The Download: China’s EV success in Europe, and ClimateTech is coming

This is today’s edition of The Download, our weekday newsletter that provides a daily dose of what’s going on in the world of technology.

Meet Europe’s surprising best-selling Chinese EV maker

China’s electric vehicle sector has been lavished with fame and attention. But its global ambitions hit a roadblock this month when the European Commission launched an investigation into whether Chinese-made EVs benefit from excessive government subsidies. 

If the inquiry finds evidence for this claim, which experts say is very likely, it could result in increased import duties for Chinese-made EVs, which would likely make them less competitive in European markets. 

Many of the Chinese brands that are causing concern are well-known names in China, like the established giant BYD and the promising startup Nio. But there’s one name in the mix you might not expect—former British luxury sports car maker MG. Read the full story.

—Zeyi Yang

Zeyi’s story is from China Report, MIT Technology Review’s weekly newsletter giving you the inside track on all things happening in tech in China. Sign up to receive it in your inbox every Tuesday.

If you’re interested in reading more about China’s car sector, why not check out:

+ Europe is about to crack down on Chinese electric cars. The European Commission is set to launch an anti-subsidy investigation into Chinese automakers. Here’s what you need to know about the likely impact.

+ From generous government subsidies to support for lithium batteries, here’s how China managed to build a world-leading industry in electric vehicles.

+ China’s car companies are turning into tech companies. China has already won the race to electrify its vehicles. Now it’s pushing ahead and adding more features and services to attract new customers. Read the full story.

+ A race for autopilot dominance is giving China the edge in autonomous driving. Electric vehicle makers and AI companies are taking Tesla FSD-like systems to China, but it’s still out of reach for most consumers. Read the full story.

ClimateTech is coming

How can we build a sustainable, greener future? Next week, MIT Technology Review is holding our second annual ClimateTech conference to discuss the innovations accelerating the transition to a green economy.

ClimateTech is taking place at the MIT Media Lab on MIT’s campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on October 4-5. You can register for the event and either attend in-person or online, here—before it’s too late!

MIT Technology Review flash sale!

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to MIT Technology Review to read more of our incisive reporting. We’re holding a flash sale for just 48 hours, allowing you to subscribe from just $8 a month.

Even better, you’ll receive a free print copy of our 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2023 issue as well. Sign up today and save 17% off the full price.

The must-reads

I’ve combed the internet to find you today’s most fun/important/scary/fascinating stories about technology.

1 Amazon is being sued by the FTC in a landmark monopoly case
It’s accused of using illegal tactics to stifle online competition. (Wired $)
+ Head honcho Andy Jassy is facing an uphill climb. (NYT $)
+ The Federal Trade Commission avoided calling to break Amazon up. (Bloomberg $)

2 OpenAI is seeking a new valuation
To the tune of between $80 billion and $90 billion, to be exact. (WSJ $)
+ ChatGPT is about to revolutionize the economy. We need to decide what that looks like. (MIT Technology Review)

3 An astronaut has touched down on Earth after 371 days in space
That’s a new US record. (CBS News)
+ Traveling to space should teach us how to better accommodate disabled people. (Wired $)

4 Linda Yaccarino’s first 100 days at X have been a wild ride
Forget pressure from advertisers: managing Elon Musk is her biggest challenge. (FT $)
+ X appears to have disabled an election misinformation reporting measure. (Reuters)

5 YouTube rewarded a creator who livestreamed attacks on Indian Muslims
Hindu nationalist Monu Manesar has been linked to multiple killings this year. (WP $)

6 Microsoft wants to use nuclear energy to power its AI data centers
It’s looking to nuclear fission to keep those expensive centers ticking over. (CNBC)
+ We were promised smaller nuclear reactors. Where are they? (MIT Technology Review)

7 Maybe we didn’t need to learn to code after all
Generative AI is making it easier than ever to write code, even if it’s far from perfect. (The Atlantic $)
+ Learning to code isn’t enough. (MIT Technology Review)

8 Inside China’s brave online feminist revolution
The country’s burgeoning women’s rights movement is fighting back against a conservative society. (Rest of World)

9 Attempting to reverse your age is the preserve of the ultra-rich
Now they’re competing to win the ‘Rejuvenation Olympics.’ (Vox)
+ Eating fewer calories could help. (Economist $)
+ I just met the founders of a would-be longevity state. (MIT Technology Review)

10 Japan’s female rickshaw pullers are online celebrities 
Social media has helped to drive an influx of female recruits. (Reuters)

Quote of the day

“Sellers pay. Shoppers get lower-quality search results for higher-priced products. Only Amazon wins.”

—The US Federal Trade Commision spells out its case accusing the e-commerce giant of unfair shopping practices, 404 Media reports.

The big story

Novel lithium-metal batteries will drive the switch to electric cars

February 2021

For all the hype and hope around electric vehicles, they still make up only about 2% of new car sales in the US, and just a little more globally. 

For many buyers, they’re simply too expensive, their range is too limited, and charging them isn’t nearly as quick and convenient as refueling at the pump. All these limitations have to do with the lithium-ion batteries that power the vehicles. 

But QuantumScape, a Silicon Valley startup is working on a new type of battery that could finally make electric cars as convenient and cheap as gas ones. Read the full story.

—James Temple

We can still have nice things

A place for comfort, fun and distraction in these weird times. (Got any ideas? Drop me a line or tweet ’em at me.)

+ Are America’s distinctive accents really dying out? Better ask Dolly Parton.
+ Lenny Kravitz’s gigantic scarf is back!
+ Trying to find the perfect time for a bathroom break during a movie? There’s an app for that.
+ On this day in 1964, the Beach Boys appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show performing this absolute tune.
+ This particular kind of jellyfish may not have a brain, but that doesn’t stop it from learning.