Wall Street Journal Says ICE Cars Could Soon Be Like Flip Phones

DEC 27 2018 BY EVANNEX 139

WALL STREET JOURNAL: GAS-POWERED CARS COULD SOON BECOME THE EQUIVALENT OF ‘FLIP PHONES’

Pulitzer Prize winning auto columnist, Dan Neil, discusses his next car in the Wall Street Journal — and it’s going to be electric. He writes, “This is above all a pocketbook issue for me. A gas-powered vehicle would be too expensive. I plan to keep my next vehicle 10 years, at least. Over that time the cost of ownership for an EV, including fuel (on the order of a penny a mile for the electricity), repairs and maintenance would be considerably lower than comparable costs of an IC [internal-combustion] car.”

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Authored by Matt Pressman. The opinions expressed in these articles are not necessarily our own at InsideEVs.

Above: Electric cars could, someday, bury the internal combustion engine (Instagram: @baybeepanda123)

“My other big worry: resale value. In case you haven’t been following the news from the Paris climate talks, most nations of the world have put the IC vehicle under a death sentence. Post-Paris, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that there will be between 125 and 220 million EVs on the road by 2030,” reports Neil.

The writing is on the wall. According to Neil, “We are living through the S-curve of EV adoption. The total number of EVs on global roads surpassed 3 million in 2018, a 50% increase over 2016, according to the IEA. In November Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling small/midsize luxury sedan in the U.S; and Model S sales (26,700, year to date) outsold Mercedes-Benz S Class, BMW 6- and 7-Series, and Audi A8 combined, according to industry-tracker goodcarbadcar.net.”

Neil says, “During the reasonable service life of any vehicle I buy today, I expect the demand for IC-powered vehicles will drop to practically zero, equivalent to the current market penetration of flip phones. No one will want them and there will be nowhere to get them fixed; by that time widespread fleet electrification will have cratered traditional dealerships that depend on service dollars to survive.”

Above: The IEA’s electric vehicle outlook (Youtube: International Energy Agency)

Right now, “The twilight of the IC engine is pretty awful, actually. All the technical gymnastics to reduce consumption and emissions from IC engines—stop-start, cylinder deactivation, CVT transmissions, high-strung turbos hooked up to small displacement motors—it all feels junky and compromising.”

What about a plug-in hybrid instead of an all-electric car? Neil says, “The steady improvement in lithium-ion batteries’ energy and power-density over cost will render the latest plug-in hybrids comically superfluous in a matter of years.”

And, “Internal combustion isn’t going to get any better. Last year the chief financial officer for Continental, the Tier 1 global automotive supplier, lit up the chat rooms with his prediction that IC development at the German carmakers will effectively end by 2023.”

Above: A concept design rendering of a Tesla pickup (Image: InsideEVs)

Even though Neil says, “The Tesla Model 3 is amaze-balls, crazy good,” he’s currently eyeing an all-electric pickup from Rivian — assuming, of course, that Rivian is first-to-market. Elon Musk has been teasing a Tesla pickup too but timelines aren’t exactly Musk’s strong suit. No matter what Neil decides, he’s going all-electric. He says, “internal-combustion just doesn’t work for me anymore.”

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Source: Wall Street Journal

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers, free of charge. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX. Check out the site here.

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139 Comments on "Wall Street Journal Says ICE Cars Could Soon Be Like Flip Phones"

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This is going to become increasingly common over the next couple of years. Interesting times ahead for ICE. I think Apple is going to step back into EV development which will dramatically increase visibility of EVs even if Apple doesn’t produce something compelling.

I’m in this camp right now. Extending the life of an old ice I would normally have replaced by now. But delaying waiting for an EV.

Makes sense to keep the old bucket running until you’re ready to go fully electric.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

I have a 9-year-old Prius that I’ll likely be replacing. Normally would replace next year (coming up 10 years), so the timing may work out for me. But I might wait and see what’s to come in 2020+.

Yup, and I’m starting to worry about “stranded assets” here. Although, arguably at 10 and 20 years old, our two ICE vehicles “don’t owe us nothing”. But I’m planning to liquidate them in about a year to help buy another Model 3.

