On August 11, 2021, Electric Vehicle (EV) financier Stefan Krause was named Chairman of the Board of Directors of GoFor, a burgeoning leader in environmentally conscious, EV last-mile delivery company. Krause brings an extraordinary depth of expertise in commercial EV systems.
Stefan Krause grew up in the auto industry. His father ran an import-export auto business in the South American nation of Colombia, where he spent his formative years.
The talk around the dinner table, Krause recounted in a recent interview, was often about how to build the perfect car. So, it was only natural that after he returned to Germany to study at the Julius Maximilians University of Würzburg, Krause would pursue a career at BMW.
At BMW, Krause became its youngest Chief Financial Officer (CFO) ever. He also served on its management board. After his formative experiences at BMW, Krause became CFO of Deutsche Bank, where he took charge of a situation in which the bank had over-leveraged capital. Deutsche Bank was where he earned a reputation as one of the world’s most effective CFOs.
Along the way, Krause served as chairperson of Rolls-Royce Motorcars, BHF Bank, and Germany’s ubiquitous Postbank AG. He was a member of the Boards of Directors of Allianz AG and Rocket Internet.
Krause became an expert in the formation of the SPAC, the special purpose acquisition company, which provided a way to gain market shares in new technology companies without having to go through an IPO. Earlier in 2021, he became CFO and Chief Investment Officer of Levere Holdings, traded on the NASDAQ, which acts as a SPAC for the European EV industry.
Throughout his 25-year span of rising to international prominence in finance, however, Krause never lost his enthusiasm for revolutionizing the auto industry. He moved from his roots at BMW to what he regards as a sustainable approach to private cars and delivery vehicles, the electric vehicle (EV) revolution by founding Canoo an electric automobile start up in California.
Krause sees the auto industry as primed for disruption. He foresees EV technology replacing internal combustion technology as soon as five to seven years from now. He sees innovations in technology and design as leading a new generation of automotive engineers to completely rethink the industry.
Overcoming Expectations Is Key to Moving Forward, Stefan Krause says
“People have a pretty fixed view of how a car needs to look,” Stefan Krause told CEO World. “And over the next few years, that will change.”
One example of how cars are being rethought is eliminating the luggage compartment, the trunk (or the boot, in Commonwealth English). Krause says that a luggage compartment was essential for a stagecoach, but it is 150 years out of date for cars used to drive around town.
The evolution of stagecoach thinking, Krause points out, has been to move the luggage compartment from the top of the coach to the back of the car, in most models, or to the front of the car, in the classic Volkswagen Bug. But if you eliminate the internal combustion engine altogether, Krause says, you are free to build a completely different vehicle architecture.
By pushing the battery and the powertrain components into the floor of the car, Krause says, “You can have the roominess of a Suburban with the footprint of a Volkswagen Golf.”
Krause knows that the public isn’t comfortable with too many changes too quickly. That’s why he believes that the EV revolution won’t be obvious to everyone until 2026 or 2027. But as more and more people learn the advantages of the technology they will adopt electric vehicles. A key catalyst to speed up the adoption of EV will be new financing concepts like subscriptions that will not require the customer to ever own the car or worry about its maintenance or disposal.
Stefan Krause Is Guiding GoFor Toward Making Cities More Livable
In 2021, Stefan Krause as Chairman of the Board of Directors at EV startup GoFor is focusing on last-mile delivery. Store-to-door deliveries are notoriously energy-inefficient. As competition increases customers want sustainable delivery and they want sustainable delivery immediately. This will burden our environment even more. GoFor aims to make this process not only significantly more efficient and at the same time more sustainable. GoFor calls this “the creation of a renewable delivery service”.
GoFor’s model is to offer last-mile delivery on demand, 12 hours a day, seven days a week, from curbside to curbside. A single delivery service for multiple stores sending purchases to multiple doors can achieve economies of scale that no store can achieve by itself. GoFor liberates retailers from the capital requirements of acquiring and running their own fleets of delivery vehicles while reducing air pollution and energy consumption at the same time.
Krause Sees the EV Industry Causing Small Changes in Lifestyle, but Fast
Krause believes that too many people approaching the change to EV’s just like a replacement of combustion engine technology. But what is happening with the mobility revolution goes far beyond. People will chance their habits around their mobility. They will learn that whilst refueling is something you go and take time to do charging is something that happens while you do something more important. People will learn that vehicle ownership is not important anymore. The tyranny of owning a vehicle in today’s modern time which includes worrying about maintenance and repairs, parking, resell values and vehicle safety will eventually go away. Allowing customers to seamlessly enjoy moving around.
As the new car architecture will offer more roomy interiors and eventually become self-driving, living in your car will take on an entirely different meaning.
The next generation of EVs will provide room for commuters to work and interact while they are on the road. Even taxis and rideshare vehicles will offer more room for drivers and passengers.
The new EVs will even bring new branding opportunities. In the era of online shopping, companies have focused on online branding. Fleets of leased EVs can feature signs, messages, logos, and colors that help advertisers reach new customers in an old way, on the road. Inside monitors will allow passengers to work, play and entertain themselves. A whole set of new business opportunities will open up because of the captive audience in these new vehicles.
Small changes add up fast, Krause says.