Author Topic: The Autobahn to Car Consumer Hell Is Paved with the Best Intentions  (Read 1965 times)

rcjordan

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The Autobahn to Car Consumer Hell Is Paved with the Best Intentions

https://www.cato.org/blog/autobahn-car-consumer-hell-paved-best-intentions

"So, how’s that working out for Europeans?

Not well, according to last Thursday’s fascinating Big Read in the Financial Times by Peter Campbell. The sub-headline says it all: “rather than embrace the new technology, consumers seem more interested in larger, petrol-fueled cars.”"
« Last Edit: December 21, 2019, 04:06:26 PM by rcjordan »

Rupert

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Re: The Autobahn to Car Consumer Hell Is Paved with the Best Intentions
« Reply #1 on: December 29, 2019, 07:09:34 AM »
I was sick recently, and spent some time on the sofa with youtube and TED talks. 
This popped into my feed, and it rings bells to me:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2b3ttqYDwF0

Quote
Stanford University futurist Tony Seba spent the last decades studying technological disruptions. He argues that the Electric Vehicle, battery storage, and solar power, along with autonomous vehicles, are a perfect example of a 10x exponential process which will wipe fossil fuels off the market in about a decade.
TonySeba.com – RethinkX.com

He is the author of several books, including most recently “Clean Disruption of Energy and Transportation: How Silicon Valley Will Make Oil, Nuclear, Natural Gas, Coal, Electric Utilities and Conventional Cars Obsolete by 2030”, and “Solar Trillions: 7 Market and Investment Opportunities in the Emerging Clean-Energy Economy”

If he is right, its a short term problem, so long as we can find the precious metals for batteries.
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Brad

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Re: The Autobahn to Car Consumer Hell Is Paved with the Best Intentions
« Reply #2 on: December 29, 2019, 10:49:13 AM »
Related on cars:

James May compares a Tesla EV to a Toyota Hydrogen Fuel Cell Toyota.  Worth a watch.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaIW5CQQ3Zo

Fuel cell cars might have a market here in the US with our longer distances.  The big thing is they are fast to refuel.

ergophobe

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Re: The Autobahn to Car Consumer Hell Is Paved with the Best Intentions
« Reply #3 on: December 30, 2019, 05:13:34 PM »
I should preface this by saying that I only watched the first minute (the two parades) and read Rupert's summary. So maybe, I'm just wrong, but...

10x exponential process which will wipe fossil fuels off the market in about a decade.

I'm sorry, but I think this guy is an idiot. He's the same person who predicts a 90% decline in demand for meat and dairy by 2030. I did a lot of follow-up reading on trends and such on that one and sorry, but completely bonkers.

This is even more bonkers. Our carbon output is *rising* people. Demand for fossil fuels is still increasing. The average vehicle stays on the road for more than a decade. Every climate modeler will tell you that even if starting in 2020, we never sell another internal combustion engine ever again anywhere in the world, the latency effect from existing machinery still puts us in a very precarious position and still makes it hard to reach the 50% reduction targets by 2030. Granted, a 50% reduction might be a "collapse" from the perspective of stock price in Exxon, but a) it looks unlikely to happen and b) 50% is a far cry from "wiped off the market."

The idea that the fossil fuel market will simply disappear by 2030 is absurd. It's the worst kind of magical thinking.

He pulls out those same two photos of a single parade in New York City. Here's the thing about horses. You have to remember that 30 years after that second photo, the armies of the world still depended on horses. I recently read a book called something like "D-Day Through German Eyes." It was a series of interviews from the 1950s or 1960s of German soldiers who had fought in Normandy in 1944.

What's one thing that astounded them about the Allies?

No horses.

The soldiers who were taken prisoner and shuttled back behind the lines, kept looking for the horses and when they realized that the entire US Army was running on internal combustion engines, with no horses, they knew at that moment, they war was lost. It was still unimaginable for a German soldier in June of 1944 to imagine that a powerful army could be so powerful it wouldn't even need horses. That's 31 years *after* the second parade.

