National Vision of Universal Civil Registration, 2 million industry ready biotechnology manpower, a US$400 billion electronic manufacturing industry and the list goes on… Now if you are wondering what these are, let me clarify, these are what India is aiming to achieve by 2020. After doing an intensive survey, I have listed some of the aspirations-to-be-met by 2020 of major automobile companies! (sadly, the world of automobiles interest me more than the nation) Let’s have a look at what Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Toyota, Tata Motors, Hyundai, Renault, General Motors and Honda have in their bucket list before hitting on the landmark year;2020.
Volkswagen has got a huge hydrogen car programme ongoing wherein a lot of cars are being tested with a fuel cell stack, however mass production of hydrogen run vehicles is not expected before 2020 as the technology is very expensive and reliability is lesser as compared to conventional vehicles.
An interesting correlation between using hydrogen to run vehicles and energy conversion leading to efficience is being drawn by Rudolf Krebs, group commissioner for the electric drive system of the VW group.
He pointed out that although hydrogen had the benefits of zero tailpipe emissions and none of the driving range issues attached to battery-electric vehicles, there are still concerns over the efficiency of producing the energy.
“We still have the problem that hydrogen mobility only makes sense if you use green energy – you have to use green electricity, then convert it from electric to hydrogen, during which you lose about 40 per cent of the initial energy,” explained Krebs.
“Then you have to compress the hydrogen to 700bar to store it in the vehicle, which costs you further efficiency. After that, you have to convert the hydrogen back to electricity through the vehicle’s fuel cell, which brings another efficiency loss. In the end, from your original 100 per cent electric energy, you end up with between 30 and 40 per cent efficiency.”
Mercedes-Benz has plans of introducing at least 10 new models by 2020 to meet its goal of becoming the largest and most profitable maker of luxury vehicles. Daimler has plans in store to start selling a self-driving car by 2020 to help its Mercedes-Benz brand regain the top spot among premium car brands.
Cruising the highway and maneuvering the traffic while the driver relaxes are top on the list of automated driving functions that Mercedes-Benz is focusing on. In more difficult situations, the car would switch back the control to the driver.
BMW plans to build 100,000 electric cars by 2020 to meet the ever increasing emission standards in Europe.
BMW is also collaborating with Daimler and Renault-Nissan to develop the world’s first affordable electric vehicle, mass production of which is expected to start in 2017.
Toyota has never been much into lithium ion batteries, and has a plan in place to replace them with solid-state batteries that are three-to-four times more powerful. Toyota will commercialize solid-state batteries around 2020 and lithium air batteries – which offer a fivefold increase for the same weight – could follow several years later, said Shigeki Suzuki, managing officer for material engineering. Suzuki didn’t offer details on a rollout plan or vehicle volumes.
Tata Motors had recently announced HORIZONEXT strategy, based on intense product focus, world-class quality and manufacturing, enriched customer purchase experience and a consistent, robust after-sales service, to drive growth.
The company is working on a slew of new products, with a plan running up to 2020; this includes appropriate focus on alternate fuels, hybrids and electric vehicles.
South Korean automobile manufacturer, Hyundai has said it aims to boost its European market share by almost half by the end of the decade, in response to the increasing demand in the region with new models and expanded production capacity.
Customers will be wooed with 22 new models and derivatives over the next four years, including an all-new version of the i10 minicar.
Renault says the electric-powered Next Two, which may be ready for the world as soon as 2020, will help city commuters by being programmed to self-drive in traffic to speeds up to 18 miles per hour. Other perks include self-parking (for the parallel-parking impaired) and connectivity via a high-speed broadband network. The car also improves on safety and work efficiency.
General Motors Co and Honda Motor Co will jointly develop hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle systems over the next seven years, the latest alliance in an industry wide effort to cut the cost of the new technology while meeting stricter global emissions rules.
The two automakers, which announced the partnership on Tuesday, will also develop a refueling infrastructure that will be crucial for consumer acceptance and the long-term viability of fuel-cell vehicles.