Accessing autonomous electric vehicles

The combination of car access, autonomous cars, and electric vehicles are coming together to have a big impact on the transportation industry.

The way in which we get around is likely going to look very different in the near future than it does today. The three most important dimensions along which change is going to take place (if it hasn’t already) include whether we own a car or access one, whether we drive a car or are driven by one, and what form of energy cars use to move forward.

These changes pose a threat to traditional car manufacturers. As a result, they present big opportunities for startups that develop a view on the end game and navigate these changes with a view of bringing about that end game.

My personal view is that although most people will opt for car access, some people will stick with car ownership as a way to express their identity.  It’s difficult to express your identity through car access because a car access network needs a lot of liquidity for cars to be able to reach customers in a short period of time. For people to be able to express different identities, you need to have different tiers of cars in your network and this lowers the liquidity and increases the estimated arrival times of each tier.

Most people will prefer autonomous cars in order to be able to spend their commute time doing other things. A minority will want to have the choice of driving themselves to enjoy the pleasure of driving. However, this may not be an option, or it may be restricted to separate roads, because cars with human drivers are more dangerous than autonomous cars. People who get around in autonomous cars therefore won’t want cars with human drivers on the same road.

And the vast majority of cars will be electric as electric vehicles allow for lower operating costs than gas-fueled cars.

In a recent episode of the Ventured podcast, investors from Kleiner Perkins share their thoughts on what the end game may look like.


Also published on Medium.