By: Charles Kirk
The topic of ‘Mobility Service Provision’ appeared in one of those, “The future of…” type articles, recently, and it got me thinking. As one manufacturer put it, the idea is that:
“There will be no need to own a vehicle. Instead, urbanites will rely on a mixture of public transport, cycling, walking and car-sharing schemes to get around. And they will expect to integrate all these mobility options seamlessly via a smartphone”.
It depends how you define ‘urbanites’, of course, but that term could describe the vast majority of the populations in many developed countries.
The reason this struck me was because the article appeared next to another one about future trends – specifically tailoring service and vehicles to customers’ needs.
The Opel Adam, Range Rover Evoque and the entire Citroën DS, MINI and FIAT 500 sub-brands all offer a vast range of customisation options.
Also pictured below, the Vauxhall Adam, one of the most customisable cars on the market today. Its tagline is: “Your Adam, Your Way. One Car. A Million Possibilities.”
As well as customers being able to ‘make these cars their own’, such cars also provide manufacturers with better profit margins – something which is especially welcome on smaller, higher volume models.
So, if manufacturers move towards providing Mobility Services, what are the implications – will people want to give up something that’s been tailored to their exact requirements?
Well, as someone with petrol in his veins, I have to say that ‘Mobility Services’ seem to me to be a bit ‘soul-less’ / ‘clinical’. I’m used to vehicles being marketed on the basis of enjoyment, passion and convenience; how can you fall in love with a brand if it’s just a glorified bus / taxi / train / vehicle rental service?
I also suspect that even people who simply regard their vehicles as transport tools still value them highly for their convenience. You may not want to go anywhere, but it’s very reassuring to know that there’s your car outside your door, waiting to take you where you want, when you want.
Being able to take full advantage of Mobility Services implies a certain amount of planning and I wonder how many people will be able or motivated to do this. What about emergencies where you suddenly have to travel a long distance / carry a lot of stuff? Will Mobility Service stations be open around the clock and always have the vehicle you need?
It’s true that rising costs and congestion have changed motoring in recent years. However, it’s noticeable that people have generally bought smaller cars vehicles and have driven a bit less, rather than abandoning their cars altogether.
So, Mobility Services – what do you think?