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Revhead Ramblings: Are Automation and EV’s Shaping The Future of Vehicle Manufacturing?

A large proportion of people see the future of vehicle as autonomous, connected and electric. There’s no doubt that these three elements will be integrated more commonly throughout the market, but when and how deeply is a huge question. 

Electric vehicles are all the rage currently, with the likes of Tesla leading the race in the zero emissions sector, but is this the right horse to back? Mazda have thrown up a very different argument, their new internal combustion engine is actually more environmentally friendly than an electric vehicle in terms of end to end use (including production and powering the vehicle.)

A more pragmatic outlook on the breakthroughs in the propulsion market is needed then. The Centre for Automotive Research recently published one of their studies, it looks at the complexities of achieving market success and some would say a pessimistic view on how quickly the new technology will be adopted by automakers and implemented into their line-up.

Tighter Vehicle Regulations

Currently, manufacturers are recording record profits, thanks mainly to the full-size SUVs and pickups the public are demanding. The majority of these vehicles aren’t hybrids. Profit margins for these larger cars are much greater than those for sedans and hatchbacks.

On the other hand, there’s a growing global regulatory mandate for the implementation of electric vehicles. Some countries have set timelines for the banishment of internal combustion engines altogether; the global push for electric vehicles seems unstoppable at this rate.

Research Doesn’t Match Trends 

autonomous and electric vehicle manufacture

There’s a general trend amongst consumers, the things they say to researchers never transpires into actual actions. Whether this is wishful thinking on their part that isn’t feasible or things have changed from the initial questions, manufacturers have an incredibly hard job to balance consumers, shareholders and the government.

In the US, if shoppers actually stayed faithful to their answers on research papers then it’s reported hybrid and electric vehicles would control more than a fifth of the US vehicle market. In reality they control little over 3%.

The Market For Automation

Fully autonomous cars are seen to be a way off too, by 2030 it’s predicted that just 3.8% of the market will feature level four and five automated vehicles, however by 2040 over 50% of vehicles should feature a high level of automated driving; at least in some part. This has been a consistent trend with any new features implemented across the vehicle market, it takes around seven years for new technology to penetrate half of the vehicles on the road, this is usually the case with government requirements only.

It’s unlikely that any manufacturer would turn their back on a market as profitable as SUVs anytime soon, expecting them to implement hybrid and electric models is a pipe dream as it’s clear the consumers aren’t interested.

However, it’s fair to assume that at least some of the money will filter into EV research, whether this is adding electric motors to their current line-up or developing new models all together is yet to be seen, either way we’re currently in the golden age of motoring, an extremely exciting time indeed!

To ensure you don’t miss out on any of Alex’s ‘Revhead Ramblings‘ be sure to follow him on Twitter at @AlexClickDealer!

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