The growth of electric mobility will have far-reaching consequences, McKinsey reports, touching virtually every aspect of business. “From the redistribution of profit pools to the adoption of new operating procedures, there’s a lot to consider. Maintenance workers will need training to service high-voltage powertrain systems safely and efficiently, while frontline sales staff will be expected to competently answer consumer questions and close the sale. Electric vehicles (EVs) also tend to have fewer mechanical parts that break down, which has significant implications for aftersales service.”
Going the electrification route all the way, Ford Motor has announced its commitment to make one huge investment to build three battery factories and an electric truck facility in the US. This will allow the automaker to produce more than one million electric vehicles a year. The battery plants are part of a joint venture with its main battery cell supplier in South Korea, SK Innovation. Ford will spend $7 billion and SK Innovation $4.4 billion on this project.
Rice University international trade fellow David Gantz says the U.S. economy “recovered much faster than anyone expected,” and the supply chain is struggling to keep up with consumer demand. Holiday shoppers should start now while the selection is still decent, experts say.
E-commerce and tech giant Amazon has just released the Amazon Glow, a video chat projector with built-in games, puzzles and learning apps for kids. This interactive gadget combines video calls with a projector to allow kids to have a tablet experience on a flat surface like a table. The tabletop has an 8in display for video calls and the projector can create a 19in touch-sensitive space. Along with a silicone mat, the Glow uses an infrared plane just above the mat along with a camera in the projector to recognize hand movements for games.
Google is rolling out a few new accessibility features for Android users, including the ability to control your phone and communicate using facial gestures. It also rolled out an update to Lookout, which uses a person’s phone camera to identify objects and text in the physical world.
The first update, called Camera Switches, detects facial gestures using your phone’s camera. Users can choose from six gestures — look right, look left, look up, smile, raise eyebrows or open your mouth — to navigate their phone. They can also assign gestures to carry out tasks like open notifications, go back to the home screen or pause gesture detection.
Looks like secondhand shopping is here to stay as the ongoing pandemic continues to drive more conscious purchasing behavior among consumers. eBay UK announced that the equivalent weight of 1,404 double decker buses of fashion items were saved from landfill this year, thanks to secondhand sales. That’s 28 million pre-loved fashion items that have found new homes this year! Further data from eBay UK indicates a permanent shift towards thrift as consumers continue the sustainable habit of buying pre-worn clothes.
Rivaling Tesla’s flagship Model S in terms of range, California-based startup Lucid Group Inc. starts rolling out its Ludic Air cars which includes the Lucid Air Dream Edition, a luxury electric sedan with a range of 520 miles.
That’s all for this edition of the Friday links – have a great weekend.