this article by associated press correspondent tom krisher may be the most dramatic automobile business model switch you have heard in your lifetime. article edited for brevity and clarity.
ford ceo, jim farley says the company will stop competing in over-served market segments and instead will place big bets on connected vehicles and digital services. the days of ford being all things to all people are over, farley said at the company’s capital markets day event.
the company he said has been “stuck in a box” with thin profit margins, weak growth and low stock valuations. ford will emphasize software and services as well as pickup trucks, large SUV’s, commercial vehicles and advanced second-generation electric vehicles, farley said.
for example, by the time ford rolls out a new version of the f-150 pickup truck later this year, it will have cut 2,400 parts from the bill of materials for the truck, compared from the existing model. ford f-series pickups are the top-selling vehicles in the u.s. and a huge profit center for the company. farley said by focusing on software, services and ford’s strengths in products, the company won’t be as vulnerable to a downturn as in the past. he said the company has let complexity “overrun our business as we tried to be all things to all people.”
farley says ford will be competing differently, going for tailored ownership experiences rather than “jockeying for slivers of market share” with complex vehicles in over-served market segments. he said the company will go to non-negotiated prices, working with the dealers. farley has long complained about ford’s high retail and warranty costs.
kumar galhotra, president of ford blue, said, rather than testing the new super duty pickup to a particular standard, the company tested it until parts and systems failed. now ford is finding the eventual weak point and eliminating it, prolongin vehicle life, galhhotra said.
ford also said its new or revamped electric vehicle manufacturing plants will be far more efficient, with nearly 30% less labor overhead than the company’s current large internal combustion vehicle plants.
“the beginning is the most important part of the work.” – plato
all of us are really wanting a fresh new year! this video made in 2019 by tbwa/paris for the national society of french railways (sncf) captures what our mind’s eye was seeking: a celebration of new life, a feeling of hope and optimism. may all your plans bloom and blossom beyond your wildest dreams.
the video was a way for the sncf to give thanks to those “preserving the planet” by traveling by train. according to the sncf, trains give off 30 times less co2 than individual cars and 20 times less than planes. thus, the national railway body is positioning itself as a healthy alternative to other modes of transport.
to illustrate this sentiment, the successive blooming of flowers – a time lapse that covers 200 hours. to capture each one of the 50 varieties included, every flower was photographed once every five seconds, day and night, which accumulated in 14,000 images per flower.
in the film, every flower that blooms is accompanied by the wheezing bang of fireworks, to illustrate the celebratory nature of the campaign. the sncp aims to transition from diesel-powered rail to developing stations that are autonomously powered by 2035.
the idea for the domus trimaran concept started from a simple question: why not?
‘just because superyachts are what they are now, it does not mean they should stay this way.(…) we were constantly looking at every aspect of the design and saying, ‘i know we do it this way normally but is there a better way?’ the designers share. ‘therefore, we truly believe that this project will redefine what a multi-hull sailing superyacht can be.’ they add.
after calculating the smallest vessel size that can host a one-floor layout without it being too bulky, the designers started forming domus as an amalgamation of different innovative ideas. domus is a perfect example of a unique design combination of solar power, hydro regeneration and hydrogen fuel cells that give the concept unlimited range with zero emissions. prioritizing speed, space, and sustainability, the domus concept aspires to become the first-ever truly zero-emissions superyacht.
above> the top deck allows for solar panels to supply the battery bank with all the necessary energy during the night
above/below> while sailing, the windward hull will come out of the water reducing the drag through the water resulting in more speed
nissan is partnering with nasa on a computational approach to developing all-solid-state batteries that don’t rely on rare or expensive metals, the ap has reported.
to get there, the company said it’s opening a pilot solid-state battery plant in 2024. many of the battery concepts have been demonstrated in laboratories time and again, but making the leap to manufacturing often reveals unexpected problems.
building a pilot plant shows that nissan is confident enough in its current solid-state battery tech. the 2028 target for mass production is similar to competitors like solid power. that suggests the industry is feeling confident in the timeline for when all-solid-state batteries will be ready for automotive use at scale.
the nissan-nasa partnership, which also involves researchers from the university of california, san diego, is likely looking beyond those first cells. while today’s solid-state battery designs change some fundamental parts of lithium-ion batteries mostly by doing away with flammable liquid electrolytes—they largely leave others in place, including the use of rare or expensive metals like cobalt and nickel. by eliminating such metals, future batteries would not only be cheaper but also have potentially cleaner and more ethical supply chains. cobalt mining, for example, is rife with human rights abuses and environmental hazards.
according to the associated press, the partners said they’ll be creating an “original material informatics platform” consisting of a large database of materials that can be mixed and matched to determine their potential properties.
the all-solid-state battery is stable enough to be used in pacemakers. when finished it will be about half the size of the current battery and fully charge in 15 minutes instead of a few hours.
