The default position for many in the machining world has been to flee the automotive business like it was an ominous cloud of swine flu.
I admit to lapsing into that mindset, but after reading a provocative article in Inc. Magazine by Bernard Avishai I am becoming a believer in a new golden age of car technology.
Avishai used to sell car parts in college in the 1960s and is now a part-time professor at Hebrew University Jerusalem. He is convinced the electric car (plug-in) is coming soon in a big way and will present fabulous opportunities for entrepreneurs, including people who make stuff.
The core of the new electric vehicles will be the battery. The first generation batteries may come from LG in Korea but the much maligned Obama stimulus package is tossing a ton of taxpayer money at jump starting American competitors.
The cynics mock the $40,000 Chevrolet Volt coming in 2010, but what if it’s the prototype for an important new class of vehicles?
According to the Inc. piece, OnStar gives GM the first mover position in car connectivity. We will see the connectivity of all of the car’s systems—charging data, mechanical components, GPS—as well as responding to collisions and malfunctions. If OnStar becomes the defacto standard for car connectivity it becomes the Windows of the new smart electric vehicles.
I think I have been so focused on the question of whether we are going to have a 10 or 12 million car year in America that I have missed the forest for the trees. The next several years will probably transform this gigantic business. With major change will come huge opportunities for entrepreneurs who are not wedded to making gas guzzlers.
Question: Are you looking to do more or less automotive work in the next several years?