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If car companies can't invent a viable EV solution to compete, what happens to Elon's vison?

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by weak_pig, Apr 8, 2016.

  1. weak_pig

    weak_pig Member

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    The full question I want to ask is:

    If car manufacturers continues to produce sub-par EVs, how will this ultimately affect Elon Musk's mission of pushing sustainable transport for the world?

    Even with Model 3 in full production, it's only a small percentage of the global car population. To succeed in Elon's ultimate mission, it would require the collective effort of car companies over the world to produce viable EV solutions that people would want to buy, and that would mean:

    - competitive in cost against Model 3
    - able to achieve the same or more mileage coverage against Tesla vehicles
    - have at least the same or more innovative gadgets that people want
    - sexy to look at, etc

    My point is, since Tesla set the bar so high, it would be a herculean task to produce an EV that people would want to buy given that comparison would surely be drawn and Model 3 would be the new yard stick.

    So assuming they produce EVs that nobody is interested in buying, it would mean they lose millions in promotion, design, etc. This in turn would hurt these car companies stocks. They would need to fall back on manufacturing ICE and hybrids that people might still buy.

    Right now, I still see a LOT of people who are skeptical about EVs and does not believe it to be the miracle solution that would resolve the climate crisis. So there are still plenty of ppl buying ICE and some better hybrids (Merc, BMW, etc).

    If this continues, would there be two camps of people - those who buy EVs and those who buy ICE/hybrids?

    Assuming car companies don't have the ability to produce viable EVs, then it would delay or stall the sustainable transport vision, wouldn't it?
     
  2. NoPetrolDream

    NoPetrolDream Member

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    I'm plenty happy with my Sonata hybrid, except for one major drawback. It has an ICE as part of its drivetrain. Otherwise it has surprised me in over a year of ownership what a good value it is, and how close it is to a total EV experience.

    So, if an often maligned Korean car maker can produce a vehicle that is comfortable, handsome, fun to drive, and so far quite reliable, what is to prevent them from doing the same with an EV? Or any other carmaker? Tesla may have set a high bar but not everyone who wants to go EV necessarily will go Tesla to do it. Look around you and imagine every Prius you see ( and I see plenty) were total EV cars. No comparing the styling between a Prius and Model 3, or most other cars, but plenty of people have bought the car in spite of (or because of) its styling. The car has a wide appeal, and once certain legacy automakers see EVs in general as a good market, they will put out a car that people will like and buy, and it won't ape a Tesla.
     
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  3. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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  4. shrspeedblade

    shrspeedblade Member

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    We don't even need to all go completely EV. If everyone even had a Volt-like vehicle like mine the oil industry would collapse.
    I'd have to start planning my trips to a gas station instead of a charge station! :)
     
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  5. Canuck

    Canuck Active Member

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    The question is too limiting because it focuses our minds on "car manufacturers". Maybe it won't be any of the current car manufacturers that pushes Elon's vision but a company like Apple or Google? Cars are becoming more and more of an electronic item every day and maybe these companies are more suited to compete than the traditional ICE makers? Tesla came out nowhere and relied on a government loan to help keep afloat --- these other companies have lots of cash on hand and all the resources required for the task at hand.

    The monkey is out of the barrel when it comes to EV's and there's no closing the lid. I wouldn't be concerned about where we go from here. It's going to be a fun ride.
     
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  6. Az_Rael

    Az_Rael Active Member

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    #6 Az_Rael, Apr 8, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
    I didn't know the Chevy Bolt was subpar. It meets the range and price requirement, and has lots of cool tech gadgets people like. I don't know why "sexy" looks is critical. There are lots of various shaped cars out there and people buy them.

    We need EVs in all flavors and sizes. Not everyone wants to drive a sedan. The more non-Tesla EVs the better, as that will spur on the public charging network, which will benefit us all.
     
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  7. AUSinator

    AUSinator Member

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    The CEO of Daimlers response to the question "why don't you have anything against the model 3" was we will have 1 low volume super expensive eleletric car and 10 hybrids. What he does not understand is most people who want a electric vehicle don't want hybrids or anything to do with combusting engines. For example I don't want expensive services, visiting petrol stations, less cabin room, noise, worse handling, more moving parts, low electric range, toxic fumes, and high complexity of a hybrid system.
    I understand the shareholders outcry who wants all those problems when you can have a Tesla cheaper and better than any Mercedes hybrid.
     
