From tuk-tuks and cargo bikes to delivery vans and food trucks, the innovation taking place in commercial vehicles differs from the private market partly because the segment covers an incredibly wide swathe of shapes, sizes, ranges, and workloads, and also because there are additional forces on this market including data, logistics, real-time ERP, electrification, MaaS, smart cities and fleet services to name a few. This 3-hour agenda will include experts, manufacturers, Tier 1s and startups who are leading this segment forward.
Silicon Valley, California, December 16, 2022/Meeting Recap/ The Autotech Council wrapped up the year with a bow, and the gift itself was a great meeting on the subject of Commercial Vehicles. The present was exactly what we all asked for: great rapid-fire presentations from innovative startups addressing the growing opportunities in the Commercial Vehicle sector. Our meeting was hosted by Nissan North America, at their Innovation Lab in Sunnyvale, CA. Thanks to Nissan for their long-term participation, and commitment to supporting startups and innovators in Silicon Valley and the Americas.
The Council’s Chairman, Derek Kerton, kicked off the meeting with an analysts view of the sector. While the long-term future of private car sales volumes shows trends towards declining numbers, Commercial Vehicles show promising growth. People still need goods and services brought to them, and software and cloud logistics services actually make it possible to extract greater efficiencies out of commercially performed “errands” than of individuals making the same trips. Commercial vehicles are also undergoing an explosion of diversification, from new form factors, modularity, and smaller and lighter form-factors to address the exploding last-mile opportunities. Derek also explained how self-driving not only reduces the HR costs of a commercial vehicle, but also that this means that smaller vehicles (ex: sidewalk delivery bots) can make economic sense, when previously the fixed costs of a headcount would drive the size of the delivery vehicle upwards.
But the dominant trend expressed by most of the startups, and also our panel speaker Justin Ashton, Managing Partner at Redwoods Climate Capital, was ELECTRIFICATION. Justin brought us some great examples of the possibilities of electrifying the commercial fleet, but also cautions on the expectations of how fast we should expect change. Enterprises need to be shown positive ROI, but also proven reduced risk, which doesn’t happen overnight. They, they should be “hand held” for the early stages of the journey, because the mission is not just about selling the CEO on electrification, but rather listening to and handling the concerns of rank-and-file fleet ops staff who will be working through that change.
Segments covered by the startups at this meeting included:
With additional demos from companies working on Inventory Management & Data and Safety Critical Navigation.
Thanks to everyone who contributed, and especially the great startups, who offered us a look at their pitches, and a share of their enthusiasm. As always, members can find presentations and contact details for these great startups in the Member Library.