An unconventional partnership
The growing popularity of electric vehicles is finding unusual allies among major players in the hospitality, food, and retail industries.
Starbucks Corporation, for instance, announced last year that it was installing the first set of EV chargers at its outlets to provide charging services to both its customers and members of the public. The coffee behemoth’s stated intention, as they entered into the tripartite partnership with ChargePoint, an electric vehicle infrastructure company, and the Sweden-based Volvo Cars, was to get access to EV charging as easy as getting a cup of coffee.
More recently, the Pilot Company which operates fuel stations and travel centers that include close to 800 retail and restaurant outlets, announced a strategic partnership with the Volvo Group to set up EV chargers in its network across the United States and Canada. These unconventional collaborations stand for a lot more than organizations just looking to meet their sustainability goals. Smart mobility disruptions are poised to foster innovative business models and companies like Starbucks and the Pilot Company have realized the importance of entering the evolving ecosystem to drive their own growth story.
The evolving mobility ecosystem
The ubiquitous need for mobility has always influenced the scale and growth of industries.
It is only natural that the rapid disruptions happening in the way people or goods are moved from point to point will fundamentally transform the way these industries operate and innovate. These disruptions, whether connected and autonomous vehicles, zero-emission mobility, or mobility as a service, bring a plethora of opportunities for new-age businesses looking to sustain, diversify, and thrive.
For example, the global pandemic laid bare the importance of flexible, agile, and resilient supply chains, built atop the critical need for the optimized movement of goods. Amazon responded to the need by increasing its air fleet. However, not all businesses can build similar operating models that seek to eliminate risk. In this context, connected and autonomous fleets would be a game changer in the way goods are transported, resulting in reduced costs, and increased options for efficient movement. The advantage for businesses in latching onto ecosystems that leverage smart mobility solutions, lies in the scalability of value propositions within the ecosystem. For example, a truck marketplace can offer variable capacity on demand to transport goods, a gig marketplace can address the paucity of drivers in the trucking industry, an edtech ecosystem can bring in niche training models to the gig marketplace, and autonomous freight services can allow for allocation of scarce driver resources to customer-facing and last mile routes, removing them from long-haul routes.
Smart mobility disruptions are poised to foster innovative business models.
The opportunities in mobility ecosystems
Emergent mobility paradigms offer a lot more than streamlined and optimized supply chains and operations.
For one, the charging process for EVs, which will continue to be several times longer than the fueling time for non-EVs, will provide hotels, restaurants, convenience stores, and retail outlets an opportunity to tap into a new customer base with time to kill, and money to spend. While partnerships with charge point operators can help get prospective customers into their premises, collaboration with OEMs can help secure data and consent of customers to cater to their specific preferences and offer them delightful experiences.
As vehicles get more connected, the construct of it being an extended living space has become a greater reality.
Connected vehicle commerce is estimated to be worth upwards of € 500 billion over the next decade. However, getting customers to effectively purchase goods and services on the move, requires a well-oiled collaboration with providers in retail, travel and tourism, hospitality, logistics and healthcare, implemented through partnerships with fintechs, and delivered through hyper-personalized engagements. The resultant ecosystems will be mutualistic, as all the players in the relationship, especially the end consumer, stands to gain substantially in terms of tangible value and experience.