Archive for Tim Levin

I drove 2 of America’s smallest pickup trucks. Here’s how the Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz stack up.

Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz.
Ford Maverick (left) and Hyundai Santa Cruz.
  • Small pickup trucks have arrived. The Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz are both new for 2022. 
  • Both pickups aim to offer truck capability in a compact, low-cost package. 
  • We drove both models and compared them across price, bed size, driving experience, and more. 

The Ford Maverick and Hyundai Santa Cruz have arrived. Brand-new for the 2022 model year, both aim to do essentially the same thing: offer pickup capability in a cheaper, smaller package. 

But which one should you buy?

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup.
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Limited.

I tested both vehicles and can confirm they're both great options for people who like the idea of a pickup, but want something that's easier to drive and park than your standard, bulky truck. 

Still, they each bring something different to the table. Here's how the Hyundai and Ford compare:

Price

2022 Ford Maverick XL pickup truck.
The 2022 Ford Maverick XL.

The Maverick wins on price, with a starting MSRP of $19,995. For that low outlay, however, you don't get basic comforts like cruise control and power mirrors. The Santa Cruz, by comparison, starts at around $24,000 and comes with more standard features, including lane keeping and wireless Apple CarPlay. 

If you want an all-wheel-drive, turbocharged Santa Cruz, you need to choose an upper trim level and pay around $36,000. The same can be had on the Maverick for roughly $23,000. 

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup.
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Limited.

Size

The trucks are nearly identical in size: The Hyundai is 196 inches long, while the Maverick comes in at 200. 

Both are compact enough that they're fairly easy to toss around city streets or parallel park.

2022 Ford Maverick XL pickup truck.
The 2022 Maverick XL.

Powertrain and driving experience

The Maverick is your best bet for fuel economy. Its standard hybrid powertrain delivers 37 mpg combined, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The Santa Cruz gets up to 23 mpg combined. 

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup.
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Limited.

All-wheel drive and a turbocharged engine are optional on both vehicles, with the latter recommended if you prize quickness and passing power. I found the Santa Cruz's 2.5-liter turbo fun and punchy. The Maverick's base engine, as efficient as it is, was sluggish getting up to speed. 

Maverick buyers can add on an FX4 off-roading package, while Hyundai doesn't offer an equivalent. 

Bed

2022 Ford Maverick pickup truck
The 2022 Ford Maverick.

Both trucks' beds are roughly the same size. The Santa Cruz's is around four feet long, while the Maverick's is 4.5 feet. 

But the Santa Cruz comes with little storage cubbies that flank the bed and an under-bed cargo area. You can pay extra for cubbies in the Maverick. And both offer options like power outlets, lighting, and tonneau covers. 

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup.
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Limited.

Both trucks are wide enough to fit 4x8 sheets of plywood across the wheel wells. And both encourage do-it-yourself improvements like dividers by providing slots in the bed that fit dimensional lumber. 

Towing and hauling

2022 Ford Maverick XL pickup truck.
The 2022 Ford Maverick XL.

I didn't get to push the limits of these truck's towing and hauling capabilities, but here are the numbers:

Maximum towing capacity is 4,000 pounds for the Maverick and 5,000 pounds for the Santa Cruz. That's plenty to pull a small camper or some ATVs. 

Payload capacity is about even: 1,564 pounds for the Maverick and 1,609 for the Santa Cruz. 

Styling

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup.
The 2022 Hyundai Santa Cruz Limited.

The Santa Cruz looks more daring and off-beat than the Maverick, which has lots of right angles and conventional truck proportions.

I felt cooler driving the Santa Cruz than the Maverick, but — as with most of the differences between these two trucks — it's all a matter of preference. 

2022 Ford Maverick XL pickup truck.
The 2022 Ford Maverick XL.

If your priorities are fuel economy, price, and a truck that's built for work, the Maverick may be more your speed. If you're more of a weekend warrior who wants something that will turn heads and carry your gear, the Santa Cruz could be a better choice. Hyundai doesn't even call the Santa Cruz a pickup truck, after all, but rather a "sport adventure vehicle."

