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Another Elon Musk Bet: Half of All Cars Built In 2032 Will Be Electric 359

Posted by Soulskill
from the but-will-they-fly dept.
New submitter cartechboy writes "Ears perked up when Elon Musk made another bold statement he'd be 'willing to bet on.' This time he says that in 20 years, half of all new cars sold would be plug-in electric cars. Believe him? The math looks a little fuzzy, and one research analyst is willing to take Musk up on the bet. 'It expects the U.S. plug-in market to grow at a 32-percent average rate from now through 2020. That takes sales to roughly 200,000 units in 2020. Even if that rate continued for another 12 years, which Hurst considers unlikely, that would only take plug-in cars to roughly one-third of the market in 2032, or about 5 million sales. But Hurst thinks 8 or 10 percent annual growth in plug-in sales is more reasonable, taking the total to 480,000 or 574,000 plug-ins sold in 2032 in the U.S.'"
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Another Elon Musk Bet: Half of All Cars Built In 2032 Will Be Electric

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  • by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:08AM (#40682469) Homepage Journal

    I wanted to make a post from my electric car but I ran out of powe*&^%^@*&^#####

    • by Taco Cowboy (5327)

      Without fossil fuel, where can we get electricity?

      Nuke plants that we have today (2nd to 3rd generation) produce to much radioactive wastes, and no one has built any 4th gen nuke plants yet

      Eventually, when the fossil fuel runs out, all future inhabitants on this planet will have to go back to the old ways to move - like walking, or riding a horsey, or something like that

      • by GeLeTo (527660) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:37AM (#40682651)
        The amount of electricity required to travel a certain distance with an EV is roughly the same as the amount of electricity used to refine the gas for a regular vehicle that travels the same distance. According to DOE:
        http://gatewayev.org/how-much-electricity-is-used-refine-a-gallon-of-gasoline [gatewayev.org]
        • by GrahamCox (741991) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @05:15AM (#40683755) Homepage
          Assuming that's true, it means that a gas car is using the energy twice - once to refine the fuel, then again to use the fuel. At least the EV car is only using it once.

          The problem with petrol is not this anyway, it's that a) it's a finite resource and becoming scarcer, b) it's releasing CO2 that was sequestered over million sof years in a short timeframe and that doesn't seem to be a good idea by any measure, and c) it's a very inefficient use of the energy it embodies.

          If batteries could even get to half of the energy density of petrol, EVs would be a no-brainer. IC engines are really quite unsuitable for the task they are given.
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            IC engines are really quite unsuitable for the task they are given.

            That's odd, people seem to do quite a bit of traveling while being dragged around behind those ICs. I'm pretty sure they're capable for the task they are given. If you want to argue that the task they are given is stupid, you might have a point.

            • by GrahamCox (741991) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:24AM (#40684543) Homepage
              That's odd, people seem to do quite a bit of traveling while being dragged around behind those ICs. I'm pretty sure they're capable for the task they are given. If you want to argue that the task they are given is stupid, you might have a point.

              They work, because they have had trillions of dollars thrown at them for over a century. Nevertheless, they only seem suitable, but they're not.

              Think how many components in the average car are dedicated to working around the IC engine's basic unsuitability. A car has to start at zero speed. No IC engine can run at zero speed, so you need a clutch of some sort. Then they have no power until they are revolving quite quickly, so you need to gear down the output. Then as soon as you're going at a few mph, they've run out of revs and you need a different gear. They are so inefficient that they get very hot indeed, so you need a large cooling system. The fuel/air mixture has to be just so, so you need a pretty complicated system to deliver that with any sort of control and frugality. The internal forces generated are enormous - really, think about how many g a piston pulls reversing direction - so they are big and heavy to contain those forces. And they are a one-way process, so there is no way to recover excess energy of the vehicle in any usable form - you have to throw it all away as waste heat. And when all is said and done, they turn in a measly 25% or so efficiency, which is crap.

              An electric motor is perfect by comparison - efficiencies in the 90%+ range, reversible (i.e. it can recover energy back into electrical form), generates torque from zero speed and capable of delivering that torque over a usable range of speeds with no gearing. Sounds like a winner to me.

              An IC car has been successful because of the convenience and density of its energy storage, not because of the Victorian engineering hack-job that converts that into motion. And it's only the lack of a suitable energy storage solution that holds back EVs, not motors.

