The automotive sector appears to experiencing a peak in innovation, with numerous advancements and trends gaining popularity. Not least of which is the surge of electric vehicle manufacturing. According to IHS Automotive, electric vehicle and hybrid production is expected to rise 67% in 2014. This can be attributed to tightening emissions standards worldwide, as well as price reductions for many models. For example, the report notes that the Nissan Leaf is $6,000 cheaper this year than it was just two years ago. Since price was a prohibitory factor for many consumers previously, it opens the door to greater accessibility for electric vehicles.

Another trend in the auto industry is the growing popularity of clean diesel vehicles, especially for heavy duty and fleet applications. Clean diesel has been shown to reduce 99% of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 98% of particulate emissions from heavy duty vehicles over the past decade.

But construction and fleet vehicles aren’t the only ones benefiting from clean diesel. The fuel is also entering the consumer market, with myriad automakers coming out with diesel-powered options. Volkswagen, for example, offers 7 diesel engine cars, which made up 23.5% of sales last year.

The crossover utility vehicle market has also seen more diesel options popping up lately. Jeep, Audi, and Mercedes have all unveiled new turbodiesel models in the United States.

Perhaps one of the most widely talked about automotive trends is the expansion of aluminum in automotive manufacturing. Since the metal is much lighter than traditional steel, incorporating aluminum in the body of an automobile helps to improve fuel economy. The metal is also revered for its corrosion resistance and overall durability, which are necessary traits in the auto sector.

As we continue to watch these trends take off, we’re interested in seeing what other new automotive developments take shape. If there’s anything you feel we’ve missed, let us know on Twitter. We always look forward to reading about progress in the field.

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