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AutoTrends Weekly

Aug 23,2017 By NewsTurbo  |   WeChat: NewsTurbo
News Highlights
Apple's ARKit could be huge for virtual car showrooms and online sales (TechCrunch, Aug. 17)
Demonstration zone of car sharing to be built in Beijing's Shijingshan District (China Financial and Economic News, Aug. 22)
Thriving sharing economy faces uncertainties (Ecns.cn, Aug. 22)
Internet and tech giants swarm to intelligent auto market; information security cannot be ignored (Chinanews.com, Aug. 22)
JPMorgan thinks the electric vehicle revolution will create a lot of losers (CNBC, Aug. 21)
Experiencing pure track driving spirit at AMG Driving Academy (58che.com, Aug. 21)
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Automotive VR/AR

Apple's ARKit could be huge for virtual car showrooms and online sales
Apple's iOS 11 includes ARKit, developer tools that make it surprisingly easy to build great quality augmented reality experiences. This could have an impact in the automotive world, since it makes it a lot easier to bring virtual showroom experiences to potential car buyers and automakers via ordinary consumer devices.
Virtual showrooms and AR demonstrations are now standard fare for automakers at big auto shows, and even in dealership settings sometimes with specialized hardware. But this use of ARKit brings it down to Earth – it's instantly available to anyone with an iPhone.
ARKit replaces a lot of hard-to-use and less-than-perfect solutions for doing similar things, but it's the system-level tools and quality of experience that could help it up the game for automobile sales, demonstrations and showrooming. AR isn't the only thing ARKit could make mainstream – online vehicle sales could benefit big time, too. (TechCrunch, Aug. 17)
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Urban Transportation

BMW: Shared BMW cars offered by third-party company, unrelated to BMW
A batch of BMW 1 Series sedans have recently became available to car sharing service users in Shenyang, Liaoning province. The vehicles are equipped with cutting-edge technologies including on-board Wi-Fi and facial recognition. Customers can pay just 1.5 yuan per kilometer for using each of the cars.
As Shenyang is where BMW Brilliance Automotive Ltd. (BBA) is headquartered in, it is speculated that the shared 1 Series sedans were launched by BMW as the company sets its sight on the booming mobility service market in China.
Responding to this, BMW has confirmed that the service is provided by a third-party company and is unrelated to BMW. As a matter of fact, BMW plans to introduce its own mobility service, ReachNow, in China in the near future. The automaker also revealed that it supports the idea of using new energy vehicles for car sharing services. (Huanqiu.com, Aug. 17)
Demonstration zone of car sharing to be built in Beijing's Shijingshan District
The district-level government of Beijing's Shijingshan District recently signed a strategic agreement with Beijing Automotive Group Co., Ltd. (BAIC Group) to jointly build a demonstration zone of shared new energy vehicles (NEVs).
According to a relevant director of the district-level government, shared NEVs will be launched across the Shijingshan District over the coming three years. The first batch of 600 new-energy passenger cars will be put into operation, along with the establishment of 600 parking spaces and 600 charging pillars.
In the future, the two parties will also conduct all-around cooperations in exploring green mobility services, data sharing, and the distribution of shared vehicles. (China Financial and Economic News, Aug. 22)
New Tesla features make car sharing easier
Tesla is implementing a number of features that aren't just convenient for owners, but also make its cars easier to share. For one thing, the Model 3 uses a smartphone app as the main way to unlock the car. Just approach the Model 3 with your smartphone on you, and it'll prepare itself for you.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk also announced another new feature on Twitter that the company has yet to implement. A Twitter user tweeted at Musk with a suggestion that "work" destinations in the navigation be attached to driver profiles, rather than just using the same "work" regardless of who is driving the vehicle. Elon Musk replied minutes later that all settings would be moved to the cloud, "so any Tesla you drive in the world automatically adjusts to you."
Not only would this serve households where more than one driver uses the car, it could also be useful when taking home a loaner or ­ even better -when a Tesla is being used in a car sharing program. (Autoblog, Aug. 21)
BMW and Daimler may consider merging car-sharing units
German carmakers Daimler and BMW may be in talks to combine their car-sharing services Car2Go and DriveNow, the chief executive of car rental company and DriveNow partner Sixt hinted on Thursday.
Daimler and BMW have discussed pooling their car-sharing businesses to better compete against ride-hailing companies like Uber and Lyft which have started offering pay-per-use mobility services that are more convenient than car ownership.
Car2Go declined to comment. No one at DriveNow was immediately available for comment.
On being asked whether BMW was in talks to combine its car-sharing business with Daimler's, a spokeswoman for BMW said, "We are in constant talks with our partners and are of course evaluating the strategic options for our activities and stakes." (Automotive News, Aug. 17)
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Sharing Economy

