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Has anybody thought about modular cars?

Cars, since their introduction in the early 1900s have revolutionized the way we commute. These days, it is one of the prominent aspects of modern life is a car. For some cars is a travel necessity, for some it’s a status symbol and for some it’s a hobby. 

The car sold in the showroom is often customized to suit the taste of the consumer. Some people get the seat and seat covers changed, music enthusiasts upgrade the music system, colors are used to give the car a sporty look, hoods are added to give the car a macho look.  And I don’t know what racing enthusiasts do with the car. They probably change everything. I would call them car hackers.

After driving the same car for a few years, people often want to upgrade the car. When I upgrade to a higher model, the driving comfort is improved. The interior is better and so are the other aspects like music system, seats etc. But still, the heart of the car is the Engine. Though everything in the car can be changed, the engine cannot and so technically I cannot upgrade to a fast driving car without going for a new car. Isn't this a limitation? Think of a camera. You buy the entry level SLR and as your photography skills grow, you buy bigger lenses. Though, the camera module remains the same. The evolution of modularity is hitting the smartphones too. Read this article about Google's project Ara.  

So why hasn’t somebody thought of a car whose engine can be upgraded?

What could be challenges of this option?
Ok, I understand the relationship between Engine power and Engine size. Also, I understand the constraint of space where the engine is placed. So when I upgrade engine, I do not say going from 796 CC ( Maruti 800) to 2000 CC (Premium cars like Mercedez). But why not from 100CC to 200 CC. I am sure we have genius engineers who can put their grey matter to work and come up with an engine design that delivers 200CC power in the size of a 100CC engine.

What could be the business challenge?
When somebody upgrades a car, say from 100$ to 200$, the car manufacturer gets 100$. But if they make engine upgradable, it will cost less than a new car and so the revenue made by car manufacturer is less. This might be stopping from this option

The business strategy thinkers often say that to create new revenue streams you have to at times kill your existing business model or product. Apple did so with iPOD to make iPhone successful. So a similar study needs to be carried out to understand how many people are not buying new cars though they aspire for a more powerful car.

Do let me know what you think about the concept of modular car by taking this 3 questions survey

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This post first appeared on SidsAvenue, please read the originial post: here

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Has anybody thought about modular cars?


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