Agreed. Extending the life of my old Civic by a couple more years so that I can get a Model Y or similar in 2020/21. I also can’t see anyone wanting the old 60’s & 70’s classic cars either. Today’s generation doesn’t give a care in the world about an old Mustang or Challenger, when the boomers die off, there will be as big a market for the classic cars as there is for classic VCR’s now.

“I also can’t see anyone wanting the old 60’s & 70’s classic cars either.”

Weirdly, Dodge seems to be chasing this exact market. Seems insane to me…even if it works, it will be a short-lived at best. They’ll be even farther behind the curve when the plug-in market goes mainstream.

I actually see a market for future kit cars of the classics, but with a skateboard EV chasis.

“…when the boomers die off, there will be as big a market for the classic cars as there is for classic VCR’s now.”

Hmmm, seems unlikely. I don’t see a lot of “classic VCR showcase” events being advertised. 🙂

If and when gasmobiles are banned from public roads, that will likely put a dent in the interest in ownership. But there will still be diehard fans, just as there are still people demonstrating steam tractors at fairs and similar events.

Ugh. This Osborne effect party here really worries me.

I’m still driving around my 14 year old car (purchased new Dec 2004). I’m holding out till about 2020 or so. About a week ago, I started to think about the Osborne effect and if I was part of the potential problem and possible demise of the EV revolution. But I keep reading about skyrocketing sales, so I think the future of EVs may be ok even with a few of us holdouts (at least I really hope so!!!) 🙂

The Osborne Effect isn’t going to put a serious dent in the EV revolution. We are just now entering the classic “S-curve” period of accelerating adoption! The next decade is going to be a very exciting time for EV enthusiasts.

Apple, on a $4000 laptop, does not include the 3 prong extension for the power supply any more. Apple iTunes doesn’t automatically convert your library into the DRM free mp3 version, It doesn’t download your latest songs in Loss-less format, it doesn’t load loss-less versions to the cloud, and it’s pushing you to the subscription model, where you rent only and don’t own. And iTunes is buggy, and doesn’t seem to have unit tests for current functionality.

Apple isn’t being run by Steve Jobs anymore.
I just don’t think Tim Cook would even drive a Apple-Car, so failure in the market assured.
Just like Marry Barra not driving a Bolt as her personal 365 day car.

Apple will never get into the EV business. They should have ventured into EV’s, energy storage systems year go. Instead they’ve been rehashing the same products because it’s easy and it’s a cash cow. Tim Cook is one hundredth the visionary Steve Jobs was and is not a risk taker.

Very true. Cook’s a manager (like Sculley was) NOT a maker-visionary.

“Money only” investors constantly think the maker-vision aspect is a one time thing and is easy to replace or only needed occasionally. So wrong. It’s a constant process of watching the details to maintain and transmit the vision.

When the VCs replace the founder it’s a sure sign of decline for a company.

“When the VCs replace the founder it’s a sure sign of decline for a company.”.

Not necessarily. In a good start-up, the innovator is above the CEO. Look at SX. Gwen is for all purposes the CEO. She is RUNNING that company. However, the company direction is still lead by Elon.

Apple had Cook as gwen, and is in DIRE need of a Jobs or Musk.

I suspect that you are wrong.
Apple has nothing innovative since Jobs died. They NEED innovation.
As such, what will they do?
Cook will do the car because as you said, he is NOT a visionary. If he was, he would have started the car shortly after Jobs died.

Apple does one thing that is often overlooked. They make regular upgrades to their software for FREE over the life of the product. Yes, they have a fan base that insists on having the latest hardware and so will Tesla. Apple, however, has a large base that pays the premium for their product for the extended life of the product through software updates. Tesla is tapping into this same market.

Sorry, but lately the software updates seem to take away old features too. And the hardware (non-IPhone) needs a major update too.

You’d have to accept a new updated user agreement every time you try to start your Apple car. Plus download all-new software just to make it work with hardware you don’t own.

Plus a big part of cars is manufacturing….Apple doesn’t manufacture…they design and then have huge armies of Chinese do the manufacturing.