Thriving sharing economy faces uncertainties
Bicycles, umbrellas, chargers and even the gym… more and more daily necessities are being introduced to the Chinese market for sharing.
He Weiwen, senior researcher at the Center for China and Globalization, thinks the government and media have the obligation to guide the development of the sharing economy.
"It should be driven by social needs not by capital, but now many companies of time-sharing services are just chasing for capitals, just chasing for profits." He said.
A joint report released by the National Information Center and the Internet Society of China says the revenue from China's sharing economy market was RMB 3,452 billion in 2016, up by 103% from the previous year. It's expected increase 40% in the coming years.
"The enterprises should not try to obtain financing and carry out promotion in the name of sharing economy. The disorderly expansion will only lead to the fall of the industry," he warned. (Ecns.cn, Aug. 22)
China’s sharing economy
China is fast embracing the sharing economy, having come up with its own innovative resource sharing platforms to rival foreign counterparts such as Uber and Airbnb.
Many people see the sharing economy as a logical and positive development because it turns excess supply into revenue, and fits into the state’s larger initiatives to transform the country from an economy driven by manufacturing to one driven by services, by means of nurturing innovation.
Despite these advantages, China’s sharing economy still faces legal and regulatory hurdles, on top of issues with regard to consumer negligence, such as vandalism and hoarding of resources, particularly in the bike-sharing industry. While established industry players are putting pressure on the government to regulate both sharing platforms and users, the Chinese market as a whole is increasingly willing to share. (China Briefing, Aug. 21)
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Automotive Intelligence

Internet and tech giants swarm to intelligent auto market; information security cannot be ignored
The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) on June 13 released guidelines for building a national vehicle network standard mechanism (exposure draft), which says that the country will build an intelligent and connected auto standard system.
Responding to the guidelines, a large number of traditional automakers like GM and Changan have released their plans. Some Internet and information technology companies, such as Baidu and Huawei, have also stepped into the field.
With the rapid integration between the auto industry and electrification, information, communication, and artificial intelligence technologies, automotive products will become more intelligent and connected.
Meanwhile, industry experts believe that an increasing number of Internet and tech enterprises will enter the potential intelligent and connected vehicle market in future.
However, intelligent and connected vehicles face information security challenges, which are urgent issues to be solved and have attracted a great deal of attention in the industry. (Chinanews.com, Aug. 22)
Ford considering removable steering wheel, pedals for autonomous cars
A patent application from Ford Motor Co. reveals plans for a removable steering wheel and pedals, allowing drivers to either manually steer or clear the dash during autonomous modes.
The application describes a dashboard assembly with a "receiving niche" that can receive the removable steering wheel or a removable "filler module" for when the wheel is not in use.
Autonomous vehicles won't require the use of a steering wheel to pilot a vehicle, Ford inventors said in the filing, but losing one altogether would present major design challenges. Most vehicle design incorporates the driver-side airbag in the steering wheel, and eliminating the tool would make it difficult to regain control of the vehicle in an emergency situation.
Ford plans to mount the removable wheel to the cockpit on a splined shaft. The automaker is also considering a steer-by-wire system for the wheel, composed of a feedback motor, sensors and a bearing-mounted stub shaft. (Automotive News, Aug. 18)
Fiat teams up with BMW in race to build 'robotaxis' and reveals plan to put self-driving tech into production by 2021
Fiat Chrysler (FCA) will join an alliance led by BMW to develop self-driving cars, intensifying a race by carmakers and technology companies to develop "robotaxis" which can be called up via smartphone and paid for by the minute.
FCA said it plans to put autonomous car technology into production by 2021, matching a timeframe shared by rival companies who are also developing self-driving cars.
BMW and its partners Intel and Mobileye said FCA would bring engineering and other expertise to the deal, paving the way to creating an industry-wide autonomous car platform which other carmakers could adopt.
FCA is also part of a separate alliance with Alphabet Inc's self-driving unit Waymo to develop self-driving cars based on Chrysler Pacifica hybrid minivans. (Daily Mail, Aug. 17)
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NEV Industry

