Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance beats Volkswagen and Toyota for No. 1 in global sales, Diesel tests on monkeys and human puts VW back under spotlight

Alliance now largest automaker:  The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance bumped Volkswagen Group out of the top spot as the world’s largest seller of light-duty vehicles during 2017. That was made up of 10.61 million new vehicles sold last year with Nissan bringing in 5.82 million, Renault 3.76 million, and its Mitsubishi subsidiary (acquired in 2016) selling 1.03 million. VW came in at 10.53 million and longtime winner Toyota Motor sold 10.2 million. CEO Carlos Ghosn has pledged to tap into economies of scale and double savings by 10 billion euros ($12 billion) by 2022. That assumes annual sales will rise to 14 million vehicles. Sharing parts and consolidating platforms is the foundation it’s being built on, as it usually cuts r&d and manufacturing costs. The Alliance will be rolling out 12 new all-electric models using common platforms by 2022, Ghosn said late last year. Plug-in hybrid models will also be utilized, coming from Mitsubishi’s experience with the Outlander PHEV. Two other utility plug-in hybrids will be coming to market over the next two years. The alliance companies have collectively already sold more than a half million plug-in electrified vehicles.

Uber supporting anti-trafficking groups:  Uber’s new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is looking for ways to pull the ride-hailing giant out of the quagmire, this time encouraging drivers to be aware of human trafficking that may be transported in their vehicles. When drivers log into the app, they’re instructed on how to spot victims of trafficking and best ways to report it to police and anti-trafficking support groups. One of these, Polaris, is Uber’s partner in the campaign. Human trafficking has become of major concern to non-profit groups and government agencies around the world, including the U.S. Khosrowshahi has been working at improving relations with Uber drivers and the public. Drivers can now receive tips, which was always an edge Lyft had over Uber; they can also call a hotline when they have questions.

Veloz launches EV awareness campaign:  Veloz, a new California-based nonprofit organization supporting the electric car movement, has hired Division of Labor, an advertising agency headquartered in Sausalito, Calif. The two are working together to develop, test, and provide a strategic plan for a brand-inclusive outreach campaign that will inspire Californians to drive electric. Veloz is taking an approach emphasizing the fun, emotional, and significant benefits EV drivers will experience by driving electric. Made up of industry experts to bring public and private sectors together supporting EV adoption, the group thinks that sales will only go up substantially if consumers know about good purchase choices they can make. A strategic planning phase will continue through May, followed in the summer by implementation of the campaign. As with other initiatives in California, a portion of the campaign budget will go to reaching multi-cultural populations, low-income, and disadvantaged communities.

VW fires chief lobbyist as scandal continues:  Volkswagen fired its chief lobbyist, Thomas Steg, today in response to reports that the company and two competitors had sponsored tests that exposed monkeys and humans to toxic diesel fumes. The company had come under scrutiny again last week after The New York Times reported that VW, BMW, and Daimler had funded an organization called European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector (EUGT) to carry out the tests. These methods used in the U.S. were wrong, unethical, and repulsive, VW CEO Matthias Mueller said Monday. The study had been conducted in 2014 to defend diesel following reports that diesel car fumes were carcinogenic. The EUGT study had been dissolved last year. This news was revealed right after Germany’s KBA automotive watchdog has detected illicit emission-control software in Audi’s latest Euro-6 diesel models. KBA has ordered a recall of these 127,000 vehicles, putting more pressure on parent company VW to comply with government mandates in the U.S. and Europe.

BMW and Daimler forging JV for robotaxis, 15 transportation companies named to 2018 Global Cleantech 100

BMW and Daimler JV for robotaxi fleets:  It looks like BMW and Daimler may be merging their car-sharing divisions together to take on Uber and Lyft. A person familiar with the matter told Reuters that BMW has bought out its partner, German car rental company Sixt, from its joint venture that had backed the DriveNow car-sharing unit. The two automakers are talking about a new JV that would offer car sharing, ride-hailing, electric vehicle charging, and digital parking services. Daimler’s Car2Go has had a strong presence in Europe and the U.S., and DriveNow has been growing in these regions. Ride-hailing itself is expected to be a $285 billion segment by 2030 once self-driving ride-hailing services are in place, according to Goldman Sachs. A senior executive at one of the two German carmakers who declined to be named said the new JV “will create an ecosystem which can also be used for managing robotaxi fleets.”

