Motor Industry Update 13 May 2021

Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid Volvo XC40 Recharge Plug-in Hybrid - Photo credit: Volvo Cars

Uber, Mobilize, RATP and Blablacar join forces for sustainable mobility with “Mobility360”

Uber, Mobilize, RATP and Blablacar, supported by the Boston Consulting Group, are co-signing a manifesto on urban mobility, initiated within the “Mobility360” project. This is a result of the brands shared vision, method and commitments for the development of sustainable and optimised mobility, that takes into account the needs of users, cities and operators.

The four companies have built together a new vision of urban mobility based on the following four pillars:

  • Having a positive environmental impact by reducing pollution caused by transportation systems, and reducing the carbon footprint of service fleets and operations
  • Promoting optimised use of public spaces and improving quality of life by fostering cities that are more welcoming and less congested
  • Ensuring all users have access to mobility services by developing affordable and accessible offers
  • Improving user experience by providing a safe, reliable and easy-to-use transportation system

Members of “Mobility360” will be studying the creation of new infrastructures that foster the adoption of green and shared transportation as well as the development of first and last mile on-demand shared mobility services, including complementary services to ensure service continuity during off-peak hours as well as at night-time.

“Mobility360” project members are calling for a more collaborative approach between operators and public authorities to encourage and supervise the sharing of information and expertise, and the co-construction of innovative mobility solutions to transform current urban mobility systems and develop, along with public authorities, a rich and innovative offer for all travellers towards decarbonised cities that are more prosperous and inclusive.

Ford and BMW in race for solid-state batteries

Following the news that Ford and BMW are leading a $130m funding round for solid-state battery startup, Solid Power, GlobalData’s David Leggett commented:

“As car companies eye much higher volumes for electric vehicles over the next five years, they are also making moves to anticipate next generation technologies, with batteries emerging as a critical area for attention. Solid-state batteries are in an early phase of development, but they could turn out to be game-changing.

“With this investment, Ford and BMW have clearly decided that the potential benefits of future solid-state batteries are well worth an investment stake.

“Other car companies are also investing in solid-state batteries for vehicles. Late last year, Toyota announced that it plans to build a prototype electric vehicle powered by solid-state batteries in 2021. Volkswagen is working with QuantumScape to produce solid-state batteries by 2025 and Nissan plans to start testing the technology later this decade.

“Replacing the liquid electrolyte found in today’s lithium-ion batteries with a solid one results in increased energy density for much lower battery recharge times, longer life, reduced fire risk and very much higher operating ranges – possibly as much as double that of current lithium-ion batteries.

“However, we’re not there yet with production-ready solid-state battery technology. There is still a lot of work to do to get it ready for manufacturing at scale. Indeed, some manufacturers – such as Tesla – are sticking to refining existing lithium-ion tech for now. Nevertheless, the whole industry will be closely tracking solid-state battery tech developments over the next few years.”

Volvo Cars’ global sales increase by 97.5 per cent in April

Volvo Cars achieved its 10th consecutive month of sales growth with global sales increasing by 97.5 per cent in April compared with April last year.

A total of 62,724 cars were sold, which is a substantial in increase from the 31,760 cars they sold in April 2020 and was largely down to strong demand in the US and Europe.

Sales in the January-April period increased 51.8 per cent compared with the same period last year.

Sales of Volvo’s Recharge line-up of chargeable models, with a fully electric or plug-in hybrid powertrain, remained strong in Europe during April, representing 42 per cent of overall sales in the region. Recharge cars accounted for 24.3 per cent of the total sales volume globally.

Half of British consumers are considering an electric vehicle in next five years

46 per cent of UK consumers who do not currently own a hybrid or electric vehicle would buy or consider buying an electric vehicle in the next five years according to a recent survey carried out by leading professional services company GHD. This increases to 66 per cent if you take into account those people who would seriously considering buying an EV but believe there are too many barriers to purchasing one.

The UK government’s recently announced ten point plan prioritising the adoption of EVs, shows that there are challenges to the rollout in the UK when looking at the survey results. Of those that are interested in buying an EV, 47 per cent said that they were not confident they would have access to a local and reliable charging infrastructure. This was highest among those living in rural and suburban areas, with 46 per cent and 52 per cent respectively unsure. 36 per cent were not confident in their ability to charge an electric vehicle at home, being most prevalent for people living in urban and suburban areas (37% and 38% respectively) rather than in city centres or rural areas (31% and 28% respectively).