However big you think the electro-mobility revolution is, well, we reckon you’re underestimating it.
Which is natural, because even if we have a high interest in something, our bias is always skewed to what has come before. So glossing over the fact that Henry Ford may, or frankly may not, have ever uttered the immortal words “if I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses” the point still resolutely stands.
Sometimes the scale of change, even when that change has already begun, can be difficult to see or comprehend in terms of its future impact. In fact, it’s not difficult, it’s impossible.
Our view at electroheads is that the electro-mobility revolution is much much bigger than mobility alone. Because the profound impact of its consequences will be far reaching socially, economically and culturally.
It reminds us of this David Bowie interview from 1999.
How we move fundamentally impacts how we live. We know this, because by and large, the majority of the world – in so many facets – is built around the car. Where we work. Where we live. What we dedicate our spaces to. How we use our time. What we create.
If you want to get a sense of what happens when you start with mobility, and mobility = the car, then check out this road layout. It’s bonkers. But then again it’s not. It’s entirely logical. Hammers and nails etc.
The good news is by this same reasoning, once you start designing life not only around the car, then things will change. What we’re seeing right now is a widely held acceptance of the need for change, but a lack of alignment around the best approach as to quite how to manage the complexity.
Irrespective of the wider Trump Denial madness, Biden has already come in for some stick among critics because whilst he seems to want to promote increased modal shift and to push micro-mobility, he also seems to be furthering the dependence on the car. The Mayor of Paris has a radically different plan. And even though it’s taken a while due to government policy hold-ups (or government incompetence – you be the judge of that), it’s amazing to see the likes of VOI start to roll-out their pilot schemes across the UK.
Whichever way you look at it – the electro-mobility revolution is just getting bigger by the day. The fly-wheel effect has kicked in. Across every form factor, across every corner of the world for every use case imaginable.
Whether it’s the world of Adam Barmby and his team at EAV who are on a mission to transform last mile delivery in the UK (and beyond no doubt) or the guys at Airspeeder who are creating motorsport in the sky – to act as the Trojan Horse for R&D and development around eVTOL as a whole new commercial ecosystem, or indeed the 700 e-bike brands that are now in existence, like Urban Drivestyle. (Oh, yes, that’s right, 700 – for those of you who are fans of the concept of The Long Tail – this is one hell of a long tail….).
Or of course the vast electrification projects happening across every young and old OEM on the planet or indeed the increasing retro-fit electrification projects growing. Including this one in conjunction with great UK talent and the world’s best music festival as a test case for farm usage.
But what connects those driving and thriving in this new revolution is purpose and progress.
Every single entrepreneur and co-worker that I meet in this sector, especially in younger start-up businesses (which is the vast majority) is driven by using their technology, their vision and their energy as a force-for-good. It’s no different for us at electroheads, we are fundamentally here to enable positive change in this decisive decade. We just do it by making ace content not by making ace e-bikes. (In fairness, if there’s room for 700 e-bike brands, there’s arguably room for one more. And we do love an e-bike. Let’s see what we can do… Jack – fancy a new project?)
Importantly, we’re collectively just scratching the surface of the positive transformations that will be powered by this revolution and the success of entire brands, sectors and movements will depend on many dynamics we are only just beginning to understand. As ever, there’ll be winners and losers.
The truth is, we don’t really have a clue yet what that transformation and disruption will deliver. What we do know, is the flywheel effect has begun.
As Horace Dediu wrote very recently “In the 21st Century computing and communications have gained mobility while vehicles gained computing and communications. Mobility has been the story of this Century so far. Those of us who remember the 20th Century remember that nobody asked for either.”
Bowie would agree.