But in truth, either model could excel at either of those roles. The choice is yours.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Chevy’s electric Silverado beats Ford’s F-150 Lightning in range, power, and price. See how the trucks stack up.

The Chevrolet Silverado EV (left), and the Ford F-150 Lightning.
The Chevrolet Silverado EV (left), and the Ford F-150 Lightning.
  • Ford and GM's pickup-truck rivalry has gone electric. 
  • But which is better — the new Chevy Silverado EV or the Ford F-150 Lightning?
  • The Silverado EV promises better range and performance, but both have a lot in common. 

Ford revealed its electric pickup truck to the world almost a year before Chevrolet unveiled its Silverado EV this week. But there's one clear advantage to going second: You know exactly what you need to beat. 

General Motors took notes on the F-150 Lightning's topline numbers, it seems, and produced a truck that outdoes them ever so slightly across the board. It's not all that surprising, given that the two Detroit automakers have been rivals for a century and have spent decades duking it out over the pickup market in particular.

EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST.

No matter the differences between the two trucks, odds are that Ford people will lean toward the Lightning and Chevy folks will swing Silverado EV. Still, plenty of buyers have no allegiance to the bowtie or the Blue Oval. For them, let's compare and contrast the Silverado EV and F-150 Lightning. 

What's similar

These trucks have a lot in common. Both have dual electric motors and standard all-wheel drive. Both will only be sold with four doors. Both Chevy and Ford will sell a lower-cost, work-oriented model alongside lavish, fully-loaded versions pushing six figures. 

[EMBARGO 5/19 9:30PM DNP] Ford F-150 Lightning
Ford F-150 Lightning.

On paper, both pickups are monstrously powerful and quick, claiming to hit 60 mph in around 4.5 seconds. Both trucks will be able to tow up to 10,000 pounds at launch and both promise to travel a long distance on a full charge of their large battery packs.

Both companies went for a mostly conventional interior with some techy flair. Neither truck has a totally sparse, buttonless cabin like you'd find in a Tesla, but both offer large touchscreens. Each truck also delivers a slew of fun capabilities. Both come with a front trunk and a mobile-generator feature for powering tools or one's home. 

2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.

What's different

Ford and GM took different approaches in designing and building their trucks. The Lightning shares its styling and much of its body with the gas-powered F-150. The idea was to give buyers a familiar-feeling truck that works with all the popular Ford accessories. 

EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST.

GM, by contrast, developed the Silverado EV from scratch. It doesn't look all that similar to its gas-fueled sibling. 

The numbers

Comparing the trucks' stats side by side, you get the impression that GM saw the Lightning's specs and options and thought: "We can do slightly better."

EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST.

But a Chevrolet spokesperson told Insider that "the development of the Silverado EV was about creating the best possible solutions for our customers, not about looking at the competition."

The Silverado's base MSRP is $39,900, undercutting the Lightning by $74. All-important torque measures in at up to 780 pound-feet, a tad more than the Lightning's 775 pound-feet. The Silverado makes up to 664 horsepower, compared with the Lightning's 563. The Lightning boasts a higher maximum payload capacity, though: 2,000 pounds versus the Silverado's 1,300. 

[EMBARGO 5/19 9:30PM DNP] Ford F-150 Lightning
Ford F-150 Lightning.

Chevy touts a driving range of 400 miles, 100 miles farther than Ford's estimate for the Lightning. The Silverado can also accept a higher charging rate than its rival — 350 kilowatts versus 150 kilowatts — allowing it to add 100 miles of range in 10 minutes, according to GM. The Silverado EV offers 10.2 kilowatts of onboard electricity, a smidgen more than the F-150's 9.6 kilowatts.

[EMBARGO 5/19 9:30PM DNP] Ford F-150 Lightning
Ford F-150 Lightning.

