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Mobility industry must navigate “the next normal” with Covid-19 recovery

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The McKinsey Centre for Future Mobility has said the industry must learn how to navigate an emerging and potentially very different "next normal” as it recovers from the impact of Covid-19.

The report, ‘Mobility’s rebound: An industry recovers, but where is it heading?’, suggests that while 2021 was still a challenging year, it also saw unforeseen momentum for the mobility industry.

Disrupters launched long-anticipated models (for example, Lucid delivered the first batch of its Dream Edition electric vehicles (EV) in the fourth quarter of 2021) and aimed for strong IPOs (rival EV manufacturer Rivian, for example, had a $90 billion (£66bn) valuation at the company’s opening day in November).

Chinese carmakers entered Europe confidently (for example, NIO launched in Norway at the end of September; similarly, Aiways, BYD, Dongfeng Motor, Great Wall Motor, and SAIC Motor also entered Europe).

Advanced air mobility also saw a massive surge in investments, amounting to almost $6bn (£4bn) by October 2021.

What’s more, there were several acquisitions in the shared-micromobility space this year, totalling nearly $700 million (£513m).

McKinsey said this momentum can best be observed in the solidifying shifts in consumer preferences, technologies in the market, and regulatory actions around the globe.

An overview of insights from the full report:

Consumer

Mobility demand is picking up again, and many consumers around the world are beginning to travel more.

However, about half of the consumers in McKinsey’s recent Global COVID-19 Automotive & Mobility Consumer Survey stated a clear preference to travel less than they did before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, consumers’ mobility preferences going forward, including which modes of transport they choose, will also look different.

Technology

New innovations in ACES (autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification, and shared/smart mobility) technology are back in play, with $70bn (£51bn) invested in the first half of 2021 alone.

Meanwhile, the industry is wrestling with several challenges, from missing semiconductor chips to realising net-zero vehicles.

Regulation

Major world regions have set ambitious goals for decarbonization—for example, the European Union’s “Fit for 55” plan—that will require a holistic mobility shift from cars to other means of transport.

Moreover, on the local level many cities are pushing ahead with stricter regulations on car usage.

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