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The future of cars is becoming an increasingly interesting concept. From alternative fuel to joint ventures, automakers and the technology they’re unleashing unto the auto market is becoming more and more like something out of a sci-fi film. We’re living in a world where automakers are not only competing to make the next best vehicle, but are seeking ways to provide mobility for everyone in various forms. There have been auto shows and flying cars and all sorts of things. Take a look at what happened in 2019.
How About That Merger?
One of the largest events to take place was the merger between Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and PSA Group. This past April, FCA made the proposal to the PSA Group, and in December the two have finalized a 50/50 merger of their businesses, effectively creating the 4th largest global automotive OEM by volume and 3rd largest by revenue. The new Group, presently unnamed, consists of Alfa Romeo, Citroën, Chrysler, Dodge, DS, Fiat, Maserati, Opel, Peugeot, Ram, and Vauxhall.
This merger is possibly the last large contract of 2019, but there have been many joint-ventures taking place in the last twelve months with one shared goal in mind – mobility.
It seems like every large automobile group or tech giant out on the market is working towards more ways to provide mobility to everyone, from the average consumer to those who live of life of luxury. A lot of the concepts that have sprung up were first inspired by the now popular ride-hailing networks Uber and Lyft. After Waymo went live with the Waymo One Robotaxi program in Phoenix, Arizona, it became clear that the next step in mobility would be creating fleets of robotaxis.
The Hyundai Motor Group and Kia Motors entered a joint venture with technology provider Aptiv in the past year, and by combining the industry’s most innovative vehicle technology provider and one of the world’s largest vehicle manufacturers, we got MoceanLab. MoceanLab is the first step this joint-venture is taking in transforming the automobile ecosystem into a world of personal mobility for everyone. The program is starting with a carsharing pilot program, like the Waymo One, called Mocean Carshare.
Every automaker is starting to see that the future is much greener on the other side. More and more vehicles are starting to come out with alternative fuel options, ranging from the standard hybrid to all-electric vehicles. Automobile group Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has been shy to get involved with hybrid technology but has taken steps in the past year to rectify that. FCA is working on expanding its hybrid vehicle lineup, and we can already see a couple of examples of that.
FCA invested $800 million in the production of the new BEV 500, the next-generation of the Fiat 500e electric vehicle. With the goal of producing 14 hybrid and electric vehicles by Jeep the automaker already debuted the plug-in hybrid Jeep Compass and plug-in hybrid Jeep Renegade at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show. Continuing to expand the lineup, FCA entered a contract with ZF to put their new next-generation hybrid-ready ZF eight-speed automatic transmission in future alternative fuel FCA vehicles. This transmission may pop up in the upcoming Dodge Durango with eTorque, the mild-hybrid system that debuted in the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL and the 2019 Ram 1500.
General Motors and Chevrolet are working on their own electric pickup truck and Kia Motors wants to become the next all-electric automaker. The declaration was made during the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show where Kia Motors presented Imagine by Kia.
There have been so many auto shows this year – there are a lot every year, but it feels like more this year. Out of all of them, one of the largest is the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show. There was so much cool technology at the Geneva Motor Show, but one of the concepts that stood out the most was the Mitsubishi Dendo Drive House. This is a house outfitted with solar panels that convert the energy into electricity and then stores it in a home battery to power the whole house. Excess energy can be transferred into a plug-in hybrid in the garage. Ultimately, consumers can have a neutral energy home, lowering utility bills being one of them and living a more green life.
Many interesting concepts popped up at many of the auto shows this year. The first Kia Motors all-electric vehicle may be the Kia Habaniro, unveiled at the 2019 New York Auto Show. Also making its world debut at the NY Auto Show was the 2020 Jeep Gladiator, a midsize pickup from the original Army brand. We also got a look at the new Chevrolet Convertible at the 2019 Specialty Equipment Market Association Auto Show.
Mitsubishi and Mitsubishi Electric showed off many of their own mobility concepts at the biennial 2019 Tokyo Motor Show. Mitsubishi Motors revealed a new PHEV, Mi-Tech powered by a gas turbine engine-generator and four electric motors. Mitsubishi Electric introduced another self-driving concept, xAUTO capable of fully autonomous driving.
Kia Motor and Mitsubishi Motors both showed off similar technology at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show. Kia Motors debuted new smart technologies in their vehicles such as a Real-time Emotion Adaptive Driving (R.E.A.D.) system that uses facial recognition technology and artificial intelligence to monitor the driver’s mood, or an upcoming self-parking feature for electric vehicles. Then there are all the flying car projects for personal aircrafts and aircraft ride-hailing networks.
The auto market is going to be a different place in 2020 and every year that follows is going to be more exciting. Join the discussion and enter the future with NowCar on social media.