In a recent development, Audi, a German luxury automobile manufacturer, tested a new automated method of body sealing known as digital sealing at the Gyor paint shop in Hungary. Post the paint process, a final paint finish is applied using a robot-guided applicator. This robot deposits ultra-fine droplets of paste-like sealing material in areas such as weld seams. The material is of uniform composition and quality. Before the application of this sealing, the machine is preset for optimal thickness and width of material to be applied. Digital sealing not only reduces the overall weight of the paints used but also reduces wastage and time taken during the paint process.
On 18th September 2019, Japanese chemical and engineering company, Nichia Corporation, and German semiconductor major, Infineon, announced their collaboration for developing a high-definition (HD) light engine with more than 16,000 micro-LEDs for front light applications. The new device will provide high resolution light to the entire field of view of the driver. The production launch of the new HD light engine, which will be a part of Nichia’s automotive LED and laser portfolio, is planned for 2023.
Porsche AG-a Germany based automobile manufacturer specialized in high-performance sedans, SUVs and sports cars-recently introduced a button-free dashboard for its maiden electric car, Taycan. The dash, which is largely in sync with the company’s flagship 911 sports car, has been redesigned for the 21st century. The absence of buttons on the dashboard lends a fresh look to the vehicle interior and means that vehicle controls and settings can be accessed digitally. The company’s decision to swap hardware controls with digital ones would enable the automaker to introduce over-the-air updates for adding more functions.
On 27th August 2019, Harley Davidson made a buzz in the Indian electric two-wheeler market by unveiling “LiveWire”, the company’s first electric motorcycle. The leading American motorcycle manufacturer recently celebrated a decade of operations in the Indian market. The company also launched the limited edition 2020 Street 750 with production restricted to 300 units only.
Toyota has revealed that it plans to deploy a fleet of electric and self-driving vehicles at next year's Tokyo Summer Olympics. This fleet of 3,700 vehicles is expected to feature some degree of electrification and will also include Concept-i-a self-driving pod car that will serve as the operating vehicle for the Olympic torch relay and the lead vehicle for the marathon events.
Topics: Automotive and Transportation, electric vehicles, Semi-Autonomous and Autonomous Vehicles, Toyota, Volkswagen and Ford, Waymo and Renault-Nissan, Volvo and Uber, Toyota and BYD, Fiat-Chrysler and Hyundai, Honda and General Motors, Apple and Drive.ai
Topics: Automotive and Transportation
To promote EVs in India on a larger scale, the Indian government in its Union budget today (5th July 2019) announced a reduction in GST from 12% to 5% for the electric vehicles sold in India. To make EVs more affordable for Indian consumers, the Indian government will also provide an additional income tax deduction of Rs. 1.5 lakh on the interest paid on the loans taken to purchase EVs.
Maruti Suzuki – an Indian car manufacturer giant, recently announced to phase out production of diesel cars by next year i.e. April 2020. This announcement from Maruti Suzuki is in sync with the implementation of BS6 norms in India and mirrors emerging global trends. The company’s decision is anticipated to be majorly driven by high cost of upgrading diesel engines to BS6 norms. However, to fill this void, the company aims to shift its focus towards hybrid technology driven vehicles and compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz Cars, in association with telecommunications company Telefónica Deutschland and network supplier Ericsson, is setting up the world’s first 5G network for automobile production in its Factory 56 in Sindelfingen, Germany. This is the first time the 5G mobile communications standard is being implemented into the running production. The 5G technology can rapidly process huge data sets. The 5G standard allows fast data transmission rates, with extremely low latency and a high level of reliability. Mercedes-Benz Cars is planning to implement such innovation in its other plants as well.
On 4th June 2019, Cohda Wireless (Australia) and Sasken Technologies (India) announced a strategic technology partnership to accelerate the adoption of V2X (vehicle-to-anything) in the connected vehicles space. The companies plan to utilize cellular or DSRC (dedicated short-range communication) technologies. Cohda Wireless is a global leader in connected autonomous vehicles technologies, whereas Sasken Technologies is a leading product engineering and digital transformation services provider. The partnership will help create a complete TCU (Telematics Control Unit) software reference design that would include Sasken's TCU software and middleware coupled with Cohda Wireless' DSRC/C-V2X (cellular V2X) stack and applications.
On April 23, 2019, Google announced that it has partnered with American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc., to repurpose an existing facility that was most recently used as a sequencing center for a local parts supplier. The site is a facility owned by American Axle in Hamtramck, Michigan, Detroit. The goal is to begin moving into the facility by mid-2019 and prepare the site for manufacturing Level 4 (L4) autonomous vehicles. The company has planned to invest USD 13.6 million to retrofit this facility.
