Superstrata e-bike review: Rebel without a cause

Superstrata’s e-bike is a strange specimen — there’s no two ways about it. In some ways that makes sense; the bike’s concept, borne out in seamless 3D-printed carbon fiber, springs from an equally strange premise. We’ll get into that. Talking to Sonny Vu, founder of Superstrata’s parent company Arevo , the bikes were crafted not out of a love of cycling, but rather for the hunt for a climate-friendly urban transportation solution or any traditional justification for going to all the trouble of making an e-bike. So Vu created the Superstrata e-bike (and its non-electrified counterpart) as a proof-of-concept for Arevo’s carbon fiber manufacturing process . In that light, how the bike wound up makes perfect sense — even if buying one probably doesn’t. “Everyone thought we’re an e-bike company, but we’re not. We’re an advanced manufacturing company,” Vu told TechCrunch. We certainly can’t blame e-bike enthusiasts for being confused. Superstrata is deep into what Vu calls “deep tech”

Energy X secures $20M at $120M valuation to slash building sector emissions

Countries worldwide have pledged to reduce their energy usage and reach net-zero energy targets by 2050. To get there, they will need to find clever ways to decarbonize especially dirty businesses, including the buildings sector. The push to clean up the built environment has spawned a lot policy, as well as overlapping acronyms, including net-zero energy buildings (nZEBs) and zero-emission buildings (ZEBs). In the EU, a ZEB requirement is expected to kick in on January 2030 for all new buildings. Likewise, the U.S. Department of Energy said it will retrofit new federal buildings that are greater than 5,000 square feet by 2030.   South Korea is  also taking measures to reduce emissions in the building sector by retrofitting buildings and strengthening ZEB requirements for new buildings through 2030.  Buildings are a major source of air , water and noise pollution . The built environment’s whole process — including materials manufacturing, construction, heating and electric

Daily Crunch: Cell network provider Google Fi confirms customer data breach

To get a roundup of TechCrunch’s biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PST, subscribe here . As January is coming to a close, the TechCrunch team is firing on all cylinders (do we still say that, in a time of electric cars? What is a better expression these days?), with a wall of amazing content for you to download straight into your brain. We’ve picked the cream of the crop, even as we are further confused as to why there was cream on the crops in the first place. In summary, idiomatic English continues to confound even the biggest language nerds among us. — Christine and Haje The TechCrunch Top 3 Who’s calling? : T-Mobile’s data breach last week seems to have spilled over into Google Fi, which now says hackers accessed customers’ information. Carly has more. Home sweet HomePod : Brian plugged in the 2023 Apple HomePod and shares what he likes and doesn’t like about it. More layoffs : Cloud data management giant NetApp will lay off 8

Peacock kills its free tier option for new customers

Peacock is no longer offering its free tier to new customers, a spokesperson for NBCUniversal confirmed to TechCrunch on Tuesday. The company says it’s shifting its focus to its Premium offering and that doing so will allow the streaming service to remain competitive in the marketplace. The change was first reported by The Streamable . The free tier is still available to users who are already on the plan, the spokesperson said in an email. In addition, users who cancel their paid subscriptions will automatically be downgraded to the free tier. Peacock has offered the free tier since its launch in 2020, giving users restricted access to the streaming service’s content catalogue. The tier included a limited amount of content when compared to the paid tiers. New customers will now have to choose between Peacock’s Premium or Premium Plus tiers. The ad-supported Premium tier costs $4.99 per month and includes the full content library, live sports and NBC and Bravo shows after they air on

Spotify’s test of a Friends tab on mobile hints at expanded social ambitions

Spotify’s success with Wrapped, its year-end review , designed for social sharing, may be pushing the company toward building more social experiences directly into its mobile app. The company for many months has been testing different iterations of a “friends activity” tab on its mobile app, and investors have now taken notice. During the streamer’s Q4 earnings call earlier today, the company was asked to clarify some details about its social plans. Though Spotify CEO Daniel Ek declined to comment on the specific feature the investor asked about, he didn’t shoot down the idea of Spotify becoming a more social platform. Instead, he replied that social could become “a meaningful driver of creating an even stickier and more engaging experience” for the company. The exec was answering an investor question about Spotify’s recent tests of a “Friends tab,” which appears in the app’s bottom navigation bar for some subset of Spotify’s users. Though only an experiment at present, the test alre

Put a (smart) ring on it: Monavo on why its health wearable will put women first

Monavo Heath turned heads at CES with an Ouroubouros-esque smart ring designed for women. In the crowded field of fitness wearables, where the mainstream heavy hitter of the Apple Watch heads up a very long tail of typically less pricey and/or more specialist activity tracking bracelets and bands all keen to claim their own patch of data-generating skin, it’s no small irony that differentiation at this point in the market’s run means designing a product to ‘target’ around half the population — as my colleague, TC’s hardware editor Brian Heater, dryly observed of Monavo’s pitch for a smart ring called “Evie” last month . But what does a wearable made for women actually mean in terms of utility and design? TechCrunch talked to Monavo Health’s CEO and director, John Mastrototaro, to get the inside track on the forthcoming smart ring and delve into its wider roadmap as it works on building a medical devices company whose starting point is simply putting women first. Monavo is kicking th

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