Big changes are happening in transportation

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A year or two ago we talked about major changes coming to the auto industry and the speed at which they would be switching over to electric vehicle production. This change is happening and it is happening quickly. The entire Volvo line will have an electric option by next year. General Motors and Ford are dramatically slashing passenger car production to focus on electric and self-driving cars while they let profitable trucks and SUVs pay the bills. Germany's largest mfg. VW is going all electric asap in 2020. And trucks are about to become electric as well ('bout time!). Tesla sales are blowing away all luxury car sales. The others aren't even close. Tesla has raised the bar for what luxury car owners expect in their future purchases and other car mfgs. are taking note. China has already aggressively entered the electric car market with over a dozen mfgs. half of which are innovative new competitors. In August, Chinese EV sales hit 100,000 units, a new record. The next few years are going to be interesting to say the least.

Petroleum industry pov
http://www.petroleum-economist.com/...lead-to-an-electric-vehicles-inflection-point

new BMW to compete with Tesla's offerings:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonmar...lectric-vehicle-market-a-charge/#ee01d1917452

New truck coming to market
https://www.inc.com/kevin-j-ryan/ri...any-emerges-from-stealth-mode.html?cid=hmsub1

VW's cars in development
https://www.vw.com/electric-concepts
 
A year or two ago we talked about major changes coming to the auto industry and the speed at which they would be switching over to electric vehicle production. This change is happening and it is happening quickly. The entire Volvo line will have an electric option by next year. General Motors and Ford are dramatically slashing passenger car production to focus on electric and self-driving cars while they let profitable trucks and SUVs pay the bills. Germany's largest mfg. VW is going all electric asap in 2020. And trucks are about to become electric as well ('bout time!). Tesla sales are blowing away all luxury car sales. The others aren't even close. Tesla has raised the bar for what luxury car owners expect in their future purchases and other car mfgs. are taking note. China has already aggressively entered the electric car market with over a dozen mfgs. half of which are innovative new competitors. In August, Chinese EV sales hit 100,000 units, a new record. The next few years are going to be interesting to say the least.

Petroleum industry pov
http://www.petroleum-economist.com/...lead-to-an-electric-vehicles-inflection-point

new BMW to compete with Tesla's offerings:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonmar...lectric-vehicle-market-a-charge/#ee01d1917452

New truck coming to market
https://www.inc.com/kevin-j-ryan/ri...any-emerges-from-stealth-mode.html?cid=hmsub1

VW's cars in development
https://www.vw.com/electric-concepts
Good to read, thanks for compiling all the information.

Hopefully a side effect of all this will be continuing innovation in batteries and the associated price drop.

Reminds me of the rapidity of LED lighting techology a few years back. Went from way too expensive and wonky, to cheap and mainstream in a few years, after decades of hopeful talk.
 
I had mixed feeling on the Ford and GM announcements. In the short term they are building where the market is which are gas hog trucks and SUVs. Sure they sugar coat with the promise of EVs but the consumers arent really buying them anywhere near the demand for trucks. Obama had bumped up the CAFE standards for trucks but I believe the current administration retracted them. Under the prior system, the manufacturers had to subsidize econoboxes like I drive to compensate for the gas hogs sold. I guess without the CAFE driver the choice is just dont build the economy cars.
 
I have been surprised by the resilience of the renewable market and EVs. And I have also been surprised by the price collapse in oil prices, which is driven by over supply, a slowing world economy, but also by the diversification of our energy portfolio (and this is happening with sanctions on Iran and with Venezuela oil production crippled by their own government's stupidity).

I was reading an article on Toyota working on their own battery technology - if anyone can build a better battery, it would be them.
 
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Dick Hill a UMaine professor once predicted that we would never run out of oil we just wouldn't be using it due to the carbon impact.
 
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Wise man.
 
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Yeah he'd be right about that. Good thing too, as oil's useful for more than just burning...
 
When I was a young lad I was hired as a film loader for a promotional film shot down in Tenn. - Rosco Tanner and some PGA golf star were involved. The subject? Some brainiac figured out how to liquefy coal and put it into an 18 wheeler. The money shot was when the truck started. It didn't, or couldn't at first. A little finagling and off it roared spewing thick black smoke out the stack. Everyone clapped.
 
Dick Hill a UMaine professor once predicted that we would never run out of oil we just wouldn't be using it due to the carbon impact.
The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones.

But there were no stone selling billionaires employing countless people selling stones.
 
The stone age didn't end because we ran out of stones.

But there were no stone selling billionaires employing countless people selling stones.

No, but I imagine there were many coach builders, of actual coaches, not cars, but they were affected too, went out of business when cars boomed. The rapid decline in demand for horses and other livestock due to tractors and automobiles certainly put a hurting on the industry leaders of the time. True, still not the same as the petroleum industry, but one day it will no longer be profitable.
 
