Green Lifestyle

Published on May 23rd, 2014 | by Scott Cooney

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The Perfect Green Car: Designed By You

 

Tesla’s Engineering Tools Director, Paul Lomangino, sees the creative process as the most critical to ensuring car buyers are happy and become lifelong brand advocates. Lomangino describes the creative process at Tesla as a team effort, saying, “At Tesla Motors, we depend on everybody to be as creative and productive as possible.” Tesla’s design and performance are largely responsible for the electric vehicle revolution that is sweeping the nation…well, at least those parts of the nation that believe in free markets.

Surely, Tesla did loads of market research, looking into why other hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and electric vehicles either succeeded or failed, in order to help them build the coolest company on four wheels. Green and sustainable market research is pricy, time consuming, and, like all market research, subject to all sorts of potential error. Seems like Tesla got it right and is killing it in green marketing, and Elio Motors has not.

When it comes down to it, market research is nothing other than a fancy way of saying “ask customers what they want you to make, for how much, how they want to buy it, and for what price” (trust me, I’m an MBA professor…it really is that simple). The challenge of course comes in that to do this costs money, and to do it with a lot of potential customers costs A LOT of money. So for those of us in the market for a new vehicle, we are generally represented by a tiny fraction of the demographic we’re in, and from this (hopefully) representative sample, auto-makers are forced to make judgment calls on production lines that could launch the company into the S&P 500, or onto the dungheap of history. Where’s my chance to say, “Hey, I want an electric work van capable of everything the Ford Transit Van is, my budget is $35K, and I need it to be sold and serviced here in Honolulu, where I live.”?

For automakers, crowdsourcing this kind of information would be invaluable, so long as it was done in a way that was organized and constructive. One firm, Dassault Systems, has developed exactly this solution. It’s called “My Car Experience“, and it’s designed to allow socialization, co-creation, and virtual experience of the car design process for consumers, and data collection and improvement of design for automakers. The solution allows automakers to connect with potential customers over social media, and to control and analyze data gathered in the process.

Dassault is pushing the envelop further in its assistance of car manufacturers, helping them avoid costly and environmentally impactful product recalls stemming from poor design. Its Target Zero Defect system is helping Tesla to complete the goals Lomangino set out. The collaborative team design is enhanced by Dassault’s 3DEXPERIENCE platform, which helps Tesla “to allow everybody involved in the product development process to focus on being creative and productive rather than focusing on the process and tools”, according to Lomangino.

Solid and interactive market research coupled with 3D design capabilities? Now we’re talking. OK fellas, just tell me when to jump into your virtual spaceship so I can show you what kind of shelving I want in my van, and what kind of MPGe’s I want to get.

Article supported by Dassault Systems. 





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About the Author

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on



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