Global Auto Market Shows Recovery, McLaren Applies Racing Tech to Road Vehicles and More
The global auto market experienced a 25.1% year-on-year growth in April, signaling a recovery from the previous year. The supply shortages related to the semiconductor crisis have eased, leading to increased vehicle availability.
According to GlobalData, the global light vehicle annualized selling rate reached 86 million units/year in April, up from 84 million units/year in March.
Markets such as the US, China, Western Europe, and Eastern Europe witnessed positive year-on-year sales growth. Thanks to the easing supply constraints and improved deliveries.
McLaren Applied Transforms Racing Technology for Road Vehicles
McLaren Applied, a supplier of automotive-grade components, has taken inspiration from its work in Formula E to enhance road vehicles. In response to the growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs), McLaren Applied has developed an 800-volt Silicon Carbide inverter.
This advanced inverter supports ultra-fast charging and optimizes powertrain efficiency. By leveraging design cues from Formula 1 and Formula E, McLaren Applied has adapted racing technology for the global auto market.
The silicon carbide inverter promises improved performance and efficiency for battery-powered vehicles.
Toyota’s Clever Strategy: Plug-in Hybrid Option for Lexus RX
Recognizing that not all buyers are ready for fully electric vehicles. Toyota has adopted a smart strategy for its Lexus SUVs. The new Lexus RX offers a plug-in hybrid powertrain, providing customers with an alternative to electric vehicles.
While hybrids have been popular in Asia and Europe, North American customers have traditionally shown less interest. However, the tide is changing, and both hybrid and electric models are gaining traction in the market.
Renault’s Impressive EV Progress: The Lecky Megane
Renault’s electric vehicle offerings have come a long way, as evidenced by the Lecky Megane. Unlike Renault’s earlier EV, the Zoe, which had a limited range and lightweight construction, the Megane represents a significant improvement.
With a larger size, longer range, and a more solid and well-trimmed design, the Megane bridges the gap between a C-segment hatchback and an SUV.
Although the Megane is not purpose-built as an EV, it is available exclusively as a battery electric vehicle in the UK. It is also showcasing Renault’s commitment to electrification.
Stellantis’ Future Models for Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroen, Dodge, and DS
Stellantis, the automotive conglomerate, is developing new models for its various brands. Abarth, Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Citroen, Dodge, and DS will all see new vehicles in their lineups.
The company aims to cater to diverse market segments and deliver innovative offerings to meet customer demand.
ICE Engines Remain Relevant: Toyota’s Flexible Engine Line in Kentucky
Despite the electric vehicle hype, internal combustion engines (ICEs) are still in demand, and Toyota’s US operation recognizes this. Toyota has invested $145 million to establish a flexible engine line at its Kentucky plant.
This line has the unique capability to produce three different engine types simultaneously, making it the only Toyota plant in North America with this flexibility.
Toyota aims to align with market shifts and increase hybrid volume as needed to meet customer demand.
BMW’s EV Plans: Next Generation Electric Vehicles in China
BMW has announced its plans to produce its next generation of electric vehicles, known as Neue Klasse, in China. The company’s joint venture, BMW Brilliance Automotive (BBA), will commence production of the new EV range in Shenyang, Liaoning province, in 2026.
The move strengthens BMW’s presence in the largest EV market worldwide. Additionally, BMW plans to invest CNY10 billion ($1.4 billion) in a new battery factory in China, scheduled to start commercial production in 2026.
Changan Becomes Continental’s First Customer for Electronic Brake Systems
Chinese automaker Changan has become the first customer for Continental’s latest generation of electronic brake systems for Electronic Stability Control (ESC). This marks the global series production debut of Continental’s MK 120 ESC.
The new electronic brake system will be manufactured at Continental’s Shanghai plant. Changan, one of China’s prominent automakers. Has set a sales target of 2.8 million units for 2023 in global auto market.
Tesla’s Expansion Plans: Shanghai Plant and Proposed Factory in India
Tesla has submitted an application for regulatory clearance to expand its Shanghai Gigafactory. The potential expansion aims to increase the plant’s capacity to produce 1.75 million powertrain units annually, up from the current 1.25 million.
Tesla also expressed its interest in setting up a factory in India to manufacture electric cars for both domestic and export markets.
This proposal comes after discussions between Tesla and Indian officials regarding import taxes reached a deadlock.
While Tesla did not negotiate lower import taxes, it suggested establishing a new factory to explore the Indian market further.
Former Apple Engineer Charged with Theft of Autonomous Systems Trade Secrets
A former Apple software engineer has been charged by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for stealing trade secrets related to autonomous systems.
Weibao Wang, during his employment at Apple, worked on hardware and software development for autonomous systems, including self-driving cars.
After accepting a job offer from a Chinese company referred to as “COMPANY ONE” in the indictment, Wang allegedly waited for over four months before informing Apple of his resignation, raising suspicions of intellectual property theft.
Hella Secures OEM Deals for Electrification and Energy Management
Automotive supplier Hella has received series orders from multiple customers, strengthening its position in electrification and energy management.
Hella’s customer projects include high-voltage battery management, actuators, and intelligent battery sensors.
Notably, Hella will mass-produce battery management systems for a German premium manufacturer’s e-vehicle fleet, as well as supply a local manufacturer of transport vehicles in the US.
Mercedes-Benz Announces Van Electric Architecture (VAN.EA) for Future EV Vans
Mercedes-Benz plans to develop all midsize and large vans on a single modular and scalable architecture called VAN.EA (Van Electric Architecture) starting in 2026.
This architecture, specifically designed for battery electric vehicles (BEVs), aims to streamline production by reducing the number of model variants compared to current internal combustion engine vans.
VAN.EA consists of three blocks, allowing flexibility in vehicle length, battery capacity, and drivetrain options.