Ford Motor Company invested $500m in Rivian this week, presenting an opportunity for the market leader in pickup trucks to collaborate with the first compelling electric pickup truck. Ford joined Amazon, who invested $700m back in February 2019, and Rivian have been clear that this does not affect their vehicles, the R1T truck and R1S SUV. Is this an example of the future of collaboration on electric platforms? Will the likes of Rivian and Tesla help the major manufacturers join the market and risk being pushed out, or be able to co-exist in the mid- to long-term?
Manual Gearboxes (or Manual Transmissions or Stick Shifts) are on the decline and this looks set to continue with the growth of electrification. However, in many car companies there are specialist engineers that put in a lot of work and pay a lot of attention to detail to ensure that the shifting experience you get fits with the overall driving experience. I give an overview of what is involved and just how complicated it is to get it right.
Tesla is still financially questionable from a profitability standpoint but is currently by far and away the leader in Fully Electric Vehicle sales. I discuss my opinions on where they stand at the start of 2019: is the Model 3/Model Y launch the step towards profitability? Does their product merit the hyperbolic praise it receives? Will the mainstream manufacturers pose a threat when they finally join the EV party wholeheartedly?
With everyone presenting their financial performance for 2018 and the winds of change from electrification and growing autonomy, there have been industry-wide announcements of redundancies, reductions and collaborations as companies look for billions in savings and shared investment in new core technologies. Is the industry on a downward spiral or will consolidation of the industry turn out to be a good thing?
"It's Not That Simple" aims to discuss automotive talking points and stories from the industry from the perspective of an automotive engineer. In this inaugural episode, the Geneva International Motor Show, or GIMS, 2019 is in the spotlight. It was a very mixed show, with mainstream offerings, future mobility concepts and ultra-premium hypercars. What were the highs and lows of the show? In future episodes, questions can be answered and topics can be suggested via the website (itsnotthatsimple.co.uk), via email or via AnchorFM.
March 12, 2019
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