Watch This Space: BYTON
Individualism in shared mobility; They can coexist and it’s about time…
Recently, the most colorful bikes I’ve ever seen have bloomed like flowers in the world's densest cities including in my city, San Diego.
Millions of colorful urban flowers planted in soils of asphalt…all a fantastic color, however all the same generic hue. The post-bloom, unfortunately, has been an unsustainable apocalyptic hell of discarded industrial bikes for San Diego and other cities to deal with. We must do better.
A dead flower enriches and nourishes the soil onto which it falls. Let's learn that fundamental lesson from nature.
Are we headed towards a “generic transportation hell” so to speak in our fast past race towards shared mobility? Dystopian, wasteful, longer commutes, more congestion, more vehicle trips? Queue Johnny Cab in Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Total Recall. I think my head just exploded.
The answer as always is yes…or…no. It depends on our decisions and how we use the technology.
10 years ago in 2008, three years before the J1772 plug standard was implemented and six years before BMWi sold it’s first electric car, a fortunate small group of us began collaborating with BMW in the BMW MINI-E Field Trials. In my case, three of the BMW Mini-E’s entered service in the city of Encinitas Ca.
Our endeavor in 2008, automotive, civic, and personal was singular. To usher in electric mobility and all its benefits…and to make it stick this time. My personal reasons driving my BMW Mini-E named SUNGAS, was because I was locked in a quest to see if I could sustainably drive on the sunshine harvested from my roof powering both our home and electric cars in the garage.
If I could, then others…Today over 125,000 San Diego households power their home and/or cars by sunshine.
Last month I traveled to Munich Germany at the invitation and expense of BYTON. I was invited as a “Co-Creator” a group of 15-20 individuals from all over the world, two of us from the USA including my fellow pioneer and visionary from the prehistoric days, Tom Moloughney. As I traveled to Munich my mind was racing with equal parts of past lessons learned and anticipation of listening and learning from the other co-creators and the BYTON team.
What surprised me greatly was that for BYTON, electric, shared, and connected was a given. Move on.
The two-day BYTON Co-Creator workshop singularly explored the field concerning the value of time and optimizing utilization in an ever-increasing autonomous vehicle. User not driver, shared not owned, helpful not hurtful.
Not so much about horsepower or 0-60 times, range, or torque and certainly not about electric drive, but about precious time and meaningful social connections that in the past the car has ripped us apart from. Can the vehicle be used differently when autonomous? What does that look like? How will it benefit the driver? How will it benefit our community? How will it enrich a person's life? How will it give you more time and improve your time while on the road commuting?
Let's be real, in a perfect world, a staircase commute or a brief commute is the best, but as our cities get denser and as our population increases around these cities, the trend of longer commutes at stop and go speeds is, unfortunately, going to increase for many. Uggh!
Good land use planning along with a local jobs-housing balance can reduce vehicle miles traveled. New modes of mobility connecting seamlessly with each other and a greater appreciation and valuation of time spent with loved ones or on a personal hobby, or in your community, will also help shorten commutes.
However, we all make decisions and not the same decisions. Nor do we all value the same intangibles. Thankfully we're all not the same.
Driving in a car can be an awful - repetitious - stress inducing behavior. A prison of sorts that separates us as an individual in a metal box from others. A solitary confinement.
Driving can also be enjoyable. The future, and prevailing thoughts and actions from mobility companies like BYTON, can be extremely helpful, sort of an eraser on a blackboard of past automotive sins.
Clear the air, reduce congestion, make our cities better, give us valuable time by letting us be productive while commuting and partner with nature on as many levels as possible. This is the future I’m excited about.
In my view, BYTON is the smart mobility company talking about this, about five years from now, about what we value most as humans, each other.
Watch this space. I hope to be able to share with you future progress reports as a BYTON Co Creator of a better, not worse transportation future for our cities and for ourselves.