Renault Finally Lets Google Off The Leash
Renault, Qualcomm & Google
The latest blog post from RadioFreeMobile speculates how the announcement from Renault to use both Google and Qualcomm for future EV platforms might shape the future of automotive.
Renault announced its new long-term strategy, and for EVs, it is deepening its partnership with Google & Qualcomm. It is the first time that Google has managed to get proper traction. However, this will come at a cost to Renault because letting Google run the services in its vehicles will effectively reduce its EVs to “handsets on wheels.” Renault is taking a pragmatic approach to this, echoing its long-held view that 10% of something is better than 100% of nothing.
Renault is re-organizing itself into five business lines, one of which is called Ampere. It will be an OEM in its own right focusing on electric vehicles with digital experiences front and center. Ampere is expected to IPO in 2nd half of 2023, but with the current investment climate, this IPO will likely be delayed. Ampere will have one model next year, 4 in 2027, and 6 in 2031, shipping around 1m vehicles per year. The big difference with Ampere is that Renault is letting Google off the leash regarding the vehicle’s software and services user experience.
The other winner is Qualcomm, as Renault appears to be taking the whole Qualcomm digital chassis offering. It includes the Snapdragon to run the IVI / Cockpit domain, connectivity, and advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS). Over the next 20 years, if Renault’s current volume migrates to Ampere as part of the EV transition, this represents a substantial win for both Qualcomm and Google.
Renault is the first major OEM to go in this direction, and it will need to gain some market share to offset the impact of ceding the customer relationship to Google. If going ahead and is successful, it could represent a watershed moment for the automotive industry forcing OEMs to relinquish their dreams of being tech companies. Google and Qualcomm would be the main winners and look set to deepen their position in the automotive industry.