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The problem with the car industry

I often say that the car industry faces two problems, the 95% problem and the 96% problem.

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The 95% problem is a great illustration of how wasteful everyday transportation is since most of the energy consumption relates directly to weight (rolling resistance and deceleration losses)

The 95% problem is that the driver (yes, we drive mostly alone, average occupancy = 1,1) only accounts for 5% of the weight. 95% is deadweight thanks to inefficient (but cheap) steel based technologies used by the incumbents to produce the car.
The next time you at the gas station, consider that the first 76 Euros spent is for moving the car. The final 4 Euros is the actual cost for transporting you.
I refuse to believe that the way ahead to creating a sustainable transport solution lies in converting the 95% problem into a 97% problem. At a vehicle weight of 2,3 tons the driver only constitutes 3% of the total weight.
Why do I mention 2,3 tons? Well, it happens to be the weight of Tesla Model S and the all new Volvo Plug-in Hybrid both which are generally accepted as super eco-friendly cars.
This is neither energy nor resource efficient. In fact one Tesla battery is equivalent to 42 Zbee batteries. A Tesla Supercharger station put the same load on the grid as simultaneous charging of some 900 Zbees.

Alright, moving on to an even more staggering piece of statistics. On average a car is used only 4% of the time. 96% of the time it just uses up parking space. With a billion cars around the world, on average we have 960 million vehicles parked across the globe.

I am sure that the way forward is to provide more on-demand delivery of transportation and increase vehicle sharing. I think that spinoffs like car2go (Mercedes-Benz) and DriveNow (BMW) will be the future of urban transportation. The big question is if the car companies are really thriving to make these concepts a success. If we could increase car utilization to 20% by different concepts of vehicle sharing, a staggering 800 million cars around the world would be redundant.

I believe the Zbee has an important role to play as the shared downtown electric ride. Moreover, we are in a unique position where competition is nowhere near. We are 100% electric, we are extremely energy and resource efficient and since this afternoon we have the first prototype with working solar panels on the roof. When combining this we could bring free floating vehicle pools to cities and eliminate the need for charging infrastructure (not applicable for Northern Europe during winter).
We are hard at work to make a reality out of this vision. And we are convinced that this work will create a better and sustainable future.

/Göran Folkesson, CEO

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