The verdict

Comparing the Silverado EV and the F-150 Lightning is a bit like comparing apples to, well, other apples. 

They have their differences, but both bring a lot to the table: long range, plenty of performance, appealing styling, and unique features. We'll have to get these trucks out on the road and drive them before we can declare a true winner. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

Tour the coolest features of the new electric Chevy Silverado, from ultra-fast charging to a front trunk

EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST.
  • The new Chevy Silverado EV is electric, but that's not all it brings to the table. 
  • The new pickup from GM offers a host of interesting and unique features. 
  • A one-of-a-kind passage between the cab and bed makes room for huge, 11-foot-long items. 
The all-electric Chevy Silverado EV dropped on Wednesday with a $39,900 starting price.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
Much like it's crosstown rival, Ford's F-150 Lightning, the Silverado EV brings a lot to the table aside from electric motors and a battery.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
General Motors packed the Silverado EV with a boatload of interesting features sure to entice truck owners to consider a zero-emission alternative.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
For starters, the Silverado EV can act like a giant mobile battery pack for powering a construction project, campsite, or tailgate.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
The PowerBase charging system can provide power to up to 10 outlets with an available accessory.
EMBARGO 1/5 DNP 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV WT.
Like the F-150 Lightning, the Silverado EV can share power with another electric vehicle or an owner's home. The Silverado EV offers up to 10.2 kilowatts of energy, a skosh more than the Ford's 9.6 kilowatts.
EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST.
The Silverado EV can charge at up to 350 kilowatts. That basically means that under ideal conditions — when it's plugged into a very high-powered charger — it can accept a dump of energy much faster than other electric cars.
EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST.
Chevy says the Silverado EV is capable of adding 100 miles of range in 10 minutes.
EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST.
The $105,000 RST First Edition comes with what Chevy calls the Multi-Flex Midgate, something you can't get anywhere else.
EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST.
The midgate is a pathway from the bed to the Silverado's cab that lets owners haul extra-long items.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
You can open a piece of the midgate to make room for something long and skinny, like a kayak or some wood boards.
EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST.
Or you can fling open the entire thing to accommodate especially large items, like a stack of plywood.
EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST.
Or perhaps something more fitting for an electric truck, like a pile of solar panels.
EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST.
The available Multi-Flex Tailgate, which is also an option on gas-powered Chevys, makes the bed even more functional.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
It can act as a bed extender, ensuring that long items don't slide out.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
And you can use it as a step to get in and out of the bed.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV.
Speaking of storage, electrification means that truck owners can now get something they've rarely had before: a trunk!
EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST.
The Silverado's hood and grille area lift up to reveal a nifty cargo compartment that uses the space that normally would be taken up by a gas engine.
EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV WT.
It's a great spot for storing things owners don't want in the bed or cab.
EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV WT.
Chevy also envisions accessories for the frunk like slide-out drawers and tool boxes.

 

The RST First Edition will also come equipped with four-wheel steering, which will be an optional feature on other models.
EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST.
Four-wheel steering should allow the Silverado EV to manage tight turns more effectively, a welcome feature for anyone who has tried to slide a full-size truck into a tight parking space.
EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST.
And it'll have Super Cruise, GM's driver-assistance system that enables hands-free driving on 200,000 miles of approved roadways. That's available on lots of GM models, but on the Silverado EV you'll be able to use Super Cruise while towing a trailer.
EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV RST.
The Silverado EV is available to preorder now. It hits the streets in mid-2023 in two versions: the Work Truck and the fully-loaded RST First Edition.
EMBARGO 1/5 DNP: 2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV
2024 Chevrolet Silverado EV WT.
Read the original article on Business Insider

The 15 coolest electric cars, trucks, and SUVs we saw in 2021

Ford F-150 Lightning
The F-150 Lightning is one of tons of exciting new electric vehicles revealed this year.
  • Automakers unveiled tons of new electric sedans, SUVs, and pickup trucks in 2021
  • These are 15 of the coolest battery-powered cars that made their debut. 
  • They include Porsche's station wagon, Ford's truck, and Mercedes-Benz's luxe $100,000 sedan.
BMW i4
BMW i4.
BMW i4.

