Investors: watch these four automotive trends

Which automotive technologies should you put your money in post-COVID? The auto industry has always been innovative, and recent innovations have included electric vehicles, autonomous driving, connected vehicles, and shared vehicles. But which can we expect to bounce back better and thrive in the new normal?

1. ‚ÄčElectric Vehicles (EVs)

We can expect rapid growth in the EV market in 2021 across Europe, the US, and China. Tightening emissions regulations will further accelerate growth in Europe, and China is attempting to boost sales of EVs by exempting them from license plate quotas in cities. In the US, President Biden is pouring $174 billion worth of funding into US-based EV manufacturing and a network of 500,000 chargers, as well as incentives for buyers.

One name to watch is Rivian, a startup manufacturing electric trucks and SUVs, which could go public this year with a valuation of $50 billion, according to Bloomberg. Chinese EV startup NIO which is branching out into Europe also has great potential.

2. Connectivity

Connectivity could finally move beyond sat-nav and entertainment systems, as automakers collaborate with software and tech companies to create fully personalised and integrated connected vehicles.

Entertainment will remain an important focus, with audio and video becoming more sophisticated. Drivers will be able to stay connected to friends and family while their vehicles connect with the cloud to share diagnostic and driving data.

New safety features may also emerge, such as lane departure warnings, which warn drivers when they’re wandering out of their lane, or pedestrian detection, which could help reduce fatalities on the roads.

3. Autonomous Driving

Industry leaders like Ford, Tesla, GM, and Honda are showing real commitment to autonomous driving, with Ford set to launch an AV service in 2022, and GM planning to add hands-free driving to 22 of its products by 2023. General Motors has acquired Cruise, a startup creating innovative shared electric vehicles that are self-driving.

4. Digital Buying

It’s not too late to invest in digital buying. While it’s true that many customers will want to go back to traditional car showrooms post-COVID, the trend of going online to research and buy vehicles looks likely to remain popular.

Tesla was the first to offer direct online sales, with other industry leaders like Daimler and Volvo following suit during the pandemic. It’s also worth taking a look at Vroom, an NYC-based company that helps people buy and sell used cars online.

Looking Ahead

As travel increases post-COVID, automotive innovations are likely to increase too. Keep a close eye on trends in customer demand and startups that are capitalising on those trends. Also, keep an eye on changing rules and regulations that are likely to boost demand for certain types of greener vehicles. And finally, make sure any startup you invest in has energetic, nimble, and smart leaders.