Electric car revolution almost here
The above heading is a prophecy of sorts but what the article reports is poor support for it. It says that a lot of car manufacturers are gearing up to make electric cars. Big deal! After the big goof Ford made with the Edsel we know that car manufacturers can guess wrong.
Battery cars are completely unsuitable for cold climates -- like most of Europe and North America. Northern heating requirements slash battery life to ribbons. Let us see you drive your battery car to work in a Winnipeg winter. Battery cars will only ever be toys
What is unusual about the changes in the car industry is that businesses know they are coming and they are so big that in the near future they will not be able even to sell the products that have brought them so much success. As Herbert Diess, chief executive of Volkswagen, told a collection of senior executives in January: “The time of classic manufacturers is over.”
One of the reasons that shares in Tesla have soared — they are still up almost 70 per cent in 2020, despite the coronavirus sell-off — is the recognition that the skill of developing an internal combustion engine and managing a traditional automotive supply chain is different from building an electric computer on wheels. Tesla has a clear head start. It sold 367,500 electric vehicles last year, compared with Volkswagen’s 79,000.
VW is investing $US30bn ($46bn) trying to catch up, while General Motors said last week it would spend $US20bn by 2025 after claiming to have made a breakthrough on the range and charging speed of its batteries.
Geely, the Chinese owner of Volvo, is developing satellites to support its autonomous and electric vehicles, while Toyota thinks hydrogen cars could be a big part of the future.
These are still early days in the revolution. Carlos Tavares, chief executive of PSA Group (formerly Peugeot Citroen), said last week the only people buying electric cars were “green addicts”. There are not enough charging points and the cars are too expensive.
However, change is happening; it’s just that predicting much else about the revolution is foolhardy