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Death spiral for cars. By 2030, you probably won’t own one

Consumption

By 2030, you probably won’t own a car, but you may get a free trip with your morning coffee. Transport-As-A-Service will use only electric vehicles and will upend two trillion-dollar industries. It’s the death spiral for cars.

A major new report predicts that by 2030, the overwhelming majority of consumers will no longer own a car – instead they will use on-demand electric autonomous vehicles.

By 2030, within 10 years of regulatory approval of autonomous electric vehicles (A-EVs), the report says, 95 per cent of all US passenger miles traveled will be served by on-demand, autonomous, electric vehicles that will be owned by fleets rather than individuals.

The provision of this service may come virtually free as part of another offering, or a corporate sponsorship. Imagine, for instance, paying a token sum for a ride into town after buying a latte for $4.50. Or getting a free ride because the local government has decided to make transport easier.

TAAS choice

The report, by RethinkX, an independent think tank that focuses on technology-driven disruption and its implications across society, says this stunning and radical will be driven entirely by economics, and will overcome the current desire for individual car ownership, starting first in the big cities and then spreading to the suburbs and regional areas.

This disruption will have enormous implications across the transportation and oil industries, decimating entire portions of their value chains, causing oil demand and prices to plummet, and destroying trillions of dollars in investor value, not to mention the value of used cars.

At the same time it will create trillions of dollars in new business opportunities, consumer surplus and GDP growth.

Lead consultant and co-author Tony Seba, who specialises in disruptive technologies. His early forecasts for the enormous uptake of solar where considered crazy, but were proved right, and he has since said that new technologies will make coal, oil and gas all but redundant by 2030).

He says while the report focuses on the US, the forecasts are valid for Australia too, because the transportation industry is global. And he warns that the car you buy now may well be your last.

“This is a global technology disruption. So yes, this applies to Australia,” Seba tells RenewEconomy. “And this is going to happen despite governments, not because of governments.

“Furthermore, the disruption will start in cities with high population density and high real estate prices – think Sydney and Melbourne then Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide – and quickly radiate out to the suburbs, the smaller cities, and then rural areas.”

Indeed, there are some people who are starting to anticipate this change, considering Australian-based business models and even local manufacturing, such as those revealed on Monday by Michael Molitor, the head of a new company called A2EmCo.

Seba does not say that individual car ownership will completely disappear. By 2030, 40 per cent of cars will still be privately owned, but they will only account for 5 per cent of kilometres traveled.

Autonomous cars will be used 10 times more than internal combustion vehicles were, they will last longer – maybe one million miles (1.6 million km) – and the savings will inject an additional $1US trillion into the pockets of Americans by 2030.

Seba admits that his forecasts are hard to digest. But what he sees in the transition to autonomous EVs from privately owned petrol cars is the same he has seen for all other major transitions: what he calls the 10x opportunity cost.

It happened with the printing press, it happened with the first Model T – it cost the same as a carriage and two horses, but offered 10x the horsepower.

“Every time we have had a ten x change in technology, we had a disruption. This is going to be no different.”

And that change, he says, will happen on day one of level 5 autonomous EVs obtaining regulatory approval. “Basically, the day that autonomous vehicles are regulatory accepted, transport-as-a-service will be 10 cheaper than cost of new vehicles,” he says. And four times cheaper than the cost of already owned vehicles.

Why is this? Because everything will be cheaper.

Like his predictions on the rise of solar, and the sudden decline of fossil fuels, Seba’s calculations are driven by simple economics. Within few years, the upfront costs of AEVs will match those of petrol cars. But the depreciation costs will be minimal, because the cars, owned by fleets, will “last a lifetime”.

Maintenance costs will be significantly lower – thanks to 20 moving parts in the powertrain compared to 2,000 for petrol cars – and the miles travelled significantly higher; they will be doing 1.6 million km by 2030, more than five times more than petrol cars.

TAAS economics

Moreover, battery technology will improve, needing to be replaced only once, and old batteries will be able to used elsewhere (in the power grid). The cost of maintenance will be one-fifth the cost of current cars, the cost of finance one tenth, and the cost of insurance also one tenth.

“The survival of car manufacturers will depend on building cars with long lifetimes and low operating costs. This means that they will optimise for minimum waste of resources in building and operating vehicles, including designing vehicle platforms with parts that are interchangeable and recyclable.”

