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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

Getting power from poop, with Levidian’s Loop

The U.K. water processing industry produces a godawful amount of biogas annually. The gasses are primarily used to generate operational heat and power on-site, or they can be turned into biomethane and injected back into the national gas grid. New research funding is going to see if United Utilities can use Levidian’s Loop system to turn these waste gases into carbon-negative hydrogen (which can be easily stored for later use) along with graphene, which has a number of interesting use cases, including medicine, electronics and energy. “This is an exciting project that will lead the way to utilize Loop to decarbonize biogas at scale,” comments Levidian CEO John Hartley. “The consortium has a vast amount of knowledge and experience, which we are leveraging to produce carbon-negative hydrogen — there is no better goal to be working on right now.” The U.K. government’s Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy has awarded the project around $250,000 (£212,000, to be exact

Eat Just bags $25M, gets Alibaba’s help to sell alternative protein in China

China is a notoriously difficult market for international startups to crack, but one company seems to have found the recipe for wooing the country’s picky consumers. Three years after Eat Just launched in China , the San Francisco-based company is ready to put more alternative protein products on Chinese people’s plates. Formerly Hampton Creek, Eat Just has secured $25 million and a strategic partnership from C2 Capital Partners, a private equity firm with Alibaba as its anchor investor. The tie-up with C2, according to Eat Just’s co-founder and CEO Josh Tetrick, will help the firm’s go-to-market strategies, sales, branding, consumer insights, hiring, and regulatory approach in China. Specifically, the Californian company will benefit from Alibaba’s reservoir of consumer insight and its experience in building a team in China from the ground up, Tetrick told TechCrunch. Eat Just has been around since 2011 and raised over $400 million from investors including Khosla Ventures and Hon

YC grad QuotaBook raises $11M to scale its equity management platform

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QuotaBook , a Seoul-based equity management platform, has raised $11 million in funding led by Elefund, with participation from Access Ventures, Hana Securities and South Korean fintech company Viva Republica. Some of its previous backers, including Draper Associates and Capstone Partners, joined the round. The Korean startup, which graduated from Y Combinator (YC)’s Winter 21 batch, was founded by former venture capitalists Andy Choi , Dan Hong and Pilseon Jun , in 2019. Choi, the company’s CEO, said in an interview with TechCrunch that in their capacity as investors, the three noticed that in Korea and many other Asian countries, startups were still relying on Excel when managing their cap tables, stock options, stakeholder and other related information. That meant the startups’ backers were forced to make sense of these spreadsheets, too. “VCs were stuck with Excel sheets or very old enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools, so old that they are not web-based and can be installed

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