Technology

Automobile Trends of the 2020s

Looking at How Cars Have Evolved So Far This Decade

As 2022 comes to a close, and we start to turn our attention to new things for 2023, let’s take a look at some of the best auto trends and developments of the 2020s so far. After all, you can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been. 

We’ll undoubtedly be seeing these trends continue into 2023 and beyond, potentially growing into even more innovation in the auto industry. 

Electrification

Auto manufacturers in the United States have been ramping up since 2017 to try and meet the high bar set by the 2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards for all vehicles they make. These standards include a required 54.5 miles per gallon fuel efficiency on passenger cars and light duty trucks. Additionally, manufacturers must accomplish efficiency gains annually until that 2025 deadline. 

One way auto manufacturers have tried to meet these strict requirements is to expand focus on the electrification of their vehicles. The 2020s have welcomed huge growth to hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fully electric (EV) options, so much so that you’re even likely to stumble across electric options at some used car dealerships.

As the 2020s push forward and 2025 gets closer and closer, expect growth by 20 percent or more. It’s clear we’ll continue to see more expansions to electric options in the very near future. 

Auto Industry Startups

Before Tesla made a crash entrance into the space, startup wasn’t a word that was often associated with the car industry. We would usually just acknowledge the same legacy auto manufacturers (Ford, GM, Dodge, Cadillac, and others) but Tesla has paved the way for more new, cutting edge companies to make noise in the industry, both through manufacturing and sales.

Two notable auto startups include:

  • Rivian – Rivian is an American electric vehicle and auto technology manufacturer based in Irvine, California. After receiving a $700 million investment from Amazon in 2019, Rivian made a major splash to start the 2020s with the release of the Rivian RT1, the first fully-electric truck ever released. This established Rivian as a major player in the electric vehicle space and continued major partnerships with Amazon should keep Rivian in a prime position to make major noise for the rest of the 2020s and beyond.

  • Carvana – An online used car retailer based in Tempe, Arizona, Carvana is the fastest-growing online used car retailer in the United States. With their unique multi-story vehicle vending machines being so recognizable, most people probably don’t recognize them for the disruptor they are to the auto industry. Removing the difficult elements of the car-buying process and connecting buyers directly with cars has enamored Carvana to shoppers, uniquely positioning them to lead the online car shopping charge into the mid and late 2020s.

Digital Platforms

The technology inside modern vehicles is placing increasing demands on the systems that support them. More and more this decade, we are seeing auto manufacturers roll out new platforms to support advanced functionality. Just like any other digital platform we use everyday like our phones, computers, or tablets, advanced car technology now requires regular updates to support new features or to optimize performance.

We are seeing more vehicles arrive to market with the capability of upgrading remotely, allowing the manufacturers to send the updates out to all vehicles en masse. As this technology advances, it will be interesting to see what new features and performance upgrades will come from these advanced systems.

Another factor to consider in the digital platforms of vehicles is the arrival of 5G technology. With the widespread arrival of 5G being imminent, the connectivity and functionality requirements will change as these 5G-enabled devices become more common. This is an interesting position for the manufacturers and a development to watch in the coming years, as there could be multiple transformations of the technology embedded into vehicles as more possibilities arise. 

2023 and Beyond Should Continue to Push the Auto Industry Forward

The 2020s have already seen many changes to the world and the auto industry alike, but the technological advancements and environmental measures on the horizon indicate many more are likely before we close the calendar on this decade. 

Following the trends in technology and connectivity will signal many imminent changes, but other things to follow include materials, metals, and other common car components. We are excited to see how automobiles continue to advance and push the envelope in 2023 and beyond

 

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