The autonomous electric vehicle economy is poised to deliver lower costs that will reshape our lives.
The first article in this two part series outlined the price leadership that autonomous electric vehicles will win through a mobility as service (MaaS) business model. The average household is projected to save $5,600 annually from using MaaS.
This second article outlines the public policy issues created by such a tidal wave of change.
Mobility future shock
Mobility future shock is posed to slam into all of us. Millions of new jobs will be created. Millions will be lost.
The business of doing business will be radically disrupted. Fortunes will be made by MaaS companies and entrepreneurs. Existing businesses that have been the core of America’s past success will be reduced or shuttered.
Mobility future shock will slam into our politics. Public policy actions on behalf of, or against, the autonomous electric car economy sold through a MaaS business model will determine our country’s economic future.
The speed and depth of supportive public policy adopted by a city or state will determine its ability to:
- Grow jobs
- Attract millennial households
- Win technology competitiveness.
Public policy future shock
Uber proves a small example of the mobility future shock about to hit our economy and policy makers. No one shouted Uber in 2007 when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. Ten years later, Uber is the world’s largest taxi company but owns no vehicles. Public policy is still trying to catch up with this radical new mobility service.
In comparison to Uber, MaaS will hit public policy like a tidal wave. It will at first challenge, then wipe out, a hundred years of public policy laws, rules and precedents. Some examples include:
Trucking is an industry defined by intense price competition, high on-time performance expectations, historical driver shortages and substantial regulation. Autonomous driving will challenge all of trucking’s existing parameters. MaaS will generate a political firestorm from teamsters fighting for their jobs and legacy trucking companies fighting for competitive positioning.
For a hundred years transportation has been defined by car loans and auto dealers. MaaS will wipe out this business model. Auto dealers have tremendous local and state political power. In many states like Michigan and New Jersey they have used their political power to block direct to consumer Tesla sales. How much more will they politically fight the MaaS business model?
Sales taxes on gasoline and diesel pay for our roads. Counties thirst for auto dealerships and the sales tax revenues they generate. What will be the MaaS tax policy that replaces lost tax revenues from gasoline and car sales?
What will Americans do with their car garages and driveways when MaaS becomes a realty? What zoning issues will arise from creative homeowners with 600+ sq ft of now vacant space plus a ribbon of concrete in their front yards that is no longer needed?
Electric utility regulation
MaaS will enable Zero Net Energy (ZNE) building economics. ZNE buildings are homes, offices and factories with smart technologies that enable price arbitrage between utility service, self-generation through an onsite solar system and buying/selling with other ZNE buildings. MaaS generated consumer demand for least cost renewable energy maybe the final straw that forces states to end electric utility monopoly control over retail electricity sales by adopting enabling ZNE public policy.
Urban city design
Having a sufficient quantity of accessible and affordable public parking is the bane of urban city planning. There is never enough. MaaS removes this parking barrier between consumers and downtown commerce. It also creates new city design challenges for integrating autonomously driven drones, robots and vehicles with humans.
What happens to shopping malls, already under competitive pressures from Internet retail plus free delivery, when their huge free parking lots are no longer a competitive advantage?
Public transit is a vital service to those less advantaged and for daily commuters. Will MaaS displace today’s public transit with universal service delivering both lower prices and improved customer satisfaction? Or will public transit aggressively adopt MaaS technologies to build their own curb to curb, least cost solutions?
MaaS public policy challenge
By 2030, most of us will look at MaaS like we look at our smart phones today. We will wonder how we lived and worked without it.
The obvious challenge is the turbulent political waters that MaaS will create in terms of jobs lost and businesses shuttered.
That is the burning platform confronting public policy makers. This places MaaS public policy on a dual path.
One path is to open the door for the technologies and new business models that will propel our economy to 3+% economic growth. A second step is to provide human services, including job retraining and job transition financial assistance, to those that do lose their jobs to MaaS.
Cost less, means more is what consumers want and is the underlying driver that is creating a global, multi-trillion dollar Green Economic Revolution. MaaS will deliver these results. But the future shock will be disruptive and transformative. From Congress, to state houses, to utility commissions to city councils, the time to act is now.