The mobile electron is a 21st century mega-trend.
What do I mean by “mobile electron?” It is a technology revolution enabled by a synergy of digital electronics, an emerging smarter grid, the explosion in consumer/business access to mobile communications and the increasingly intellegent mobile app that is delivering a cleaner, more efficient and mobile human experience. Both entrepreneurs and large corporations are launching mobile-electron-based product solutions disrupting 20th Century technologies that are thethered to fixed locations, escalating costs and higher emission/waste streams. One example is Square’s hugely successful digital ecommerce solution for credit card processing through a smart phone app that enables a transaction at the customer’s location for a lower cost with a zero paper waste stream. Compare the experience of driving to a gasoline station to recharging an electric car at home or office achieving lower operating costs and zero vehicle emissions.
BMW is launching a completely new business model for the car industry designed around the mobile electron. They call it BMWi. Their goal is nothing less than Radical innovation in mobility.
This video captures the excitement of the innovation BMW is pursuing:
The rise of the Millennial generation
BMW’s pursuit of radical innovation can be explained by the 21st century’s demographics. In 2017, the Millennial Generation will replace the Baby Boomers in annual U.S. buying power. This is more than a shift in income. Millennials (ages 18-29) question what to buy, who to buy from and most tellingly, how much to buy. A Euro RSCG Worldwide study entitled “This Digital Life” based upon a survey of Millennials found that half of those surveyed said they are tired of overconsumption (buying and consuming too much). The Millennial generation’s surge in use of recycled clothing is just one example ramification for this generation that grew up with Craigslist and Ebay. Patagonia grabbed attention by successfully capturing the Millennial Generation’s questions with this thought-provoking ad:
With record numbers of teenagers not pursuing a driving license, the implications for the auto industry are serious. A recent survey found that 55 percent of Millennials have actively made an effort to drive less and 53 percent would participate in a car-sharing service. That’s worrisome for an industry based on growth.
The following exclusive video interview taken at Sustainable Brands 2012 with Uwe Dreher, BMWi Global Head of Marketing outlines the designs and strategy of BMWi and their new line of electric cars that will deliver BMW driving excitement in alignment with the 21st Century’s shifts toward mobile electrons and the increasing buying power of the Millennial Generation. Their first car, called the i3, is launching in 2013. The i3 was uniquely designed as an electric car incorporating carbon fiber and mobile digital technologies. Blazing a new marketing path, the i3 will be available for purchase online and in a Zipcar-like hourly rental system. As Uwe explains, BMWi is about the “future of mobility” that is increasingly being revolutionized by mobile electron technologies and demographic mega-shifts.