The electric vehicle (EV) market has received a considerable boost in recent years thanks in no small part to the rise of Tesla and its Model 3. However, while Tesla is basically a luxury EV manufacturer and most other automakers in the business are approaching the EV design with a tendency towards luxury over affordability, the idea behind this venture is to provide a cheap, high-quality EV to consumers that is practical, appealing, and safe. Considering that internal combustion engine (ICE) cars have reached a plateau in terms of how much further advanced they can get, and the EVs from Tesla, VW, Porsche and other firms are all going after the luxury consumer market, there is room for an innovate EV idea that will transform the entire industry just as the first car transformed the horse and buggy industry. This idea aims to be disruptive. The product will be called EVX and the design is for a collapsible, light-weight, portable EV with a detachable battery, small enough to fit in ones briefcase or purse, that can be charged in ones home, at ones workplace or anywhere there is a regular outlet. The design will be patented and will appeal to consumers who have tired of the endless options in terms of luxury EVs and traditional ICE cars. The EVX will be a new form of transportation with extraordinarily low energy consumption costs: it will be a no frills, cost-cutting concept that will be available new to consumers for under 5000 pounds. As Trout and Rivkin (2006) point out, a producer must differentiate or dieand that is what this innovative idea aims to do.
Role of Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurship on Innovation
Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship play big roles in the delivery of business innovation. As Weinberger (2016) notes entrepreneurs are creating jobs at more than twice the rate of established companies. Enterpreneurs bring creative ideas and solutions to static or stagnant markets, inspiring consumers to try new products (Baron & Tang, 2011). However, there are mitigating factors: indeed, individual traits of the entrepreneur, such as risk tolerance, entrepreneurial alertness, education and previous entrepreneurial experience, influence innovation in new ventures (Fuentelsaz, Maicas, & Montero, 2018, p. 686). Entrepreneurs have to be smart about how they approach the marketplace. Betting too much on one single innovation could put an entire firm at riskwhich is the problem currently facing Tesla, as Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla has admitted to betting the company on the Model 3 (Crum, 2018)a big risk considering that Tesla was essentially competing in a niche market and that the Model 3 would have to appeal to the mass market in order to generate the kind of returns the company would need. So far that has not happened. Thinking outside the box and embracing innovative leadership styles can assist in the delivery of business innovation.
Alternative approaches and tools to identify, select and manage emerging opportunities include thinking about what the need in the marketplace is, what factors will influence buyers decisions in the coming years, what the geopolitical threats are to the current way of life, and whether the upcoming generation is indeed ready for something new. Considering the many changes happening all over the planet, a truly affordable EV that foregoes the frills of the luxury brand models could be exactly what the market is looking for. Climate change worries, economic worries (particularly how a Brexit will impact the UK), and numerous other concerns are weighing on the minds of the upcoming generations and with car prices soaring it is time for a genuinely new concept in transportation to emerge.
SWOT Analysis as an Entrepreneur
My own strengths are that I can think outside the box. I have many creative ideas and solutions, and I am able to attract the right talent to help me bring my ideas to life. I know that talented people typically need only a direction, an idea to focus on, and that satisfies their need to apply their talents on something meaningful.
The weakness I will face is coming up with the funding to attract the right talent. The one thing that talent often knows is that it should be well-compensatedso getting talent on board with my idea will not be hard, but compensating talent will be unless I can find the right investors. Considering the recent blow-up in the IPO market in the States, with WeWork falling from a $50 billion valuation to the possibility of being bankrupt in a matter of months just days after canceling its IPO, investors and venture capitalists may be shying away from investments at this time if their number one exit strategy (the IPO) is in danger of having its window shut for the time being (Trainer, 2019).
Opportunities abound, however: the market is ripe for change and change is being demanded by consumers; there is also a lot of money looking for an opportunity for lucrative ROI. The idea of the EVX represents a unique opportunity for wealthy investors to be part of the transformation of the transportation industry.
