Are EV's scared to embrace the option to upgrade your car?

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ArgoPargo

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May 18, 2023
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When I look at the legacy models of the Scout, I obviously begin to draw comparisons to Wranglers, Broncos, and even a Hummer in some respects. Something I love about the traditional ICE market, especially in the offroading niche, is the ability to modify these cars. I'm talking light bars, tow winches, rooftop tents, roll cages, armored underbodies, etc. When you pair these options with removable doors in the Wrangler and Bronco... you get these universally recognizable off-roading legends.

The most "off-road-able" EV the market has been given so far is Rivian with the R1 platform. These cars are great, but we lack the ability to add these modifications to them.

I desperately want to see Scout create a platform that is for the user to build on top of and tailor to the individual. Not to use Scout Motor's own words against them but I want to see a vehicle that respects the user's autonomy to purchase the platform and then build upon it as they see fit, allowing for a purpose that changes and grows with the owner. What do y'all think?
 
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Welcome to the Scout Community!

Fundamentally we are working towards the goal of giving people the most options possible. For instance, our body on ladder frame will allow you to add a lift kit. While we haven't announced our technical platform yet, you will see that we are doing our best to accommodate different wheel sizes, tire sizes, interchangeable bumpers, and more. Now, having said that, I have to bring up the practical considerations in a modern vehicle, like safety systems, parking sensors, low-speed crash standards, side-impact standards, and lots more. These things can make it challenging to design bumpers, for instance, that are easily removable or swappable with aftermarket units when you have to deal with the myriad of sensors on the front end of the vehicle. The good news in all this is that we have a clean sheet of paper to work from, and our teams are doing their best to accommodate these various wants and needs both internally for our own accessories and for the aftermarket to make it easy to customize. I can't promise we will make everyone happy (tall order when you think about just how much people modify some of their offroad vehicles), but we'll do what we can to try and integrate as many ideas as possible. That's part of the reason we are looking for as much feedback as possible this early on.

Keep the ideas coming. 🍻
 
When I look at the legacy models of the Scout, I obviously begin to draw comparisons to Wranglers, Broncos, and even a Hummer in some respects. Something I love about the traditional ICE market, especially in the offroading niche, is the ability to modify these cars. I'm talking light bars, tow winches, rooftop tents, roll cages, armored underbodies, etc. When you pair these options with removable doors in the Wrangler and Bronco... you get these universally recognizable off-roading legends.

The most "off-road-able" EV the market has been given so far is Rivian with the R1 platform. These cars are great, I should know I'm an engineer there! But we lack the ability to add these modifications to them.

I desperately want to see Scout create a platform that is for the user to build on top of and tailor to the individual. Not to use Scout Motor's own words against them but I want to see a vehicle that respects the user's autonomy to purchase the platform and then build upon it as they see fit, allowing for a purpose that changes and grows with the owner. What do y'all think?

Welcome to the Scout Community!

Fundamentally we are working towards the goal of giving people the most options possible. For instance, our body on ladder frame will allow you to add a lift kit. While we haven't announced our technical platform yet, you will see that we are doing our best to accommodate different wheel sizes, tire sizes, interchangeable bumpers, and more. Now, having said that, I have to bring up the practical considerations in a modern vehicle, like safety systems, parking sensors, low-speed crash standards, side-impact standards, and lots more. These things can make it challenging to design bumpers, for instance, that are easily removable or swappable with aftermarket units when you have to deal with the myriad of sensors on the front end of the vehicle. The good news in all this is that we have a clean sheet of paper to work from, and our teams are doing their best to accommodate these various wants and needs both internally for our own accessories and for the aftermarket to make it easy to customize. I can't promise we will make everyone happy (tall order when you think about just how much people modify some of their offroad vehicles), but we'll do what we can to try and integrate as many ideas as possible. That's part of the reason we are looking for as much feedback as possible this early on.

