Asymcar 19: About that Ferrari SUV…

Ferrari FinIn today’s show, Brand managers gone wild!

In other words, why would a brand be smeared all over a set of jobs that it would never be hired to do? What motivates a company to destroy its brand?

We start with Mini’s plans to sell 100,000 cars in the States by 2020, nearly double today’s pace and remember how Cadillac destroyed their brand and how Mercedes, Porsche, Ferrari et. al. can’t wait to do the same.

Also, might retail power in the form of strong dealer regulation limit brand’s ability to improve or address customer experiences? What motivated Warren Buffett to enter the American car dealer business? (With a long aside on what Buffett investment logic is all about and why it’s not  contradictory to a growth investor).

We detour a bit into the information battle to come and how car makers yearn to “be the masters of their own cars”.

30mb mp3 about 61 minutes.

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Notes:

Mercedes, VW to Thwart Google’s Inroads in Car Data.

Ford CEO Mark Fields One Ford Strategy.

My tips to Warren Buffett in his new career as a car dealer.

Mini’s Sales Slump.

Ferrari Strategy Conflict.

Car sharing: A cheaper alternative to owning a car in the city

Kleemann Mercedes “Supercars”.

Corvair Greenbriar.

Mercedes Smart Car

“it is clear to us that Ferrari has been undershooting its market potential.”

Amphicar Appearance

Amphicar from Jim Zellmer.

Speaking of “jobs to be done” (Asymcar 18)….

A rare Amphicar makes an entertaining Saturday afternoon appearance on Madison’s Lake Mendota.

Wikipedia:

The Amphicar Model 770 is an amphibious automobile, the first such vehicle mass-produced for sale to the public starting in 1961. The German vehicle was designed by Hanns Trippel and manufactured by the Quandt Group at Lübeck and at Berlin-Borsigwalde. Its name is a portmanteau of “amphibious” and “car”. The Amphicar was designed to be marketed and sold in the USA. Compared to most boats or cars, its performance was modest, and only 4000 were produced by 1965. Nevertheless, it is still among the most successful amphibious civilian autos of all time, and still often prized and preserved as novelty collectible automobiles today.

eBay: 3 for sale starting at $53,950.

International Amphicar Owners Club. Tips on buying an Amphicar.

Entering and leaving the water.

## I recorded the brief Lake Mendota video using an iPhone 6 with “digital zoom”. Not too bad.

Asymcar 17 Comments & Links

Matt Grantham:

I thought that I would send this one through and add a couple of comments based on the last podcast for things to think about for the second part.

I am not sure if I mentioned it with in Asymcar 16 but one of the reasons that people are so excited about solar (especially in Australia and other sunny parts of the world) is that with the roof top option you completely take the need grid infrastructure out of the equation. Which in Australia is about half the cost of your bill and as panel costs come down the economics of this are just going to get stronger. I agree that wind prices are also going down but all other technologies have the disadvantage that they are not able to be distributed around the grid.

To highlight this point here is an article which really shows the system challenge for energy based looking at the distributed vs centralised model

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/even-coal-free-couldnt-compete-rooftop-solar-88808

It is relevant to mention that you can also have large PV solar plants as well that face the same challenges as wind, coal and geothermal if they are grid connected.

In the podcast I did I forgot to mention one crucial element that could really help push EV’s and that was electricity tariff reform because if you can start to see one of the what at the moment is one of the problems for the grid ie over supply and as a result cheap energy and combine that with tariff reforms that encourage EV users to suck up this cheap energy then what was a problem for the grid is now a competitive advantage for EVs as long as you get the market structure right. I think good energy market structures are the key.

Also another concept that we have thrashed about on our show from time to time is the idea of variability VS intermittency with regards to clean energy and if you have got a real time market and smart devices like EV’s then they can add to the overall stability of a grid. Solar now we are calling “predictably variable” because even though it is not there at night and you can get clouds from time to time when you look at the system input across a city on a daily basis you do get a very predictable output from it on a day to day basis and modern weather forecasting is helping to refine this even further.

Here are some other EV articles I stumbled across recently that you might be interested in.

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/why-evs-will-make-solar-viable-without-subsidies-91738

http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/makes-sense-pair-solar-evs-14517

Asymcar 18: Cars of the People

Why did the Tata Nano fail? What is the future of low end disruption in the auto industry?

What does sharing mean for cars? What are the jobs that spaces in cars are hired for that their makers don’t understand?

Is Elon Musk an Industrialist?

30mb mp3 about 61 minutes.

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Notes:

1. The naming changes are said to be pushed by marketing chief Ola Källenius, with the executive aiming to bring more clarity to Mercedes’ lineup.

2. Mini cars will soon lose their flavor.

3. Shared Automated Vehicle.

4. The Democratization of Luxury (Stupidity).

5. Top Gear, Cars of the People (James May). iTunes.

Asymcar 17: 27 Quadrillion BTUs

IMG_8956

Part I is a review of the “automotive stack” and note how there is no singular event that seems to affect disruptive change. From changing jobs to be done, modular design and manufacturing processes, powertrain evolution, urbanization, environmental interests, regulation and taxation.

Part II is a review of a framework of analysis based on sources and uses of energy.  Inputs, efficiency/losses, network effects and inertia, what can change and what can’t change.

For a shot of theory, Horace reflects on the dichotomy of efficiency vs. efficacy when it comes to predicting change in the sector.

29mb mp3 about 61 minutes.

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Notes:

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Estimates of US Energy Use

Asymcar 15 & 16 Metadata

Chris Mohajer:

As someone who works in the cleantech industry, I thought I would share a few things that relate to Asymcar 15 & 16.

