Hyundai begins building electric vehicle hub in Singapore

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – South Korea’s Hyundai Motor Co started construction on a research and development centre in Singapore on Tuesday that will house a small-scale electric vehicle production facility.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said the facility may produce up to 30,000 electric vehicles (EVs) annually by 2025 and represents an investment of S$400 million ($295 million).

Singapore is one of the world’s most expensive places to buy a car and does not currently have any auto manufacturing capacity. But the wealthy city-state has set out ambitious plans to phase out petrol vehicles by 2040.

“Automotive activities are becoming viable in Singapore once again. EVs have a different supply chain, fewer mechanical parts and more electronics, which plays to Singapore’s strengths,” PM Lee said.

A Hyundai spokeswoman confirmed the 30,000 unit target but said that the exact capacity was yet to be determined. The facility is due for completion by end 2022, the firm said in a statement.

The announcement comes after vacuum cleaner company Dyson last year scrapped plans to build an electric car in Singapore, saying it was not commercially viable.

Singapore plans to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040, and make a bigger bet on electrification to cut greenhouse gases and slow climate change.

Hyundai said in a statement its new Singapore facility aims to be carbon neutral by using solar and hydrogen energy, will utilise technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics, and will include a test drive track for customers.

The centre is part of Hyundai’s vision to enable future vehicle buyers to customize and purchase vehicles online using a smartphone, allowing production to be on-demand.

($1 = 1.3590 Singapore dollars)

(Reporting by John Geddie and Aradhana Aravindan in Singapore; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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Supersonic startup Boom unveils XB-1 prototype, begins flight testing

  • Boom Supersonic just unveiled the prototype for its supersonic commercial jet that’s slated to bring a new era of ultra-fast travel.
  • The XB-1 demonstrator will begin flight testing in 2021 to prove viable the technology that will power the larger, Concorde-like Overture passenger plane.
  • Development of the Overture will continue concurrently with the XB-1’s flight testing for a planned 2025 debut.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The days of supersonic travel are almost here again and leading the charge isn’t Airbus or Boeing, but smaller startups including one Colorado-based aviation firm that just rolled out a flyable prototype.

Boom Supersonic has been at the forefront for the relaunch of supersonic commercial flight with a design of its own, the Overture, a Concorde-like jet that’s slated for a 2025 debut. The $200 million plane could cut down travel times in half if successful and make the world a significantly smaller place.

The Concorde was known for three-hour transatlantic crossing between the East Coast and Europe, making it possible for travelers to have breakfast in New York and lunch in Paris, or breakfast in London and a second breakfast in Washington. But standing in the way between today’s planes and the next supersonic age is flight testing — thousands of hours of it. 

Boom just took the wraps off of the prototype that will perform flight testing and prove its technology viable for wide-scale commercial flight. The single-pilot demonstrator known as the XB-1 will take to the skies starting next year and pave the way for the Overture. 

Airlines have already shown an interest and desire to get back into supersonic travel as Virgin Atlantic Airways and Japan Airlines are both investors in the company that has racked up 30 pre-orders. Even the US Air Force wants to get on

Palantir officially begins trading through a direct listing

  • Shares of the big data company Palantir began trading on Wednesday via a direct listing.
  • The New York Stock Exchange established a reference price of $7.25 per share, valuing the company at about $16 billion ahead of its official debut.
  • Palantir has yet to become profitable, raising questions from investors.
  • Palantir also has faced criticism from activists for its work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which the company has acknowledged poses a risk to its business — partially because yielding to the criticism might endanger its business with government clients.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Palantir, the secretive and often-controversial big data company founded by Peter Thiel, made its public markets debut on Wednesday with a splash, as investors bid up shares and gave the company a roughly $19 billion market capitalization.

Shares of Palantir began trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday through a direct listing. The stock opened at $10 per share, 38% above the hypothetical “reference price” set by the company. Palantir shares rose 14% to $11.40 within the first hour of trading, but then lost momentum and dipped to as low as $9.77.

The reception on Wall Street is a vote of confidence in a company that has never turned a profit in its 17 years of existence, and whose business model has been viewed with skepticism by some observers. In its S-1, Palantir revealed nearly $580 million in losses in 2019, and it warned that it may never become profitable. 

The company is known for its work with government agencies and law enforcement around the world, using its data analysis tools to track and prevent terrorism and other forms of crime.

Palantir acknowledged in its S-1 filing that criticism from “political and social activists” and “unfavorable coverage in the media” could