If anyone wants to take bets on this guy's predictions on fossil fuels or meat and dairy, I'll happily take those bets!
« Last Edit: December 30, 2019, 05:22:05 PM by ergophobe »

Rupert

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Re: The Autobahn to Car Consumer Hell Is Paved with the Best Intentions
« Reply #4 on: December 30, 2019, 09:00:56 PM »
Tom,
I cannot find anything on youtube about his meat predictions...  can you share?

Its a bold headline, and partly I am sure for the click-ability. He is selling a book after all. 

 The point that Elec production from solar is getting cheaper, Batteries and therefore range are getting better, elec cars are getting cheaper, autonomous cars are a possibility is likely to have a massive impact, is really quite plausible.

If, as he suggests Uber, Amazon etc buy fleets, and the cost per mile gets anywhere near to 10c, then your Costa being delivered is plausible. Perhaps not to your house :)

The death of oil is I agree ridiculous... He is missing how useful it still is, and will continue to be. I agree, the flexibility of the IC engine means it will have a place in remote environments for years.  But I can see city's insisting on electric.  Just for the clean air. Never mind any cost saving.

Breaking people away from the status of car ownership is another he brushes over. And the fact that many parking lots are underground.... But still...

Interesting point about horses in WW2...  there is not a lot of info about in the UK about the Germans in WW2.....  Or in France for that matter.  Most of the history is pretty one sided.... on the side of the ones who won surprisingly! But the demise of the horse in the UK as I understand it started in the 1800s and ended in WW1.  Ended by the steam engine, the car and then war.  I assume it is the same in the USA.

I would love to know the reason the Germans kept so many horses.  perhaps it was because they were on their knees after WW1, and it was the only option?


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ergophobe

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Re: The Autobahn to Car Consumer Hell Is Paved with the Best Intentions
« Reply #5 on: December 30, 2019, 10:13:12 PM »
Tom,
I cannot find anything on youtube about his meat predictions...  can you share?

It is, of course, from a post by RC
http://th3core.com/talk/economics-investing/10-yrs-cows-down-50-and-the-beef-and-dairy-industries-collapsed

But he's pushing it on his website
https://www.rethinkx.com/food-and-agriculture

I ended up going down the rabbit hole on that one and had a lot of notes, but I just deleted them I think. But the main thing is that while milk consumption is dropping slowly, dairy isn't.

And the main main thing for both of these sets of assertions is that cheerleaders commonly overestimate how fast things will change and naysayers underestimate.

The thing is, I am sort of a "cheerleader" for both decreasing the use of fossil fuels and for decreasing the amount of meat and dairy consumed. I believe both are important for our future and, as such, I am constantly exposed to the cheerleaders. So for the most part, I've drunk the Kool Aid on these topics. But the Tony Seba Kool Aid is just way, way too strong for me. It doesn't map with anything any of the other most optimistic cheerleaders I read say... and some of those people readily admit that they are speaking of hopes and possibilities rather than likelihoods.

ergophobe

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Re: The Autobahn to Car Consumer Hell Is Paved with the Best Intentions
« Reply #6 on: December 30, 2019, 10:22:45 PM »
I would love to know the reason the Germans kept so many horses.

Every army in the world ran on horses to some extent. At the outbreak of WWII (in 1939 that is), the US had two mechanized regiments and 12 horse regiments. By the time the US entered the war, though, it was almost entirely mechanized. The Brits were the other exception.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horses_in_World_War_II

But back to the main point, yes of course the electric tech will displace petroleum and it will hit a takeoff point where it happens fast. Total cost of ownership for highly-used fleet vehicles will drop to the point where it's worth changing them over. On the other hand, I drive my truck 2,000 miles per year. I have zero incentive to buy a $70,000 Tesla assault vehicle. I literally buy only 100 gallons of gas per year for the truck. Even if my only consideration were CO2, I would never pay back the CO2 footprint of an electric truck. If I can make that truck run to 150,000 miles, I will keep it another 15 years.

So I don't dispute the broad outlines of his assertions that the petroleum market will collapse. What burns me about the guy is that he says this or that will happen in 10 years. Even if I assume exponential growth, it's going to take a very large exponent to get from where we are to where he says we will be in 10 years.

