The Verge article, entitled ‘This tiny electric car could be the future of urban transportation’ echoes my own articles here and here from a couple of weeks ago. (You heard it here first. ;-). )
Modelled on the Renault Twizy (also mentioned in that piece) Nissan is conducting research & trials around the very questions I raised, for example:
– Business model: subscription?
– [From the article] “Is this a real trend? What would make a better product [for Nissan], if we need a better product? Is there interest? What are the demographic breakdowns? How do younger people use it, how do older people use it? How do females use it? How do males use it? How do those that are mobility challenged use it?”( checkout this for one example of the ‘Cambrian explosion’ of electric vehicles that emerged in the past few years)
Note also the criticisms of the vehicle by the writer and how they echo the troubleshooting I described will need to be done to provide a comparable user experience to a car. From the article:
‘One of the models comes with a rear seat, but good luck comfortably fitting a full-grown adult back there for more than a few miles. And there are no side windows, so you’re probably going to want to avoid driving one in anything other than the best weather.’
As I argued in those earlier posts, these are precisely the types of issues Apple or some other prospective disruptor would need to solve. i.e. make the new personal transport vehicle as easy and comfortable to use as a car (or easier), and make it more convenient to park, drive, maintain and own.