Wednesday, February 4, 2009

What’s your Drivetone?

As a follow on to the blog post a wrote on 16 January 2009 entitled “The Demise of the Road Trip” I have since done a little more research, reading, and watching. I came across a great video with Shai Agassi of Better Place on Canada’s “The Hour”.

Shai Agassi on Canada’s “The Hour “

The video is instructive on several levels – including the way in which batteries will be swapped at Better Place service stations and one particularly interesting item at the 8 min and 30 second mark about drivetones. Shai mentioned that people will want to match their vehicle to their mood. It looks like he’s serious because according to this post he has already secured the web site and the copyright for drivetones. No longer will that stealthy electric vehicle be able to sneak up on unsuspecting pedestrians and cyclists.


Better Place is committed to changing the way we think about ownership of “our” vehicles. People will think of batteries much like gasoline is thought of – it’s used up and in the case of a battery swapped out for a fully charged unit.

The Road trip is not dead. A point Shai made in an e-mail exchange is that we don’t need to fear the demise of the road trip. Back in the heyday of the road trip automobiles had 13 gallon tanks and only got about 8 miles per gallon. This is roughly the same range a Better Place electric vehicle is capable of achieving.



As mentioned in my blog post I still think there will be a whole set of supporting industries that spring up in the electric vehicle space. The idea of drivetones is analogous to ringtones on mobile phones and one that I think might take off. Maybe there will be different mood tones for what you are doing, where you are driving, or even based on what music you are playing in your car. Will people pay to have their car sound like a Porsche, a Ferrari, a Harley-Davidson or even the Millennium Falcon? I don’t know, but I have an idea people will pay – thus monetizing another element of the electric vehicle industry.


I think Shai and Better Place are onto something and ahead of the curve (pun intended). Several countries and even the State of Hawaii have agreed to give Better Place a test run and some have committed to even more. If you want more information on Better Place you can check their web site and you can also follow Better Place on Twitter.

I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Will the electric vehicle catch on? What will your first drivetone be? Where will you go on your first road trip in an electric vehicle? If you’ve already made the trip – did you blog about it?image

This is not the sunset of the road trip. People will always want to get out on the open road.

Long live the Road Trip. I’ve got my next road trip planned. Do you?

Photo Credits: Better Place, CBC, Malmo

clip_image002 About The Author:
I have spent the better part of the last 16 years working in various aspects of the ECM space. I spent time at
Kofax, Microsoft, FileNet, K2, and most recently Captaris (which was acquired by Open Text in Nov 2008). Prior to that I was a Unix VAR running my own company. Follow me on Twitter, check my blog, send email or find me on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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chrisg said...

I want mine to be Star Trek themed. Like warp engines. Then when open the doors i want the noise to play like the star trek doors opening.

Michael Deutch said...

That's funny. At the Web 2.0 conference last year I saw a presentation from the Tesla car team and we broke into a spontaneous conversation about drivetones. Downloadable engine sounds for your cars...Lambos, Ferrari, Porsche, etc...

Drivetones said...

Drivetones are a neat idea but their implementation is probably far in the future. I think it will take longer than expected to build out the infrastructure for EVs.