In January 2021, the second year of the 2020s in the 21st century, was a month in which friends in the automotive industry media did not sleep well and worked overtime continuously.
Finally, at the end of this month, on January 28th in the United States, the new Model S/X quietly appeared on the official website.
The strange steering wheel, the returned instrument panel, and the screen in the console in the second row… The enthusiasm occupied various WeChat groups for several days. The media professors are going to lose hair again.
What I’m most curious about is that Tesla has brought a PlayStation-like thing to the car, posted a rendering of Witcher 3, and Ma Yilong later stated that the new Model S/X can play Cyberpunk 2077.
There was once a small “survey” conducted by Tesla fans, and the proportion and frequency of owners playing games while sitting in the car is still relatively low. According to my observation, it is basically for scenarios where people are waiting and supercharging and don’t know what else to do.
In the past year, Tesla has successively OTAed games such as Landlords, Stardew Valley, Low-Poly Battle, and Solitaire, theoretically suitable for users of all ages and regions to find their own interests. After version 48.25 was updated, the “I Am a Passenger” option was added, allowing passengers in D gear to play games (the driver can also…), but these still failed to arouse the interest of most owners, including myself.
On the second day after the new Model S/X was launched, the major owner groups and communities of Ideal Cars were discussing heatedly. 30,000 users scrambled for a microphone. It’s just that one step is from releasing Pan Weibo.
On January 29th, the first batch of 500 microphones (unit price 396 yuan, 40 yuan cheaper for Ideal members) were instantly sold out, and the “Who took my microphone” incident spread to the second batch of goods, and Ideal’s servers crashed, users complained unceasingly, and the App was full of complaints.Translate the Chinese text in the following Markdown into English Markdown, in a professional way. Retain the HTML tags inside the Markdown, and output only the result.
I did not witness it myself and was quite confused when I first heard about it. As someone who has talked face-to-face with thousands of car owners, I have never heard of such a need. Even when we mentioned the concept of in-car KTV, we were ridiculed by users.
But the confusion did not last long. A colleague who owns a XPeng P7 exchanged his points for a microphone from his company and brought it to the office. A group of colleagues got excited and sat inside the P7 to try it out.
What about my own Tesla? I only play games like 2048 and Lo-Fi War while charging, and I even bought a pair of gamepads for my car. I don’t even know if I would grab the official microphone if Tesla had KTV functions.
After all, what else would be so in-demand like this? Banlangen (a traditional Chinese medicine), trendy shoes, new phones, and Alipay red envelopes?
On January 30th, while the cold snap still lingered in Beijing, my child suddenly cried while playing outside. So the three of us had to sit inside our humble car and watch “Peppa Pig” on the big screen to soothe her. Soon after, my daughter smiled again and I remembered a childhood dream of my own.
Around the Wheel – The Future Relationship between Humans and Cars
Many people like the animated movie “Up”, its ideas are interesting and touching, and every child may have had these thoughts before: Houses that can fly, carrying their own toys and furniture to wherever they want to go.
My own childhood dream was that the units in our building, which shared a kitchen and a bathroom, could have four wheels, like cars, and go anywhere we wanted.Before the term “autonomous driving” became a buzzword, the naive idea described above was considered disdainful by adults. For myself, on the day of the release of the new Model S/X, when my partner and I sat in the car holding our child and watched “Peppa Pig”, the little boy in my heart became restless once again.
The entire automotive industry has been talking about “intelligence”, “user experience”, and “scenarios” for the past few years…
Therefore, the potential for the mobility attribute of cars has been repeatedly deepened by electrification and intelligence, but the physical space attribute of cars has been stagnant in discussions of “visibility”, “size”, and “seats”, and new concepts have not brought much change to the meaning of cars.
Today, the “intelligent cockpit” is still no different from “bringing an iPad onto the car”, and is even worse. Apart from luxury RVs that only the rich can enjoy, this childhood dream seems like a fantasy.
Fortunately, beneath these product appearances, subtle changes in logic are accumulating and undergoing a qualitative change-will probably be a milestone weekend in the future history at the end of January of this new year. Tesla and Musk, as continuous innovators and technological leaders, and Ideal, as a whole vehicle enterprise that clearly proposed the creation of “cars and homes” in the new energy era… On this weekend, each created a “hotspot” following its own brand genes, and proposed their own visions of the future relationship between people and cars from two perspectives-of course Tesla was active and Ideal was passive.
This vision is: in the era of intelligence, the exploration of the physical space potential of automotive products has begun.
The biggest difference between intelligent cars and other intelligent products, such as mobile phones and speakers, is their spatial attributes.
Admittedly, most cars are almost impossible to have a bathroom, so it is not a “flying house”; The design of the body and seats for safety reasons is also difficult to bear the responsibility of the “living room” before L5 arrives. The “bedroom”, an area with high privacy, intimacy, and comfort, is also not a demand point that existing vehicles can satisfy…so where is the visible potential of the physical space of automotive products?
