Ford Hitches a ‘Chariot’ onto the Future of Mobility
Blue Oval stands on the edge of its silver future in mobility. Are we ready for it?
The road ahead is as uncertain as never before as far as mobility goes. Ford, like everyone else, has to figure out how to adapt to a future where the current business model of ownership (in every sense of the word) gives way to autonomous vehicles shared by all through digital mobility services. In a new report in The Harvard Business Review, reporter Mark W. Johnson takes a look at the lessons Ford has learned thus far about the future of mobility, starting with the Blue Oval’s reported $50 million acquisition of mobility startup Chariot in 2016.
No one simply walks into Mordor, and no company simply charges into unknown territory without preparation. Via Chariot, Ford learned it needed to develop new ways of operating an automotive company outside of the core business in order to adapt said core in the long run. Starting with small tests among consumers on the streets of San Francisco, Ford was able to pilot potential concepts in the marketplace before making major financial and intellectual investments. Such concepts range from the upcoming Transit Custom PHEV–made with micro-transit services in mind–and entering the shared bicycle market with the Ford GoBike, to adapting mobility services to different markets to reduce time and costs for employers and Ford alike.
Ford is wise to take on the challenge of future mobility in the manner it has. The services in the company’s future-ready portfolio are great for those living in urban areas, especially commuters who aren’t into ideas of ownership or driving in general. Ford’s future mobility roadmap also could allow us to keep on driving in the free world long after the cities are shiny and chrome, the open road outside the autonomous zones finally under the control of the enthusiasts.