Keep the ideas coming. 🍻
Hi Jamie!
Firstly, thank you. I am extremely excited to follow the team's work and updates over the next few years to see how the Scout brand finds its footing.

Secondly, thank you for your response! I appreciate your consideration and have a question relating to the particular ones you raised. While low-speed crash/side-impact standards are non-compromisable topics... the concerns of a modern vehicle raise an interesting discussion regarding the option for owners to forego a modern-day "luxury" such as parking sensors. Now the hindrance of the sensor stack could have a trickle-down implication regarding vehicle functionality... but I would love to know your thoughts on how these aspects could be selectively "turned off" for the sake of aftermarket mods. Specifically, what issues do you see with an approach like this?
 
In honesty, I can't give a formal answer. What I can say based on my personal experience working in the industry, all these decisions involve teams in legal, compliance, safety, engineering, software, hardware, purchasing and many, many more. All have to weigh in and some have more clout than others for reasons that aren't always apparent to you and I. Internally our own people ask similar questions all the time and all we can do is try and find the best solution to get there.

Let's see how this shakes out and once we have answers we can hopefully provide some insight into the reasons for the decisions. For now, we just keep pushing forward with the wish list. :D
 
When I look at the legacy models of the Scout, I obviously begin to draw comparisons to Wranglers, Broncos, and even a Hummer in some respects. Something I love about the traditional ICE market, especially in the offroading niche, is the ability to modify these cars. I'm talking light bars, tow winches, rooftop tents, roll cages, armored underbodies, etc. When you pair these options with removable doors in the Wrangler and Bronco... you get these universally recognizable off-roading legends.

The most "off-road-able" EV the market has been given so far is Rivian with the R1 platform. These cars are great, but we lack the ability to add these modifications to them.

I desperately want to see Scout create a platform that is for the user to build on top of and tailor to the individual. Not to use Scout Motor's own words against them but I want to see a vehicle that respects the user's autonomy to purchase the platform and then build upon it as they see fit, allowing for a purpose that changes and grows with the owner. What do y'all think?
One might hope that the split between the SUV and PickUp in SM's proposed offering would offer what you (i) hope for. I can't hope for much adaptability in the SUV as its market focus will have to be the daily driver so they can sell lots of them. The pickup it where I hope we will have the platform for customization.
 
“its market focus will have to be the daily driver so they can sell lots of them.”

There is a strategy in business known as ‘blue ocean’. This is where all the players in an industry have carved out clear boundaries to define their market and product and they all battle each other in that restricted space. Because everyone is fighting in the same space there is blood in the water a ‘red ocean’.

The idea is for a company to find a blue ocean - where no one else is competing by having a product that is unlike everything else on the market.

I think Scout have indicated that they are making truly rugged and customizable vehicles that will go toe to toe with Wrangler and Bronco. There is a good chance that this could be a blue ocean product as the only all-electric vehicle in this class (but they have a limited window because the market is changing quickly).

In my opinion focusing on the imaginary “daily driver” is a mistake. A couple of weeks ago Scout uploaded a video which does not reveal anything about the vehicles they are designing but does reveal who Scout think their customers will be. I suspect they are using that video internally to communicate who they are designing for.
 
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I think we have said all along that these will be rugged vehicles built body on frame. We have also stated that we plan to support a robust accessories program and the aftermarket. So while we would obviously like to sell as many as we can produce, we also understand the broad market this type of vehicle would appeal to.
 
One thing I truly hope for is balanced ride quality. I’m not in a position to invest in a brand new $50-60K vehicle to only use it two weekends a month and scratch the crap out of it right out of the gate. I know there are plenty of folks who will do that. My financial advisor (wife) can’t justify that. I see this as a daily driver. My parents Scout was a daily and that’s my intent. Being able to roll off road is a bonus. That said, the ride quality of the Broncos is SO much better than the Wrangler when it comes to pavement driving and I hope SM gets that element right.
Otherwise, I still have hopes that Honda introduces the new EV version of the S2000 in convertible but we shall wait and see.
 