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  8. lolachampcar

    lolachampcar Active Member

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    Elon has, and will continue it appears, to show them exactly how to go about doing the task. He has also shown the world that compliance cars are produced to be as ugly and unappealing as possible so as to syphon as few ICE sales as possible while still meeting CA ZeV requirements. These compliance cars are not BeVs but bastardizations of the BeV concept to reach a business goal.

    Educate the people and company's by example. I suspect this approach will work.
     
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  9. eloder

    eloder Member

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    Volt-like cars cannot work as a replacement for BEVs even as a transitional tool, as much as people think they can. They work well as training wheels now, but that'll change rather quickly.

    The big problem is that once enough BEVs are on the road (this is probably 1-2 decades away at most), gas stations will shut down in very large numbers. Suddenly that Volt-like vehicle is going to have far more range anxiety than an electric driver. OEMs still are pretty clueless and continue to not understand what's happening. You can't cut cars' fuel needs by 95% and expect gas stations to survive, even if the market share is something like 10-20%.

    It's the iPhone v. Blackberry all over again, except in this case consumers will save substantial money when moving to the new tech. As Musk put it, gas cars will soon have negative value associated with them--even with the huge BEV production shortfalls on the horizon, people aren't going to want a gas car.
     
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  10. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    It's not a matter of "can't invent" it's a matter of money, culture, and core competencies. Traditional carmakers can't afford to let profits slip because Wall Street will punish them for not having profits every quarter, so they can't invest the amount of money it would take to seriously enter the EV market. They have little expertise in EVs so at best they will give a small group the go-ahead just to have something to show or to pass government requirements, but there is so much ICE culture (and investment) for them to overcome that it is almost impossible for them to do more. Also there is no car dealer that wants EVs because EVs reduce their service department profits*--and the dealers are the traditional car manufacturers' customers, not the public which, for the most part, buy what the dealers have. It's almost certain that the EV revolution will come from non-traditional carmakers.

    * I suspect they are chomping at the bit to get hydrogen cars because the service requirements for fuel cells will be far more profitable than the ICE ever was.
     
  11. wdolson

    wdolson Active Member

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    The scenario as I see it, if Tesla manages to pull off the Model 3 on time and it has no major problems, it will be panic time for the other car companies. No guarantees on Tesla's success, but I give them 80-90% chance of making it as long as the economy holds together.

    Say in 3-4 years, Tesla is making as many Model 3s as they can and they still have a 1+ year waiting list. They have broken ground on the GigaFactory 2 and either bought or built a new car plant somewhere. There is speculation it may be in Europe, which is quite possible. The car everyone wants is a Tesla and ICE sales are slumping.

    This is panic time. The battery makers like LG Chem and some others may see the handwriting on the wall and start to expand capacity as fast as they can ahead of the car companies demand, but they are starting with a huge production deficit va Pansonic/Tesla. The first year or two of the Model 3's production they will be bad mouthing the 3 as something negative. I'm sure Bob Lutz will be one of their go to cynics.

    Initially they will predict the Model 3 is just a fad like the pet rock or the dot com bubble, but when it doesn't go away, they will begin to panic and it will be all hands on deck in the R&D departments to roll out a line of BEVs as quickly as possible. Nissan, BMW, and GM will have more experience than most and will have a body of knowledge to build on. Toyota has a fair bit of experience with electric drive trains, but not that much with plug in technology. Many other companies have some experience too like Ford.

    Fiat-Chrysler is in a lot of trouble. In the US Chrysler has been trying to milk the last days of the ICE muscle car before CAFE standards send them the way of the dinosaur. They have paid little attention to electrics except as compliance cars. Subaru is probably in trouble too, they have very little experience with anything but ICE engines.

    VW will still be recovering from the diesel scandal, but they are a massive company and they will probably make it. Honda has focused on motors more than just about any other ICE maker and they are proud of their ICE motors from small lawn mowers up to large vehicles. The paradigm shift is going to be tough for them to swallow.

