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Cars of the Future – are you Ready for a Ride?

In today’s discourse relating to trends impacting future of automotive industry we can distinguish several streams creating plenty of new business opportunities, for start-ups and small and medium enterprises in particular.

Some of such trends is development of electric vehicles, and shift toward near zero emission engines. Electric vehicles are disruptive innovation, and as such they provide new quality in new dimension, but worse quality in established performance parameters. Those problematic parameters relate to battery charging time, complementary charging infrastructure, and battery storage capacity itself. Except Tesla Motors, already discussed at blog, you can find interesting developments of Aptera Motors focused on resovling those problems .

Another trend impacting cars of the future is mass customization, and mass personalization enabling to  most radical example of company enabling to design and literally print a car, as in case of Local Motors that can be used for regular transportation. Another examples are: BMW which enabled Mini Cooper users to design customized and personalized roof of the car, which was digitally printed on special foil; or Fiat enabling to design customized interior of Fiat 500. A different,widely discussed trend in the field of automotive industry are autonomous , or self-driven cars, on which discourse, according to Appinions, is dominated by companies such as Google, Intel, or GM. What I like about autonomous cars is that the discussion about them enables  exploring not only  new opportunities related to sensors, or decision making algorithms, but also the quality of travel and travel experience itself, when attention of human driver will be not required anymore. What is implication of this fact? People travelling with autonomous cars in order not to get bored will have to be entertained, and that can open a whole new market of autonomous cars entertainment industry. Just take a look at the picture from Geneva Motor Show, on how travel in such a car  could look like. What Appinions will not tell you however is the fact that there are companies, which prototyped self-driving cars have made many more millions of autonomous miles than Google’s car. These companies are Volvo, and Caterpillar.

Another trend relates to what  comes after self-driving cars, and these are obviously “personal air vehicles” developed e.g. by Terrafugia, or Moller Skycar.

The automotive innovations relate not only to engeernering technology, but also  new business models enabling to achieve commercial profits from introduction of new technologies. In terms of new automotive business models I’ve been recently inspired by Chinese company Didi Kuaidi, being one of the biggest competitors of Uber in Asia. There are 5 million of drivers working for Didi Kuaidi in 150 cities in China, and the services offered by the company are not only traditional taxi services, but also social ride sharing, private car service, or designated private chauffeur driving services. Having strong competitors in China like Dida Kuaidi, or in India like Ola Cabs, Uber is not missing opportunities to constantly innovate, and recently had introduce the service of Uber Pool and splitting the cost of a drive between passengers, who joined the ride in the same direction on the go, or Uber Eats enabling food ordering and deliveries of food by Uber car drivers. Who will be next to introduce similar, or more sophisticated services?

Taking a look at above developments, one of the most exciting future business sport for those who capture new opportunities may be the transport.

 

Geneva_Motor

 Source:  www.blog.nxp.com

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Tesla_S

What Entrepreneurs Can Learn from Founder of Tesla?

I don’t know entrepreneur, who wouldn’t like Tony Spark, described by himself as “genius, billionaire, playboy and philanthropist”, and played by Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man movie series. 
 
Why do we start with Iron Man in the post of Elon Musk, know as Tesla Motors founder?
 
Despite sheer entrepreneurial zest Elon Musk and Tony Spark have in common, some scenes to Iron Man 2 were in fact directed in one of the manufacturing sites of company founded by Musk. 
 
So what Elon Musk does, and what entrepreneurs can learn from him?
 
In a nutshell Elon Musk is founder of PayPal (instant online payments solution), SpaceX (rockets and spacecraft designer and manufacturer), Tesla Motors (electric vehicles designer and manufacturer) and member of the board at Solar City (the largest solar power provider in USA).
 
There are couple of things I believe distinguishes Musk’s way of disrupting the status quo:
 
Firstly, his inventions solving big world challenges are presented are explored in context.
 
In other words it’s not about massive release of “super new things, technologies, or materials”, but encapsulating them in form of complex solutions to real life challenges (which of course embrace super new things, technologies and materials).
 
A perfect example of this is Tesla Model S – fully electric vehicle introduced to mass production by Tesla Motors in 2012. Tesla’s car efficiency and safety seriously disrupt conventional premium cars segment, but electric cars need charging stations. They need them badly, and the perfect situation would be to have them scattered across the continents, so the drivers could enjoy travelling without empty battery surprises. So what Tesla does is setting up network of superchargers – charging stations, claimed as free source of energy for Tesla users to create literally “traveling for free” experience.
 
Secondly, on top of innovating in context and addressing “the bigger picture” it is the user’s experience being at core of inventions supported by Musk. Referring to Tesla car, my wife called it a vehicle for ninja, as the only thing you hear during the ride with the sunroof open is the gentle whizz of air. If you have a night-vision device, you’ll enjoy exploration of your neighborhood at night unnoticed. For me  driving Tesla’s could be compared to steering a spaceship due to magical lit up of car’s inside, impressive 17” touchscreen functioning as control panel (today’s world of smart phone natives would love this way of car control), and car’s acceleration getting you into the feeling of a plane taking off.
 
Thirdly, the thing about Elon Musk I believe, is that he lives BHAGs to the full, which stands for Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals. He’s not afraid to set goals, which are out of this planet, and gain people on board to work on them with him. On 30th of April 2015 Musk is to announce its new invention. The gossips about it range from Tesla hoverboards to Tesla jetpacks. After announcement of plans toward Hyperloop enabling traveling people in capsules with speed of bullets in the riffles, these rumors doesn’t seem to be unjustified.
 
                                                         Source: Own pictures library.

 

 

 

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