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GM unveils a refreshed Chevy Bolt EV and its bigger, yet compact crossover sibling

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GM revealed Sunday a refreshed Chevrolet Bolt EV and a new, bigger — yet still compact — crossover called the Chevrolet Bolt EUV as part of the automaker’s goal to introduce 30 electric vehicles in the next four years.

The vehicles, which are expected to go on sale this summer, are like siblings: the pair share much of the same DNA but have their own distinct differences. The 2022 Chevy Bolt EUV is bigger than the Chevy Bolt hatchback. GM lengthened the wheelbase of the EUV by about 3 inches. In all, the EUV sits some 6 inches longer than the Bolt EV. The result is a compact crossover with 39.1 inches of rear seat legroom.

The EUV — a GM acronym that means electric utility vehicle — also has the notable distinction of being the first Chevrolet to have the hands-free driver assistance system known as Super Cruise. The hands-free system won’t come standard, however. Drivers will have to upgrade beyond the EUV’s $33,995 base price.

That $33,995 price point stands out because it’s actually slighter cheaper than the 2021 Chevy Bolt that is currently sitting in dealerships. The new refreshed Chevy Bolt, which is described in greater details below, has also received a price cut.

The takeaway: GM is using its scale to keep prices low in hopes of attracting customers who have a growing pool of EV options.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV

The EUV will have an estimated range of 250 miles, which is a few miles lower than the Bolt EV. The vehicle will also come with a standard dual level charge cord with a changeable plug that lets drivers choose 120V and 240V charging.

The EUV will also come with native navigation. That’s an important addition in this two-member Bolt portfolio. The Chevy Bolt EV, which first debuted in 2016, doesn’t have a native in-car navigation and instead relies on either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay for maps and driving directions.

Importantly, neither one of these vehicles is part of the new Ultium battery platform that GM revealed in spring 2020. The Ultium platform is designed to support a wide range of products across its brands, including compact cars, work trucks, large premium SUVs, performance vehicles. The Bolt EUV and Bolt EV should be viewed as an important placeholder, two vehicles that will help keep it in the game while it works on its more ambitious EV strategy.

The 2022 Chevrolet Bolt

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Bolt EUV wasn’t the only vehicle GM revealed Sunday. The automaker has also refreshed the Chevrolet Bolt, the hatchback electric vehicle that first debuted more than four years ago.

The upshot: many of the specs stayed the same, the interior got an upgrade and the price dropped by $5,500.
The 2022 Chevy Bolt’s underlying battery platform, the BEV2, has remained unchanged.

The car, which goes on sale this summer, has a 65 kilowatt-hour battery pack that provides an estimated 259 miles of range. It is also still powered by a single motor — just like the original — that generates 200 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. The vehicle is the same width as before, but gained a skosh in height and is now 63.4 inches taller, while losing less than an inch in length.

2022 Chevrolet Bolt EV

The 2022 Chevy Bolt, which starts at $31,995, is a couple grand cheaper than the new Bolt EUV. For that price, GM tried to pack in a bit more such as an updated modern interior and “more comfortable” bucket seating, according to the company. GM said the improvements were based on customer feedback.

The vehicle includes a touchscreen display that is a bit larger at 10.2 inches as well as an 8-inch digital instrument cluster. Just like the previous version, the 2022 model comes standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. As mentioned before, the 2022 Chevy Bolt still doesn’t come standard with in-car navigation, relying instead on CarPlay or Android Auto.

One new feature is a button in the center console that when engaged allows one-pedal driving. The driver depresses the accelerator pedal to move; once the driver’s foot leaves the pedal, the vehicle’s regenerative braking kicks in and will bring the vehicle to a stop.

The Chevy Bolt doesn’t come with GM’s hands-free driver assistance system known as Super Cruise. GM chose the Chevy Bolt EUV for that system, which has been corralled over in Cadillac for the past several years. The Bolt hatchback does come standard with the “Chevy Safety Assist,” six  features that includes lane keeping assist and a warning if the vehicle leaves the lane.

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Snowflake latest enterprise company to feel Wall Street’s wrath after good quarter

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Snowflake reported earnings this week, and the results look strong with revenue more than doubling year-over-year.

However, while the company’s fourth quarter revenue rose 117% to $190.5 million, it apparently wasn’t good enough for investors, who have sent the company’s stock tumbling since it reported Wednesday after the bell.

It was similar to the reaction that Salesforce received from Wall Street last week after it announced a positive earnings report. Snowflake’s stock closed down around 4% today, a recovery compared to its midday lows when it was off nearly 12%.

Why the declines? Wall Street’s reaction to earnings can lean more on what a company will do next more than its most recent results. But Snowflake’s guidance for its current quarter appeared strong as well, with a predicted $195 million to $200 million in revenue, numbers in line with analysts’ expectations.

Sounds good, right? Apparently being in line with analyst expectations isn’t good enough for investors for certain companies. You see, it didn’t exceed the stated expectations, so the results must be bad. I am not sure how meeting expectations is as good as a miss, but there you are.

