RECAP: Human Vs. Tech Led Innovation – Who Will Win?

Girls in STEM Mentor jan Choudhury

Gosh, Erin Baker, New Car Editorial Director at Auto Trader wrote this for us in 2018 and clearly had her finger on the pulse!

At Untapped we’re always interested in how people see human vs. tech led innovation. This week the very fabulous Erin Baker has given us her expert opinion. Erin is New Car Editorial Director at Auto Trader. She acts as consultant to Goodwood on their motoring content and is the former Motoring Editor of The Daily Telegraph. She appears on Sky News and BBC 5Live as a talking head on automotive matters and contributes to Vanity Fair’ s En Route supplement.

Here’s what she had to say …

Cars have always been at the front of technology-led innovation; the automotive industry has had to disrupt, diversify and innovate to survive the vagueries of economical and environmental challenges for over 100 years.


But cars aren’t robots: they’re cherished personal possessions, and expensive ones at that. They’re the expressions of people’s liberty, or wealth, or status, so emotional, human-led technology has always worked best in tandem with the automotive industry.


A really interesting example of how important the human touch – or emotion – in the car world is, comes with the comparison between the Tesla Model X and Jaguar I-Pace. Here are two electric SUVs, both in the vanguard of electric vehicle (EV) take-up globally. Both are premium brands, both are expensive cars to buy, and both are gambles for early adopters unsure about charging infrastructure and costs of ownership.

The Tesla Model X came first and, while it looks super cool, is a very tech-led solution, and has as its main selling point the huge differences in styling and user experience over “traditional cars”. It feels pretty space-age to be in and drive, and, if you want to experience something very different to normal car ownership, the Model X is for you, with its huge iPad-style touchscreen and gullwing doors.

The I-Pace, on the other hand, looks and feels like a Jaguar, with all the emotional attachment of 100 years of British driving and motorsport heritage that that implies. My feeling is the Jaguar will sell more than the Tesla, because, once motorists get their heads around EV ownership, they’ll want an emotional connection to their car, not a piece of software.

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Written by Deirdre Walters