Expect the new automotive trends to keep coming fast and furious in this rapidly changing market that is impacted, in large part, by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Here are four car trends to watch in 2021:
No. 1 Personal Vehicle Ownership versus Shared Mobility
In recent years experts have predicted a reduction in the ownership and usage of personal automobiles. That means more people would be taking the bus, riding on commuter trains, or sharing rides. That is what was supposed to happen. But what a difference a year makes.
With the COVID-19 pandemic that trend prediction, like many others, has been toppled.
According to the M. Power by Mitchell while the pandemic has diminished the commuting needs of workers, many still rely on their vehicles around home for errands and for business travel and vacation. And they prize the privacy and protection of driving their own car.
“The vehicle, in many ways, has become our own private bubble,” says Jonathan Smoke, chief economist of Cox Automotive.
A safe, private bubble where you are not sharing air or coming in contact with the general public – these are features of sole car ownership that are now highly valued in this era of the virus.
According to writer Ryan Mandell, the trend is further highlighted by the fact that ride-sharing companies are evolving business models to put greater emphasis on the movement of goods.
One example is the Uber Eats platform. “Uber viewed this as such a critical aspect of their business that they purchased another digital food delivery service, Postmates, for $2.65 billion in July,” according to the M. Power website.
No. 2. More Electric Vehicles.
The increase in fossil fuel rate and the harm to the environment caused by their use has caused the automotive industry to shift its focus to electric vehicles (EVs).
Cars contribute to 15% of carbon emissions, and electric vehicles are addressing those challenges by offering a higher level of energy efficiency and reduced fuel usage.
In the history books, 2021 may just be the year of the electric vehicle (EV). By last fall alone there were more than 1.6 million electric vehicles on the US road, which is higher than the expected 1.4 million by 2024 and the trend is expected to keep growing in 2021.
In Europe alone, the EV growth will further increase – not due to COVID-19 but thanks to highly stringent CO2 legislation imposed by the EU, according to Forbes magazine.
Over in China, the government will reduce incentives on New Energy Vehicles (EVs, PHEVs, and FCEVs) by 20% but, at the same time, it will use other mechanisms like restricting ICE registrations to make sure EV sales penetration will keep rising.
And here in the US everyone’s eyes are on the new administration to see what it will do to boost support for EVs. While it will take more than 12 months to introduce regulatory changes nationwide, there is a good chance the existing EV tax rebate program is further expanded.
Trend No. 3. Connected Cars Expand Their Powers
With 5G capabilities slowly being built out and 6G on the horizon, vehicle connectivity has been a defining automotive trend for years.
Naturally, vehicle connectivity is vital to autonomous driving. Additionally, OTAs (Over-the-Air Updates), are a hugely important feature in the coming world of digital mobility, according to Forbes magazine. And research suggests that by 2023, some 90% of all new vehicles in the US (and 70% of light-duty vehicles and trucks worldwide) will feature embedded connectivity capabilities, according to Intland Software.
This won’t impact how technical updates are received; with more and more Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and increasing vehicle autonomy, focus is slowly moving to connected onboard infotainment.
According to Forbes Magazine, cars will carry some major advancements in connectivity in 2021. One being in-car shopping enabled by Connected car Internet of Things (IoT) platforms. These allow in-car marketplaces to cater to drivers and passengers so they can indulge in personal retail therapy (or order your favorite take out) from the convenience of your massaging seats
Forbes says features-on-demand will improve vehicle convenience, comfort, multimedia, performance, and safety.
Not only will this transform your user experience and push the boundaries of personalization but it will allow the opening up of innovative business models and recurring revenue streams for automakers. Welcome to the new frontier!
One slice or two?
Trend No. 4 Health and Wellness in Cars
Everyone’s on edge in the age of the pandemic.
Stressed out to the max.
So automakers, like other industries, are highlighting the importance of health and wellness – everything from addressing sore muscles to cleaning up the air inside of cars.
From massage seats in the front and back to features that detect if you’ve had one too many alcoholic beverages, to high tech air purifiers – all parts of the vehicle will be gone over to make sure your cabin is contributing to your top-level health.
In fact, car companies are developing built-in and brought in features that will make sure you and your passengers are enjoying the healthiest drive ever.
State of the art air purification will be one solution to ever-increasing air pollution in large metropolitan areas. Expect to see options introduced that monitor external ambient air quality and regulate in-vehicle air quality, according to Forbes.
Moreover, some automakers are even offering location services that provide allergen warnings, and biosensors that enable monitoring of glucose levels, blood pressure, and heart rate.
Other health-enhancing features for 2021 include even more ergonomic seating and control placement, muscle therapy through ergonomic seats with heating and massage features. Plus rear seats that can be configured to allow exercise.
So car travel is no longer an excuse to skip your sit-ups!