The California Energy Commission recently held a workshop where Ford, GM, BMW, Nissan, and Honda all gave presentations discussing how they plan to integrate EVs into the grid. LINK

At a JVSV event in the Bay Area, Tesla’s CTO JB Straubel gave an interesting talk where he discussed how they see themselves as an energy innovation company rather than a car company. LINK

Solar over generation is a real problem in California. They even named a graph for it: The Duck Curve. LINK

Flow batteries from companies like EnerVault can provide long term energy storage with the need for lithium. The beauty of a flow battery is that you decouple the scaling of power and energy. They have already built a 1MWH system. 10 MWH systems have even better economies of scale. LINK

Lawrence Berkeley National Lab is working with the Department of Defense at the LA Air Force Base on vehicle to grid (reverse charging) applications. It is currently focused on non-tactical vehicles that have scheduled uses. LINK

Companies like Stem can provide battery systems to business for zero upfront cost. There is lots of room for financial engineering. LINK

Asymcar 16: Do the Numbers Add Up? Fuel Cells vs Batteries

If Gasoline goes much higher

Steve Crandall joins us to discuss hydrogen fuel cells vs. lithium batteries. The two alternatives to post-internal-combustion motoring are far harder to assess than it might seem. Both require systems analysis and the systems themselves need to be weighed against the incumbent infrastructure and jobs to be done.

We begin with Toyota’s fuel cell sedan announcement and recall Honda’s Clarity. The conversation leads to the observation that technical merit is not always sufficient or even necessary to market adoption success. We note that Toyota supported the Prius through years of low volume. Steve compares this to AT&T’s abandonment of a cell service in the 1990′s.

Steve compares the energy performance of hydrogen and gasoline and shares a look at the economic conditions necessary for a successful hydrogen fuel cell launch.

28mb mp3 about 58 minutes.

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Notes:

Steve Crandall:

Energy & Clothes Drying

Where EV’s are doing very well

Coal is Still King

United States Department of Energy Study: Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles Advancing Rapidly Fuel Cell Technologies Office United States Hydrogen Policy

Walkable City Book

Top Gear: Honda Clarity Honda’s website How the Clarity FCEV works

Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan Toyota Japan

Tailpipe emissions

Sustainable Energy

Fuel cell expert says Tesla is promising more than it can deliver

Asymcar 15: Sunray Sedan

Sun-Car

Matt Grantham joins us to discuss electric vehicles, renewable energy, smarter software, solar opportunities and economics. Matt introduces us to Solar X, the solar car challenge. He reflects on these emerging technologies in light of Australia’s nearly extinct auto manufacturing sector.

We explore the concept of a car as the home power source and consider possible EV disruption of traditional power generation and distribution concerns. The potential business models arising from these emerging technologies makes us pause in light of solar firm’s stock performance.

25mb mp3 about 52 minutes.

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Notes:

Utility “Death Spiral” Pro & Con

Barclays Downgrades Electric Utility Bonds, Sees Viable Solar Competition

Australian coal industry facing some home truths

Suntech says solar PV costs to match coal in China by 2016

Utility seeks “fixed price” hike on smaller customers

Bringing Solar Power to Scale

John Wood discusses UltraBattery

SolarX: Australia’s first solar electric hybrid sports car

Interviews with both winners of the World solar car challenge.

Green Tea Party Energy Platform

The Big Roads by Earl Swift

Bradley GT Electric Kit Car (photo above) Carbuzz.

Buying into solar power, no roof access necessary.

Asymcar 14: Grand Prix. An interview with Ossi Oikarinen

Ferrari in Montreal

An interview with Ossi Oikarinen, Technical Director at Team Rosberg, a 30-year veteran of motorsport, Formula One TV presenter and deep insider.

We cover Formula One and DTM touring car racing from the point of view of business models, jobs to be done and technical innovations. We touch on many other fine points.

This is a good one.

27mb mp3 about 56 minutes.

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Notes:

Asymcar 13: Pilgrimages and Fundamental Evil

IMG_8829

On continental road trips, joys of rear wheel drive, diesel engines and autobahn speeds, pilgrimage to Porsche and BMW’s brand meccas.

How to understand the world through toy cars, from Matchbox to Hot Wheels, Siku, Majorette to Tomica.

Jim returns to the business of car distribution with an Alfred Sloan quote:

“Between 1923–29 the leveling of demand for new cars logically resulted in a change of emphasis in the industry from production to distribution. On the sales end that meant a change from easy selling to hard selling. Dealer problems of an entirely new nature began to arise.”

We consider car dealer data and discuss the “channel stuffing” origins of state franchise regulation. Horace reminds us that the current auto industry is constructed around production and distribution.

We close by reflecting on Apple’s routing around now defunct computer retail channels via its highly successful stores, just 13 years ago.

27mb mp3 about 60 minutes.

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Notes:

Hot Wheels Majorette Matchbox Solido Tomica

NADA: 2013 State of the Industry Report

WardsAuto 2014 US “MegaDealer 100″

Polk Auto Industry Dashboard

Francine Lafontaine and Fiona Scott Morton: State Franchise Laws, Dealer Terminations, and the Auto Crisis.

Tim Cook:

(Inventory) is “fundamentally evil,” and he has been known to observe that it declines in value by 1% to 2% a week in normal times, faster in tough times like the present.

“You kind of want to manage it like you’re in the dairy business,” he has said. “If it gets past its freshness date, you have a problem.” This logistical discipline has given Apple inventory management comparable with Dell’s, then as now the gold standard for computer-manufacturing efficiency.