BMW's first fully electric sedan zooms to dealerships starting in March 2022. BMW says the sportiest M50 version will make 536 horsepower. Its EPA-rated range of 301 miles means it can hang with some of the rangiest EVs on the market. Starting price: around $56,000. 

Canoo Pickup Truck
Canoo pickup truck
Canoo pickup truck.

Arkansas-based EV startup Canoo unveiled a downright awesome pickup truck this year. Canoo decked out the quirky, pod-shaped truck with plenty of unique features like fold-out work surfaces and a frunk. 

With knobby tires and an optional pop-top camper shell, the Canoo Pickup Truck could be the ultimate adventure rig come 2023.

Fisker Ocean
The 2023 Fisker Ocean electric SUV.
The 2023 Fisker Ocean.

Fisker plans to sell the Ocean SUV for $37,499 to start. That base version will deliver 250 miles of range, while a more expensive model promises 350 miles. 

But the Ocean offers more than good looks and an attractive price. Optional features include roof-integrated solar panels and a swiveling touchscreen. 

Ford F-150 Lightning
The Ford F-150 Lightning EV truck.
The Ford F-150 Lightning EV truck.

The most powerful F-150 ever, the F-150 Lightning will make up to 563 horsepower and hit 60 mph in under five seconds. As we can attest, it feels absurdly quick

The Lightning also promises fun features like a giant front trunk and the ability to power other EVs. It hits streets next spring with a starting price of $40,000.

Genesis GV60
The Genesis GV60 EV.
The Genesis GV60.

The GV60 is the first electric model from Genesis, Hyundai's luxury brand. It looks a bit like an alien spacecraft, but a very sleek and attractive one. The rose-gold paint job doesn't hurt either. 

There's no word on pricing yet, but Genesis says it'll travel around 280 miles on a single charge — not too shabby.

GMC Hummer EV SUV
2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV.
2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV.

The "Edition 1" Hummer EV SUV will cost $106,000 and hit streets in 2023, with less expensive models on the way after that. The SUV will deliver up to 830 horsepower and at least 300 miles of driving range. 

It's packed with off-road features, but we suspect most Hummer EVs will see just about as much dirt as your average Mercedes G-Wagen — not much.

Hyundai Ioniq 5
The Hyundai Ioniq 5.
The Hyundai Ioniq 5.

In a world dominated by similar-looking compact SUVs, the Hyundai Ioniq 5 is a breath of fresh air. The stylish little SUV has a retrofuturistic design complete with headlights that are perfectly rectangular. Not only does it look good, it'll drive a healthy 303 miles on a full battery. 

Plus, it'll be able to accept 350-kilowatt fast charging, the fastest rate available on the market. Hyundai says it'll recharge from 10% to 80% in as little as 18 minutes.

Mercedes-Benz Concept EQG
Mercedes-Benz Concept EQG.
Mercedes-Benz Concept EQG.

The Concept EQG may not be a full-fledged, production-ready model, but it's too cool not to mention. Mercedes has said it plans to launch an battery-powered version of the burly G-Class SUV in 2024, and the Concept EQG gives us an idea of what that future vehicle might look like. 

It has the regular G-Wagen's familiar, boxy shape plus four electric motors and tons of light strips.

Mercedes-Benz EQS
Mercedes EQS
The Mercedes-Benz EQS.

The EQS is Mercedes-Benz's first electric vehicle for the US market. And as its name suggests, it's an electric version of Merc's flagship S-Class sedan. The $102,000 luxury car can travel up to 350 miles on a charge, according to the EPA. But it drove an impressive 422 miles in a real-world test, beating every Tesla you can buy.

Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo
2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo._7
2021 Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo.

