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Bill Roth headshot

Your 21st-Century Car Will Be Zero-Emissions and Smart

Words by Bill Roth

Silicon Valley and Detroit are now in a race to reinvent the automobile -- delivering zero tailpipe emissions, autonomous driving, and seamless voice-connectivity between the car, all your digital devices, your home and place of work. Think iPhone compared to landline in visualizing the scale of change.

We are on the cusp of the mass marketing of zero-emissions smart cars that will deliver fuel competitiveness against 75 cents per gallon gasoline, zero emissions, improved safety, seamless connectivity and a quantum leap in human productivity.

The two mega-trends creating demand for smart cars

The zero-emission smart car is not a technology solution looking for a market. It can already be applied in two key areas to drive its global commercialization.

Cities: Cities are one of the the 21st century’s demographic mega-trends and a key trend that will support the commercialization of zero-emissions smart cars. For the first time in human history, half of the world population now lives in cities. Cities have entered into a gargantuan growth stage. From just two mega-cities in 1950, the world now has 22 mega-cities with populations of 10 million or more. By 2030, the world is projected to have 30 mega cities, and by 2050 it is projected that 70 percent of the world’s population will live in urban areas. Traffic congestion is a universal challenge confronting all cities and, most especially, mega cities. City traffic congestion is choking urban productivity. Cities from Indianapolis to Beijing are in search a solution.

Deadly urban air pollution. Deadly urban air pollution is the second mega-trend driving the commercialization of zero-emissions smart cars. Urban air pollution is now so intense that it is destroying human health and worker productivity. Today, 7 million people around the world die prematurely from air pollution each year. This scale of urban air pollution is now retarding economic growth by reducing worker productivity due to sickness and lost work time. Urban air pollution is driving already high health costs to even higher levels. Finally, investment in pollution control further impedes economic growth by shifting capital from more productive investments and by increasing the per unit cost of fossil fuels.

Zero-emission smart cars' elegant economic solution

The smart, zero-emission car is posed to be an elegant economic solution to urban congestion and deadly urban pollution. It uses existing urban infrastructure. A smart car will use the Internet of Everything to deliver safer and more efficient traffic flow. Emissions-free smart cars will dramatically reduce urban pollution. The connectivity of the smart, zero-emissions car will be a productivity multiplier for humans who can repurpose ride time to connect with work associates, friends, home and business.

The CEO that successfully wins market leadership selling zero-emission smart cars will be hailed as the Steve Jobs of the 21st century. And it is my take that this is the global, disruptive mega-prize being pursued by CEOs from Silicon Valley to Detroit.

This article is sourced from my participation at the Looking Further With Ford event held at the 2016 North American Auto Show. Part two of this article series outlines the disruptive technologies that will deliver zero-emissions smart cars. The third article will detail how zero-emissions smart cars will change how we think about cars, how we drive and how we live.

Image credit: Flickr/Ed and Eddie

Bill Roth headshotBill Roth

Bill Roth is a cleantech business pioneer having led teams that developed the first hydrogen fueled Prius and a utility scale, non-thermal solar power plant. Using his CEO and senior officer experiences, Roth has coached hundreds of CEOs and business owners on how to develop and implement projects that win customers and cut costs while reducing environmental impacts. As a professional economist, Roth has written numerous books including his best selling The Secret Green Sauce (available on Amazon) that profiles proven sustainable best practices in pricing, marketing and operations. His most recent book, The Boomer Generation Diet (available on Amazon) profiles his humorous personal story on how he used sustainable best practices to lose 40 pounds and still enjoy Happy Hour!

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