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Utilizing an Open-Platform Business Model to Create New World Value

Dr. Lance Zhou, Chief Executive Officer, Karma Automotive
Dr. Lance Zhou, Chief Executive Officer, Karma Automotive

Dr. Lance Zhou, Chief Executive Officer, Karma Automotive

After I joined Karma Automotive in 2017, we chose to embark upon an “open platform” business strategy, positioning ourselves as a high-tech automotive incubator. As part of our “Value Forward” business plan, Karma’s mandate is to attract partners to accelerate our product development, create efficiency and enhance long-term brand value.

While we continue to develop our own too, Karma’s position in the luxury electric vehicle niche provides an excellent test bed for partners to incubate, grow and prove their emerging technologies. This in-turn allows luxury EV “start-ups” like Karma to move past the traditional OEM model of profits generated purely by sales and manufacturing to create long-term brand value through open-platform technology sharing. This has allowed the company to challenge the status quo and forge strong partner alliances with several innovators to create new profit centers and help speed product and technology development.

Karma Profit Centers

Karma’s technologies, designers and craftsmen can help other companies speed their development process or customize their products. The depth of Karma’s offering can extend beyond pure automotive due to various profit centers including a new power train test lab and Karma Innovation and Customization Center (KICC).

  ​By establishing strong partner alliances with several innovators, Karma has created new profit centers to help speed product and technology developments    

In March 2019, Karma underlined its commitment to product development here in California by investing nearly $7.5 million in a new, state-of-the-art power train test lab which has been installed at Karma’s Global Headquarters in Irvine, Cailf. The new equipment strengthens Karma’s in-house engineering capabilities during a crucial moment of rapid product development. Another key profit center for Karma is the Karma Innovation and Customization Center (KICC) in Moreno Valley, Cailf., which will offer varying degrees of Karma vehicle customization – from color and materials through to a one-off car – and perhaps in the future, even on other brands’ vehicles too.

These facilities are examples of how Karma is looking to mobilize from traditional value and pursue an open platform business model which has proven to be successful in providing customers with state-of-the-art technology and innovations. This approach to corporate philosophy is unique and is disrupting the luxury EV space while allowing Karma to propel itself forward. By establishing strong partner alliances with several innovators, Karma has created new profit centers to help speed product and technology developments.

Here are a few of the partnerships that Karma has undertaken and how they have built long term brand value:

BlackBerry QNX

A key example of this philosophy coming to fruition in the technology and information arena is Karma’s collaboration with BlackBerry QNX which was announced at CES 2019. This collaboration showcases Karma’s ability to speed-up its product and technological development.

BlackBerry QNX technology helps troubleshoot and detect possible issues before they arise. This technology improves the Karma Revero’s software through secure over-the-air updates utilizing BlackBerry QNX connectivity. Innovations like this provide Karma customers peace of mind and offers cutting edge technology that is now standard in all Karma Revero models. BlackBerry QNX assists OEMs in building secure, trusted software solutions that will be the future of connected and autonomous cars which will continue to bring added value to Karma and the luxury electric vehicles we produce.

Pininfarina

Both Karma Automotive and Italian Design house, Pininfarina craft beautiful, expertly-engineered vehicles, each cleverly and expertly finished. Both brands easily recognized synergies and compatible areas of expertise, and Karma and Pininfarina fundamentally agree on how to direct and build businesses in the rapidly changing automotive market.

Working with Pininfarina, Karma Automotive debuted a true grand touring concept vehicle, the Karma GT designed by Pininfarina. By partnering with Pininfarina, Karma was able to bring this vehicle from CAD designs to fruition in a fraction of the time it would have normally taken while forging a strong relationship with an award-winning design company. In return, Pininfarina has been able to further tap into the luxury electric vehicle niche while gaining global visibility.

Joyson Safety Systems

When Karma was looking for a partner for steering technology for the New 2020 Revero GT, they looked no further than Joyson Safety Systems who is a global leader in providing safety-critical components, systems and technology to automotive and non-automotive markets. This partnership has allowed Karma to provide both technological innovation and the utmost in safety to its customers at the touch of a button. Joyson’s industry first haptic switches can be found on the 2020 Revero GT’s steering wheel supporting an intelligent, engaging driving environment.

Pirelli and Brembo

With an eye on improving range on the 2020 Revero GT, Karma partnered with Pirelli to develop a model-specific tire, the P04, that is designed to increase vehicle range without sacrificing grip or handling capability. Forged 21-inch aluminum wheels come standard, along with regenerative Brembo brakes featuring six-piston front calipers that were redesigned to reduce unwanted drag on the rotors and improve driving range. Three levels of braking regeneration force can be toggled through using the right shift paddle on the steering wheel, allowing the driver to balance energy recaptured with desired regen braking force.

By partnering with Pirelli and Brembo to develop the Revero GT’s wheel and brake system, the company was able to further enhance the 2020 Revero GT’s performance and create unmatched vehicle efficiencies.

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