The report outlines the huge benefits from this transformation. Unclogging city roads, removing the pollution that is choking major cities, savings millions of lives from accidents and trillions of dollars in health impacts, and freeing up parking space.

We often forget about the health impacts of fuel cars. In 2015 in the OECD alone, outdoor air pollution lead to $US1.7 trillion annual economic cost from premature deaths. According to the World Health Organisation, 1.25 million people died from road traffic accidents around the world in that year, and another 50 million were severely injured.

“Autonomous vehicles will be safer than human drivers, leading to a decrease in road traffic accidents,” the report says. Although, to be sure, any such accidents caused by faulty software rather than humans will create huge controversy

The nature of the vehicles may also change – with a range of two-person, four-person, eight-person and even bigger vehicles in heavy population areas.

It will also have an impact on geopolitics – with the world no longer dependent on oil reserves for the bulk of its transportation needs. This will benefit big transport fuel importers like Australia.

The “politics of lithium,” meanwhile, are completely different to the politics of oil. Lithium is plentiful, although it needs planning to ensure that the mines are in place to extract it, and its demand can be reduced by recycling. Alternatives can be found for cobalt, currently found mostly in countries such as Democratic republic of Congo.

TAAS salesSeba recognises that most people assume that the biggest impediments to this scenario are behavioral issues such as love of driving, fear of new technology, or just habit. The cost savings, the speed, the increased safety and the extra free time will be key factors.

But he says that what he calls “pre-TaaS” companies such as Uber, Lyft and Didi have also invested billions of dollars developing technologies and services to overcome these issues. In 2016, these companies drove 500,000 passengers per day in New York City alone.

“That was triple the number of passengers driven the previous year. The combination of TaaS’s dramatically lower costs compared with car ownership and exposure to successful peer experience will drive more widespread usage of the service.

“Adopting TaaS requires no investment or lock-in. Consumers can try it with ease and increase usage as their comfort level increases. Even in suburban and rural areas, where wait times and cost might be slightly higher, adoption is likely to be more extensive than generally forecast because of the greater impact of cost savings on lower incomes.

“As with any technology disruption, adoption will grow along an exponential S-curve.”

reneweconomy.com.au



42 Comments on "Death spiral for cars. By 2030, you probably won’t own one"

  1. pennzoilbill on Mon, 15th May 2017 7:05 am 

    Well ok then, I guess I’ll go back to teaching when there are no more automobiles to repair.

  2. Hello on Mon, 15th May 2017 7:27 am 

    Is that similar to the flying car predictions of way back?

  3. Cloggie on Mon, 15th May 2017 7:32 am 

    Poor Germany, they will have to reinvent themselves industrially.

    The 2+3 seater will probably disappear (too much privacy infringement) and replaced by mini-buses like this or smaller:

    Finland:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DFHXFF4BhWw

    Switzerland:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9ySoLJYH8o

    USA:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4b-PctPDvYA

    You have endless variations in luxury, # of co-passengers, allowing for transfer like in trains or planes, simple plastic benches or nice leather “business class seats”, all with different price models.

    Trains and buses will continue to exists for long distances and mass commuting.

    But the real upshot will be that you no longer need to own a car, coming with great financial relief. Driving per mile will be cheaper because a driver-less car will be utilized much, much more, spreading the per mile cost over many more heads. Fun driving will be almost eliminated, since nobody goes fun-driving in a bus either. Congestion will be limited and there will be no ugly parked cars in the city anymore. Driving itself will be a little boring, like travelling in a bus, a ride you have to share with irritating strangers.

    Do it for the environment.lol

  4. Cloggie on Mon, 15th May 2017 7:39 am 

    There will be room for single seaters as well:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQk_wMEi4is

    …or dual seaters like Volkswagen XL1 (1 liter on 100 km):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BL4anmWOe8k

    …or even self-driving motor-cycles, allowing for much less fuel/electricity consumption:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mU-NGPOOMVM

    This new reality will become a Valhalla for statisticians and computer programmers.

  5. Cloggie on Mon, 15th May 2017 7:49 am 

    With this you can shuttle your kids around between the parents of a failed marriage:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0RBl1LFUQ4c

    And then there is the Carver:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TK4wzBYmTIo

  6. Hello on Mon, 15th May 2017 8:03 am 

    >> With this you can shuttle your kids around between the parents of a failed marriage:

    People want BIG cars. BIG SUVs are among the best selling cars even in constrained europe.
    BIG BIG. Even europeans must either compensate for a small brain or short wiener with a BIG car.

