Companies get vaporised when market segmentation widens. Classics are those making steam trains missing the move to electric and to other modes of travel and NortonVilliersTriumph thinking that dominance of the UK motorcycle market protected them when, of course, motorcycles are a world market appropriately addressed by others.
Analysts at IDTechEx have long advocated that cars or even on-road vehicles are ceasing to be meaningful markets with electrification. Much the same vehicles, components and systems are used off road, on and under water and in the air. Toyota is number one in EVs (hybrid and pure electric) because it leads in forklifts and hybrid cars and makes electric buses, electric mobility for the disabled, an electric 3 wheel motorcycle, electric vans and much more besides. That way it leverages such things as electric motors in expertise, in-house manufacture and buying power.
Number two BYD in the huge protected Chinese market is a leader in pure electric buses and taxis and hybrid cars, also making electric forklifts. Significantly, Toyota and BMW have aerospace interests and now Daimler has invested in Volocopter, the pure electric multicopter intended as a personal aircraft and air taxi. It will have noticed that Airbus newly developing flying electric cars and air taxis is potentially invading Daimler turf. Toyota and Daimler have marine interests that must go electric.
So what is the next big thing after autonomy of navigation and task for all these? Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx says it is autonomy of energy and this will dwarf today's "autonomy" in importance for electric vehicles by land, water and air. He advises,
"Imagine newly affordable solar bodywork at over 40% efficiency letting you do your commute with little or no battery and no external electrical charge needed ever. Imagine even the largest ships powering their electric propulsion from "free" sun, wind and wave power with no emissions at all. Currently, ships emit some pollutants equivalent to millions of cars each and many freight lines are heavily loss making. That industry could become angelically profitable but we need the next wave of technology for that from tethered drones on them flying high to capture the best winds to Flettner wind turbines and solar roads as decking. Yes, the necessary megawatts can and will be produced by such Energy Independent Electric Vehicles EIV. Savvy automotive companies will also consider investing in energy independent solar aircraft with reversing propellers that generate electricity when parked, when soaring, when landing and when in daylight and never plug in. They should also invest in companies soon launching street-legal solar and solar/wind EIVs. Too many seem to be blithely making "steam trains".
For more read the IDTechEx report on EIVs and its conferences on Energy Independent Electric Vehicles. We also offer consultancy services in this area.