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Old 21st May 2013, 08:17   #46
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Default Re: Cars: Where does the future lie? Why so many lies in the present?

Came across an interesting article in yesterday's Economic Times called "Decoding Good Value for Brands". All about what consumers looks for in products.

On cars it stated the following:

Quote:
The attributes highly correlated with good value for cars are the ones which give consumers a sense of having arrived in life and the feeling of being acknowledged. The brand that can provide such aspirational associations can rank amongst the top in consumer consideration for purchase. Attributes like being the best or most famous brand, being glamorous and being known for high performance are some of the key attributes that correlate highly with god value in this category.

Thus, we see that having "good value" is one of the most pivotal perceptions of a brand that matters to a consumer. However, the trick is in being able to decode the right interpretations of good value for your category and brand. The marketeer who can best understand the codes of value relevant to their category can hope to derive sustained and premium growth for their brand.
So it is very obvious what people look for in a car. They don't even think of it in terms of transport or having the best technology perse. It's more about image and what it portrays. What it says about them and their choices in life.

I think the Prius was a good example that hinged it's value on the environmental issues. For those that felt that was important, or seen to be thinking about it as important (e.g. hollywood stars) all went out and bought a Prius. As a car it wasn't much. Even the so called environmental friendly image was probably in reality not even close to the marketing picture it portrait. Still, it sold like hot cakes.

So technology without the appropriate packaging in terms of "value" is never going to sell, save for a few nerds. The Nano is probably another interesting example where the marketeers got it wrong, at least for now.

The "need" is not just transportation and cheap. It's more about the total package and what the brand stands for. Interestingly enough, again virtually no technical aspects seem to enter the equation. Except for fuel efficiency.

See: http://www.indiatimes.com/india/no-n...ano-56962.html

So the future of the car is most likely tied closely into those who have the best marketeers. Understanding the true "need" of customers and putting something out that appeals to them. Very little hardcore technology, at best some catch phrase slogan like the "ultimate driving machine". Nothing about the suspension there for instance.

Even some of the best Brands marketeers can get it wrong big time as well, according to some:

http://www.autoextremist.com/current...t-machine.html

In another tread on the forum the relevance and impact of Team-BHP on the car industry at large was discussed. Some suggested it has (quite?) an impact. I stated I doubt it. We are to small a group and we discuss things (mostly technical stuff) that is of little relevance as far as marketeers go.

The underlying technology of a car can probably help support or build a certain image. But it doesn't have to be cutting edge, see my Prius example. In the general public eye, for instance reliability is as much fact as it is perception.
None of us, have owned enough cars, even in a life time, to come up with an experience that makes statistical significance, most likely.

So again, the future does not lie with new or different or better technology as such. It will be how it gets positioned, how the brand is perceived will be more important than the facts by a very large margin.

Jeroen

Last edited by Technocrat : 25th May 2013 at 01:44. Reason: added quote tags for text in quotes, thanks
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Old 23rd May 2013, 23:59   #47
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Default Re: Cars: Where does the future lie? Why so many lies in the present?

Interesting viewpoint.

Personally, I think automobiles really won't die. They shouldn't!
Instead, for any positive change to the industry, the next worthwhile revolution should be in using renewable clean energy to power our vehicles.

And NO, "Electric" is NOT the answer.
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Old 24th May 2013, 13:27   #48
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Default Re: Cars: Where does the future lie? Why so many lies in the present?

The future lies in efficient personal transportation. Full stop.

Let me try and expand this debate beyond cars to efficient transportation as a whole. Taking a cue from the business problem discussed in 'The Reluctant Fundamentalist'- take the case of a company that has discovered the holy grail of efficient transportation and claims to have technology that can disintegrate you within a pod in say Mumbai and reassemble you in Sao Paolo in a matter of nano seconds. How would this technology get adopted in real life? As the protagonist in the movie rightly concluded, people would still prefer traditional means of transportation over taking a risk of disintegrating and reintegrating themselves through a super-machine.

What's my point? Cars are a personal mode of transport and will continue to be around in the guise of a personal transporter for times to come. However this personal transporter will rapidly gain capabilities of intelligent-auto driving, capability to link up with other similar transporters and form more efficient transit links (picture a wireless link up between personal transporters that enables auto-mode driving within city limits with no traffic jams). Mass transport innovations as we have already seen are better implemented with goods rather than 'human beings with emotions.' & the entire automobile marketing industry today is a play on this basic human emotion that desires 'complete control' and the inherent contra-desire to occasionally let go of such self-imposed control ::Speed freaks let this be your zen moment::

Drive train technologies will continue to evolve and the petrol engine will most certainly get rapidly out of date due to inherent friction, weight and positioning inefficiencies over what we already have today as small electric motors linked closer to the wheel. The electric motor is definitely here for a while, however it need not be necessarily powered by a battery pack. Little nuclear energy packs anyone? Or hydrogen packs? & soon, maybe a technology even better?
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Old 24th May 2013, 23:21   #49
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Default Re: Cars: Where does the future lie? Why so many lies in the present?