Putzpuller Prize winner, huh? It figures. It will be a good couple decades before more people are buy EV’s than ICE vehicles. The rapid ICE decline will begin when a better, safer, lighter, more powerful, quicker charging battery arrives. That probably means solid-state, near solid-state, or non-lithium. Not only will ICE vehicles see improvements in conventional, hybrid, and plug-in vehicles as time rolls on, there will be hundreds of millions of used ICE vehicles on the market for those who want good used vehicles at bargain prices.

Probably not (also indicated by the down ratings…)

Says the tube TV and VCR collector….

obviously you haven’t studied the growth of global EV adoption supplied by this very site you commented on. Without even that cursory depth of understanding you feel qualified to comment intelligently on the subject. Freedom of speech is great isn’t it. All opinions allowed…even the least informed. Unfortunately too many others give equal weight to the class clown vs the valedictorian on how the math works.

Yes there will be millions of used cheap ICE vehicles on the market but in Europe you will be restricted as to where you will be allowed to drive them and the price of petrol/diesel will be even more exorbitant than it is now.

Yes, there will be a rapidly growing number of cheap used ICE vehicles on the market. And outside of third-world countries, fewer and fewer people every year willing to spend any money at all to buy those dinosaurs.

Unlikely to happen, some European cities are already banning old cars because they pollute more. I can’t use my Volvo anymore in 2022, so it might ship to Africa for peanuts. Regulation will not become less stringent, that would be a spectacular surprise. The auto manufacturers will also push to keep the sales of new cars up. Sales of new cars will become more problematic as EVs become more visible and popular. The general population will realize that EV’s are the future, so they might think twice before they purchase another brand new ICE. Public sentiment can change very quickly, one year ago i was literally laughed at by my brother when i said that EVs where the future, other people chimed in with talk of burning Tesla’s and dangerous batteries. Now people start finding it plausible but they still think it will take several decades.

Yeah, the idea that in 20 years, people will still be buying more gasmobiles than EVs is pretty myopic. I expect that 10 years from now, the majority of new car sales in first-world countries will be BEVs. Perhaps even well over 51%.

ICE improvements? ICE has been around for more than CENTURY. There just are not many avenues for improvements at this stage. Now batteries have been around for even longer! But until recently, they haven’t been pursued as vehicle propulsion systems on a mass scale. So there is a lot more innovation still available in the EV market.

And you are ignoring climate change. Though we have been very slow to react, we are finally starting to see the problem is serious. Between massive hurricanes, fire seasons that are year round, persistent droughts…humanity is getting slapped down. Every country is on board with the Paris Climate Agreement (Even though the orange clown wants to pull us out, he can’t and there’s no way he’ll be in office in 2021). Countries & cities are all making real pushes to get rid of ICE due to climate change and just the stinky ugly toxic pollution.

Yeah, the transition is slow…but 20+ years? Nah. The Model 3 is shooting up the S curve now. And the new offerings from Korea and VW are FINALLY looking pretty good.

Yeah, the “improvements” to ICEVs over the past several years have been mainly adding EV tech to them. The time of innovation in ICEVs is the past.

Those hundreds of millions of used ICE vehicles will be offered at a bargain price because their is no demand for them. Having them scraped will cost more.

EV adoption will take off when more people get the opportunity to actually start test driving them. Most people don’t care about batteries. They don’t understand how their phone works and they certainly can’t imagine how their car works. All most people care about is “Can I afford this __________ and will it get me where I want to go cheaply and comfortably”. I don’t know anyone personally who has test drove an EV for a day that didn’t go out and get one within 6 months.

Are you a member of the Flat Earth Society, too? Your world-view is almost as outdated…

The fly in the ointment is the current resident of the White House and his bankers (aka Big Oil).
Until the US Government and 95% of the States are behind the EV movement then, the USA will continue to lag behind other nations.
By denying the science behind Global Warming they are exhibiting all the behaviours of an Ostrich with its head planted firmly in the sand and totally ignorant of the approaching Electric Truck (Which is almost silent).

Government won’t lead the EV revolution just like they got stuck holding blackberries when smart phones took over.

Apparently Young Republicans believe in Climate Change and said if conservation isn’t in conservative there isn’t a GOP party. When the speaker said it the room erupted in applause.

