Retail Auto from a Global POV with Steve Greenfield

June 11, 2024
Michael Cirillo sits down with Steve Greenfield, General Partner of Automotive Ventures, to discuss the future of the automotive industry.
Listen On
Apple Podcasts IconSpotify Icon

In this episode of ASOTU CON Sessions, Michael Cirillo sits down with Steve Greenfield, General Partner of Automotive Ventures, to discuss the future of the automotive industry. They delve into the rising adoption of electric vehicles (EVs), the implications of autonomy, and the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in advancing vehicle technology. Greenfield shares insights on how younger generations are perceiving EVs, the challenges and opportunities surrounding EV infrastructure, and the potential of autonomous vehicles to transform transportation.

Greenfield also addresses the regulatory and consumer adoption hurdles facing autonomous vehicles and the global differences in how these technologies are being implemented. The conversation touches on the advancements in AI, specifically how Tesla is utilizing generative AI to improve its full self-driving capabilities. This episode offers a comprehensive look at the future landscape of the automotive industry, providing listeners with a deep understanding of the technological and regulatory factors shaping its evolution.

0:00 Intro

1:20 The appeal and convenience of EVs for younger generations

3:10 Regulatory and infrastructure hurdles for EVs

4:00 The integration of autonomy in EVs

6:00 Global differences in autonomous vehicle adoption

7:00 Balancing safety regulations and technological advancements

8:00 The role of AI in vehicle autonomy

9:00 Tesla’s use of generative AI for self-driving

10:00 Potential safety benefits of autonomous vehicles

Thanks to Effectv for making this episode of ASOTU CON Sessions possible! Learn more about Effect here:

Paul J Daly: 0:02

You're listening to the asoto con sessions by Effectv live from ASOTU CON 2024. All

Michael Cirillo: 0:09

right, welcome to ASOTU CON conversations here at the podcast stage powered by Effectv I'm sitting down with St. Steve Greenfield from automotive ventures. Thanks so much for joining me,

Steve Greenfield: 0:18

Michael. It's good to be here.

Michael Cirillo: 0:19

Holy moly, look at this. If you were ever wondering how many people know you look at how they're flooding into this flooding, they're like, we heard the name. Here we go. Here we go. A couple of interesting topics that are on our mind here at ASOTU. CON, I want to pick your brain on this. I had this epiphany not too long ago, that my 15 year old is going to learn to drive or not yet not on my truck, we've we already know that his first reference point for driving a vehicle is going to be 100% electric vehicle, he will not know what it's like to as much as I'd love to say we're sourcing a stick shift, and I'm going to teach him how to be a man. His first ever reference point for driving your car is going to be an Eevee. And I'm fascinated by this concept of what does that mean for the next seven to 10 years where the adoption of EVs, which also, by the way, have autonomy built in which I want to pick your brain about? What does that? What's the implication of that in the next seven to 10 years as evey adoption kicks in? And more and more people get comfortable with it?

Steve Greenfield: 1:32

Does that excite them the notion of only being on an ATV and not an ice car? full

Michael Cirillo: 1:37

admission here, he does not know or believe that we're going to let him learn to drive. I've told him we're buying him a donkey. So he doesn't know yet. But I think he knows, but we haven't had very meaningful conversations about it. But that's what my wife and I are thinking about. He's going to learn to drive a rocket ship. That's basically how we, you know, nice with full autonomy. What are your thoughts on that? How does that where does it progress from here? What are you seeing in the in the automotive landscape?

Steve Greenfield: 2:06

Yeah, so I'll generalize more to like Evie adoption in general. So we sort of say in evey adoption, stalling out. Yeah, Tesla was obviously the first they saturated the early adopters that saw largely the adoption of EVs as a status symbol, right. But I do think you got a good point, this next generation of shoppers that are 15 and under, are they going to care, they're probably going to see the convenience of an Eevee being more important than any of the inconvenience of an Ice Vehicle, especially as the battery technology gets better. And I think that, you know, you talk to young young people, one, there's fewer people getting their driver's licenses early, like probably you and I did Sure. It was a status symbol to get it as early as possible back in the day for me. And I think that the technology in the car is gonna be more important than things that might have mattered to us in terms of the car design and or the horsepower in the vehicle. The horsepower is more than anyone can use in an Eevee. Anyway, right? So these these acceleration times are actually dangerous to allow a 16 year old into a car that can accelerate to 60 miles an hour in two seconds. Sure. Doesn't make any sense, right. And at the same time, the technology in the car is going to be the big differentiator. The other thing I'll say is, it's very interesting to me, like 20 years ago, there was a there was a definitely a brand difference. You know, the Japanese cars and the German cars were engineered better period, full stop. Now, I mean, the car quality is interchangeable, right? You can take the logos off the cars in the parking lot out here. And you can't even tell the difference. Sure. So at this point, I mean, it's great for consumers. But I think that it's more and more challenging for the automakers and the dealers, frankly, to to be able to load the lips of their salespeople to differentiate. But I think it is interesting, you know, I am not an Eevee naysayer, I think 50 years from now, all cars will be EVs. But the battery technology, the charging infrastructure, all these friction points in the short term will mean the next five or 10 years. There's a lot of headwinds against Evie adoption.

