Road Traffic Technology lists the top five terms tweeted on automotive in November 2020, based on data from GlobalData’s Influencer Platform. The top tweeted terms are the trending industry discussions happening on Twitter by key individuals (influencers) as tracked by the platform.

1. Electric Vehicles – 116 mentions

General Motors’ plans to expand electric vehicles (EV) workforce, Ford transitioning to EV market in North America and Uber’s EV drivers to get incentives were some popular topics discussed in November. According to an article shared by Michael Wayland, an auto reporter at CNBC, a news and analysis website, General Motors (GM) is planning to add around 3,000 workers for the development and deployment of EVs. The hiring of the employees will continue through the first quarter of 2021. The new workforce will predominantly focus on software development and research vis-à-vis EVs and improving customer experience. GM will introduce around 20 new EV models into the global market by 2023 and is also planning a $20bn investment in EVs and autonomous vehicles in the next five years, the article highlighted.

Further, Keith Naughton, an automotive journalist, shared an article about Ford’s plans to expedite EV manufacturing in the US and Mexico by increasing its workforce in both the countries. The new addition to the Ford staff will work on the electric model of F-150 pickup truck and also a plug-in model in Mexico, apart from making a battery-powered Transit van at its Missouri plant in the US. Ford will invest $100m and provide 150 new jobs in the US. The company is planning an investment of $11.5bn for electrification of trucks, sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and sports cars, the article noted.

Other discussions surrounding EVs included Uber aiming to reach five million rides in EVs over the next one year and also planning subsidies for drivers of these cars, according to an article shared by Ellison Claire, a car enthusiast. The company is conducting this pilot programme across seven cities in the US to increase the use of EV vehicles and is also offering incentives to EV drivers with a cap of $20 per week on bonus. The amalgamation of EVs and ride-sharing will help diminish the global carbon footprint, the article highlighted.

2. Trucks – 80 mentions

Volvo Trucks running tests on electric trucks, Hyundai targeting sale of hydrogen trucks in China and Swedish truck maker foraying into Chinese market were some widely discussed topics last month. Mike Millikin, founder and editor of Green Car Congress, a sustainable mobility news website, shared an article about Volvo Trucks planning to launch three new electric trucks in Europe next year. The company is running tests on regional transport trucks, Volvo FH, Volvo FM and Volvo FMX, which will be sold in Europe, while another truck of the same type, VNR Electric, will be released in the US market in December 2020. The sale of the three electric trucks in Europe will start in 2021 and volume production will commence in 2022, the article highlighted.

Bertel Schmitt, an automotive journalist, further, shared an article about Hyundai’s plan to sell 4,000 hydrogen-powered trucks to Chinese companies by 2025. The South Korean company signed initial agreements with two separate group of companies in China as it aims to export 54,000 hydrogen commercial vehicles a year by the end of the decade. China aims to expand its fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) market to one million units a year and Hyundai is expected to play a pivotal role in this long-term plan, the article noted.

Trucks also trended in discussions shared by Ben Klayman, an auto reporter at Reuters, about Scania, a Sweden-based car manufacturer, acquiring a Chinese truck company, Nantong Gaokai. Post the acquisition, Scania will receive a license making it eligible for manufacturing vehicles in China. The company is also planning an investment in battery assembly plant in its home country for exploring future technologies, the article highlighted.

3. Sales – 44 mentions

UK’s plan to ban sale of petrol and diesel vehicles, GM’s truck sales surging in the third quarter and EV sales continuing to grow in Europe were some popularly discussed topics in November 2020. According to an article shared by Lukas Neckermann, strategist and advisor at the Neckermann Strategic Advisors, a consultancy firm, the UK government decided to impose a ban on sale of cars and vans fully powered by petrol and diesel starting 2030. The ban is being implemented as a part of the government’s ‘green industrial revolution’ plan to tackle the climate crisis and create employment in nuclear and renewable energy sectors. However, critics noted that the $5.37bn allotted for the execution of this ‘green plan’ is minuscule, considering the enormity of the challenge, the article highlighted.

Further, John Voelcker, former editor of Green Car Reports, shared an article about European EV market expanding despite the ongoing pandemic induced crisis in the global automotive market. While the European automotive market declined by 7% in October from the same period in 2018, EV sales registered a growth across the continent during the month. The new car market in Europe was adversely affected by the pandemic as registrations slumped by 27% to 9.7 million units year-to-date in 2020. The EV sales in October accounted for 26.8% of total automotive market, continuing their growth for a second consecutive month, the article noted.

Another discussion related to sales was shared by Michael Wayland about GM posting profit in the third quarter on the back of increase in truck sales. The company’s Q3 net income rose to $4.05bn, registering a whopping 74% increase, compared with $2.35bn in the previous quarter, thanks to surging demand for pick-up trucks and SUVs, the article highlighted.

4. Mobility – 37 mentions

The impact of Covid-19 on global mobility, Greece’s collaboration with auto major for climate-neutral mobility and how mobility suppliers can attract media attention were widely discussed in the previous month. Anil Valsan, automotive analyst at Ernst & Young, a consulting and accounting firm, shared an article about how coronavirus pandemic affected the behaviours and attitudes of consumers with respect to mobility. The customers across the globe substantially reduced their transport journeys on a daily basis, even as they opted for personal vehicles like car to avoid the risk of contracting coronavirus. While work related travel registered the largest drop of 61% during the pandemic, travelling for essentials like household items and social purposes dropped by 40%, the article highlighted.

Mike Millikin, further, shared an article about Volkswagen and Greece joining forces to create a climate-conducive mobility system on the Mediterranean island of Astypalea. The Greek government and Volkswagen also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for establishing the new transport system. As part of the plan, the island’s current vehicles will be replaced by EVs and the transport system will run on electricity generated by renewable energy. The project will run on a pilot basis for a six-year period, the article noted.

Mobility was also discussed in an article shared by Jim Bianchi, President & CEO of Bianchi Public Relations, a PR agency, about the top tips that will enable automotive mobility suppliers to obtain media coverage during the ongoing pandemic. The PR experts at these companies can ensure media attention by sharing their Covid-19 strategy like the measures their firm took to tackle the pandemic crisis and resume production. The firms can also highlight how they have adapted to the paradigm shift in consumer behaviour and technology triggered by the pandemic to increase airtime across media platforms, the article highlighted.

5. Digital Transformation – 36 mentions

The increasing significance of quantum computing (QC) in the automotive industry and BMW’s partnership with Alibaba to power digital transformation across businesses were some popular topics discussed in November. According to an article shared by Wilko S. Walters, digital transformation strategist at IBM iX, a digital agency and consultancy, the automotive sector is tapping into the potential of QC applications, with the key industry stakeholders keenly following developments in the sector. Many original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the industry are leveraging the technology to resolve issues related to fuel-cell and route optimisation, and material durability. The international QC market is estimated to reach $283m in the next four years, the article highlighted.

Another discussion surrounding digital transportation was shared by Bertrand Duflos, an autonomous vehicles and mobility expert, about BMW signing an MoU with Alibaba for promoting digital transformation in various businesses. Both the companies will harness their resources to bring about inclusive cooperation in marketing, branding, end-to-end operations and information technology. BMW wants to execute digitalisation strategy across its business process and offer comprehensive digital experience to customers, the article highlighted.