Daily Crunch: Experts say Musk’s open-source vision could make Twitter vulnerable to attack

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It’s April 26, 2022, and today, all we’ve been heron about is news that has made our stomach churn – a case of irritable owl syndrome, if you will. No fowl play is suspected, although we did get an impression that Musk is just winging it here.

We know, we know — all of these puns are clucking terrible, but what is a poor pair of newsletter writers to do when they pull our favorite social media site from the stork exchange? – Christine and Haje

The TechCrunch Top 3

  • Same Twitter time, same Twitter channel: Today, we took a look at the aftermath of Elon Musk’s deal to buy Twitter, this time on the privacy front. Cybersecurity experts say that Musk’s idea to make Twitter’s tech open-source could make it more susceptible to attacks, though his ideas for going after spam bots may lead to better detection — and perhaps a reduction of followers for many people wondering about that blank egghead following them.
  • Left Lane making a right turn when it comes to investments: It was the gift that keeps on giving for Left Lane CEO and managing partner Harley Miller, who closed the venture capital firm’s $1.4 billion fund on his birthday. The firm is targeting “internet-enabled consumer tech with recurring business models,” which Miller felt was a white space among all the other enterprise and SaaS investors. We wonder what his birthday gift will be next year.
  • Teach a teen about money and you’ll raise a more financially conscious adult: At least that’s the goal most parents have. Being a good steward of your money is something even adults can have trouble with, which is why we’ve seen so many child- and teen-focused financial apps attract funding. The latest is Copper, which raised a $29 million Series A, offering debit cards, ATM access and digital wallet support. Parents can participate alongside their child, adding funds and monitoring their spending. Copper even helps with the financial basics, like what compound interest is.


If you don’t give two craps about Twitter or Elon Musk … we’re really sorry, it’s got to suck being you on the internet right now. Take a breath and go look at some actual birds. You know, the ones that live outdoors.

Break out the binoculars; we’re doing a lot of bird-watching today, just so you have it all in one handy place. In case you’ve been offline for the past month, we put together a handy timeline, which will give you some of the context.

We reported yesterday that Twitter accepted Elon Musk’s offer to buy Twitter, and then all hell broke loose. Twitter founder Jack Dorsey said Musk is the only solution he trusts, but as you read above, Carly isn’t so sure, saying that this is going to be a privacy nightmare. We discussed both how Trump wouldn’t be coming back to Twitter and how that is hogwash; he’ll be back.

Alex took a punt at what is next for Twitter with Elon taking over the penthouse suite of the birdhouse and encouraged Musk to please not mess it up. Natasha wondered what the Twitter diaspora will get up to. Sarah was curious whether all the advertisers are going to make nests on other platforms, and Amanda reported that Twitter is locking away the source code for the platform.

Startups and VC

The hardware dweebs among us were having a great day today. The detail of the EV Corvette using excess battery heat to heat the cabin — much like ICE cars using excess engine heat to make you nice and toasty as you cruise around – is such a cool (ha!) detail. The obvious benefit of reusing waste heat instead of spending electric power to run heaters is extended range – very clever indeed. Also in the world of hardware, Launcher demoed a 3D-printed rocket doing a full-scale burn, and the space-obsessed 15-year-old that lives within us is very very excited.

Non-Twitter news:

Klaviyo co-founder Ed Hallen’s 3 top pieces of advice for launching a startup

Image of two silhouetted heads, one orange and one yellow, with arrows running from one to the other to represent knowledge transfer.

Image Credits: jayk7 (opens in a new window) / Getty Images

Most founders are not experienced entrepreneurs, which means they tend to make the same mistakes as they try to overcome universal challenges like fundraising and hiring.

According to Klaviyo co-founder and chief product Ed Hallen, luck was a contributing factor to his marketing automation company’s success.

“But it’s also clear that if we had known more upfront, we wouldn’t have had to luck into those choices in the first place,” he says. “And for a founder, less luck means you’ll encounter less risk.”

In a TechCrunch+ guest post, he shared three fundamental pieces of advice for new founders. Lesson one: Don’t attempt to change user behavior — instead, look for a problem to solve.

