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News & opinion

29 OCT 2018

How smart-car manufacturing influences future smart cities

Vice President of Nio Auto’s User Center Steven Zhao forecasts how smart cars will help shape smart cities by upgrading customer service and leading us into a new era of "intelligent" travel.

The automobile industry is coming to the 3.0 era of intelligence. User focus has shifted to the innovation of experience and lifestyle. How to learn from customers, how to understand their needs, and how to cater to these expectations are increasingly important success factors for our industry. This shift in doing business — both online and offline — affects how companies must cater for the market.

Re-building user experience

Smart cars improve the quality and amount of data available, are more sustainable, and provide a highly efficient way to travel, but one of the most important things we must do is influence the social ecology.

To do this, we must upgrade the technology, such as extending the range of cars to make longer journeys possible and shortening the time it takes to charge a car's battery. We must also upgrade the environment in which consumers operate, for example, providing a greater number of charging stations for users to easily access.

At Nio, we research and analyse users’ travel habits, which allows us to intelligently determine where new charging stations are built — this has an impact on the environments we live in. We are currently seeing a migration of charging stations to cater to customer demand and achieve optimal service distribution and availability.

A tipping point

A 2016 report by multi-disciplinary consultant WSP and architect Farrells, Making Better Places, suggests that smart or autonomous vehicles could free up thousands of hectares in urban areas, both in terms of reduced parking provision and road-space requirements. That could free-up land that could be put to better use, which at a time of rapid urbanisation, could prove to be transformational.

Each hectare of additional developable land is worth millions.

Rachel Skinner, Head of Development
WSP, London

Opinions on how newly freed-up space might be used differ, but it will, of course, have implications for both developers and landlords. "[Through either] constructing new commercial real estate with reduced parking, or redeveloping an older building’s parking spaces into modern offices, driverless vehicles will ultimately alter the demand for parking, freeing-up space in and around existing properties,” says Neil Gorman MRICS, a partner at Cushman & Wakefield in London.

Read more: Self-driving cars: They're just around the corner

About Steven Zhao

Steven Zhao is the Vice President of Nio Auto’s User Center; he is responsible for overall operation management of the Nio's User Centers. Steven has extensive marketing management experience with consumer brands and has spent over 20 years working in retail management. Steven previously worked for Apple and Microsoft, where he was in charge of establishing retail teams and shops.

Steven will speak at our Global Urban Economic Summit, which takes place in Tianjin, 14–16 November 2018.

  1. Mr Steven Zhao
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