DesignApplause is honored to be a gia awards judge for the past 11 years, and i looked forward to selecting the best of the 2022 product design – thank you for submitting your product. the judges used the following criteria to select all submissions:
the gia awards criteria > appearance
> user benefits
> ecological responsibility
> market impact & positioning – note: this judge’s interpretation for example, if you’re making an ecological statement you’re letting the end-user know via the point-of-purchase (pop) packaging and/or product website – why? consumers are wanting planet saving products. how do we know for sure? give credit to the automobile industry’s dramatic shift to electric cars / if you’re making a design statement you might mention on the (pop) packaging, etc., that you’re entering your product and winning in other design competitions by displaying an award logo, i.e., a red dot award or german design award winner / if you mention that you’re product was mentioned in design-centric media, let your audience know because they want to make a statement too.
thirteen housewares suppliers ranging from well-established brands to first-time exhibitors were honored as global honorees of the iha global innovation awards (gia) for excellence in product design today. the global honorees in each of 13 categories were announced during the invitation-only gia dinner on the first evening of the inspired home show 2022, and the winners as well as the finalists were on display at the show. this is the first in-person gathering of the industry’s premier marketplace since 2019. the global winners are:
[ note: this post a work-in-progress as info comes in… ]
> bath + personal care:madesmart, drying stone™ toothbrush tray
designed to be used – and reused the new sky drinking bottle is available in both a stainless-steel version as well as in four elegant shades made from bpa-free tritan plastic: blue, pink, green, and gray. it is designed to be used time and time again, helping you limit the consumption of disposable bottles. designer: aurelien barbry
> tabletop:gourmet kitchen works llc, olipac filare
the 65 finalists in all categories are featured in the new product showcases in the buyers club in each show building and the 13 category global honorees are on display in the hall of product innovation in the grand concourse lobby in the north building.
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this is my 11th year as a gia innovations award judge. today was judgement day to scrutinize five product design finalists in 10 categories. that meant a visit to mccormick place and an attempt at a pre-show peek of this year’s the inspired home‘s 2022 show. i didn’t go into the great halls however because i didn’t bring a hard hat. the photos give an idea of a very different presentation, a refreshing new experience.
the global innovation awards (gia) program was launched in january 2000 with the goal of recognizing and honoring excellence in home and housewares retailing on a global scale. in the 20 years since its inception, the gia program has expanded to recognize innovation in four different facets of home and housewares excellence: retail excellence, product design, booth design, and student design. the photo below may be the display case build-out where the winners will reside. in 2022 over 250 entries were viewed by 20 judges to select the 2022 gia awards winners:
discover design is seven years old in 2022 and is a destination of more than 100 design-centric exhibitors from around the world. the confines includes the discover design gallery – the photo below may be the display case build-out featuring the products submitted for the gia awards; and design debut, an incubator program within discover design, featuring new companies.
on the way out after judging and in the great concourse we find, well not really, you have to pass the pantone booth to get to the great halls or the buses. this venue is way better than their previous location in the lakeside building. here, though the architecture is a bit busy, an abundant amount of natural ambient light means a correct color presentation, a rarity seldom realized in a trade show environment.
this sunday leatrice eiseman, director of the pantone color institute will speak sunday – check your inspired home app for more details. leatrice is also the creator of the annual pantone color forecasts illustrated in the colorwatch display. color is such a vital component to good design, we recommend taking this opportunity to hear what this highly esteemed color expert has to say.
i also met this year’s student winners. this category is one of my favorite happenings and manages to showoff amazing talent and their winning effort.
below > we see the six winners and in the foreground vicki montranga. i’ve known her for over 20 years. vicki is a chicago product design historian without peer. she’s also an advisor to the chicago design archive. she conceived the student competition in 1993 and 2022 is the 29th year. i’m told there’s a box of anniversary booklets on site and one has my name on it. please do not miss this special opportunity to hear their presentations and share ideas of what does good design mean.
below >les mendelson, founder of umbra, said these student competitions are the future of design. he shared his story of his company’s history and had two of his design managers do a walk-thru of the students booth.
below > evan dash, left, founder of storebound, outlined his company’s history and design determination. dash and mendelson have both hired past winners of iha’s competition. dash hired an arizona state student who then grew the design department and manages production in china.
