Auto IQ weekly news, including Jaguar, Land Rover, Volocopter, Grab and Tesla
On the site this week, we're continuing our exploration of the four key CASE topics with an Automotive IQ Guide to Connected Cars.
Exactly what are the opportunities and challenges facing manufacturers in the rollout of the connected and automated vehicle? Find out here.
We’re also just about to launch our new online event, Autonomous Vehicles Online. The two-day event takes place in May, and you can be among the first to see the early agenda.
Here’s a couple of other stories that caught our eye this week:
Jaguar Land Rover unveils Project Vector
JLR boss Sir Ralph Speth announced his retirement recently, but despite some shaky results of late, his replacement can at least be safe in the knowledge that the firm has one eye on the future.
JLR went public this week with Project Vector, a connected, autonomous, potentially shared electric skateboard platform that can host various passenger or commercial bodystyles. The vehicle will begin public testing in the UK in late 2021.
It’s an interesting move, as we’re previously reported on a number of startups with EV skateboards that OEMs have bought significant stakes in – like Ford’s $500m in Rivian, or Hyundai’s $110m contribution to Canoo – but JLR is one of the first to publicly go it alone. Or does this make the firm an even hotter takeover target?
Volocopter and Grab investigate urban air mobility
Daimler and Geely-backed electric urban aviation start-up Volocopter, and Toyota-backed Grab, Southeast Asia’s largest on-demand transport service, have signed a memorandum of understanding.
The MOI says the firms will assess the feasibility of deploying Volocopter’s electric aircraft for delivering both people and goods in some of the region’s megacities.
Although the Hyundai-Uber tie-up got plenty of headlines, Volocopter’s electric aircraft has already flown, most recently in Singapore. Given the severe traffic congestion in Southeast Asia, and Grab’s knowledge of the market, is this the world’s most advanced urban aerial mobility solution right now? Watch this (air)space…
Tesla topples environmental protesters
Tesla is celebrating another small step towards beginning construction of its European Gigafactory in Automotive IQ’s hometown of Berlin.
On February 18, a court injunction ordered the firm’s contractors to stop clearing trees at the site in Gruenheide, on the eastern outskirts of the city. However, a higher court issued a final ruling on Thursday that the clearance could continue and the site could be prepared for construction.
Despite positive reactions when the factory was announced in November last year, things have turned, with various protests affecting the site, ranging from wildlife, water consumption and more.
Tesla has reportedly been struck by the level of protest still has work to do to mollify the local population ahead of the factory’s planned opening in July 2021, where it will build the Model Y crossover (above) amongst other things.