Issue #12 • July 22, 2022
Happy Friday! This week in mobility... Volkswagen drives forward with its refreshed strategy, revealing new leadership for its North American market, and more.
Need to Know
As part of Volkswagen Group’s NEW AUTO strategy, the automaker has strengthened its leadership team in the US to accelerate its growth in North America. While it’s just the beginning, VW is setting the foundation to move into a new age.
For context, NEW AUTO is the Group’s strategy through 2030 to transition to a software-driven mobility company, with a focus on building strong brands and global technology platforms that open new profit streams. As part of this transformation, VW announced in May the electric revitalization of Scout, a new outdoor lifestyle EV brand, for the US market. This included a $1 billion commitment with the goal of selling a quarter million vehicles under the nameplate annually starting in 2026.
This week, Scout officially received its head — Volkswagen Group of America CEO Scott Keogh moved into the opening. To fill his shoes, Pablo Di Si, who headed South America, stepped in to oversee North American operations.
So, why should we care about a leadership change? These are the early days of VW’s corporate transition to a mobility company, and there’s much to be excited about. Analysts have poised the Group to overtake Tesla as the world’s biggest EV company, and just within the decade, the company has already committed to 25 new EVs across its brands. While I’m sure this is only the beginning for VW, it’s exciting to see how OEMs are rethinking their models for a changing future.
In Other News
🏛️ Regulatory. General Motors and Ford have petitioned NHTSA to allow each of them a special exemption to further their autonomous driving goals. The US Department of Energy announced $96 million to fund the decarbonization of domestic transport with a focus on expanding EV charging. Illinois has suspended Carvana’s license to sell cars for the second time this year. New Jersey is expanding its EV incentive program with $45 million more for medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. New York approved a ‘managed charging’ program, providing EV drivers bill discounts when charging during off-peak times. And across the pond, the UK established the world's longest autonomous drone superhighway.
🚘 Passenger Vehicles. GM revealed details of the Chevrolet Blazer EV, with GM’s CEO using the opportunity to outline the company’s strategy to catch up to Tesla by 2025. The US Army purchased a GMC Hummer EV for light recon vehicle testing. Ryvid Anthem unveiled its new affordable electric motorcycle for the US market. And ROAM launched its Air electric motorcycle with two swappable battery packs.
🚛 Trucks & Buses. USPS announced it would increase the concentration of EVs that would make up the 165,000 new vehicles it plans to purchase as part of its modernization plan to “at least 50 percent.” Isuzu, Toyota, Hino, and CJPT will jointly develop light-duty fuel cell electric trucks for the mass market. Finally, while Amazon has already started deliveries with Rivian vehicles, it announced plans to expand its electrified logistics to 100 US cities by year’s end.
🛴 Micromobility. Apollo is slating its Pro as the first hyper e-scooter. And Zypp Electic, an e-logistics provider, expanded its partnership with Zepto, a quick commerce company, to further facilitate greener deliveries.
🚁 Air Mobility. Hyundai and Safran are working together on advanced air mobility development. easyJet and Rolls-Royce are partnering on hydrogen engine development for various aircraft. Microsoft unveiled Project AirSim to accelerate autonomous air mobility development. And Amazon plans to expand its Prime Air drone deliveries to Texas.
Innovation. BYD reportedly plans to develop a smart driving chip. Tesla reported its customers have now driven more than 35 million miles with Full Self-Driving Beta. ZF announced its steer-by-wire systems would be commercially available within the next year, enabling fully autonomous vehicle control for shuttles and robotaxis. Cepton and Fabrinet are partnering to deliver a flagship automotive lidar. Foxconn is working jointly with NXP Semiconductors to develop platforms for smart connected vehicles. Volkswagen’s CARIAD and STMicroelectronics are co-developing a system-on-chip for the automaker’s future software-defined vehicles. And Viritech and Reaction Engines partner on more efficient hydrogen fuel cell powertrains.
⚡ Mobility Ecosystem. Ford is trialing a robot charging station designed to help disabled drivers. NIO has reached 1 million battery swap services in Beijing. Sinopec's first battery swap station for heavy trucks went into operation. Phillips 66 and H2 Energy Europe formed JET H2 Energy as a joint venture to build a European network of hydrogen refueling stations. Renault and Phoenix Mobility are launching an electric retrofit of commercial vehicles. And Hitachi is trialing a smart mobility app in Genoa, Italy, using Bluetooth and AI to connect all transport modes.
📍Go to Market. Baidu and Pony.ai received the green light to pilot a commercial robotaxi operation in Beijing. Baidu also revealed the electric robotaxi that it plans to deploy at scale across China. 7-Eleven and PABLO AIR pilot drone deliveries in South Korea. Aston Martin is looking at Mercedes, Rimac, and Lucid’s EV platforms for its upcoming vehicles. Zoox, Amazon’s autonomous robotaxi company, shared that it has self-certified its vehicle meets US federal standards and applied for a permit in California to test-drive it. Motional, an autonomous tech company, expanded its testing to San Diego. Finally, Elon Musk said that Tesla could start Cybertruck deliveries in mid-2023.
💼 Business. Effective next year, Bosch plans to reorganize its Mobility Solutions business into a business sector with profit and loss responsibility. Aston Martin shared its redesigned emblem as the brand moves towards an electrified future. And Lyft Rentals shut down as the ride-sharing company lays off about 60 people.
✨ Investments. Qualcomm Ventures, the VC arm of Qualcomm, invested in ThunderX, a China-based company specializing in vehicle computing platforms. Renesas, a semiconductor company, announced the completion of its acquisition of Reality AI, an embedded AI solutions company. EV Technology Group has reportedly funneled $55 million into MOKE International to expand the reach of its open-top electric mini-cars. Gbike, a South Korea-based e-scooter company, acquired Hyundai’s micromobility platform ZET. Stellantis' Free2Move acquires the BMW/Mercedes mobility venture Share Now. Finally, Yamaha increased its investment in an autonomous technology firm, TIER IV, to accelerate its commercialization.
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