Automotive media highlights - February 2024

Automotive media highlights - February 2024

The Briefing

19 February 2024
9 minute read
  Key highlights
  • Major auto manufacturers have released new sci-fi inspired car design concepts, giving us a look at the potential future of transportation. 
  • Automakers are investing in hydrogen-powered cars, but limited fueling infrastructure may pose challenges. 
  • High prices have stopped the average consumer from switching to electric vehicles, so manufacturers and governments are rethinking their long-term strategies. 
  • Industry experts are exploring creative solutions to EV supply chain challenges. 
  • New changes to UK tax law could make pickup trucks prohibitively expensive. 

Car design goes back to the future as manufacturers introduce new concepts with a sci-fi look. 

Tesla’s Cybertruck made waves with its bold, futuristic design elements when it was released at the end of 2023. Public opinion on Tesla and the Cybertruck has since shifted as a result of rusting and winter performance issues, but this hasn’t stopped other car manufacturers from jumping on the bandwagon with their own futuristic design concepts. 

One of the buzziest new concepts is Chrysler’s Halcyon, a four-door electric sedan that will boast an ultra-sleek, aerodynamic look. The tech inside should be just as futuristic, with a clear roof panel that also serves as an augmented reality display. Right now, the car remains a concept, so there’s a possibility that it won’t make it to production. However, elements of Halcyon will be likely used in other upcoming Chrysler models

Honda recently unveiled two new sci-fi inspired concepts: the Saloon and the Space Hub. The Saloon is an EV concept that will be the first in the upcoming Zero Series of vehicles. This line is estimated to hit the market in 2026. The Space Hub is a much larger vehicle that features a lounge-like exterior and glass roof. Honda has not specified whether they plan to produce this model in the future. While there aren’t many details available for these new concepts, the renderings are truly stunning and give us a look at what the cars of the future might look like. 



Hydrogen-powered cars may finally have their moment, but limited infrastructure will pose a challenge. 

Hydrogen-powered cars have long been touted as a potential eco-friendly vehicle option, but they haven’t quite taken off the way that electric vehicles have. However, that could change as new models hit the market and technology improves. 

Toyota recently made updates to its hydrogen-powered Mirai model for 2024, adding new safety features and design elements. Honda has also announced a new hydrogen-powered version of the CR-V, a popular compact sedan. The car is set to hit the market later this year. 


Major automakers GM and Honda have recently announced a partnership to produce hydrogen fuel cells at a plant in Michigan. These fuel cells will be used in the new CR-V. Many auto experts also speculate that these new fuel cells could be used in place of diesel-powered vehicles in the future. 

Despite these exciting developments, Shell has recently announced that they will be closing their California hydrogen fueling stations. While there are other hydrogen fueling stations in California, this decision is indicative of just how difficult it is to build and maintain hydrogen infrastructure. 



Affordability remains a major barrier to electric vehicle adoption, forcing many automakers to rethink their long-term strategies. 

Although electric vehicles are certainly all the rage in the car industry, adoption among the general public has been slow. Recent research from Consumer Reports indicates that 34% of American consumers have very limited exposure to electric vehicles in their daily life. 


40% of respondents were also unaware of tax credits and other purchasing incentives available for EVs. The high cost of electric vehicles has always been a major barrier to widespread adoption. Government incentives could help make EVs more affordable, but awareness is key. This approach has already proven successful in France, where the government recently had to limit a state-subsidized EV lease program due to high demand. 

Ford is one of many automakers that have been struggling with stagnant EV sales numbers. The company recently announced that they plan to shift their focus to more affordable EV models to better cater to customer demand. This comes after the company scaled back on their EV production in the fourth quarter of 2023 after missing earnings targets. 


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The auto industry is looking for innovative solutions to EV supply chain challenges. 

Supply chain issues have been another major barrier to EV adoption. Semiconductor chips and other crucial supplies have been scarce, making it difficult for auto manufacturers to meet their production goals. This has also driven the cost of EV parts up—one BMW i3 owner was quoted over $71,000 for the installation of a new battery. 


Many manufacturers are exploring new partnerships that will support more stable EV production in the long term. For example, GM recently announced a $19 billion dollar deal with LG Chem, a South Korean battery supplier. This deal will run from 2026 to 2035. 

Others are taking a more creative approach to remedy these supply chain issues. For example, Singaporean startup Nandia REM is repurposing materials from old commercial airplanes to build EV batteries. The US Department of Energy is also exploring a large lithium deposit in the Salton Sea region of California, which could support domestic production of EV batteries. The US doesn’t currently produce much lithium domestically and has to rely heavily on other countries for EV batteries. US lawmakers are even investigating Ford’s EV battery supply chain for potential security risks. 

A major source of lithium in the US would be a huge boon to automakers, both financially and politically. However, environmental risks need to be evaluated before tapping into the Salton Sea deposit. 



Pickup truck drivers in the UK will see significant tax hikes, which could affect future sales. 

The UK is currently one of the largest markets in Europe for pickup trucks, but that could change with new tax rules. In the past, pickup trucks used as company cars were classified as commercial vehicles if they met certain payload requirements, which resulted in tax breaks. Starting July 1st, 2024, benefit-in-kind rules will change, meaning that these pick-up trucks will no longer be classed as commercial vehicles. 


The UK government weighs emissions heavily when taxing cars to encourage electric vehicle adoption. Since many pickup trucks generate relatively high emissions, they will be taxed heavily and could become prohibitively expensive. This comes as the UK government is weighing new EV adoption incentives to meet its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050. 

Opportunities for deeper insight

The auto industry continues to grapple with the huge challenge of developing and marketing environmentally-friendly vehicles. The road to widespread EV adoption is long and complicated, with financial challenges holding both consumers and manufacturers back. However, this challenge has also resulted in innovative new ideas that will ultimately push the industry forward. 

Areas of particular interest include: 
  • EV design: Will futuristic models resonate with the average consumer? Can appealing designs help improve EV adoption levels? 
  • Hydrogen-powered cars: Will owners of diesel-powered vehicles make the switch to hydrogen when it becomes available? What challenges will consumers face when purchasing hydrogen-powered vehicles? 
  • EV tax incentives: How do tax incentives affect consumer perceptions of EVs? What types of incentives are necessary to facilitate adoption among the general public? 

Interested in launching a study on these trends for due diligence or strategic missions? Potloc helps you unlock reliable insights at the speed of consulting. 

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