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HCI Webinar: The Future of Sustainable, Personal Mobility and How Tech is Changing How We Get Around, with James Ricci

Updated: Jun 11

In the latest HCI Webinar, Dr. Jonathan H. Westover talks with James Ricci about the future of sustainable, personal mobility and how tech is changing how we get around. Below is a summary of the main points from their conversation! Check out the full episode and let us know what you think!

Watch the episode here:

Quick Recap

James and Jonathan discussed the evolving trends in the automotive industry, with a focus on the increasing adoption of electric vehicles and the growing convenience economy. They also explored the potential of their family-run business transitioning to a more sustainable model, balancing short-term and long-term considerations, and the importance of exploring emerging trends. Lastly, they addressed the future of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the US, the need for improving battery technology, and the definition of success beyond just financial metrics.

Automotive Industry Trends and Electric Vehicles

James and Jonathan discussed the significant trends shaping the automotive industry. They highlighted the shift from vehicles being mere transportation tools to being computerized and connected, offering new features and improved safety. They also discussed the growing convenience economy, led by companies like Amazon, and its impact on the car business, particularly with the increasing adoption of online sales. Lastly, they noted the substantial improvements in electric vehicle technology.

Electric Vehicle Market Trends and Accessibility

Jonathan and James discussed the growing trends in the electric vehicle market. They noted that while early adoption was strong, growth rates have begun to slow as the market moves from early adopters to the early majority. They emphasized the importance of making electric vehicles accessible and affordable, with a range of options available at different price points. They also highlighted the need for a robust charging infrastructure to give consumers confidence in the practicality of electric vehicles. Both agreed that the industry is reconciling the need to speak to consumers in a more practical, accessible language while also addressing the traditional concerns of range and reliability.

Balancing Short-Term and Long-Term Considerations

Jonathan and James discussed their approach to the future of their family-run business, which is transitioning to a more sustainable model with electric bikes. James emphasized the importance of balancing short-term and long-term considerations. He mentioned a tendency for established businesses to focus too much on the short term and resist investing in new trends, using Kodak's failure to innovate as an example. He also highlighted the need to explore emerging trends like subscription-based ownership while maintaining focus on their core business. They acknowledged the challenge of not pursuing too many different things at once.

Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure and Success Metrics

Jonathan and James discussed the future of electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the US. Jonathan expressed concern about Tesla's reduced focus on charging stations, given their significant user base. James explained that while Tesla's move may seem concerning, it's offset by the development of a North American charging standard, which will ensure interoperability across charging networks. He also mentioned the need for improving battery technology to reduce charging times. Furthermore, James emphasized the importance of defining success beyond just financial metrics, by considering factors like community awareness and employee engagement. This approach, he argued, would create value in the future and address current issues.

Listen to the webinar here:

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