driving cars. The Senate is finally considering self-driving car legislation, and might finalize it before the end of the year. An autonomous vehicle shuttle company bagged some new government contracts, and will open its six-seaters to members of the general public this month. Waymo, the putative leader in the space, finally launched its self-driving car service in metro Phoenix, Arizona. And then there were some asterisks.