One thing I truly hope for is balanced ride quality. I’m not in a position to invest in a brand new $50-60K vehicle to only use it two weekends a month and scratch the crap out of it right out of the gate. I know there are plenty of folks who will do that. My financial advisor (wife) can’t justify that. I see this as a daily driver. My parents Scout was a daily and that’s my intent. Being able to roll off road is a bonus. That said, the ride quality of the Broncos is SO much better than the Wrangler when it comes to pavement driving and I hope SM gets that element right.
Otherwise, I still have hopes that Honda introduces the new EV version of the S2000 in convertible but we shall wait and see.
Yup. I don’t have the money or space for a vehicle that’s only used on weekends.
 
Given that the majority of us drive on public roads (some arguably off-road in quality...) the new Scout will have both off-road chops and the ride quality we all expect. I think the rock-crawling crowd looking for massive articulation often has to build their vehicles to that level. In fact, every time I've been to Moab, a healthy number of them get trailered in.

We can't make every 1% happy, but I think we will build something with a really nice blend of daily driving and rugged off-road ability. Also, remember this is just the beginning of what we plan to offer.
 
I’d like to try to clarify what I meant with my last comment.

I don’t think there is any logic in thinking ‘this car was designed to be easy to customize therefore it can’t be driven every day’. Both things can be true.

What I think would be a mistake is for a design team to focus on an average user and average use case in a misguided attempt to get the biggest possible potential buyer pool. Everyone is doing that. The average use case is over-served in the market and Scout will end up fighting for scraps in a ‘red ocean’ where many manufacturers have essentially converged on the same product based on the same misleading market analysis.

Scout’s new video shows people engaging in outdoor activities that require carrying gear into remote areas. That’s the customer they need to design for in order to make a vehicle with real utility. That means thinking about edge cases rather than being laser focused on the average, ‘typical day’, use cases.

As for scratches. Someone with the scout spirit may well have an urge to explore tens of miles into a forest through narrow trails. Their vehicle will be scratched up in one journey. They might not care very much, even if they drive the same scratched up vehicle to work and to the grocery store many times before they go back to the forest. Dings and scratches on a tool only show it has been used with a purpose. Scratches show something does not exist to sit around and look pretty but exists to get things done. A rugged vehicle should be designed to expect damage from scratches and mitigate them. They should just add a nice patina to some hard surfaces. Parts that are prone to getting the most damage (such as soft plastic parts) should be very easy to replace. Paintwork should have a protective wrap option from the factory.
 
Something I love about the traditional ICE market, especially in the offroading niche, is the ability to modify these cars. I'm talking light bars, tow winches, rooftop tents, roll cages, armored underbodies, etc. When you pair these options with removable doors in the Wrangler and Bronco... you get these universally recognizable off-roading legends.

The most "off-road-able" EV the market has been given so far is Rivian with the R1 platform. These cars are great, but we lack the ability to add these modifications to them.
I think that there is a ton of room for modifications to EVs, and the reason we haven't seen more already is two-fold: The vast majority of EVs on the road are Tesla and Tesla is actively hostile to real modifications, and the owners of most EVs are not the type of people to want to modify their expensive vehicle, and/or are the type to say "its so capable why would you modify it?" not understanding that some of us just need to make it our own or push its limits.

Rivian is an interesting case. There's no denying they are exceedingly capable vehicles, but I too would expect more modifications given the class of vehicle. I think in their case they have done a ton to provide common modifications/upgrades as part of the vehicle, and they have targeted a more upscale/uptight but still adventurous demographic that is less hands on.

I think the next big thing in the aftermarket will be real substantial mods for EVs. I'm talking more powerful inverters, upgraded cooling, newer motors and batteries in older cars, etc. We're just getting to the point where older EVs have reached a price point where they can be bought for the purpose of "hot rodding" them. These kinds of things will also require some coding ability, and in the case of Tesla some substantial coding ability, at least for the person/company developing it.

