Future Autos Will Be Electric, Long-Range, Costly & Have Some Self-Driving

The Molex global automotive survey ranks top trends and technologies driving “car of the future” strategies and business decisions

Molex, a leading global connectivity and electronics solutions provider, unveiled results of a global survey of automotive decision makers depicting top trends and technologies impacting “car of the future” strategies and business decisions. Survey findings validate the critical role of data, software and networking in enabling electrification and connectivity—identified as the two most important areas of innovation.

“It’s an exciting time in the automotive industry, and this survey underscores the accelerated pace of investment and innovation,” said Mike Bloomgren, SVP, president, Transportation & Industrial Solutions, Molex. “The results also reinforce our mission to design and deliver critical electronics solutions that form the central nervous system of tomorrow’s connected cars.”

Molex commissioned Dimensional Research to conduct The Future of Automotive survey in November 2020, polling 230 qualified participants in engineering, product, procurement, R&D, supply chain, innovation or strategy roles at automotive companies with at least 1,000 employees. Survey respondents were asked questions designed to help them visualize what an average new car purchased in 2030 might be like, including top features, initiatives and innovations.

Key findings include:

  • 91% of respondents say cars will be either fully electric (64%) or hybrid (27%)
  • 97% expect “range anxiety” to be solved by 2030
  • 94% expect cars to include autonomous driving; only 28% envision fully self-driving cars
  • 56% believe 2030 cars will be at least 50% more expensive than today’s cars

When asked to identify top areas in the overall ecosystem with the most potential to reduce the price of a 2030 car, battery cost savings (40%), software integration (34%) and manufacturing processes (32%) led the way. In addition, 96% agreed the car of the future will require manufacturing factory innovations.

Top Features, Technologies and Innovations

According to the survey respondents, the top three features most likely to be standard by 2030 are high-speed WiFi, wireless charging and car-to-car communication. In selecting the five most important innovation areas in the next decade, respondents picked electrification (38%), connectivity (33%), passenger safety (29%), quality and reliability (28%), and software-defined infrastructure (27%).

Moreover, 60% of those polled favor the ability to deliver innovation via software as a priority, encompassing the intelligence needed for autonomous driving, advanced algorithms to reduce energy consumption, remote updates of new capabilities and customized driving experiences.

Across the board, participants reported customer demand and technology innovations will impact future car developments, especially in speeding green or socially responsible initiatives, ranging from zero-emission vehicles to zero-waste production.

Tech Companies and China Gain Momentum

While 44% of survey respondents envision established automakers driving development of an average car purchased in 2030, 32% cited increasing traction by technology companies. Companies such as Apple, Google and Microsoft are expected to gain momentum because of their expertise in user experience and Human Machine Interfaces. Equally important is industry sentiment that China is most likely to produce the car of the future first, followed by the U.S., Japan and Germany.

Overcoming Obstacles is Prioritized

Overwhelmingly, participants report major technology challenges to delivering innovation, with 44% citing insufficient battery life and 36% reporting obstacles getting electronics and software to operate in extreme scenarios. Additionally, 33% reported challenges in attaining hard-to-find expertise in electrification, 5G, security and other needed technologies.

Molex Automotive: Experience Counts

For nearly 30 years, Molex has played a vital role in the automotive industry, especially in addressing demand for flawless interconnectivity of mobile devices and data services. In that time, the company has supplied more than 95% of engine control and powertrain connectivity solutions for a major automotive OEM. Molex brings its heritage in networking and longstanding reputation for product quality and customer collaboration to meet growing consumer needs across the automotive ecosystem, spanning electrification, Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS), automotive high-speed networking, vehicle antenna systems, connected mobility solutions and vehicle-to-everything communications (V2X).

About Molex

Molex makes a connected world possible by enabling technologies that transform the future and improve lives. With a presence in more than 40 countries, Molex offers a complete range of connectivity products, services and solutions for the data communications, medical, industrial, automotive and consumer electronics industries.