__It’s the age of the electric car!
The entrepreneurial story behind the invention of the motor car is one of the best examples of Peter Drucker’s principle: “Innovation plus marketing make money”.
It was back in 1886 when Carl Benz registered the first “Patent Motor Car”. It actually started with only three wheels! At the same time, also in Germany, Gottlieb Daimler developed the first four-wheeled “motor coach”.
Although Benz is now recognized as the founding father of the Mercedes, for over two years after this remarkable innovation that would change the world… he was still not able to sell any of his cars!
Then one day his wife Bertha, whose family had financed his business venture, came up with an ingenious and brave marketing strategy, at a time when little was known about marketing.
As I wrote here a few years ago, at first, people were not very interested in buying “a coach without horses” and some critics told him this noisy “motor car” idea had “no future viability”!
However, Bertha’s marketing of her husband’s innovation led to the emergence of one of the most successful businesses in history: Mercedes Benz of Germany. (The company has now registered 80,000+ patents by the way… Innovation, innovation, innovation!)
While Daimler and Benz are considered amongst the founding fathers of the automobile industry, it is Benz’ wife, Bertha who is surely a founding mother!
Fast followers like Henry Ford in America added their own innovations which laid the foundation for the mass production of the internal combustion engine car, using oil products like petrol and diesel.
The motor car has been one of the greatest innovations in the history of mankind. Its benefits are too many to ever count. Today at least 1,4bn cars are on the road across the world, probably more, no one knows for sure. Last year alone, around 77m+ new cars were sold!
But fossil-fueled cars and trucks are an ever-growing threat to the environment and to our climate. These billion+ cars are choking the lungs of the planet, like a cigarette on a smoker.
A new generation of entrepreneurs led by men like Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, who was born in South Africa, have brought back an old idea, which never took off in the early years of the car…
__Engines can use electricity from batteries rather than petrol!
The number of electrical vehicles (EVs) on the roads is increasing rapidly. These are still early days in a growing industry but the size of the global market for EVs was already valued at $162bn+ last year and is projected to reach more than $800bn by 2027.
As most of you know, several countries which are worried about the climate change crisis have now passed laws that will ban the use of petrol cars by 2030.
#Innovators have responded quickly. Now almost every “fossil-fuel motor vehicle” manufacturer in the world is producing (or working to produce) electric versions of its popular brands!
What about Africa?
Do you think we will get electric cars? The simple answer is: decidedly yes!
How it happens, and when it happens, creates a lot of room for entrepreneurs like some of you.
Yesterday (Thursday 28 May) our company Vaya Africa launched Vaya Electric.
This is my own point of entry into this new game. We are all really excited to be offering great value and safety to our customers, while helping the earth, too. We have even developed solar-powered EV charging stations!
There are thousands of other entry points in the EV market, big and small.
What about you? What do YOU see?
Image credit: Vaya Electric. Here’s an article to read a bit more: https://techcrunch.com/2020/05/27/vaya-africa-launches-electric-ride-hail-taxi-network/
Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and Executive Chairman of the Econet Group. He serves on several international boards including Unilever, and the Global Advisory boards of the Council on Foreign Relations and Stanford University. A board member of the Rockefeller Foundation for 15 years, he also serves as Chairman of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). He is a co-founder of the Carbon War Room, Pathways for Prosperity, and the Global Business Coalition on Education. He and his wife, Tsitsi, co-founded the Higherlife Foundation and are signators of the Giving Pledge.View all posts by Strive Masiyiwa