Issue 9 • March 2021

Welcome to issue number 9 of the just-auto magazine

Questions for a post-pandemic future

As we emerge from the current global pandemic and its economic impacts, it's going to be interesting to see how company investment priorities look and the extent to which timelines, for example in advanced technologies, have been impacted.

Electrification is full-speed ahead, with a focus on the necessary vehicle systems and components - especially the batteries. Companies are certainly biting the electric bullet. As governments set increasingly aggressive target dates for mandating combustion engines out of the market, companies have to move. Many are opting to set their own targets for 'going electric'. The direction of travel is clear, but the path and execution comes with big challenges, not least in the area of batteries. Watch that space.

What of other advanced technologies? How close is autonomous vehicle (AV) tech? Some of the hype has been replaced with realism and the current crisis has probably put timelines back a bit, due to changed investment priorities. That said, it's still coming and there is technology and market real estate to play for. We have insights into the state of progress and key trends in our in-depth section.

I enjoyed the pithy summary via Twitter of AV sector investment and valuation drivers from General Motors backed startup Cruise co-founder Kyle Vogt: "The vanity metric: $30 billion post-money valuation…The real metric: 0 million customers…Wait… what?". In essence, he's saying it's a long game and only a very few companies can cope with commercialising this hugely complex tech and General Motors is one of them. Food for thought.

There's also a new corporate giant in town. Welcome Stellantis.

Stay safe.

Dave Leggett, Editor