    All those small cars were available from way back. http://www.messynessychic.com/2012/04/27/the-cutest-tiniest-cars-ever-made/
    Nobody wants small cars.

    A game changer will be true self-driving cars. But who knows if and when this is possible. A prediction out to 2030 seems to be risky.

  7. rockman on Mon, 15th May 2017 8:28 am 

    Very cute fantasy piece…thanks. In particular enjoyed the comical plunge in auto sales from more then 17 mm/yr to zero in just 4 years. But not nearly as funny as: “…95 per cent of all US passenger miles traveled will be served by on-demand, autonomous, electric vehicles that will be owned by fleets rather than individuals.” So not only ill corporations spend the $TRILLIONS to buy all those EV’s and charge nothing one must assume they will also spend the countless $billions to greatly expand the electricity generation and distribution infrastructure. I suspect they are also assuming that we’ll have developed that new unlimited fuel that will be virtually free to power those electric plants.

    But we have a good model for consumers to move away from vehicle ownership: Europe. After all given the much higher population density then the US (a key factor in the article}, much higher fuel costs and the vast majority of folks living in the big cities with limited parking space. Surely they must have already started moving away from private vehicle ownership already in a big way.

    Hmm…it’s Official: Western Europeans Have More Cars Per Person Than Americans. From

    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/08/its-official-western-europeans-have-more-cars-per-person-than-americans/261108/

    “The U.S. is ranked 25th in world by number of passenger cars per person, just above Ireland and just below Bahrain. There are 439 cars here for every thousand Americans, meaning a little more than two people for every car. That number is higher in nearly all of Western Europe — the U.K., Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, etc. — as well as in Japan, Australia, and New Zealand. It’s higher in crisis-wracked Iceland and Greece. Italians and New Zealanders have nearly 50 percent more cars per capita than does the U.S. The highest rate in the world is casino-riddled Mediterranean city-state Monaco, with 771 cars per thousand citizens.”

    Thanks again…nice to start the week off with a good laugh. LOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

  8. CIA-MOLE on Mon, 15th May 2017 8:32 am 

    Electric could be energy neutral compared to gas vehicles. Energy savings could come from simpler designs, cut in emission due to lack of idling on electrics, less dispersed pollution, elimination of liquid fuel distribution networks…

    My hope is the techies will go for radical design change that doesn’t require so much pain to service electric cars.

    Currently, a broken nut will set me back a day or two. Let’s go with rivets or whatever.

  9. Hello on Mon, 15th May 2017 8:46 am 

    rockman:
    Hmm…it’s Official: Western Europeans Have
    More Cars Per Person Than Americans.

    Thanks for that one. No surprise here. Europeans are some of the most hypocrite critters out there. There’s hardly a european not complaining about the US. Yet they all follow the footsteps the US prints. Like lemmings.

  10. paulo1 on Mon, 15th May 2017 9:00 am 

    Hmmm

    10 years ago I built a 16′ boat. I expect to be using it in 2030, God willing. It provides the protein for my family. I expect I will still be sparingly driving an old beater truck…powered by refined diluted Canadian bitumen. 🙂

  11. forbin on Mon, 15th May 2017 9:42 am 

    The report, by RethinkX, an independent think tank that focuses on scarcity driven disruption and its implications across society, says this stunning and radical outcome will be driven entirely by scarcity economics, and will overcome the current desire for individual car ownership, starting first in the big cities and then spreading to the suburbs and regional areas…….

    because no one will be able to afford it.

    (well no one of any importance ….)

    Forbin

    * there , fixed it 🙂

  12. Cloggie on Mon, 15th May 2017 9:44 am 

    Nobody wants small cars.

    I do:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qi1KN5cs7bI

    Don’t miss my Alfa, let alone my Volvo-240 (a tank really) when I started my car career in the eighties.

  13. penury on Mon, 15th May 2017 9:55 am 

    Predictions are difficult, especially about the future. Let me know how we are doing in 2025

  14. Revi on Mon, 15th May 2017 9:57 am 

    By 2030 we’ll all be walking. Maybe there will be a few taxis around, or Ubers or whatever.

  15. Cloggie on Mon, 15th May 2017 9:58 am 

    Hmm…it’s Official: Western Europeans Have More Cars Per Person Than Americans.

    If you measure car ownership for European Americans, they will probably still beat Europeans with a little margin.

