Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Mesh Expert Says Auto Industry Needs to Make Cars Share-Ready

by on Jan.10, 2011

Lisa Gansky says automakers can do more to help the fledgling share car industry by making them "share-ready."

An expert in “mesh” companies says the auto industry can help the fledgling share car industry by making share-ready cars.

Lisa Gansky spoke at TED@MotorCity Sunday at the Max Fisher Music Center in Detroit. The talk was sponsored by Lincoln. TED is a series of talks across the country to present new ideas. (Click here to learn more about Lisa Gansky).

Companies such as Zipcar offer sharing services where a person, many of whom don’t own a car, can use the vehicle when they need one. Typically, the cars are kept at urban locations such as in parking structures. Users reserve a vehicle online, then swipe a card on a reader attached to the windshield. (Click here to learn more about Zipcar.)

Detroit Auto Show News!

Gansky, CEO, co-founder and chairman of Ofoto, said automakers could help the industry by building vehicles that would integrate those card-reading strips into the vehicle.

“Right now, it’s aftermarket,” she said. “It’s very conspicuous.”

Additionally, Gansky said the industry needs to build cars that are durable, repairable and upgradeable, all areas where the auto industry has excelled.

Click here for all of our coverage of the Detroit auto show.

Gansky, who describes herself as a social entrepreneur, said mesh businesses are a great way to have access to better things than one could normally afford.

“It’s the pursuit of better things easily shared,” Gansky said.

Parks, sports arenas and libraries are all examples of sharing. But so are companies such as Netflix and Zipcar.

She said that the proliferation of social networking tools such as twitter and Facebook have connected people in ways that were unimagined just a few years ago.

“We’re connected to more people than ever before … unless you’re sitting next to someone,” Gansky said, referring to the trouble many people still have with face-to-face interaction.

Even though Zipcar would appear to be in the business of cars, Gansky said Zipcar’s business is really something else. (Click here to learn more about Zipcar.)

“They are an information company,” Gansky said, “Not a car company.”

And there are other companies that are looking at ways to help people lend their personal cars. In fact, studies show that people actually only use their cars about 8 percent of the time. The rest of the time, the cars just sit. In fact, future car-sharing operations may string together networks of car owners who would loan out their cars when they aren’t using them.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

One Response to “Mesh Expert Says Auto Industry Needs to Make Cars Share-Ready”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by lisagansky, Bryan Laviolette. Bryan Laviolette said: TED@MotorCity: 'Mesh' Expert Calls on Automakers to make Share-ready Cars http://bit.ly/g7Fwim #WorldAutoReport #TheDetroitBureau #NAIAS [...]