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No ICE cars in 8 years?

Discussion in 'Cars and Transportation' started by mspohr, May 17, 2017.

  1. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    All fossil-fuel vehicles will vanish in 8 years in twin ‘death spiral’ for big oil and big autos, says study that’s shocking the industries
    Stanford study predicts the rapid demise of the ICE vehicle... And fossil fuel industry, auto dealers, used car market.
    Will be replaced by autonomous EVs.
    "
    This is the futuristic forecast by Stanford University economist Tony Seba. His report, with the deceptively bland title Rethinking Transportation 2020-2030, has gone viral in green circles and is causing spasms of anxiety in the established industries.

    We are on the cusp of one of the fastest, deepest, most consequential disruptions of transportation in history

    Seba’s premise is that people will stop driving altogether. They will switch en masse to self-drive electric vehicles (EVs) that are ten times cheaper to run than fossil-based cars, with a near-zero marginal cost of fuel and an expected lifespan of 1 million miles."
     
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  2. Emmies

    Emmies Member

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    that would be great. gas stations better start adapting quick. they are foolish if they don't start adding electrical charging, like right now.
     
  3. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    I recall quite a few predictions from SRI (formerly Stanford research Institute) and Stanford, partly because I was there for several years and made 'contributions' to quite a few such forecasts. Among the famous ones from those years "there's no future for hand held calculators, slide rules are faster, cheaper and easier". Of course there were some equally famous examples where they were correct. Anyway, economists are infamous for inability to forecast technological disruption. Somehow,academics seem to be enamored of Star Trek and imagine we'll all like being "beamed up" and will like autonomous anonymous vehicles. Surely such innovations will successfully displace taxis, but I have little doubt that they may reduce other private vehicles they'll certainly not displace them. Disruption works almost magically for large proportions of a population, but rarely displaces a whole. Universal adoption of anything almost never happens. I say 'almost' because 'all' itself is vanishingly rare.
     
  4. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    Predictions are hard... especially about the future.
    Probably best not to put things in absolute terms (like the headline) but in more nuanced terms (like the actual paper).
    There are some good examples of disruption to sectors... digital cameras, smartphones, computers, etc. and also, as you point out, some spectacularly wrong predictions.
    I wouldn't trash "academics". They can be wrong just like the rest of us but it is their job to study the real world and this fellow is an economist which should make him less starry eyed than average.
    I can easily see a world in eight years where most new cars are autonomous EVs; the value of ICE used cars collapse; major automakers who fail to adapt (and their dealers) go out of business; and oil price and use continues to decline. Not "universal" but "the majority".
    We will have autonomous cars by then. They will offer compelling advantages. EVs will be affordable and practical for most people. TFA points out that electric trucks could meet the needs of 70% of truck use today.
    Change is coming, it's only a matter of "how fast" and the economics of autonomous EVs are rapidly converging on compelling.
     
  5. jbcarioca

    jbcarioca Active Member

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    Yes, and none of them are even close to universally adopted. The great risk is "mother-in-law" research, in which we assume our preferences somehow represent a market. Clearly it just is not quite so.
    Neither would I, lest I trash myself. However, much of what I learned is to avoid overgeneralizing, and be very careful to distinguish between rate of probably growth and university of conclusions. Even seemingly universal things such as Cars, television, smartphone and computers are quite far from universal, even though they seem to be so. Back at SRI we ran a pretty exhaustive study of forecasting error, mostly concentrated to the big errors. The vast majority, around 90% IIRC, were easily avoidable by ensuring that then sample avoided obvious bias. The famous hand held example was egregious, sampling only engineers for judging potential adoption.

    Similarly, predicting BEV adoption rates totally ignores adoption bias, that slows every major innovation. Smartphones grew massively for a decade, but the last half of the global mobile telephone market still buys non-smart phones. The BEV adoption rate will inevitably;y take decades to happen, not least because a substantial part of the world does not now have reliable electricity and a very large part of the vehicle being population will prove to be nearly Luddites. Universal BEV adoption is far, far away. We'll have huge growth, with electric trains, planes and automobiles we'll have autonomous ones too. But the old-fashioned ones will be deeply resistant to change. Inevitably so because it is almost always thus.

    Nothing I have said indicates I don't think we are in the early stages of a transportation revolution. I am positive we are. I am convinced ICE vehicles will still be produced thirty years from now, and in large quantities. I wish that would not be so, but I'm sure it will be.
     
