The Current State of The Mobility Markets - The Road to Autonomy

The Current State of The Mobility Markets

Pete Bigelow, Senior Reporter, Automotive News joined Grayson Brulte on The Road to Autonomy podcast to discuss the current state of the mobility markets. Markets that are in flux with EV sales falling, GM rebooting Cruise, while Waymo scales robo-taxi operations and the autonomous truck industry prepares to launch commercial operations.

The conversation begins with Pete sharing his insights into the electric vehicle market with the backdrop of 5,000 U.S. car dealers sending a second letter to President Biden urging the administration to “hit the brakes” on the EV push. Are these dealers urging The President to hit the brakes because non-Tesla EVs are simply not selling?

The EV market can’t be lumped into a monolith, it’s really how certain companies are approaching a change from early adopters to mass-market consumers and that’s where we get into the nitty gritty of a potential slowdown.

– Pete Bigelow

Tesla with an EV U.S. marketshare north of 55% continues to dominate the market. Raising the question, is there even an EV market in the U.S.? Or is the market for electric vehicles in the U.S., simply Tesla?

Tesla is running away with the domestic market right now.

– Pete Bigelow

Could this change when BYD enters the U.S. market? If and when BYD enters the U.S. market, they will be able to undercut the Detroit automakers as their cost structure is dramatically lower. Is an $18,000 EV the tipping point that supercharges the EV market to the detriment of Detroit?

Or does the potential Apple Car become the tipping point? The average Apple user spends 5 hours a day on their Apple devices. Spending more time in an Apple car would only help Apple strengthen their ecosystem and grow the services business.

That’s the promise of the Apple Car, they are just going to capture your attention in one more living space.

– Pete Bigelow

A company that has captured the attention of the industry, regulators and the overall automotive market is Cruise. The company is in the midst of a reboot following an unfortunate incident. How will the reboot work? What role will GM play in a rebooted Cruise? Will GM be forced to rebrand Cruise as they look to rebuild public trust? Grayson and Pete discuss a myriad of possible scenarios.

While GM works on a reboot plan for Cruise, Waymo is expanding. When Waymo officially expands operations in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, they will be operating in a 635 square mile ODD (operational design domain). This will be the largest deployment of autonomous vehicles anywhere in the world.

Soon the autonomous trucking industry could surpass the Waymo deployment as the industry prepares to launch driver-out commercial operations later this year. The autonomous trucking industry is growing and new partnerships are being developed that will impact the industry long-term.

Wrapping up the conversation, Pete shares what he is watching in the mobility markets this year.

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Recorded on Friday, January 26, 2024