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Luxury electric vehicle manufacturers are eroding Tesla’s advantage



Luxury electric vehicle manufacturers are eroding Tesla's advantage

Electric-vehicle sales seem to be traveling in two directions at once.

On the one hand, that EV sales are rising and that it seems like everyone and their brother is purchasing one, yet these claims are swiftly succeeded by alarming news reports that show the complete opposite.

For example, Hertz Global Holdings (HTZ), a major player in the car rental industry, recently announced that it intended to sell off about one-third of its global fleet of electric cars due to declining resale values and rising repair expenses.

According to the business, it will reinvest the earnings from the sale of about 20,000 EVs this year to purchase conventional gas-powered vehicles.

According to a new study by S&P Global Mobility, households with automobiles that run on internal combustion engines are more likely to switch to hybrid or plug-in hybrid vehicles than entirely electric ones.

Consequently, a number of automakers have shelved or canceled plans to increase the number of electric vehicles, and former President Donald Trump has attacked EVs, saying they’re “too expensive” and “don’t go far enough,” according to CNN.

EVs are a rapidly expanding auto market

However, according to Cox Automotive’s Kelley Blue Book, last year’s fastest-growing car-sales category was electric vehicles, which accounted for 7.6% of the U.S. vehicle market in 2023 (up from 5.9% in 2022).

With sales that were 52% higher than in the fourth quarter of 2022, EV sales set records for volume and market share.

From October until the end of December 2023, 317,168 EVs were purchased by Americans, accounting for 8.1% of total new automobile sales.

According to Stephanie Valdez Streaty, director of Industry Insights at Cox Automotive, “there is a strong momentum for more when it comes to EVs – more new product, more incentives, more inventory, more leasing, and more infrastructure – and that momentum is not going away.”

According to Streaty, it appears increasingly likely that internal combustion engine and electric vehicle (EV) transactions will be priced equally in the upcoming years.

She stated that purchasers, who currently consider EV pricing to be unaffordable, will benefit from this. She stated that “our team forecasts that EV share of the total U.S. market will reach 10% in 2024.”

However, the average cost of a new EV last month was estimated by Kelley Blue Book to be $50,789, indicating that EVs are still pricey.

Changes in tax incentives will benefit and hurt consumers in the next year. Dealers will be able to apply tax credits at the moment of sale, but fewer vehicles now qualify.

Additionally, Kelley Blue Book stated that the slowdown is real even though records were established.

According to Kelley Blue Book, “the EV market in the U.S. is still growing, but not as fast.”

That might be a challenge for Tesla, particularly in the fiercely competitive luxury market.

Cox: The EV ‘Year of More’ is 2024

With 55% of the electric cars that Americans bought last year coming from the Elon Musk-led company, Tesla (TSLA) continued to lead the EV industry.

“Tesla remains the undisputed champion of EV sales in the U.S.,” Kelley Blue Book said.

Although the sales numbers were lower than 65% in 2022, Kelley Blue pointed out that Tesla was able to hold onto its top spot in 2023 because to an intensive price-cutting drive.

The Model X full-size SUV saw a nearly 12% decline in sales, the Model Y midsize SUV saw a roughly 57% increase in sales, and the Model S luxury sedan saw a nearly 50% decline in sales.

Last year, the Model Y overtook the Toyota (TM) Corolla to become the best-selling car globally, making history as the first electric car to hold the top place.

“One of the most popular electric cars on the road thanks to excellent electric range, loads of in-car tech, and swift acceleration, especially in the Performance trim,” is how the auto review company Edmunds describes the Model Y.

Tesla surpassed BMW (BMWYY) by more than 156,000 registrations to become the best-selling luxury brand in the United States in 2022, according to Automotive News.

But in 2023, BMW and other German automakers performed well, reducing Tesla’s lead. Sales of BMW nearly tripled (up 191.3%) for the year and more than doubled (up 102% ) for the fourth quarter. 2023 saw sales of the BMW i4 and iX increase by 205% and 135%, respectively, year over year.

Mercedes-Benz MBGYY sales increased 90.4% in the fourth quarter and 225.7% in the entire year. With the EQS leading the way, it sold over 40,000 units of its EQ series models.

EVs made up 12.5% of all new BMW sales in the previous year. Additionally, Mercedes-Benz and Audi saw growth in their electric vehicle sales in 2023, making up 11.4% and 11% of all brand sales, respectively.

To put things in perspective, sales of Tesla’s high-end Model S and Model X fell by 50% and 12%, respectively, in 2023.

“The Cox Automotive Economic and Industry Insights team is calling 2024 ‘the Year of More’ when it comes to EVs,” the firm said. “More new product, more incentives, more inventory, more leasing, more infrastructure – all the more will combine to push EV sales higher in the year ahead.”