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No, but I imagine there were many coach builders, of actual coaches, not cars, but they were affected too, went out of business when cars boomed. The rapid decline in demand for horses and other livestock due to tractors and automobiles certainly put a hurting on the industry leaders of the time. True, still not the same as the petroleum industry, but one day it will no longer be profitable.
Can't come soon enough for me, but I'm pretty sure our government then wasn't owned and controlled by the coach industry.
 
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That Rivian truck looks nice...

Makes me believe that with auto plants closing in North America, car builders are going to have to move into the higher cost tier products to keep production in North America. It still will not make up the lost jobs but hopefully a new industry grows.
 
GM had to change, they are late to the game in many ways. Ford made this decision months ago and barely caused a ripple. It's interesting to note: "According to AAA earlier this year, one in five drivers wants an electric car as their next vehicle." This article presents a thoughtful perspective on GM's move.
https://cleantechnica.com/2018/11/27/gm-may-finally-be-serious-about-electric-vehicles/

"If projections are correct, there should be 400 electrified models on the road by 2025. That’s 300-plus more EVs and hybrids than are running about today."
https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckt...ric-car-market-dont-count-on-it/#6a1860d917f9

The real issue at present appears to be an administration that wants to go backward and celebrate all things fossil fueled instead of forward on a low carbon diet.
 
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Where do people think the electricity comes from for EVs? Answer: hydro, coal, some nuke. Many of the advocates of EV are also advocates of ending hydro, coal, and nuke.

What will they do when the battery units in their EVs are shot, requiring thousands of dollars to replace, and generate hundreds of pounds of chemical waste?

Engineers they ain't.
 
Ya forgot solar and wind which together with hydro is at about 18% and growing. Last I checked no one was advocating tearing down Grand Coulee.
http://fortune.com/2018/02/18/renewable-energy-us-power-mix/

Car batteries are rated conservatively and last a very long time. When retired they still have a lot of capacity even if you reach the 150-200K miles with them. Then they are recycled, not wasted. There are a lot of aftermarket uses because they still have a lot of capacity left. But about 3/4 of them are harvested for raw materials. That's a lot better than what happens to the average consumer electronic battery.
https://www.afr.com/business/energy...atteries-you-may-be-surprised-20180627-h11ynt

Are you an engineer?
 
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Ya forgot solar and wind which is at about 13% and growing. Last I checked no one was advocating tearing down Grand Coulee.

Actually, one of the world's biggest environmental lobbyists is pushing very hard to stop hydro:

https://www.patagonia.com/blog/2018/04/telling-the-dam-truth/

Most of the same groups are dead set against nuclear too.

I didn't mention solar and wind since they are such small slices of the pie that makes modern civilization possible. I was in a training class with an engineer from GE who specializes in their giant wind turbines. He said when you include the energy it takes to manufacture the components and craft the turbines, plus the maintenance, they almost aren't worth using. I have a close friend who lived in Africa for over 20 years near one of the most reliably windy places on earth (literally). He says that over the years, company after company came to the area and scoped that spot for wind power generation. They all decided it wasn't worth it.

I've done the math on solar for our homestead. If you have reasonably priced grid power available, solar's not worth it. The inefficiency of the panels, their ongoing degradation, and the challenges of battery storage are significant. And that's when you have an owner like myself (and many on this forum) who understand the tech and are willing/able to deal with the maintenance. It only begins to approach economic viability through government subsidy.

I read some comments here about payback times for solar. Did they consider panel degradation and failure, the cost of a blown inverter, lead-acid battery replacement, time spent in maintenance, etc?

IMO, solar becomes worth it when the alternative is no electricity. Or, the owner is simply willing to pay for the independence. No argument there, I get it. That same friend of mine in Africa ran exclusively on solar, because there was no other alternative. His homestead here in the US is near mine and I've helped him set up some solar applications. He has grid power too but likes the independence of solar. But he's got no illusions about solar saving money over grid power.

I really wanted solar to be viable for us. I love the potential for sustainability, environmental cleanliness and independence. But I'm an engineer and I enjoy playing with systems. I have a clue about the massive, grid powered industry required to produce and transport solar components. Most people don't.

I just tire of alternative energy arguments that don't take into account upstream costs and higher order effects. In the above link by Yvon Chouinard of Patagonia, he says solar and wind are economically viable alternatives to today's energy sources. What a crock.

It often simply devolves into a virtue signalling game.
 
Actually in the US wind is almost equal to hydro. 6.3% vs 7.4%. Don't know too much about Patagonia's campaign.
 
Reasons @Sparky31 mentioned are part of why my position on energy topics these days center around:

1. Nukes, nukes, goshdarnit NUKES. Did I mention NUKES? Preserve all existing nuclear plants at any cost, and please bring on Atomic Age 2.0 as responsibly as possible. Fast breeder reactors and slow breeders (thorium) should be the focus as they were from the 60's onward.

