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商业 - 科技

特斯拉与马斯克如何设计新的行业范式

Frika Fry 2017年12月27日

马斯克雄心勃勃的公司不止是让电动汽车变得性感迷人,而是在颠覆一个行业。

在12月举行的洛杉矶车展上,多数汽车公司都利用他们的展示空间来展出新车型和概念车。但很少参加这种行业活动的、特立独行的电动汽车制造商特斯拉(Tesla)却带来了一套房子。

这套名为未来之家的房子,安装了特斯拉品牌的太阳能面板,以及特斯拉的家用电池蓄电单元Powerwall。当然,车展上也少不了特斯拉广受欢迎的电动汽车,包括Model X、Model S和最近发布的Model 3。这些汽车和未来家居,都是特斯拉正在为全人类定义和设计的技术更先进、能源更清洁的生态系统的组成部分。

这当中有一个明显的隐喻。几乎没有公司有像特斯拉一样宏大的理想: 要说这家只有15年历史的公司只是在颠覆汽车行业,有些低估了它的影响力。而且很少有像汽车这样神奇的日常用品,能够对我们想象一件物品的方式产生如此迅速和深远的影响。卡耐基梅隆大学设计学院(Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design)的教授马克·巴斯金格教授表示:“他们把物联网引入了汽车,或者反过来,把汽车引入了物联网。这非常有趣,因为他们把自己树立成一种不同的范式。”

华尔街显然看好这种愿景。截至12月中旬,特斯拉股价在2017年上涨了61%,使公司市值达到580亿美元,与通用汽车(GM)相当,并且超过了福特(Ford)。

而扮演梦想者的是特斯拉联合创始人兼CEO伊隆·马斯克。虽然有人听到他那些宏大的想法禁不住偷笑,例如移民火星,但他的汽车公司所取得的成就是不容置疑的。

从特斯拉推动自动化和自动驾驶功能,到将汽车作为软件处理(无线推送系统升级)再到让电动汽车变得炫酷无比,在传统汽车厂商设计和生产汽车的方式当中,能够日益明显地看出特斯拉新范式的迹象。

在艺术中心设计学院(ArtCenter College of Design)教授知名交通课程的汽车设计师蒂姆·亨辛格表示,特斯拉最大的影响,或许在于改变了汽车生产和销售的陈旧模式。亨辛格对特斯拉的成就惊叹不已,他表示:“Modle 3即使在最终设计阶段之前,就已经卖出了许多辆。就好像他们在进行汽车众筹一样。他们在实际创建汽车的磨具之前,就已经获得了数亿美元的收入。”

这几乎是前所未有的成功。亨辛格称:“这在汽车行业是巨大的成功。在汽车行业的历史上,你需要投入数百万或者数亿美元,才能实现盈利。许多公司都是因为这种情况而陷入破产。”

亨辛格认为特斯拉的气质与苹果(Apple)类似,他补充道,消费者在整个流程中的重要性日益提高,这同样具有变革意义。“在流程初期获得消费者的反馈,这是一种全新的做法,也是截然不同的做法。”

另外,在购车体验方面,特斯拉也采取了变革性的举措 — 将门店开在购物中心里,让人们可以在线预订汽车,为消费者提供愉快的购车体验。亨辛格称:“这种购车体验,与我们在经销商模式中被迫接受的体验截然不同。看到消费者被放在了第一位,这让人感到耳目一新。”(财富中文网)

本文将发表于2018年1月1日《财富》杂志的“创新设计公司”部分。

译者:刘进龙/汪皓

In December, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, most car companies used their display space to show off new models and concept cars. Tesla (TSLA, -2.06%), the idiosyncratic electric-vehicle maker—which more often than not passes on these industry events—brought a house.

Dubbed the House of the Future, it was outfitted with Tesla-brand solar panels and one of Tesla’s home battery storage units, the Powerwall. Tesla’s fleet of highly sought-after vehicles—consisting of the Model X, Model S, and the recently released Model 3—was there too, of course. The cars and the homes of the future are each components of the state-of-the-art, cleaner-energy ecosystem that Tesla is defining and designing for us all.

There’s an obvious metaphor in that. Few, if any, companies think as big as Tesla: To say the 15-year-old company is merely reinventing the automobile industry would be selling it short. And few, if any, have had as swift and profound an impact on the way we conceive of an object, as mythic and everyday, as the car. “They’re bringing the Internet of things to the automobile, or vice versa—the automobile to the Internet of things,” says Mark Baskinger, a professor at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Design. “That’s really interesting as they’re positioning themselves as a different paradigm.”

Wall Street has clearly bought into the vision. As of mid-December, Tesla’s share price was up 61% in 2017, pushing its market value to $58 billion—on par with GM (GM, -0.32%) and above that of Ford (F, -0.32%).

Playing the role of visionary is Tesla cofounder and CEO Elon Musk. But while some snicker at his grand ideas—let’s go colonize Mars!—the accomplishments of his car company are hard to deny.

From Tesla’s push toward automation and self-driving capabilities to its treatment of car as software (with system updates beamed out over the air) to simply making electric vehicles cool, the traces of Tesla’s new paradigm are increasingly visible in the way more traditional automakers are designing and engineering their cars.

Tim Huntzinger, an automotive designer who teaches in the renowned transportation program at the ArtCenter College of Design, says perhaps Tesla’s biggest influence will be on the well-worn model of how cars are made and sold. “They managed to sell so many Model 3s, even before the Model 3 was in its final design stages,” says Huntzinger, marveling at the feat. “It was almost like they were doing Kickstarter for cars. They were able to bring in hundreds of millions in revenue before actually creating final tooling for the vehicle.”

It’s been an almost unprecedented success. Says Huntzinger, “That’s huge for the automotive industry. For the entire history of the automotive industry, you had to spend millions or hundreds of millions to even turn a cent. Many companies have gone out of business that way.”

Huntzinger, who compares Tesla’s ethos to Apple’s, adds that the elevated role of the consumer in that process is also transformative. “To get feedback from customers early in the process—that’s totally new and totally different.”

There’s also the radical approach Tesla has taken with the car-buying experience—to make it pleasurable, by placing its stores in malls and letting people order their cars online. “The purchasing experience is so different [from what] we’ve all been forced into with the dealership model,” says Huntzinger. “It’s super-refreshing to see the customer being put first.”

A version of this article appears as part of our “Business by Design” package in the Jan. 1, 2018 issue of Fortune.

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