We'll see some new companies born out of this. We'll see some old companies bring out things they've been working on behind the scenes. But it takes time and demand, and given what EVs are currently available, both just aren't there quite yet.

TLDR: EV modifications are coming, the aftermarket just hasn't yet focused on the kind of "real" (i.e. not body kit, wrap, fart noises) modifications we're looking for.
 
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I think that there is a ton of room for modifications to EVs, and the reason we haven't seen more already is two-fold: The vast majority of EVs on the road are Tesla and Tesla is actively hostile to real modifications, and the owners of most EVs are not the type of people to want to modify their expensive vehicle, and/or are the type to say "its so capable why would you modify it?" not understanding that some of us just need to make it our own or push its limits.

Rivian is an interesting case. There's no denying they are exceedingly capable vehicles, but I too would expect more modifications given the class of vehicle. I think in their case they have done a ton to provide common modifications/upgrades as part of the vehicle, and they have targeted a more upscale/uptight but still adventurous demographic that is less hands on.

I think the next big thing in the aftermarket will be real substantial mods for EVs. I'm talking more powerful inverters, upgraded cooling, newer motors and batteries in older cars, etc. We're just getting to the point where older EVs have reached a price point where they can be bought for the purpose of "hot rodding" them. These kinds of things will also require some coding ability, and in the case of Tesla some substantial coding ability, at least for the person/company developing it.

We'll see some new companies born out of this. We'll see some old companies bring out things they've been working on behind the scenes. But it takes time and demand, and given what EVs are currently available, both just aren't there quite yet.

TLDR: EV modifications are coming, the aftermarket just hasn't yet focused on the kind of "real" (i.e. not body kit, wrap, fart noises) modifications we're looking for.
Those are all good points. I think one aspect is that modern cars (especially EVs) are more software focused, and many “real” mods may require software mods to go with them, e.g. a more powerful inverter would confuse the current software when it is directing power, not to mention liability issues. I’d love to see more open software so we could have more community expertise to enable all kinds of mods, but that also opens up liability and security issues. There is hope in things like “right to repair” laws to open things up a bit.
 
Those are all good points. I think one aspect is that modern cars (especially EVs) are more software focused, and many “real” mods may require software mods to go with them, e.g. a more powerful inverter would confuse the current software when it is directing power, not to mention liability issues. I’d love to see more open software so we could have more community expertise to enable all kinds of mods, but that also opens up liability and security issues. There is hope in things like “right to repair” laws to open things up a bit.
That is the challenge. Depending on how you upgrade the inverter, the car is either going to throw a fit, or not realize there is more power available.

If you change out the whole inverter, the car is going to throw a fit, unless you can have that inverter send all the right messages. In some cars, that's difficult because there are encrypted call and response messages to deal with. If you just upgrade the switching electronics, the rest of the inverter and the car won't realize there's more power available. The later is the more promising route, because it's what the OEMs do anyways. For example, the Large Drive Unit used in 2012-2017 Model S/X has two variants, Base and Sport, which based on the teardowns folks have done, only differ physically in the amperage rating of the switching electronics, though there is obviously some software differences.

I'm less confident right-to-repair will get us any good information in this regard. Don't get me wrong, I strongly support right to repair, but the OEMs are already finding creative ways to release as little information as possible, and trying to claim all sorts of things like copyright, national security, trade secrets, etc. to avoid giving any information on software. It's not just EVs, it took the aftermarket something like 4 years? to be able to crack GM's Global B electrical architecture to tune Corvettes, Cadillac V series, and GM trucks.

The good news is that there are a number of folks figuring out how to get all sorts of components to work for EV conversions, and that work can probably be used in reverse as well.
 
