Would you use email or text messaging any less if the Post Office slashed the price of stamps by half? Of course not. The technologies just revealed at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) could have a similar impact upon how you view pump prices. Here is my profile of the auto technologies that are coming to your auto showrooms that could make $2 gasoline a permanent realty.
This is the new Accord NSX. Think hybrids are boring? The NXZ is a hybrid with three electric motors and a twin turbo V-6 engine. This car is as fast as its hot looks! Guess what manufacturer has the most hybrid models. Porsche! Still think hybrids are slow and dull?
BIG Trucks Get Greener
If you love trucks then you will love the new Ford F-150. The F-150 is a BIG truck. It can carry a crew of four in great comfort with many plug-in connections for all their electrical devices. The truck bed will carry a day’s worth of construction material. It will also haul your bass boat with ease. The F-150 does this while getting best in class fuel economy by using an aluminum body and eco-boost engines rather than a gas guzzling V-8 engine.
Chevy took a different path in truck design. Their Colorado is a “mid-size.” Even as a midsize this truck is still large enough to carry four people very comfortably while hauling numerous mountain bikes or trail bikes. It will go off-road with the best of the full size trucks. This truck’s innovative design achieves so much in a smaller package that it won Motor Trend 2015 truck of the year beating out the Ford F-150.
2016 Chevy Volt
Imagine Steve Jobs in high school being teased by the varsity football jocks. That was the fate of the Chevy Volt. The Volt is the smartest mass-market car on the street but it did not get respect except from its highly devoted owners. The just revealed 2016 Volt is so much better that it deserves real attention by all car buyers. It’s exterior has design curves that are reflective of today’s most attractive cars. The interior looks “normal” with no futuristic materials distracting from the car’s very cool digital displays. Most importantly the Volt can go 50 miles on an electric charge before the gasoline-fueled generator (now using regular gasoline!) kicks in for another 350 miles. This is huge because most of us drive less than 50 miles per day meaning that most weeks Volt owners will not have to buy gasoline. The 2016 Volt is also a better value with a projected mid-twenty thousand dollars price after federal tax credits. I look forward to a summer test drive because the Volt’s re-engineered electric drive is also suppose to be more fun to drive with stronger acceleration.
The Chevy’s Bolt concept car got a lot of attention at NAIAS. It promises 200 miles on a single electrical charge. It also promises a $30,000 price after government incentives. Here’s why this is important to you. In California homeowners are installing solar to cut their electric bills by about 40%. What these homeowners are discovering is that their solar systems can also produce enough electricity to fuel an electric car. Homeowners are reporting that they save enough money in avoided gasoline costs to pay for the lease of an electric car. Now imagine the Bolt with a 200 mile range, a reasonable price compared to gasoline powered cars and in California, a recharging network that will rival the accessibility of gasoline stations. Not a bad future of driving an attractive car using mostly FREE fuel sourced from your home’s rooftop solar system!
Musk challenges auto industry to do more faster
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, stirred it up again with his speech tied to NAIAS. Despite all the new technology at NAIAS he challenged the industry for not doing enough. Musk is backing up his challenge by going all in to produce the world its first electric “Model T.” The Ford Model T was the first mass produced affordable car. The upcoming all electric Tesla Model 3 will the world’s first affordable all electric car. It will sell for $30,000 BEFORE tax incentives bringing its real cost below $25,000. It will have a 200+ range per charge. If achieved it will disrupt the economics of gasoline fueled cars and change most people’s minds about the appeal (or lack of appeal) of electric cars. Imagine being able to lease an electric car with a 200+ mile range per charge for only $200 per month!
So what type of future do you want? That was the question that the auto executives at NAIAS were asking about the American consumer. They are trying to figure out how consumers will response to $2 gasoline. Will consumers go out and buy gas-guzzlers like you did in the 1980’s when we last saw $2 gasoline? If so then we will see $4-5 (or higher!) gasoline within a few years.
Or will consumers figure out that they now have the ability to break free from their addiction to the pump? The world’s manufacturers, led by America’s Ford, Tesla and GM, are offering you that option. They are delivering cars and trucks that are fun to drive while enabling a future of improved health from less pollution and a stronger economy freed from imported oil and pump price pain.
What will you do?
Bill Roth is an economist and the Founder of Earth 2017. He coaches business owners and leaders on proven best practices in pricing, marketing and operations that make money and create a positive difference. His book, The Secret Green Sauce, profiles business case studies of pioneering best practices that are proven to win customers and grow product revenues. Follow him on Twitter: @earth2017