Threats are that the window to create innovative change will be closed soon as many brilliant minds are now exploring opportunities of battery-powered cars. The first to market the collapsible, no-frills EV will be the one to be credited with changing the industry. Opportunity-based theory thus explains how entrepreneurs identify opportunities and provide the product that is needed to catapult a market to the next level (Samuelsson, 2001).
SWOT Analysis of My Idea
The idea for an EV is not new but the idea for an EV that is unlike any other product on the market is: the EVX will use a collapsible, light-weight frame/chassis with a removable, portable battery that can be charged at any outlet. The idea for this is comparable to taking a dune buggy, making it street legal, and using innovative technology so that the chassis and frame can lock into and out of place. This is the main strength of the EVX and the appeal of it is that it is a no-frills concept that will be exactly what consumers who are looking for a no frills transportation option that is cutting edge and low-cost and safe for the economy will want to buy.
The weakness of the idea is that UK regulators may object to the idea and change legislation regarding what makes a vehicle street legal; thus, there is some risk herebut the risk of legislative opposition can strike at any time in any industry, especially if major players with lobbying power feel threatened by the innovation.
The opportunity is that the EVX can sneak up on the market much in the same way Red Bull did in the soda industryby gaining traction among in niche markets and then going mainstream, blindsiding the big players and taking market share before they can respond hard enough to sway legislators to their side. If the public is already on the side of the innovative concept, it is harder for legislators to crack down (Seaborn, Scott, & Miller, 2017).
Political factors include the current Brexit issue and the trade war with China, which could impact global markets if it continues for long. The trade war could cripple Tesla, which is relying on the Chinese market to drive sales of its own EV. If Tesla is hurt by the trade war, it opens another opportunity for the EVX to find appeal among consumers seeking an alternative to ICE cars. In the UK, the state has laid out a desire to see more EVs on the road, so political factors in the UK could favor the EVX (Weber-Fieldfisher, 2018).
Economic factors include EV tax credits that consumers love to apply for. However, an approaching recession could be even more incentive to look for alternative transportation options. A low-cost option like the EVX could be exactly what many drivers want in an economic downturn as car sales plunge (Westbrook, 2019).
Social factors include the growing demand for clean energy and green cars like the EV. The problem is that too many EVs are coming from luxury brands and are not as affordable as many would like (Ewing, 2017).
Technological factors include the fact that battery tech is improving but to power the EVX, battery improvements are needed (Andwari et al., 2017). Environmental factors are self-evident: the green revolution is here and the upcoming generation wants green energy. Legal factors pertain to getting the EVX to be street legal and keeping it that way.
Analysis of Market and Competition (Porters Five)
Barriers to EntryMID: numerous auto firms are entering the EV market from VW to BMW to Jaguar. However, most of them are producing an expensive EV as the only consumer option. The EVX would be something completely new to the marketa truly cheap, no frills, street legal option.
Supplier PowerMID: Bidgoli (2014) observes that the bargaining power of suppliers is always high when consumers lack options and that power is low when consumers have more options. Thus, the EVX would reduce supplier power from its currently high state.
Competitive RivalryLOW: Tesla, BMW, and Porsche are the big players. However, they are expensive options and for what EVX is doing there is no competition since the EVX is a totally original concept.
Buyer PowerLOW: Buyers in the market have few options. New cars are all expensive and there is nothing like the EVXother than scooters, but they do not shelter one from the elements.
Threat of SubstitutesMID: Consumers can always take public transportation, particularly when working in London.
Conclusion: analysis of market and competition reveals that the EVX is in a good position to penetrate the market and offer a new option for UK drivers. UK motorists face heavy costs for owning a car and the EVX could eliminate those costs (Smith, 2016).
Comparison with Competitors
The EVX stacks up well with competitors: Tesla, MG, Audi, Mercedes, and Jaguar off the top five EVs in the UK and they are all luxury brands. Each of them offers numerous frills and luxury options, which is their primary strengths (Car, 2019). None of them offers what the EVX will offer, which is the truly inexpensive, no frills option. One cannot get an EV in the UK under 20k pounds and the EVX will be only a quarter of that, making it an unbelievable option for price-conscious consumers. Considering that a downturn, now expected, in the global economy is likely to turn all consumers price-conscious (Inman, 2019), competitors will be priced out of the market by the EVX and its patented design will prohibit them from producing a comparable product.
