Childhood Dreams are Becoming Reality (pt 3)
With the FSD feature, structural and programming revisions, and scalable manufacturing facilities popping up in Texas and Berlin, Germany, Tesla has and continues to dominate the US and global electric car market this past year. No other car company seems able to compete, but it’s not for want of trying. New EV companies are rising, working to keep pace with Tesla’s record-breaking numbers and FSD admirers. Waymo, backed by Google and led by co-CEOs, Dmitri Dolgov, who incidentally worked at Stanford on the winning DARPA Urban Challenge team, and Tekedra Mawakana, uses hybrid (electric and gas vehicles) to advance the self-driving innovation map. Waymo focuses mainly on the San Francisco and Phoenix metro areas. The Chinese-based company, Nio, whose offices span across China, Europe, and the US, uses NAD (NIO Autonomous Driving) in their EVs, which uses a combination of cameras, sensors, and LiDAR to assist drivers looking for the self-driving option.
Although these companies don’t offer full self-driving options yet, Rivian, backed by Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Lucid, founded by Peter Rawlinson, who led the Model S engineering team at Tesla, Proterra, directed by Gareth Joyce, former CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada, are all attempting to introduce and advance their concepts, autonomous capabilities, and increase adoptability and deliveries. Dreams are coming true, and it is unstoppable at this point.
According to the 2022 State of the American Driver Report released in January 2022, 47% of polled Millennials are interested in buying an EV as their next vehicle. Gen Z followed at 41%, Gen X at 38%, and Baby Boomers at 28%. Men were more interested (43%) compared to women (36%).1
Even the good old boys seem to have noticed the public’s desire to make fiction a reality through the electric and autonomous vehicle movement. OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) like Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Dodge, Chevrolet, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan, Volkswagen, Daimler, Porsche, and BMW are investing millions of dollars in R&D and marketing advertisements each year to secure their financial futures in the EV market. Everyone knows Super Bowl ads are some of the most coveted and expensive slots on television. During Super Bowl LVI, seven companies, including BMW, General Motors, Hyundai, Kia, Polestar, Chevrolet, and Porsche, each spent $6.5 million for a 30-second spot to highlight top A-list Hollywood stars driving and admiring their own unique electric car concepts. The exorbitant cost does not even consider the fee for the actors.2
It is quite ironic to note in a short 32 years, Arnold Schwarzenegger transitioned from riding in the fictional Johnny Cab in Total Recall to portraying a fictional character named Zeus riding in a real-life BMW iX electric car. Fiction is now modern real-world science, and this science is meshing into our modern society’s social circles.
1 Doll, Electrek, “How many Americans expect to never drive an EV in their life? New driver report reveals it is more than you think,” January 4, 2022 https://electrek.co/2022/01/04/how-many-americans-expect-to-never-drive-an-ev-in-their-life-new-driver-report-reveals-it-is-more-than-you-think/
2 Mitchell, Newsweek, “Exactly How Much Do Super Bowl Ads Cost?” February 13, 2022 https://www.newsweek.com/how-much-do-super-bowl-ads-cost-commercials-nbc-1677924