Can you get a link?
I’d sure like to believe you on this comment.

https://www.mrctv.org/blog/millennial-conservative-environmentalism-rise

After rereading it it’s not as positive as I thought. Especially the part where they don’t feel renewable energy etc. should get subsides. Apparently even after 100 years of subsiding fossil fuels they still can’t stand on there own. I wouldn’t have a problem not subsiding renewable energy after fossil fuel subsides end. However this administration not only wants to continue subsiding fossil fuels. They want to increase the subside because the fossil fuels are no longer able to compete with renewable on price.

Sounds like the message is there, but sadly still lip service to pull in younger voters around a catchy slogan. Hopefully something more than words will come out of that.

Well, they can’t call it “Global Warming” anymore since there hasn’t been any in the last 18 years. So now it is “Climate Change”. The Arctic may be ‘melting’ (as it does every year to a greater or lessor extent) – meanwhile the NEW US’s observatory in Antarctica is built on Stilts since the old observatory was built when there was 3 feet elevation of less Ice, and is buried now. The Stilts allow them to have a much more expansive ICE EXTENT to get longer use out of the facilities.

Nice FUD you spread there. No citations, just vagueness. Why don’t you get a shovel and clean up after your mess?

Not sure about the observatory but his comment is partially correct. There is a greater amount of snow and ice in certain parts of Antarctica, but the rate at which it’s accumulating is slowing down, due to a warming climate and climate change.

Counter to what climate change denialists like to claim, it’s actually evidence for ACC.

Growing up in the Midwest, we would get our biggest snowfalls when temps were in the upper 20’s. When it gets in the teens and lower, it contains too little moisture. Antartica is considered a desert because it is too cold for much snow. Warming would allow for more moisture, hence more snow.

Kind of like everything supporting so called Global Climate Change Warming Disaster?

You can sure tell the Breitbart/Faux News zombies here!

Hehe its interesting how much people attach a religious significance to this since they cannot calmly discuss anything.

I been on an Alaskan cruise, and seen the results with my own eyes. You need to get out more.

Wouldn’t help. Bill has the gain turned up so far on his reality distortion goggles that he couldn’t see any of the vast areas where glaciers were just a few years ago.

Yeah, you’re the guy who is totally clueless since you get your SCIENCE From Luna Novels, where someone can plug a hole in a space capsule by planting his arse on it.

The subject is too complex to broach here.

Your 18 year pause thing was based on a El Niño year of 1998, it was a cherry picked value. This little propaganda point has been dropped by the science denial types since it was overwhelmed by the record years of the last five years. Your knowledge of polar climate confuses the continental ice mass of the South Pole with the ocean ice of the North Pole, two completely different situations. Good news is someone like you will buy my house in coastal Florida when I retire.

Exactly, there has been no pause of any kind.

Great example of ignorance here. The warming is 2 degrees Celsius GLOBALLY. This is a change to the energy in the system. Some places (few) will become colder while most become hotter. It’s not a perfectly even distribution of 2 degrees everywhere. The “look hun, there aint no palm trees growing in our backyard therefore this global warming stuff is bunk” argument is weak. Great, you pointed out a con. Now list all the places that have shown increases in temperature over the last 20 years.

Bill clearly doesn’t understand the difference between weather and climate change.

Its not me, its the media. Whenever it gets cool, you guys say what you just said… However, anytime it is somewhat too warm, the words “CLIMATE CHANGE” will be within the next 10 words.

Bill, you should stick to things you understand, let the scientific experts do the research that discovers what’s actually happening with the climate, and then support their recommendations. Spouting climate change denier talking points shows how uneducated you are in these matters.

Haha that is what is called “Projection”. Almost no people here have done any research into it.

Holy crap, Bill. It’s hilarious how you can understand some things very well but are completely stupid in other areas. I suspect your tribal instincts are drowning out our frontal cortex here.

I’ll consider the source of the commentary.

Bill your not on InfoWars where they believe what you wrote.

