Tag Archives: product development

More Electric Vehicles Make it to Market

There is no doubt that electric vehicles (EV) are seeing an increase in inventory and sales. Globally, electric vehicle sales doubled in 2021 and sales are still strong in 2022. In the second quarter of 2022, EV sales were 5.6% of the total auto market, up 2.7% from the same time a year ago. Consumers are embracing the EV market for its clean energy and solid performing vehicles.

Pricing remains a sticking point with consumers though as many EVs are priced in the range of $50,000 – $100,000 and up. Sure, consumers want to help the environment, but they also face a very real limitation on spending for EVs.

To help position it as a more general option, General Motors plans to release an EV Chevy Equinox in fall 2023 at the lower price point of $30,000. Today, there are few models of any type of EV below $35,000. Complicating the pricing, the costs of battery materials (such as lithium and nickel) have risen significantly. On average, U.S. buyers paid $66,000 for an EV, an increase of 28% from a year ago according to J.D. Power research.

The Inflation Reduction Act is one option to help consumers lower the costs. It offers up to $7,500 in federal EV tax credits, but only for models that meet certain domestic-production requirements. While both new and used cars qualify, there are other restrictions that can limit how much tax credit a consumer receives including income limits and vehicle list prices.

Are you ready to make the leap to an EV vehicle?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What is their perception of pricing for EVs in today’s market?
  2. Have students research prices for EV automobiles and SUVs. Build a spreadsheet with information about select vehicles such as Volkswagen, Tesla, Kia, and Toyota.
  3. Have students research the Inflation Reduction Act for federal EV tax credits. What are the caveats?
  4. Show video from WSJ about the EV discounts: https://www.wsj.com/video/series/george-downs/the-climate-bill-unlocks-new-ev-discounts-but-not-everyones-a-winner/26F2FC57-3150-4311-AE3E-705E554AB4D6
  5. Another classroom discussion can focus on how the Inflation Reduction Act fits into an environmental scan for the EV market.

Sources:  Colias, M. (8 September 2022). GM courts mainstream buyers with $30,000 electric Chevy Equinox. Wall Street Journal.; Forbes growth sector: Electric vehicle sales and the new electric economy have arrived (24 September 2022). Forbes.

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Nice nails. You get those from a robot?

We have written a number of articles about robots and the use of robotics in different aspects of business. One usually think of robots being used in factories, warehouses, and manufacturing. Big jobs and big tasks.

There are robots driving trucks, assembling cars, stocking warehouses, retrieving packages, vacuuming floors, cutting grass, and greeting guests at businesses. And let’s not forget Flippy the hamburger-making robot, and Spot the incredible wonder dog from Boston Robotics.

But here is one you probably have not heard of – a robot that provides manicures. Well, at least it provides the nail polish coats – a sort of mini-manicure.

The robot is from San Francisco startup “Clockwork” and paints nails in 10-minutes for $8 at several select Target stores in Chaska (Minn.), Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Francisco. Appointments can be booked online at Clockworks. With 24 colors in hues of neutrals, darks, brights, metallics, reds, and more, there is a color to fit any mood or fashion.

The box-like machine is located in the beauty department and is staffed by Target employees. The nail robot uses both AI and 3D technology for careful application. According to Clockwork, the average woman spends 3,120 minutes per year on nails and hundreds of dollars. Why not shorten the time and lower the cost?

What color would you like?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students about manicures. How much do they spend? How much time does it take?
  2. Show video: https://youtu.be/oQjLg3brTH8
  3. Show website: https://www.likeclockwork.com/
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a marketing program for robotic manicures.
  5. How could experiential marketing be used in the promotion?

Sources:  Hutton, R. (31 August 2022). Chaska Target pilots $10 robot manicures. Minneapolis Star Tribune.

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Meet Pixy – Snap’s Flying Camera

It’s spring! Birds are flying! So are drones! What?!

Well, if you look up and see a flying yellow saucer-type of thing hovering nearby, don’t worry. It’s not an invasion by aliens. It’s only a friendly flying camera-drone from camera company Snap named “Pixy.” No more of that “who has the longest arms?” awkward stretching to get everyone in the frame. Now, just launch the bright yellow flying puck from your hand to take lots of photos and videos.

Pixy is now available for purchase online from Snap for $230. Unlike the larger drones, Pixy is small and light, and works without a controller. Take it on a picnic and carry it in your pocket. Immortalize the day by selecting one of its four pre-programmed flight modes and launch away.

Pixy even sounds friendly with its quiet propellers. A full battery charge should give five to eight short flights (10-20 seconds). Extra batteries are $20 and a portable dual-battery-charger sells for $50.

And if you like to take a LOT of photos, Pixy shoots up to 100 videos or 1,000 photos stored on a 16GB drive. The photos may not be high quality, but it is a fun way to capture moments. Images are synced to Memories in Snapchat.

(It may be small, but it is still classified as a drone under FAA regulations and operators are required to obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate (.)

One caution ~ be careful in the wind! (And by trees, too.)

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Show Pixy website: https://pixy.com/
  2. Also show a WSJ video on how it works: https://on.wsj.com/3LvdIGS
  3. Poll students: Who would be interested in buying a Pixy? How much would they spend?
  4. Competitor Air Neo: https://airselfiecamera.com/
  5. Discuss the various pricing models in class: demand-oriented, cost-oriented, profit-oriented, and competition-oriented.
  6. For Pixy, divide students into groups and have each group work on any/all of the six steps.
  7. When setting the price level, assign each team a different model to use (demand-oriented, cost- oriented, etc.).
  8. Debrief the exercise. Compare the various pricing models and discuss advantages/disadvantages of each.
  9. Optional: FAA Drone Pilot Certificate site: https://www.faa.gov/uas/commercial_operators/become_a_drone_pilot/

Sources:  Heath, A. (28 April 2022). Snapchat’s flying camera. The Verge.; Stern, J. (28 April 2022). Snap Pixy review: A mini-drone to take selfies for you. Wall Street Journal.; other news sources.

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