Rethinking Electric Mobility In Times of Uncertainty

I live in New York City, the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US.

My apartment is located along the route to a local hospital. Every hour, sirens cut through the quietude. Ambulances are parked at empty street corners, ready for action. A grocery run that normally took 30 minutes is now a 90-minute endeavor, which involves queueing up in the wind and rain for half an hour.

The new normal.

We’re forced to redirect our attention. We’re seeing things from different perspectives. And we’re going to emerge differently — whether we want to or not.

Now the initial shock is subsiding, we evaluate how our trajectories have changed.

The pandemic has caused us to rethink how we handle crises on a global scale. It will change how we respond to global warming.

Never waste a good opportunity.

What’s the role of electric mobility, how will it be perceived differently, and where are we heading?

 

Facts. Data. Resource Optimization.

NY State governor has done a phenomenal job of getting the right resources to the right places “ahead of the virus” by leveraging facts and data. Trying to design and implement a public health policy without knowing who’s sick or how many ventilators you may need is destined to fail.

It’s about asset management.

It’s about identifying trends to optimize resource distribution and/or prevent undesirable outcomes.

We’re seeing the power of data analytics in action to make forward-looking decisions. Accurate and real-time data collection is the first step. Then, we need the ability to analyze the information and implement the insights within an integrated ecosystem to seamlessly tie the pieces together.

We’ll also need a flexible system and the right infrastructure to effectively manage assets and allocate resources. The more agile the assets and the less you need to retool the current infrastructure to mobilize the assets — the faster you can respond to unpredictable circumstances.

Flexibility. Adaptability. Uncertainty.

In times of emergency, the military is often called in to provide much-needed support. They’re designed to be ready when disasters strike and handle the most unpredictable circumstances.

I learned about the internal workings of defense organizations as we’re building a resilient and reliable battery technology for our military defense customer.

We’re applying our patented technologies to invent an adaptable, flexible, field-repairable, and reconfigurable solution. Instead of having to stockpile different types of batteries, one for each specific application — which is costly and inefficient — we’re creating a one-solution-serves-all-needs system so resources (i.e., power) can be allocated to whatever the appropriate application is when the unforeseeable happens.

Modularity will become the foundation of how we handle resources to become more adaptable to uncertainty as a society.

Infrastructure. Legislations. Clearing the Air.

The pandemic has exposed our aging infrastructure’s inability to meet fluctuating needs — along with outdated assumptions and over-dependence on existing systems that aren’t flexible enough to adjust to unpredictable circumstances.

We need nimble strategies and agile systems to overcome capacity limits imposed by today’s infrastructure so we can leverage what we have without reinventing the wheel or becoming constrained by it.

***

The US government is likely to have to bail out several industries (e.g., the airline industry.) Historically, such bailouts have an accelerating effect on the adoption of progressive technologies. For instance, the launch of Chevy Volt, the first American mass EV, is a result of an auto industry bailout.

Any bailout that stems from this crisis is likely to hasten the search for solutions to make electrification in transportation viable at a commercial scale.

***

There are reports of air quality improving dramatically — from China’s coal-burning industrial cities to Los Angeles, where gas-guzzling vehicles fill endless highways — when manufacturing has stopped and cities are getting locked down.

This is proof that when we implement electrification in transportation at scale, we can make a real dent in improving the air quality at a global scale.

Meanwhile.

We’re still moving forward with our Series A investment round.

Our team of engineers in Finland is still designing groundbreaking solutions — 6’ away from each other, of course.

Because the need for a cost-effective sustainable mobility solution will still be here when COVID-19 is no longer.