2. Grid storage, wherever it makes sense. Much of this seems pie in the sky still though.

3. Biomass at a local level for personal fuel security, but not for grid-scale.
 
I had mixed feeling on the Ford and GM announcements. In the short term they are building where the market is which are gas hog trucks and SUVs. Sure they sugar coat with the promise of EVs but the consumers arent really buying them anywhere near the demand for trucks. Obama had bumped up the CAFE standards for trucks but I believe the current administration retracted them. Under the prior system, the manufacturers had to subsidize econoboxes like I drive to compensate for the gas hogs sold. I guess without the CAFE driver the choice is just dont build the economy cars.

Getting back to our program, I happened to notice yesterday how many new sedans were out on the road. Civics, Accords, Camrys, entry level lux like Lexus, BMW and Mercedes, Jag etc etc. Plenty of Prius' and the sighting of a Tesla is no longer the event it used to be (like the damn deer!).

So it seems to me that although the sedan market ain't what it used to be, it's domestic sedans that US buyers don't want due to lower, or at least hit and miss quality of domestic models..
 
Getting back to our program, I happened to notice yesterday how many new sedans were out on the road. Civics, Accords, Camrys, entry level lux like Lexus, BMW and Mercedes, Jag etc etc. Plenty of Prius' and the sighting of a Tesla is no longer the event it used to be (like the damn deer!).

So it seems to me that although the sedan market ain't what it used to be, it's domestic sedans that US buyers don't want due to lower, or at least hit and miss quality of domestic models..

I am unsure on the assertion with respect to all the imports, I will agree the Japanese cars are bought for reliability but know many owners of Euro aspiration vehicles and they all seem to have less than reliable experience with their cars. Yes the dealers make it easy to get them fixed but longer term the parts are god awful expensive and take a while to get plus once out of warranty the hourly service costs are sky high. Access to the proprietary diagnostics information is harder although even the Japanese make it difficult. My bother had a Subaru issue and the dealer charged him $400 just to plug it in. IMHO the real reason for the decline of sedans sit the consumer preference for large vehicles when gas prices are cheap.
 
Getting back to our program, I happened to notice yesterday how many new sedans were out on the road. Civics, Accords, Camrys, entry level lux like Lexus, BMW and Mercedes, Jag etc etc. Plenty of Prius' and the sighting of a Tesla is no longer the event it used to be (like the damn deer!).

So it seems to me that although the sedan market ain't what it used to be, it's domestic sedans that US buyers don't want due to lower, or at least hit and miss quality of domestic models..
Locally I spot several Tesla a day. They are about as common as any BMW or Audi. The issue with hit or miss quality seems more of the past with domestic models. Ford and GM are making some good sedans now.
 
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Ford and GM are making some good sedans now.

Maybe but perception is hard to change overnight. Maybe its just me but if I'm looking for a reliable sedan I would go for the tried and true. If I was looking for "driver's car" it wouldn't be a domestic either.

I agree with some of the euro cars not being all that reliable but then many of those are bought for the cache.
 
Yes, old perceptions die hard. Our Volt is a lot of fun to drive, especially when compared to Toyotas we've owned or rented. The Cruze is much more fun to drive too. Ford's CMax and Fusions aren't bad either. Dodge PT Cruiser, meh.
 
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Yes, old perceptions die hard. Our Volt is a lot of fun to drive, especially when compared to Toyotas we've owned or rented. The Cruze is much more fun to drive too. Ford's CMax and Fusions aren't bad either. Dodge PT Cruiser, meh.

I was at a light the other day with a young lady in a Tesla.Needed to get over to make my right. Either get front or get behind. I didn't even try.
 
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I was at a light the other day with a young lady in a Tesla.Needed to get over to make my right. Either get front or get behind. I didn't even try.

I was on the LIE, near exit 64. I looked in the rear view mirror and the line of cars behind me was in the far off distance. A few seconds later, I had a Tesla coming up fast. It seemed like it came out of nowhere. I proceeded to move over and let them pass me.

This is a pretty tricky time for automakers (when isn't it?) as they have to decided when to change over to electric. Too soon and your sales dive. Too late and your vehicles are obsolete. The infuriating thing about GM is that the management culture has always managed to stifle the EV division, to the point that they sought to kill it. This probably has to do with the pressure the US automakers are under to show quarterly and yearly results and not waste money on EV R&D.

It seems to me there is an oversupply of cars and car manufacturers, and the next recession and trend shift is going to do away with a few automakers. Which means more consolidation and fewer auto manufacturing jobs. In this sense, I wish we would build new high speed trains across the country, offer more buses and bus routes, and charge congestion pricing for the most congested parts of the country.

But if the past teaches us anything, it is that more money will be spent expanding our same old highways.

Here's a good article on the possible future of car transportation
https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/5/18/15604744/self-driving-cars-cities