Wireless charging would address a major drawback of plug-in electric cars – their limited driving range. Tesla Motors expects its upcoming Model 3 to go more than 200 miles on a single charge and the Chevy Bolt, which is already on the market, has an advertised range of 238 miles. But electric vehicle batteries generally take several hours to fully recharge. A charge-as-you-drive system would overcome these limitations.
“In theory, one could drive for an unlimited amount of time without having to stop to recharge,” Fan explained. “The hope is that you’ll be able to charge your electric car while you’re driving down the highway. A coil in the bottom of the vehicle could receive electricity from a series of coils connected to an electric current embedded in the road.”
Some transportation experts envision an automated highway system where driverless electric vehicles are wirelessly charged by solar power or other renewable energy sources. The goal would be to reduce accidents and dramatically improve the flow of traffic while lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Wireless technology could also assist GPS navigation of driverless cars. GPS is accurate up to about 35 feet. For safety, autonomous cars need to be in the center of the lane where the transmitter coils would be embedded, providing very precise positioning for GPS satellites.
In particular, friction is growing between workers who build combustion vehicles — still the mainstay of most carmakers’ profits — and managers seeking to position their companies for a battery-powered future.
The latest sign of the tough road ahead came on Thursday. To protest conditions offered by Mercedes parent Daimler as it negotiates adding new battery-making facilities at its Untertuerkheim plant in Stuttgart, Germany, the company said staff will stop working overtime next month. That will will slow engine output, forcing it to cancel shifts for assembling the E-Class sedan, Daimler said.
Mercedes, which is investing 10 billion euros ($11.4 billion) as it prepares to roll out 10 electric models, expects as much 25 percent of its sales to come from the new technology by 2025, stoking concerns about job security particularly at engine plants.
“The changes that’ll happen over the next eight to fifteen years will directly hit plants like Untertuerkheim,” said Wolfgang Nieke, worker representative at the site, which employs 19,000 people. “If we don’t lay the groundwork for this shift now, the harder it’ll be down the line.”
Does place matter?
We consider geography, the hype cycle and S curves while reflecting on what is perhaps, at present a “phoney war”(1).
Does geography play a role in disruption? Are “hyped” optics necessary for the new new thing?
What skills are required for disruptive innovation in and around the auto ecosystem? How do cycle times (2) color our outlook?
A good conversation.
1. The Phoney War.
2. Cycle Time.
Detroit must rediscover the cutting edge: Tony Fadell.
Zetsche sees Mercedes’ late arrival to EV race as an advantage – Christiaan Hetzner.
Cycle times loom larger in the clash of the automotive and smartphone eco-systems. We reflect on BMW’s i brand again, while the company appears to retrench and focus on their legacy facilities and cars.
We divert a bit into a discussion of new vs better and the business strategy supporting such choices.
Finally, financialization looms, perhaps an opening during the next downturn.
Can utility companies be recruited to help sell Electric Vehicles when they reward their customers for using less electricity?
This plus the paradoxes of innovations in distribution, sales, regulation and the 1959/1960 Henney Kilowatt.
Joe Rosmann shares his experience and perspective on our changing transportation system – “the most regulated industry we have”.
Joe begins with three points:
Car costs continue to grow
Smartphones. Consumers can make dynamic real time choices about the best way to go from a to b 24 hours per day, 7 days per week (see the City Mapper app).
Autonomous vehicles can make lives safer and faster.
We close and reflect on Joe’s assertion that “Algorithms are going to become regulatory mandated standards”.
Sam Abuelsamid reflects on the origins of BMW’s i program, today’s economics and the application of lessons learned.
We veer into supply chain details and consider the path that the legacy automakers have chosen.
The show closes with a discussion of Apple’s entry assets, supply chain power and business model evolution.
Anton Wahlman joins us as we dive into numbers, production curves and the clash between reality, vision and hubris over autonomous cars
Tesla’s “financial equation” merits much discussion interspersed with reflections on an EV landscape littered with government subsidies.
We close with accounting, including a dissertation on variable costs and the burden of “dealerless” car sales.
We dive into the new thing. Can a well known brand do something new? Must the new thing stand alone? Must it have a new name, a new distribution model?
We evaluate BMW’s “i” initiative from both a strategic and tactical perspective. BMW, Ford and the other automakers have not a small number of new products and services, apart from traditional cars.
Jobs to be done appears again, as Horace expresses his single pedal “serenity” in traffic.
We close with a few quotes from Ford CEO Mark Fields.
Ford Credit Link Pilot
Ford Smart Mobility
Ford CEO Mark Fields interview, including “Today, the future goes to the company that makes the best products and collects the best data to turn into services.”
We talk finance and other curiosities with Sviatoslav Rosov PhD, CFA, Analyst.
Beginning with Henry Ford’s “Old Fashioned Layaway Plan” followed by the launch of General Motors Acceptance Corporation, the Certified Pre-Owned sleight of hand and today’s auto sales finance and reporting controversies all shaped the industry. Finance is one of many vectors which tie the system together into what its is.
We once again explore the other vectors that might open disruptive opportunities for an entrant. Wide ranging discussion touching all the big points ultimately asking whether Big Bang change is coming. Or will it the big whimper?