Again, I will take bets on his numbers. If you push the timeline out to 25 years, then I will not take bets. Who knows.

littleman

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Re: The Autobahn to Car Consumer Hell Is Paved with the Best Intentions
« Reply #7 on: December 30, 2019, 10:54:35 PM »
I just checked and EVs are 5.5% of new car sales in California as of September 2019 -- small, but not insignificant.  My 75y.o. Trump voting dad is very hot on the new Tesla truck for some reason.   There are a whole slew of new EVs coming to market in the next couple of years.  I think ICE engine cars being gone in 10 years is a bit overly ambitious, but if I were to place a bet I'd put it at about 40% of new car sales by then -- higher than that if we get some sanity in D.C. again.


Added:

As I was typing this I started to think about Asia and China in particular.  The EV adoption rate has been faster there than the rest of the world. 

Check out:
https://www.iea.org/reports/global-ev-outlook-2019

Rupert

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Re: The Autobahn to Car Consumer Hell Is Paved with the Best Intentions
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2019, 08:25:34 AM »
OK, I think we are agreed then, you just think he is full of horse S**t :)

Horses are still used. Just not many.

I am holding onto my vehicles... my bike and my boat :)
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Rupert

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Re: The Autobahn to Car Consumer Hell Is Paved with the Best Intentions
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2019, 10:52:16 AM »
You have to dig a bit to find Tony Seba on the Rethinkx.com site.  Well found.
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ergophobe

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Re: The Autobahn to Car Consumer Hell Is Paved with the Best Intentions
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2019, 05:50:22 PM »
if I were to place a bet I'd put it at about 40% of new car sales by then -- higher than that if we get some sanity in D.C. again.

I would not bet against that. Seems reasonable. But then, there is also shipping, construction, agriculture, the "winter problem" (not enough sun in the US, let alone Canada to fuel us through the winter, so electric is going to require some fossil fuel or so much solar that we can create enough hydrogen stores or what have you to get us through the winter; transmissions costs over long distances are still high and we do not have the grid to do it and we will not get that grid built within 10 years). Anyway, many reasons in addition to the ones above that I say the 10-year timeline is absurd.

I think Littleman's predictions for 10 years are reasonable, maybe even conservative. I think Tony Seba's predictions might make sense with a 40 year timeline. But the 10 year timeline he posits for both petroleum and meat/dairy are just ridiculous.

I don't consider his predictions horseshit per se. I consider them clickbait. If he made the same predictions with a 40-year timeline, his stuff would  not keep going viral. It's marketing, not engineering.

Oh, and one more data point RE the NY parade slides - read the first chapters of Grapes of Wrath. The farmers in the book are all still using horses in the late 1930s. There is a great chapter on the "tractor man" that is actually one of the best essays on automation ever and sounds like it could have been written today, in our context.

But anyway, point being that Grapes of Wrath was written 25 years after that second slide that shows nothing be cars in the parade.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2019, 05:52:19 PM by ergophobe »

buckworks

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Re: The Autobahn to Car Consumer Hell Is Paved with the Best Intentions
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2019, 09:02:42 PM »
Point of interest ... Scroll down to see the 12-horse hitch owned and driven by a relative of mine:

http://swanriver.valleybiz.ca/news/2018/08/01/rodeo-action-at-the-northwest-roundup-and-exhibition/


rcjordan

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Re: The Autobahn to Car Consumer Hell Is Paved with the Best Intentions
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2020, 11:14:44 PM »
>12-horse hitch

Wow.

Just 4 horsepower (but a lot of torque).
https://thumbs.gfycat.com/TiredBogusAntarcticgiantpetrel-mobile.mp4

littleman

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Re: The Autobahn to Car Consumer Hell Is Paved with the Best Intentions
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2020, 02:02:12 AM »
General Motors to invest $2.2 billion in Detroit to build electric vehicles

Quote
General Motors... is spending $2.2 billion to refurbish an underused Detroit factory so it can build a series of electric and self-driving vehicles, eventually employing 2,000 people.

GM said in a statement Monday that the factory will start building the company’s first electric pickup late in 2021, followed by a funky-looking self-driving shuttle for GM’s Cruise autonomous vehicle unit.

The truck will be the first of several electric vehicles to be built at the plant, which straddles the border between Detroit and the enclave of Hamtramck. The company has plans to revive the Hummer nameplate for one of the vehicles.