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Are self-driving projects over-hyped?

Ford invested US$1 billion in autonomous driving startup Argo AI in 2017, and Volkswagen later joined with a $2.6 billion investment. It was an attempt to match the hype surrounding rivals such as Apple, Google, General Motors, Lyft, Uber, and Tesla. At its height, Argo AI was reportedly valued at $12.4 billion. But in October 2022 Argo AI shut down.

Meanwhile, GM is looking to expand its autonomous-driving business, which it believes is key to the future of the auto maker. (Barrons)


Google’s Year in Search 2022 report shows evidence of a fast growing trend towards purchasing electric vehicles

Excerpt from Google’s Year in Search 2022 report  »

Concerned about the future, people are looking for items and experiences that provide good value. But value goes beyond price point. It also covers brand trustworthiness as measured by reviews, product popularity, and sustainable options.

Google's Year in Search 2022

Google’s Year in Search 2022

State-level incentives for going electric hold more power these days, with sustainable-car buyers actively looking for savings and benefits. U.S. search interest for “ev tax” grew by 115% YOY, “cheapest electric car” by 135% YOY, “electric vehicle tax credit” by 75% YOY, and “cost to charge” by 70% YOY.

The specific attention to affordability follows a surge in general curiosity about the market, with U.S. search interest for “ev cars” and “plug in hybrid” growing by 120% YOY and 115% YOY, respectively. Meanwhile, U.S. search interest for “electric pickup truck” rose by 45% YOY, a sign of how the market is expanding to meet more needs.

“The auto industry is one space that’s poised for brand loyalty to be upended, since by the end of 2025 there will be over 150 new electric vehicle models in the market versus the 30 that are available now,” said Thomais Zaremba, managing director of automotive at Google. “With the EV market expected to grow five times its size soon, auto marketers will need to start investing in brand marketing for these new models today to ensure they emerge well positioned and top of mind when EV options increase for shoppers tomorrow.”

Auto isn’t the only vertical reflecting consumer interest in both sustainability trends and the savings they can bring. The phrase “cheap alternative to” saw a 30% YOY increase in U.S. search interest with breakout searches like “alternative airlines” and “cheap flights.” People are also more curious about saving energy at home, with U.S. search interest for “is solar worth it” rising 40% YOY.

Read the full report »

Thomais Zaremba, Managing Director of automotive at Google, made a similar point only a months ago.

It’s time to electrify auto marketing

Thomais Zaremba, Managing Director, Automotive, Google »

Flying cars may have been a sign of the times on “The Jetsons,” but in real life, electric vehicles (EVs) are ushering us into the future. Just as gas-powered engines replaced horse-drawn carts a century ago, EVs are disrupting the industry and setting the standard for the next hundred years of auto innovation.

In short, EVs are taking over. EV sales in the U.S. rose 62% in the first half of this year, and now make up 5% of new car sales. While this may sound small, it actually marks a tipping point for EV adoption. The shift to EVs could also accelerate rapidly, as drivers are still feeling squeezed by higher gas prices. In fact, searches for “best gas mileage” are growing globally by 90% year over year. And, according to industry analysts, about 45% of new car sales could be electric by 2035.

These numbers have helped automakers see the EV light. They’re investing over $526 billion in an all-electric future, which includes building new assembly lines and parts, learning to produce and store batteries, and preparing for changing tax implications.

But is their marketing keeping pace too? As brands work to get EVs in the hands of consumers, many auto marketers are still relying on an outdated playbook. Here are three ways they can rethink stale strategies and make their EV marketing as electric as their vehicles.

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