cleantech insights

Episode 10: Richard Steinberg, CEO of BMW’s DriveNow, on future of “mobility services”

Dan Saccardi

With the rise of electric vehicles, car sharing, and upstart companies like Tesla, there is little doubt that the auto industry is rapidly evolving. The question is, will the conventional business model that served the industry so well in the 20th century be upended from the outside, or can the major auto companies disrupt themselves?

For BMW’s latest thinking on this question, and other great insights, please watch our conversation with Richard Steinberg, CEO of BMW’s DriveNow.

We look under the hood on BMW’s Project i initiative to understand trends in megacities and how BMW can address them; its $100 million i Ventures fund to seed a broad array of mobility startups; and BMW’s pioneering DriveNow offering that marries premium electric vehicles with point-A-to-point-B carsharing.

New competition aside, adapting to our fast-changing attitude towards vehicles may be the industry’s greatest challenge—a 2012 Gartner study found that 46% of 18-24 year olds would opt for a smartphone over car ownership. In the face of this growing trend, Richard shares with us what it means to become “the leading provider of premium mobility services”, and what steps BMW is taking to realize this ambition.…


10×13: John Woolard, former BrightSource President and CEO, on Solar Power

Dan Saccardi

Are you curious about energy storage’s role in addressing renewable energy intermittency? Or about the “interesting trick” that natural gas must pull off to supplant coal and then in turn be overtaken by renewables? What about the tension between the greater societal benefits of renewables and some of the NIMBY opposition they face? And the need to address the challenges at the intersection of energy and water?

To hear a cleantech pioneer and former President and CEO of Brightsource opine on these and other determining factors in renewables’ growth, please watch our conversation with John Woolard in one of his last interviews before stepping down.

Each of these issues is individually, and more so collectively, playing at times conflicting roles in the growth of renewable energy, which is becoming an increasingly significant source of overall electricity production. Renewables may even be poised to overtake nuclear and natural gas as quickly as 2016, according to a new study by the International Energy Agency. Understanding and resolving these challenges, therefore, will help determine how effectively and efficiently the electricity sector will be able to provide affordable, clean, diverse, reliable power on which the broader economy relies.

The Weight Watchers Approach to More Sustainable Eating (i.e., manage what you measure)

Dan Saccardi

I recently concluded a yearlong experiment to track what I ate on a daily basis, not to count calories but to measure, and manage, my environmental impact.

As a sustainability consultant, I’ve counseled clients that “you can only manage what you measure.” But I’ve not as rigorously applied this adage to my personal life. So, to borrow another, I decided to practice what I preached.

I’ll get to the data shortly—no consulting effort is complete without a graph or two. But beyond the statistics, I gleaned the following insights from this endeavor.

First, the simple process of recording* my lunch and dinners (despite it being the most important meal of the day, I don’t typically eat breakfast and didn’t want to pad the stats with the occasional “vegetarian meal” of a banana) sparked conscious deliberation over literally every meal choice I made. Such deliberateness brought back front and center considerations that have become, with the rise of commercial-scale food production, so far removed from the dining process generally, and my dining experience in particular.

Second, I quickly became hooked on seeing my stats tick up (or down). This competitiveness did what guilt and intellectual awareness couldn’t—an awareness dating back to …