⚡ Hertz and BP’s electric alliance

Wednesday, September 28, 2022 by Robinhood Snacks |
EV Chargers → that way (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

EV Chargers → that way (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

EV Chargers → that way (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

EV Chargers → that way (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Yesterday’s Market Moves
Dow Jones
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10,830 (+0.25%)
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$18,983 (-1.34%)

Hey Snackers,

You don't have to pretend to be ordering for your kids anymore: McDonald's is selling adult Happy Meals complete with toy figurines of its classic characters (think: mini Hamburglar).

Stocks ticked down after a bumpy trading ride yesterday with the S&P 500 and Dow slipping deeper into a bear market. The techy Nasdaq closed slightly higher. Meanwhile, home prices cooled in July at the fastest pace on record.

Range

A tale of two (electri)cities… Here’s an unlikely pairing: OG car-rental giant Hertz is partnering with oil titan BP to install EV chargers for your weekend getaway. Last year Hertz struck deals to buy up to 340K EVs from Tesla, Polestar, and GM by 2027. Last week it signed a deal to buy 175K EVs from GM over the next five years, adding to its offering at 500 locations nationwide (already the largest EV-rental fleet in North America). Now:

  • Hertz and BP Pulse (BP’s electric-charging unit) plan to build a network of charging stations that’ll primarily serve Hertz renters but also ride-hailing drivers and the public.
  • For BP: The charging-as-a-service partnership could bring the oil giant closer to its goal of operating more than 100K chargers by 2030. Back in 2020, BP pledged to go net-zero by 2050, but it’s notching record profits on the back of surging fossil-fuel prices.

Running on e… EVs have been touted as a way for drivers to reduce emissions while saving $$ — but the latter hasn’t been the case lately. While gas prices have jumped 17% this year, electric-charging prices can fluctuate by as much as 400% in a single day. BP Pulse’s software could help Hertz lower its electricity costs by scheduling EVs to charge at cheaper times.

THE TAKEAWAY

If you build it they will come… EV demand is higher than ever, but the lack of charging infrastructure has been a top barrier to mainstreamification. The US has nearly 50K charging stations — that's about 100K fewer charging stations than gas stations. By setting up spots with a cost-efficient charging model, Hertz and BP could help address the top EV barriers: price and range anxiety.

Ippy

Chippy ’n’ guac... Visit any Chipotle today and there's a 100% chance your tortilla chips will be fried and seasoned with salt and lime by Chipotle workers. But starting next month the carne asada icon will add a robot to its chip-making operation.

  • Meet "Chippy": The autonomous kitchen bot from Miso Robotics will make and season tortilla chips at a Chipotle location in Fountain Valley, California.
  • Taste tested: Chipotle’s already tested Chippy's chef skills at its HQ’s innovation hub.

Hint of lime... lots of crunch. Fast-food joints around the US are still dealing with a crippling labor shortage. In May the restaurant industry still had 750K fewer jobs filled than prepandemic. Now the hard-hit sector is bringing in bots to fill the gap:

  • Jack in the Box debuted fries-making robot "Flippy" (also from Miso Robotics) at a California location in July. White Castle and Buffalo Wild Wings are also testing Miso's robots.
  • Chili's employed "Rita the Robot" to serve customers in 2020, and has expanded it to 51 locations.
  • Panera is testing an AI drive-thru bot called “Tori.” McDonald's is also piloting automated drive-thrus.
THE TAKEAWAY

It’s a fast-casual conundrum… for America’s nearly 200K fast-food spots and their ~5M employees. A 2021 report found that half of restaurant operators planned to use automation tech in the next few years. Companies may have to spend big in the short term, but could be rewarded with more efficient operations and fatter profit margins longer term. On the flip side, it could mean millions of jobs lost to bots. Plus: a third of customers don’t want to see a robot prep their food, one report said.

What else we’re Snackin’

  • Sus: Germany is investigating suspicious leaks that have appeared in its Russian gas pipelines. Experts say the incidents, which fueled tensions between Russia and Europe, could be sabotage.
  • Quito: Alex Mashinsky, CEO of bankrupt crypto lender Celsius, has stepped down. He joins a list of departing execs (think: prez of FTX US, Kraken's CEO, Genesis' CEO) as regulators eye the industry.
  • Rev: Harley-Davidson listed its electric-motorcycle brand, LiveWire, on the NYSE yesterday in a $1.8B SPAC merger. Shares of the world’s first public e-motorbike biz fell with the rest of the market.
  • Turbulent: Fasten your seatbelts: the DOJ went to court to argue that a Northeast partnership between JetBlue and American Airlines breaks antitrust rules. The carriers say it helps them compete against larger players.
  • Chomp: Burrito delivery, but more rewarding: DoorDash said it’s launching a credit card with JPM Chase. Chase, the top card issuer by volume, also makes cards for Instacart, Amazon, and Marriott.

Snack Fact of the Day

Nearly half of US schools are facing teacher and staff shortages

Wednesday

  • Earnings expected from Paychex, Cintas, Vail Resorts, and Duckhorn

Authors of this Snacks own shares of Amazon, GM, and Tesla

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