“Rather than focus on telling a story, we found a problem and came at it hard because we knew if we found enough people with the same problem, we could build a company.”

(TechCrunch+ is our membership program, which helps founders and startup teams get ahead. You can sign up here.)

Big Tech Inc.

Future Chevy Corvette EV will use battery’s heat to extend its range

It’s official: a fully electric Chevy Corvette is coming — with new battery technology to boost its range, acceleration and efficiency.

When it arrives, the battery-electric sports car will benefit from a new energy-recovery feature GM announced on Monday for the Ultium battery platform underpinning its EVs. The upgraded system uses a patented heat pump that GM says will help electric vehicles charge and accelerate faster and boost range by up to 10%.

General Motors will release a hybridized version of its iconic Chevrolet Corvette sports car next year, with a battery-electric model to follow, General Motors President Mark Reuss announced Monday on LinkedIn.

“Yes, in addition to the amazing new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 and other gas-powered variants coming, we will offer an electrified and a fully electric, Ultium-based Corvette in the future,” Reuss posted on LinkedIn. “In fact, we will offer an electrified Corvette as early as next year. Details and names to come at a later date.”

The new Ultium energy recovery system already powers the automaker’s Hummer EV and Bright Drop EV600 commercial van and will be used in forthcoming all-electric models, including the Hummer SUV and Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and Blazer SUV.

Reuss described the technology as a “a patented onboard system that takes the heat generated by EV batteries and uses it to warm the cabin, create more efficient charging conditions, and even increase vehicle acceleration.”

The energy saved could be put to use in a number of ways, Lawrence Zeer, GM energy recovery system project manager, told media in a briefing Friday.

“We could do several things with this energy, including increasing the EV’s range and carrying out electrical functions like heating and even preconditioning our batteries for faster charging and acceleration,” Zeer said. “For example, we can heat the cabin of our EVs more quickly in cold weather than comparable ICE vehicles.”

These benefits are only possible with a ground-up EV platform like Ultium and not easily done with a retrofit, according to Reuss.

GM has not announced any other details, such as the battery-electric Corvette’s name, price or arrival date.

GM reveals first images of the EV Chevy Corvette (and teases AWD)

The great American sports car is going electric. General Motors President Mark Reuss shared the news this morning, and released the first images of the upcoming electric Chevrolet Corvette. He says the vehicle could be available for sale as soon as “early next year.” And the electrification of the Corvette is least exciting part of the announcement. The video clearly shows the front tires are powered, meaning only thing: The Corvette is going all-wheel drive.

Chevy appears to be building for an AWD future. Automotive rumors peg the unannounced, high-performance Corvette C8 Z06 to sport AWD, and the video here all but confirms the arrangement in the EV version, too. It appears that the EV Corvette will be based on the existing mid-engine Corvette platform, which leaves plenty of room in the front and back for motors on each axle. With internal combustion affairs, vehicles require significant retrofitting to make room for all-wheel drive’s extra driveshafts and differentials. With EVs, it just takes another motor and some computer programming.

According to Reuss, the electric Corvette utilizes GM’s Ultium platform, which is underpinning numerous upcoming GM EVs including the Hummer EV, Silverado EV, and Blazer EV.

General Motors has been quiet about replacing the Corvette’s small block chevy with batteries and motors. The first murmurs of the vehicle came several years back when GM moved the Corvette team into EV building in Warren, Michigan. And today’s announcement doesn’t shed a lot of light onto the subject either. GM did not release expected price point, battery range, or 0-60 mph times.

Corvette faithful knew this days was coming. The Corvette is the quintessential American sports car, and since nearly the beginning, a small block Chevy V8 has been its beating heart. An electric Corvette will, of course, lack the comforting rumble of a V8, but the electric motors will no doubt make up for it with explosive performance — especially if it comes equipped with motors on each axle.

GM shifts Corvette engineering team to its electric and autonomous vehicle programs

GM is moving the engineering team responsible for the mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette to the company’s electric and autonomous vehicle programs to “push the boundaries” on what its future EV battery systems and components can deliver, according to an internal memo.

