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  • Writer's pictureJesus Grana

2024: Year Of The Electric Intelligence

Updated: 6 days ago


CX Insights - Trend Watch - Automotive Industry (ICYMI December 2023)


ICYMI - Happy New Year! As always, January brings us impending news from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as well as interesting automobile technology news. We’ll cover all of these in retrospective next month, but first: a final look at December 2023.


Even with recent uncertainties behind how fast EV demand will catch on in the U.S.,  the global nature of these vehicles continues to drive advances in the field – as we’ll read below.


| EV IMPROVEMENTS TO WATCH

All about improving the consumer experience … 


A couple years ago, Ford addressed electric drive systems by focusing on the “frunk” and what additional space saved by EV propulsion could mean for the consumer, using the Ford F150 Lightning as a model.  


Today, Hyundai and Kia implemented what they call the “Uni Wheel” electric drive system in their EVs. This system rethinks “traditional” EV drive systems (explained by their helpful video in this article), but it all means this for the consumer: Reduced size, greater power efficiency and improved ride comfort....and a bigger frunk.


While the world continues to identify and optimize future EV battery production, research and innovation continues to extend the range and life of present-day batteries. Volkswagen may have discovered a breakthrough regarding new EV batteries. QuantumScape Corp., Volkswagen’s U.S. partner, shared that their solid-state prototype battery has exceeded expectations after months of testing. We’re talking only 5% storage capacity loss after over a thousand charging cycles – with industry goals aiming for maximum 20% storage loss after 700 charging cycles. In this way, VW is setting a true industry benchmark!


As this is happening, other OEMs are aiming to solve battery optimization in other ways. For example, Stellantis struck a deal with Ample, a California-based EV startup, to implement battery swapping as a charging solution. This will, in theory, avoid long charging waits in favor of quick power replacements for all. While this model has caught on in China, its has yet to catch on in America – maybe now the time is right.   


If you ask General Motors, their approach is based around keeping a charge station around but making the charging process as rapid as possible. GM, along with partners Pilot Travel Centers LLC and EVgo, are laying the groundwork for fast-charging stations at Pilot and Flying J stations coast to coast. Their goal: 200 locations by the end of 2024.



| AI: FRIEND, FRENEMY OR MISUNDERSTOOD?

At this point, EV autos and AI are indivisible. All OEMs are keeping tabs on how AI and software will improve their offerings and customer experience moving forward. 


One study published by Wards Auto underlines the importance of generative AI’s impact on the auto industry’s future. In it, author Thomas Mueller shares how the true game-changers for the industry are electrification and softwarization. How one deploys generative AI, as well as overcoming its obstacles, are critical for even legacy brands to survive in the future. 


Case in point: A dealership in Watsonville, California, recently implemented a ChatGPT-powered chatbot to assist customers with service appointments and information. Over time, customers provided screenshots showing the AI tool was performing tasks well beyond its intended use, including agreeing to sell a new 2024 SUV for $1! While a negative experience for the dealer, still a great learning experience for improving AI’s future experience and tailoring scope for what AI-powered devices should (and shouldn’t) agree to.


Mueller wrote that while automakers are traditionally innovative with auto hardware, software isn’t necessarily in their DNA. But expert help is out there. General Motors has recently bolstered its augmented reality experience by hiring Anantha Kancherla as its vice president of advanced driver-assistance systems. This hire is significant because Mr. Kancherla was formerly an engineer of reality labs at Meta who also oversaw launch of the first mixed reality headset, Quest 3. What enhancements might come to driver experience after this hire? We’ll see! 


For further information on how we got to where we are, I encourage you to check out our previous ICYMI blog posts throughout 2023 and early 2024.

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