California increasing EV goal and incentives:  California Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday signed an executive order “to curb carbon pollution from cars and trucks and boost the number of zero-emission vehicles driven in California.” Brown’s plan had previously been to have 1.5 million zero emission vehicles on California roads by 2025; the governor now wants to see at least five million ZEVs in the state by 2030. That will be supported by a $2.5 billion plan, with much of that going to buyer rebates and the charging infrastructure.

Winners named for Green SUV, Luxury Car, and Connected Green Car:  Three automakers were handed green vehicle awards last week during the Washington Auto Show. The Kia Niro took Green Car Journal’s Green SUV of the Year. The small crossover initially debuted in a hybrid with 52 city and 49 highway mpg; a plug-in hybrid with 105 MPGe; and an all-electric version displayed earlier in the month at the Consumer Electronic Show with a production version expected to come out later this year. The Karma Revero was named Green Luxury Car of the Year. It has an aluminum spaceframe and powered by an electric drivetrain using two electric motors. It also comes with a solar roof to supply some of the recharging, and more of it through an onboard engine-generator. The Cadillac CT6 Plug-in Hybrid won the Connected Green Car of the Year category. The General Motors’ division flagship sedan travels up to 31 miles on battery power with an overall range of 430 miles and offers a high level of luxury and performance. It took the award category for its connectivity, driver assist systems, and on-board electronics.

Winners of Global Cleantech ranking:  Fifteen transportation companies made it to the prestigious 2018 Global Cleantech 100, produced by Cleantech Group. The Global Cleantech is based on recognizing the most innovative and promising ideas impacting the future from a wide range of industries. As for the transportation, here are the 15 that made the list:

Bla Bla Car – French carpooling online marketplace
Chargepoint – one of the world’s largest electric vehicle charging station suppliers.
Didi – Chinese ride-hailing company
eMotor Works – Developer of software and hardware to turn EV chargers into networked nodes of a cloud-connected, grid services platform
Gogoro – Developer of electric scooters and the necessary battery swapping infrastructure for their use
Lilium – Developer of a battery-powered, fan-propelled vertical takeoff and landing commuter aircraft
Lyft – one of the world’s largest ride-hailing companies
Moovit – An Israeli developer of a mobile app that aggregates real-time public transportation data
Nauto – is building a data platform for autonomous mobility that makes driving safer and fleets smarter.
Navya – French developer of a self driving electric vehicle capable of carrying up to 15 passengers
Nutonomy – a developer of autonomous car software
Otonomo – a developer of software to connect autonomous cars with each other and with digital infrastructures and exchange data in real time
Peloton – a developer of vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems for truck fleets
Proterra – an innovator in heavy-duty electric transportation, primarily electric buses
Visedo – a Finland-based manufacturer of heavy-duty hybrid and electrical drive trains

 

Feds in talks with California on fuel economy rules, On-demand mobility a very tough business to succeed in

Feds changing fuel economy rules:  Federal efforts to coordinate fuel economy
standards between its departments and with the state of California will be clarified in weeks ahead. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Acting Administrator Heidi King said Tuesday at the Detroit auto show that a proposal would be released on March 30 with new fuel economy standards for light duty vehicles. President Donald Trump last year reinstated a review of NHTSA and Environmental Protection Agency rules for fuel economy and emissions to cover model years 2022 through 2025, which was part of his campaign to cut federal regulations. News of more talks between California and the Trump administration also came out this week. California Air Resources Board will be meeting in Washington this month with federal officials in an effort to reach agreement on phase two revisions that could sort out differences and avoid legal battles between automakers, the White House, and California.

Infiniti electrifying most of its upcoming cars:  Infiniti is joining Volvo and other near-luxury and luxury brands by electrifying its fleet by 2021 (with the exception of a few large SUVs). For these models, the company isn’t specifying whether it will include hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and batter electric vehicles in the electrified lineup. It will include BEVs that will have at least 200 miles of range, according to Infiniti and Nissan CEO Hiroto Saikawa. That range would be slightly farther than the new Leaf can go from parent company Nissan. “We are trying to position Infiniti as the premier electrified brand” as part of the five-year plan that will extend through 2022, he said.

