Automotive industry unanimous that electric will dominate by 2030 and the industry will need to innovate manufacturing to handle potential costs

91% in Molex poll says that cars on the market will be fully electric or hybrid and 96% say factories will need to be renovated

Ninety-one percent of survey respondents in automotive companies of at least 1,000 employees think that all new cars will either be fully electric or hybrid in 2030.

Of these respondents that expect this outcome, 64% expect the car to be fully electric and 27% hybrid. Participants reported that consumer demand and technology innovations will impact future car development, led by green or socially responsible initiatives, ranging from zero-emission vehicles to zero-waste production.

This all comes at a price, however, with 56% believing 2030 cars will be at least 50% more expensive than today’s cars.

When asked to identify top areas in the overall ecosystem with the most potential to reduce the price of a 2030 car, battery cost savings (40%), software integration (34%) and manufacturing processes (32%) led the way. In addition, 96% agreed the car of the future will require manufacturing factory innovations.

This shopping list of hoped for developments reflected the ongoing major technology challenges to delivering innovation, with 44% citing insufficient battery life and 36% reporting obstacles getting electronics and software to operate in extreme scenarios. Additionally, 33% reported challenges in attaining hard-to-find expertise in electrification, 5G, security and other needed technologies.

In a further sign of onrushing technological change, 94% of those surveyed expect cars to include autonomous driving, though only 28% envision fully self-driving cars.

The survey, conducted in November 2020, validates the critical role of data, software and networking to enable electrification and connectivity – identified as the two most important areas of innovation. According to the survey respondents, the top three features most likely to be standard by 2030 are high-speed WiFi, wireless charging and car-to-car communication.

In selecting the five most important innovation areas in the next decade, 38% of respondents picked electrification, 33% connectivity, 29% passenger safety, 28% quality and reliability, and 27% software-defined infrastructure. Sixty percent of those polled favour the ability to deliver innovation via software as a priority, encompassing the intelligence needed for autonomous driving, advanced algorithms to reduce energy consumption, remote updates of new capabilities and customized driving experiences.

Though 44% of the respondents see established automakers driving development of an average car purchased in 2030, 32% cited increasing traction by technology companies, including those such as Apple, Google and Microsoft which are expected to gain momentum because of their expertise in technological user experience and Human Machine Interfaces (HMIs).

Equally important is industry sentiment that China is most likely to produce the car of the future first, followed by the US, Japan and then Germany.

"It's an exciting time in the automotive industry, and this survey underscores the accelerated pace of investment and innovation," said Mike Bloomgren, SVP, president, Transportation & Industrial Solutions, Molex. "The results also reinforce our mission to design and deliver critical electronics solutions that form the central nervous system of tomorrow's connected cars."

The 230 respondents were qualified participants in engineering, product, procurement, R&D, supply chain, innovation or strategy roles at automotive companies with at least 1,000 employees and were asked questions designed to help them visualise what the average new car purchased in 2030 might be like.

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