Check out what CAR has been checking out! We asked some members of the Center for Automotive research team to share what they have been reading, watching, or listening to recently.

Tyler Harp

Industry Analyst

What Tyler is Checking Out: 

Tyler’s Thoughts:

I’ve recently had the pleasure of accessing a subscription to TaaSMaster, learning from Randall McAdory’s nearly four decades of automotive insight, and enjoying the discussions on the major disruptions rocking the industry. Many of the topics he discusses are topics we’re watching carefully at CAR. The posts on EV charging infrastructure and EV adoption, strategic differences between automakers in propulsion technology, and disruption to the status quo in manufacturing practices were particularly interesting to me.

On the EV adoption front, a major concern consumers voice is the lack of EV infrastructure, i.e., available and functioning charging stations. At the CAR office, there was a bit of a “chicken-or-the-egg” debate on what would drive the other: do EV sales drive demand for more charging stations, akin to how traditional gas vehicle adoption drove the growth of gas stations across the US back in the early twentieth century (see the Techhistorian link – an interesting read for more information)? Alternatively, has the equation flipped such that consumers now expect reliable and readily available fueling stations before they are willing to electrify? TaaSMaster seems to suggest the latter scenario.

As for propulsion technology and manufacturing disruption, TaaSMaster has a series of well-written posts. These include apt comparisons between automaker EV strategies and views of the future of the industry. For instance, there is a notable contrast between Tesla’s vision of a predominantly EV future and Toyota’s chairman’s more modest outlook, which includes space for hybrid, hydrogen fuel cell, and internal combustion engine vehicles. TaaSMaster further compares these two and others in an interesting breakdown of manufacturing processes – contrasting incrementalism/the Kaizen approach to EV start-ups’ “radical changes.” All well worth the read!

Alex Kulicki

Industry Analyst

What Alex is Checking Out: 

Alex’s Thoughts:

The collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge hinders the passage of ships carrying vehicle imports and exports. To provide a specific example, the Chevrolet Corvette is produced at a facility in Bowling Green, KY, then transported by truck to the Port of Baltimore before being loaded on a ship headed to the United Kingdom. The Port of Baltimore also includes various terminals that OEMs utilize to move vehicles between transport vessels, as well as facilities for pre-delivery inspection.

In 2023, motor vehicles and parts accounted for 42% of all imports into the Port of Baltimore according to the Maryland Port Administration. Vehicle throughput totaled 847,158 in the same year, and vehicle imports and exports accounted for $23 billion and $4.8 billion, respectively. Many automakers will need to re-route shipments of vehicles and parts to other ports for timely processing and delivery. However, Volkswagen and BMW both maintain terminals for vehicle processing on the east side of the Francis Scott Key Bridge and only forecast delays in truck shipments directed to travel along alternative routes.

Kwaku Prakah-Asante

Research Fellow

What Kwaku is Checking Out:

Kwaku’s Thoughts:

Software-Defined Vehicles (SDVs) are designed to enable an ever-evolving user experience. Yet, the question arises: Will SDVs provide new services and features that resonate with consumers throughout vehicle ownership? Furthermore, how will improvements in the connected digital cabin, driver assistance, propulsion, and safety contribute to this equation? Additionally, where should stakeholders position themselves within the SDV ecosystem to achieve substantial economic and societal impact?

Successfully creating, delivering, and capturing value for SDVs requires strategic interplay that encompasses understanding the requirements for hardware and functional components, software, computational intelligence, and leveraging innovative experiences to generate value.

Computational resources, sensing methods, Internet-of-Things (IOT), and connectivity platforms need effective architecture and development of operational systems. However, incorporating a platform without compelling features and services would be detrimental to the SDV value proposition. Incorporating Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML), and computational methods to understand the driver, vehicle, and environmental context is primary for decision-making. Effective means to obtain real-time feedback and learning approaches to personalize features and services require solutions in leveraging the SDV. For effective SDV utilization, capturing customer profiles and acceptance for enhanced convenience, safety, and performance is beneficial. An integrated system approach, with traceability, and nested feedback loops is essential for SDV development.

Stakeholders should incorporate requirements for product and service development, as well as the total ownership experience into the design process. OEMs, partners, suppliers, and policymakers should collaborate in the SDV domain to obtain critical insights and develop adaptive roadmaps to deliver and capture value for an enhanced ever-evolving experience for consumers.

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