USP and Value Proposition
The USP is the EVXs low cost, low price, removable battery and collapsible shell design. This differentiates it from competitors. It is something no competitor has attempted. It will appeal to price-conscious consumers and all green consumers. The personal relationship with customers will be based on the idea that the EVX was made for themnot for the wealthy class. The value proposition is that the EVX will truly be the next step in meeting the common everymans transportation needs.
Start-up capital will need to be raised from investors, who can be sold shares in the company. However, a better option will be crowdfunding, which will allow me to retain total control of the company and turn to donors for funding options. People want to take part in the next big innovative design, and many ordinary people are interested in funding creative endeavors like this one. So if they find an idea on a site like Kickstarter or GoFundMe that they believe in, they will donate and look forward to their contribution making a difference in the world. As Angerer, Brem, Kraus and Peter (2017) show, crowdfunding is a legitimate way to fund a start-up in todays social media connected world, which links people to ideas all over the world. I am not willing to go into debt, so if investor capital is needed, a share of the company will be offered up to 40% stake so that I can retain majority control.
Andwari, A.M., Pesiridis, A., Rajoo, S., Martinez-Botas, R. and Esfahanian, V., 2017. A review of Battery Electric Vehicle technology and readiness levels. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 78, pp.414-430.
Angerer, M., Brem, A., Kraus, S. and Peter, A., 2017. Start-up funding via equity crowdfunding in Germany: A qualitative analysis of success factors. The Journal of Entrepreneurial Finance (JEF), 19(1), pp.1-34.
Baron, R.A. and Tang, J., 2011. The role of entrepreneurs in firm-level innovation: Joint effects of positive affect, creativity, and environmental dynamism. Journal of Business Venturing, 26(1), pp.49-60.
Car, 2019. Best EVs 2019. Retrieved from https://www.carmagazine.co.uk/electric/best-electric-cars-and-evs/
Crum, R. 2018. Elon Musk says Tesla nearly died during Model 3 production ramp. Retrieved from https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/11/26/elon-musk-says-tesla-nearly-died-during-model-3-production-ramp/
Ewing, J. 2017. What Needs to Happen Before Electric Cars Take Over the World. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/18/business/electric-car-adoption.html
Fuentelsaz, L., Maicas, J.P. and Montero, J., 2018. Entrepreneurs and innovation: The contingent role of institutional factors. International Small Business Journal, 36(6), pp.686-711.
Inman, P., 2019. Is a global recession imminent? Retrieved from https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/25/is-a-global-recession-coming-here-are-seven-warning-signs
Samuelsson, M., 2001. Modeling the nascent venture opportunity exploitation process across time. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Academy for Entrepreneurial Leadership Historical Research Reference in Entrepreneurship.
Seaborn, P., Scott, P. & Miller, W., 2017. Uber in ColoradoSeeking regulatory certainty. Case Research Journal.
Smith, J. L., 2016. The real price of driving. Retrieved from https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/cars/782992/car-costs-uk-service-repair-MOT-petrol-fuel-price
Trainer, D. 2019. The unicorn bubble is bursting. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/greatspeculations/2019/10/07/the-unicorn-bubble-is-bursting/#4db3a08a8819
Trout, J. & Rivkin, S., 2006. Differentiate or die. In The marketing Gurus (ed. Murray). NY: Penguin.
Weber-Fieldfisher, Y. 2018. Mass deployment of EVs in the UK requires infrastructure and regulatory overhaul. Retrieved from https://www.intelligenttransport.com/transport-articles/71151/ev-regulations-stakeholders-uk/
Weinberger, M., 2016. Why entrepreneurs are essential to the global economy EY. Retrieved from https://www.ft.com/content/c1d2736c-1cdc-11e6-a7bc-ee846770ec15
Westbrook, J. 2019. Car Sales Are Slipping Into Recession-Level Decline. Retrieved from https://jalopnik.com/car-sales-are-slipping-into-recession-level-decline-1835480712
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