  6. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    This may very well happen but it won't happen at anywhere near the speed that Seba is predicting. I am not sure that logistically we could ramp up EV production that quickly over 8 years even if we started today and went at it full bore. I doubt we have enough lithium mines operating today to produce all of the lithium that we would need for the batteries and that could take years to get geared up alone. There were about 95 million cars produced last year and that number is growing pretty quickly. Think about the battery production needed to make well over 100 million cars per year. That can't be built overnight.

    Plus if gasoline demand fell precipitously then prices would fall as well - and I would think to a lot less than $25/gallon. It would make air travel a lot cheaper.
     
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  7. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    Eight years is lots of time to convert ICE to EV production. Also to build lots of Gigafactory. No shortage of lithium. Just have to open mines.
    Air travel is not fungible with vehicle travel.
     
  8. wayner

    wayner Active Member

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    Air travel may need be fungible with vehicle traffic but a significant decrease in demand for crude oil should lead to lower prices for crude oil which will make air travel cheaper. Think of the ramifications of a fall in oil prices to $25. A lot of countries would be f'ed. Places like Russia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Venezuela, etc would like keep producing since they need the cash from oil. That would cause a glut and make prices continue to fall. That would likely cause regime change in several of those countries, but the rest of the world wouldn't care as much.

    Are you sure 8 years is lots of time to build a Gigafactory? We are currently about 3-4 years into Gigafactory 1 and it hasn't even scaled up - I believe it is about one third complete (source - Tesla giant desert Gigafactory rumbles to life). And getting zoning in Reno, NV is one thing - getting zoning and enviro approvals can take 8 years alone in places like Europe and other less business-friendly states.
     
  9. deonb

    deonb Supporting Member

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    Are there predictions that are NOT about the future?
     
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  10. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    I believe this is a malapropism commonly attributed to Yogi Berra but actually widely used.
     
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  11. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    Not sure of that in that we are what 3+ years on current gigafactory and we. Are what 25% complete
     
  12. mspohr

    mspohr Active Member

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    Volvo announced that they will not design any more diesel cars and will stop diesel production in 2023.
    Also announced new EV to be produced in 2019 and they credit Tesla for proving there is a market.
    Volvo credits Tesla for creating EV demand, says they will stop developing diesel engines to focus on EVs
    The CEO noted that Europe’s regulations are pushing them to be more aggressive in the development of more efficient engines. He added that diesel and gas will still be important in the coming years, but electric propulsion will be required after 2020.
     
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  13. wdolson

    wdolson Supporting Member

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    The problem isn't the lithium, it's the logistics of building that many factories in that short a time. The equivalent of 100 more Gigafactories needs to be built at a price tag of around $1 trillion. That's $125 billion a year for 8 years. Who is going to foot that tab?

    And that just builds the factories. It's probably going to take another trillion to build out the infrastructure to support all those cars.

    Throwing $250 billion a year at the problem for most of a decade will probably require governments to get involved and while commitment may vary from country to country, the US is definitely not interested in that kind of investment right now.

    Getting all production switched over to EVs is also just the first step. There are lots of older cars out there. In the US, the average age of cars on the road is 11 years, that means half the US fleet is older than 11 years. A large percentage of those people driving cars older than 11 years don't have the money to buy anything newer. Without some kind of major incentive to replace their old car, they will be driving the ICE cast offs from people who have converted to EVs. The overall fleet will get cheaper, but the poorer people will still be driving ICE for a long time to come.

    This article is a pie in the sky dream. The logistics of reality makes the adoption curve much longer.

    It's all doable. There are no technological or scientific barriers that need to be crossed before it becomes possible. 20 years ago before li-ion batteries became as good as they are now, it would have been impossible to base an electric future on the tech in the EV1, even if Chevron didn't mess with the patents for nickel-metal-hydride battery tech.

    The pieces of tech needed to make this happen are here now, it's just the logistics of making it happen in one of the largest segments of the economies of every industrialized country is huge and isn't going to happen quickly.