I don’t listen to Fox, Infowars, Breitbart, etc. Sorry to disappoint you.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/sciencefair/2017/07/12/massive-iceberg-breaks-off-antarctica/102637874/

I’m sure Bill won’t believe it it’s all a conspiracy theory. Just like you believe Sandy Hook never happen or Parkland was staged. Your head is definitely not getting any sun.

I doubt Bill ever saw any conspiracy theory he didn’t like, or believe. It’s amazing how many contradictory things he’s able to believe simultaneously.

As I say, consider the source.

This is coming from our resident conspiracy theorist, the guy who believes in “chemtrails” and claims what the Earth needs is a lot more CO2 in the atmosphere!

Climate science denial is alive and well, living underneath the tinfoil hat that Bill wears. But he’s not alone! Some hardcore climate deniers associated with the hard right wingnut propaganda mill called “The Heritage Foundation” are also pushing the fantasy that what we need in Earth’s atmosphere is even more CO2!

https://www.desmogblog.com/william-happer

Join the 1% who agree with you.

POTUS is very powerful. But the free market is even more powerful. When BEVs with reasonable range, > 240 miles (200 miles to drive, 40 miles reserve) costs less than ICEV the it will begin to take off. As market share increases, the oil industry will have a glut and see a big drop in prices. But the drop in profits for Oil will be much bigger. They have already deferred exploration, and expansion. They will defer maintenance and run the facilities to ground without any additional investment. As the capacity is lost due to attrition supply will match reduced demand and prices will stabilize. But BEVs will continue to drop in price, and oil will enter a death spiral. Even POTUS can’t stop it.

Despite all the hoopla from the government it did not stop the internet growing so fast once there was money to be made. Government has it limits if it is not a dictatorship.

I don’t believe EVs will make much difference in global warming. I do believe that EVs are the future of the automotive industry for other reasons – pollution, maintenance, etc.

Oh they certainly do. The transportation just overtook electricity generation as the biggest source of greenhouse gases. We need to turn that around and EVs are a big part of the solution. Certainly not the only on…we need more electrified public transport, emissions free ships (nuclear? hydrogen?), reduced aviation (hyperloop?), etc.

Meh. The orange clown is nothing a lame duck at this point. He’s got the dumbest and most gullible 1/3 of the country behind him but other than that, he’s toast.

Yup. There were a lot of Republicans still supporting Nixon until shortly before he was forced to resign, too. Some people have a remarkable ability to live in a state of denial regarding political realities. But I think, and hope, that we are much closer to the end of the Trumpster era than the beginning.

As John Adams said…

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

The Orange One currently occupying the White House will be gone in two years, at most. (Here’s hoping much sooner!) The EV revolution isn’t going to be slowed much longer by the climate deniers, nor the Trumpster criminal gang.

Ok, coincidentally you happen to be the last comment on the Global Warming comment I made. Notice how the only technical information was in my comment – for all the tongues lashing I’ve received. I don’t link to it because I figure people can find the info themselves if they are honestly interested. Which of course, they are not.

I highly doubt we will have any trouble servicing an ICE car in the next 20 years. Training on EVs has barely begun and most ICE mechanics hate troubleshooting any real electrical issue. Plus you have those that can’t afford EVs and those that fear change. This doesn’t even account for any shenanigans the oil industry tries to pull off as the death knell sounds.

Supply and demand will cause gas prices to plummet while providers go out of business. Then it will normalize as consolidation takes place.

I still don’t know what is going to happen with home heating oil.

Either-way, I welcome our electronic overloads.

To me, the biggest single issue is: How will we unwind from fossil fueled transportation? Right now, at least in the US, the market penetration of EVs isn’t large enough to put a serious squeeze on gas stations and refineries. But that point isn’t far off, and when we get there things will get VERY interesting, especially in more rural areas. If a few gas stations close down in a large urban area, it’s a minor inconvenience, but when it happens in a more rural area, you can suddenly have people with much longer drives just to fill up. And the people in such areas will be much less likely to buy an EV out of a combination of high initial price and cultural opposition to those new fangled, hippy tree hugger vehicles. Expect a lot of media reports about how these people are grudgingly switching to EVs. I agree that the service infrastructure will be around for a long time. This market transition is not like the one from flip phones to smart phones or tube to flat panel TVs. The network effects will slow it down considerably, even once we have a much larger and better unified public… Read more »

“How will we unwind from fossil fueled transportation?”

