Posted 010/5/2016 in Articles
There's something that distinguishes electric vehicles from every other segment of the automobile industry. A powerful force that has driven annual YoY growth between 60-100% every year for the past five years. A competitive advantage that has seen several of the vehicles receive the highest driver and reviewer satisfaction reports ever measured.
Raving Fans. A group of enthusiasts so jazzed up and motivated by the prospects of pollution free cars that can use domestically produced renewable energy that the cadre has long been recognized as a potent movement by astute observers. A beneficent "fifth column."
Every year, hundreds thousands of people show up at EV events all over North America to show, tell, ride and drive electric vehicles. Many of the events are organized by volunteers who receive no compensation other than the satisfaction of knowing that they are making a difference.
Incredibly, the auto industry seems not to recognize the potential and accrue the full benefits of this fifth column to its advantage, even though enthusiast organizations have been part of car culture for nearly the entire history of its existence.
Part of that may be because the auto industry is uncomfortable with customers who have literally taken to the streets to get them to invest in a technology outside of their core competence and which may force other unwanted changes that favor the customer, like fewer service intervals. Part of it might be a discomfort with the customer being so far ahead of the automakers on the "vision thing." Or it could simply be the inertia that comes with massive organizations.
But whatever the reasons for the slow, uncoordinated and unskillful engagement with their most ardent, engaged and motivated customers, it is an oversight that automakers make at their peril. The rapid rate of technological change is forcing the legacy OEMs to adopt new strategies for product development. Similarly, changes in the ability of customers to communicate, organize and shift loyalties en masse creates another set of risks and rewards.
Crowd funding platforms have enabled prospective customers to vote with their wallets and jumpstart technical innovations in fields ranging from personal electronics to publishing. Although the funding levels for even the most successful projects are currently one percent of the level needed for a new automobile model development, we are already seeing attempts that borrow from the techniques of crowdfunding. The wild success of the Tesla Model 3 reservation system shows that advance payments for future product simply can not be ignored as a potent capability.
Electric Car Insider magazine is using the amplification potential of crowdfunding to develop new electric automobile awareness and education technology with its "Mobilize the EV Revolution" campaign to create a new mobile EV Buyers Guide app. The app helps people interested in driving EVs find a car that will suit their lifestyle. By providing all the information they need to make well informed choices about what vehicles, residential and public chargers, utility services and other gear and services are available, the app simplifies the chore of making the switch to clean transportation.
The Electric Car Insider EV Buyers Guide project has achieved its funding goal and is in the process of being distributed to customers via the Apple App store and Google Play store. The EV Revolution will be Mobilized.
Electric Car Insider magazine is available on hundreds of independent newsstands in the U.S and Canada including Barnes & Noble, Hastings and Chapters Indigo. Never miss an issue by subscribing today.