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A charging electric vehicle

Time to Become Propulsion Agnostic

By: Jeff Walker, President & CEO, CAA North & East Ontario

What kind of vehicle will propel you where you want to go in 2030?  An electric vehicle? A hydrogen fuel cell vehicle? Maybe an e-bike? Who knows.

Indeed, how will you get around? That’s the big question urban planners and the automotive industry are currently tackling, regardless of if those changes come tomorrow, in a year or a decade from now. At CAA, we are anticipating the future with innovations geared to meet Canadians’ needs, whatever those may be.

A few weeks ago, in a staff meeting here in Ottawa, I used the phrase “propulsion agnostic” to describe a whole new approach to our automotive services.

There were a few puzzled looks – and I don’t blame them. What does “propulsion agnostic” even mean? To me, it means developing innovative new ways to help consumers get to where they want to go, however they do it. It means not getting stuck in the humdrum “because it’s always been done that way” approach, but rather that we orient our services to anticipate the future.

For example, in North & East Ontario, we’re rolling out a new Mobile Tire Service in Ottawa. The premise is simple: we roll up and change your seasonal tires at your home or place of work.

For urban condo dwellers, it’s the seamless integration of innovation and need. No more waiting in a mechanic’s waiting room reading gardening magazines. It’s all booked online, at a prescribed time and day. Our guys just show up and take care of it. The service and payment process is completely contactless. And if you are a plus or premier CAA Member, the price is a sweet deal.

From a CAA business perspective, it’s just a smart flex on our existing facilities, equipment and personnel.

Of course, that’s just the start of where ‘propulsion agnostic’ is headed at CAA. We already do Mobile Battery Service, and we’re building out a suite of services agnostic to whatever propels your machine, whether it’s gas, battery or pedal powered. (We even offer Bike Assist, a roadside assistance service for people using what StatsCan calls ‘active transportation.’).

Next fall, another iteration of this evolution will roll out to Canadians.

CAA North & East Ontario will be implementing the kinds of consumer-friendly, technology agnostic improvements to our service – and puts us where the future will be.  

Life isn’t one-size-fits-all. Neither is CAA.