So the Tesla Model S has no buttons now; just a large touch screen. Other brands are jumping fast to get-rid-of-the-button in their interiors. It’s the twenty teens auto industry response to the mobile device trend for the screen-based human-machine-interface (HMI). You can see why customers would want this. You can see how clearly “new-tech” screens make car interiors look too.
But is this the best solution. What will follow this?
Our business at CDR is rooted in the future; in helping our clients to see and to make the curve that’s just ahead. But we’re skeptical about the way most brands are throwing touchscreens at the car. And we think we can see the first signs of what's coming next.
From Uber in Vegas to Apple and the Airbnb of cars
I was at the consumer electronics show in Las Vegas last week. While inside was the Faraday Future launch, Volkswagen apologies (and the Budd-e), and the host of interior bucks and gesture interfaces, it was actually something outside of the show halls that really intrigued me.
Anyone who’s visited Vegas will be aware of the ‘small/far away’ factor which means you make the ‘let’s walk to MGM it’s really not that far away’ mistake only once. Because of the scale of the Casinos, distances are much greater than they appear. So you take cabs everywhere.
The ride I took from the airport after arriving in the city literally scared the hell out of me, and I’m not easily unsettled in a vehicle. So, like most of the 170,000 other CES attendants, I then used Uber during the rest of my trip. Everyone’s private driver has just launched in Vegas and was operating on a discount pricing scheme which meant that – most of the time – it was a no brainer choice over regular taxis.
Tesla’s Model 3 makes for a fascinating story — the company pretty much owned social Media on Thursday night and Friday morning last week. This from a company that has no marketing budget (apparently).
And as the automotive and analyst press continually questioned whether Tesla could scale and deliver, the company’s order count for the Model 3 ticked past 276,000. That was four days ago — Elon Musk is expected to give an update tomorrow. Don’t be surprised if that number’s up to 300k.
The Tesla Supercharger: so much more than just free electricity
Tesla has done a remarkable job of building its brand from scratch, and in doing so it has repeatedly shown that it’s thinking bigger than just the vehicles themselves. Tesla has been highly unusual for car company, building its own infrastructure in the form of Supercharger stations — strategically positioned points (typically on the motorway/highway network) allowing Tesla drivers to fast recharge their batteries on the go (an 80% charge takes around 40 minutes, which is must faster than conventional public charging points).
In the UK, there’s a Tesla supercharger station at Hopwood Park services, on the M42 Motorway south of Birmingham, which I didn’t know about until I called in for fuel and coffee on my way back from a wedding at the weekend.