Station wagons may be a dying breed, but Porsche released an incredibly cool one this year: the Taycan Cross Turismo. It's a wagon version of the Taycan sport sedan with a slightly higher ride height and up to 750 horses. It'll run you $93,700 and up. 

Subaru Solterra
The 2023 Subaru Solterra electric SUV.
The 2023 Subaru Solterra.

The Subaru brand is all about getting out into nature. So it's only fitting that the company is rolling out an SUV that's kind to the environment. The Solterra will come standard with all-wheel drive and at least 225 miles of range. 

Tesla Model S Plaid
Tesla Model S.
Tesla Model S.

Tesla started selling its most powerful car ever this year: the Model S Plaid. The $130,000 sedan's three motors produce more than 1,000 horsepower, enough to send the Plaid to 60 mph in around two seconds. That makes it by far one of the quickest production cars you can buy today.

Toyota BZ4X
The Toyota BZ4X electric SUV.
The Toyota BZ4X electric SUV.

You can't mention the Subaru Solterra without also noting the BZ4X, Toyota's first fully electric SUV. The two Japanese automakers collaborated on an EV platform, so the Solterra and BZ4X are strikingly similar. The BZ4X will go around 250 miles on a full battery. 

Toyota electric truck concept
Toyota Electric pickup truck concept.
Toyota electric pickup truck concept.

We've known for a while that Toyota is planning to build an electric pickup truck. Now we know what it could look like. The concept truck Toyota displayed recently appears to be Tacoma-sized, but we don't know much about it yet. 

Volkswagen ID.Buzz
Volkswagen ID.Buzz.
Volkswagen ID.Buzz.

In November, Volkswagen offered a glimpse at what the electric successor to the iconic Microbus will look like. Volkswagen still hasn't unveiled the official production version, but we should learn more about the ID.Buzz next year ahead of its 2023 US launch. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

2021 was a massive year for electric cars. 2022 will be even bigger.

The 2023 Cadillac Lyriq.
The 2023 Cadillac Lyriq is one of many new electric options hitting dealerships in 2022.
  • 2021 was a hugely important year for electric vehicles and the revolution will keep rolling in 2022. 
  • Next year, consumers will be able to choose from more electric options than ever before. 
  • EV market share is projected to grow to 5%, up from less than 3% in 2021. 

This time in 2021, Ford hadn't unveiled a battery-powered pickup truck, the White House was more interested in cutting fuel-economy standards than supporting zero-emission cars, and longshot electric-vehicle startups had plenty of orders but no sales to show for it. 

One year later and that's all changed. 

Ford's F-150 Lightning has nabbed some 200,000 reservations since its big debut in May. The Biden administration wants to blanket the US with 500,000 new EV charging stations. This fall, two upstarts — Rivian and Lucid — beat the odds and started shipping impressive luxury EVs to customers. 

This is all to say that 2021 was a huge year for the shift toward electric transportation. Expect 2022 to be even bigger as appetite for zero-emission cars grows, production accelerates, and more options hit the market. 

The Ford F-150 Lightning EV truck.
The F-150 Lightning arrives next spring with a starting price of $40,000.

Tesla has struggled to keep up with booming demand for its cars, and we should see it continue to drastically grow production capacity in 2022. Two new plants in Berlin and Texas will come online soon, vastly expanding the country's most popular EV maker's ability to satisfy orders. 

Tesla may be the dominant electric-car firm today, but it's hardly the only player to watch. Giants like Ford, Volkswagen, and Toyota all plan to unleash a tidal wave of new EVs in 2022 and beyond. The number of electric options in the US should double from the roughly 20 that are currently available to around 40 by the end of next year, according to Sam Abuelsamid, a principal research analyst at Guidehouse Insights. 

