Sydney to Brisbane and Melbourne in three hours: Labor promises $1billion to build 350km/h …

US based company Hyperloop Transportation Technologies submitted a hyperloop plan in October 2018 in response to a government inquiry into …

Australia’s dream of a high speed rail network from Melbourne to Brisbane could be one step closer to reality if Labor wins the federal election on May 18.

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure Anthony Albanese announced the Labor Party would commit $1billion towards purchasing crucial land for the railway.

The network would link Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney, Gold Coast and Brisbane – with a 1750-kilometre corridor already proposed for the bullet train, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

In a statement Mr Albanese said the plan would overturn ‘six years of inaction’ from the Coalition Government regarding high speed rail.

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Anthony Albanese (pictured) announced the ALP would commit $1billion towards purchasing land for the rail corridor

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Anthony Albanese (pictured) announced the ALP would commit $1billion towards purchasing land for the rail corridor

Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development Anthony Albanese (pictured) announced the ALP would commit $1billion towards purchasing land for the rail corridor

Mr Albanese said the project would ‘revolutionise interstate travel’ and be the best way to link together cities along the east of Australia.

A trip from Melbourne to Brisbane would take just three hours using the railway.

The shadow minister joined ABC Radio on Friday morning to explain the plan in further detail.

He said the pledge of $1billion to start was designed to help ‘advance the project’.

‘The first thing that has to be done is ensure preservation of the corridor, we know this project stacks up, we did a two stage study when we were last in government that showed an economic return to it,’ Mr Albanese said.

‘A lot of the work has been done, that will obviously need to be refined and when you’re doing construction of a project of this scale you can’t do it purely academically.’

Mr Albanese said the project would not be competed under one government because it would require long term vision and commitment.

‘I am very confident it has community support,’ he said.

The trains would be expected to reach speeds of up to 350km/h between the major cities and would have a positive economic impact on smaller communities along the route

The trains would be expected to reach speeds of up to 350km/h between the major cities and would have a positive economic impact on smaller communities along the route

The trains would be expected to reach speeds of up to 350km/h between the major cities and would have a positive economic impact on smaller communities along the route

The rail line going north from Sydney would stop at the central coast, Newcastle, Port Macquarie, Coffs Harbour, Grafton and Lismore before heading into the Tweed Heads and Gold Coast regions before finally stopping in Brisbane.

The trains would be expected to reach speeds of up to 350km/h between the major cities and would have a positive economic impact on smaller communities along the route.

‘It would bring these communities closer to capital cities, allowing for increased commuting while also strengthening the case for regional business investment,’ he said.

The $1billion dollar pledge is a step toward the $114 billion estimated cost of the entire project.

For the plan of purchasing private land for the rail corridor to work state governments would also need to get involved.

Labor would also employ high speed rail experts from overseas to help create the rail network.

The dream of high speed rail closing travel distances between Australian cities and regional centres has been the focus of a number of past proposals from foreign companies.

The dream of high speed rail closing travel distances between Australian cities and regional centres has been the focus of a number of past proposals from foreign companies including a hyperloop

The dream of high speed rail closing travel distances between Australian cities and regional centres has been the focus of a number of past proposals from foreign companies including a hyperloop

The dream of high speed rail closing travel distances between Australian cities and regional centres has been the focus of a number of past proposals from foreign companies including a hyperloop

US based company Hyperloop Transportation Technologies submitted a hyperloop plan in October 2018 in response to a government inquiry into automation and land-based mass transit.

The proposal was for an ultra high speed hyperloop system between Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, reaching speeds of 1,1223 km/h, The Herald Sun reported.

‘A Hyperloop serving Australia’s Eastern seaboard and connecting Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane addresses a population of over 10 million people,’ the submission read.

According to the submission, the tube would be optimised to transport freight and better connection for regional towns.

The proposal was ultimately dismissed by the federal government as it had no ‘business case’.

