SE Vehicles

Bridging the gap between private and public transport

Car hasn't changed. Traffic has.
There's something strange about what Apple VP Jeff Williams calls the "ultimate mobile device", the car. Typically as wide as the average driver measures in length, it's clogging up 'arteries', which puts a damper on our mobility. 95% of the energy is used to move around the 'device' that's supposed to move us. We don't use brick-like mobile phones, nor are we stuck behind big desktop computers. Technology enables us to make things smaller, handier, and change the way they look. Why shouldn't this apply to the car?

The industry's response
The car industry's response can be best described as "We don't do personal mobility! We're in the business of making and selling cars. Gridlock? That's not our responsibilty". TNCs like Uber turn car owners into cab drivers. Google has put its hopes on robotized, shared-use Smart ForTwo-like pods. Tesla says it plans to make its hi-end electric behemoths available through shared mobility programs. But that will automatically affect sales and jeopardize Elon Musk's goal to hit break-even by 2020. The more Tesla's will be shared, the less will be owner-bought. Apple we don't know yet.

The search is for a new 'format'
I think that autonomous drive and car/ride sharing, meant to make car use more efficient, bring about the desire for a new type of vehicle, a new transportation mode, some might say new 'format'. We should at least be offered a choice. Such a vehicle has the potential to demote, even replace your daily driver. Most of the times, the driver is the car's only occupant and doesn't need the extra bulk that only hampers mobility (incl. finding a parking spot). If 'properly formatted' it will be better suited (sleeker to begin with) to auto-drive than any car incl. Google's own two-seater. Governments will love the prospect of having the infrastructure used more efficiently.

Venture capitalists descend upon the market of new and social media and all sorts of related apps, accepting no profits will be made for years to come. I call it the market of the non- or not so tangible. They tend to overlook the obvious, the things that make 'real' sense. As long as we are not able to "beam me up, Scotty" from A to B, we will need some sort of transportation device. No wonder the car still is the most important consumer product by far. There is already way too much of the same thing though. A new type of vehicle may stir the same sort of excitement as Apple did when it introduced its sleek designer wannahave, the iPhone. Attract young people who aren't drawn to the car because of its self-serving and cumbersome nature. Rival (local) public transport in costs per mile and, obviously, in point-to-point mobility, when used in a shared capacity. Perhaps complement.

Times Article Viewed: 377


blog comments powered by Disqus