How much do you use your car? Unless you live where public transportation is ubiquitous and using a car is more trouble that it is worth, probably an hour or two a day. Put a different way, more than 90-percent of the time our cars are parked.
Do the math. Do you drive more than 2.4 hours a day? If not, then your car is parked more than 90-percent. But let’s say you have a long commute and have daily chores which require you to use a car four hours a day; every day. That means your car remains parked and not in use for more than 80-percent of each day.
Yes, there are lies, damned lies, and statistics, but it should be obvious that the future of mankind may not allow for each of us to own and use an expensive transportation device that remains parked 90-percent of the time.
Word on the streets says Apple is working on a self-driving car. Big whoop, right? It seems as if every car maker and many non-car makers are working on the same thing. Cars that drive themselves. Why? Because ride sharing beyond Uber and Lyft, beyond taxicabs and buses, beyond trains and subways is a thing and it’s on the way.
Only Apple knows what kind of self-driving device they are working on but one thing is clear. They are spending money in a race among many competitors to be a part of the coming transportation revolution.
I’m a car guy. My first car was a Renault 4CV, circa 1949. It cost my father $35. We bought a new battery. It ran a few times and stopped and my attention turned toward Honda motorcycles and girls. Since then, I’ve owned dozens of cars, old and new, from Karman Ghia to cars from Korea devoid of personality. Yet, here we are, moving rapidly into a new era within the 21st century, and our current car sits more than 90-percent of the time each day.
If we could summon the convenience of a car at any time we need to use a car, what would that cost? What’s the business model, not for ride sharing, but for more casual transportation– like renting, but by the hour as opposed to by the day, sans the expense of a taxicab or the inconvenience of public transportation?
Those are issues Apple and every other company working toward the future must solve. Can the future bring about the convenience of owning a vehicles without ownership, the instant availability but without insurance, fuel, depreciation, and the like?
If Apple is to pull a Tesla and enter the self-driving transportation business with vehicles that use alternative fuel methods (electric, solar, battery, et al) will such devices be attractive to those who relish the freedom associated with vehicle ownership, who see status and luxury as part of the equation?
Apple is a purveyor of affordable luxury gadgets; hardware which runs the company’s tightly integrated software. Will car and truck makers want to purchase Apple’s software? I don’t think so because too many such efforts are already underway. Apple is a hardware company first and foremost but whatever the end result success is still a mathematical formula that mixes affordability with capability, that blends elements of luxury with obvious convenience. Nobody has done that yet.
Apple Car, anyone?