The global transition to electric vehicles and autonomous technology means the auto-industry is going through a time of enormous change. Here are our top five predictions for transport technology in 2019:
1. Uber expands to electric scooters
With scooters the sustainable mobility trend of 2018, Uber looks likely to acquire electric scooter rental provider Lime.
Uber already has a minority stake in the company, and a full takeover is predicted to come soon – especially with Uber’s IPO expected in 2019. Lime is estimated to be worth around £2.35 billion.
Uber is also aiming for every car on its app in London to be fully electric by 2025, as part of its ‘Clean Air Plan’. From early this year, a ‘clean air fee’ of 15 pence per mile will be added on every London trip –all proceeds will go towards helping drivers to upgrade to an electric vehicle as well as other clean air initiatives.
2. Tesla’s Model 3 to become a best-seller
Tesla and its founder Elon Musk spent much of 2018 trying to boost production of the firm’s lower-cost, more mainstream, electric car – the Model 3.
If it can succeed at making the Model 3 at the targeted base price of $35,000 (£27,450), it’s likely to become America’s best-selling EV of all time in 2019. It will also set the bar for the UK’s auto industry in terms of new technology such as driverless cars, increased connectivity and computer-like screens on the dashboard.
3. Amazon blazes a trail in transportation and logistics
Amazon has led the way in shipping and logistics for several years now, with its Prime delivery service making super-fast delivery the norm for consumers. This opens up huge potential for it to trail-blaze cleaner forms of delivery such as electric vehicles and efficiency software.
The e-commerce giant already operates its own Uber-style on-demand delivery service, Amazon Flex; entrepreneurs can start their own delivery service through the Delivery Service Partners Network; and, despite some regulatory challenges, it’s still working on a commercial drone program.
In 2019, Amazon is set to grow its logistics and distribution network even further, to make it one of the world’s most important transportation companies – and it looks set to put sustainability high on its agenda too.
4. The auto-industry slashes more jobs
In 2018, General Motors announced plans to close down factories and cut back on workers, and Ford is expected to follow suit in 2019. It’s the inevitable adjustment of an industry that is being refashioned through technology, including electrification, autonomous tech, new access over ownership trends, and connectivity. There are likely to be more announcements of cost-cutting activities.
5. Trucks go electric.
2018 was the year of electric buses as transit agencies and schools turned to battery power to lower emissions, curb air pollution, meet targets and gain incentives. In 2019, truck manufacturers will begin to wake up to the growing market for e-trucks such as delivery vans, recycling trucks and cargo vehicles. This market will be led partly by e-buses, but it also will be driven by companies wanting to save on fuel and operating costs.
The sweeping changes in the auto-industry are opening up exciting opportunities for investment. Find out here how you can make a profit while also helping towards the UK’s cleaner air goals.