  16. efarmer on Mon, 15th May 2017 10:06 am 

    A disruptive technology that of course follows the “S” curve formerly powered by the fossil fuels exploit until I published my article and single handedly dispensed with old fashioned limited mindsets, and that requires no consumer lock in, just give them a taste and they are hooked. The IPO will be splendid, and all the money I will ever need will be mine right then. Speculative use of forward looking statements and internet hype will give us lithium batteries that exceed their physical limits of the periodic elements or the crowd will Tweet the eggheads mercilessly until they do. Some naysayers have pointed out that my scheme substitutes energy storage batteries for energy source fuels, and asks where the electrical energy comes from, and I get to tell them about the new world we live in, where energy simply chases ideation and technology so it can be there and not miss the IPO and the big S curve and the new world so created. Energy is smart shit, and once our IPO gets the money, the energy will go for our smart play and abandon the stupid markets where it mostly just makes heat. This is disruptive dude, it has that big S curve, get out your device and tap on the screen man, lady luck and daddy destiny are singing a duet, it is a cover of the old Jiminy Cricket song about the world owes me a living, but it is S curve empowered people singing dude, not some silly cartoon cricket.

  17. bobinget on Mon, 15th May 2017 10:30 am 

    My four year old grandson must have fifty cars, trucks, earth movers, no aircraft, a single train set.
    In 2013 he’ll be 18. You gonna tell us you forgot how horny YOU were at 18? Did you or your intended have your own apartment?

    MY grandson gets the pick-up when he hits 16.
    His mother & father gets either my e-Golf or the Tesla
    If/when oil gets back to triple digits.

  18. drwater on Mon, 15th May 2017 10:31 am 

    I could see some of this happening and being disruptive by 2030. More likely to be self driving vans than cars. It will be easy to optimize taking more passengers and will be lower cost than cars. If it reduces traffic, that might actually prolong the use of individual cars by some people.

  19. Sissyfuss on Mon, 15th May 2017 10:44 am 

    The millenials probably won’t have a problem with the loss of independent ICE vehicles for personal use but we old farts know the exhilaration derived being free to go wherever you want while in control of a fast and powerful beast. Those days are gone forever for the coming generations and they will never know what they are missing. Pity.

  20. bobinget on Mon, 15th May 2017 10:52 am 

    In the last 20 years Amazon’s share value has increased in value 20% each year.

    How many here stopped DRIVING to shop?
    How many Prime or Netflix members stopped DRIVING to the movies?

    OTOH, it takes energy to deliver the newest electric screwdriver or season of “Game of Thrones”.

    How many are making a ‘living’ on-line and not Driving to work. OTOH, how many are in the ‘gig’ economy, working at a different location every day or week?

    How many here are eaters ? Drinkers? How much energy do ya believe is wrapped in that hunk of Salmon or Chicken ?

  21. bobinget on Mon, 15th May 2017 11:00 am 

    Sissyfuss,
    Personally, I will always hate Communists for taking away Drive-Ins. (Eateries and Movies)

    Thanks the Good Lord we still burn a ton of gasoline waiting in line at fast food joints and cash machines.

    My parents owned a delivery van. Perfect for passion pits.

  22. Keith McClary on Mon, 15th May 2017 11:07 am 

    @bobinget
    I guess there will be special A-EVs for that. Will have to think of a name for them.

  23. GregT on Mon, 15th May 2017 11:25 am 

    “Nobody wants small cars.”

    We went with the 2016 Honda Fit. 35MPG combined city/hwy and very comfortably seats 5.

    http://www.fuelly.com/car/honda/fit

  24. rockman on Mon, 15th May 2017 12:33 pm 

    Hello – “Western Europeans Have More Cars Per Person Than Americans.” I was a bit shocked when I turned that up. I was searching for from stats to point out how silly this article was. Like the 1.2 BILLION ICE’s on the road today including the 84 million bought in 2016.

    As far as predicting future global auto purchases consider vehicle ownership in China (130/1,000 citizens) and India (35/1,000 citizens) compared to Germany (500/citizen). As the middle class grows in China and India many might go EV but more likely ICE. But in either case more individuals will be buying vehicles IMHO.