Crucially, consumers will have an easier time finding an electric car that fits their lifestyle and budget than ever before, Abuelsamid told Insider, which should drive adoption. Up until recently, the EV-curious essentially had their pick of a pricey Tesla or a small hatchback. But over the next few years, buyers will be able to browse an expanding range of battery-powered pickup trucks and SUVs, body styles that have been sorely missing from the electric market despite being precisely the types of vehicles Americans crave. 

"In order for EVs to generate even more success than they have had so far, they need to first and foremost be in a vehicle type that the consumer wants," Stephanie Brinley, principal automotive analyst at IHS Markit, said in an interview. "A consumer who needs a pickup truck is not going to settle for a hatchback electric vehicle for the sake of electricity."

The Toyota BZ4X electric SUV.
Toyota's BZ4X, about the same size as its popular RAV4, will hit dealerships in mid-2022.

In 2022, Ford will begin selling the F-150 Lightning, and Cadillac will release its first e-SUV, the Lyriq. Toyota, which makes the best-selling compact SUV in the country, will launch an electric one called the BZ4X

But 2022 won't come without headwinds. This year's supply-chain snarls wreaked havoc across the auto sector, hitting everyone from Tesla to GM. The ongoing computer-chip shortage or unexpected spikes in the cost of raw materials could hamper EV manufacturing in the near term, Abuelsamid said. 

The zero-emission share of the US car market will grow to a new high of 5% in 2022, IHS Markit estimates. That's a big jump from the almost 3% market share EVs conquered in 2021, but it still represents a tiny sliver of the 15.5 million new vehicles the firm projects will change hands next year. 

Although EVs are grabbing headlines and exciting developments are on the way in 2022, the transition away from gas cars is just beginning, Brinley said. EV market share will reach double digits in 2025 and hit roughly 31% by 2030, IHS Markit forecasts. 

"It's not the defining moment just yet," Brinley said. "It is happening, but we've still got a ways to go."

Read the original article on Business Insider

Shopify CEO says he’d be fine with Amazon launching a direct rival to his company

tobi lutke shopify
Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke.
  • Amazon is reportedly working on a rival service to Shopify. 
  • Shopify's CEO said if Amazon's product succeeds, "I actually accomplished my mission."
  • Shopify aims to give power to retailers by helping them operate independent online shops. 

Shopify CEO Tobi Lütke knows Amazon might be coming for his business, and he's up for the competition. 

"I think of Amazon as a worthy rival," Lutke told Bloomberg Businessweek in an interview published Thursday. "If they knock it out of the park and make it super easy to start new businesses on it, then I'm like, I actually accomplished my mission." 

Shopify, which sells software that helps users build independent online stores, has grown massively throughout the pandemic, hitting a $178 billion valuation. Its payment-processing, inventory-management, and other tools power a huge number of small online shops, alongside behemoths like Chipotle, Allbirds, and Staples. Lütke has defined Shopify as the anti-Amazon, an e-commerce company that gives power to sellers and simplifies starting an online business. 

"Amazon is trying to build an empire, and Shopify is trying to arm the rebels," Lütke told Businessweek. 

But Amazon is working on a similar product, insiders told Bloomberg Businessweek. Like Shopify, the Amazon tool would allow retailers to build independent online stores. Under Amazon's current system, sellers only hawk their products through the main Amazon marketplace. If Amazon's project bears fruit, Lütke told Businessweek he's up for being the underdog again. 

In some ways, though, Shopify is moving in Amazon's direction. The company is quietly testing a new search feature in its Shop app that would allow buyers to browse items across many merchants at once. Shopify insiders told Insider the function could make Shopify more like Amazon, potentially upsetting sellers.

Shopify also recently rolled out Gift Shop, which allows users to buy gifts from Shopify merchants and send them via text, email, or social media. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

The New York Times’ Wirecutter staff has gone on strike ahead of busiest shopping days of the year

new york times building
  • Staff at Wirecutter plan to strike from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday over a contract dispute. 
  • They're demanding higher minimum salaries and annual raises from The New York Times' management. 
  • The union is urging people not to shop through the product-review site over the holiday weekend.

