Hertz Puts Brakes on EV Expansion #1720

Hertz has halted its ambitious plan to expand its electric vehicle (EV) fleet, reversing its earlier commitment to acquire 65,000 Polestars and sell a significant portion of its Tesla EVs. This shift comes after the rental car giant faced substantial financial losses attributed to the rapid depreciation, high repair costs, and reduced value of its EVs. Despite initial enthusiasm for leading the EV market, Hertz’s change in strategy reflects broader industry challenges, including softer demand and financial sustainability concerns. The company’s decision underscores the volatile nature of the EV sector and marks a significant step back from its goal of electrifying a quarter of its fleet by the end of 2024.

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Show Notes Summary and Story Links:

In this episode of Geek News Central, host Todd Cochrane discusses various technology news and updates.

The episode begins with the announcement that Hertz has reversed its plan for an electric vehicle fleet expansion due to financial losses related to depreciation, high repair costs, and reduced value of EVs. This decision reflects broader industry challenges and represents a significant change in Hertz’s strategy.

Todd mentions the importance of security updates for Windows due to a new Trojan exploiting a flaw in the Windows smart screen. Additionally, he shares news about YouTube potentially launching a VisionPro app, a change from their previous decision not to support their iPad app on Vision Pro.

The episode also touches on the use of AI by police departments to sift through unreviewed body cam footage and the sharp rebound of the digital ad market. It expresses gratitude for the financial support from listeners through the insider program and GoDaddy sponsorship.

Todd updates listeners about his health, mentioning that he is recovering from a significant head cold, which resulted in the cancellation of the previous show. He is determined to deliver this episode despite being remote and without live video.

He then details the Hertz situation, sharing that the company expects to lose over $245 million due to its failed EV investments. Todd briefly discusses his negative experience with renting a Tesla and how Hertz’s decision could affect the broader market.

Next, Todd warns Windows users to update their systems due to a security flaw exploited by a Trojan called ‘Mispadu,’ which can drain bank accounts. He also notes YouTube’s about-face with its Vision Pro app and stresses the importance of supporting YouTube in Safari.

Todd brings up an article from ProPublica concerning AI technologies police use to sift through body cam footage, aiming to identify problematic officers and behaviors. He then presents data on the growth of digital advertising and thanks podcast insiders for their contributions.

The episode continues with updates on Hulu’s new policy restricting password sharing to the same household. It reports on a new telescope that promises the best universe view yet.

Todd reports on Dexory, a shelf-scanning robot newly launched in U.S. warehouses, and mentions that 1Password was briefly down due to a cyberattack. He touches on the discovery of time travel on a microscopic level in materials like glass, although he seems skeptical about whether this constitutes time travel.

Listeners are reminded of an upcoming total solar eclipse on April 8, with a mention of its path. Todd discusses continuing tech layoffs, citing Snap’s plan to cut 10 percent of its workforce.

The episode also explores AI curation in news reporting, with Semaphore using an AI-powered search tool to help reporters find stories—though the final publication remains a human task. Following, Todd discusses how parking fees for SUVs in Paris will triple due to a recently approved hike and covers a state-of-the-art telescope initiative in Chile.

Todd then announces a futuristic warehouse robot used for inventory management. He notes AnyDesk’s cyberattack and reassures that the platform remains safe to use, and Biden’s push for affordable Internet access for all, which is at risk of losing funding.

The episode concludes by mentioning FTC’s order to Blackbaud to delete excessive sensitive data after a breach, Mastodon’s patch required for a security flaw, and scammers using deepfakes to steal millions. Todd wraps up with Spotify extending Joe Rogan’s contract and various other tech updates—including Meta’s stance on maliciously edited videos, widespread use of AI by university students, Snap’s layoffs, a teardown of the Apple Vision Pro, and a reminder of the podcast’s sponsorship opportunities.

About Todd Cochrane

Todd Cochrane is the Founder of Geek News Central and host of the Geek News Central Podcast. He is a Podcast Hall of Fame Inductee and was one of the very first podcasters in 2004. He wrote the first book on podcasting, and did many of the early Podcast Advertising deals in the podcasting space. He does two other podcasts in addition to Geek News Central. The New Media Show and Podcast Legends.