The proposal was for an ultra high speed hyperloop system between Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, reaching speeds of 1,1223 km/h

The proposal was for an ultra high speed hyperloop system between Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, reaching speeds of 1,1223 km/h

The proposal was for an ultra high speed hyperloop system between Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane, reaching speeds of 1,1223 km/h

Meanwhile in April it was revealed Virgin Hyperloop One wanted to establish hyperlink routes across the world by 2030.

Their hyperloops would use emerging technology to reach travel speeds of up to 1200km/h, slashing travelling time across Australian cities.

While no plans have been set in stone, a spokeswoman for the company told Daily Mail Australia: ‘The government have shown interest’.

Hyperloop is a system that involves tubular pods gliding at airline speeds through low-pressure tubes that have had the air removed to create a vacuum.

The tube is suspended off the ground to protect against weather and earthquakes, and uses an electromagnetic propulsion system to accelerate levitating pods through a vacuum tube.

Ryan Kelly, a spokesman for Virgin Hyperloop One, told the Newcastle Herald that the company was open to building a network in Australia if it had the support of the federal government.

‘We haven’t had a major new form of transport in 100 years,’ Mr Kelly said.

‘We’re due for one, especially one that is ultra-fast, on-demand, direct to destination, emission-free, energy efficient, quiet, safe and reliable.’

The Labor party would also employ high speed rail experts from overseas to help create the rail network

The Labor party would also employ high speed rail experts from overseas to help create the rail network

The Labor party would also employ high speed rail experts from overseas to help create the rail network

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Why organizing Uber and Lyft drivers is a big challenge

Lyft and Uber drivers around the world are striking on Wednesday to protest low pay, arbitrary terminations, and other concerns. The protest comes …
Headquarters of ride-sharing technology company Uber in the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood of San Francisco on October 13, 2017.
Enlarge/ Headquarters of ride-sharing technology company Uber in the South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood of San Francisco on October 13, 2017.

Lyft and Uber drivers around the world are striking on Wednesday to protest low pay, arbitrary terminations, and other concerns. The protest comes just before Uber’s debut as a publicly traded stock on Friday.

The movement is decentralized, with drivers’ groups in different cities organizing strikes and protests. Drivers in some cities plan to disconnect for 24 hours, while in other cities drivers are striking for only a couple of hours. In New York, for example, drivers switched off their apps during the morning rush hour, from 7am to 9am.

There’s a list of driver demands on the website of Rideshare Drivers United, a Los Angeles-based drivers group. The drivers are seeking a 10-percent cap on Uber’s or Lyft’s share of each fare, an hourly minimum wage, and compensation for time spent traveling to pick up a passenger. They would also like to see a driver representative on the boards of Uber and Lyft, respectively.

Over the last five years, Uber and Lyft have engaged in an aggressive price war. In part, that has meant that the companies themselves take losses to lure in more passengers. But the companies have also lowered fares, which often means a reduction in drivers’ take-home pay.

Drivers also worry about being arbitrarily removed from the platform. Uber and Lyft closely monitor how customers rate their drivers. A driver whose average star rating falls too low gets automatically terminated from the platform. While the companies portray this as a consumer-friendly policy, full-time drivers complain that it puts them a few bad reviews away from losing their livelihoods. They would like Lyft and Uber to establish a formal process for removing a driver from the platform—giving drivers an opportunity to offer their side of the story.

Drivers may not have much leverage

The New York Post described this morning’s New York driver’s strike as “a flop.” “Cars appeared plentiful and surge pricing was scarce,” the Post’s Nicolas Vega writes. The situation seems to be similar in DC.

The nature of the ride-hailing market makes it challenging to organize Uber and Lyft drivers. A conventional factory has a bunch of full-time workers who work shoulder to shoulder. They get to know one another, making it easy to coordinate a strike and to pressure workers not to cross picket lines. Full-time workers often have specialized skills that can’t be replaced quickly, which means if the workers walk off the job, the employer may have no choice but to shut down the factory.

By contrast, Uber and Lyft drivers rarely meet other drivers on the job. Some drivers may not even know there’s a strike going on today, while others might not feel invested enough in the union’s goals to participate. Uber and Lyft are used to dealing with high driver turnover, so a prolonged strike might just cause Uber and Lyft to ramp up their recruiting efforts.