Michael Cirillo: 4:13

Interesting. I mean, we had a conversation not too long ago, on one of our podcasts, and they were talking about how much time they spend up on the Hill in Washington, and that they have conversations about EVs. But there aren't yet any Evie chart chargers available at the hill at all. And people go oh, wait, yeah, that's kind of interesting. Yeah. I think you're right about that. There's, there's a lot of headwinds. But I also want to talk about something that's being built into EVs more and more, which is a layer of autonomy, right? We see it with the Tesla. And they're constantly I know, they're prodding my wife all the time to say, hey, only $99 a month you can get the full autonomy experience. And I won't lie, Steve, I'm a nerd. So we tried it once and it was nerve racking. And within about 37 minutes, I realized I hadn't looked at the road, and was having a conversation with my wife like that. Just like my feet were kind of like, how quickly point being I got comfortable with that experience. Do you foresee that being the case, as we emerge into autonomous vehicles and self driving and all those sorts of things? Will people adopt it that quickly? You think?

Steve Greenfield: 5:29

So I think there's, there's two things, there's regulations. And then there's consumers adoption. And what we'll see is playing out as globally, countries like China, right, and I was over in the Middle East recently, countries that are much more either monarchies and or effectively, dictatorships will be able to force from the top down adoption. And, you know, some of these countries, I get the sense that they may not value human life as much, they're willing to risk the the folks on the front line who are actually in these vehicles. Sorry, but I mean, this is the sense I get traveling. I think in those countries where they're their willingness to push through some of the resistance, yeah, they're gonna see much faster adoption. And as a result, and automakers in those countries are going to be able to amass more miles and learn more quickly, Tesla has decided that they can effectively use their their drivers as guinea pigs, folks like you, right to go out there and say, I'm willing to try this and paid pay for the privilege of doing so. And they're amassing many more miles in the way most of the cruises of the world. But I think that inevitably, you know, the interesting thing is we have, you know, different thresholds for tolerances here, right, there are 40 42,000 humans who die in car crashes in the US every year, 1.3 million globally. But we won't permit one person to die in a Tesla. So there is a sort of reconciliation, we need to have between are we going to permit, you know, car car crashes at all for autonomous vehicles. And right now, it seems like that's not the case in the US, we have no permissible deaths allowed for fully autonomous vehicles. And I think that alone is going to differentiate the adoption rate in the US versus other countries.

Michael Cirillo: 7:23

Interesting. And you've got me thinking about this forced adoption. Right. And the the thought that came to my mind, Steve is adoption is still adoption. And in one generation, we won't we won't know the difference, we will have just adopted right. What do you think the? I mean, going back to your earlier statement, you said, Well, I think the way this all kind of ends is everyone's driving electric

Steve Greenfield: 7:52

electric. As much as it kills me, by the way, because a manual transmission with a VA makes me resonate with the universe.

Michael Cirillo: 8:01

And I just can't help but think that Captain Kirk, all those years in the future, was still driving riding a motorcycle, because he saw I'm thinking maybe we just don't need to reinvest in motorcycle dealerships, right. Because there's there's something to add something to it. There's something to repin on that throttle. Thoughts on AI? I mean, there's an interesting tie in here as it pertains to vehicle technology that there must be an AI layer to autonomy, and how they analyze the data, how they determine what the right turning radiuses, and all of those sorts of things. What's your take on on the tie in from AI to autonomy?

Steve Greenfield: 8:44

Well, it's interesting, if you look at, you know, the Tesla earning calls. I mean, Tesla has now evolved fairly dramatically from you know, autonomy has been based on mapping the surroundings, and then having the car reference itself where I am in relationship to my map surroundings. This latest iteration of the Tesla, full self driving software, which they've renamed, is more generative AI based where the car is effectively now built on a shared neural network, the cars are learning from each other. And the car is learning to look at the outside world as you would if you don't have a mental map of where you're driving. Sure, you can still be very efficient in being safe driving from here to New York City. And now the cars are effectively mapping more to how you would drive as opposed to historical autonomy, which is to hard code a map and then try to position myself around the map, which gives me hope that you know, through adverse climate, thunderstorms, rain, snowstorms, etc. The cars may be more efficient, but we'll see how this all plays out.

Michael Cirillo: 9:55

Last slide is it makes me think of safety up out up the number of car accidents or fatalities from car accidents throughout the world, the idea of cars learning from each other assessing the conditions, and were perhaps in a precarious situation I might be inclined to rip my steering wheel this way and then hit something else, the vehicle will be able to take control and assess millions of other data points that I can't to save everybody's lives maybe not 100% success rate, but maybe it gives us something really interesting to think about. as we wind down here. I want to thank you for joining me here on the podcast stage ASOTU CON conversations powered by Effectv Steve Greenfield. How can those listening or watching connect with you?

Steve Greenfield: 10:47

I'm not hard to find Michael, that hard to find. So right here, in fact, LinkedIn is probably most efficient, you can email me at Steve at automotive Go to automotive or find me on LinkedIn. Love

Michael Cirillo: 10:59

it. Thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you, Michael.

Paul J Daly: 11:04

Thank you for listening to this ASOTU CON session by Effectv if you want more content like this, you can check out our other podcasts we have a daily show called The automotive troublemaker Monday through Friday. Here on podcasts also live streamed on YouTube, and LinkedIn and Facebook. We also have a long form podcast called Auto Collabs Auto Collabs. And if you just want to go a little different in this community, you should sign up for our regular email we put our heart and soul into it. You can get it for free by going to us so We'll see you next time.

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed and entertained, for free.