Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, April 2021

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, April 2021

Battery Cost – How to project cost of batteries for electric vehicles?

After having discussed battery performance improvement last time and figuring out how something like Moore’s Law actually can be applied, this month I am looking at cost decrease over time. One often-used model for this is Wright’s Law, named after the aeronautical engineer W. P. Wright who observed efficiency improvements in aircraft manufacturing in the 1930s.

Some of this can be applied to batteries for EVs as well, however as those are not as labor intensive to produce like aircraft, it is good to use some combined approach out of Wright’s and Moore’s Laws to model cost.

This gives a funnel that the cost for batteries might come down from roughly 140 $/kWh today to 65 $/kWh by 2025 and even 35 $/kWh by 2030. That actually means that a 350-mile range EV might cost less than a gasoline powered car. Great times ahead!

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, March 2021

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, March 2021

Battery Technology – Is there such a thing as Moore’s Law for batteries?

Recently there have been pretty good headlines about EVs again: Volkswagen, BMW, Volvo, GM, and of course Tesla! In related discussion, people often point to Moore’s Law and how battery performance would follow that same progress as computer chips since the 1960s. But is this true?

Actually, battery performance also increases exponentially, however it only doubles every 10 years and not every 2 like computer chips. This still makes for pretty good progress and might offer the energy of a large Tesla battery with the weight of a full gas tank by 2050.

Exciting times, join the discussion, …

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, February 2021

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, February 2021

Chart of the Month by Silicon Valley Mobility for February 2021: Most innovative companies – Tesla of course!?

There is a lot of talk about innovative companies and often Tesla ranks at the top; together with Amazon, Alphabet / Google, and other tech firms. I took a closer look at different rankings and found that those actually don’t agree much as to who is “innovative”. Some conduct surveys to determine a ranking, others compare stock price vs. revenue (the latter in particular favoring Tesla). Here is my chart that gives some pretty interesting insights into this:

The chart shows that Tesla shows up in three recent rankings, which also makes it the overall leader – fair enough. However, going down in those rankings, one sees very different companies listed.

In the left third of the chart there is also a comparison how the top 10 of Forbes Most Innovative Companies ranked in 2018 vs. 2011. Most of them were not listed at all in 2011, incl. Tesla. However, I would content that was when Tesla certainly was innovative and only today we see the results. Conversely maybe Apple, they were high on everyone’s list in the early 2010s and where are they headed now?

This is a reminder that (a) innovativeness lies in the eye of beholder and (b) innovation is a constant battle.

Which companies would be on your list?

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, January 2021

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, January 2021

Silicon Valley Tourism – CES happened and no one came to visit us

2020 has been many things; in the mobility space we might remember 2020 as the year when electric vehicles reached the inflection point.

CES 2021 happened and no one came to visit Silicon Valley afterwards. But now that that was not possible, Silicon Valley comes to you. Had you come here, we would have had a great discussion on current topics around mobility, ranging from technology to business to politics. We would have talked about Mercedes’ Hyperscreen, trends in LiDAR, the ongoing frenzy of SPAC mergers, and the hopes one can have into the new administration in Washington.

In all of that we might have discussed questions around the health of the Valley, in particular as quite a few of our favorite meeting places have closed their doors for good. Certainly things are changing in Silicon Valley, similar to other places in the world, and I am sure this place will reinvent itself again.

Those topics and more are covered in this Chart of the Month from Silicon Valley Mobility, which hopefully remedies a bit the situation that you could not come to visit us this year after CES. Take a look and let me know what might be missing!

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, December 2020

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, December 2020

2020, the EV inflection point – The year electric vehicles are making it to mainstream

2020 has been many things; in the mobility space we might remember 2020 as the year when electric vehicles reached the inflection point.

Plug-ins reached 10% new vehicle market share in Europe and at some point even outsold diesel cars. In the U.S., Tesla Model 3 has become a solid member of the top 5 best-selling cars.

What’s more, SPACs were a big thing for EV companies in 2020 and Tesla made it to the S&P500.

One can content that EVs reached an inflection point and are about to take off into mainstream market. Battery prices are falling below what used to be seen the magic number of 150 USD/kWh, so it seems this is real and EVs are here to stay.

I hope you like this EV 2020 in review and let me know what you found noteworthy.

