Reimagining the Car, The Future of Vehicles, Part 2
Part two of a series on the future of vehicles
Technology has fully integrated with cars and trucks to reimagine the possibilities of the future and how they fit in our lives. Read part 1 of this series here.
Online buying experience
In the wake of COVID-19, interest has boomed in online dealers Carvana and Vroom.com. Test drives and browsing the inventory on car lots probably won’t go away anytime soon. But the alternative will be a more streamlined process that includes browsing online, watching 360-degree video demonstrations, and consumers purchasing with the push of a button online. As an example, Tesla’s new Cybertruck was unveiled through product demos and streaming live video, which prompted a quarter of a million pre-orders sight-unseen. For those who still want the physical in-person experience, small showrooms can provide the test-drive experience, with customization and orders finalized online. The same experience can apply to buying parts and accessories, with an open digital marketplace that allows consumers to shop vehicle technology, compare, and purchase on demand.
Flexible leasing options
Currently, car dealerships offer two options––to buy or long-term lease. Uber and Lyft are on the other end of the spectrum, offering what can be thought of as extremely short-term leases. What about those who want something in-between? Dealers can meet consumers who are looking for more flexibility, and meet demand where it currently exists. “As a passenger car sits idle 95 percent of the time, there are plenty of alternative options,” writes Frederic Filloux, former Senior Research Fellow at Stanford University and expert on digital business models and technology. “Especially for a vehicle that will be almost maintenance-free. Selective/community car sharing, distributed-ownership, short-term/long-term rentals will lead to one key advantage: less congested cities and better and more efficient mobility.” For example, cars leased in the summer could be swapped out for an SUV in the winter to better handle snow, or families could choose to lease a car short-term when their kids are back from college. Dealers can follow the phone or Netflix payment models, which provide family plans that allow people to add or take people off the billing as needed.
Deeper AI integration
If you get into your car for your regular commute, you might get a notification from Google Maps on your phone showing the traffic and your drive time to work. This is artificial intelligence at work learning your regular patterns and activities through vehicle technology, and automatically displaying relevant information without you needing to seek it out. In the future, more of this AI function could be built into the car itself. Picture this: your car automatically starts on a cold winter day a few minutes before you walk out the door, turns on your favorite playlist or podcast, or suggests navigation to your favorite restaurants if you’re driving around dinner time. But it also goes beyond entertainment: your vehicle could detect when parts need service or replacement, and automatically send you the best options to order via the open marketplace. This can save time, money and help with long-term maintenance.
Steve Messenger is PartsTrader’s
Group Chief Executive Officer.