The memo sent by Doug Parks, GM’s executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain, announced that the Corvette team would move from the automaker’s global product team to the autonomous and electric vehicles program that is led by Ken Morris. The shift will go into effect September 1, according to the memo. The change was first reported by InsideEVs.

“General Motors is committed to an all-electric future. I’m excited to be putting the team that redefined supercar performance, design and attainability in key roles to help us integrate and execute our EVs to those same high standards,” Morris said in an emailed statement.

In the memo, Parks said the move will “help this already dynamic team further push the boundaries on what our future EV battery systems and components can deliver when it comes to excitement and thrilling performance for our customers. The Corvette team is familiar with delighting customers and critics alike, having launched the mid-engine Corvette to world acclaim and becoming one of the most awarded cars in automotive history.”

The change won’t disrupt the entire Corvette team. Tadge Juechter, will remain executive chief engineer for Global Corvette and will continue to lead the team as new variants hit the market. Corvette’s chief engineer Ed Piatek will now be chief engineer of “future product” and will continue to report to Tadge. Under this new role, Piatek will work across the organization on future EV programs, according to the memo. Josh Holder, who has been Corvette’s program engineering manager, will be promoted to chief engineer for Global Corvette replacing Piatek.

The organizational change follows a series of announcements and investments from GM into electric vehicles and automated vehicle technology. In January, the automaker said it would invest $2.2 billion into its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant to produce all-electric trucks and SUVs, as well as a self-driving vehicle unveiled by its subsidiary Cruise. GM will invest an additional $800 million in supplier tooling and other projects related to the launch of the new electric trucks.

GM will kick off this new program with an all-electric pickup truck that will go into production in late 2021. The Cruise Origin, the electric self-driving shuttle designed for ridesharing, will be the second vehicle to go into production at the Detroit area plant. Last month, GM said it was on track to deliver 20 electric vehicles by 2023, most of which will use the company’s new modular EV architecture, called Ultium. 

GM is already building a nearly 3-million-square-foot factory that will mass produce Ultium battery cells and packs, the cornerstone of the company’s strategy to bring those electric vehicles to market in the next three years. The Ultium Cells LLC battery cell manufacturing facility in Lordstown, Ohio is part of a joint venture between GM and LG Chem that was announced in December.

The 2020 Chevy Corvette is good and will only getter better

What’s a Corvette? To me, the formula is simple: Loads of power in an affordable package that can hold two golf bags. For the past 62 years, that meant putting the engine in the front and a stick shift on the floor. And now it’s all different, and it’s the start of something great.

For the first time, the Corvette’s engine is in the middle of the car resulting in a radical departure in tradition. Because of this placement, the Corvette drives differently. Better, most would say while others still lament the change. I’m of the latter group. The new Corvette is a lovely example of engineering, a vehicle capable of intense thrills and torque-induced smiles.

Let’s get this out of the way: The 2020 Corvette is good, and it’s only going to get better.
Right now, the Corvette is a great vehicle that will likely please many buyers. But some will probably want more power, better brakes, and a bit more excitement, and those will come with time.

The 2020 Corvette is the beginning of a new era for Chevrolet. This model marks the most significant change for its longest-running nameplate. Since 1953 the Corvette has been America’s sports car, able to stand tall against Europe’s finest for a fraction of the cost, and it still does in this new package. The new, mid-engine Corvette even starts at $60,000.

I spent a few days with the new Corvette in and around Las Vegas, where I drove it on the busy highway, empty desert roads, and down the Vegas’ Strip. I also spent a few hours with it on a track where it displayed a different side of its personality.

I found the Corvette to have plenty of power and a competent chassis well suited for lively driving and comfortable cruising. There’s room for two golf bags in the back and a couple of cases of beer in the front. It’s comfortable and easy. The new V8 Chevy small block has the goods to smoke tires and bring smiles to faces.

But I also found it disappointing.

The 2020 Corvette is not great. The brakes are touchy and inconsistent. The head-snapping power is buried, requiring drivers to dig deep into the tachometer to find excitement. Countless menus and options are controlling various safety settings; these settings can be overwhelming. And for some reason, all the climate control buttons live in a long bar spanning an odd divider between the driver and passenger.