              The modern IC engine is a miracle of engineering, but that doesn't mean it's not a bunch of band-aids on top of hacks on top of an essentially unsuitable method for converting chemical energy into motion.
        • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @07:48AM (#40684735)

          The amount of electricity required to travel a certain distance with an EV is roughly the same as the amount of electricity used to refine the gas for a regular vehicle that travels the same distance. According to DOE: http://gatewayev.org/how-much-electricity-is-used-refine-a-gallon-of-gasoline [gatewayev.org]

          Fascinating link.

          Alas, it's carefully overlooking a few key details.

          One of which is that the energy of crude oil is in no way related to the electricity required to refine said crude oil.

          What they're actually making a guesstimate to is the amount of electricity that could have been generated INSTEAD of making the gasoline.

          And they're overestimating that by assuming that the making of electricity is 100% efficient.

          Which it's not, in case you were curious.

      • by sFurbo (1361249)
        I would imagine riding a horse is far less energy efficient than driving in a car running on biofuel. Animals need constant energy upkeep, and you can't use them for a very large percentage of the time. Furthermore, horse are horribly ineffective, as they eat grass but don't use the cellulose.
        • by Taco Cowboy (5327)

          I would imagine riding a horse is far less energy efficient than driving in a car running on biofuel

           
          Before you want to stake that claim of yours, I would advise you to do a more thorough research on the total energy input in producing biofuel

          I do know what I am talking about, in this regard
           

          • by sFurbo (1361249)
            As opposed to the total energy input of feeding a horse?
            • Sod the horse, there is already an invention that turns KFC directly into transport fuel. It's called a bike, and had a brief moment of popularity before the lazy fuckmobile was invented and killed all the transport infrastructure world-wide.

          • Which biofuel though?

            If you're talking corn ethanol, I totally agree with you. It's probably more efficient to corn-feed a horse (dietary considerations notwithstanding).

            Without numbers in front of me, I'd guess that biodiesel is probably more efficient than horses ; the engine alone is more efficient (~ 45%) than horse muscles (~ 25%), plus you don't have the overhead of "idling" a diesel engine 100% of the time to keep it useful.

            Producing a horse will consume 10 times it's mass in biofuel just for starter

          • Horses also produce a lot of pollution.
            Hint: bring a shovel.
            Large scale use of horses could potentially lead to large scale epidemics from organisms breeding in the faeces.
            The smell probably won't be enjoyed either.
      • by hairyfeet (841228) <.bassbeast1968. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:50AM (#40682725) Journal

        That's not the big problem the problem is the batteries. we just haven't had any true battery breakthough in years and lithium batteries just don't take extremes in heat and cold like a lead acid does. The average temp in the south has been over 100F, ever leave a lithium battery in a car in this kind of heat? Say goodbye to more than half your capacity.

        Until battery tech can take temp shifts like gas can its gonna be a hard sell, the vast majority that own vehicles don't own temp controlled garages and with the batteries for the things running a minimum of $7500 a piece unless the government wants to eat billions in costs for giving away batteries there simply won't be a used market, nor will those that buy one want to keep the vehicle once the batteries die out of warranty, they'll end up scrapped.

        • Lithium-Air (Score:5, Informative)

          by Namarrgon (105036) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @03:42AM (#40683315) Homepage

          Developments in Lithium-Air batteries are rapidly making them viable, and are conservatively estimated to give ten times the power/weight [arstechnica.com] of Li-Ion.

          There's also been a number of advances in high-surface-area electrodes that dramatically increase charge and discharge rates. Some of these have already made it to market, such as the MIT spinoff A123 Systems - which coincidentally enough has developed a Lithium Iron electrolyte that handles extreme temperatures [a123systems.com] very well..

          There's a great deal of industrial interest in improving battery technology, and claiming that there's been no breakthroughs in years is simply ignorant, I'm afraid. If you're paying attention, the future of batteries looks pretty rosy.

        • by Rei (128717) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @04:36AM (#40683565) Homepage

          That's not the big problem the problem is the batteries.

          The one true statement in this paragraph, but not for the reason you think.

          we just haven't had any true battery breakthough in years

          Remember what cell phones looked like 20 years ago? Remember that giant brick of a battery? Compare that to the battery on your smartphone today. Now look at what your smartphone is wasting power on beyond just maintaining a cell signal.

          It's a common but utterly false myth that batteries haven't advanced much. They've been advancing dramatically and show no signs of stopping. Now, increasing power *consumption* on electronics tends to waste a lot of this, but as for storage, it's had a pretty consistent 8% energy density by mass gain per year. Power density has risen even faster.

          and lithium batteries just don't take extremes in heat and cold like a lead acid does.