    Sometimes it helps to see the world outside the USA. A few years ago I spent a couple of weeks in a very poor W African country, The Gambia, when my daughter was posted there. Poor but a surprising number of private vehicles. But folks find a way: when someone had to drive to get something or take care of some business they instantly turned into a taxi. But there were also local taxi service. But there always 100’s walking down the roads everywhere but they had a subtle hand gesture indicating they would pay for a ride…just a few pennies. FYI a bag of 8 or so loaves of nice bread: $0.80.

    No license or anything else required. Just pick up 2 or 4 folks on your way to where every and POOF!…almost every car on the road in the entire country turned into uber. LOL

  25. farmlad on Mon, 15th May 2017 12:35 pm 

    and who will clean up the cat hair and dig
    out the cookie crumbs and bannana peals from the seat cracks? I used to be the driver for a van pool. I can tell you the vast majority of americans will not be doing the majority of their commuting in shared vehicles until that is the last option available. That is just the reality.

  26. bobinget on Mon, 15th May 2017 2:26 pm 

    What country has the most motorcycles?

    The four largest motorcycle markets in the world are all in Asia: China, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam. India, with an estimated 37 million motorcycles/mopeds, was home to the largest number of motorised two wheelers in the world. China came a close second with 34 million motorcycles/mopeds in 2002. Wikipeda
    Note: five year old data..

    Africa, Central and S. America must have at least as many MoPeds, (under 100 CC) & motorcycles as China. In Central America one encounters 2 cycle motorized, three wheeled ‘rickshaws’, some with roofs.

    In Haiti, too poor for mopeds, it’s old Chinese ‘stake’ trucks hauling people and goods.

    64,000 people get killed on motorcycles every year
    in Central America alone. One XMass eve three teens died (on motor bikes) in the tiny fishing village where I hang winters.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nWwQ68iJUC4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uz5uxAsrbwI
    Hate rules? Try one of the above. Vietnam my fav

  27. bobinget on Mon, 15th May 2017 2:30 pm 

    one more, I couldn’t resist..

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_uz2MR9-UTI

  28. bobinget on Mon, 15th May 2017 2:33 pm 

    Free trains!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfMfXuNRRkY

  29. Bob on Mon, 15th May 2017 3:43 pm 

    We are now under Cyber-attack in hundreds of countries, hundreds of thousands of businesses. Hospitals have shut down. Car factories have stopped. Now just imagine a hacker telling every car in the world to go as fast as it can and crash into any other car it can find on the road. None of the passengers will be belted in. So much for safety and autonomous driving. No one will touch a car after we have 50 million crashes and 50 million dead or maimed on the same day. Also, no ambulances will be able to get to you. Come on people! Think this stuff through.

  30. Mark Ziegler on Mon, 15th May 2017 4:49 pm 

    Lets see cars go faster than trains.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcejgxVrIoI

  31. DerHundistlos on Mon, 15th May 2017 4:54 pm 

    TRUMP POISED TO BE FIRST PRESIDENT TO REMOVE PROTECTIONS FROM NATIONAL PARK

    The cancer President Trump is working overtime to destroy America’s last virgin wilderness areas. First on the chopping block is Bears Ears National Monument in Utah as a thank you to his Mormon supporters and a stick up the ass of the Native American tribes who wnat this sacred land protected.

    I hate the guy and his Republican enablers.

  32. Cloggie on Mon, 15th May 2017 5:05 pm 

    You forgot to add a link. This headline couldn’t be found back with Google.

  33. makati1 on Mon, 15th May 2017 5:53 pm 

    I didn’t bother to read the article, but I have been saying for years that you probably have the last car you will ever own. When the world economy goes down, so will a lot of lifestyles.
    Food and shelter will be the top priority, not motor vehicles.

  34. Davy on Mon, 15th May 2017 5:58 pm 

    Transport is facing change most everywhere. Discretionary driving to satisfy discretionary wants is going to be increasingly problematic for multiple reasons. The energy needed to propel vehicles surely will not be available as it once was. This is especially true per capita. Some effort may be made through policy to limit car use. Many places are very polluted because of car transport this can’t continue to worsen. More concern is being directed towards climate change. As our global civilization becomes less affluent the industry will shrink because of lower economies of scale. Less car commercials and less car dealers with lots full of new cars that must be sold to meet quotas. Emergency services and vital transport will have to be maintained at some level. Military will always have first choice to transport. It will be our mass motoring that will be sacrificed for basic needs. Our mass motoring that drives the engines of commerce will surely impact our economy if and when it goes into decline. The end of happy motoring will spell the end of globalism. This is another issue pointing to demand destruction. Happy motoring and happy shopping in happily purchased cars on credit is ubiquitous across the globe. This will have to change as society undergoes destructive change of a decline process.