formerly the international home + housewares show, the inspired home show is north america’s largest housewares trade show! we connect not only buyer to seller, but also product to lifestyle and the industry to the consumer mindset. every year, more than 52,000 home and housewares professionals from more than 130 countries converge upon chicago to discover new housewares products and industry trends, meet face-to-face with executives from top retail and manufacturer brands, and gain the insights, leads and exposure to jump-start a successful year. the show is owned and operated by the international housewares association (iha), which has a rich history within the housewares industry dating back more than 80 years.
above> ice dancers piper gilles and paul poirier wear the beijing 2022 opening ceremony uniform by lululemon
in the 80s i felt chicago and toronto had more differences than similarities: the size was comparable but toronto was cleaner and hipper – they have vidal sassoon you know. what i didn’t know then was that sassoon’s mix of style and performance made it the obvious choice as official hair consultant to the athletes participating in the los angeles olympic games in 1984. sassoon and his international team conducted months of research with 100 athletes to determine which haircuts performed best during different sporting activities. a huge campus salon was set up in the university of california to cut and care for the hair of 2,500 athletes. today, both cities seem equally clean and hip, so enough!, let’s talk about 2022 winter olympics fashion statements.
in october 2021 canada debuted it’s winter olympic uniforms and announced a six-year run with relative newcomer in athleisure lululemon. today, ralph lauren debuted its latest Olympic designs, the label an olympic mainstay in their uniforms since 2008, did the same. regarding style, lauren is known for and again presents a traditional statement. lululemon presents their familiar chic. but let’s not forget that we may only be looking at opening night(?) apparel and we’ll have to wait for the events uniforms which can be a little more aggressive – as they should be! opening ceremonies to be held on 4 february in beijing.
regarding style, lauren offers red white and blue buffalo plaid puffer jackets, parkas, american flag turtlenecks emblematic of ralph lauren, and fleece leggings or pants. lululemon offers an all-red or all-cream motif paying homage to the maple leaf that appears as a simple icon as well as an abstracted print which includes parkas, down jackets, joggers, trapper caps, bucket hats and zip-ups, with plenty of opportunities to modify: the parka can be zipped off into three different lengths, and the down jacket can be worn like a backpack if it gets too hot. lululemon also presents a transformer-like modular look including a vest that turns into a pillow or scarf.
we’re appreciative the brands made sustainable and technologic statements. lauren’s effort on sustainability is with recycled polyester made from plastic bottles, recycled down and responsible wool standard (rws) wool – the company press statement explains that the brand is committed to using 100% rws-certified or recycled wool by 2025. lauren also includes a tech-driven detail for their jackets which include a smart, honeycomb-like fabric layer built-in that expands or contracts in response to temperature changes — all without the use of a battery or wired technology. lululemon’s tech-driven effort is with smart textiles that are insulated, sweat-wicking, bacteria-inhibiting, breathable, resistant to water and wind, and light on seams.
above/below > photos courtesy of ralph lauren
above> athlete jason brown (figure skating) / below> athlete hilary knight (ice hockey)
below > photos courtesy of lululemon
above> liam hickey wearing the uniform for on the podium
all-in-all DesignApplause likes lululemon’s design focus on function, such as multiple layered parkas. during the opening ceremonies, athletes can be on that journey for four to six hours or waiting to perform and the temperature can go from minus-10 degrees celsius to plus-10. the uniform is based on a dynamic dressing system, athletes will be able to shed – or add – individual pieces.
also the human-led design utilization where over an 18-month period lululemon takes athlete insights from a number of sports and creates an innovative nurture campaign so team canada olympic and paralympic athletes can feel their best to perform their best. the vancouver-based lululemon scanned the bodies of a number of athletes, consulted them for subjective feedback on aesthetics and comfort and also simulated beijing winter conditions. the design team studied areas of bodily heat loss and engineered appropriate compensations into the garment, through innovative 3d engineered knitting. read: q&a with the designer of the beijing 2022 olympic collection.
it’s been almost a year since lemond introduced its revolutionary prolog ebike and throughout the year the reviews have been glowing. this recreational ebike sports quite a lot of carbon fiber technology and unlike almost all ebikes it doesn’t look like one and is really fun to ride. at 26 pounds it’s the lightest ebike on the road at this writing.
greg lamond is a well known former professional road racing cyclist, entrepreneur, and anti-doping advocate. a two-time winner of the road race world championship and a three-time winner of the tour de france (1986, 1989, and 1990), lemond is considered by many to be the greatest american cyclist of all time.
lamond also has a fascination for technology, especially carbon fiber where he made history in the 1991 tour de france when he and his teammates rode carbon fiber bikes built by craig calfee and were branded as lemond bikes. a short time later trek bicycles picked up the lemond brand and they released what would become one of the nation’s top road brands until parting ways in 2008. he also has a research and development company, lamond carbon. he holds licenses to two patented technologies which will irrevocably disrupt the industry.
