This project’s main objective was to create a business model that would help people adopt an environmentally friendly attitude to driving and to encourage them to convert to electric vehicles.
UK Government will implement legislation to ban new sales of petrol vehicles by 2040. The transition to electric vehicles will demand a wide charging infrastructure and promote new business models based on service more than products.
Areas of research:
Interesting facts we learned at this stage:
- Air pollution contributes to 40,000 deaths a year and is the “biggest environmental risk to public health in the UK” according to the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health (2016).
- The Government’s plan for tackling air pollution will ban sales of new fossil fuel cars by 2040. Additionally, the plan will offer subsidies. The Government will invest £2,7 billion in air quality and cleaner transport. Incentives including an £80 million fund to help electric charging companies set up the infrastructure.
- The battery technology has been improving quickly, with prices falling drastically from USD 1,000 per KWh in 2010 to USD 190 per KWh in 2018. The future looks promising with 100% recyclable batteries from Nissan and lithium-iron-phosphate batteries that do not require cobalt. This would be important as 50% to 60% of this metal is sourced in the Congo (DRC), a country with poor human rights history.
- Public opinion on electric vehicles according to the BBC (2016) is represented in the diagram below:
To verify some of these assumptions, I’ve decided to put them to the test:
1. Do Electric vehicles have a short-range?
If you consider a Nissan Leaf, with a range of up to 168 miles, you could get to Edinburgh from Glasgow and still have with more than two-thirds of your battery.
If you would like to go somewhere where further, for example, to Forres in the North of Scotland, there are three charging stations on the way as shown in the diagram below. The diagram also shows how much energy your battery would have when reaching these locations.
Some electric vehicles can do further distances. This is how far you could go from Glasgow in a…:
2. Are there not enough models of electric vehicles?
There is an increasing number of models being launched to the market. Here are the number of models we found for fully electric vehicles (2020).
3. Are Electric Vehicles expensive?
Electric vehicles are more expensive in terms of the purchase price, however, when other related costs are included, calculations become more balanced. Electric vehicles need less maintenance, don’t pay road tax and have a lower cost of fuel. In some places, there are added benefits such as free parking and government subsidies for purchase and charging.
As technology keeps improving at a fast rate, it is less and less convenient to own a product. Instead, it is much better to use a product as part of a service. To match this trend, car companies are shifting to a service-based business and new business models based on shared-mobility are going to increase.
Car clubs and e-hailing services will offer many benefits such as accessibility to a wider audience, cars targeted for specific purposes and convenience of scheduling with smartphones.
4. Does it take a long time to charge?
It takes time to charge a car battery in the same way it takes time to charge a phone battery. Having an electric car requires different habits and owners of electric vehicles have incorporated this into their routine. Exploration of these new usage patterns could offer opportunities for new business models and make the most of alternative ways of spending this time.
5. There are not enough charging stations.
It is true. Most of the people we interviewed during this research have pointed out that there are not enough charging stations and that the charging network would have to improve in numbers and speed in order to convince users that it is safe to convert to electric transportation.
Another problem is that those who do not own a house, cannot install an electric charger at home. This means that if the public network of electric chargers is not sufficient, only home-owners could consider using an electric vehicle.
Mobius name and logo was inspired by the “Mobius circle” (or Mobius strip) a three-dimensional shape with only one side. It reflects our vision that we are all on the same boat with regards to climate change. Every single individual on this planet has a role to help solve the climate crisis.
Mobius is a company based on three pillars:
- developing excellent charging infrastructure,
- improving accessibility to electric vehicles by offering shared mobility solutions and
- raising awareness of problems related to air pollution.
1. Electric charging infrastructure
Our charging points would be delivered through partnerships. Charging points would be placed at events venues, leisure centres, shopping malls, tourist attractions, museums, service stations and supermarkets allowing people to top up their batteries whilst they have fun and do their chores and daily activities. If people could charge their electric cars whilst carrying out their daily activities, the charging time could become more recreational to the extent of becoming an opportunity for partnership.
2. Shared-mobility solutions
Following the industry trend towards shared mobility, a car club would help more people to have access to a wide range of electric cars. Cars for different occasions to suit specific needs: either commute in town, spend a weekend in the country or help with removals. Consumers would not have to face the financial commitment to buy or lease a car, nor any maintenance costs. With battery technology evolving so rapidly, consumers would also avoid the risk of being stuck with outdated technology.
Our car club would offer another benefit. Waiting time for recharging could be eliminated with a car swap at any branch. Normally drivers have to wait for around 30 minutes to top up their batteries. With Mobius, they would leave a car charging and then swap for another car that was already fully charged. This would mean they could immediately continue on their journeys.
It could happen that customers would not find available cars for swapping or simply find cars that were not yet fully charged. Booking the swap in advance would avoid surprises and would be made easy by smartphones.
3. Campaign to inspire behavioural change
We would like to inspire consumer behavioural change by raising awareness of the problems related to air pollution. A successful campaign would create a dialogue between the public and the company.
In a positive scenario where people drive less as a result of a conscious decision and a considerate attitude, our company would have achieved one of its main goals: doing something good for the planet and for people’s health. There would still be many occasions where driving is the most convenient transport mode. Therefore, demand for cars would always be there and our job would be to support those moments of real need.