In connected car news this week were Honda, Zenuity, Toyota, Avinew, Greenlots, ANSYS, Metomoto, DropCar, BMW, ZipCar and Bosch.
Honda Top Seller of Passenger Cars
With retail passenger car sales totaling 667,762 units in 2018, Honda was the retail best-selling passenger car brand in America in 2018 – a first in the brand’s 49-year history – according to just-released retail sales data from Urban Science. Leading the charge was the Honda Civic, which continues to dominate as the retail #1 car in America for the third straight year. Civic also led all cars and light trucks in share of all-important millennial, Gen Z and first-time new vehicle buyers.
Honda also set its fourth consecutive record year for light truck sales in 2018, with big gains from the Pilot, record sales of CR-V, and continued leadership by Odyssey as the retail #1 minivan in America, now nine years running.
Zenuity Approved for EVs in Sweden
Transportstyrelsen, the Swedish Transport Agency, has approved the application from Zenuity, the joint venture between Veoneer and Volvo Cars, to do tests with self-driving cars on Swedish highways. The tests will be done by trained drivers, with their hands off the steering wheel at a maximum speed of 80 km/hour.
The routes that have been approved are E4 between Stockholm and Malmö, road 40 between Jönköping and Gothenburg, and E6 between Gothenburg and Malmö.
Car Prices and Interest Rates Up Up Up
Tightening credit conditions and rising vehicle prices continued to squeeze consumers in January, according to the car shopping experts at Edmunds. Due in part to an evaporation of zero percent financing deals, the average annual percentage rate (APR) on new financed vehicles hit the second highest point in 10 years in January, averaging 6.19 percent. This compares to to 4.99 percent last January and 4.22 percent five years ago. Additionally, the average transaction price of a new vehicle is expected to hit a near-record high of $37,150 in January, and zero percent financing offers dropped to their lowest level since 2006.
Toyota and Softbank form MONET for Mobility
Toyota Motor Corporation (Toyota) and SoftBank Corp. (SoftBank) have completed investment in their joint venture, MONET Technologies Inc. (MONET), with full-scale operations commencing today.
Specifically, of MONET’s three main business domains―1) on-demand mobility services, 2) data-analysis services, and 3) Autono-MaaS*―the joint venture will first roll out on-demand mobility services. On-demand transportation through regional partnerships and corporate shuttles will begin in fiscal year 2018 through cooperation with local public agencies and private companies.
Avinew, the InsurTech company reinventing auto insurance for the age of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles, is announcing $5M in seed funding. The investment was led by Crosscut, with additional participation from American Family Ventures, Draper Frontier, and RPM Ventures.
Avinew recognizes the safety benefits of new auto tech and is designing its insurance programs around vehicles equipped with advanced active safety features. Through Avinew’s proposed insurance solutions, consumers and fleets who own vehicles equipped with autonomous and semi-autonomous capabilities will have access to insurance that will reward them for using their vehicle’s safety features, and provide them with more value and a superior customer experience. Currently, select vehicles from Tesla, Mercedes, Ford, GM, Nissan, Audi, Volvo and more will be eligible.
Local Motors Australian Feet Challenge
Local Motors by LM Industries Group Inc., known for 3D-printed mobility solutions, is opening an Australian fleet challenge for its autonomous shuttle known as Olli. The challenge invites Australian municipalities, campuses, designated districts and transit or transportation operators to propose short-term, best-use scenarios for the self-driving shuttle, which is already operating along a thoroughfare in cooperation with a public transit system in Glenelg.
Greenlots Bought by Shell
Greenlots, a US-based leader in electric vehicle (EV) charging and energy management software and solutions, announced it has signed an agreement to become a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell New Energies US LLC, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc. With this deal, Greenlots’ technology and team become the foundation for Shell’s continued expansion of electric mobility solutions in North America. Together, the companies will offer best in class software and services that enable large-scale deployment of smart charging infrastructure and integrate efficiently with advanced energy resources like solar, wind and power storage.
ANSYS is making simulation even more pervasive through the ease of use and new functionalities of its newly released ANSYS® 2019 R1. From a revolutionary user experience in ANSYS® Fluent® to hyper-accurate additive manufacturing solutions to the introduction of groundbreaking capabilities in the new ANSYS® Motion™ product line, ANSYS 2019 R1 enables engineers at every level to develop the most innovative products across a multitude of industries.
With ANSYS 2019 R1, engineers can iterate concepts, simulate results and validate designs faster and easier without sacrificing power or accuracy
Metomoto Partners with AutonmouStuff
Metamoto, Inc., a provider of cloud-based automated vehicle (AV) simulation solutions, announced it has partnered with AutonomouStuff, a leader in advancing robotics and autonomy systems, to expand access to Metamoto’s AV simulation platform, Simulation as a Service. AutonomouStuff will offer subscription service packages of Simulation as a Service to its customers, bringing Metamoto’s technology to OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers and sensor manufacturers that would benefit from a means to train, test, debug and validate automated vehicles and technology safely in the virtual world before it hits public roads.
This announcement comes on the heels of Metamoto’s recent partnership with VectorZero, which enhanced Metamoto’s Simulation as a Service offering by allowing users to create virtual scenes at speeds of up to 10 times faster than previous methods and focus testing on the most critical situations, scenarios and edge cases.
More Parking for DropCar in NYC
DropCar, Inc. a leading provider of cloud-based “last mile” logistics technology, mobility services, and parking solutions for both the automotive industry and consumers, today announced that it has more than doubled the total available inventory for its Self-Park Spaces monthly parking subscription program in NYC.
EV-Only Areas in Rotterdam
Owners of BMW hybrid cars in Rotterdam can receive dashboard alerts to switch to ”electric-only” mode on certain city streets. It’s a partnership between the automaker and the Dutch city that the local government hopes can be rolled out to other manufacturers.//
Zipcar partners with Honda
Zipcar, the world’s leading car-sharing network, and Honda announced an expansion of their strategic mobility partnership. The agreement will add hundreds of new Honda vehicles to Zipcar’s diverse fleet, while focusing on supporting Zipcar’s university program in California and the expansion of Zipcar’s successful service in Columbus, Ohio.
In Columbus, a first-of-its-kind exclusive Honda car-sharing fleet is launching today, expanding Zipcar’s already successful program in the city. Zipcar first launched in Columbus in June 2018. Under the latest expansion, 30 vehicles will be in operation at 17 locations across the city, including a new campus car-sharing program at The Ohio State University.
In California, Honda is Zipcar’s preferred automotive partner at schools within the University of California system and select campuses within the California State University network. Honda will offer special rates on Zipcar memberships to students on campus and special driving rates to Zipcar members who use the 145 Honda vehicles located at dozens of campus locations.
Sono Motors Partners with Bosch
German mobility provider Sono Motors today announced its partnership with Bosch. The technology and service company will provide the Sion’s central control unit and a software-based solution for its intelligent networking. The electric car with solar integration – the first ever to go into series production – has been designed with maximum efficiency for the user, offering car, ride, and power sharing.
The Sion’s data connection with the cloud will be managed by a connectivity control unit (CCU) from the leading automotive supplier and by the Bosch Automotive Cloud Suite, which will also support a number of functions in the goSono app from Sono Motors. Cloud connectivity will also act as a basis for digital mobility services, such as charging electric cars and the eCall automated emergency call function.
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