Monday, October 7, 2013

NOAE 2011 - Theme Cluster Communication & Mobility

Space-Efficient Vehicle - Modern communication brings about the need for a matching mobility mode

Teaser: Describe in a sentence the meaning, purpose and goal of your innovation!
Communication is about having all sorts of functions in a small, efficient package. Mobility however… Time to do some out-of-the-automotive-square-box-thinking.

Context: What is the basic starting point for the innovation?
There is an interesting relationship between communication and mobility. The first is about making split second connections, regardless of your physical location. The second is about going places physically, which takes increasingly more time. Traffic is like an hourglass – the bigger the grains the slower the throughput. Cars tend to grow heavier and wider. 90-95 percent of all cars carry just one person, particularly during rush hours when traffic is at its worst. Time is precious. Can’t we make those grains smaller, sleeker, and by doing so, contribute to making mobility more efficient?

Problem: What problem arises because of the situation described above?
More cars on the road, which also grow 'OBESE', require more resources, more energy and more space. Prices of all three go up. In a modern round-the-clock economy, which is less fixed on office hours and people working on one location, 5 working days times 4 hours of clogged-up roads equals 12% out of 168 hours in a full week. Thanks to modern media our working habits become more fluid. Big cars can be cumbersome. Sleek (rather than small), lightweight cars are more space-efficient, therefore flexible, which may lead to saving time and less stress. They need less energy, emit less CO2.

Solution proposal: What is your proposed solution? What customer requirement is met by your innovation?
The sleek, lightweight Space-Efficient Vehicle (SEV) is better suited to urban conditions where time and space are at a premium. Its seating layout allows for a sleek cabin, which in turn enables more space-efficient use of the infrastructure. The possibilities include opening up smaller -designated- lanes, allowing semi split-lane use, reconfigured parking lots and space-efficient interfaces with public transportation. Many governments plan to introduce road pricing and parking fees related to the type of vehicle; the eco-friendlier and smaller the footprint, the lower the tariff.

Degree of innovation
• What competing products/solutions similar to your innovation exist?
• What makes your innovation different to these solutions? Why is your innovation better?

The SEV is a semi three-wheeler - UNIQUE & BEST in terms of concept, safety (see pdf file), comfort (long wheelbase) and market proposition. Lately, automakers seem to think in similar terms. Some of them came up with small vehicles that offer 1 or 2 seats. That may tip the balance to the negative as this limits the possibilities. That is why the SEV offers an extra seat, making it the perfect 1st or 2nd mode of transport, dependent on how you look at it. You can use the SEV for practically anything, and save-rent-borrow the ‘big car’ if you have one or need one for the extra capacity.

• Describe the technical maturity of the submitted innovation (concept / prototype / series)!
• What other expenses are necessary for the realization (production stage) of the innovation? Please include development risks and remaining time required

Crucial aspects have been figured through and are now awaiting implementation. Building a prototype with basic engineering in place, will cost millions. Mind you, we do talk about a new type of vehicle. A rather narrow track vehicle like the SEV will need to bank to be able to round the bends safely. Should be fun and unique in its class also. 'Body lean' (no full-tilt) without a costly mechanism IS possible; several proven solutions to choose from. A major car- and/or motorcycle brand should be involved, preferably both because of its ‘best of both worlds’ nature. Development: 2-3 years.

Economic Potential
• Assess the market potential for your innovation. Explain the assumed potential market size, growth opportunities and risks by, for example, describing substitution-solutions!
• Evaluate the additional expenses that are necessary for the realization (development costs, investment costs, etc.) and estimate the potential returns from your innovation! Explain this estimate based on customer value and fulfilling the customer's need!

Combine Fahrvergn├╝gen, affordable (Smart ForTwo +20%) pricing, good looks with fuel consumption averaging 1:35-40, and selling 150,000 annually (based on 1 production plant) seems like a modest estimate. A hybrid SEV would yield a fuel consumption of 1:100-150 based on mixed circumstances. The SEV is an excellent export product, particularly to countries with costly-to-expand inner city infrastructures. Because of its maneuverability, practicality and iconic design the SEV will suit the fast-paced URBAN LIFESTYLE of youngsters, singles, couples and 1-child families all over the globe.

What new customer requirements are fulfilled?
People want big cars for reasons of safety, comfort and prestige. Better to address those issues then. The SEV offers more safety and comfort than any ‘comparably sized’ car, plus the fun element of body lean during cornering. It offers more flexibility than larger cars because of the SEV’s inherent ability to sneak through traffic and find a parking spot. The sleeker the vehicle, the better the sense of being one with the vehicle, and the more road is left there to play with, if the conditions allow you to. Bikers know. The SEV’s prestige lies in its crossover nature and its unique abilities.

Which improvements come from your innovation?
• (Saving time or money, fun and entertainment, enhanced/better communication, more safety and other benefits)
• What is different? What is new?

More awareness of the vehicle’s outer dimensions leads to a better feel of how it moves through traffic and more ease of mind, especially during rush hours. Insulation from the noise and the grime outside: yes. Isolation from the driving experience: no. There is an avalanche of new technologies in propulsion, connectivity and automated piloting coming our way. Time to have a matching vehicle for those and reinvent the thing that moves us in the 1st place, don't you think? The SEV can serve as a modular platform, offering various levels of connectivity and comfort when the car will be on sale.