Consultant Absurdly Claims Electric Vehicles Will Be a “Teeny Microniche for the Foreseeable Future”

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 13

The Microniche Method

The Microniche Method

A “teeny microniche” is all that electric vehicles will ever cater to, says some person who obviously knows next-to nothing.

Well...What Is It?

Well…What Is It?

Kim Korth, president and CEO of IRN Inc. (the so-called “Source for Automotive and Industrial Intelligence”) told attendees at a first-year conference called AutoConnect that “Electrification makes no commercial sense.”

Obviously, Korth hasn’t a clue what’s going on, as electrification is already a commercial success.

Anyways, Korth added some other nonsense, stating:

“[Electrification] will be a teeny microniche for the foreseeable future.”

Just had to sneak that word “teeny” in there, didn’t she?

Korth admitted that she ignores the forecasts saying that electric vehicles will grab up to 7% of the automotive market by 2020 and overlooks the non-stop rollout of new plug-in vehicles.

Who the heck is this Korth person?

According to the Nashville Post, Korth believes that autonomous vehicles will change the automotive industry.  Korth says that in time vehicle interiors will resemble living rooms and be minus items like pedals, buttons and…heck, why not throw out the steering wheel too.

So, we’ll have living rooms for vehicles, but people won’t be willing to buy electrics?

Get real.

Source: Nashville Post

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13 responses to "Consultant Absurdly Claims Electric Vehicles Will Be a “Teeny Microniche for the Foreseeable Future”"

  1. Mark C says:

    Let’s not forget that some business will pay for a “consultant” to confirm what they want to hear instead of coming up with a report that says something they aren’t willing to accept.

    I don’t think vehicle electrification is going to happen overnight, but it seems to be making good progress to me.

    1. Lad says:

      It won’t take long at all once “The Better Battery” is available to the mass market. Nothing better than sitting at home watching your EV being refueled by your own solar panels and thinking how you so don’t miss the middle eastern nations and the greedy oil executives dictating our economic future.

  2. John F says:

    I thought autonomous vehicles with living room interiors were supposed to fly without pilots! That’s where the real market is.

  3. Aaron says:

    …and how will these autonomous vehicles be powered? Gas won’t last forever.

  4. MDEV says:

    Are the part of Fox or NYT?

  5. Assaf says:

    Unfortunately, on the other side of Korth’s ridiculous “forecasts”, we have every other day a “forecast” for a trillion and a half EVs in like 3 years, etc. etc., while annual combined world capacity is still quite a bit short of half a million units/year.

    I guess it’s the battle of the fantasists.

    Fortunately, on the ground when it matters, things *are* getting better for EVs.

  6. GuyMan says:

    What’s suprising, is that, long term, I agree with her, about autonomous vehicles. And the need for “personal” car ownership will drop as well, as long as “fleets” of autonomous vechiles are “roaming about” at your beck and call – Personal cars are horribly under utilized machines, as well as bad investments, all driven by a need of personal convienence. If you can push maintenance, depreciation, etc. all off to a fleet owner, and still keep the convienence, then you have a winning business model (and fleet owner will not want the passenger messing with their vehicle – Think “Johnny Cab”). So that’s all well and good.

    None of that really matters regarding how the car is powered, again long term, BEV’s are CLEARLY going to win out over gas, H2, or CNG vechiles. PHEV’s will live on for some time as well. – The improved efficiency, lower maintenance, V2G potential payback, and even “easier refueling” (ala charging) of an automated BEV versus a liquid fueled car are going to make even make a change over happen even faster for a fleet owner (who is basically just worried about ROI, and has an easier time rasing capital for an investment that has a good return) versus a personal car owner.

    So, ultimately, I agree with her statements around the long term autonomous-vehicle future direction, the only real impediment that I see is one around legal liability around accidents, but beyond that, the “living room” car IS coming. It’s just she’s crazy to not realize, that “living room on wheels” is going to be a BEV, from a cost, maintenance, and efficiency standpoint, it’s certainly not going to be based on a liquid fueled transport device.

    If she is talking very short term, then EV’s are indeed a “small percentage” of the market (I would still argue they are a commerical success, but that’s another debate), but it’s not like autonomous vehicles are poised to “take off” next year either – You’ll get “smarter and smarter” cruise controls in the near term – But fully autonomous transport is still 10-15 years out (mainly due to the slow wheels of the justice system to sort out liability laws), till we have “fleet owned” traveling “living rooms” at our call.

