Hi, I’m Margot. Being one of the youngest people at Bundl, I have the opportunity to test beta/startup products and services that speak to the future, like Gen Z, a generation (that I’m apart of) comfortable with all things digital and transformative. I’ll be doing this through our new series — Innovation Z — a place to share our experiences with these new services and how we see the future of their industry.
To start us off, our small team of young innovators decided to tackle mobility. It’s a pretty broad field, so we specifically looked at the issue of car ownership in the modern world. Most of the time I take public transport or my bike to get around in the city. But, from time to time, there are activities I want, or need, to do that necessitate using a car. This is a real issue, since I don’t actually have my own.
For basic transport, some services already exist — you have your Ubers and your Lyfts. But, instead, we decided to try a different kind of rental-driving service currently available in Antwerp (unlike the former examples), that would allow us to go where we want, when we want. Our test was an IKEA run to pick up some bits for the office. To do this, we used Bolides, “car sharing 2.0” — a pretty new player in the mobility service industry.
Though we had a few minor technical difficulties at first (already solved with a new app update), the experience of using this type of service got the Bundl team thinking about the shifting future of cars, both in terms of ownership, drivability, their place in the mobility chain, and how it could affect not only Gen Z, but every potential driver and passenger.
1. The future of car sharing/ride services
Bolides gives you the option to have a car when you need one, but we missed the complete convenience option of just dropping it off wherever we wanted. For example, we wanted to have the option of dropping off the Bolides car in Gent, the other city in which they’re active. Based on their business model, this option isn’t available for the moment. But when I think more about the future, imagine having the option that a driverless car whisks you off to Italy, drops you conveniently at your destination, then goes back by itself. Maybe it even picks up a different passenger on the way back. Doesn’t that sound like the most stress free holiday ever?
2. The car in the mobility chain
By this, I mean not having to figure out which transport option is the best, easiest, or cheapest. In the mobility chain, cars, trains, bikes, planes, and boats would all be connected, and you only have one card or app for it. Sounds pretty ideal for a city dweller like me (or anyone that travels a lot). There are already some companies trying it, like Rome2rio and Octopus, and Bolides could be a perfect fit in the chain as the car option needed to get you to your destination. What if we think even more ahead, and you’re given the option to choose your transportation according to your mood? When you feel more adventurous, you could take a Jeep and then hop on a boat without having to contact all the separate parties.
3. The car as a money earner
10 years ago a car would cost you, today a car is an investment. People are getting creative in choosing the space they use to start a business, as shown with the recent rise of the ‘Uberpreneur’, people who sell all kinds of things, like the entrepreneurial American operating a jewelry store out of their Uber. In China, Lynk & Co’s latest car, the 01, allows its owner to make it available for rental when they’re not using it — a Bolides-type service for car owners to get extra income. Keeping safety and ethics in mind, there is a huge opportunity for mobile services besides selling goods, like tutoring (think language learning), delivering packages — the possibilities are seemingly endless.
4. The car as a social space
People often feel like they’re wasting time in their cars and could use this time to do more interesting things. Or, maybe meet interesting people *wink wink*. Uber already has a service where drivers can pick up more than one person on the route (Uberpool). Perhaps this could be combined with an app like Tinder? Always a fun story to tell at Christmas that you met your soulmate through your carpool.
When we get to driverless cars, you’re only going to get even more of an advantage for social talks or during a drive. You could also meet up with friends, or have a meeting with the colleague that lives in your neighborhood during your morning commute, shaving time off of your day spent behind your desk. Forget about the elevator pitch, the car pitch will be the next big thing to impress them.
5. The car as a status symbol
Think of the personalization aspect that a service like Bolides could have. These companies could give you options like traditional rental agencies. For your trip to IKEA you get a van, but, for your date tomorrow night, maybe you go all out and use the Porsche the service offers. As of right now with Bolides, you can only use an Audi A1 — a nice car, and perfect for city driving, but we were very lucky that our IKEA pieces were compact enough to even fit. BMW is already looking to the future with their ReachNow service — a bit like Bolides, but with roomier options available should your group be larger.
Though we’re thinking pretty far future here, there are definite opportunities for these types of services in the near future. For the major players in the industry, you should recognize that these types of disruptions are already starting to happen. Bolides is absolutely an affordable mobility solution that we plan to continue using, even though there are a few additions that we could use. We did have the freedom to use a car when we wanted and go where we needed to, without a thought towards insurance or other admin after registration (since Bolides takes care of all of that). But, having to drop off our ‘own’ car in a specified region made the experience a little more rental, less luxury.
So Audi, BMW, Bolides or anyone else involved in mobility — if you’re reading this, keep our thoughts in mind when you’re thinking about the future of your industry. We are your customer of tomorrow, after all.