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Originally Posted by FlatOut View Post
I think anyone interested in designing a car for the future should have a long look at the velomobile, a recumbent bike with a fairing. Upscaled a little, with simpler bodies and an electric motor, you might just have the beginnings of a new type of minimalist machine which would carry two and be ideal for commuting and be quick enough out of the city. If nothing else, it stimulates the mind into a less defined form of thinking.
I completely agree with the original post.
Automobiles are just a another industry that makes use of all the natural resources giving back nothing

Cars are for sure meant to be fun. I have enjoyed driving in the rain along water streams during the monsoons in the western ghats, along the curves around Kodai, on the straights of NH4. Also sometimes on our Bangalore ring roads.

But I sure hate driving in Bangalore traffic. [I take my bike to office instead] Guess, this is the opinion of the rest. But isn't this what most of us do?
Drive our fun to drive cars in the traffic? Keep the AC ON to keep the big car cool, drive the 200bhp machine barely at 20.
So, why do we want to use the mightier transport?
Escape rains? Safety? Comfort? Or even just to flaunt?

The one in the video is sure a smart way. It sure suits the current Indian situation.

But, the situation is altogether different. THe car makers in India were never solving the problems here. We still build cars that suit International needs. One car, one platform, suit all, solve all. Have the car makers got any choice? They are multimillion dollar investments, employing tens of thousands, already deep in debt. They have planned and invested a few years before now. Its like the telecom industry in India. The switches bought 10 years back have still not made enough money. Who do you blame? The competitiveness or the Indian mentality? So, the big guys will never let the small ones kick off.

For now, we sure need a revolution. But that would come at a cost. At the cost of current mediocrity. A lot of homes will go hungry. So, is it best left untouched?

And why should we think that the world would become a better place? It never has been so. You just have to find peace in the world around you.
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Old 26th May 2013, 22:12   #50
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Default Re: Cars: Where does the future lie? Why so many lies in the present?

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Originally Posted by FlatOut View Post
Not sure what you mean by legitimate, IshaanIan. The technology is for real, farmers in France are using it. Nobody can explain completely how it works, though - science lags behind the reality, I think. ...

Dear flatout

what are framers using it for? Do yo have any specific information?

You have written biofuel is cheap enough for you to not bother about GEET, why would it be interesting for farmers? because they are far from the grid?


I am not sure Wikipedia has correct information, but what they do have (if true) indicates that the "technology" is frankly hokum.
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Old 27th May 2013, 11:32   #51
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What a beautifully written piece ! If only it weren't so starkly honest it would've probably made it to some journals.

It Does make our beautiful cars seem so unnecessary. There's always people who will ignore the whole purpose of the piece and instead concentrate/criticize on a few lines.

In any case I couldn't agree with you more. The oil mafia and the auto mafia seem to be becoming more and more arrogant and open about their control over the automobile industry. Take for instance, the case of Fisker. I have not seen a more beautiful car in recent times. It is such a shame that this company is going down because of financial problems when dot coms like Instagram etc continue to thrive and cross billion dollar valuations without actually making any profits or adding any real value to the environment. They are mysteriously acquired for billions by fellow useless dot coms but nobody comes in support of a Fisker which required a few 100 million.

The oil mafia continue to put roadblocks for tesla in the form of dealership mafia , undue and false media reports. Of course Mr. Musk's trump card in the form of his stake sales to Toyota and Daimler has kept him afloat and now he's reached the stage where he can't be pulled down by mere rumours or false batteries (like in the case of Fisker). The product is genius. Carries almost all possible goodies that an S class does. Can you imagine such a revolutionary product being introduced by a German or Italian ? It would cost at least 4-5 times of what Tesla is charging you. Not to forget the Germans use same engines across models therefore adding negligible engine costs from model to model.

Anyway you have got us wondering with the profoundness and the sheer eloquence and delivery of your piece. Really good work.
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Old 27th May 2013, 11:41   #52
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Default Re: Cars: Where does the future lie? Why so many lies in the present?

Quote:
Originally Posted by vina View Post
Dear flatout

what are framers using it for? Do yo have any specific information?

