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We’ve been talking about the electric vehicle revolution for a long time now. But what seemed like a very distant dream is now visible on the near horizon.
Companies are fiercely competing to realise this future, completely redesigning and re-envisioning systems, manufacturing processes and business models. New disrupters are going up against each other and challenging established players to be the new leaders in automotive.
We’ve identified three key areas of growth in the near future:
Car manufacturers, technology firms and mobility services all believe autonomous driving is just around the corner. So how close are we? Fully autonomous, passenger-carrying vehicles with human back-up already cruise along the streets of Phoenix, San Francisco and Toronto, and there are plans to remove the caretakers by next year.
Yet some in the industry wonder if the challenges can ever be overcome; with hurdles around weather conditions, sabotage, computers confusing lines of parked cars with traffic jams, and difficulties around cars stopping for pedestrians.
In the meantime, automotive manufacturers are focusing their energies on competing in the ADAS (Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems) market, specifically vehicle to vehicle (V2V) communication and vehicle to infrastructure (V2i) communication.
Of all these disruptive trends in the automotive sector the growth of mobility services looks to be the most developed. The rideshare market is seeing significant expansion. Manufacturers are finding that they just can’t afford to stay out of this unfamiliar yet hugely expanding market. The momentum is unstoppable.
That’s why PSA (which manufactures Peugeot, Citroën, DS, Opel and Vauxhall) launched car-sharing services in the US, teaming up with the Bolloré Group and launched its PG4D platform to entice developers to create some wow-factor.
Volkswagen has invested a reported $30 million in car finance app, AutoGravity, which has seen more than 500,000 app downloads by consumers who want to be able to apply for financing in minutes. Apps and websites like Carwow and TrueCar are seeking to turn dealerships and traditional methods for purchase upside down.
Environmentally, the internal combustion engine has been both society’s best friend and its worst enemy. It’s not news to say that the toll on the global environment from carbon emissions and urban air pollution has challenged the benefits of easy and affordable vehicular travel.
While automotive manufacturers have worked hard to reduce emissions to meet ever tougher regulation, optimization of existing engines is reaching its maximal point.
The drive now is to roll out hybrid and plug-in hybrids. Many countries want car firms to go further. China, the UK, the US and France have all announced targets to eliminate some or all gas and diesel cars from the roads. This is driving investment in lithium battery production and assembly plants by companies such as Daimler, Tesla and Volkswagen.
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