          Most automotive-style li-ions are rated for much more extreme temperature curves than lead-acid. I've seen some rated for as low as -50C, although -30C is more common. Ever tried to start a lead-acid vehicle in -50C weather? Yeah, that's what a block heater is for. And guess what? The block heater concept works with EVs, too. And yes, the same applies on the upper end of the temperature spectrum.

          The average temp in the south has been over 100F, ever leave a lithium battery in a car in this kind of heat? Say goodbye to more than half your capacity.

          Again, automotive-style li-ions (which are a different chemistry than laptop-style li-ions, they're more akin to the li-ions in power tools) don't do this; they're amazingly durable. Something you don't seem to get is that there's not just one chemistry available in each family. Battery manufacturers have an array of tradeoffs they can make in chemistry selection, chemistry details, DOD (depth of discharge), and so forth. This radically alters the ratios between price, energy density, power density, and lifespan. For most consumer electronics, they're thought of as disposable. Hence price and energy density are typically highly optimized at the expense of power density and lifespan. For vehicles, lifespan is fixed at a target (usually something in the 7-10 years to 20% capacity loss range), power density is fixed at whatever the demand is (high for hybrids, medium for plug-in hybrids, low for pure EVs - basically, the more batteries you have, the less power you need per cell), and then the price/energy density tradeoff is adjusted for the vehicle's particular market niche.

          for giving away batteries there simply won't be a used market, nor will those that buy one want to keep the vehicle once the batteries die out of warranty, they'll end up scrapped.

          Simply not true. Grid operators are dying to get their hands on used batteries from the EV industry which they could snatch up at bargain-basement prices. As if they care that they're only 80% capacity or less; energy density is practically irrelevant when your batteries sit in a warehouse in a fixed location, and 50-80% of the density of a li-ion is still way more than a lead-acid anyway.

        • by MrL0G1C (867445)

          How did your drivel get modded up? Have you been living in a cave for the last decade, if you actually read the news you might have noticed the continuous stream of stories about improvements in battery technology.

          The anti-new-energy-technology mindset on Slashdot is just sad, thankfully this doesn't matter because renewable energy is catching up pricewise with fossil fuels and large-scale energy storage is feasible. Renewables are the future whether nuclear and fossil fuel loving slashdot ignoramuses like

    • by tehcyder (746570)

      I wanted to make a post from my electric car but I ran out of powe*&^%^@*&^#####

      Yes, because no one ever ran out of gas, so your point pretty much demolishes the very idea of an electric car.

      What's rather surprising is that no one has ever thought of this before. I expect the all powerful electric car lobby has bribed everyone to sweep this under the carpet.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:13AM (#40682499)

    1977 Mercedes-Benz, 300,000+ miles and still going strong.

    I expect I will STILL be driving it in 2032 when I has 600,000+ miles on it.

    • In fact, because of the low loading on the power train and the lack of frictional components like a clutch, there are plenty of examples of the Toyota Prius going around with similar mileages. Over that sort of mileage, the fuel cost saving becomes enormous. One potential problem for the EV industry is that the electric motors are such a proven technology that no real improvements are likely, and battery upgrades should be rather simple. There is going to be very little reason other than a crash to replace
      • by tehcyder (746570)

        The car is gradually ceasing to be a status symbol anyway

        Sadly, that is just wishful thinking.

  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:15AM (#40682517)

    The first electric car with 200+ mile range and a less than $25,000 price will be the biggest seller in the market overnight.

    Just those two items alone would probably cause Musk to be right. And that's what he's betting, that the battery range and price will come down to the point that everyone can afford an electric car and that it will have a range similar to that of a gasoline engine. If the market delivers those specs I think he'll be right, you can drive an electric car for about $0.10 cents a mile, the gas savings alone would so massive everyone and their dog would want one.

    What could you do if you didn't have to buy gas anymore?

    • by game kid (805301)

      Perhaps, though by 2032 "less than $25,000" would probably mean "less than $250,000", or "less than CNY159,350 [duckduckgo.com]" if China decides to choke more than just rare earth supplies.