On-demand mobility a very tough business to succeed in:  Another sad tale is being told in the less-than-a-decade old business of on-demand mobility. See Jane Go, a ride-hailing app for women riders transported by women drivers, closed its shutters on Tuesday, January 9.

“As a young start-up, we have been unable to secure the necessary capital funding to continue our operations,” wrote CEO Cassandra Miller in a note posted on Facebook. “I know discontinuing our service will be a significant loss for many that we serve.”

The service was created by Laguna Niguel, Calif., residents Savannah Jordan and her father, William Jordan, in 2016 to offer women a safer alternative in the ride-hailing market.

Just as Facebook has inspired hundreds of social networking startups targeted to special interests, mobility services are seeing a wave of specialized services emerge. You can have your kids picked up and taken home after their music lesson. Someone else can do all your grocery shopping that will be delivered to your front door or kitchen. Meals can be delivered quickly and cheaply to you at home, work, or a social gathering. Then there’s always the Uber and Lyft model of having convenient, quick, affordable rides – taking away the hassles of being stuck behind the wheel in traffic and having to find a parking space.

Ride-hailing giant Uber has been the Facebook of mobility, following its beta launch in 2010 and San Francisco rides starting up in 2011. The past year has been a near-death experience for Uber, with newly hired CEO Dara Khosrowshahi now expected to revive the company.

Navigant Research recently published an analysis piece comparing the challenge Netflix faces competing with Disney to what companies like Uber and Lyft face compared to global automakers. Netflix is burning through a great deal of cash in creating its own catalogue of films and TV series to compete. Uber faces competition from companies like General Motors, Volkswagen, Daimler, and Ford, which are starting up and acquiring their own mobility service business units.

Green Auto Market Extended Edition subscribers this week can view a study on where 10 leading mobility companies stand with investors in the number of funding rounds and total funding amount raised so far. Companies reviewed include Airbnb, Didi Chuxing, DoorDash, Gett, GrubHub, HopSkipDrive, Instacart, Lyft, Postmates, and Uber.

Electric vehicle tax credit revived, Uber loses major lawsuit in Europe

EV tax credit continues:  While still awaiting signature by the president, the comprehensive tax bill does keep the current tax credit alive. Electric vehicle owners will still be able to claim a tax credit up to $7,500 on the purchase. The 200,000 unit cap will still be in place with Tesla, General Motors, and Nissan expected to hit that ceiling sometime next year. Automakers and organizations such as CALSTART and Plug In America had been lobbying for inclusion of the tax credit, which had been initially cut from a House tax bill.

Musk’s accidental tweet:  Tesla CEO Elon Musk received a wave of phone calls yesterday when he accidentally sent out his phone number to his 16.7 million Twitter followers. He’d been intending to send out the number to John Carmack, chief technology officer at Facebook’s Oculus virtual reality division. Several people tried calling his phone number and reported hearing a voicemail message from Musk stating, “By the Gods you’ve done it. Somehow you’ve found your way here to me. I offer you my congratulations and my respect.”

Uber loses big lawsuit in Europe:  Uber is legally defined as a transport company, according to a ruling this week by the European Court of Justice. The ride-hailing giant had argued that it merely provides a mobile app linking riders to car owners, and not a taxi or livery company. The case had come out after Barcelona ruled that Uber was to obey local taxi rules in that city. Uber downplayed the court ruling, saying that the company already operates under transportation laws in most European Union countries. Analysts say the ruling will have serious implications for Uber and other similar companies operating in the new gig economy. Uber and its new management team have a set of challenges to face after going through a difficult year.

Polestar offers electric car subscription service, Cummins Westport wins EPA and CARB certification

Polestar 1 available to subscribers:  Volvo Cars will be bringing Polestar, its new electric performance car brand, to the U.S., China, and Europe through an innovative subscription service. The company said that since the launch in October, enthusiasm has been high enough to sell off the early production volume. The first model, the Polestar 1, will be start production in mid-2019 at a new factory in Chengdu, China. The monthly subscription cost will be $2,000 for the entry-level Launch package that covers registration, insurance, and maintenance, with no deposit required. The Polestar 1 has a 600 horsepower electric performance hybrid powertrain. It will be the longest running battery-only plug-in hybrid out there with the ability to go 150 kilometers (93.2 miles) on battery power.

