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  • Writer's pictureJesus Grana

EVs, Alternate Fuels in Bloom

Updated: 2 days ago



CX Insights - Trend Watch - Automotive Industry (ICYMI March 2024)


ICYMI - As we welcome spring once again, EV headlines are already blooming in the media. These past few weeks we’ve received confirmation on how EVs are successfully (or not) breaking through in various markets across 31 countries and are well on their way to meeting electrification “nirvana.”


| FIVE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER

The key number here is 5%. Why? According to Bloomberg Green, the proof is in history: all new technology follows an adoption curve that spikes hard toward mainstream adoption after an item reaches 5% of the population. That seems straightforward – consider small gadgetry over the decades like color TV, VCRs, MP3 players, DVDs, Blu-Ray, smartwatches and such. Could this be the same story only for a much larger and more important device? Time will tell but 31 countries have already passed the 5% threshold, with 25% being the next major milestone for global EV sales.


Paradoxically, that 5% milestone arrives at a time where EV adoption is slowing down in the U.S. and Europe. We’ve all but confirmed that the lack of reliable charging infrastructure is what’s at the heart of slower-than-anticipated consumer adoption of EVs. Parkopedia conducted a study and found over 90% of drivers polled feel “anxious” about having to rely on charging stations that weren’t based at their home. While these fears aren’t new to OEMs, having current data to back up these explanations provides a roadmap for vendors to win back confidence soon.


Parkopedia isn’t alone in their findings; JD Power also published their own study regarding what’s holding consumers back from the EV plunge. In short, poor public charging access and limited battery range remain points of contention for both current EV owners and those watching this technology from the sidelines. High interest rates and growing competition among OEMs are other notable factors detailed in the study.


| ALTERNATIVE ENERGY NEVER SLEEPS

In the meantime, innovation and investment behind other alternative energy sources isn’t waiting for mainstream adoption.


Stellantis is bringing growth to Latin America by investing in bio-fuel hybrids that combine internal combustion engines, using bio-fuels like ethanol with electric powertrains. The European OEM already has achieved dominance in the South American market and seeks to strengthen that hold by its $6.1 billion investments in bio-hybrid powertrain technology. We will surely see these technologies “move north” as they are tested and become mass-production viable.


General Motors is also looking at alternative energy as a solution by developing a fleet of medium-duty trucks powered by hydrogen. This pilot project is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and aims to prove that hydrogen as a fuel source can reduce carbon footprints from heavy vehicles while supporting itself as another alternative to conventional combustion engines and EVs.


| A WORD ABOUT FLYING CARS

I’ve reported about flying car concepts in previous blogposts, but it appears that the technology has no shortage of investors or interest even now.



For example, Stellantis recently purchased 3.6 million shares of stock in Archer Aviation, now owning 10% of the company. While collaborations between Stellantis and Archer are not new news, this transaction deepens the union between these two companies and ensures that Archer’s flying car model, the Midnight, will be manufactured and ready for flight by 2025.


Also, San Mateo-based Alef Aeronautics reports that their Model A flying car already has 2,850 pre-orders. This development is notable for a couple reasons: a.) Alef is backed by early Tesla and SpaceX investor Tim Draper, lending fiscal credibility to this venture; b.) The Federal Aviation Administration just gave Alef the OK to proceed with Model A production. If you have $300,000 to spare, check out this wondrous vehicle’s specs and your flying car dreams may become reality by next year!

 

| NEWS OF THE AUTO SHOW’S DEATH IS GREATLY EXAGGERATED

To close this month’s ICYMI, we’re offering a high note for the auto industry at large. When’s the last time you went to a truly epic auto show? Might I interest you in highlights from the 2024 New York International Auto Show, then? Great!


Critics and customers alike saw sports cars from OEMs across the globe, but there were 12 that caught Car and Driver journalist Caleb Miller’s eye. Among them were the 1813-hp Rimac Nevera, the Lamborghini LM002 and the Genesis X Gran Berlinetta Concept. Check out his list for yourself and imagine yourself in the driver’s seat of these sleek vehicles – I sure am!


What also made this auto show special is the fact that it was targeted at more than just the sports car enthusiast – it also doubled as an educational platform for those interested in learning more about EVs. Earlier I wrote about many countries breaking the 5% threshold for mass adoption; MediaPost commentator Tanya Gazdik writes that this new direction is exactly what’s needed to see the industry’s future and bring new, informed consumers to market.


The 2024 New York International Auto Show was held at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan from March 29 to April 7.


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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