This is the easy part. It will be a fairly gradual change-over because of the overwhelming mass of existing vehicles that can last 20 years or more. It won’t be an overnight replacement of the entire fleet by any stretch of the imagination. The SALES of EV over ICE will happen very quickly however. You can’t be 10x (or even 2x) more TCO expensive and survive.

There is some speculation out there that the reason ICE car sales are declining as fast as they are is not because of customers switching to CUV, but, because of customers deferring their purchase whilst they wait for the EV that meets their needs. They’ll just keep buying used cars until the big switch is happening.

Witness the fantastic sales of Model 3. People aren’t trading in BMWs, Audis and Mercs. They are trading Hondas and Toyotas. And they are stretching their budget by 2x to get there.

However, Tesla is not set up (yet) to make 80 million cars a year, so, it will take a while.

There may be speculation but that’s it. It’s not supported by the data.

US Vehicles sales are up in the US this year while car sales are down. People most definitely are switching from one vehicle type to another, rather than just waiting.
https://www.marklines.com/en/statistics/flash_sales/salesfig_usa_2018

EU Vehicle sales are also up.
https://www.acea.be/press-releases/article/passenger-car-registrations-6.1-eight-months-into-2018-10.5-in-july-and-31

That’s not to say some aren’t waiting, but it’s not a significant number at the moment.

And it’s also a bit of a stretch regarding the Model 3. Most people buying them at the moment are not representative of the general market. The majority of people are not going to stretch 2x for a new car because it’s an EV. They may spend a couple of $1000 extra for one, knowing they will save in the long run, but from a TCO perspective (most important) you have to be a very specific niche to believe you’re going to save money spending twice the money on a car up front and offset that cost in fuel/maintenance – like someone that does 50,000+ miles a year, rather than the average 13,000.

Where I live, I have literally seen gas stations close down and become replaced by office buildings. Between the increase in plug-in vehicle sales and the price of real-estate, gas stations are starting to go away.

That said, I live at the tip of spear in terms of EV adoption.

While there may be some correlation it’s speculative at best. Fuel station numbers have been declining for decades.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filling_station#Worldwide_numbers

The UK has less than a quarter of the stations it had in the 60’s and numbers in the US have fallen significantly since at least 1994 (exact numbers are hard to pin down.

“In 2007 the Census Bureau counted 118,756 gas stations in the United States. By 2012 that total had fallen by 3.6%. In the 15 years from 1997 to 2012, almost 10% of America’s gas stations disappeared.”

https://247wallst.com/economy/2014/05/22/why-are-there-115000-or-150000-gas-stations-in-america/

That is not to say numbers won’t continue to decrease, or that EV’s are affecting that, but that the decline is not related to EV’s yet.

It’s highly rewarding to be an early adopter in this case.

The number of gas stations is going down, but not the number of pumps. Two stations recently built near me each have 40 filling spots. Ten islands, two hoses per side. One replaced a two pump station.

Yeah, the number of very small, mom-and-pop gas stations with only 2-4 hoses seems to have shrunk a lot over the past few decades, replaced by larger stations with 16 or more hoses.

Doesn’t mean the demand for gasoline has diminished by even a thimble full!

I am thinking the decline in gas stations is more because of better MPGs on cars. Also, rural areas should take advantage of gas stations closing as you can charge an EV at home a lot cheaper than keeping a gas fueling station at your home,

I think that’s a case of anecdotal evidence.

Rising real estate prices in certain areas may cause gas stations to relocate, or may cause some customers to start frequenting different gas stations, but that isn’t reducing the overall demand for gasoline.

“cultural opposition to those new fangled, hippy tree hugger vehicles.”

I want to kill this view. I think that once there are good & cheaper residential batteries that can operate with the grid going down, we can turn it around. What proud “personal responsibility” independent rugged individualist doesn’t want to have a home and vehicle that can operate by itself? Only wusses are dependent on mid-East, Russia, or big corporations to power their home & vehicle.