[gallery ids="1953161,1953162,1953160,1953159,1953157,1953156,1953153,1953165,1953164,1953163"]

The new ‘Vette handles well. Chevy knows how to tune a chassis, and it’s lovely here. The sports car dives into corners with all the confidence in the world. It exits corners without drama or tire spin.

On the track, where on-road annoyances become deal-breakers, the Corvette is easy. I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

Corvettes have always been controlled chaos with heavy engines sitting over the front axle. They weren’t, say, mad like a Dodge Viper or Lamborghini of old, but still had crazy enough that demanded respect. That’s not the case anymore. Even while throwing this car into corners, and laying everything out on the straights, the 2020 Corvette with the Z51 package was controlled and methodical. For some, I guess this is a good thing, but I missed the scary excitement of past generations.

With the engine behind the driver and in front of the rear axle, the mid-engine Corvette handles more like a supercar than a muscle car. It can make nearly any driver competitive on a track. Point the Corvette, and it goes. Combined with the advanced traction control, the 2020 Corvette instills confidence and, from that, a bit of excitement. It’s easy to jump in and attack rolling hills and winding corners. Technical turns are easy and, if you want, some of the nannies can be turned off, and the car is happy to slide on its back tires.

There’s enough power to make a smile but not enough to make someone giggle. In this base package, the Corvette is more of a speedy grand tourer than a racer.

If only it had better brakes.

The new Corvette has a new braking system. It’s a brake by wire affair where there isn’t a traditional master cylinder controlling a hydraulic braking system. In this car, a computer controls the system, and I’m not a fan of the implementation. On the street, it’s annoying and touchy. On the track, it leaves a lot to be desired.

To be clear for the track nerds, there is little brake fade. The brakes are seemingly stable lap after lap. Can They survive hours of racing? I’m not sure, but I’m happy to test it out if GM can resupply the vehicle.

The brakes are one of the worst parts of this vehicle. Chevy enlisted the help of Brembo, which sounds great on paper. Brembo is the premiere manufacture of braking systems. In this case, without pointing fingers to Brembo or Chevy, something went wrong. These brakes need changing.

The small block Chevy is the beating heart of the Corvette and has been since legendary Corvette engineer Zora Arkus-Duntov stuffed one into a ’55. A Corvette without a V8 would be like a baseball game without a hot dog and overpriced beer. It’s un-American.

The LT2 is a compact small block that produces 490 hp and 465 lb-ft. It has all the techno-wizardry that one would expect from a modern engine, including the capability to flawlessly shut off half the cylinders and operate on just four. This switch is unnoticeable, and the result is the real-world gas mileage of nearly 30 mpg on the highway.

This sophisticated small block part of the reason the Corvette can get up to 60 mph in around 3 seconds — that and the computer-assisted launch, transaxle, and proper weight distribution.

Oh, and then there’s the interior. The inside of the 2020 Corvette is, without question, the best interior Chevy has ever done. It’s beautiful and as good as anything available from Audi, Mclaren, BMW or Acura.

All this comes in a vehicle that costs $60,000. A well-equipped version tops off around $80,000.

So, for around the price of a seven-seat SUV, a person could ditch the kids and get a two-seat, mid-engine Corvette able to carry golf clubs and hit 60 mph in around 3 seconds. And it can be equipped with snow tires, too.

This is the beginning of a new era in motoring, for better or worse.

The Corvette is an American icon, and that’s the problem. Every model change, the expectations are always unrealistic. It’s never going to be good enough for some people. Every model change has always been overanalyzed and dismissed. Chevrolet is up against six decades of tradition, lore, and rumors. For instance, this model doesn’t have circle taillights, and that’s a high crime to some Corvette diehards.

With the 2020 Corvette, General Motor’s Chevrolet division threw everything out and started anew. The result is a mid-engine sports car comfortable on the road and the track for the price of heavy-duty pickup.

The ‘Vette has always been a product of its time, and this one is no different. As the world clambers to dynamic electric vehicles, Chevy had no choice to push the Corvette into the future. But it wasn’t Tesla that made Chevy put the engine behind the driver. It was physics.