This could indicate that this year’s tendencies in the luxury car market hold true.


Biden, Kishida Secure Support from Amazon and Nvidia for $50 Million Joint AI Research Program



As the two countries seek to enhance cooperation around the rapidly advancing technology, President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida have enlisted Inc. and Nvidia Corp. to fund a new joint artificial intelligence research program.

A senior US official briefed reporters prior to Wednesday’s official visit at the White House, stating that the $50 million project will be a collaborative effort between Tsukuba University outside of Tokyo and the University of Washington in Seattle. A separate collaborative AI research program between Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Tokyo’s Keio University is also being planned by the two nations.

The push for greater research into artificial intelligence comes as the Biden administration is weighing a series of new regulations designed to minimize the risks of AI technology, which has developed as a key focus for tech companies. The White House announced late last month that federal agencies have until the end of the year to determine how they will assess, test, and monitor the impact of government use of AI technology.

In addition to the university-led projects, Microsoft Corp. announced on Tuesday that it would invest $2.9 billion to expand its cloud computing and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Japan. Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, met with Kishida on Tuesday. The company released a statement announcing its intention to establish a new AI and robotics lab in Japan.

Kishida, the second-largest economy in Asia, urged American business executives to invest more in Japan’s developing technologies on Tuesday.

“Your investments will enable Japan’s economic growth — which will also be capital for more investments from Japan to the US,” Kishida said at a roundtable with business leaders in Washington.

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OnePlus and OPPO Collaborate with Google to Introduce Gemini Models for Enhanced Smartphone AI



As anticipated, original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, are heavily integrating AI into their products. Google is working with OnePlus, OPPO, and other companies to integrate Gemini models into their smartphones. They intend to introduce the Gemini models on smartphones later this year, becoming the first OEMs to do so. Gemini models will go on sale later in 2024, as announced at the Google Cloud Next 24 event. Gemini models are designed to provide users with an enhanced artificial intelligence (AI) experience on their gadgets.

Customers in China can now create AI content on-the-go with devices like the OnePlus 12 and OPPO Find X7 thanks to OnePlus and OPPO’s Generative AI models.

The AI Eraser tool was recently made available to all OnePlus customers worldwide. This AI-powered tool lets users remove unwanted objects from their photos. For OnePlus and OPPO, AI Eraser is only the beginning.

In the future, the businesses hope to add more AI-powered features like creating original social media content and summarizing news stories and audio.

AndesGPT LLM from OnePlus and OPPO powers AI Eraser. Even though the Samsung Galaxy S24 and Google Pixel 8 series already have this feature, it is still encouraging to see OnePlus and OPPO taking the initiative to include AI capabilities in their products.

OnePlus and OPPO devices will be able to provide customers with a more comprehensive and sophisticated AI experience with the release of the Gemini models. It is important to remember that OnePlus and OPPO already power the Trinity Engine, which makes using phones incredibly smooth, and use AI and computational mathematics to enhance mobile photography.

By 2024, more original equipment manufacturers should have AI capabilities on their products. This is probably going to help Google because OEMs will use Gemini as the foundation upon which to build their features.

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Meta Explores AI-Enabled Search Bar on Instagram



In an attempt to expand the user base for its generative AI-powered products, Meta is moving forward. The business is experimenting with inserting Meta AI into the Instagram search bar for both chat with AI and content discovery, in addition to testing the chatbot Meta AI with users in nations like India on WhatsApp.

When you type a query into the search bar, Meta AI initiates a direct message (DM) exchange in which you can ask questions or respond to pre-programmed prompts. Aravind Srinivas, CEO of Perplexity AI, pointed out that the prompt screen’s design is similar to the startup’s search screen.

Plus, it might make it easier for you to find fresh Instagram content. As demonstrated in a user-posted video on Threads, you can search for Reels related to a particular topic by tapping on a prompt such as “Beautiful Maui sunset Reels.”

Additionally, TechCrunch spoke with a few users who had the ability to instruct Meta AI to look for recommendations for Reels.

By using generative AI to surface new content from networks like Instagram, Meta hopes to go beyond text generation.

With TechCrunch, Meta verified the results of its Instagram AI experiment. But the company didn’t say whether or not it uses generative AI technology for search.

A Meta representative told TechCrunch, “We’re testing a range of our generative AI-powered experiences publicly in a limited capacity. They are under development in varying phases.”

There are a ton of posts available discussing Instagram search quality. It is therefore not surprising that Meta would want to enhance search through the use of generative AI.

Furthermore, Instagram should be easier to find than TikTok, according to Meta. In order to display results from Reddit and TikTok, Google unveiled a new perspectives feature last year. Instagram is developing a feature called “Visibility off Instagram” that could allow posts to appear in search engine results, according to reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi, who made this discovery earlier this week on X.

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