1 Mar 2021

An electric vehicle tipping point?

Jim Prior, Global CEO, talks to Sky News about what brands can do to encourage customers to move to electric, and what we can expect to see in future models and brands. 

If the car industry really is at an electrical vehicle tipping point, what can brands do to encourage customers to move to electric? Jim Prior, Global CEO, talks to Sky News about what we can expect to see in future models and brands. 

Jim: I think we're at a transformational moment where change has to happen. This is a great opportunity for car manufacturers and other brands to engage in creating a new type of vehicle, new experiences and seizing new opportunities in an industry that has stayed fairly static for a long time. Now, new engineering possibilities, new design possibilities and new experience possibilities are providing new and fresh opportunities. 

Sky News: How do you persuade people to make the change to electric before they have to? Given that mid-market offerings are still quite expensive. 

Jim: It is quite a commitment, but I believe it's one of those situations that once you've experienced it, you'll probably never go back. I would never go back to driving a fossil-fuel powered car. Today, the driving experience is very different and better in so many ways. But the challenge is how to convert people to make that switch. Some of that change will of course come from legislation driving that through. I want to see car manufacturers delivering cars that are really exciting, different and special. Cars that aren't constrained by the traditional engineering challenges of having to build models on the same platform and cramming the engine into the car at the cost of design principles. 

A lot of it comes down to product. How do you create a product that people really want? Because cars play an important role in people's live today. As a better product is created, as more people experience the product, then that transition is going to happen fast and furiously. 

Sky News: We've seen some interesting developments on that front, with Apple's plan for an Apple car, for example. 

Jim: Yes, which is really exciting. I think the advantage you start to get with electric cars, for these brands getting into this space is a connected technology. The opportunity is that cars become more than just something you sit in and perform a function to drive from A to B. They're going to become environments where you go to for experience - an entertainment platform where you can go to work, where you can go to eat, or rest. And eventually, the second big transformation that will follow hot on its heels will probably be self-driving cars. 

As brands start to get involved with cars, they'll have an eye on the long game, as I say, which will be self-driving cars. But even in the electric car environment, with the technology possibilities that are there, there's a lot more that comes to the fore. So, we'll start to see a lot of different brands coming into this space. Brands won't be excluded from entry to the car segment just because they've never made a car.