      • by Rei (128717) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @05:19AM (#40683769) Homepage

        The rare earth thing is a red herring. Tesla, and pretty much all other modern EVs, don't use rare earths. They use AC synchronous motors, which don' have permanent magnets. And anyway, it's not that rare earths are only found in China; they can just produce them a bit cheaper than other parts of the world. The result of the stockpiling is that mines in other parts of the world are starting to be built / reopen (there's one in California, for example, that shut down years ago due to cheap Chinese rare earths that's now reopening).

        • by loshwomp (468955)

          Tesla, and pretty much all other modern EVs, don't use rare earths. They use AC synchronous motors, which don' have permanent magnets.

          This is not correct, and is evidently a point of much confusion on the internets. Synchronous motors (aka "brushless DC" motors) do indeed use permanent magnets. Virtually all hybrids and EVs on the road today use this type of motor, and absolutely employ the so-called "rare earth" magnets.

          Tesla is fairly unique in that they (like AC Propulsion from which they sourced their technology) use AC induction ("asynchronous") motors, which do not use any permanent magnets.

          While the stators are the same in both t

          • by Rei (128717) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @12:28PM (#40688025) Homepage

            Synchronous motors (aka "brushless DC" motors) do indeed use permanent magnets.

            Which would be relevant if Tesla and the others used a brushless DC motor. They use induction-based AC synchronous motors. Almost all older EVs used brushless DC and "neighborhood electric vehicles" (aka, glorified golf carts) still do, as well as most hybrids, nearly all modern, highway speed EVs being developed/on the road are now using AC synchronous motors, which have no permanent magnet. This includes not just Tesla's powertrain (which it also shares with a couple other auto manufacturers and was used in, for example, the electric mini and Toyota's new RAV4EV), GM's vehicles [allnewchevyvolt.com], Think's, Renault's, BYD's, etc. Nissan is the only exception with the Leaf, and I doubt they'll stick with it for long.

            AC motors like this used to be grossly impractical, but this has changed with the advent of readily available high power switching electronics. "Brushless DC" motors are history as far as EVs go.

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      The first electric car with 200+ mile range and a less than $25,000 price will be the biggest seller in the market overnight.

      Just those two items alone would probably cause Musk to be right. And that's what he's betting, that the battery range and price will come down to the point that everyone can afford an electric car and that it will have a range similar to that of a gasoline engine. If the market delivers those specs I think he'll be right, you can drive an electric car for about $0.10 cents a mile, the gas savings alone would so massive everyone and their dog would want one.

      What could you do if you didn't have to buy gas anymore?

      The Chevy Volt already has a longer all-electric range than the average USA commute distance (and hundreds of miles of gasoline powered range) and "only" costs $30K (after tax rebate). Why wait for a 200 mile electric car when a Volt will get you to work on electricity alone, yet you can still drive it 200 miles to grandma's house (and you don't need to plug it in at her house and let it charge overnight).

      I'd be surprised if a $25K 200 mile range electric made a significant difference in sales - sales over

      • by Loki_1929 (550940)

        Why wait for a 200 mile electric car

        How can one wait for a car that came out 4 years ago? The Tesla Roadster had a 244 mile range and is all-electric. The Tesla Model S (which began shipping this year) has up to a 300 mile range on the top end battery option.

        The pricing is a bit higher for now, but it's coming down very fast and they're aiming for $30,000 on the next generation. That said, the 200-mile all electric car is a few years old now and they work great.

      • by tehcyder (746570)
        Why don't the government just impose a huge sales tax (100%+) on petrol, sorry gas powered cars, and use it to subsidise the costs of electric vehicles? Once people have a choce between a gas-powered car for 50K and an electric vehicle for 10K, I imagine things would change pretty quickly.

        And all the libertarian billionaires would still be able to drive their Ferraris, so it's a win both for freedom and socialism!
        • by tazan (652775)
          In the world I live in we have these things called poor people. They drive 10 year old beaters in need of a tune up that get lousy mileage. They live in crappy neigborhoods where there are no jobs and so drive their junkers way more miles than they should. They spend a much higher percentage of their income on gasoline than you do. If the price of gas doubled there would be a _lot_ of really angry people. Not to mention what it would do to the price of food and everything else.
  • Battery powered electric cars were dropped in the past, and will be in the future. Without the vast subsidies propping up the things, they will simply not be built except in limited quantities.

    Now if he had stated simply electric, and not plug-in electric, then I might have agreed. The future is electric - it's just not battery powered electric.

    But the real truth is hydrocarbons dominate, and will be with us for a LONG time to come as a means of transportation.