On 3rd March 2019, Volvo Electric Buses and Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) launched Volvo 7900, the world’s first full size, autonomous electric bus. The single deck electric bus is 12 meters long and has a full capacity of 80 passengers. The autonomous electric bus is equipped with Global Positioning System, numerous sensors, stereo video cameras for recording the surround view, and navigation controls managed by a comprehensive artificial intelligence.
On 4th March 2019, Sono Motors, a German electric vehicle start-up, unveiled an updated production design of the Sion, an electric car with full-surface integrated solar cells. These solar cells are embedded in hard-wearing and resilient polymer, which also contribute to the vehicle’s design aesthetic. The Sion is aimed at the European market. Sono Motors started registering pre-orders for Sion and has successfully recorded registrations for more than 9,000 units. The company declared that it would initiate the production of Sion in Sweden by mid-2020.
The pressing need of the transportation industry to produce lightweight vehicles with superior functional capabilities is driving the lightweight metal alloys penetration in the industry. CAFÉ regulations and growing demand for electric vehicles are pushing the automakers to adopt lightweight solutions. Aluminum and magnesium alloys are the most commonly used lightweight metals, followed by titanium and beryllium. Lightweight material can drastically reduce the overall weight of the vehicle, reduce CO2 emissions, improve fuel consumption, and are completely recyclable.
Alstom, a leading player in the railway technology, would showcase its latest technologies at the Eurasia Rail from 10-12 April 2019 in Izmir, Turkey. The latest technologies include Coradia iLint, the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell powered passenger train, and Pendolino, a flexible and interoperable passenger rail solution for high-speed and conventional trains that run at a speed of up to 250 km/h. The company would also showcase services for trains, infrastructure, and rail control systems. The highly reliable APS technology reduces the light rail lines and helps in preserving the urban environment. Atlas Trainborne is another technology that offers multiple Specific Transmission Modules (STMs) for compatibility with conventional systems.
The US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) mandated the use of ELD for commercial vehicles from December 18, 2017. A 2-year window, till December 16, 2019, has been provided for vehicles that already have ELDs in place to update these devices as per FMCSA’s ELD technical specifications. Electronic logging device, also known as digital tachograph in Europe, is designed to record data related to the operation of the vehicle and driver activity. The driver information mainly concerns the hours of service (HOS), breaks, and driving behavior. The fleet operators are restricted to a maximum number of hours they can drive between rest periods. According to FMCSA, the ELD mandate will result in a USD 2.44 billion savings, most of which will be attributed to the amount of time drivers will save by not having to complete and submit time logs. In 2006, a similar mandate was implemented in European countries. As per the rule, from May 2006, all new vehicles over 3.5 ton in Europe had to be equipped with a tachograph. Later, in 2016, the European Commission adopted legislation defining new technical specifications for smart tachographs.
Volkswagen and Microsoft shared progress on the development of the Volkswagen Automotive Cloud. The Volkswagen Automotive Cloud is to be extended to further regions of the world and will be available in Europe, China, and the USA—the core markets for the future, full-electric, and fully connected ID model family. Volkswagen and Microsoft are also working on the first lighthouse projects for connected vehicle services. They are concentrating on communication and navigation solutions as well as personalized services: These will leverage self-learning algorithms facilitating the use of services in vehicles and offering occupants extended functions. Automated linking into telephone conferences and transfer of prepared navigation destinations will only be the first steps, which will also include the integration of Microsoft Skype and Microsoft Office.
On 6th March 2019, Waymo announced its entry in the automotive sensors market with the selling of laser-mapping sensors (LiDAR) to other companies. Waymo uses the same sensors in its driverless vehicles. As Waymo has a strong presence in self-driving cars, the move to foray in the LiDAR market can prove to be an effective business strategy for the company. The new sensor division will compete with Velodyne Lidar Inc, a leading player in the automotive LiDAR market.
Lyft’s recent announcement to introduce its IPO or initial public offering is likely to help the company gain an edge over its major competitor Uber. Lyft is estimated to go public with a valuation of USD 25 billion compared to a USD 120 billion valuation of Uber. With this development, Lyft will become the first mobility startup to go public.
Recently, Tesla announced that they will include CCS adapter also in their Model S and X vehicles delivered in Europe, which implies that the buyers of a new Tesla EV in Europe will have access to the Tesla Superchargers as well CCS fast chargers. It should also be noted that, in November 2018, Tesla declared that Model 3 vehicles rolled out in the European market would come with a CCS combo 2 charge port. This will be a great boost for the exponential growth of the CCS EV connector market in the coming years.
What had initially started as a limited recall of cars in early 2013 by the key automotive manufacturers across the globe eventually became a global phenomenon until 2019. During early 2013, about 3.6 million vehicles were recalled due to the defective airbags manufactured by the Japanese Conglomerate named Takata Corporation, now Key Saftey Systems (China), led Takata to bankruptcy and eventually acquisition by a Chinese company that develops and manufactures automotive safety systems.
Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is a huge annual trade show for technology enthusiasts across various sectors. CES 2019, held at Las Vegas in January, showcased modern and disruptive technologies in different sectors. A key attraction at CES 2019 for the automotive industry was the demonstration of various automotive cyber security-related products and technologies. Companies such as Karamba Security, SafeRide Technologies, Trillium Secure, ZeroDayGuard, and Upstream Security showcased their automotive cyber security solutions. Upstream Security introduced a program that can provide protection inside and outside vehicles. It also enables transformational technologies under development. SafeRide Technologies launched vXRay, a behavioral profiling and anomaly detection technology for connected vehicles’ Security Operation Centers (SOC). It can be seamlessly integrated into customers’ connected vehicles’ SOC independently of vehicle architecture or ECU sourcing. Trillium Secure offered a full-scale experience of its mobility services platform at CES 2019.
Tesla Motors has announced that it would begin the deliveries of its long-awaited Model 3 Long Range Battery variant in Europe from February 2019. Tesla Model 3 car was initially launched in the US in July 2017. According to Tesla, “Model 3 is the best-selling car in the US in terms of revenue and the 5th best-selling car in terms of volume”. The Model 3 Long-range version delivers 338 miles under the latest Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) and goes from 0–62mph in 4.8 seconds. In Europe, Tesla Model 3 will be sold with a Combined Charging System (CCS) charging port, which would help access thousands of third-party fast charging stations across the region. The company has recently seen sales volumes comparable to more established players such as the German trio of Audi, BMW, and Mercedes, despite its much narrower product range.
An electric vehicle (EV) uses one or more electric motors for propulsion. The advancements in battery technology have boosted the driving range of electric vehicles. At the global level, the sales of electric vehicles are increasing continuously, and are set to soar higher in the future.
China and the US are considered as the major markets for electric vehicles. The rising demand for electric vehicles in China is expected to help OEMs strengthen their distribution network and footprints in the global market. The country is now all set to explore market opportunities for electric vehicles in the US. In the recent news on 17th Jan 2019, Kandi Technologies Group, Inc. has announced its plans to strengthen its footprint in the US market by providing passenger electric vehicles. Kandi, which started making electric vehicles in 2013, and is hoping to ship two of its models to the US later this year. This is expected to help China become the primary global supplier for OEMs by building a business case to compete with foreign players.
The increasing environmental pollution and the threat of global warming have accentuated the need to replace petroleum-fueled vehicles with emission-free substitutes. After decades of R&D, the industry has found electric vehicles to be the best substitute of traditional-fueled vehicles.
MarketsandMarkets™ Point of View:
Ibrahim Rassiwala – Senior Research Analyst : Chemicals and Materials, at MarketsandMarkets™, shares his Point of View as mentioned below:
Recently, Volkswagen announced its plan to increase investments in electric vehicles in the US. As part of the plan, Volkswagen will invest USD 800 million in the production of electric vehicles at its plant in Chattanooga and Tennessee. Additionally, the company stated that electric vehicle production would begin in 2022 and it is looking to manufacture luxury Audi vehicles in the US. Moreover, Volkswagen has plans to add electric vehicle production facilities in Germany by the end of 2019.
The launch of a self-driving vehicle has become a decisive focal point of automotive stakeholders. They have invested billions of dollars and put their best resources for completing the task of making autonomous cars a reality. Currently, a vehicle is equipped with a variety of electronic components and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) to sense the environment around it and exchange signals with entities outside it. The entire process of communication with external entities requires a huge amount of data that is generated and used to implement machine learning with algorithms in the computer system of the vehicle. This is how OEMs and automotive Tier I suppliers along with non-automotive players plan to make autonomous vehicles a reality. Hence, reliable automotive software is the ultimate key to implementing AI and develop semi-autonomous and autonomous cars.
Varroc Group made an announcement to invest in the development of electronic fuel injection (EFI) system which are complaint with the upcoming Bharat Stage (BS) VI standard for two wheelers and three wheelers. To reap the market benefits based on the upcoming regulation, Varroc entered into a joint venture with Dellorto, an Italian company, for producing EFI systems and has already won a business contract from a key two-wheeler manufacturer in India. Further, it also plans to produce catalysts in partnership with Heraeus (Germany) to withstand the BS-VI requirements. These catalysts would be offered to the company’s key client—Bajaj—and some other Indian two wheeler manufacturers in the coming future.
Recently, Hyundai Motor Group announced “FCEV Vision 2030” plan to extend its support for the development of a hydrogen society. As part of the plan, Hyundai and Kia would increase their annual production capacity for fuel cell systems from 3,000 units at present to 700,000 units by 2030. The increased production would include 500,000 units for passenger cars and commercial vehicles, while the remaining 200,000 units are planned for other applications. The automaker also plans to supply its fuel cell systems to manufacturers of automobiles, drones, vessels, rolling stocks, and forklifts.