5th January 2022

Is the future of auto all electric?

There is no mystery to how the auto industry is evolving. The consistent theme across manufacturers and exhibiters is an all-electric future with features that offer enhanced capability, autonomous driving options, and address climate change concerns and emissions. 

Not surprisingly, most of the concepts are from some of the industry’s most recognizable brands including Chevrolet, Mercedes, and Chrysler. But there is also a significant amount of attention to new manufacturers like Fisker and Sony, who have announced electric concepts. Here's an overview of some of the highlights:

All the buzz - It’s Electric

Electricity dominated General Motors CEO Mary Barra’s keynote opening and she used the platform to announce the All Electric Chevy Silverado. This new pick up should be available late 2023, but reservation banks are open. Chevy will also be launching in 2023 an Electric Chevy Blazer and Electric Chevy Equinox. While electric volume estimates are currently unavailable, the 3 gas versions of these vehicles drive significant US volume and drives home GM’s commitment to electric transformation. Not to be outdone, Ford has announced doubling their volume estimate and opening up their reservations for its 2022 Ford F-150 Lightning pick-up ready in Spring. Ford is committed to remaining the best-selling truck in the US, regardless of powertrain.

New definition of “pick-up”

DAAS – a new acronym standing for Delivery as a Service. Not to be outdone with SAAS (Software as a Service) and the over the air updates most cars have these days, start up companies like Udelv combine autonomous driving and electrification with a goal to provide DAAS. Automotive manufactures are leaning into the opportunity to influence small and large business logistics and approach to goods and services announcing partnerships and new local market tests. Electric RAM Promaster has inked a deal with Amazon to help with delivery services starting in 2023. GM announced a partnership with FedEx for both electric delivery trucks and “electric pallets” for last mile delivery.  

Autonomous driving is a common theme this year

Udelv, mentioned above, as well as Ford and VW are leveraging Intel’s Mobile Eye technology for the next iteration of mapping technology to continue the quest to deliver hands free driving to consumers. Additionally, companies like Fisker announced using 4D radar in their new model the Fisker Ocean, that will leverage sophisticated sensors, cameras, radars, and driver monitoring technology and is being positioned as an additional safety feature. This not only has application for consumers and delivery business, but ridesharing companies like Uber and Lyft will surely benefit.

Autonomous driving has been the CES buzz for a while, and therefore, these recent announcements may seem subtle. However, that is probably the intent and factor of multiple variables. It’s the next natural evolution as the auto world continues to navigate safety regulations, performance, adaptation and costs to implement. But most importantly, consumers need to have confidence in the systems driving the cars autonomously. That will take time. Almost all vehicles today have as standard or options for lane assist, emergency braking, or automated parking guidance and recent announcements of Super Cruise (Cadillac) and AutoPilot (Tesla) are more sophisticated, but still driver assisted options.  Consumer adoption and availability are increasing. The future technologies announced will get the auto space closer to a vehicle being able to anticipate and make informed decisions under certain conditions and ultimately autonomously. Adoption rate will be determined by how well the manufactures can bring the consumer along for the ride.  

Written by Daniel Geiger, Group Director
Further reading
GM Reveals Electric Chevy Silverado to Counter Ford’s F-150 Lightning
Udelv Transporter Cab-Less Autonomous Delivery EV Makes CES Debut
GM's BrightDrop Will Supply Electric Delivery Vans to Walmart, Expanding its Existing Supply Deal With FedEx
Fisker Ocean Arrives at CES Rocking World’s First Digital Radar for a Production Car
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