Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., shoots a selfie video with climate activists at the Senate steps after the Senate passed the Inflation Reduction Act in the Capitol on Sunday, August 7, 2022.
Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Why EV makers aren't thrilled about the climate bill

Source Code

Good morning! Clean energy loves the new climate bill, which will provide a huge lift to battery startups, among other projects. But the EV makers? They don’t love it so much.

Climate for the win

Congress is expected to pass a major piece of climate legislation for the first time, and some tech companies are pumped. But it won’t make everyone happy.

Clean energy companies are totally on board with the Inflation Reduction Act, and not just the solar and wind sectors.

  • Industries that have been left out of climate bills in the past are going to get a huge lift from the legislation, Protocol Climate editor Brian Kahn told me. That includes battery startups and other renewable energy groups.
  • Some oil companies, such as Occidental Petroleum, are even interested in the legislation because it offers a tax credit for carbon-capture projects. Their support could be lip service, Brian said, but it could also be indicative of their gradual (emphasis on the “gradual”) transition to including meaningful amounts of clean energy as part of their business model.

Electric vehicle companies aren’t as thrilled with the legislation because it could set them back in their 2030 goals for EV adoption.

  • John Bozzella, head of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation (a group representing General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen), said the EV tax credit requirement will make “most vehicles immediately ineligible for the incentive.” That’s because vehicles need to be made in North America to be eligible, and lots of EV makers outsource from China.
  • The EV tax credits would also apply to trucks, vans and SUVs below a certain price. EVs are pretty expensive these days, so the cost could be another obstacle to getting that credit.

The bill’s going to be a huge win for climate tech across the board. There’s been lots of uncertainty around investment in renewable energy, and Joe Biden not declaring a climate emergency didn’t help. But even with some hesitation from EV makers, the bill could spur a lot more private investment in clean energy once it passes the House.

— Sarah Roach

Lessons learned?

In 2016, the New York Attorney General accused a company called MedRite Urgent Care of “deceptive acts” for paying for positive reviews of its clinics on sites such as Yelp, CitySearch and Google Plus. MedRite was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine at the time.

This summer, in an attempt to roll out a badly needed vaccine in the face of a growing monkeypox outbreak, the city chose MedRite as one of its key vendors.

On the first day its online vaccine scheduler was open to the public, the system crashed, leaving New Yorkers scrambling to get access to an already limited vaccine. And this despite the fact that the city had built and operated its own vaccine portal, Vax4NYC, during the pandemic.

The city’s choice to use MedRite calls into question how much due diligence authorities are actually doing when handing out contracts. “There have just been multiple failures, which I think are concerning because they are coming on the heels of COVID-19 and are reminiscent of some of the mistakes that happened early on in COVID-19,” one expert told Protocol’s Kwasi Gyamfi Asiedu.

Read Kwasi’s full story here.

— Nat Rubio-Licht

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Snap thinks of the children

Snap is launching a new family center today that will allow parents to see who their kids are friends with on the app and report suspicious accounts. It’s part of a wave of new kid safety features being launched by tech giants, including Meta and Apple.

This tool isn’t being released in a vacuum. It includes features that lawmakers and regulators around the world are already requiring or considering requiring of platforms.

  • The Kids Online Safety Act in the U.S. Senate would require platforms to make it easy for parents to report harms to minors. The U.K.’s Age-Appropriate Design Code, meanwhile, also requires certain parental controls and disclosures to children about those features.
  • Snap’s director of platform policy, Nona Farahnik Yadegar, insists the family center isn’t a response to the legislative landscape. But considering these tools are coming more than a decade into Snapchat’s existence, following so much hand-wringing over its impact on kids, it’s hard to imagine the sudden uptick in regulatory pressure didn’t have just a little something to do with it.

Snap is hardly alone. Tech companies all seem to be waking up to the fact that the best way to fend off regulation is to come up with their own safeguards for young users.

  • Instagram and TikTok have both recently rolled out new youth safety tools.
  • And then of course, there was Apple’s disastrous attempt to combat child sexual abuse material with new features that would scan users’ iCloud photos and alert parents of “sexually explicit” images their child was sending or receiving.
  • Apple paused the project due to concerns for kids’ safety and privacy and has since rolled out a watered-down version.

Unlike Instagram and Apple, though, Snap skews young. Many parents and guardians aren't on the app, so the company will need to do a bit of legwork to make sure the word gets out. For its part, Snap is working with parenting bloggers and targeting videos promoting the tool on other social media platforms. And if that push happens to boost Snap’s user base, well, it wouldn’t hurt.

Read the full story here.

— Issie Lapowsky

People are talking

Palantir's Alex Karp said the U.S. delayed spending on some contracts with the company:

  • "You live by the same sword that you pay the price for, and we deal with very, very large contracts."

Former Dropbox CTO Aditya Agarwal said Silicon Valley is getting conservative:

  • “We are currently in the midst of the largest rightward-shift in Silicon Valley politics that I have seen in my 20 years here. Some of this is on the surface, a lot is below it.”

Making moves

Danny Greene joined Yuga Labs as a brand lead for Meebits, an NFT collection. Greene was most recently the GM of the MeebitsDAO.

Matthew Koontz is tvScientific’s first head of product. Koontz has held leadership roles at Hulu, Snap and Microsoft and most recently worked at Attentive Mobile.

Paola Mariselli joined Bumble as director, head of product design. She previously worked on design for seven years at Meta.

DataRobot lost four execs: CFO Damon Fletcher, chief go-to-market officer Tom Levey, chief product officer Nenshad Bardoliwalla and chief people officer Elise Leung Cole, sources told The Information. The company’s also preparing for a second round of layoffs.

Amy Appleyard is LastPass’s new CRO. She’s worked in cybersecurity roles at Malwarebytes and VMware Carbon Black.

In other news

Meta's AI chatbot is already having problems. It has repeated election misinformation and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories just a few days after being released to the public.

Joe Biden's expected to sign the big chip subsidies bill today. Leaders of GlobalFoundries and Applied Materials met with car companies yesterday to talk about the bill.

Google is planning to integrate its Android TV platform with fitness trackers, allowing developers to build interactive workout services.

Twilio got hacked, exposing a “limited number” of customer accounts. The hackers tricked company employees into sharing their credentials.

Google sued Sonos again, this time for allegedly violating patents related to its voice assistant functionality.

Lyft’s digging deeper into ads. It created a new unit called Lyft Media, which will focus on expanding its ad offerings in the app and during rides.

New York wants crypto whistleblowers. Attorney General Letitia James wants people to report instances where they think they were deceived by crypto companies.

Your data point of the day: 99% of Netflix subscribers aren’t engaging with the platform’s gaming features.

Cameo CEO Steven Galanis lost a Bored Ape after his Apple ID was hacked. Galanis bought the ape for 100 ETH — around $319,500 in January — and the thief sold it for 77, now worth around $130,000.

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