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, November 2020

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, November 2020

Mobility Services & Motorsports – What it takes to win and what the race is all about

BMW and Daimler appear to be in talks with Uber to sell their mobility services and GM also brought their Maven program to an end earlier this year. This begs the question if car companies are not capable of running a shared mobility business. However, one also needs to admit that none of the big companies in shared mobility seem to be profitable.

To understand what is going on, the analogy to motorsports actually helps because both (i.e. mobility services and motorsports) are about innovation, advertising, and expansion. Similarly, both are often programs that cost several hundreds of million dollars a year.

Therefore, one should see venturing into mobility services more like an endurance race that requires constant improvements and adjustments, but can ultimately lead to market share if not market dominance.

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, October 2020

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, October 2020

Outlook at the Rest of 2020 – elections, shared mobility and driverless vehicles

2020 has been a strange year, but it’s not over yet: we will have the U.S. elections in just a few days now. Here in California, Proposition 22 is on the ballot. We get to say whether the drivers for Uber, Lyft, DoorDash etc. are independent contractors or employees. The outcome of this vote, which is one of the highest funded propositions in the history of California, will have great implication for the business and operation of shared mobility – in an extreme case those services might come to an end.

Should those mobility services cease – which probably is not too likely after all, then the solution might lie in driverless solutions. Therefore it is interesting to note that Waymo – just like every October for the last 3 years – just made announcements that driverless rides are coming to the public. We will see what’s behind this. In my mind, for broad deployment, infrastructure investments are essential, which in return might be impacted by the outcome of the presidential elections in the U.S.

Certainly 2020 is not over yet, either way it will have been quite a year.

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, September 2020

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, September 2020

The State of ACES – What’s up with autonomous-connected-electric-shared?

What has been going on in ACES (autonomous – connected – electric – shared mobility) lately? Not so much? It seems things have lost steam, or at least attention has shifted. Autonomous driving used to be the hot topic, but lately EVs – cars and trucks – have been getting a lot of media interest, regulators’ attention, and certainly business activity.

In this Chart of the Month I am a bit “reading the tea leaves” as I analyze Google Trends as to how much interest there has been in those mobility topics. One actually finds that electric vehicles as a topic has been steadily increasing for the last five years, while autonomous driving has had a few peaks here and there, but has not really built up much more momentum since summer 2016.

Now, this is not a scientific analysis and not real data indicating technology progress. But taking it all together, it reflects in my mind where future mobility as a hole stands – it might be just the calm before the storm…

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, August 2020

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, August 2020

Reverse merger, SPAC, TSLA – Observations around recent financial activity of mobility firms.

There is a lot of activity, talk, and maybe hype around SPAC, reverse merger, and in particular EV companies going public through that route at the moment. But what is behind this, how does it work, and what is the broader picture here?

This month’s video discusses the definition, process, and history of reverse mergers through a SPAC (Special Purpose Acquisition Company) and suggests that this might need to be seen in context of Tesla’s unprecedented and apparently unstoppable stock rally. While newcomer EV companies might aim for additional funding opportunities, there could also be an opportunity in becoming part of the frenzy that seems to be currently going on at the stock market related to electric mobility.

What do you think? What is happening here and am I missing anything?

Disclaimer: this is not a financial or investment advice. It is the observation of a layperson and solely intended for informational purposes.

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, July 2020

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, July 2020

Chart of the Month by Silicon Valley Mobility for July 2020 – Shared mobility is here to stay

A client recently asked if it is about time to drop the “S” in “ACES”. The underlying question was if shared mobility actually has a future in light of the 2020 crisis with people concerned about sharing and no one traveling anywhere. So here is my answer:

As the chart summarizes, analysts still see double digit growth for shared mobility in recently updated revenue forecasts for 2025. The market is largely driven by ride hailing, i.e. services like Didi, Gett, Uber, etc. Micro mobility (scooters and bicycles), which operate with relatively low fees, have surpassed car sharing in global revenues in 2019. While ultimate conclusions should be done with caution, it seems possible that car sharing might not remain in key market through the 2020s.

Such trends emphasize that consumers increasingly appreciate mobility “access over ownership”, i.e. services are key. That does not however automatically mean “sharing” as e.g. ride hailing is not really a shared trip.

Given those observations, one might want to use “commoditization” instead of “shared mobility”. In that sense – yes, we might drop the “S” in “ACES” and replace it with another “C”. That would make it “ACEC”, which does not roll off of the tongue nicely.

Thoughts anyone?

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, June 2020

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, June 2020

Deciding between keep or cut.