    1. MMcI says:

      Those “fleets of autonomous vehicles […] roaming about at your beck and call” sound like safety and sanitary nightmares. The first time I step into one whose previous user was the drunk kid who threw up in it or the busy mom who dropped the dirty diaper in it, I’ll be running screaming back to my personal “bad investment”, as long as I can still afford it.

      1. GuyMan says:

        I guess I’m missing the “safety nightmare” part of this – as for “sanitary”, my guess is that it would be a lot like “airline travel”, you want the 1st class, autonomous-vehicle experience, it comes with snacks, and drinks, with wine in crystal glasses, and you pay for that. – You want “basic service”, it’s a basic “private car”, you want “el-cheapo”, then you get packed in on a shared shuttle bus, with greater waiting times for the vehicle to come to you. I personally don’t see huge safety or sanitary concerns with either taxis or rental cars, with is what this approach is fairly close to. The vehicle is obviously going to have a GPS, so you even have the fleet owner knowing where it is in case of an issue. As your paying for this upfront, via some credit card or other format (like a rental car), there is going to be some traceability as to who is in the vehicle during in transit leg

        I’m not saying all private “autonomous-vehicles” will die out, those that can afford them will own them – It’s just the point of the exercise is generally getting from point A to B, and usually, cost versus convenience are the major tradeoffs. But looking at private jets, they are generally owned in a fleet, rented, or owned by a company or group – Sure private ownership does exist, and wealth has it’s privileges, in terms of a nicer/more private plane – But the bulk of travel is focused on getting from A to B, safely, cheaper, and quickly. With autonomous vehicles, we’re just cutting out the paycheck for the driver/pilot.

        I would even venture to say “autonomous-vehicles” will, long term, significantly alter air travel – Sure long haul traffic will not change much, when your flying over oceans, but anything say under 500-600 miles (regional jets), will be much better handled by an “autonomous bedroom on wheels” – You get in for the evening, it drives while you sleep, and you arrive at your destination when you wake up. After it drops you off, it heads back to the garage to get the sheets changed, sort of a cross between a rental car, and a hotel room. Think of it as an overnight train, that runs on public roads.

    2. Mint says:

      Cars are no more underutilized than homes. We could all make do with smaller living spaces. But we all want personal space to call our own, both in our home and our car, and that’s never going to change. IMO, it’s linked to our primal instinct to claim territory. But autonomous vehicles are indeed an absolute certainty to take over the market. In the long term they’ll add only a few percent to the cost of a vehicle.

      I don’t think BEVs are guaranteed to win out over PHEVs. I think automakers are going to crank out range extenders in the hundreds of thousands at less than $2k a piece (Tata Motors sold a whole car with a 28kW engine for $2500). Even $100/kWh batteries won’t let a 200-mile BEV match the price and freedom of a 100-mile EREV.

  7. Bill Howland says:

    Not much of a consultant if they don’t provide rationale for their claims.

    I’m sure a big factor unmentioned is the relative price of electricity versus gasoline. If gas went from being $3.50/gallon to $6, then EV’s would sell like hotcakes (provided electricity remained at its current price in most of the country).

    1. Rick says:

      There is a maximum price for gas, which will be defined by the price point at which other fuels become cost competitive. Gas is already the equivalent of $10 to $12 per gallon in much of the rest of the world, but you don’t yet see EVs making a huge dent in those markets. So I don’t think $6 gas in the US, by itself, means that EVs would sell like hotcakes. Battery prices will have to come down substantially and their reliability established before EVs can be competitive in most applications. And once the subsidies expire, EVs will have to live or die in the real world.

      1. Mint says:

        I think establishment of reliability is what fleet operators are waiting for. Once EVs prove themselves, they’ll sell very well (EREVs in particular).

        What I see happening is a smartphone model arising, where EVs are sold at a discount, but will require a payment plan of, say, $3 per 50 miles (i.e. cheaper than a 50 mpg car). We’re looking at $15k in revenue over 200k miles, and EVs may well average 20y+ lifespans due to inherent reliability, making that figure even bigger.