    Tesla is showing the world how to scale up this tech. Without Tesla pretty much proving that the Model 3 could be brought to market (not there yet, but very close) in volume at an attractive price point, nobody would take it on. Ultimately it will be consumer demand that drives the switch. The other car companies will get serious when their customers start demanding electric cars. Tesla has already done that in the European luxury car market which is why the European luxury car makers are taking Tesla the most serious right now. They can see Tesla moving down market and it will eat their bread and butter products like it ate their high end products.

    The rest of the car industry is unwilling to learn the lesson from the Europeans and are continuing to predict the imminent demise of Tesla. Bob Lutz was on CNBC a few days ago predicting Tesla was toast any day now. You'd think someone who had been a CEO would know something about the difference between gross and net profits, but GM did go bankrupt on his watch too.

    Demand will likely be way ahead of the ability of the industry to deliver though. Right now demand for non-Tesla EVs is soft because they are not very compelling as cars. But if the ones that don't start making compelling EVs when their customers start asking for Tesla-like EVs will go out of business.
     
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  14. EinSV

    EinSV Active Member

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    This is a welcome development and the CEO's hat tip to Tesla was very classy.

    It wouldn't surprise me to see Volvo move ahead of the Mercedes/BMWs/Audis of the world since Volvo is a subsidiary of a Chinese company (Geely) and the China-based auto manufacturers are way ahead of the incumbent brands from the US, Europe and Japan in EV thinking and adoption. This move seems to be Geely extending an EV focus to its Volvo brand.
     
  15. kort677

    kort677 Active Member

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    what some of you are missing is that if the end consumer does not grasp the concept of the EV, all the hype will not make EVs mainstream.
    in other words if john q public doesn't buy the product it the ev revolution just isn't going to happen. at this point john q is not embracing the ev concept.
     
  16. wdolson

    wdolson Supporting Member

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    Julian Cox summed up my predictions about what will happen to the market when the Model 3 hits the streets:


    Right now EVs are segregated from the rest of the market and few people in the regular public gets to experience them. For the EVs made by the mainstream automakers, EVs are ghettoized into the eco and incentive market. The vast majority of EVs sold are sold to extreme "green" buyers or people who are drawn in by major incentives like tax credits and/or the ability to drive in the HOV lane.

    Tesla is the only EV that has appeal outside of this ghetto, but the price limits it's impact. I live in an upper middle class neighborhood and own the only Tesla for some distance. I've seen a few around town, but there is a fairly rich neighborhood at the crest of the hill. Talking with my neighbors about the car, one has been following Tesla since the Roadster days and really wants a Model 3 (he can't afford anything more expensive), but the rest of the neighbors weren't even aware it was a pure electric vehicle. They though it was some kind of hybrid if they knew what it was at all.

    Among households that make $200K a year, Tesla is well known, but that's a small segment of the public as a whole. With the Model 3, Tesla will start penetrating middle class neighborhoods. It will first be people like my neighbor who have lusted after one for years, but they will show their less well informed neighbors and a lot of people will come to the conclusion EVs have a lot of positives over ICE.

    If the CAFE requirements don't change (which they might), ICE high performance cars will become rarer and rarer. Even if they remain available in the US, they will become almost unknown in Europe because of more stringent fleet MPG ratings. EVs will remain the only cars which can get on the freeway without getting lunched by a semi.

    There is also the day to day advantage of having a full "tank" every morning. This last week my SO was asking to run errands in my car because her ICE was low on fuel and she didn't feel she had the time to go to the gas station. She thinks my Model S is too large for her tastes, she likes the footprint of her Subarus, but she is otherwise leaning more and more towards a smaller Tesla once it's available. She also had to admit that my car handled better than her Subaru when we had some serious snow this winter.

    Road tripping in an ICE will have faster fueling than an EV for some time to come, and EVs are still shorter range than most ICE. But Tesla has gotten around much of the road tripping issues with superchargers and in every other situation, EVs are superior to ICE, which is the way most people drive their cars from day to day.

    Once the public starts experiencing their neighbor's Model 3, demand for good EVs will go up. A lot of people will initially "slum it" with an EV that's out there now, but demand for EVs on par with the Model 3 will increase quickly. Car makers will be faced with the dilema of making a compelling EV or go out of business.
     
  17. Uncle Paul

    Uncle Paul Member

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    Once EV's become less expensive to buy than an equlivent ICE car, and the charging issue is addressed, I would imagine that very few people would want to buy ICE vehicles.

    Economics will drive the transition, and Economics begin with Eco...
     

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