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Kenyan agtech iProcure raises $10.2M to grow its input supply network

The shortage of agricultural inputs like fertilizer, unpredictable prices, and the proliferation of substandard products into markets are some of the biggest challenges for Kenya’s agricultural sector. This impact is especially felt in the country because agriculture accounts for 23% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), making it the single largest contributor to its economy, and its biggest employer – agriculture employs nearly 40% of the country’s population and 70% of its rural people. It, therefore, is certain that difficulties in accessing the required resources for sustained production, not only threatens food security, but also family earnings and livelihoods. To bridge the input-access gap, iProcure, a B2B agtech, has since 2014 been connecting agricultural manufacturers and distributors to local retailers (agro-dealers), through its unique distribution infrastructure that interlinks agricultural supply chains. Iprocure told TechCrunch it is now on a path to grow its presence

Tesla doesn’t need to hit the panic button over China heat wave disruptions just yet

Some parts of China are suffering from record high temperatures in the past few weeks, prompting local governments to halt industrial power use, including those of battery plants. When news reaches the West, it generates fear-mongering headlines like “China heat wave shuts Tesla suppliers” which have likely rattled investors (because Tesla is all we care about, right?). But is the EV giant really suffering from China’s scorching heat? First off, we need to look at which factories are affected. Lithium battery giant CATL is among the companies that have been ordered to shut down production in the landlocked province of Sichuan, according to a local media report . The pause, which lasts from August 15 to 20, is part of the province’s effort to ration electricity as it suffers from a devastating drought and heat wave. While CATL, a major battery supplier to Tesla, might have trouble fulfilling some orders for customers, there’s no indication that Tesla is the one to bear the cost. For

Dodge unveils Charger EV concept that is faster and louder than a Hellcat

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Dodge revealed Wednesday an EV concept that looks — and even sounds — like the gas-powered Charger muscle car that will be discontinued next year. The two-door Dodge Charger Daytona SRT Concept — the Daytona name a nod to its gas-powered ancestor’s 200 mph NASCAR track milestone — is not just a design exercise, according to the Stellantis brand. The Charger EV concept unveiled at M1Concourse in Pontiac, Michigan during Dodge Speed Week event series is a placeholder of sorts for the production version coming in 2024. Dodge has been talking about this day since at least last summer, but now consumers are starting to see exactly what the automaker has in mind. It’s unclear just how much of the concept shown Wednesday will make it to the final production version. A company spokesperson did tell TechCrunch that “we call it a concept … it is very close to production.” Which means it’s worth taking a closer look at the concept that will replace the gas-powered version. Dodge Charger Day

Crappy chargers and sky-high prices are huge roadblocks to EV adoption

In the U.S., most electric vehicle owners say that public chargers are easy to use. That is, when they actually work. A new J.D. Power survey finds that, while public charging stations are a tad easier to come by these days, faulty chargers are souring the experience and hampering EV adoption. That’s no good, because the planet is only getting hotter and EVs are expected to play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector . Out of 11,554 owners of battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles who were surveyed by J.D. Power, one in five said they “ended up not charging their vehicle during their visit,” the report said. And of the drivers who did not charge, “72% indicated that it was due to the station malfunctioning or being out of service.” The findings echo a smaller UC Berkeley study that made headlines earlier this year.  Beyond defective chargers, the survey looked into several other factors, such as price and “ease of payment.” Overall, J

Black Girls Code founder Kimberly Bryant has been fired by her board

Kimberly Bryant is officially out from Black Girls Code , eight months after being indefinitely suspended from the organization that she founded. In a statement provided to TechCrunch, a Black Girls Code spokesperson writes that it “believes the decision to remove Ms. Bryant as CEO and as a board member is in the best interests of the organization, the girls it serves, its employees, and its donors. BGC has been focusing its efforts on moving forward and expanding on the success of the organization since its inception.” Bryant filed a federal lawsuit on August 11 alleging wrongful suspension and conflict of interest by board member Heather Hiles. One day later, according to Bryant, her job as a board member and chief executive was terminated. A statement provided to TechCrunch by Bryant and her attorney describes the termination as “an unfortunate culmination of a hostile takeover initiated by Board Member Heather Hiles of the nonprofit that Ms. Bryant created from the ground up,

Skyrora completes second stage static fire test of its flagship rocket

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U.K.-based launch company Skyrora hit a new milestone in the development of its Skyrora XL rocket with the completion of a static fire test of the second stage. The single engine, designed and manufactured by Skyrora, completed a nominal 20-second burn, bringing the company one step closer to its first orbital launch in late 2023. Skyrora is one of a number of small launch companies based in the United Kingdom and Europe, each hoping to compete in these countries’ burgeoning commercial space sectors. According to Skyrora COO Lee Rosen, whose career spans a 23-year tenure with the U.S. Air Force and an 11-year stint at SpaceX, this test sets Skyrora apart from its competitors. “Others like to make a nice showing of their factory or maybe an engine test or things like that, but I think the fact that [we’ve] got an integrated system solution test says a lot about where we are,” he said. Skyrora XL is a three-stage rocket, with 9 engines powering the first stage and a single engine on

Biden admin says about 20 models will still qualify for EV tax credits

The Inflation Reduction Act , which President Joe Biden signed into law Tuesday, says that if automakers want their electric vehicles to be eligible for tax credits, they’ll need to have final assembly in North America. The law, which takes effect immediately, ends credits for about 70% of the 72 models that were previously eligible, according to the Alliance for Automotive Innovation . About 20 model year 2022 and early model year 2023 vehicles will still make the cut for EV tax credits of up to $7,500 through the end of the year under the new legislation. Any manufacturer that has vehicles assembled in North America and has reached their cap of 200,000 EV credits will not be eligible for the freshly named Clean Vehicle Credit this year. That leaves the following models still eligible: Electric vehicles from model year 2022 eligible for Clean Vehicle Credit Audi Q5 BMW 3-series Plug-In and BMW X5 Chrysler Pacifica PHEV Ford F Series; Ford Mustang Mach E; Ford Transit Van Jeep

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