JPMorgan thinks the electric vehicle revolution will create a lot of losers
Adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is set to accelerate, and that's going to run over a lot of losers, including within the auto industry itself, JPMorgan Cazenove said in a note on Aug. 21.
The shift toward EVs is set to be a multi-year process, but once there's a tipping point, likely on a shift in costs, the transition could take off, JPMorgan analysts said.
Adoption of EVs means much lower maintenance costs for consumers. Analysts see this as a meaningful risk for car dealers who rely on after-sales service for a large chunk of their profitability.
The lower number of moving parts can take a bite out of capital expenditure for the industry as well, and the auto finance industry could also take a hit, JPMorgan said. Oil will likely be another victim of the new technology.
To be sure, JPMorgan also pointed to some winners from the sea changes, particularly the semiconductor industry. It also said it expected consumers, and consumer spending, would be winners. (CNBC, Aug. 21)
China prohibits EV joint ventures from using foreign partner brands
China's National Development and Reform Commission recently rejected an application by an electric vehicle joint venture between Volkswagen and JAC to use SEAT, the name of Volkswagen’s subsidiary in Spain, the Financial Times (FT) reported on Aug. 20.
"The commission’s decision is the first step in making automakers use local brand names," said one source about why the decision was made.
In addition, some commented that it was a clear obstacle for foreign companies to keep them from going ahead of local companies by brand name in the Chinese electric or hybrid car market.
It is said that the decision applies only to the newly established Volkswagen-JAC joint venture and is not expected to be retroactive to joint ventures founded before. (Business Korea, Aug. 22)
Electric vehicle goals ignore some scientific facts and statistics
With today’s constant discussions surrounding climate change, everyone from politicians to companies is reaching for an easy win. However, they often ignore the realities of science and make for bad public policy.
Electric vehicles are expensive for most customers and aren’t necessarily better for the environment. The most glaring problem with electric commitments is that they aren’t “greener.” EVs cause their own share of pollution, and the more electric batteries that are produced, the bigger their share becomes.
Even as companies and governments strive for green goals, they often ignore the fact that fossil fuels are becoming cleaner, and will remain main sources of energy for many decades to come.
A better approach would be to allow the market to work without EV tax incentives. Through ongoing scientific innovation, and as batteries become more efficient, safer and cheaper, consumers will purchase EVs based on its own merits, not subsidies. (Forbes, Aug. 21)
Ford, China's Zotye Auto plan JV to build electric vehicles
Ford Motor is exploring setting up a 50-50 joint venture with Chinese firm Anhui Zotye Automobile Co to build electric passenger vehicles in China under a new brand, tapping into a boom for such vehicles in the world's top auto market.
Ford said in a statement on Aug. 22 that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Zotye Auto to build a new brand under which the EVs will be sold.
It did not provide details of financial commitments nor say by when it will take a firm decision on the JV.
The potential JV would represent a deepening of commitment to electric vehicles in China by Ford. (Reuters, Aug. 22)
Continental introduces new wheel and braking concept for electric vehicles
Continental is expanding its solution portfolio for EVs, developing the New Wheel Concept to meet the specific requirements of these vehicles. The wheel rim consists of two aluminum (Al) parts, the inner Al carrier star with the Al brake disk and the outer Al rim well with the tire.
In contrast to conventional wheel brakes, the New Wheel Concept brake engages the Al disk from the inside. This allows it to have a particularly large diameter, which benefits the braking performance.
The dual New Wheel Concept also reduces the weight of the wheel and brake and cuts service costs due to a lifetime brake disk and an easy brake pad change, according to the group. (Traction, Aug. 17)
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Motorsports