To sell a plot and ask a question: if your home has an extra room now, how would you decorate it?
As a member of the “crawling” family in Beijing, I may have a say in this issue. Of course, the answer is also obvious-the future car may be such a room extended from home, taking you and your family and friends for a trip.
Renovating a home theater VS Buying a fully-furnished “four-wheel entertainment room”
A house is a big “unresolved” matter for young people nowadays. I once used a secretly-taken photo in my social media and named it “Beijing Youth”.
Years ago, the first friend among my peers to start a business and buy a house took me to visit his home. It was a two-bedroom apartment, and at that time, he didn’t have a kid yet. He decorated a “Movie and Game” room, with a lazy sofa, a huge TV, a sound system, a gaming console, and a DVD player. I remember feeling envious then. Later, when he had two beautiful daughters, the movie room was transformed into a children’s room.
Another high school friend invited me to have a get-together at his new house during the Spring Festival two years ago. He didn’t define a traditional living room. Instead, he hung a 120-inch projection screen in that area, bought a projector, and installed six small speakers. At that time, he was still worried about the wiring layout of the subwoofer. We had a few drinks together and watched half of “The Dark Knight”.
Recently, another very capable friend worked hard and bought a house with a basement for himself and his wife in Beijing’s Tiantongyuan. He told me he wanted to turn the basement into a music room and invited me to visit. The same envy arose again.
My mother-in-law lives in the suburbs of her hometown, and they also have a basement. She installed a set of cheap KTV system there. I visited her during Chinese New Year last year, and the two families sang together for two hours. The elderly people were very happy and showed off their singing skills.
Most young people don’t have such space, like me.
I say all this to pave the way for my answer to the above question: if I had an extra room now, it would be a small cinema.
Over the past few weeks, I intermittently watched Tarkovsky’s “Ivan’s Childhood” in the car.
Looking back, I’m glad that I bought a car. I can take my pregnant wife to prenatal checkups and bring my child to the park. On the other hand, I also have a “man’s solitude space.” I can sit in the car before going home and smoke while writing sad poems, and I can watch a movie without disturbing my child after she falls asleep. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this car is the key to life in my thirties.
In a narrow sense, this car is also my small cinema.
Taking my family out is a function of mobility; watching movies alone is a function of physical space.
Acceleration, endurance, energy consumption, and control are functions of mobility; playing “Cyberpunk 2077,” singing karaoke, and having a meal at work are functions of physical space.
For young people, is it more suitable to work 996 and buy a house and decorate a movie room or to buy a four-wheeled vehicle that combines mobility and physical space properties?
The new S and X are too expensive, so let me talk about the Ideal ONE. At 328,000 yuan, if the housing price is 20,000 yuan per square meter, you can buy a medium-sized bedroom for the same price. So, which is more suitable, buying this car or buying an extra room and renovating it when buying a house?Don’t forget, it would take a lot of money and effort to achieve the same sound effect, sound insulation, seat comfort, air comfort, and lighting effect of a car in an ordinary room.
Furthermore, today, electric vehicles have finally brought air conditioning to this small room.
I guess for most “young people” in their prime, the choice between the two options above would be the same.
Of course, I wouldn’t sleep in a car (there are fewer power outages now…), but for me, my daughter, and my partner, a mobile audiovisual room that can be driven away is already part of our childhood dreams and family dreams realized.
So when I saw the rear screen design of the FF91, I was really envious.
Consumer or User?
In this topic, English is more straightforward: the difference between Customer and User.
The traditional automobile market is a typical “consumer” market, where the strength of the product mainly serves the sales scenario. Of course, we also hope to have reasons that can excite us and reassure us to spend money. After all, we are consumers.
When the “free” products on the internet eliminated the “transaction” relationship, consumers disappeared, and only users were left. The dimensions of product evaluation changed from sales volume to usage duration, and the strength of the product mainly served all usage scenarios.
With the combination of the internet and automobiles, we have become both consumers and users.
This doesn’t mean that older cars are unusable, but the way our lifestyle has evolved in this era, and the way cars are integrated into our lifestyles, greatly expands the usage scenarios. As users, our state becomes extremely complex and high-dimensional, and how a car sells doesn’t necessarily match how it’s used. For example, in some extreme cases, wealthy people’s Maybach S may also have to pick up children and drop off their wives, while people who buy Wuling Hongguang may also take their whole family out for a self-driving trip.
For example, I saw a scene in Tongzhou Dayunhe Park with my wife before our child was born.
In the future, which identity is more important for us?
If the discussion is too “industry-oriented” or too judgmental, it’s not very meaningful.
From my own perspective, I don’t want to be a consumer. The word “consumer”, when heard, gives the impression of being bullied, like when “315” is called “International Consumer Rights Day”, it feels very sad. On the other hand, when we say “user rights”, the first thing that comes to mind is discounts, rewards, benefits, and cashback, which feels great.