It’s worth noting of course that tech stocks have taken a beating so far in 2021. And as my colleague Alex Wilhelm reported this morning, that trend only got worse this week. Consider that the tech-heavy Nasdaq is down 11.4% from its 52-week high, so perhaps investors are flogging everyone and Snowflake is merely caught up in the punishment.

Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman pointed out in the earnings call this week that Snowflake is well positioned, something proven by the fact that his company has removed the data limitations of on-prem infrastructure. The beauty of the cloud is limitless resources, and that forces the company to help customers manage consumption instead of usage, an evolution that works in Snowflake’s favor.

“The big change in paradigm is that historically in on-premise data centers, people have to manage capacity. And now they don’t manage capacity anymore, but they need to manage consumption. And that’s a new thing for — not for everybody but for most people — and people that are in the public cloud. I have gotten used to the notion of consumption obviously because it applies equally to the infrastructure clouds,” Slootman said in the earnings call.

Snowflake has to manage expectations, something that translated into a dozen customers paying $5 million or more per month to Snowflake. That’s a nice chunk of change by any measure. It’s also clear that while there is a clear tilt toward the cloud, the amount of data that has been moved there is still a small percentage of overall enterprise workloads, meaning there is lots of growth opportunity for Snowflake.

What’s more, Snowflake executives pointed out that there is a significant ramp up time for customers as they shift data into the Snowflake data lake, but before they push the consumption button. That means that as long as customers continue to move data onto Snowflake’s platform, they will pay more over time, even if it will take time for new clients to get started.

So why is Snowflake’s quarterly percentage growth not expanding? Well, as a company gets to the size of Snowflake, it gets harder to maintain those gaudy percentage growth numbers as the law of large numbers begins to kick in.

I’m not here to tell Wall Street investors how to do their job, anymore than I would expect them to tell me how to do mine. But when you look at the company’s overall financial picture, the amount of untapped cloud potential and the nature of Snowflake’s approach to billing, it’s hard not to be positive about this company’s outlook, regardless of the reaction of investors in the short term.

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A first look at Coursera’s S-1 filing

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After TechCrunch broke the news yesterday that Coursera was planning to file its S-1 today, the edtech company officially dropped the document Friday evening.

Coursera was last valued at $2.4 billion by the private markets, when it most recently raised a Series F round in October 2020 that was worth $130 million.

Coursera’s S-1 filing offers a glimpse into the finances of how an edtech company, accelerated by the pandemic, performed over the past year. It paints a picture of growth, albeit one that came at steep expense.

Revenue

In 2020, Coursera saw $293.5 million in revenue. That’s a roughly 59% increase from the year prior when the company recorded $184.4 million in top line. During that same period, Coursera posted a net loss of nearly $67 million, up 46% from the previous year’s $46.7 million net deficit.

Notably the company had roughly the same noncash, share-based compensation expenses in both years. Even if we allow the company to judge its profitability on an adjusted EBITDA basis, Coursera’s losses still rose from 2019 to 2020, expanding from $26.9 million to $39.8 million.

To understand the difference between net losses and adjusted losses it’s worth unpacking the EBITDA acronym. Standing for “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization,” EBITDA strips out some nonoperating costs to give investors a possible better picture of the continuing health of a business, without getting caught up in accounting nuance. Adjusted EBITDA takes the concept one step further, also removing the noncash cost of share-based compensation, and in an even more cheeky move, in this case also deducts “payroll tax expense related to stock-based activities” as well.

For our purposes, even when we grade Coursera’s profitability on a very polite curve it still winds up generating stiff losses. Indeed, the company’s adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of revenue — a way of determining profitability in contrast to revenue — barely improved from a 2019 result of -15% to -14% in 2020.

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The owner of Anki’s assets plans to relaunch Cozmo and Vector this year

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Good robots don’t die — they just have their assets sold off to the highest bidder. Digital Dream Labs was there to sweep up IP in the wake of Anki’s premature implosion, back in 2019. The Pittsburgh-based edtech company had initially planned to relaunch Vector and Cozmo at some point in 2020, launching a Kickstarter campaign in March of last year.

The company eventually raised $1.8 million on the crowdfunding site, and today announced plans to deliver on the overdue relaunch, courtesy of a new distributor.

“There is a tremendous demand for these robots,” CEO Jacob Hanchar said in a release. “This partnership will complement the work our teams are already doing to relaunch these products and will ensure that Cozmo and Vector are on shelves for the holidays.”

I don’t doubt that a lot of folks are looking to get their hands on the robots. Cozmo, in particular, was well-received, and sold reasonably well — but ultimately (and in spite of a lot of funding), the company couldn’t avoid the fate that’s befallen many a robotics startup.

It will be fascinating to see how these machines look when they’re reintroduced. Anki invested tremendous resources into bringing them to life, including the hiring of ex-Pixar and DreamWorks staff to make the robots more lifelike. A lot of thought went into giving the robots a distinct personality, whereas, for instance, Vector’s new owners are making the robot open-source. Cozmo, meanwhile, will have programmable functionality through the company’s app.

It could certainly be an interesting play for the STEM market that companies like Sphero are approaching. It has become a fairly crowded space, but at least Anki’s new owners are building on top of a solid foundation, with the fascinating and emotionally complex toy robots their predecessors created.

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