Urban SUV experience track takes shape
A reporter visited Jinhua's new energy automotive town on Aug. 21, finding that its urban SUV experience track has taken shape. Construction of this project will round off soon.
The local cultural park featuring NEVs will also include an international karting circuit and safe driving experience zone. (Jinhua Daily, Aug. 22)
Experiencing pure track driving spirit at AMG Driving Academy
A journalist with 58che.com recently took part in an AMG Driving Academy event at the Beijing Goldenport International Circuit, where participants practiced their skills of driving high-performance cars in a selection of Mercedes-AMG vehicles, with the help of professional instructors.
The Mercedes-AMG A 45 4MATIC adopts a compact body design and features the brand’s signature 4MATIC system, designed for easy handling and improved lap racing performance.
The Mercedes-AMG CLA 45 4MATIC displayed its excellent body control and exceptional road grip while maintaining remarkable agility.
The Mercedes-AMG GLA 45 4MATIC was available for driving at the event, amazing participants with its intelligent, aerodynamic design for driving dynamism and ride comfort.
The Mercedes-AMG C 63 S Coupe delivered superb comfort and great handling. (58che.com, Aug. 21)
Karts to drive onto 3D racetracks
A signing ceremony for commercial projects at the Changsha Moon Island was held on Aug. 18.Three sports-related commercial projects - the Moon Island Combat Sports Culture Park, Moon Island Kart Culture Park, and the Moon Island Football Culture Park – will be included in the first-phase demonstration zone of the Moon Island Sports Culture Park.
This also means that construction for the Changsha Moon Island has begun. In the future, karts will be able to drive onto 3D racetracks in the city.
One of the pilot projects for the "National Water Ecological Civilization Construction," the Changsha Moon Island will serve as a green, ecological, and dynamic community. (Youth.cn, Aug. 19)
BMW M Festival makes China debut at Shanghai International Circuit in Aug.
The BMW M Festival was held at the Shanghai International Circuit from Aug. 18-20. The event is specially designed for BMW M fans in China.
The BMW M Festival featured three stages - M racetrack experience, M culture experience, and M fans carnival. More than 60 BMW M cars, including the BMW M6 GT3 and the second-generation M3, were present at the event.
The China debut of the BMW M Festival indicates BMW M’s upgraded brand strategy for the Chinese market. (Cheshi.com, Aug. 18)
Cross rally in Qinghai: plateau carnival attracts many participants
On Aug. 13, the second China Qinghai Lake Plateau Cross Rally Elite Championship concluded in Gonghe county, Hainan prefecture, Qinghai province.
The 800km, four-day cross-country rally event covered all kinds of terrains such as desert, prairie, and hilly areas. Held at an average altitude of more than 3,000 meters above sea level, the competition, which is considered the highest in China's car rally championship history in altitude, boasts "the most beautiful race track in China."
Many local residents were attracted by the exhilarating event and took part in the off-road carnival. Aside from drawing attention, the race was also aimed at promoting local cross-country sport.
In recent years, Qinghai’s sports, culture, and tourism industries have benefited from a series of sports events, including the China Qinghai Lake Plateau Cross Rally Elite Championship. (Autotimes, Aug. 18)