    • by Rei (128717)

      Battery EVs were dropped in the past because they were competing against early gasoline vehicles which hadn't been refined yet, wherein you couldn't trust that gasoline from one vendor would work in your vehicle, where you had to crank start, where the engine was constantly dying, where it was horribly loud and the exhaust untreated and nasty, etc. That's the only reason early EVs had a prayer of competing. Once gasoline got past this, they were easily left in the dust.

      Gasoline's current problem is that w

  • by amiga3D (567632) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:19AM (#40682543)

    It's all about Battery technology really. If battery technology improves significantly and the price becomes more affordable then I think electric cars, particularly commuters, will start selling much better. Absent some big improvement they will remain a niche market.

    • This is a common misconception. It is true for hybrids, but for all electric cars, the charging process is a big problem too - huge currents are needed to charge an electric car, and the facilities to provide these huge currents at random locations represent a massive investment. When you move house with your electric car, do you choose a house with a charging point compatible with your new car, or expect to spend $10k on upgrading the house wiring? (and you rent)
  • Fuel cell (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chebucto (992517) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:24AM (#40682573) Homepage

    Hydrogen fuel cells will win out because you can refuel them in as much time as it takes to refuel a gas or diesel car.

    Electric will be held back by the cost, limited lifespan, weight, and recharge time of the batteries.

    • by sFurbo (1361249)
      With hydrogen, you have losses simply from it diffusing through whatever you try to keep it in. Furthermore, there are not good ways to store it in a moving vehicle. High-pressure tanks are to heavy, low-pressure tanks take up too much space, and metal hydrides and liquification is either to heavy or to energy-inefficient. Without some big breakthrough, it is not going to happen. And if we postulate a big breakthrough, that might as well happen with batteries, or alcohols, or any other techniques.
    • Re:Fuel cell (Score:5, Informative)

      by Sqr(twg) (2126054) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @04:21AM (#40683507)

      I worked with fuel cells for about 7 years, and I'm fairly certain they will never be used in cars on any appreciable scale. They were used as an excuse by the auto industry for a while. ("Don't make us do battery cars. Wait for fuel cells!") Now that battery cars are about to become economical, the excuse is no longer needed, so automotive fuel cell programmes will be scrapped. (There are applications where fuel cells do make sense, but cars is not one of them.)

      The main arguments agianst fuel cells are:
      * Efficiency. Making hydrogen from electricity on an economcial scale has an efficiency of about 50 %. Charging a battery is better than 90 %. Converting hydrogen back to electricity in a fuel cell is again about 50 % efficiency (so 25 % round trip). Discharging a battery is again better than 90 % (so 80 % round trip). * Complexity. A fuel cell needs a supply of moist air to function. This requires a compressior, a humidifier, a water tank, lots of pipes, etc. All of this costs money, adds weight, and introduces potential problems.
      * Cost. Fuel cells require platinum catalysts that are expensive.
      * Reliability. Fuel cells just aren't as reliable as batteries.
      * Lifespan. Again, batteries are better than fuel cells in automotive applications, and since they are also cheaper, they have a much better price/lifespan ratio.

      Modern batteries can actually re-charge quite quickly if you have a powerful enough charger. (A car draws much more power than a house, so residential chargers cannot be very powerful.)

      I imagine in the future there will be robots at gas stations that switch batteries in your car faster than you could refill a gas tank.

  • Predictions are hard. To borrow someone else's words (from RIM I think), in 1880 people were looking for some better way to move horses through the streets instead of changing to a different game like a car for personal transport. Instead of a better car it could be a move to something like a skilift, more motorbikes, or more likely something else I've never thought of.
    Fuel isn't the only problem. Traffic congestion is a nightmare in many places. I doubt we'll see hundreds of millions of electric cars i
  • by Loki_1929 (550940) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:34AM (#40682643) Journal

    2008 - The Tesla Roadster is a $110,000 (base price) sports car with a 244 mile range.
    2012 - The Tesla Model S is a $57,000 - $77,000 (base price) sedan with 160 - 300 mile range.
    2015 (estimated) - Tesla Gen III Sedans are targeting $30,000 base price with comparable Model S ranges.

    In addition, Tesla is rolling out a "supercharge" network to support changing away from home in convenient locations in target markets. The Model S has also been promised to include a 5-minute battery quick change option. Once that is available at (for instance) gas stations, it'll take as much time to refill your electric as it does to refill your gas car, except it'll cost a whole lot less.

    This guy is actually delivering functioning, functional electric cars and building the infrastructure to support them. I wouldn't bet against him; everyone who's done that so far has been proven wrong repeatedly.

