2023 in review: this year's greatest innovations in connected driving
Safety, comfort and resilience — the three words that best describe the evolution of connected driving in 2023.
Electric vehicle (EV) adoption and the challenges that come with it is one of the biggest and fastest-growing developments in the automotive world this year. This momentum, as great as it is, also caused some serious ripples across the industry. It even added two entirely new terms to our daily lexicon — range anxiety and charging anxiety.
To get behind the good, the bad and the ugly of EV adoption, we are exploring four topics that highlight the latest advancements and challenges in the world of connected driving.
Range against the machine
You're probably familiar with range anxiety by now, but have you ever heard of charging anxiety? A newly branded term that's sadly becoming common for EV drivers, it describes the fear or worry linked to the availability and accessibility of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
In other words, it's being scared of running out of battery power with no charging station in sight. What caused the coining of the term is a combination of factors such as insufficient charging points, poor infrastructure and inaccurate range calculations by the EV itself. But help is on the way.
Stellantis, one of the world's largest car manufacturers, has taken a bold step toward addressing the growing concern among EV drivers. With the launch of its new Charging & Energy business unit, the move aims to alleviate charging anxiety by providing convenient access to charging points and tapping into the potential of greener mobility services, Reuters reports. Stellantis also plans to introduce a platform called Free2move Charge, which will grant access to over 500,000 charging points across Europe by the end of the year.
Joining the cause is Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Ltd. (CATL), a leading battery manufacturer that unveiled their groundbreaking Shenxing cell, a fast-charging battery with the ability to charge to a range of 400 kilometers (248 miles) in just 10 minutes. According to Bloomberg, the advanced power pack is also designed to perform exceptionally well even in extreme weather conditions.
If you'd like to learn more, we gathered some useful insights into recent groundbreaking technology in EV batteries and how they aim to remove charging anxiety from our collective vocabulary.
The car that truly gets you
Apart from causing all kinds of anxieties, cars are also advancing in making the driving experience more enjoyable than ever. From digital cockpits that are equipped with karaoke while you are stuck in traffic to color-shifting the exterior to match your mood of the day, there's little we haven't seen cars do, especially at CES.
One of the biggest announcements was made by BMW, who unveiled the innovative AI-powered color-changing car showcased at CES 2023. This groundbreaking technology allows the car to match the driver's preferences or surroundings, adding a whole new level of customization and personalization to the driving experience.
To give you a better idea of the role location technology plays in car customization, we explored how harnessing vehicle data can transform the in-vehicle experience.
Too hot to handle
Not reaching a charger in time can be a serious concern, but driving on battery power comes with another challenge that causes EV drivers to worry some more. This issue is heat. High temperatures pose a significant challenge to the durability and efficiency of electric car batteries.
As temperatures rise, the electrolyte inside the battery can deteriorate, resulting in increased resistance and decreased energy storage capacity.
This issue is particularly concerning in warmer regions where extreme temperatures are common. To mitigate these effects, manufacturers are exploring various solutions, such as improved thermal management systems and advanced cooling techniques.
Overheating batteries are a rising concern for EV manufacturers. To understand more about it, we investigate how extreme weather conditions affect the range of electric vehicles.
Filling the NCAP gap
No new driving technology can arrive without considering safety. And 2023 was no exception.
Euro NCAP, a European performance assessment program for safety levels in cars, provides ratings of safety levels found in new cars based on four key areas: adult protection, child protection, pedestrian protection and safety assistance. And it just got stricter. FIA Region 1 highlights how Euro NCAP updated its safety testing protocol for 2023 to include new systems and technologies on top of existing ones to improve the safety of passenger vehicles.
Carmakers are following suit. NIO, a prominent Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer, demonstrated its commitment to safety by achieving remarkable results in Euro NCAP's updated 2023 safety tests. In the recent FIA Region 1 publication, NIO's vehicles performed exceptionally well in various categories, emerging as a leader in car safety with two of their cars, the ET5 and EL7, being the first to achieve a five-star rating under the updated test protocol.
To uncover which technology helps keep drivers and their passengers better protected, we looked at how real-time information on road hazards enhances the safety assist functionality.
From alleviating charging anxiety to color-changing cars and managing battery performance in high temperatures, the ups and downs of EVs in 2023 have been as concerning as they have been fun.
But one thing's for sure - cars are getting smarter. Stay tuned for more exciting advancements as the electric vehicle industry continues to evolve.
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