    If modern man ends as a civilization or worse, as a species, it will be the car that is primarily responsible for our death. Cars allowed concentration of people and complexity compression. What this did was allow an explosion of wants to be satisfied leading to an affluence never before realized and never to be seen again. This is also what is killing us. If you want to be green stop driving. If you want to experience nature do it on foot and out of urban areas. Green is more than actions it is a state of mind. If you try to be green but are living fake green you are just going through the motions. All cars are fake green including EV’s. It is killing our culture and our health. It is killing the planet. We are stuck with them now so I guess enjoy them. If you want to really live get out of them and touch the earth.

  35. Outcast_Searcher on Mon, 15th May 2017 6:04 pm 

    Farmlad, I hear you on the grungy cars.

    OTOH, surely companies and technology can overcome much of this — presumably these companies want to make a profit.

    So, automatic vacuuming? Some kind of automatic wipedown?

    Or worst case, the car takes itself to an interior “car wash” periodically on on demand from a customer, and this gets taken care of.

    Also, cameras could be used and people that blatantly screw up the interior of such a car get a nice big bill. It’s not like before/after snapshots for proof couldn’t be taken.

    I could see riders being able to report a dirty vehicle they don’t want to get into, and a replacement car is quickly sent and the other car is taken to be cleaned. Or customers could report a slightly dirty car and still ride in it, and it is taken to be cleaned after that ride.

    There are a LOT of solutions here.

    OTOH, I think they’re INSANE to predict near zero people buying personal cars by 2024 — they might not even be fully ready and approved by all the entities that need to approve them by then (aggressive marketing claims aside).

    I enjoy driving, and will want to do some of that until I can’t safely do so — probably in 20ish years or so, I’d guess. So even if I ALWAYS use an AV for the city, I’ll still want to go take spins in the country driving myself, as long as it’s legal.

  36. efarmer on Mon, 15th May 2017 7:14 pm 

    It is always murky to interpret for us petroleum amplified peasants, but when it is all about the VC, coming thing, where it is going sort of hype in this piece, I do tend to glaze over. The big corporates offer solutions after a bunch of real science and market studies, the VC guys paint a rosy future and want the money up front as part of an IPO and great story. If I am force to listen to dogs bark, I prefer the big dogs and not the little yap dogs who are selling futuristic stuff and hoping they can win before delivery is an issue.

  37. joe on Tue, 16th May 2017 5:20 am 

    President Marshmallow did it again! This guy is going to Riyadh, Jerusalem and Rome. He might just agree to everything the muslims, jews and catholics want and cause ww3!

  38. Cloggie on Tue, 16th May 2017 5:33 am 

    President Marshmallow did it again! This guy is going to Riyadh, Jerusalem and Rome.

    In a self-driving car?

  39. Davy on Tue, 16th May 2017 5:48 am 

    Those pushing EV’s and autonomous cars might want to consider the reference bellow. As traditional vehicle prices plunge because of overcapacity and demand stagnation new and expensive technologies are going to take a hit. Economies heavily dependent on auto production and sales likewise will face lower economic activity. This includes the US, EU, and China. This is just one kind of demand destruction in the works. There are several and at different levels from central bank actions to markets stalling at lofty heights.

    Many forecasts today consider the economy a constant. Those pointing to continued status quo range maintaining growth might want to reconsider economic trends when pushing their agenda. This is especially true of those segments that are expensive and require significant upfront investment. If we have a significant and sustained decline in economic activity these segments will not produce the results we are seeing so often forecasted out 10-20 years. New technology will become too pricy and old technology in surplus from overcapacity.

    We are currently in an economic fog with contradicting data reported. Fake news is the rage now. Economic guidance in an environment of moral hazard is the norm. Normal accounting practices are relative. Price discovery is not functioning properly in an environment of repression and easing. In such an environment we can expect systematic decay from dysfunctional and irrational outcomes. It may not come as a news catching event but it is hollowing out the foundation of the global economy so that when an economic shock does occur we can expect worse. This decay is also making a shock more likely.