But what we really need is good solar PV systems that operate off-grid with batteries. Those crazy gun-toting apocalyptic preppers should love solar PV & EVs even more than hippies!

Maybe I should become a televangelist that sells self-installable off-grid PV systems instead of buckets filled with dehydrated food? 🙂

Off-grid solar may become practical in suburban and rural areas, but it will never work in apartment buildings where the roof area isn’t nearly sufficient to supply power to all the apartments.

Barring some truly revolutionary power generation tech such as basement fusion generators, the electrical grid is going to be necessary for a long, long time.

Very true…but apartments are more urban/suburban blue territory.

And I fully agree that the grid is important….more important than EVER really. It needs to adapt from being mainly a one-way thing to a complex system that stores electricity & moves it around as necessary.

Off-grid is teeny-tiny niche for cabins. I’m really talking about grid-tied systems that are are capable of islanding & continuing to operate when the grid goes down. My PV system can’t do it and I want that ability but I’m going to wait until the electronics & batteries become more commodified, robust, and cheap. SolarEdge has a decent system but many more will be hitting the market in the coming years. Plus the battery biz needs to grow.

The very economic forces in rural areas which you describe, which will delay adoption of PEVs in such areas, are the same economic forces which will keep gas stations in operation in such places.

You’re being unduly alarmist.

The limitations of how much energy can be stored in batteries will leave farm machinery (tractors, combines, etc. etc.) running on diesel for, probably, decades after most people are driving BEVs. Demand for diesel and gasoline in rural areas is going to linger a long time, and so are gas stations in rural areas to supply that demand.

Apart from the power train rest of the car is same. EVs will have a lot less issues to be troubleshot. When was the last time you needed to troubleshoot your ceiling fan, blower motor of the A/C, compressor motor of your fridge, sump pump in the basement, motor failure in your hard disk, what was the last failure you had in that cheaply made 10$ cassette drive motor failure? The automotive motors are a lot more powerful, true, and they will be better made than those consumer electrics.

The oil glut will reduce gasoline prices and make ICEV more competitive, True in the short run. But oil infrastructure needs very heavy maintenance. Oil pipes through corrosive sea bed, offshore oil production, steam injection on depleted wells…. The loss of profit margin will result in deferred maintenance and expensive fields will shut down. Supply will fall and the gas prices will not keep falling indefinitely.

If we look down the road about 50 years instead of 5, we will probably see the return to buying gasoline in cans. Gas will be so rare that there won’t be ‘gas stations’ any more. It will be a hobby to own an ICE-powered vehicle or tool. Kind of like buying specialized nitro fuel for model planes.

In the next 10 years, I expect to see the US and others force a single high-grade fuel. Instead of three or four octanes there will be one grade at >93 octane. And there won’t be a ‘winter’ and ‘summer’ formula. This will assist the legacy ICE makers by making it easier to tune their engines to keep up with EV performance. Already, there aren’t many high-end cars that can run on 87 octane. My last 4 or 5 cars/trucks have been premium-only engines.

Home heating oil is a dying business. It will get replaced by natural gas (where there are pipes), propane (where there are not), and…hopefully…by a fast-growing heat pump industry.

In the east coast it’s getting replaced by mini split electric heat pump systems which have improved so much they can get heat from 0 degree air.

Yes – Mitsubishi Hyper Heat systems definitely are putting the cost/benefit ratio in their favor. Propane is expensive enough that for these people without very cheap natural methane gas available- heat pumps seem the way to go these days.

You’re absolutely right, it won’t be difficult to get most gasmobiles serviced over the next 20 years or so, at least not for the more common models. The rarer ones, though, might become more trouble than they are worth to keep running.

Even when gasmobiles are no longer being sold in large numbers, that doesn’t mean they will vanish off the roads overnight. It’s overly optimistic to think all those cars are going to be replaced in a short time.

Even if legacy dealerships go away or quit providing service for gasmobiles, there will still be independent auto service & repair shops servicing the legacy fleet of gasmobiles for many years.

I believe a lot of people don’t see how little maintenance an electric car is. Remember that a lot are leasing just for a few years, making the cost of maintenance and the resale value of no importance. All they want to know is how long an EV will repay for itself with gas saving.

