The latest issue of our quarterly Just Auto Magazine is now available to download. The special theme for this edition is sustainability challenges in the automotive sector. Sustainability for companies in the automotive sector takes many forms. In Issue 14 of the quarterly magazine we look at new innovations and technologies that can boost sustainability.

The proportion of automotive manufacturing and supply companies hiring for AI related positions rose significantly in May 2022 compared with the equivalent month last year, with 64.2% of the companies included in our analysis recruiting for at least one such position. This latest figure was higher than the 42.4% of companies who were hiring for AI related jobs a year ago but a decrease compared to the figure of 66.2% in April 2022.

BEV sales in Europe have been on a rising trend, but high purchase prices and supply constraints may now be constraining growth. Europe’s passenger car BEV market more than quadrupled from two percent of sales in 2019 to almost nine percent in 2021 and for the final quarter of last year was averaging 15%. But that solid growth pattern seems to have faded somewhat so far in 2022 with the average monthly BEV share to May falling back to 10.7%. There are various reasons why this may be the case, the most obvious one being that the necessity for vehicle makers to keep pushing plug-in cars to the market to achieve CO2 reduction targets by year-end 2021 has receded in 2022 with no fresh target set for this year. That rationale doesn’t apply to Tesla of course, but sales so far this year don’t put them on track to beat last year’s achievement. And this highlights another possible reason for suppressed BEV registrations – a simple lack of product due to either parts shortages or, particularly in the case of Tesla, reduced output from its China plant due to COVID-19 related closures and hence a lack of available export cars for Europe.

North America extended its dominance for cloud hiring among automotive industry companies in the three months ending April. The number of roles in North America made up 49.3% of total cloud jobs – up from 43.6% in the same quarter last year. That was followed by Middle East & Africa, which saw a -0.6 year-on-year percentage point change in cloud roles.

Could improved structure and communication within the industry reduce the number of cyberattacks? We spoke to a cybersecurity specialist at Thales to find out.

Certain key models for Renault’s all-electric future are close to launch. Covid, the semiconductor shortage, the partial sale of Korean operations to Geely, a withdrawal from China and a sudden stop for Russian production – it’s been an eventful couple of years for Renault Group. As well as putting plans in place to deal with the difficulties, Renault has kept its focus on Europe, preparing the ground for a major offensive in EVs while also become ever stronger in hybrids. This new report, the first in a series, examines next generation models for the Renault brand.

The auto industry is seeing an increased focus on software-defined vehicles, and solutions that improve overall vehicle health management, safety, and performance. What does this mean for future vehicles, and how can manufacturers best leverage these new solutions? To learn more, we caught up with Yagil Tzur, VP of Products at Tactile Mobility.

Chinese electric vehicle (EV) battery manufacturer Contemporary Amperex Technology Ltd (CATL) said the first customers for its new Qilin 1,000km (620 miles) battery would be local EV startups Li Auto and Hozon New Energy Automobile. CATL is the world’s largest EV battery manufacturer with an estimated global market share of around 32%, thanks to its dominant presence in the world’s largest EV market where sales exceeded 2.9 million units last year. It unveiled the new battery while also announcing it had successfully raised CNY45bn (US$6.7bn) to fund manufacturing investment and further R&D. The company claimed the Qilin provides EVs with a range of over 1,000km (620 miles) on a single charge which is expected to be the longest range on the market when it goes into production next year. It was also said to be faster charging, safer and more durable than existing batteries. Its energy density of 255 watt-hour per kg is 13% higher than Tesla’s new 4680 battery.

Ford has confirmed that it will cease making the Focus model in 2025, in a move that threatens the longer-term future of its Saarlouis, Germany, plant that only makes that model. Ford said that its plant in Saarlouis will continue to produce the Ford Focus passenger car until then, while the company is also evaluating options for future site concepts. In Europe, Ford has emphasised the future role for electrified models – which includes its Cologne plant in Germany being a hub for EV production. It will build a new SUV based on VW’s MEB platform from 2023. Ford also recently announced that its Valencia, Spain, plant would receive investment for making electric vehicles on a next-generation electric vehicle architecture. Ford of Europe chief Stuart Rowley told media there is no additional model planned for Saarlouis when Focus production ends and that the company is evaluating alternative options that could even include selling the plant to another automaker.

Polestar has successfully listed on the Nasdaq stock exchange. The US listing marks a significant milestone for the electric-premium car brand that launched in 2017. The Nasdaq trading debut followed a strong start to 2022. Polestar recently announced record sales for the year to date, and robust global customer orders for Polestar 2, its all electric fastback, of over 32,000, an increase of 290% versus the same period in 2021. Polestar also increased its presence to 25 markets, up from 19 at the end of 2021, supported with nearly 130 retail locations. Polestar rang the opening bell at Nasdaq in New York City on 28 June to celebrate its debut as a publicly traded company.

Ooops. Not a position a supplier wants to be in. Production stoppages at two Stellantis car plants in France stem from shortages in components from German supplier Continental, two Reuters “sources close to Stellantis” said recently. Continental reportedly was unable to deliver its connected navigation and entertainment systems to a Citroen plant in Rennes, one of the sources said. The other said a Peugeot plant in Sochaux was halted because Continental had not delivered touch screens. The supplier reportedly declined to give its side of the story.

Cymotive Technologies said Ford Otosan Turkey had selected it to support cybersecurity compliance certification of the UNR 155 and 156 regulations and to maintain continuous regulatory compliance. Upon implementing automated vulnerability and compliance management products and other cybersecurity services, Ford Trucks will achieve vehicle type certification, enabling the OEM to sell its heavy duty commercial vehicles in countries requiring compliance with the UNR 155 and 156 regulations. Among other methods, Cymotive uses a digital twin to implement reverse image engineering to enhance and verify the data received from the OEM’s SBOM (Software Bill of Materials) in the compliance process. For real-time information on compliance status, the cybersecurity management product will support the truckmaker’s continuous monitoring for the years to come.

Have a nice weekend.

Graeme Roberts, Deputy Editor, Just Auto