The growing demand for ride-sharing services is giving rise to a new category of vehicles: Cars with a flexible interior that can be individually tailored to the needs of their users.
In Europe, the United States and China alone, one million of these specially designed vehicles, many of them electric, are set to be sold by 2020, with the demand already expected to reach some 2.5 million by 2025. The potential for automakers is considerable, according to the latest Roland Berger study entitled “A new breed of cars. Purpose-built electric vehicles for mobility on demand”.
“This new type of car unites two of the key mobility megatrends in one vehicle: ride-sharing and electromobility,” explains Jan-Philipp Hasenberg, Partner at Roland Berger. “What this new vehicle category does is put the passenger, not the driver, firmly center stage. And it is purpose built for use as a taxi service.”
An attractive market segment for automotive OEMs is opening up here, given that the reduced complexity of these vehicles will allow them to be manufactured for about half the cost of a conventional car. And with electric models in their portfolio, automakers will be better able to meet applicable CO2 targets. “Vehicle manufacturers should take active steps to get into this niche market now so that they can establish a strong competitive position and get their customers excited about the new models,” advises Hasenberg.
Quick to develop, cheap to maintain
Passengers, too, will benefit from the new mobility concept. These vehicles offer higher levels of convenience and are also cheaper to buy and maintain because they don’t require oil changes and the brakes don’t wear out so fast, for example.
“We anticipate the price per kilometer for using these cars to come in at between 0.5 and 0.8 euros,” explains Wolfgang Bernhart, Partner at Roland Berger. “These purpose-built vehicles will therefore be among the cheapest means of getting around in a car. The only thing that will be cheaper to use, at less than 0.3 euros per kilometer, will be genuine robocabs without a driver.”
There is also much potential in the market for ride-sharing services. Such players are experiencing remarkable growth worldwide as the demand for mobility services that don’t depend on personal car ownership continues to tick ever upward. The Roland Berger experts forecast that the global demand for purpose-built vehicles for mobility on demand will rise to about one million cars by 2020. And by 2025 the figure is set to total some 2.5 million new cars.
“One of the main drivers here will be China, which makes up at least 60 percent of the market, but Europe and the United States will also see their market for these vehicles grow as time goes on,” forecasts Jan-Philipp Hasenberg. “Indeed, this is a key growth market that no OEM can afford to ignore.”