This month we review recent news about mobility related ventures that got impacted by the pandemic. While there are quite some bad news, it should also not go unnoticed that there’s good news as well. Seemingly, it is not about “all or nothing” but about “the right” thing.

The question becomes how to decide what tasks, projects, investments etc. to keep and what to let go.

The key to success is to prioritize the portfolio from the top using a metric that is unique to one organization and also to let gut feeling play a role to make sure the result is the right thing. Communication matters a lot in this as the team needs to be coached in a potentially different situation, and therefore it is important to motivate.

While we do know how long past downturns lasted, no one can tell how long this one will take. Competitors also don’t know and are probably asking the same question. However, one thing is for sure, that a crisis will be over at some point and it is important to get through a challenging situation with a streamlined portfolio and a motivated team.

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, May 2020

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, May 2020

Happy anniversary Silicon Valley Mobility! It’s been 3 great years and with that about time to review how it has been going and what the firm actually is. Therefore, as many have been asking about details and specifics, here’s “Silicon Valley Mobility by the Numbers”.

Just recently the 50th client found its way to the firm and most engagements last 12 months or longer. About 20% of the project volume is from speaking engagements, which says that most engagements are non-public consulting projects with clients that are not advertised on the website. And there have been thus far 6 advisory board positions at startups that are also an important part of those engagements and learning.

Silicon Valley Mobility also has a network of almost 100 on-demand domain experts who are ready to team up for projects as needed. Finally, also the vast connections on LinkedIn help to mutually seek and give advice with colleagues.

Thank you all!

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, Apr 2020

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, Apr 2020

“Don’t go where the puck is, go where it is going to be.” – this famous saying from hockey also applies to the mobility industry, innovation strategy, and also crisis management. There are many examples where a startup aims to be “the next” of something, e.g. “the next Tesla”. Or we might say in this current crisis that “sharing is a thing of the past”.

But what we do all too often is connecting just too few data points and extrapolating from them under the assumption that things will evolve linearly. We much rather need to account for all the twists and turns that those developments might take and therefore we should not aim to be “the next” of something but to create our own future. We need to envision what it will be, and then think backwards how we will have gotten there.

Some food for thought, definitely applies to the thinking what autonomous, connected, electric, and shared mobility will be in the future and how they might be affected by the current crisis.

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, Mar 2020

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, Mar 2020

A slightly different analysis of the California DMV 2019 Autonomous Vehicle Disengagement Reports that looks deeper into the narrative of where and why disengagements were encountered in 8,885 cases over 2.9m miles covered by 652 vehicles operated by 28 companies. One finds for instance that companies describe potentially similar cases in different terms and varying level of detail. And also, companies focus on different locations for testing, such as some report mostly disengagements on highways and others more on city streets. All this shows that the disengagement reports must not be used as a competitive analysis, let alone “ranking”, of companies. But the reports might serve as an indication how far the industry of autonomous driving has come as a whole, with challenges still in negotiating situations with humans, especially in what is called by some companies “aggressive” or “reckless” behavior. And also, the analysis of a vast number of disengagements shows that quite often the “planner” seems to have problems, which might be an indication that stand-alone planning might not be the only way toward automated vehicles in public and a more collaborative approach might be in order.

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, Feb 2020

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, Feb 2020

Quo vadis, autonomous driving? What can we say with near certainty and what only with some probability about autonomous driving? I have made two very interesting observations this month: (1) an investor told me “the days of burning money in a parking lot are over” and (2) the first Waymo test vehicle outside my house. Both observations taken together lead me to believe that funding for (at least early stage) AV companies is dwindling and Waymo might get really close to a “real” public launch now. Watch my video and join the discussion – what do you observe and what do you think?

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, Jan 2020

Silicon Valley Mobility Chart of the Month, Jan 2020

Here we are in 2020 and where are the flying cars and where are the self-driving automobiles? At the beginning of a new decade I review my own forecasts from the past 10+ years and highlight things I got right and those that were a bit off. I also recommend that “forecasting” should rather be done as “projections”, i.e. one is at some point in time now and projects into the future. This should be done in different categories, such as events / innovations that are “certain”, “probable”, or simply just “possible” to happen. Either way, this makes for a interesting self-reflection that I can only recommend to everyone in the field of new mobility and future thinking. It is always good to look back “… what was I thinking?!” I hope you agree this deserves a 7:42 min video. Let me know what you think…

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