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0:00 China is Top Exporter for 1st Time
0:59 1 Out of 12 VW Sold is Electric
1:46 BMW & Rolls-Royce Have Record Year
2:32 EPA Pours More Money Into Electric School Buses
3:03 Radical Suspension Makes It on Production Car
4:39 BWM Wants You to Wear Glasses While Driving
5:48 VW Bringing ChatGPT Into Cars
6:29 Stellantis Cuts Development from Months to Hours
7:06 Sony Honda Mobility All About the Technology
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
CHINA IS TOP EXPORTER FOR 1ST TIME
As regular viewers of this show know, Chinese automakers have started to branch out around the world as their home market has become more crowded and competitive. Last year Chinese automakers sold nearly 22 million vehicles, which was an increase of over 5%, but its exports surged even more. In the first 11 months of 2023 China exported 4.4 million vehicles, which was an increase of nearly 60%. And for the full year, it’s estimated to have exported 5.26 million vehicles, according to the China Passenger Car Association. That would make China the world’s number one car exporter for the first time ever and put it nearly a million units ahead of the second highest exporter, which is Japan.
1 OUT OF EVERY 12 VW IS ELECTRIC
The Volkswagen brand reported its global sales numbers. It sold nearly 4.9 million vehicles last year, which was an increase of 6.7%. Right now about 1 out of every 12 VW vehicles sold is electric. In total, 394,000 BEVs were handed over to customers in 2023, an increase of 21%. But with demand for its EVs not as high as expected, VW has started slashing prices in China and Europe. And, along with a softening of EU emission regulations, it’s pushing back volume production of entry-level affordable EV by a year to 2026.
BMW & ROLLS-ROYCE HAVE RECORD YEAR
BMW set an all-time sales record in 2023. Between BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce, the Group sold over 2.5 million vehicles last year, an increase of 6.5%. And it wasn’t just the Group. Rolls-Royce had its own individual record year, with over 6,000 luxury models sold. And it’s surprising to see BMW so close to VW in EV sales. Remember VW sold 394,000. Well, the BMW Group sold over 330,000, a jump of 92%. And with more models coming, BMW could pass VW in EV sales this year.
EPA POURS MORE MONEY INTO ELECTRIC SCHOOL BUSES
More electric school buses could be coming to a district near you. The EPA announced that it’s providing nearly a billion dollars in funding for electric and low-emission school buses to 37 states. It will be enough to buy more than 2,700 clean buses to serve 280 districts and over 7 million students. This is the second funding round, which now brings the total to nearly $2 billion, which has paid for roughly 5,000 buses.
RADICAL SUSPENSION MAKES IT ON PRODUCTION CAR
Automotive suppliers always say their technology is coming right around the corner, but here’s one case where they were telling the truth. In November of 2022, we had then-CTO of a company called ClearMotion on Autoline After Hours, who said that its active suspension technology would be hitting the market late this year. And ClearMotion and Chinese automaker NIO announced that the tech will be featured on NIO’s upcoming ET9 sedan that launches at the end of this year. You may remember that ClearMotion bought the patents for the system from Bose, which kind of acts like noise canceling headphones and creates an exact opposite output from the inputs it gets from the road. It does this at extremely fast speed with a hydraulic pump that’s attached directly to the damper and electronically controlled. The result is a suspension system that can practically eliminate any bump or body roll. We were also told in 2022 that you could also use a system like this to take the in-car experience to the next level. Imagine watching Jurassic Park with VR goggles on and the car actually starts shaking when the T-Rex is chasing the Jeep.
BMW WANTS YOU TO WEAR AR GLASSES WHILE DRIVING
CES is kicking off in Las Vegas and here’s some of what has caught our eye. BMW demonstrated augmented reality glasses driver’s or passengers can wear that display info like navigation or hazard warnings, points of interest and entertainment content. We’ve seen similar technology with augmented reality on the windshield so it’s interesting to see BMW do it with glasses instead. The automaker says the images remain stable even when the car turns, goes over bumps or accelerates. But it did not say when the technology will be available. BMW also showed off automated valet parking technology it’s developing with the supplier Valeo. The driver leaves the vehicle at a drop-off point, then the vehicle automatically looks for a parking spot and drives into it. The vehicle can go right back to the pick-up point on its own as well. And the technology also allows the vehicle to be remotely controlled. BMW says possible applications include, parking for events, at airports or in logistics.
VW INTEGRATING CHATGPT INTO ITS CARS
Volkswagen announced it’s integrating ChatGPT into its IDA voice assistant that’s used in its current MEB and MQB Evo models. That includes the ID.3,4.5 and 7 as well as the new Tiguan, Passat and Golf. The feature will start to roll out to customers as standard in the second quarter of the year. The automaker partnered with a U.S. company called Cerence to integrate the chatbot into its vehicles. In addition to answering questions, the voice assistant will be able to control the infotainment, navigation and air conditioning. And more functions will be added in the future.
STELLANTIS SLASHES DEVELOPMENT TIME FROM MONTHS TO HOURS
Stellantis announced it has created a “virtual cockpit” with Blackberry and Amazon to help accelerate development of infotainment technology. Blackberry is providing software for the system while Amazon is contributing cloud services. Stellantis says the technology will speed up customer feedback, be able to replicate the cockpit experience of all of its brands and models and allow engineers to make changes in real-time. The automaker says the system will shorten development time from several months to just 24 hours in some cases.
DO YOU AFEELA THIS WILL WORK OUT?
Honda and Sony’s joint venture, called Sony Honda Mobility, revealed more details about the smart vehicle they’re developing. Called Afeela, the looks of the car haven’t changed since it debuted last year but now we know more about its technology. It will feature autonomous driving which will be achieved through sensing devices and artificial intelligence. And the company is collaborating with Epic Games for entertainment features and gaming. Other partnerships include one with Microsoft to create a voice assistant and another with Polyphony Digital for vehicle development to merge virtual and real experiences in the vehicle.
There’s obviously a ton going on at CES and if you think that we’re missing something here, chances are John will have an interview coming out about it in the next day or two. He’s interviewing experts and executives about the latest automotive tech the industry has to offer. You’ll be able to find all of that on our website, Autoline.tv or our YouTube channel.
But that brings us to the end of today’s show. Thanks for making Autoline a part of your day.
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