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The automotive industry is changing like never before after the pandemic. Automakers are looking for new concepts and designs for vehicles that can help consumers stay safe, from incidents and viruses, now and in the future. On the one hand, designing whole vehicles for the now may pay off, but once COVID-19 disappears, who will care? Well, no one cared before the virus happened – the majority of the world was unprepared for a 21st Century plague – and if looking to stay ahead of the curve (or under in since we’re trying to flatten the curve), having a vehicle built to keep its passengers safe from unwanted bacteria for years to come may probe profitable. Another profit slowly growing is the production of electric vehicles – when all one needs to do is plug it into an electrical port in their garage or with an extension cord from inside, not needing to risk infection at a gas station gives EVs a huge popularity boost and many traditional automakers are taking a closer look.
Here in America
There are several north American automakers currently working on the next big electric vehicle (BEV), and although some groups like FCA have a lot of popularity in NA, its origin is overseas in Italy, so hold that thought. The two major automakers working on EV and are native to us are General Motors and Jeep. We all know Jeep has big plans, driving an effort to produce a hybrid or electric version of every vehicle lineup. The new Jeep Wrangler 4xe is one of several to lead the pack. GM is also battling for EV grounds, stating that it would have 30 all-electric vehicles out by 2025.
Many of the vehicles we see on the road today come from the far east, and usually Japan, but Korea has a few also going green. Nissan, part of the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, is supposed to be leading the trio in electric vehicle technology, but if it fails to do so, Renault and Mitsubishi have plenty to share. However, the Nissan Leaf was released in 2010, there have been 500,000 units sold, so failure seems slim.
The Hyundai Motor Group, also known as “The Group”, and the umbrella company that Kia Motor sits under, is also aiming for a cleaner future. Hyundai Motors already has a 6-percent market share of all battery-electric vehicles sold in the world, with over half a million all-electric vehicles planned by 2025. Kia Motors is pulling out all the stops with its Plan S Strategy to become the leading electric car automaker, also by 2025, with 11 all-electric vehicles coming to the lineup.
Aside from the automakers going green in the east, there are those simply overseas, like Fiat in Italy, with an $800 million investment in the Fiat BEV 500. Joining them is none other than German automaker, Volkswagen, aiming to produce the first electric SUV on the market and spending over $80 billion over the next half a decade to develop new technologies and release 75 fully electric models and 60 hybrid models by 2029.
Daimler, also sometimes referred to as Mercedes-Benz, has its hands in different pockets. Another large German automaker with big plans, Daimler intends to release 10 BEV models and 25 hybrid electric models by 2025. Daimler is also in charge of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation, responsible for manufacturing Mitsubishi commercial vehicles, having produced the eCanter since 2018.
The auto industry is changing and going green at a much more rapid pace than years past. Some traditional automakers are just beginning, whereas others already have a large leg up. Are any of your favorites mentioned above? Join the discussion on NowCar social media.