    Everyone will be trying to make BEVs to compete with the Model 3. Some will make something good enough consumers will buy it but many will be the Ford Pintos and Chevy Vegas compared to the 1970s Hondas and Toyotas coming over from Japan. The first generation will be ICE cars with a BEV drive train crammed in and will perform badly compared to Teslas built from the ground up as BEVs. By the second generation the survivors will have learned and will make native BEVs that people want to buy. Some companies may be either out of business or merged with other survivors. Heck Tesla might buy one of the smaller companies to get access to their factories.

    The entire industry will be hamstrung by a shortage of batteries, which despite the battery makers scrambling like mad, there will not be enough for at least a decade, probably more. Governments will be stepping in to help battery companies build GigaFactories. To replace all current ICE passenger car production with BEVs will require around 200 GigaFactories of their equivalent and cost around $1 Trillion. That's more than even the Chinese or US governments can fund at once. There simply isn't enough capital available to do such a crash program.

    Despite the public wanting BEVs, BEVs won't be even half total car production until at least 20-30 years down the road. It takes a long time to build up that kind of infrastructure. In the interim, hybrids will be common.

    This delay will allow the build out of charging infrastructure. In the US, only about 1/2 of the population owns a home and at least half don't have a garage to plug in an EV. In areas where people park on the streets around apartments, cities will have to build chargers. Apartment building owners with parking lots or garages will need assistance to build EV chargers in their complexes. Work places will need financial help installing chargers for their employees.

    Tesla today makes a lot of headlines, but they are a tiny blip in total car sales, in the US and worldwide. Total BEV and PHEV sales are only about 1/2 % of all car and light truck sales. The infrastructure we have now is basically a collection of experimental solutions on how to support EVs in the future. Some ideas don't work very well, some work good now, but may not scale up very well.

    That's how I see this playing out.
     
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  12. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    #12 ItsNotAboutTheMoney, Apr 9, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
    I do not think that a proportional reduction in gas stations would be a problem for (near-)EREVs, although it would make filling up less convenient and potentially create more exploitation. EREV's problem is related to price competitivity and packaging.

    But, importantly for the EREV driver, gas stations would be needed for long-distance travel, so there would still be gas stations along major travel routes. The situation would be like Superchargers, but with extra local refueling.
    Within 5 miles of my home there are at least 11 gas stations. In that area there are about 50k people. On my route to work I pass another 5. If both our cars were Volts like our 2013, one would hardly need to be filled at all, and the other would be filled every 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the time of year. And with Gen 2 there would be even fewer fill-ups. And that's in a less-than-ideal climate. Even if we were 90% electric and you knocked out 90% of gas stations we wouldn't be horribly inconvenienced.

    In more rural areas, there might be more of an issue, but remember than the margin on gasoline is quite low. If a lone gas station saw a 90% drop in gasoline sales, it would need to dekatuple its margin and then gas would go up maybe 50 cents. Hardly earth-shattering, although helpful to BEV.

    My main predictions for casualties:
    - Peugeot-Citroen
    - Daimler: have made wrong moves on electrification and the luxury segment is the prime target.
    - Honda: has survived through great ICE engineering, but I think that it will be swallowed up by Toyota or another large Jaoanese group as electrification takes its toll.
    - Fiat - RAM and Jeep will survive, because they do stuff EVs find most challenging,, but Fiat will not be able to handle the shift, bringing Chrysler down with it.
     
  13. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    They most likely can. But they aren't Tesla. The other manufacturers are trying to invent electric cars that are more profitable than their gasoline cars, while Tesla is trying to make electric cars that are profitable. Until electric cars reallyaffect margins, other companies are OK, and other companies are clearly working on electrification.

    Within 10 years, luxury car makers could be under threat if they can't react. In 20 years the mainstream could be threatened. But at the same time, autonomy is also a threat.

    I expect to see continued consolidation. Over the past 30 years smaller manufacturers have fallen by the wayside as the cost of engine development has overwhelmed them. Meanwhile, component suppliers cont I nue to grow. The EV revolution will kill some companies, and it'll hapoen with or without Tesla.
     
