Watch this space: How many batteries do you need to visit your mother?

Posted on: November 13, 2012 by Paul Albada Jelgersma

I do not like batteries and I do not much like cars. So when my colleagues talk about these two things in 1 whitepaper you can understand it is something I cannot ignore.

Batteries are empty when you need them most (look at any horror movie and you know what I mean). Cars are expensive and they pollute our planet. There is a multitude of battery formats and you have to go to the store to buy them – or you need to charge them and that takes a lot of time (iPhone anybody?).

So, electric cars, cars fuelled by batteries, is something that I find an unlikely combination. Charging them is time consuming and a charger is not available everywhere. The use of changeable batteries might seems like a good idea, but is it really convenient and what about formats and availability?

Exactly this dilemma of ‘Electromobility’ is described in an upcoming whitepaper of the Atos Scientific Community:

“The success of Electromobility depends on addressing two major challenges: User acceptance and the availability of supporting infrastructure and services.”

After looking into the subject it became clear that next to user acceptance and the support infrastructure, we can also see this as a huge area of new revenue possibilities and innovation. Leasing and pay-for-use in mobility are much better business cases for both the vendor and the consumer. It also ‘fuels’ (sorry, I could not resist making that joke…), the innovation process because you take out the big capex investment for the end user.

“New business models like battery leasing, simple easy to use charging infrastructure and the involvement of all stakeholders are the key to a positive business case.”

Instead of buying a new car every 5 or 6 years, the consumer (and companies) can choose to either own a car or lease one according to his needs of today. With the right infrastructure he can choose to just change battery or even change the whole car. And through some clever analysis the supplier can even predict the end user behavior. This prediction leads to a more tailored offering and in itself will drive further innovation. Such analysis, combined with extending the eco system for example into insurance companies, food and beverage providers, holiday brokers and other leisure providers can create whole new commercial eco systems.

“Electromobility needs multi-sided flexible business platforms with open interfaces to create new value.”

This is of course all very much in the future and will mean we need to change our habits, both on the provider and the consumer side of driving a car. But change is inevitable and with the right standardization to support ease of use, and a well-integrated system for payments and loyalty schemes, I might be persuaded to buy into such a solution for visiting my mother.

For now we just need to start to understand what is at stake, what is possible and which actions we need to take. For this the upcoming whitepaper is an excellent first step. We will let you know when it is published.


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About Paul Albada Jelgersma
Global Head Atos IoT Solutions and member of the Scientific Community
Paul has over 30 years of experience in running IT and business programs; including managing large teams of IT and other professionals. Paul is a founding member of the Atos Scientific Community. In his day job, he focusses on developing and delivering Internet of Things Solutions for our customers. Paul likes to work with Virtual Teams in the new way of work. He dislikes email as a chat and document-management tool. He occasionally writes articles and publishes at his own blog. Paul is married and has 2 children. He lives near Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He likes to travel, moderate hiking and watch Netflix series.

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