The 2020 Corvette is unique, not because of the sum of its parts, but rather the sum of its parts plus its price. The 2020 Corvette is good enough. The 2021 and later editions will be fantastic. The platform that underpins the 2020 Corvette is nothing short of spectacular.

I have quibbles with some of the equipment choices and their results on the driving dynamics. The brakes are bad. There is too much glare from the interior options. Explosive power is buried deep, nearly unreachable in most driving situations. All of these things will improve over time, and for some buyers, they might be happy with the current kit.

To expect it to be perfect out of the gate is unreasonable.

The comparisons are inevitable. It’s a Ferrari for a fraction of a cost. It’s the same price as a front-engine Mustang Shelby GT350R but handles better. Why get a four-banger in the mid-engine Porsche Cayman when the ‘Vette offers a small block V8 for the same price. The 2020 Corvette isn’t better, per say than those. It’s different.

The Corvette sits atop America’s motoring world because it’s an obtainable supercar for everyone. With the 2020 Corvette, Chevy is keeping it, thereby offering mid-engine dynamics for a fraction of the cost.

Sure, it’s not as good as Ferrari or McLaren, but it’s pretty damn close. Give Chevy a few more years, and this mid-engine Corvette platform will likely morph into something even more competitive.

I was talking to some of the engineers who built this Corvette. The older, but faster 2019 ZR1 Corvette has a massive supercharge resting on top of its engine, and according to these engineers, that supercharger can be fitted onto the new engine. More power is on the way.

The mid-engine 2020 Chevrolet Corvette has been given a name

The first mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette will have a familiar name. The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette will debut as a “Stingray” when it’s revealed July 18.

If that sounds familiar, it is. Numerous Corvette model years have been dubbed Stingray, beginning in 1963 with the second generation of the sports car.

Stingray Symbol Rend onWhite

The 2020 Chevrolet Corvette will debut as a Stingray on July 18, 2019.

The Stingray nameplate ran until 1976. GM’s Chevrolet brand brought the name back in 2014 with the seventh generation Corvette. Chevrolet announced Monday that “Stingray name will live on.”

For weeks now, Chevrolet has been trickling out news and other teasers about its eighth generation Corvette. Earlier this month, the brand showed off the steering wheel of the next generation Corvette.

The leathered-wrapped steering wheel has the Corvette crossed flags logo as the centerpiece with two spokes. Controls are integrated into the wheel. The steering wheel has a squared-off shape with a rather large opening, which suggests that designers wanted to provide a proper view to a large digital cluster.

Behold, the mid-engine 2020 C8 Corvette’s steering wheel

The new 2020 C8 Corvette won’t be revealed for six more days. But to hold us over, Chevrolet is showing off the steering wheel of the eighth generation vehicle.

The photo, which Chevy teased Friday, is just the steering wheel. But there are hints and insights that even this single photo provides. For one, this new generation is unlike any of its predecessors.

The leathered-wrapped steering wheel has the Corvette crossed flags logo as the centerpiece with two spokes. Controls are integrated into the wheel. The steering wheel has a squared-off shape with a rather large opening, which suggests that designers wanted to provide a proper view to a large digital cluster. (We’ll find out July 18).

corvette eighth gen steering wheel

The steering wheel of the eighth generation of the Corvette C8.

Chevy also posted photos of all the previous generations of the Corvette. Here’s a photo of the seventh generation, which had a flat-bottom design and was in model years 2014 to 2019.

corvette seventh gen steering wheel

Corvette will makes its debut at 7:30 p.m. PT July 18 in Orange County, California. But it will also be live streamed. The stream will include Corvette video footage, a hosted pre-show and the reveal presentation, the company has said.

This Corvette is hotly anticipated because it’s well a Corvette. But it’s also because this one will have a mid-mounted engine — which has been rumored and speculated about for decades.

Following the reveal, this new-generation Corvette will go on a U.S. roadshow, visiting some 125 dealerships. The tour will include vehicle specialists and numerous interactive displays, and customizable parts such as seats, wheels and accessories will be on display.