  14. NoPetrolDream

    NoPetrolDream Member

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    To me, regarding PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle) at what point, as battery capacity increases for roughly same battery size/form factor (and it will), does a PHEV tip the balance to where many who own such a car for a daily commute never trip on the ICE since the car's battery and electric motor can meet the daily needs of its driver? At that point the ICE is dead weight and one would be better off going full EV sans ICE.

    EVs outside of the Tesla world will be hamstrung to replace ICE equivalents until a charging infrastructure is in place that rivals a Supercharger type network. At the same time, improving battery cells will keep eating away at range anxiety, which increases the appeal of going EV. PHEVs at that point will appear as obsolete to a buyer since the lack of an ICE is no longer cause for range anxiety. Therefore either Tesla will walk away with EV sales for a long time to come, or legacy automakers will begrudgingly wake up and join the EV party, which means supporting a charging infrastructure.
     
  15. Big Dog

    Big Dog Member

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    Well yeah. Welcome to loss leaders. No different than other industries that sell some products at break even or a loss to get folks in the store.

    EV's will enable the Big auto companies to meet future CAFE standards while continue to make massive profits on light trucks, muscle cars, and SUV's. They have to produce EV's, even if at a loss due to federal regs.

    Hint: the "A" in CAFE stands for average, as in average of all cars sold.
     
  16. Shopaholic

    Shopaholic Member

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    I don't know the logistics, but according to the "experts" the EV is only a stop gap mode and hydrogen cell vehicles are the future, as electricity is still mostly produced from polluting sources?
     
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  17. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    So is hydrogen as it's produced from electricity and there is a horrendous energy conversion loss to produce the hydrogen.

    A hydrogen car is just an EV with a hydrogen fuel cell rather than a battery. The battery is far more efficient than a fuel cell (and far safer), the EV infrastructure is much less expensive to build, and there is the convenience of charging at home. The only thing that can save fuel cell cars is fusion reactors which will have so much power generation capability that the waste won't matter. Of course, that doesn't get over the safety or refueling at home problem that fuel cells can't overcome. (Safety is the big reason why there are no steam cars--a few of the steam cars blew up from improper maintenance and they quickly went into history--I suspect hydrogen cars will suffer the same fate.)
     
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  18. Snowdog

    Snowdog Member

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    #18 Snowdog, Apr 9, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2016
    That is an extremely unlikely "IF".

    If that happens, look at the Toyota Hybrids as an example. For years the only good hybrids were Toyota Hybrids. Remember the Honda Insight 4 door. Poor knockoff of a Prius, flopped big time.

    But car companies didn't just give, up. They just kept working at it, and getting better. Nearly everyone offers a range of Hybrids today.

    Same will happen for EVs.

    I think the upcoming generation of 200 mile EVs will have several decent offerings (Bolt is quite decent). The generation after that even more, and so on.

    In many ways it easier to be competive in EVs than it was in combustion cars. With combustion cars emissions/economy/performance/efficiency were often all at odds with each other.

    With EVs it is much easier for everyone to deliver performance/economy/efficiency, with no worries about a VW like emissions scandal.
     
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  19. weak_pig

    weak_pig Member

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    Did Tesla share their battery layout/technology (as in, are they patent-free)?

    Would they consider sharing that secret so that other car companies can produce similarly long range EV vehicles (so far, only Chevy Bolt can somewhat match their range, i think).
     
  20. weak_pig

    weak_pig Member

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    I wasn't actually referring to Chevy Bolt (my bad, as I didn't mentioned names), but to the rest of the car industry in general.

    Then these carmakers are seriously gonna be in trouble, if they continue to cling on to their ICE/hybrid manufacturing days in order to maintain profit.

    You've basically summed up what I've wanted to say.

    I was reading this article from Jalopnik and I like the idea of getting Tesla to sell the body to other car manufacturers:

    http://jalopnik.com/why-tesla-needs-to-sell-the-model-3-without-a-body-1767589269

    This would allow the other car companies to concentrate on designing the outer shell of the car and would lessen the burden on having Tesla alone to meet the demands of EV production to the public.
     
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