In the US, electric cars still make up less than 1 percent of new car sales. The path to 100 percent will be a long one, and the engine won’t cede such ground without a fight.
–As Electric Cars Surge, the Gas Engine Keeps Getting Better, Jack Stewart, WIRED Online
More people today likely know the name Elon Musk than Nikolaus August Otto. While Mr. Musk is believed by some to be the tech and pop-culture heir of sorts to the late Steve Jobs, Mr. Otto paved the way for what is known today as the internal combustion engine way back in the 19th century.
As Tesla’s are being bought and seen on the road, Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s journey of an electric future is still in the crawling phase in many ways. Admittedly, that “1% of new car sales” statistic is surprising. Arguably, Tesla’s car line is evolving as the leader in the promising development of electric cars. Make no mistake that the pursuit of an emissions-free transportation future is admirable and intriguing. Combining a positive environmental impact with a dynamic and exciting product in the free market is a win-win scenario. The all-electric car is an impressive invention that should and will improve in the coming years and decades, along with its necessary and developing infrastructure. And yet, let’s not ignore the realities of society-altering innovations as technology continues to expand into every aspect of our lives, both professionally and personally.
As strange as it may read, we are facing a sophisticated, consequential dilemma with Tesla and its part in an electric transportation future. Will it be as promising and as beneficial as we want it to be? Wherever there’s electricity, there’s a grid that’s inevitably accompanied by a power struggle. Remember that. And in every situation, there are costs and benefits to seriously consider. With that in mind, as Tesla continues to sell and improve its various models one-by-one, let’s take the time to reflect on what the future would be if and when that 99%-1% statistic is one day flipped.
Random question: What are your thoughts on dealing with tech support?
Riding in a Tesla, according to reports, is a smooth and mostly noiseless ride. This is one of the bonuses of an electric engine that doesn’t roar like a Mustang. That is until you hit bumps in the road because there are always bumps in the road. But if we take the time to plan, we can avoid the greatest damage before it’s too late.
We should be equally excited and cautious concerning innovation. Moreover, we should be ready to not just ask when something new will happen, but what happens when it does.
Innovation has a long arc, so we best prepare for that long ride when that new road finally arrives and is here for the long, quiet haul.
The question doesn’t seem to be whether or not we want to live within “the grid,” but rather what type of grid we want to inhabit?
In order to remain just on the ground level of our evolving digital society, let alone any furnished apartment or luxury suite, we must embrace the ever-growing connectivity of an ever-growing networked world. From our smartphones (if anyone has a flip-phone, I’d like to see it for historical purposes) to watches to tablets to computers to social networks to commerce to business to entertainment and everything in between, life’s daily necessities focus hard on innovative, customizable software.
That’s the reality…until it soon becomes virtual (see Ready Player One).
There are some negatives to this modern lifestyle, least of which are explored by the futuristic HBO hit show Westworld and a few select Michael Crichton novels. Still, there are incredible positives to embracing futuristic technology. And it looks like BMW is working towards one of these aforementioned positives…
If I were a betting man (thanks to a college poker game, I’m not), I’d wager a large sum of money on the word “charging” on the Buzzword Market Worldwide.
Or BMW, for short.
Investing in the right battery stock may be a prudent move as well. Time to get out the credit card and charge it.
The point is that the next technological frontier, and it’s still in the very early stage, appears to be a seamless, all-present wireless charging ecosystem for all the portable products/things/necessities in our lives. The world, to prognosticate, could evolve into a 3-D electronic world of sorts akin to an ’80s video game simulation. Walls, homes, roads may, one day, become super batteries and one further day down the digitized road all-mighty supercomputers. Just imagine what the digital grid could and will inevitably look like in a few decades. The pace of change increases with every passing day, hour and minute.
But for now, the BMW charging pad looks impressive and promising.
P.S. I hope you’re skilled at driving into car washes with precision.
This is not the Apple Inc. of the late Steve Jobs.
This blog post’s opening sentence is aimed directly at the surprising disclosure of development plans concerning evolving technology discussed in the recent interview above for the part-tech and part-lifestyle brand that is Apple. You’re likely recalling those iconic slideshow presentations when Steve Jobs was speaking/performing in front a packed auditorium in northern California’s Silicon Valley when he would suddenly reach into his pocket and reveal everyone’s favorite new gadget.
We all miss that suspense from the master of tech ceremonies.
But, as has been pointed out on Jimmy’s Daily Planet many, many times, Tim Cook is not Steve Jobs. For better or worse, that’s a fact. However, for a CEO not categorized as something damn near demiurge for 21st century technology consumer products, Tim Cook has proven to be among the best business leaders in the world. That’s also a fact.
There’s no risk with Tim Cook. Whether that’s been good or bad for Apple is for another blog post.
Returning to the video clip above of the interview with Bloomberg’s Emily Chang (a Silicon Valley favorite), a couple things were subtly revealed that should leave us wanting more. First, Mr. Cook appears to be feeling a bit of pressure (from investors, critics, reporters, their consumers, etc.) because why else admit a project that’s still “in the shop”? Or maybe automotive AI is only intended to serve as the obvious appretizer to something much grander and mind-blowing that shall remain hidden until suspense reaches its peak, as is the past tradition of Apple? Secondly, is automotive AI the best design path forward for empowering Apple consumers in the future?
Not to mention the implications and dangers of increasingly intelligent and widespread AI, as boldly illustrated in virtually any science-fiction book, movie or TV show ever made (cough cough Westworld).
Today, I will leave more questions than answers. Why?
Because perhaps Apple should be asking more questions as our society continues to undergo a massive (and equally uncertain, to put it lightly) digital transfer of power, of which it has played no small part. For a company made a global sensation for literally putting a surreal amount of high-quality information, entertainment and power into our hands, it seems abnormal to shift that same awesome power away from those very same hands.
Automotive AI may or may not be an automatic sell to Apple’s global consumer base. That remains the variable.
The constant is that consumers around the world will ultimately determine whether this evolving technology will find success on the right side of the road.
Star Wars is part of us.
All of us.
On this Throwback Thursday, let’s recall that brilliant TV ad from Volkswagen that perfectly joined the forces of business and imagination.
That cool, original one-minute story conceptualized by the advertising team at Volkswagen achieved something that far exceeded the normal expectations of a TV commercial. And that was suspension of belief with a tether that was surprisingly tied to reality. Above all, the TV ad above showcases the necessity and power of creative storytelling. Telling a story, however seemingly other-worldly is one of the most important things in life and it connects us to each other in profound, sometimes unexpected ways.
Just ask any Star Wars fan (excluding Episodes I-III).