The growing demand for ride-sharing services is giving rise to a new category of vehicles – cars with 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, says a study by the Germany-based leading global consulting firm, Roland Berger.
The potential for automakers is considerable, according to the latest study titled ‘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 electro-mobility," said Jan-Philipp Hasenberg, partner at Roland Berger. "What this new vehicle category does is put the passenger, not the driver, firmly centre stage. And it is purpose built for use as a taxi service."
The study states that an attractive market segment for vehicle manufacturers is opening up, 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," added Hasenberg.
Quick to develop, cheap to maintain
According to the consulting firm, the new mobility concept trend will benefit passengers too, as these purpose-built vehicles will offer higher levels of convenience and will also be cheaper to buy and maintain as they would not require oil changes and the brakes would not wear out fast.
Wolfgang Bernhart, partner at Roland Berger, said: "We anticipate the price per kilometre for using these cars to come in at between Euro 0.5 (Rs 38) and Euro 0.8 (Rs 61). 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 Euro 0.3 per kilometre (Rs 22), will be genuine robocabs without a driver."
The study mentions that there is also a lot of potential in the market for ride-sharing services, and players in the segment are already experiencing remarkable growth worldwide as the demand for mobility services that does not depend on personal car ownership continues to tick upwards. The Roland Berger experts forecast that the global demand for purpose-built vehicles for mobility on demand will rise to about 1 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. Indeed, this is a key growth market that no OEM can afford to ignore," forecasted, Jan-Philipp Hasenerg.
(Image courtesy - Roland Berger)