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0:00 Tesla Launches New Model 3 In U.S.
0:56 VW & Toyota Lose Market Share in China
2:02 1st Driverless Semi-Truck for Scaled Deployment Debuts
2:47 Mercedes Intros New AI-Powered Virtual Assistant
4:11 Honda Unveils New EV Lineup
6:12 Xpeng To Start Producing eVTOLs Next Year
6:53 Hyundai Reveals New eVTOL
7:28 Kia Debuts New Modular Vehicle Lineup
This is Autoline Daily, the show dedicated to enthusiasts of the global automotive industry.
TESLA LAUNCHES NEW MODEL 3 IN U.S.
The refreshed version of the Model 3, codenamed Highland, is now available in North America. Tesla is taking orders on its website and will begin deliveries this month or in February. The model features an updated design, a new backseat screen, ambient lighting and more. Like in Europe, the new Model 3 is only available in rear-wheel drive and dual motor versions. The rear-drive model starts just under $39,000 and has 272 miles of range, the same as before. While the dual motor starts just under $46,000 and has a range of 341 miles, 8 more than before. There’s no word yet if the new version qualifies for the $7,500 federal tax credit.
VW & TOYOTA LOSE MARKET SHARE IN CHINA
Volkswagen and Toyota are the two largest automakers in the world but they’re both losing ground in China. According to the China Passenger Car Association, the VW Group along with its joint venture partners, FAW and SAIC, had a combined 14.2% share of the market last year, that’s down from 14.8% in 2022. Meanwhile, Toyota and its joint venture partners, GAC and FAW, had a combined 7.9% share in 2023 down from 8.6% the year before. The automakers are losing market share to local Chinese automakers, mostly because they’re not as competitive in the EV segment. BYD for example saw its share surge from 8.8% in 2022 to 12.5% last year. And while VW and Toyota are still in the top ten when it comes to overall sales, neither of them are in the top ten in EV sales.
1ST DRIVERLESS SEMI-TRUCK FOR SCALED DEPLOYMENT DEBUTS
Autonomous trucking company Kodiak Robotics, which is based in the U.S., introduced what it claims is the world’s first driverless semi-truck that’s designed for scaled deployment. The truck features redundant safety hardware, including braking, steering and sensors, as well as the software needed for driving autonomously at scale. This is the sixth-gen version of the truck and Kodiak has been conducting real-world tests for the past five years, which includes 5,000 loads carried more than 2.5 million miles. The new truck will be used for Kodiak’s driverless operations that start sometime this year and will see it traveling between Dallas and Houston, Texas.
MERCEDES INTROS NEW AI-POWERED VIRTUAL ASSISTANT
Mercedes introduced a new AI-powered virtual assistant for its vehicles, which it claims provides a more human-like interaction with the car. Called the MBUX Virtual Assistant, it runs on the automaker’s MB.OS and has four different “personality traits” which the driver can tailor themselves. The assistant can even offer suggestions ahead of time based on the situation, learned behavior of the user and generative AI. The system also features 3D graphics to visually communicate with the driver for navigation and route guidance. The new virtual assistant will first be available on vehicles based on its MMA platform, which includes the Concept CLA Class that was revealed last year and is making its North American premiere at CES.
HONDA UNVEILS NEW EV LINEUP
I think we know why Honda is considering investing up to $14 billion to build a second EV hub in North America. It announced that it will come out with an all-new EV lineup under the Honda 0 Series and revealed two new concepts, one of which will get a production version in 2026. That model will be based on the Saloon concept, which will first launch in North America, followed by Japan, Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South America. Honda says the styling will remain close to the concept and, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting a bit of an 80’s vibe from the design, which is topped off with gull-wing doors. I even think the front end looks a little bit like Kitt from Knight Rider. The other concept it showed off is called the Space-Hub. It’s a people mover that has more of a van shape and features a reconfigurable interior. We don’t know for sure yet if these models are based on a Honda-developed platform or where they will be built, but we do have some important details. The platform is a dedicated EV architecture that’s both software-defined and connected. Honda says it wants a lightweight, high-density battery that doesn’t have a huge capacity but still provides a sufficient range, which will allow it to have a lower floor that helps improve aerodynamics and gets the driver into a sportier seating position. The Honda 0 Series will also feature e-Axles as well as steer-by-wire, Level 2 and higher autonomous driving capability and a Honda-developed operating system that relies on AI and driver data. And lastly, Honda’s next-generation of EVs will feature a new Honda logo. The “H” is a little wider and fatter than the current logo and it’s actually closer to its first logo that it used from 1961 until 1969.
XPENG TO START PRODUCING EVTOLs NEXT YEAR
Chinese automaker XPeng revealed that this giant, 6-wheeled eVTOL carrier and the aircraft itself will be going into production next year. Called the Land Aircraft Carrier, each set of wheels is attached to its own e-Axle. It also has room for 4-5 people and can recharge the eVTOL. The aircraft is fully electric and meant to be flown at low altitudes, either manually or autonomously. XPeng will start taking pre-orders for the combo starting in the fourth quarter of this year and could have a starting price around $140,000.
HYUNDAI REVEALS NEW EVTOL
Hyundai’s air mobility division Supernal also debuted a new eVTOL, called the S-A2 that should be pretty close to the aircraft it plans to launch in 2028. It has seating for 4 passengers, plus a pilot and features an all-electric powertrain that drives 8 tilting rotors. The craft is capable of cruising speeds of 120 MPH at about 1,500 feet and is meant to take 25- to 40-mile trips. Supernal says the next stage is to optimize the S-A2 for certification.
HYUNDAI DEBUTS NEW MODULAR VEHICLE LINEUP
Speaking of the Hyundai Group, Kia pulled the wraps off its PBV lineup, which stands for Platform Beyond Vehicle. These are vehicles that are designed specifically for commercial and fleet needs. They will feature interchangeable bodies, so you could go from a cargo van, to a truck, to a people mover and it wants you to be able to do this fast. With its Easy Swap technology, Kia says you should be able to turn the PBV into a taxi by day, to a delivery van at night, and a personal recreational vehicle on weekends. To enhance the ownership experience, it will offer a suite of fleet management tools that will improve over time and eventually take advantage of artificial intelligence. While Kia showed off a number of models, including the PV1, PV5 and 7, the PV5 will be the first to go into mass production sometime next year. I also saw no mention that these PBVs would be exclusively electric, so we wouldn’t be surprised to see ICE versions as well.
While that brings us to the end of this show. We’ll have more videos from CES posting throughout the day, so don’t miss that.
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