And those challenges come on top of a basic legal challenge: Uber and Lyft classify drivers as independent contractors, not employees. Labor law gives employees a straightforward process to form a union and bargain collectively with their employer. That process isn’t available to independent contractors.

Labor rights advocates have filed a number of lawsuits around the country seeking to establish that drivers should be considered employees, but there has been no clear resolution of the issue. And that means that for now, anyone trying to organize Uber and Lyft drivers can’t rely on the legal protections that normally come with collective bargaining.

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Cabinet To Begin Talks With US-Based Tesla On Construction Of Plant In Ukraine If Rada Adopts …

As Ukrainian News Agency earlier reported, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies agreed to cooperate on the …

The Cabinet of Ministers intends to begin talks with the Tesla company (United States) on construction of a plant in Ukraine.

Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelian announced this on his Facebook page, the Ukrainian News Agency reports.

“We can vote on the draft laws Nos. 8159 and 8160 on creating a market for electric cars, chargers, and batteries for them, and the mining of lithium and related elements in the parliament and begin full-fledged negotiations with Tesla on the construction of their first European plant in Ukraine the next day. A window of opportunity opens for a short period only for those who are ready to use it… We need 226 votes in the era of prosperity,” he wrote.

According to the minister, these laws will provide investors the best conditions in the world and offer Ukraine a chance to create a high-tech, export-oriented, and new economy sector from scratch.

“Like the IT sector was born five years ago and the agricultural sector ten years ago, now we have a unique opportunity to produce electric cars in large quantities and jump from the era of diesel locomotives to the era of a new generation vehicles,” Omelian wrote.

According to him, Tesla has expressed serious concern about the projected shortage of key components for electric batteries, such as lithium, nickel, and copper on the market.

As Ukrainian News Agency earlier reported, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies agreed to cooperate on the “hyperloop” rail project in July 2018.

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Workhorse Posts Declining Sales; Expects Full Production Of Electric Vehicle By Fourth Quarter

The company reported sales of $364,000, down from $560,000 in the first … “Through our ongoing strategic relationship with Duke [Energy Corp.] …

Sales continued to fall at Workhorse (NASDAQ: WKHS) as it delivered fewer trucks in the first quarter of 2019 during its transition to an electric-vehicle maker, the company said. As part of that, the company has engaged a financial partner that is helping it explore a sale of its SureFly personal helicopter business, CFO Paul Gaitan said on the company’s earnings call.

The company reported sales of $364,000, down from $560,000 in the first quarter of 2018. Expenses also decreased in several areas, including in research and development, which saw a 42 percent decline to $1.4 million from $2.3 million. The decline was attributed to lower prototype expenses related to the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) and SureFly.

USPS has not made a final decision yet on which company’s vehicle it will choose, but Workhorse CEO Duane Hughes said the company remains “confident in the strength and quality of our prototype vehicles in the test progress.”

SureFly is an eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing) aircraft. Workhorse has received FAA approval to test the copter but is still trying to secure approval to sell it. Then-CEO Steve Burns told FreightWaves earlier this year the company is “six months into a two-year journey” to get the product approved and sold.

Burns noted that there is plenty of interest in the two-person SureFly, from paramedic applications to the military, which is looking for a fully autonomous operation where it can fly the SureFly into an area, drop supplies and fly it out without putting service members in harm’s way. The copter could also remove a seat to be used for cargo delivery.

Burns, co-founder of Workhorse, stepped down as CEO in February. He serves as a consultant to the company, focused on the development and future monetization of SureFly. Hughes, the former chief operating officer, succeeded Burns as CEO.

SureFly sale likely

On the earnings call, Gaitan said it was the “best course of action” for Workhorse to seek a sale of SureFly so it can focus on the building of its electric vehicle platforms.

Workhorse said that selling, general and administrative (SGA) expenses also decreased 12 percent to $2.1 million from $2.4 million in the same period last year. The decrease in SGA expenses was primarily due to decreased spending in areas such as marketing as well as decreases in other employee-related expenses.