Criminal charges for ex-Uber employee:  A former Uber executive is facing criminal charges likely to be filed by the U.S. Attorney’s office over alleged theft of Waymo’s intellectual property for self-driving cars. Alphabet’s self-driving car division, Waymo, has alleged that one of its former engineers, Anthony Levandowski, stole its trade secrets before founding, Otto, the startup autonomous truck company that he sold to Uber for $680 million last year. The November 22 letter confirms that the Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation without naming targets of the investigation. The letter was unsealed Wednesday by a federal judge. Uber has denied all the allegations made by Waymo, and fired Levandowski in May.

Cummins Westport wins EPA and CARB certification:  Cummins Westport Inc. has received certification from both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board for its 2018 L9N and B6.7N natural gas engines. Both engines meet CARB optional Low NOx standards, as well as 2017 EPA greenhouse gas emission requirements. That makes them some of the cleanest engines available today for truck and bus customers, according to the company. It will be of interest to truck and bus fleets investing in powertrains for future vehicles tapping into the full emission-reduction benefits of renewable natural gas. The L9N is certified to the CARB optional Low NOx standard of 0.02 g/bhp-hr ‒ a 90% reduction from engines operating at the current EPA NOx limit of 0.2 g/bhp-hr, and is available with ratings from 250 to 320 horsepower and 1,000 lb.-ft. peak torque. The B6.7N is certified to the CARB optional Low NOx standard of 0.1 g/bhp-hr – a 50% reduction from current EPA levels. It’s available with ratings from 200 – 240 hp and 560 lb.-ft. peak torque.

Lyft raises $1.5 billion, GNA profiled as 25 year anniversary approaches

Newsworthy:  Lyft continues to see a very strong year, now finding that its initial plan to raise $1 billion has gone up to $1.5 billion from a group of investors. Backers include Fidelity Management & Research Company and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. AllianceBernstein, Baillie Gifford, KKR, Janus Henderson Investors, and Rakuten. CapitalG led the billon-dollar round. The ride-hailing firm’s valuation is now at $11.5 billion. Alphabet, the Google parent company, played a key role in bringing in more investors for Lyft during October – after pulling away from financial support for arch-competitor Uber and filing its intellectual property theft lawsuit affecting its Waymo division……………..

A Morgan Stanley analyst expects that Tesla Inc. could lose attention from CEO Elon Musk, who may be devoting more time to his SpaceX intergalactic travel company. Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas wrote in a report Tuesday that we may see more of an alliance between Tesla and SpaceX in the future. “Investors widely expect Elon Musk to, over time, devote increasing amounts of his time and talents to SpaceX, raising the very real question of who could replace him at Tesla,” Jonas wrote. “A combination of efforts between the two firms could address this important issue.” The two companies will play on the alliance during an commercial in January. A SpaceX rocket will carry a Tesla Roadster sports car owned by Musk as payload when it travels toward Mars………….

Gladstein, Neandross & Associates was profiled in a newsletter article this week by California Natural Gas Vehicle Coalition. Along with putting on ACT Expo and other clean transportation events, GNA has played a key role in raising millions of dollars in grant funding for clients during its history. The consulting firm will celebrate its 25 year anniversary next year. The company has effectively supported the use of renewable fuels, and has provided research and analysis for all parts of the clean transportation industry. GNA also does emissions modeling, assists with technical fleet planning, monitors government affairs, and provide communications and media services to clients, CNGVC said.

For Today: Judge rules against Waymo’s damages expert, Tesla acquires Perbix to help speed up Model 3 production

Waymo faces tough ruling by judge:  Alphabet’s Waymo is facing a serious challenge in making its court case that Uber is guilty of stealing intellectual property behind its innovative self-driving car technology. The federal judge in San Francisco hearing the trial has excluded Waymo’s damages expert, Michael Wagner, from the case; and has restricted use of financial evidence at the trial, according to a docket entry. Waymo claims that it has received damages worth about $1.9 billion in losses. Uber has denied using intellectual property that had allegedly been stolen by former Waymo engineer Anthony Levandowski. Waymo responded to the judge’s decision with a statement that it could still pursue full damages using “the same documents” relied upon by Wagner.