Staff at the New York Times' product-recommendation site have gone on strike ahead of some of the busiest shopping days of the year. 

Unionized employees at Wirecutter said they plan to strike from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday, a five-day period when millions of Americans spend billions of dollars on holiday shopping. It's the site's most profitable time of the year, a union organizer told The Wall Street Journal

Wirecutter's staff walked off the job amid a standoff with management about the terms of their contract, the union said in a Tuesday tweet. The Wirecutter Union, part of the NewsGuild of New York, is seeking a $300,000 increase to minimum salaries for its 65-person unit, all of whom are participating in the strike. It also wants a boost to guaranteed annual raises.

Wirecutter's strike is the latest in a string of walkouts and protests by workers at more than two dozen companies who are demanding everything from higher wages to safer working conditions. 

The union says The Times has "slow-walked" negotiations, which have dragged on for two years. 

"Wirecutter continues to bring in record revenue for the Times, which is sitting on over $1 billion in cash. Yet our members have seen next to no financial benefit from their vital contributions to this success. Times management has offered paltry guaranteed wage increases of only 0.5%, despite soaring inflation and cash flows," the union said on its website

The Times is working with the union to reach a deal, Danielle Rhoades Ha, the paper's vice president of communications, told Insider in an email. 

"The New York Times has a long history of productive relationships with unions to advance our shared objectives. We're actively working with the Wirecutter Union to reach a collective bargaining agreement that continues to reward our employees for their work and contributions to The Times's success, and we look forward to continuing those negotiations at the bargaining table in early December," she said. 

The Wirecutter Union is calling on the public to support the strike by not shopping through the site. Wirecutter makes money by taking a cut of each sale generated through links on its pages. It also recently introduced a paywall. 

The Times is also facing ongoing labor disputes with groups of unionized reporters and tech workers. 

Read the original article on Business Insider

5 books you should read this holiday, according to Bill Gates

Bill Gates
Bill Gates releases book recommendations every summer and winter.
  • Bill Gates released his annual list of winter reading recommendations on Monday. 
  • Gates said he's been drawn to the types of books he loved as a kid: science fiction novels. 
  • Gates listed five books total, including two sci-fi books and two nonfiction reads about science. 

Bill Gates has published his annual list of five book recommendations for winter.

The Microsoft cofounder on Monday revealed the titles and explained why they're some of his favorite books of 2021 in a blog post titled "5 books I loved reading this year."

Gates, a famously voracious reader who chews through around 50 books each year, said in the post that he's leaned toward nonfiction over time, but that's been changing. "Lately, though, I've found myself drawn back to the kinds of books I would've loved as a kid," he said. 

For Gates, that means science fiction, something he enjoyed with Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen. "When I was a kid, I was obsessed with science fiction. Paul Allen and I would spend countless hours discussing Isaac Asimov's original 'Foundation' trilogy," he said. "There was something so thrilling about these stories that pushed the limits of what was possible."

"Project Hail Mary," by Andy Weir

The winter reading list includes two sci-fi novels that "made me think about how people can use technology to respond to challenges," Gates said. One is Andy Weir's "Project Hail Mary," in which a high school science teacher wakes up on a spaceship in a different solar system with no memory of how he got there. 

"Klara and the Sun," by Kazuo Ishiguro

The other sci-fi book is Kazuo Ishiguro's "Klara and the Sun." "I love a good robot story," Gates said of the book. 

"The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race," by Walter Isaacson

Gates also recommends two non-fiction books about cutting edge science. One is Walter Isaacson's "The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race," which focuses on the discovery of CRISPR gene-editing.

"A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence," by Jeff Hawkins

In "A Thousand Brains: A New Theory of Intelligence," Jeff Hawkins, who co-invented the PalmPilot, explores artificial intelligence. 

"Hamnet," by Maggie O'Farrell

The last title on Gates' list is "Hamnet," by Maggie O'Farrell, a fictional reimagination of William Shakespeare's life. 