Rivian is an interesting case. There's no denying they are exceedingly capable vehicles, but I too would expect more modifications given the class of vehicle. I think in their case they have done a ton to provide common modifications/upgrades as part of the vehicle, and they have targeted a more upscale/uptight but still adventurous demographic that is less hands on.

Consider this uncommon hand-made ski box, custom designed by a Rivan owner to accommodate longer skis up to 198cm over the tonneau, while retaining bed storage for gear and bags.
Also provides a side mounting surface for recovery / traction boards. Integrates into OEM crossbars and fits behind roof spoiler to create no overhead drag impact and preserve efficiency. LOL
 

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This past weekend has highlighted some major EV shortcomings in below zero temps and the advantages of still having an ICE vehicle as backup
 
Welcome to the Scout Community!

Fundamentally we are working towards the goal of giving people the most options possible. For instance, our body on ladder frame will allow you to add a lift kit. While we haven't announced our technical platform yet, you will see that we are doing our best to accommodate different wheel sizes, tire sizes, interchangeable bumpers, and more. Now, having said that, I have to bring up the practical considerations in a modern vehicle, like safety systems, parking sensors, low-speed crash standards, side-impact standards, and lots more. These things can make it challenging to design bumpers, for instance, that are easily removable or swappable with aftermarket units when you have to deal with the myriad of sensors on the front end of the vehicle. The good news in all this is that we have a clean sheet of paper to work from, and our teams are doing their best to accommodate these various wants and needs both internally for our own accessories and for the aftermarket to make it easy to customize. I can't promise we will make everyone happy (tall order when you think about just how much people modify some of their offroad vehicles), but we'll do what we can to try and integrate as many ideas as possible. That's part of the reason we are looking for as much feedback as possible this early on.

Keep the ideas coming. 🍻
Taking a cue from Jeep Wrangler I would suggest modular assist systems to facilitate bumper options. OOOOORRRRR....Have factory bumper options. ;) Lane Assist camera looks thru windshield and some companies such as Mitsubishi and Subaru use this camera for ACC and front assist functions while VW uses separate radar behind emblem (and in lower grill some models IE: GTI and ID Buzz). Making the PDC modular so it can be swapped to A/M bumper, ACC in location that allows for accessory bumpers and skid plates (hello Touareg).

Slow speed crash crash standards are also in opposition to pedestrian safety. How to make car survive with minimal damage in 2.5 or 5 mph impact while also not harming pedestrians in similar and faster slow speed impacts? Arteon has ejector hood that pops up and special impact sensor along front of hood, along with special crumple zone hoods. Assuming not going to "scoop up" pedestrians do to hood height then maybe a lower plastic impact area that sacrifices itself during impact? While leaving more robust and optional bumpers to do their job? Or maybe the plastic soft bumper comes off for trail rides like Jeep sway bar disconnects and doors?

Some rock sliders/side steps would appear to improve side impact score, at least from certain level impacts. As for lifts most are not legal in a lot of states that already have bumper height and frame height standards. Florida for instance has rules for this that are summarily thrown out because of a loop hole allowing certain "ag vehicles" to operate on public roads that other wise violate this standard. I'm sure other states have similar issues. Along with lifts we have bigger tires - need ODIS to include easy option to change wheel counter like older VW could do. Keeps all speed dependent functions operating correctly and car legal.

Forward lighting is another example - California allows for only 2 beam sets active to direction of travel at a time, others shall be covered on public road ways, and one must be main headlamp system of vehicle (high or low beams). So one pair of fog lamps or driving lamps on with high or low beams, not all of them at once. So how we mount extra lights such as the option lights on the Jeep Liberty renegade? (I believe Virginia banned them). Integrated light options need ability to cover for states that require it. Also not sure on rear facing lighting requirements as trail rigs would like side and rear area lighting as well.

I'm sure there is more, but I've rambled on enough for now. Real question is "will parent VW let Scout spend engineering time and money to make safety systems and other compliance items interact with after market options?"

Jason