Making hydrogen even cleaner:  Hydrogen fuel station company True Zero says that fuel cell vehicles in California have driven 17 million miles and have used 250,000 kilograms (250 metric tons) of clean hydrogen. That’s come from fuel supplied to 18 retail stations owned and operated by the company. There are now 31 stations open across California, supported by California Energy Commission grant funding. Two-thirds of True Zero’s hydrogen comes from fossil fuels, such as natural gas. One third comes from renewable sources such as biomass; the company says that it is working to increase the use of renewable hydrogen.

Tesla acquires automation company to speed production:  Tesla has acquired a company to further automation at its manufacturing facilities, opening the door to increase production of its closely watched Model 3. Perbix, a maker of automated machines used for manufacturing, has been acquired by Tesla after nearly three years of working with the electric carmaker. Tesla has declined to disclose the cost of the acquisition and other details. Tesla will be expanding Perbix’ operations in the Minneapolis area, where the supplier is based. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has recently been making comments about the automation challenges holding up hitting the production timeline that had originally been set for the $35,000 Model 3. In other news, Jon Wagner, Tesla’s director of battery engineering, has left the company and is launching a battery and powertrain startup in California.

 

For Today: Dyson joining electric vehicle race, California may ban fossil-fuel vehicles

Dyson launching EV:  British company Dyson, best known for home appliances such as its bagless vacuum cleaners, will be launching an electric car by 2020. The company will be investing about $2.7 billion in solid-state battery technology and designing the EV. It will be put together by a team of more than 400 employees, said founder James Dyson. It won’t be an affordable Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt, and Nissan Leaf competitor. Dyson said it will be an expensive car, and those interested will have to “wait and see” what it’s going to look like. Rumors have been floating about the company getting into the EV race for a few years now, which was clarified last year in a government document filing. The company’s sales have grown in recent years as it expanded its presence in Asia. That will be a big part of its EV launch.  “We see a very large market for this car in the far east,” Dyson said.

Ford working with Lyft:  Ford will be partnering with ride-hailing company Lyft to share information supporting acceleration of a commercial self-driving car service launch. It’s the third alliance the startup has formed following last year’s investment by General Motors; Waymo and autonomous software and hardware firm Drive.ai forged alliances with Lyft earlier this year. Lyft wants to be the first ride-hailing company to deploy self-driving cars by a major automaker, according to the company. Pilot programs should be launched fairly soon and fully operational by 2021. Ford said the partnership will be make self-driving rides available quickly and safely to customers using the mobile app. Ride-hailing giant Uber had been investing heavily in autonomous vehicle testing through automaker alliances. That’s been sidelined since explosive scandals have broken this year with co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick being replaced by former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. Lyft is well positioned for growth in mobility services and deploying self-driving mobility services from the trial phase through commercial deployment.

California may ban fossil-fuel vehicles:  California may join up with China, the UK, France, and Norway in banning fossil-fuel powered vehicles. Mary Nichols, chairman of the California Air Resources Board, told Bloomberg Friday that Gov. Jerry Brown is interested in exploring barring the sale of vehicles in California with internal combustion engines. The earliest ban would be a decade away and ties into the state’s campaign to battle climate change. The move would send shockwaves to automakers, which have already been working on meeting the state’s zero emission vehicle mandates in the world’s largest auto market. A more pressing issue for California has been how the Trump administration will be ruling on the fuel economy and emissions standards, and if California’s ZEV guidelines will be included.

For Today: Bill Ford called to lead emissions talks by former EPA official, Daimler Trucks testing platooning in U.S.

Calling on Bill Ford for leadership:  The former Environmental Protection Agency official who played a leading role in 2011 negotiating fuel economy and emissions standards has called upon Ford Motor Co.’s executive chairman Bill Ford to lead the dialogue on the midterm review and beyond. Former EPA official Margo Oge sees Ford, a longtime environmental advocate, well suited to help California, the federal government, and automakers negotiate any flexibility needed through 2025 and to set a road map for 2030. Automakers had been able to have the Trump administration reopen the 2022-2025 midterm review after it had been approved right before the end of the Obama administration. The former EPA official sees it as a win-win for Ford’s stock price and for resolving a difficult issue. “I believe if he does that, we will see the investor community respond with a stock price increase in Ford because investors are looking for companies that are not behaving like the traditional OEMs with competition from Silicon Valley, Tesla and China,” Oge said.