You have written biofuel is cheap enough for you to not bother about GEET, why would it be interesting for farmers? because they are far from the grid?


I am not sure Wikipedia has correct information, but what they do have (if true) indicates that the "technology" is frankly hokum.
Looks like it is.
I also tried to read about the GEET plasma thingie, and the concept looks so school-kiddish to me that even the orginator/inventor doesn't know what happens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
So I devoted a few hours trying to find more about the GEET thingie. And quite frankly the only viable thing which I can see is the fact that GEET uses the exhaust gases to preheat the fuel - which will of course improve the efficiency of the engine (since you are using the low quality exhaust gas heat, instead of just throwing it away).

I don't buy the story that their engine is working on water and sugar etc. Because if that was indeed the case, then there should be no requirement to fill in hydrocarbon fuel (in whatsoever limited quantities).

The GEET plasma and other esoteric stuff requires more due diligence from my part, and hence I refuse to comment right now.
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Old 27th May 2013, 13:26   #53
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Default Re: Cars: Where does the future lie? Why so many lies in the present?

Interesting article on the Tesla:

http://timkastelle.org/blog/2013/05/...-electric-car/

I read somewhere else that they also broke into black figures recently. Quite an achievement.

Now here's some more innovation: http://www.eliomotors.com/my-strengths/

Admittedly it still runs on petrol, but it does 84MPG comes fully loaded, Airbags, ABS etc and costs only $6800.


Jeroen

Last edited by Jeroen : 27th May 2013 at 13:39.
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Old 29th May 2013, 16:28   #54
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Default Re: Cars: Where does the future lie? Why so many lies in the present?

I am not sure whether this infogrpahic was posted earlier, but as per some big consulting firms this is how its gonna be.

I already feel sad for our next generation. they will be deprived of a pleasure called motoring. :(
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Old 1st June 2013, 01:52   #55
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Default Re: Cars: Where does the future lie? Why so many lies in the present?

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Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
Looks like it is.
I also tried to read about the GEET plasma thingie, and the concept looks so school-kiddish to me that even the orginator/inventor doesn't know what happens.
School kids who know about conservation of energy know this cant be done. I hadn't seen your post (and some rant on hand-holding) before, but I'm sure the OP is doesn't have any decent background in science (except the Marvel Comics variety).
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Old 4th June 2013, 03:55   #56
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Default Re: Cars: Where does the future lie? Why so many lies in the present?

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Originally Posted by vina View Post
School kids who know about conservation of energy know this cant be done. I hadn't seen your post (and some rant on hand-holding) before, but I'm sure the OP is doesn't have any decent background in science (except the Marvel Comics variety).
Ahem, thankyou, vina. What is this hand-holding you refer to, by the way? I'm surprised my formal qualifications in scientific eduacation haven't pre-mapped my brain more than they have, to the 'nothing is possible unless one of our laws says it is' type of blarney.



Quote:
Originally Posted by vina View Post
Dear flatout

what are framers using it for? Do yo have any specific information?

You have written biofuel is cheap enough for you to not bother about GEET, why would it be interesting for farmers? because they are far from the grid?


I am not sure Wikipedia has correct information, but what they do have (if true) indicates that the "technology" is frankly hokum.
Wikipedia is quite conservative to the core and is very careful not to encourage any well-funded lawyers to start investigating its 'claims'. Just as any reasonably good encyclopedia is, such as EB. It is not their job to speculate on the future, which is what we here are doing.

Since waste veg oil costs me between 0 and 20 pence per litre (which is about 16 rupees I think), then burning fossil fuel in any amount seems daft, to me, especially since diesel is about 1.40 per litre in the UK, which at Rp80/ is Rp112. French farmers are voting with their feet - they aren't bothered so much how it works rather than the fact it does, so saving them a lot of money.

I can see why it was so difficult to explain why the Earth wasn't flat to many people - in the same vein of thinking, why does Microsoft have such a strangle-hold on the world, when alternatives are free and often better?


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Old 4th June 2013, 13:40   #57
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Default Re: Cars: Where does the future lie? Why so many lies in the present?

Adding to the discussion for those who are interested, here is a paper on Car ownership trends in India: http://www.scribd.com/doc/145359822/Can-we-reduce-the-rate-of-growth-of-car-ownership
Public infrastructure has a direct impact on ownership patterns in developed countries and the Government will no doubt play an important part in deciding how much road widening we need in congested CBDs vs investments into rapid mass transport alternatives.
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Old 7th June 2013, 23:19   #58
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Default Re: Cars: Where does the future lie? Why so many lies in the present?