for now greg is releasing the new dutch and prolog models of ebikes. as patents become formalized, heads up for road, gravel, mountain, and adventure models that will combine revolutionary components and prototypic lemond aesthetics. here’s the prolog:
above>monocoque carbon fiber cockpit / a monocoque carbon fiber handlebar and stem encase the headlight and creates a strong yet minimal form.
above/below>headlight / an always on integrated 500 lumen headlight within our monocoque handlebar-stem provides visibility for the road ahead // tailight / rear and side visible 70 lumen taillights ensure safety in groups and traffic. Both lights offer static and strobe settings.
above>carbon fiber frame and components / prolog’s carbon fiber frame, fork, fenders, seat post, and monocoque handlebar-stem makes it one of the lightest ebikes on the market.
above>integrated motor / a 250 watt rear hub motor powers prolog up to 20 mph and is part of the mahle x35+ smart ebike system embedded throughout the frame. at just 7.7 pounds, it’s one of the lightest systems on the market.
above>11-speed drivetrain / an 11-speed shimano grx drivetrain provides the gearing and performance needed to traverse any terrain- with or without a motor.
above>custom fenders & tires / custom lemond carbon fenders and panaracer tires come standard.
above>upgrades — electronic shifting / the revolutionary shimano di2 shifting system solves the challenges drivetrains present to the power-delivery equation in cycling. di2 gives you instant, accurate, lighting-fast shifts the first and every time, at the push of a button. even in the most extreme conditions, shifting is precise and controlled. you can change gear even under heavy load while climbing or accelerating. with di2, you are in complete control.
above>upgrades — lemond lc30 carbon wheelset / the lemond lc30 rim is our new carbon fiber rim developed in partnership with munich composites, a german aerospace components manufacturer.
above/below>colors — blanc / matte finish with black decals // colors — noir / matte finish with silver decals // colors — rosa / matte finish with red decals
the buoyant offshore wind market wants the biggest and most powerful turbines only.
in the u.s.a., 2021 reopens the prospect of revitalizing a climate agenda which encompasses renewable energy, which, as the name suggests, is always available. global governments and companies have figured out that solar and wind are the best prospects for the future, though location and seasonal variables come into play. for example, solar and wind energy are a strong combination and wind energy is currently a better option to supplement solar energy in winter.
the buoyant offshore wind market wants the biggest and most powerful turbines only. conceived in 2008, the dogger bank wind farm, located off the north-east coast of england, is slated to be the largest in the world with offshore construction expected to begin in 2022 with contractors using specialist vessels to install the offshore infrastructure. the first phase is expected to be operational in 2023. the wind farm will be completed in three phases before reaching full commercial operations in 2026.
[ key features ]
> designed for all wind speeds
> recommended for offshore high wind locations
> has a 220-meter rotor and a 107-meter (longer than a football field) blade
> the wind turbine offers three models: a 14 mw, 13 mw or 12 mw
> one rotation could power a household for two days
> one 13w turbine can light up a town of 12,000 homes
> sensors gather data of wind speeds, output, and component stresses
> wind farm first two phases will total of 190 haliade-x 13 mw offshore wind turbines. the final phase features the 14 mw turbine.
> upon completion the wind farm is expected to power up to 6 million homes annually in the uk, equivalent to 5% of the uk’s total electricity demand.
above > dogger bank wind farm
the battle for size continues unabated. siemens-gamesa has announced its next model, the 14mw sg 14-222 dd offshore wind turbine. the race is expected to end at about 20 mw.
note: at this writing the haliade-x is only a prototype
zoox is the first in the industry to showcase a driving, purpose-built robotaxi capable of operating up to 75 miles per hour.
an autonomous four-wheel drive fully electric vehicle is not breaking news anymore. but amazon announcing it’s new ride-sharing robotaxi along with its vision for the future of urban mobility concept certainly is.
as concept cars go the robotaxi offers pretty familiar features but she also has several unique laudable features: bidirectional driving capabilities and four-wheel steering, which enables maneuvering through compact spaces and changing directions without the need to reverse; a four-seat, face-to-face symmetrical seating configuration that eliminates the steering wheel.
the vehicle has one of the smallest footprints in the automotive industry, about a foot shorter than a standard mini cooper and features a 133 kwh battery, one of the largest available in electric vehicles today, allowing it to operate for up to 16 continuous hours on a single charge.
primarily envisioned for short rides in urban environments, passengers will have an app to hail the vehicle, much as they do with uber and lyft today. we’re led to believe that robotaxi should soon be in business in san francisco and las vegas as these cities are in the vehicles database. not sure how i feel about going 75 mph however.