The holidays are officially over, which means it’s time to go pre-condition your EV’s cabin and sulk back to the gym to grind out the New Year’s resolution early and get that winter weight off. Or at least that’s what I plan on doing. But first, we’ve got a lot to talk about for today’s Critical Materials.
Today, we’re going to chat about tech. CarPlay in particular is something that many of us in the EV space already miss, and we may soon miss it even more as it begins rolling out to new cars, so as long as automakers don’t ditch it altogether. That tech requires a good brain to implement (well, all in-car tech does). That’s why Silicon Valley’s top talent is being siphoned by Big Auto. And, last but not least, your new Cybertruck can’t be resold, but who is stopping you from just renting it out?
Let’s get to it.
30%: Apple CarPlay’s biggest all-over update could come very soon and will face its biggest battle: OEM adoption
In 2022, Apple previewed CarPlay’s biggest integration revamp ever. That change will finally come to light in 2024 and at least two automakers have this revamped version of CarPlay: Aston Martin and Porsche.
Aston revealed that its current plan is to support the new CarPlay interface beginning sometime in 2024. According to Aston, the interface will debut on new models—presumably the DB12 and DB12 Volante—though the specifics are uncertain. The automaker’s implementation will follow Apple’s cookie-cutter approach but will reportedly still feature some bespoke customizations like the words “Handbuilt in Great Britain” around its speedometer.
Porsche’s specifics are more unclear. The brand has shared a concept image of how the new CarPlay interface is expected to stretch across its interior screens, though the automaker is being a bit more secretive about just how (and when) it will implement the upgrade.
And, as Car and Driver points out, given both brand’s relationships with other automakers (Porsche to Volkswagen Group, as well as Aston to Mercedes-Benz and Lucid), it feels very likely that CarPlay will soon spread to other manufacturers in the industry.
What we do know is that integration will be an uphill battle with some automakers. General Motors, for example, has sworn off CarPlay in future EVs. Tesla also doesn’t offer it, nor does Rivian. It’s not a popular decision, but boy is it a decision alright.
While Apple CarPlay is a valuable selling point to just about anybody with an iPhone, its new changes could hurt OEMs from a data collection standpoint. For those who don’t know, the next-gen CarPlay will begin collecting data from telematic sensors around the vehicle in order to display information necessary to the driver. This telematic data is all but invaluable to automakers—it’s what they use to determine when service is necessary and even customer driving habits (something that insurance companies would love to know, for example). Perhaps Big Auto is uneasy about giving unfettered access to an outside partner.
Either way, for automakers that plan on supporting it, 2024 seems to be the year for CarPlay integration to get a huge boost.
60%: Automakers are tapping Silicon Valley’s best coders to build the next big thing in-car tech
It’s almost that time of year when tech companies from around the world gather in Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronic Show (CES). Among those will also be automakers, because cars are turning into big ol’ rolling buckets of software. That’s not a bad thing, at least not for the day-to-day lives of most consumers. In fact, it oozes convenience, which is often a big selling point when someone buys a fancy new EV.
That convenience factor has bred a need for more competent coders in the industry. Now, the world has begun to tap Silicon Valley’s best programmers to work on their future cars.
GM in particular is investing pretty big in software. CEO Mary Barra confirmed last month that the brand’s current software team consists of “several thousand” employees. Some are seasoned GM workers while others have been plucked from the likes of Apple, Meta, and more. And with GM swearing off outside software stacks (such as Apple CarPlay, as mentioned earlier), that perfect in-car experience is more important than ever.
The auto industry is also expected to push toward the next big tech buzzword. As we close out 2023, that happens to be Artificial Intelligence (or Machine Learning, whichever you prefer to call it).
It’s predicted that CES will be riddled with companies touting their advanced EV powertrains and newest software capabilities, but experts also anticipate that AI-based features will soon be the focus of these companies—maybe not so much at this year’s CES, but perhaps future iterations. Whether that be in-car voice customizations, or planning your route based on habits or current events, there are many options that automakers could be looking to one-up each other on, and all of those require the best software engineers.
90%: You can’t flip a Tesla Cybertruck, but who says you can’t make a profit through rentals?
Tesla really doesn’t want you to flip the Cybertruck for profit. The automaker is threatening anybody who tries to resell their truck within the first year with a $50,000 contractual penalty that has come, gone, and returned from its order agreement. But who’s to say that you can’t just rent it out as a workaround?
Apparently, the internet is ready for this, as pointed out by Auto Evolution. A simple Google search will show that early adopters are getting ready to make their money back on their trucks by renting them out like the hype beast product they’ve turned out to be.
Back in April, to-be owners were expecting to rent their trucks out for around $500 to $1,000 per day on car-sharing services like Turo. That rate, before any of Turo’s hefty fees, would easily pay off a six-figure Cybertruck Foundation Series launch edition in just a few months. Other rental agencies online are also touting that they will be receiving a Cybertruck to rent out, feeding the truck’s popularity. After all, have you seen the reactions some popular CarTubers were getting with their press rentals?
Of course, that rate (and the hype) won’t last forever, but for those fortunate to take early delivery of the truck, a high-dollar rental could be the key to taking a huge chunk out of that car loan.
100%: The Hyperloop is officially dead. How will you build something better?
Remember Hyperloop One? The Virgin-backed startup aimed at providing an ultra-fast, ultra-futuristic approach to regional travel through a series of tubes (basically the internet, but for trains at airplane speed) is officially shutting down.
In actuality, Hyperloop One had a pretty good concept in mind. Even Elon Musk shared the sentiment—evident through a whitepaper published in 2013. By the following year, 100 engineers decided to jettison that idea to life. Nine years later, it wasn’t successful.
So where did the the Hyperloop go wrong? Was it funding? Large terrestrial-scale land acquisitions? Topographical challenges? There seem to be a million challenges in the way of building out something successful here, and it’s not clear exactly why the project ran out of steam.
But as Hyperloop One lays off its final employees it will also begin to sell off its assets. That also includes its super cool test track located in the Nevada desert.
Good news for anyone who thinks they can do better. For today’s brain-scratcher, let’s take the hypothetical torch and run with it. How would you build out a successful Hyperloop?