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Originally Posted by u_chill View Post
Adding to the discussion for those who are interested, here is a paper on Car ownership trends in India: http://www.scribd.com/doc/145359822/Can-we-reduce-the-rate-of-growth-of-car-ownership
Public infrastructure has a direct impact on ownership patterns in developed countries and the Government will no doubt play an important part in deciding how much road widening we need in congested CBDs vs investments into rapid mass transport alternatives.
The article makes for good reading and gives an idea of what the future holds if motor cars continue to be made with a view to profit only - for the oil companies and the motor manufacturers - rather than actually engineering good cars for what most people need.

In England, the motor car has become a cash-cow for the government who pile tax upon tax and have create a financial penalty system if you do not cross every 't' and dot every 'i' when it comes to the paperwork, insurance, etc. - well beyond what is logical. Yet fuel costs are very high, roads permanently jammed in and around cities when people try to move to and from work, our 3, 4, 5 and 6-lane (per-carriageway) motorways are so full that if there is one little accident, the whole road clogs up for miles behind and takes hours to clear and the freedoms once offered have become the very opposite of that

Which is why many more intelligent urban dwellers, especially those under 30, do without a car everyday and hire one when necessary to take family or friends outside the rail or bus network and use a bicycle and public transport to commute and shop.

The almost-empty open road is something which only exists in the very middle of the night, unless you live over a hundred miles from a city. The better the roads which are built, the faster cars fill them and the further the commute and sprawl of urban thinking reaches into the countryside.
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Old 5th October 2013, 19:43   #59
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Default Electric Car: Future vehicle of middle class?

I am a petrol car driver since 1994, driving the Maruti 800 (Flat bonnet), Maruti Omni, Maruti Eeco and currently the owner of Tata Indica Vista Drivetech Aura. Since I have a bike craze, I do my regular office commute by bike (Yamaha Enticer, Bajaj Platina, currently Bajaj BM150), the prime reason for buying a petrol car, since my car usage is very limited, which can be judged by my kilometre reading, 12000 Kms from August 2010.

So far, touchwood, I did not have any problems with Tata Indica Vista and it is running pretty fine, but then it is too early to say since I have not peaked this car usage. But I am still happy with my choice, which was primarily driven by want of sufficient space, which could be satisfied at that moment only by Tata. I had done 3 to 4 trips till date with 10 members (6 adults) in the car (of course short distance single day tours only ).

Upgrades:
My other choice if at all, I would like to upgrade is Mahindra Bolero or Tata Safari. The reasons, I can quote is space and low maintenance. I am a lazy person to do all the work on the car myself, so I would be looking at a car that gives me the pleasure and not give me a headache.

Technology Shift?:
But then I begin to think. Petrol, Diesel cars! Have they peaked out! In the developed countries the cars are already settling into hybrid or electric cars. Is India just entering into this hemisphere? Will the next decade see a boom of electric cars in the developing countries?

So far referring to all the posts/threads of electric cars, I have seen, the only problem is the long life and cost of battery.
  • Will there be a revolution that will kickstart the development/innovation of a battery that will last longer than what it is now?
  • Will solar technology support the charging of the battery on the run, which is currently limited to plug and charge option at the source or the destination of the driver?
  • Will there be an initiative from the newly elected government in 2014 that will kickstart a Kiosk business to charge the cars on the fly, similar to petrol pumps that we see at every corner of a junction in a city?

Current Offerings:
So far, I have seen the following:
  • Tesla Motors developing electric cars that is an instant hit in the US
  • Mahindra e2O that may start an electric car revolution in India.
  • Tata Indica Vista Electric, that is in the offing in 2014.


When I go through all these posts, I wonder whether to postpone the upgrade till I see electric cars running in Mumbai roads, which is the prime reason for starting this thread. I hope this thread will form a reference point of all electric car enthusiasts or electric car enquirers to decide their next car. Cheers!
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Old 7th October 2013, 11:36   #60
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Default Re: Electric Car: Future vehicle of middle class?

My 2 cents,

The electric car has 1 major issue. The Battery in the electric car is really expensive and has a life of about 5 years. I don't know of the exact costs but People say it would be more economical to buy a new car than replacing the power source. If these issues are the truth about electric cars then an electric car revolution in a maintenance conscious country like India may not happen.

And for the environment lover; I guess he would prefer having a car that is built to last a 100 years than have a car that has to be junked every 5-10 years.

IMHO, given what the market has to offer, I don't feel that electric cars make enough economic or environmental sense
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