    • If they can bring that down, the other issues aren't such a big deal. A big reason is that you can refuel an electric in your house, which means that range doesn't need to be nearly as large. Sure if you are the kind of person who does big road trips you'll need more range and the ability to refuel all over, an electric doesn't do that. However most people don't do that, they drive around the city.

      160 miles will do nicely for that, provided you can refuel often. If you can do it every night, no problem at a

    • by Grayhand (2610049)
      It's the costs that could drive sales not counting improvements in technology. Look at it this way with all the fracking electricity prices could be fairly flat for the next 20 to 50 years, inflation aside. Gasoline has to go up for two reasons, arguing is pointless and peak oil is here so the only thing keeping costs down is a slow economy. If we had kept up the demand we had pre real estate collapse we'd already be seeing $4 to $5 a gallon. China is burning more every day as well as much of the third worl
    • Supercharging is not recommended on a daily basis. The batteries do not take the heat that comes with supercharging very well. They will be useful for extended trips, but they are no gas stations (atleast they will never be as prevalent as gas stations, even when 50% of the vehicles are electric).

  • by erice (13380) on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @01:59AM (#40682765) Homepage

    If gasoline powered vehicles become cost prohibitive to operate and electric vehicles are still expensive, total sales may drop as people are economically forced out the market. "Plugin" vehicles (which include plug-in hybrids) could still be 50% of the (smaller) market.

    "Second, an oil price shock would have to drive gasoline prices to $8 or $10 a gallon"

    Are these guys kidding? If the global economy wasn't in such a precarious state, gas would be over $5/gallon *now*! In 2032, $10/gallon gas will be a fond memory.

    • by acidfast7 (551610)

      lol ... I can't remember when gas wasn't 8-10 USD/Gal

      in Europe.

  • Front, back, left or right?
  • by rew (6140) <r.e.wolff@BitWizard.nl> on Wednesday July 18, 2012 @03:00AM (#40683113) Homepage

    Most people have their car as a dual-use vehicle. First they commute to work, bring the kids to school and get groceries at shops nearby. This is something an electric car can do just fine. (except for really long commutes). But then they also use that same car to go to friends who live 200 miles away, or go on vacation 500 miles away. Those are things that electric cars are not good at. When it becomes accepted practise that you rent a car for this, that's when things can take off.

    Markets are complicated things. If it is accepted that you pay $700 for a fancy phone, that's what people will pay. If it is accepted that you pay for owning and driving a car. that's what people will pay. If the prices to own and operate cars continue to rise slowly, then people will adapt and continue to pay rediculous amounts (according to current standards), even if it starts taking a significant portion of their income.

    A sudden increase in say gasoline prices of say a factor of two will make a bunch of people think twice. Some will say F*** it and sell the car. Some will switch to electric. But most will adapt, and simply pay the higher price. A few years later a few percent of the population has changed their behaviour due to the increased pricepoint. But the majority continues the same old way.

    The parallel here is cigarettes. Sometimes the government increases the taxes by a few percent causing a significant bump in the price for those things. A few people give it up and a few months later, everything is back to the way it was.

  • I can't see how this will work when not a single electric car is aimed at families.
    Living in London I am repeatedly told I should be driving a "green" car instead of my big Renault Espace diesel. The complaint I normally get is that diesel is dirty but as far as I can find while that is true for old diesels without modern filters (+10 years old) it isn't the case with the modern diesels.
    Also I almost never drive anywhere with less than 6 people in the car and walk whenever the distance is within a mile and

  • I'm with Musk on this one. It's really easy to underestimate the growth of emerging technologies.

    In the 2000 World Energy Outlook [iea.org], the International Energy Agency forecasted that the installed capacity of PV solar cells in Europe in 2010 would be 1.6 GW (see page 294). To hedge their bet, they also included an "alternative policy scenario" where PV capacity reached 2 GW in 2010, corresponding to an average capacity growth rate over 1997 levels (0.5 GW) of 11.3% per year. So, what really happened? In 2010, t

  • An electric car is fast and practically soundless. The 3rd World War on roads, with current 1.5 million killed and about 7 million wounded per year, will go on for 20 more years.

    But maybe by 2032 people would get smarter and build the Internet of things at last, not to drive 3000 pounds vehicle to sign a document or buy a bottle of milk.

With all the fancy scientists in the world, why can't they just once build a nuclear balm?

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