CARB on CAFE and emissions standards:  Mary Nichols, chair of the California Air Resources Board, said in an interview Friday that California is fine with reopening discussions on greenhouse gas limits for passenger vehicles through 2025. The state’s expectation is that the Trump administration will support the tougher targets that the state is seeking beyond 2025. California is willing to discuss reviving talks with automakers and federal regulators on “a whole laundry list of things they’ve (automakers) asked for.” Nichols said that “California remains convinced that there was no need to initiate this new review of the review and that the technical work was fully adequate to justify going ahead with the existing program, but we’re willing to talk about specific areas if there were legitimate concerns the companies raised — in the context of a bigger discussion about where we’re going post-2025.”

Uber kicked out of London:  Uber lost the right to do business in London as the Transport for London agency ruled that the ride-hailing company not “fit and proper.” The agency that oversees London’s subways, buses, and taxicabs has taken a measure expected to have much impact in Great Britain and with other cities. The company had been temporarily forced out a few market such as Delhi and Austin, Texas. The ride-hailing giant had also agreed to leave China through a deal made with its arch-competitor in that country, Didi Chuxing. Leaving a market as important as London is putting in new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in a tough position as the company recovers from founder Travis Kalanick leaving.

Daimler testing platooning in U.S.:  Daimler Trucks North America revealed that it has been testing platooning systems on test tracks and a few U.S. highways. The truckmaker reports that test results show how the new technology can improve fuel efficiency, driver productivity, convenience, and safety. The first step of platooning is called “pairing,” where two trucks travel in tandem at distances closer than what is possible under normal driving conditions; as you can see in the photo. Daimler Truck engineers are overseeing a pilot project on Oregon and Nevada highways in cooperation with state officials. The company is also testing braking on a closed track at its High Desert Proving Grounds in Madras, Ore. Daimler Trucks is getting ready for a fleet trial early next year. “Platooning holds the potential to offer significant fuel economy advantages, while assisting drivers,” said Roger Nielsen, president and CEO, DTNA. “To be sure, the platooning technology is not meant to replace drivers – it’s designed to help drivers.”

For Today: ChargePoint going public to support Europe network, Uber choosing former Expedia CEO to stabilize troubled company

ChargePoint in Europe:  ChargePoint is looking to launch an initial public offering in the next five years as the company expands further into Europe, CEO Pasquale Romano told Reuters. ChargePoint, operator of one of the world’s largest charging station networks for electric cars, joins other players in the game including utilities, engineering groups, automakers, and startups seeking to establish strong footing. BMW, Daimler, and Siemens already have a strong presence in Europe as demand continues to increase – and they see ChargePoint as an option to expand their networks. The charging company has so far raised about $300 million in funds, with Daimler and Siemens joining up this year. BMW first supplied funds in 2012. The company also operates about 40,000 charging spots in the U.S. and Mexico.

California AB 1184 moves forward:  The California legislature is pushing forward a $3 billion program that could raise electric vehicle rebates up from the current $2,500 per vehicle all the way to $10,000 or more. It’s been approved by Senate and Assembly committees, and still needs to see legislative approval and the signature of Gov. Jerry Brown by the end of the current session in Sacramento on Sept. 15. The bill’s sponsor, Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), said Assembly Bill 1184 ties into the state’s initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to a level reached in 1990. “If we want to hit our goals, we’re going to have to do something about transportation,” he said.

Uber gets new CEO:  Uber has named former Expedia chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi as its new CEO, according to two people familiar with the matter. It’s expected to help stabilize the ride-hailing company’s contentious battle in recent months that resulted in former CEO Travis Kalanick leaving in June. Kalanick had been overseeing the company as it eventually reached $70 billion in estimated market valuation until a series of controversies took over this year – driving investors to shake up Uber management. Khosrowshahi has been an outspoken critic of the Trump administration’s immigration policy, which was another heated issue for Uber earlier this year. His family had immigrated to the U.S. during the Iranian revolution. Expedia, along with Amazon, became one of two technology companies to contribute declarations to a lawsuit filed by Washington State’s attorney general objecting to the travel ban executive order. That had focused on seven predominantly Muslim countries. Other finalists for the Uber CEO position include Jeffrey Immelt, the former chief of General Electric, and Meg Whitman, the chief of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the sources said.