 

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The UN responded to Elon Musk’s challenge to prove how his wealth could tackle world hunger by revealing a $6.6 billion plan

Elon Musk
Elon Musk is the wealthiest person on the planet, with almost $300 billion mostly derived from Tesla stock.
  • Elon Musk dared the UN to show him how $6 billion could fight world hunger. 
  • The UN has gotten back to the world's richest person with a proposal. 
  • Musk said he would "sell Tesla stock and do it" if the UN could show how the money would be spent. 

Elon Musk dared the United Nations to show him how $6 billion of his wealth could address world hunger. On Monday, the UN got back to him with a plan. 

The UN's food-assistance branch, the World Food Programme (WFP), laid out how $6.6 billion in investments could prevent 42 million people across 43 countries from starving. The head of the WFP, David Beasley, called out Musk, the world's richest person by far, in a tweet announcing the proposal. 

"This hunger crisis is urgent, unprecedented, AND avoidable. @elonmusk, you asked for a clear plan & open books. Here it is!," Beasley said. "We're ready to talk with you - and anyone else - who is serious about saving lives."

Late last month, Musk challenged the WFP to explain how $6 billion could solve world hunger. He said if the organization could show exactly how the money would be spent, he would "sell Tesla stock right now and do it."

Musk's challenge was a response to a CNN interview with Beasley during which he called on billionaires like Musk and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to chip in $6 billion — a small amount in proportion to their vast fortunes — to save millions of people at risk of starvation. 

The WFP's proposal, titled "A one-time appeal to billionaires," describes how billions donated by the world's richest people could be spend to stave off hunger. It includes $3.5 billion for food and its delivery and $2 billion for cash and food vouchers, among other expenditures.  

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Lucid Motors’ first car, a $169,000 electric sedan, is MotorTrend’s Car of the Year

Lucid Air, an electric luxury sedan.
The Lucid Air.
  • The 2022 Lucid Air is MotorTrend's Car of the Year.
  • It's the first time a carmaker has won the award with their very first model.
  • Electric-car startup Lucid began shipping the Air sedan last month.

The Air sedan, the first model from electric-car startup Lucid Motors, won MotorTrend's coveted Car of the Year award on Monday.

It's a major vote of confidence for one of the most promising up-and-coming challengers to Tesla. It also marks the first time that MotorTrend has given the title to a carmaker's inaugural product.

Lucid Air Dream Editions
Lucid Air Dream Editions.

Lucid, founded in 2007 and run by former Tesla chief engineer Peter Rawlinson, began delivering the Air to customers in late October. It's a luxurious, high-tech sedan with industry-topping range. It's primed to become a formidable rival to the Tesla Model S, provided Lucid can rapidly scale up production and roll out cheaper versions of the Air, including a $77,400 base model.

The debut version of the Air, the $169,000 Dream Edition, impressed MotorTrend's panelists across six criteria: engineering excellence, efficiency, advancement in design, performance of intended function, safety, and value.

"With the longest driving range of any electric vehicle on the market, an EPA-estimated 520 miles, and over 1,100 horsepower available, the Lucid Air is a technological tour de force," MotorTrend Group's head of editorial, Ed Loh, said. "The sleek futuristic Lucid Air sedan looks like nothing else on the road, while its gorgeous, smartly-packaged interior sets the standard for the next generation of luxury cars."

Lucid Air Dream Editions interior
The Lucid Air Dream Edition interior.

The Air is the third electric vehicle to win Car of the Year. The Model S won in 2012, but that was Tesla's second model after the Roadster sports car. The Chevrolet Bolt EV nabbed the title in 2016.

The Air beat out six other finalists: the 2022 Honda Civic, 2021 Hyundai Elantra, 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, 2022 Mercedes-Benz EQS, 2021 Porsche Taycan, and 2022 Toyota GR 86. To qualify, models must be either brand new or significantly updated. Motortrend has separate awards for SUVs and pickup trucks.

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