Along with the announcement that the Tesla Model 3 is now the best-selling car in the UK auto market, comes news from most of the auto majors that efforts to press ahead with transformation into digital mobility are gathering steam.
Sales of passenger cars in France up 28.91%
According to figures released by https://www.caroom.fr/, the sale of passenger cars in France in 2021 is strong, given the overall declines precipitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. With 922,766 registrations so far recorded this year, the increase amounts to 28.91%. There were 186,128 new cars registered in June in the UK, up 28.0%.
The latest figures by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that combined, battery electric (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) accounted for 17.2% of new vehicles hitting the road—31,981 units—in the UK in June 2021. The society estimates that vehicle electrification could create 40,000 new jobs by 2030, as plug-in vehicles continue to increase in market share.
The Volkswagen Group will spend around EUR 73 billion on electrification, hybrid powertrains, and digital technology over the next five years. The company announced that investments in capex and research and development for future technologies will be raised to 50% from 40% of the Group’s total investments of around EUR 150 billion.
Investments in digitalisation will double to EUR 27 billion by mid-decade, reflecting the Group’s strong focus on building up software capabilities. Approximately EUR 35 billion will be spent on battery-electric vehicles and a further approximately EUR 11 billion has been earmarked for the development of hybrid vehicles of existing models.
Hyundai producing EVs, enhancing production facilities
Hyundai Motor Group (HMG), which includes Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Corporation, announced its plan to invest $7.4 billion in the U.S. by 2025 to produce future EVs, enhance production facilities, and further its investments in smart mobility solutions. HMG’s investment will enhance overall product competitiveness by prioritising future mobility technologies, including electrification and hydrogen energy.
“Hyundai will lead the future of mobility in the United States and around the world. Our efforts are proof positive that Hyundai will continue to pursue excellence in our current and future product line-up,” José Muñoz, Hyundai’s Global Chief Operating Officer, President, and CEO said.
Hyundai has also signed a MOU with the U.S. Department of Energy to co-operate in hydrogen fuel cell technology innovation and global expansion. This included the installation of a hydrogen refuelling station and providing NEXO SUVs.
BMW, Ford driving ahead with solid-state batteries for future electric vehicles
Meanwhile, Solid Power, an industry-leading producer of all solid-state batteries for electric vehicles, announced a $130 million Series B investment round led by the BMW Group, Ford Motor Company, and Volta Energy Technologies. Ford and the BMW Group have also expanded existing joint development agreements with Solid Power to secure all solid-state batteries for future electric vehicles.
The investment positions Solid Power to produce full-scale automotive batteries, increase associated material output, and expand in-house production capabilities for future vehicle integration. The BMW Group and Ford aim to utilise Solid Power’s low-cost, high-energy all solid-state battery technology in forthcoming electric vehicles.
“Solid Power now plans to begin producing automotive-scale batteries on the company’s pilot production line in early 2022 as a result of our partners’ continued commitment to Solid Power’s commercialisation efforts,” Doug Campbell, CEO and co-founder of Solid Power, said.
Volvo investing in high potential technology start-ups around globe
Volvo has launched a new investment fund aimed at investing in high potential technology start-ups around the globe. The aim of the Volvo Cars Tech Fund is to invest in strategic technology trends that are transforming the industry, such as artificial intelligence, electrification, autonomous driving, and digital mobility services.
The first strategic investment is a seed round investment into a California-based technology firm developing advanced sensors, underlining Volvo’s growing presence in the technology hub of Silicon Valley. Companies will benefit in several ways from participation by the Volvo Cars Tech Fund.
Apart from the association with one of the world’s leading premium car makers, start-ups may gain the ability to validate their technologies and accelerate the pace of achieving product market fit. Moreover, start-ups may have the opportunity to benefit from Volvo Cars’ unique access to the Chinese car market, its largest, as well as potential access to Volvo Cars’ global network of automotive and technology partners.