“In the first quarter of 2019, we continued to make considerable progress in our transition from a development-oriented organization to a production-focused electric vehicle manufacturer,” Hughes said. “Through our ongoing strategic relationship with Duke [Energy Corp.], we now have the ability to create an even more cost-competitive alternative, which also addresses one of the biggest issues preventing large-scale electric fleet adoption – infrastructure needs.”

Workhorse reported total operating expenses decreased 27 percent to $3.5 million from $4.7 million in the same period last year. The decrease in total operating expenses was due to the lower expenses mentioned earlier. Net loss in the quarter was $6.3 million, compared with a net loss of $6.4 million in the first quarter of 2018. The improvement in net loss was due primarily to the significant reduction in operating expenses, the company said.

As of March 30, 2019, the company had cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $2.8 million compared to $1.5 million as of December 31, 2018.

Workhorse has been building an electric van from the ground up. That work is continuing.

Duke Energy to act as lessor

Workhorse also has recently extended or entered into a number of agreements in the last two months. Workhorse is working with Duke Energy Corp. (NYSE: DUK) on a battery leasing program that would provide Duke customers a cost-competitive elective vehicle product alternative.

As part of the relationship, signed on November 28, 2018, Duke agreed to purchase 615,000 Panasonic battery cells from Workhorse for $1.3 million. Duke Energy intends to explore further development of eFleet solutions for Workhorse customers, which may include single-point management and financing of all the Behind the Meter (BTM) infrastructure necessary to support depot-wide electrification, vehicle/battery leasing and distributed energy resources.

That agreement has been expanded to now make Duke a lessor of the electric trucks. This allows Duke to purchase the trucks, but puts it in position to recycle the batteries after they conclude their vehicle lifecycle. Those batteries can be used as energy storage solutions, for instance, potentially lowering the vehicle cost to the fleet, Hughes said.

Workhorse also received $35 million in funding from Marathon Asset Management late last year. That will be used for working capital, parts acquisitions to fulfill existing and future customer purchase orders and contracts as well as to satisfy full repayment of the senior secured notes incurred in July 2018. That credit agreement has been amended to extend the deadline for the Company’s $4.0 million minimum liquidity covenant to May 31, 2019.

A “subscription agreement” with existing Workhorse investors to sell 3,957,432 shares of common stock at a price per share of $0.74 was entered into, resulting in net proceeds of $2.9 million that will be used for working capital and general corporate purposes.

And finally, Workhorse has partnered with Prefix Corporation to finalize the design, development and production of the N-GEN series all-electric delivery van, incorporating features such as light-weighting the vehicle to improve mileage, performance, driver safety and reducing the burden of infrastructure requirements.

“We remain focused on our ‘Trucks First’ initiative, which has enabled us to make significant advances in all phases of the manufacturing process,” Hughes said. “Most notably, our renewed partnership with Prefix Corporation has us in solid positioning to begin producing fully-redesigned vehicles that now incorporate additional features that will streamline cost and increase production efficiency. We remain on schedule with respect to manufacturing and delivery of the new N-GEN, which should commence in the fourth quarter of this year.”

The post Workhorse posts declining sales; expects full production of electric vehicle by fourth quarter appeared first on FreightWaves.

Image sourced from Pixabay

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Uber’s plans include attacking public transit

Uber has acknowledged in a federal filing that its long-term goal is to privatize public transportation around the world. In a document filed with the …

Uber has acknowledged in a federal filing that its long-term goal is to privatize public transportation around the world.

In a document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the ride-hail company reports that it seeks, as part of its growth strategy, not just to get people out of private cars but to get them off public buses and trains.

Those public services would be replaced by Uber Buses, now being tested in Cairo.

That stunning revelation is deep in a 300-page document called an S1, which the SEC requires for any company planning an initial public offering.

Uber’s IPO is expected this Friday. The document was filed April 11. I don’t think any of the major news media covering the IPO have noticed or reported on this part of Uber’s plans.

