On March 31 2016 Tesla's Elon Musk unveiled the brand new Tesla Model 3. We must admit: again a topnotch design by Tesla designer Franz von Holzhausen, with serious specs and features. At a base price of $ 35.000 competitors like BMW and Audi will be seriously challenged. And that's an understatement.
But hey, what does the Model 3 have to do with coachbuilding? The answer is tantalising: as the Electric Vehicle is taking the world by a quantum leap since 3 years, the paradigm shift is imminent with massive public acceptance and demand in the years to come. What differentiates modern times from classic automotive history however is that the platform and drivetrain technology is more and more becoming a commodity: available for anyone who wants to build cars. Do take notice for example how Tesla offers its technology for free ("we won't sue you because it's good for the planet" - investor freaks out), and Silicon Valley has discovered EV startups like OSVehicle, an American/Italian startup offering modular Open Source (!) EV platforms.
As Richard Nichols of Auto Mundial expresses it to the point: 'everyone with a good idea now stands a chance'. Technology is becoming mainstream and off-the-shelf, the era of good looks are here again. And this is a gift from heaven for designers and coachbuilders, opening up an unprecedented horizon with exciting (lower threshold) opportunities. Don't underestimate however the growing importance of the cabin user experience - a new realm with hard-to-compete players like Apple.
Faraday Future's Variable Platform Architecture
OSVehicle Open Source EV platform
Again, don't underestimate the importance of the cabin user experience - a new realm with hard-to-compete players like Apple. It will become a key item for the new generation of customers. But then again, also in-car electronics, user interfaces and driver aids (like autonomous driving) will become available as standard commodities.
This resulting modular approach of platforms and electronics will open up new horizons for designers and coach builders.