So, as each of us becomes more and more willing to be a “user”, the cars we buy in the future will become better and more fun as we use them. Because, more and more car companies will begin to design long-term benefits for cars that will be used for 10 years or more, rather than just designing a car that looks cool but gets old after just one week of use. In other words, the progress of the industry is driven by every person who buys or wants to buy a car, along with their colleagues in the industry.
Furthermore, what if the “four-wheel travel car” is an asset in the future? Then, of course, we are not just consumers.
Product vs Asset
It is often said that cars are big-ticket items that lose value once they are bought, and even with OTA upgrades, this phenomenon has not eased much.
Although its value depreciates, it still needs money and time for maintenance and upkeep during use. The hardware asset nature of traditional cars will still be evident in their resale value. Of course, before you sell the car you own, it can be said that the car is a “money eater”.
But if it is a home theater, the situation is completely different.
It is a product, yes, but it will also be a house that belongs to you. Utilitarianly speaking, every time you play games, sing KTV or watch movies in the car, it is displaying asset properties like a house.
Who knows, in the future you might be able to rent it out, replacing the current automotive cinemas that take up too much space and have little effect.
And the black swan of the epidemic has indeed accelerated the release of the car’s space attributes. I talked with two big V car owners about the “Who Stole My Microphone” incident during the ideal “Who Stole My Microphone” event, and the word “New Year” was mentioned many times.
Question: What do you think is the reason for such an unhappy incident?
Jamie: Because of the epidemic, we couldn’t go out and play, so we wanted to buy a microphone and go home to have fun during the New Year…
Question: How does using this microphone feel like?
Jademo: Before using KTV, I, who rarely sing, was not very enthusiastic about it. But during the New Year, seeing my family happy made me happy too, just like the consideration before buying a car—to make my family comfortable when using it.In the current dangerous and uncertain times, having a “mobile cinema” that can be driven around during the family-orientated Chinese New Year is an asset, which can bring happiness and joy to people’s lives. Such a product is far more than just a “personal asset”.
Going back in time to the hippie era of the 1960s in the United States, the T2 “minibus” was sweeping through young people’s lives, as seen in the era of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” (T6 is now known as Mercedes-Benz Metris). Its unique style and rebelliousness, coupled with a vast space and endless potential for customization, make it a trendy product for young hippies of that time, with many young people living in T2.
Could one argue that this was just a simple car?
As our great country and people are stepping into uncharted territory of this century, this saying has its meaning for individuals and their daily lives as well – this is the best time.
The United States in the 1960s had its “counterculture movement”, while we have our own era in the 21st century – an era that is open-minded, inclusive, turbulent, and diverse… who knows?
What we want to say is, there will be products like the T1 and T2 that belong to their era.
Or we could say they are historical assets that belong to our era, representing the lifestyle we yearn for.
Now there is a car that captures this feeling, but it might be a bit difficult to drive and not quite Chinese, haha.
The Next Car –– Dreaming
It is not just my next car, but the next car that embodies us and our era – a classic car.
A mobile cinema with four wheels?Perhaps it can already be driven automatically, and when it is, not only will the steering wheel be retracted like in the concept car, but the seats will also be more flexible. For example, they can be moved far back to a sofa distance, just like a cinema. The screen size and glass transparency can also be adjusted, who knows.
Perhaps it is spacious inside, we can put a guitar, piano or something in it, because there is a larger space for DIY.
Perhaps it is connected to home, “going downstairs” is no longer just followed by “going out to play”, but can also say “going downstairs to watch TV”. Just like living in a small villa.
Perhaps the seats can be customized, playing mahjong, cards, FIFA and chicken dinners, or having hot pot.
Perhaps it can be rented, called upon, and even used as an ambulance in emergency situations.
Perhaps we also have the opportunity to “decorate” such a car, and personalized customization will no longer only belong to top luxury business cars.
Perhaps we will have meetings with customers and colleagues in the car, and this business style will no longer belong only to the boss behind Maybach.
Perhaps children no longer need to go to expensive and stuffy shopping mall playgrounds, and the car becomes the best space for them to play with their friends.
These maybes are the result of the joint efforts of the entire vehicle architecture, layout, software and hardware coordination, and technological progress. It may not all be realized by wishes, but at least the new Tesla can already play 2077. Yes, it can.
This vision of the “next car” belongs to people who are willing to see, believe, innovate, and embrace the future.
I hope we are all one of them.
PS1: As for my next car, it will be delivered soon.
PS2: As for the audio-visual room, I once thought it would take several years to build, but fortunately there are many skilled people outside the industry, and it is not difficult to make changes. Let’s try it and let the little boy in our hearts come out. Oh, these “maybes” have already realized several of them.
PS3: I want to buy a new Model S in the future! I’ll save money and wait for the domestic production.
A soon-to-be 3+1 father.
This article is a translation by ChatGPT of a Chinese report from 42HOW. If you have any questions about it, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.