The S1 is fascinating reading (if you’re into this sort of thing). You can find it here. Uber admits in the document that it might never make a profit; that it continues to lose billions by underpricing its product (rides) to gain customer loyalty and market share; and that its entire business model could collapse if regulators or the courts decide that its drivers are employees, not private contractors.

So how is this company going to be attractive to investors? By about page 160, the company starts talking about its “Total Addressable Market.”

Here’s the first sign of what’s going on:

Our Personal Mobility TAM consists of 11.9 trillion miles per year, representing an estimated $5.7 trillion market opportunity in 175 countries. We include all passenger vehicle miles and all public transportation miles in all countries globally in our TAM, including those we have yet to enter, except for the 20 countries that we address through our ownership positions in our minority-owned affiliates, over which we have no operational control other than approval rights with respect to certain material corporate actions. These 20 countries represent an additional estimated market opportunity of approximately $0.5 trillion. We include trips greater than 30 miles in our TAM because riders already take trips over 30 miles on our platform, and over time riders may increasingly use our Ridesharing products for trips greater than 30 miles as the cost of such trips, and ultimately the degree to which individuals acquire their own automobiles, declines.

That’s right: The “market” for Uber includes all of the passengers who now take public transportation.

More:

We estimate that our TAM comprised 11.9 trillion miles in 175 countries in 2017. As detailed in the table below, this estimate includes both vehicle miles and public transportation miles. Our TAM is based on 7.5 trillion vehicle miles. We derive the number of vehicle miles in our TAM by multiplying the number of passenger cars in each country, based on third-party data, by our country-level estimates of miles traveled per car, based on 2018 reports from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration and the International Road Federation (©IRF World Road Statistics). Our TAM also includes an estimated 4.4 trillion public transportation miles.

Here’s where you get the real point:

Increasing Ridesharing penetration in existing markets. Our large addressable market opportunity means that with approximately 26 billion miles traveled on our platform in 2018, we have only reached a less than 1% penetration of miles traveled in trips under 30 miles in the 63 countries in which we operate. We believe we can continue to grow the number of trips taken with our Ridesharing products and replace personal vehicle ownership and usage and public transportation one use case at a time, including through continued investment in our affordable Ridesharing options, such as Uber Bus and Express POOL.

That’s right: Uber plans to grow its business by replacing public transportation.

The company, as far as I know, has never admitted that before. Its PR materials always talk about the environmental benefits of getting people out of private cars. The idea of decimating public transportation in the name of profits for a global corporation is pretty scary.

We have seen this before, starting in the 1930s, when a handful of big companies including General Motors and Standard Oil bought up urban rail lines around the country to force people to buy private cars. This is now considered a dark moment in environmental and transportation policy that created, among other things, the freeways and smog of Los Angeles and the end of rail transit on the Bay Bridge.

There’s a reason transportation, especially urban transportation, is public. Many Muni lines would lose money if they were treated as business ventures; they don’t have enough passengers to justify their existence. But San Francisco has a policy of making transit available to everyone, in every neighborhood.

The 8 Bayshore and the 9 San Bruno, for example, serve southeast neighborhoods that badly need transit access – but that likely wouldn’t get an Uber bus.

But Uber is telling Wall Street that its future as a company may depend on its ability to convince people to take private cars and buses instead of public transit, starving transit and ultimately forcing everyone to pay Uber to get around.

Sup. Aaron Peskin, who chairs the Land Use and Transportation Committee and has long been critical of Uber, told me that “this sounds like a Machiavellian plan to harm the tens of millions of people who rely on public transit … if there’s a definition of evil, this is it.”

He also said that San Francisco should fight the plan and not allow Uber buses. “I hope this is fought be every city in the United States,” he said.

Uber would probably not exist in its current format if San Francisco and other cities had not allowed it to break the law and run illegal cabs for years. Now, as always seems to be the case, policy-makers are scrambling to figure out how to deal with the impacts of Uber-friendly policies.

And I’m not sure anyone is prepared for an all-out assault on public transit, backed by billions in venture capital and Wall Street money.

But we need to get ready – now.

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