Often-times we get asked “Why don’t you just make the most efficient engine you can?” The answer is simple. Customers don’t want the most efficient product. They want the most valuable product. Most simply, they want a product that solves a real problem. Ultimately this translates to systemic efficiencies. On a simple level, the most efficient product is often times the most expensive, and while this is a noble technical pursuit, there are few problems in the world that are as black and white as needing a more efficient engine.
The customers we target are ones who have fundamental problems such as basic access to power. The source of this problem may be as simple as having an irregular fuel source, an unpalatable cost of maintenance, or current products being physically too large for customers to use. These problems are generally true in markets where the power grid doesn’t exist, so it is these fundamental problems we chose to solve by returning to the basics of the engine.
On top of solving a problem, we have to do this cost effectively. There are several approaches to deploying a product like ours. The first is to try and build a solution that is all things to all people [The Capstone Model], the second is to start with a flexible core technology, and build hardware around it [The Honda Model], and the third is to build just the engine and let someone else build the solution [the Intel Model]. Trying to build a product that is all things for all people is difficult and expensive, because people want different things. Building just the engine actually leaves a lot of value on the table. While a CPU might be only 10-20% the cost of a laptop, the real value is in the laptop itself (what would you do with just a CPU?).
Starting with a basic platform engine and then building custom solutions allows us to do two things: We can capture more value around our product, and we can truly unlock the strengths of our product for customers with specific needs. But to be this kind of agile company, we have to start with a basic engine that solves the fundamental needs of reliability, fuel flexibility and power density.
By providing our customers with a solution that works when and where they need it, we can change the power access paradigm; we can enable access to power irrespective of fuel or technical skill.