    “How Is This Not A Recession? Ford To Slash 10% Of Global Workforce”
    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-05-15/how-not-recession-ford-slash-10-global-workforce

    “Having admitted in March that “used car prices will drop for years” and amid near-record inventories, a so-called ‘plateau’ in car sales, and soaring auto-loan losses, WSJ is reporting that Ford is planning substantial cuts to its global workforce…With near record high inventories of 3.9 million vehicles…a flood of off-lease vehicles set to send prices tumbling, as Morgan Stanley recently pointed out, we’re just getting started as they see used car prices dropping by up to 50% over the next 5 years.”

  40. Cloggie on Tue, 16th May 2017 6:07 am 

    Those pushing EV’s and autonomous cars might want to consider the reference bellow. As traditional vehicle prices plunge because of overcapacity and demand stagnation new and expensive technologies are going to take a hit. Economies heavily dependent on auto production and sales likewise will face lower economic activity. This includes the US, EU, and China. This is just one kind of demand destruction in the works

    What a wonderful opportunity to finally send all those feminists/manlets home to do what they were designed to do, namely drive men crazy first and next raise the resulting 2.1 children. Or whatever number it takes to keep the third world out.

  41. Richard on Tue, 16th May 2017 8:26 am 

    I don’t think this will happen that quickly. The vehicle is a modern part of all our lives. I don’t have a license to drive, and I live in Greater London.

    So public transport is available.

    The AV is an interesting innovation and a step forward. It was only a century ago our society as we know today began.

  42. bobinget on Wed, 17th May 2017 6:08 pm 

    Oil Prices 4 Years From Collapse, EV owners, Carriage Makers
    I know half a dozen EV owners – two have Nissan Leafs, one a Chevy Volt (not the much better Bolt), a Kia Soul, a BMW I3 and a Tesla S. I sought these people out in the course of trying to understand what impact EVs might have on the O&G industry. Most are EV afficionados, comfortable middle class, who know a ridiculous subsidy when they see one. The Tesla owner is a car nut, used to own an E Jag, a Corvette, etc. – the Tesla is his current status statement car. Last summer he drove it Vancouver to Montreal then down to New York and back across the US to Van.

    The Huff Post piece is rushing it when they talk about an oil price crash in 4 years. It won’t be a crash, more like a slow squeeze and I’m guessing not in a big way until some 10 years out. We are early days in EV development, maybe at the Osborne or TRS 80 stage – still short of the Commodore 64 step change. Battery technology is especially youthful and yet to settle. Li batteries come in many chemical variants. And there are at least a dozen other non lithium battery chemistries in the skunk works, as well as capacitors, and etc.

    There is a lot of flap about Tesla/Musk here in NA. But the Chinese are all in on the EV front and in many ways already well ahead of NA and Europe. I expect they will be dominant world wide in 10 years, certainly in batteries. Last year they produced more electric cars than the rest of the world combined. They own the world’s $20 billion electric scooter industry, and produce most battery assist drives for bicycles, a niche EV market. They dominate electric bus production – BYD made 10,000 electric buses last year and another Chinese manufacturer is now exporting buses to North America in a small way (see Grande West Transportation – TSX V-BUS, which has had a good ride). BYD has been prototype testing hybrid and straight electric heavy trucks on the road for two years, while Tesla is still at the talking stage. And by the way Peterbilt Trucks/Walmart have prototype long haul hybrid trucks on the road.

    Komatsu, John Deere and CAT have hybrid excavators, FE loaders and all electric (i.e.Li battery) forklifts on the market already. It is an easy reach for CAT and the others to go the next step from diesel/electric wheel motor heavy equipment to diesel electric with battery hybrids, for example for off road mining trucks which are also an early candidate for driverless. Ditto for rail locomotives. Several of the NA rail companies are testing electric switch engines. Underground mining LHD vehicles are shifting over from diesel to lithium battery drive – 50 years ago they were all switching from compressed air and lead acid battery drive to diesel.

    My wife’s great grandfather in 1907 owned one of the largest horse drawn carriage makers in Canada. The business had been in the family for generations, and was thriving. He spurned the chance to motorize his carriages and by 1917 was in deep trouble. 5 years further along the company was burnt toast and there went the family fortune. Over the same period, starting in 1907, McLaughlin Carriage in Ontario began putting motors in their carriages and by the twenties had morphed into McLaughlin Buick, under the GM umbrella. The race goes to the nimble….. and in our speeded up world things flip in a hurry.

    stolen from IV pages:
    https://www.investorvillage.com/groups.asp?mb=19168&mn=91418&pt=msg&mid=17172839

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