How Future-Proof is Your New EV?
Automologist MAC thinks future cars could become obsolete faster than before…
We have already entered the age of the Software-Defined Vehicle (SDV) that is capable of Over-the-Air (OTA) updates. Now, having experienced and suffered with the need for constantly updating my tech every two to three years since I first started using computers back in the late 1970s, (yes, we had them then) I started thinking about the problem of future-proofing all new EVs.
I do not think that anyone alive today has not grappled with the software updates for our phones, tablets and computers, particularly as they age. I bet most of us have experienced a crippling reduction in speed and efficiency and battery life, making the device little more than junk.
Automakers have been doing their level best to design cars that are future-proofed, but the simple fact is that producing a customer-ready car that is sufficiently quality-checked is a long process. And then there is the crystal ball gazing and it does not matter just how clear that ball is, even with building spare capacity, they will never get it spot on. There is a massive chance that a random future development could render your shiny new beast obsolete in the next few years.
Most car companies now have ceased to be vertically integrated and thus rely on their supply chain to be innovative and create solutions. The advantage of this is that the car companies can pick and choose from all of the wannabe supplies; the disadvantage is that they do not own the innovation and once proven, can be taken to just about any manufacturer.
Companies such as Apple are already ahead of the curve with this and are looking at making the humble cell phone a more integral part of the car. Samsung’s subsidiary Harman has taken a more traditional route and is touting their ‘fix’, called the Ready Update, as a one-size-fits-all solution.
The Harman version could prove a winner. It is a pre-certified domain controller that can power the instrument panel and will come with three levels of capability and, of course, three different price points. The idea is to relieve OEMs from the uncertainty and cost of the development, but what they have not told us is just how future-proofed the Ready Update itself is, although they have told us that they will need to upgrade every 18 months, an event they are planning for.
One thing for sure is, and I am willing to bet on this, the Ready Update will probably be some sort of subscription service, or am I being cynical?