In the spirit of looking on the bright side, at least the Groundhog-Day-factor of lockdown means January has flown and spring is that little bit closer. And on the subject of lockdown, the news that caught our collective eye this month is very much a sign of the times: Graduate job-hunting tips for the pandemic, a virtual version of the Consumer Electronics Show, and a trend that’s unlikely to go away any time soon—yet more electrification.
Lotus and Renault collaboration
As part of the Alpine Business Unit Development, Groupe Renault and Group Lotus have signed a memorandum of understanding to study a number of areas of cooperation, including the joint development of an EV sportscar. The brands will begin a feasibility study of how they might utilise the expertise and facilities of the French and British businesses to engineer tailored solutions through a joint services offer combining their engineering expertise. The brands also plan to collaborate in F1 and Endurance racing, with Alpine due to mark its inaugural (current incarnation) season this year.
Lotus Cars CEO, Phil Popham, said:
“Our companies have much in common – from a pioneering pedigree in light-weighting, to championship-winning sportscars which perform as impressively on the road as they do in the motorsports arena. It is a natural fit in many ways and the co-development of an EV sportscar is hugely exciting for our companies, our fans and customers around the world.”
Extreme E secures 2021 Sky deal
All-electric SUV off-road racing championship Extreme E has secured a deal for Sky to provide live coverage of each of its five races scheduled for 2021. The maiden season will kick off in Saudi Arabia on 3-4 April, with the remaining events taking place in Senegal, Greenland, Brazil and Argentina.
The package will include highlights, previews, reviews and a magazine-style show, and though it’s not yet known for sure which channel will broadcast the show, Sky Sports F1 is considered a frontrunner.
Last year, XE landed a multi-year live broadcast agreement with the BBC, with events predominantly shown online, though this may expand to conventional channels.
Manufacturing & Tech
Siemens to help accelerate Britishvolt
Britishvolt has entered into a collaboration agreement with Siemens to accelerate the development and production of lithium-ion batteries at the company’s gigaplant at Blyth. Siemens will provide access to its automation, electrification and digital twin manufacturing technology—which simulates gigaplant production processes—with the aim of getting the plant operational by 2023 so that it can supply batteries and deliver investment into the North East, helping to level the UK economy.
Siemens will also provide Britishvolt with design and simulation development tools that help accelerate the time it takes for lithium-ion battery cells to go from laboratory to production.
CES goes virtual, but still rules
The pandemic meant this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was moved online. But as “Wired” Magazine says, “even a global health emergency can't stop the march of consumer technology,” and by all accounts the show’s Zooms were as riveting as the bricks and mortar version of the show normally held in Nevada.
CES is THE annual showcase for consumer electronics, hosting presentations of new products and technologies across the industry. Wired Mag’s pick of the many products on show this year include Lasso, a closed-loop domestic recycling appliance with attendant app that intelligently sorts, cleans, grinds and stores glass, plastic and metal waste to be collected several times a year and properly recycled. Lasso will sell for around £2,500 and is likely to go on sale next year.
Meanwhile, established translator tech Pocketalk has updated to become pandemic-proof. After donating hundreds of devices to medical facilities and first responders in the pandemic, Pocketalk decided to upgrade its product to the Plus – with a larger screen and the ability to detect the “direction” of the translation required, facilitating understanding between people across language barriers while encouraging social distancing for safety.
Mindt a key hire in Bentley’s EV drive
Andreas Mindt will move to Crewe to play a lead role in shaping Bentley’s first electric cars. The British marque’s new design director played a key role at Audi, where, as head of exterior design, he helped style the electric E-Tron SUV.
He will move to Bentley on 1st March to replace Stefan Sielaff, who spent six years with the firm, and joins on the same day that Audi will take management responsibility for Bentley within the VW Group, a move intended to exploit synergies between the brands as they electrify their line-up. Bentley’s first fully electric car will be based on the advanced Artemis platform currently being developed by Audi.
Graduates: How to get noticed in the pandemic era
There’s no point pretending it’s easy to find jobs today—especially for graduates, with the pandemic leading to a 23% reduction in entry level jobs—but the author of “How to get graduate jobs in a pandemic” believes there are still reasons to be optimistic. This piece from the Guardian summarises the key takeaways from Tanya de Grunwald’s book, including powerful tips for optimising your attendance at virtual careers fairs and webinars, switching up your background research and changing expectations about graduate CVs in an epidemic.
Don’t assume you know all this stuff – there’s some really eye-opening, original and relevant advice in here.