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  • Writer's pictureJesus Grana

China, Robots & Charging: Oh My!

Updated: 22 hours ago



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


ICYMI - Spring has already sprung, and summer sees three themes reaching a rapid boil during May. I’m talking about China’s EV cost advantage and how both European and North American OEMs are reacting to these price points, as well as new activity around meeting the challenges of EV charging infrastructure and robotaxis.


| EV TROUBLE FROM BIG CHINA

It seems clear now that, domestically speaking, we may not have an EV option that will meet mass market pricing needs this decade. Chinese EV products and technology might fill that pricing gap in the meantime – and that’s something that domestic OEMs have certainly noticed and will most likely focus on remedying before China gets a foothold in the market.


  1. The EPA timeline may be a pie in the sky: Experts agree that EVs commanding 50% of the new car market by 2030 may be too aggressive of a timeline mainly due to Despite battery-electric output costs continuing to fall as technology improves, shareholders still want to get paid, which means consumers will look to other regional markets for cheaper EVs. European and Chinese markets come to mind …

  2. Ford vs. China: That’s where Ford CEO Jim Farley’s mind is, pointing at the gains China has made in the EV space over recent years and declaring them, not others like GM or Toyota, as Ford’s main EV business rival. His remarks were made during the Morgan Stanley Sustainable Financial Summit last month, where he revealed a who’s who of Chinese automakers as “winners” in EV production that Ford wishes to beat.

  3. European market stresses with China gains: China’s dominance in the global EV market is seriously starting to hurt one of Europe’s most important industries This article from Forbes goes into further detail as to why that is – and what its impact will be on the European economy.

  4. Division on how to handle Chinese EVs: Stellantis and Mercedes couldn’t be further apart on how to view China’s rising EV star. Stellantis head Carlos Tavares reiterates that EU leaders should figure out how to safeguard domestic OEMs, while Mercedes CEO Ola Kallenius feels free trade through the WTO will keep everyone’s wealth safe. Which argument do you subscribe to?


| ROBOTAXI EXPANSION IS NOW

While the global EV climate is aiming to beat China, headlines for a more practical use of technology are re-entering the discussion – robotaxis! In fact…


Testing begins in Texas: GM’s Cruise has begun supervised testing of its self-driving in Houston and Dallas, aiming to expand its services beyond San Francisco in earnest. If these trials are successful, the next step is to offer rides to commuters in the area (with a safety driver) before rolling out for public use.


Tesla eyeing mass taxi for profit: In a recent interview, Elon Musk shared his vision about offering connected car and robotaxi services as Tesla vehicles park idly in owners’ driveways. His thought: For something as high-cost as a vehicle, all time spent inactive is money wasted, so why not make them into a robotaxi and turn profit for both Tesla and the vehicle owner?

Speaking of Tesla, these past two weeks have brought the trailblazing OEM back into the foreground as it relates to charging infrastructure.

We’re all supercharged friends here: First, Ford and Tesla announced a new deal which will allow Ford EVs to use any of their 12,000 Tesla Supercharger Stations. Shortly after, a similar deal was struck between General Motors and Tesla, allowing their EVs to charge with Tesla infrastructure as well. This positions Tesla as having a singular advantage in becoming the US standard for EV charging and implies good things for ease of consumer charging access. Interestingly, there may be an option to just exchange your battery instead of waiting to charge it if this startup has its way:  Swap your batteries in Ample time: Technology explored by now-defunct startup Better Place is back in vogue. San Francisco startup Ample Inc. recently founded over a dozen automated battery swap stations in California and Europe that can change a drained battery for a fully charged one in minutes. That’s half the time of current charge stations now!


And in the spirit of learning about mass EV adoption, I also came across this wildly informative article from McKinsey & Company regarding best practices in Norway. Did you know that 80% of all vehicles sold are EVs? What can we learn from their example regarding adoption, marketing and mass use?



| MORE MISCELLANEOUS NEWS

The number one lesson from driver’s training is to always keep your eyes on the road. In the future, that lesson may very well be the only rule you need to know – but its importance has never been more relevant with this new tech:


Steer with just your eyes in a BMW: Active Lane Change Assist technology has advanced to the point where drivers can change lanes with a glance! According to this article, the 2024 BMW 5 Series will feature this tech, where your vehicle can prompt you to switch lanes and you can issue commands by glancing at your side mirrors or moving a switch. I wonder what other tech BMW – and other OEMs – have in store in this article.


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

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