When I get in EVangelist Mode, the two main things I stress to people about EVs are the superior driving experience and the insanely low maintenance burden (measured in dollars and hassle). I love to tick off all the parts that my Leaf literally doesn’t have, like engine oil, oil filter, fuel injectors, muffler, catalytic converter, emissions gear, etc. that can need replacement on an ICEv. This makes a big impression on people literally every time.

+1 on pushing ev’s on the driving experience. That is the only way ev’s will win over the general consumer. Pushing an environmental agenda won’t do it, they simply don’t care.

I have not experienced the high cost of maintenance on an ice. I typically own a car for 4-5 years and 100k miles. Usually I simply do oil changes every 10k, a few air filters, a fuel filter or two and change tires. While that is more expensive than the service on my Bolt, it is less than I expect the depreciation to be on the Bolt. So total tco will be less on the ice. I expect that the Bolt battery will have measurable degradation by 100k and that will drive down resale values.

Agreed. I think this maintenance issue needs to be split into multiple facets.

There’s the actual maintenance of the vehicle which can be as low as $50 a year for 5-10 years (oil change/service on a Ford etc) or as high as $500+ a year (oil change/service on a BMW/MB).

Then there are the repair costs – repairing the muffler, dodgy injectors etc. They certainly cost, but when those are starting to go you need to consider the fact you’re probably looking at suspension, steering, electronics and other repairs too – all of which are still needed on an EV. These sort of things usually come with the second owner of a vehicle.

There are a lot of people on here talking about how they’re planning on owning their vehicle for 10+ years. That’s fine, then repair costs as the car ages are important, but the average new car is owned for only 6 years, leaving the repair and heavy maintenance costs on many cars to the second or third owner.

It all depends on the vehicle. Examples of which:

Model 3 compared to a BMW 3 series. The Model 3 has expensive maintenance costs, but it’s still cheaper than the 3 Series, which has even more expensive maintenance costs. $500+ a year

Conversely the maintenance costs on something like an F-150 is minimal – $50 a year for someone doing the average mileage, up until around 100k miles. What sort of maintenance costs will the Rivian have? Will they charge similar amounts to Tesla, or will they charge similar amounts to Nissan, or something in between (say Hyundai)? I’m guessing the yearly maintenance charges will be close to Teslas than a mainstream car manufacturer.

Aside for the tires what was the total costs – now project the total over 10-20 years.

All big changes take time. The cell phone and PC took a few years so we can’t expect a big change like Electric vehicles to happen much faster.
So far Tesla is the only real company making Electric vehicles and charging and batteries. They started at the top of the income level just like the Cellphone and PC did. Tesla even has a lower cost model C compact coming in about 5 years. A hybrid and or plugin hybrid is the step from a gas car. Then you hate to hear the gas engine come on and want more and more electric. It happens one step at a time for many.
More Solar and Wind also helps move the idea down the road. Each step moves on forward. I’d say the 1st step is to buy Tesla stock like I did. The huge profits have paid for our model 3 which I would never have afforded and gave us a big profit. I still have lots of Tesla stock.

Even the BMW i3 will pay for itself in gas saving over the life of the car.
The Rivian will pay for about half it’s cost in gas savings.

But, Wall Street may have digested the S curve.
Exxon YTD return is -19%, down to $67 a share.
And with no plans to transition to Solar, Wind, Battery storage business, there’s no hope of future prospects for the company. Exxon’s CAPEX should be 51% invested in Wind and Solar, yesterday.

Sure Exxon will still be in business 10 years from now, but with drastically reduced sales and a stock prices around $10.

I strongly suspect that the oil majors will all diversify. Say what you will about them, one thing they’re very good at is making money. And once they see EV sales continue to ramp up and take a bite out of oil sales and their bottom line, they’ll quickly move to protect themselves from this rolling disruption. Some will wait too long and do a poor job of diversifying, to be sure, but they’ll move. Even a large and not particularly bright corp. can see the edge of the cliff coming.

My concern is all around Exxon Headquarters, Texas, is moving to solar and wind more rapidly than the nation. But, Exxon isn’t part of that.

Not sure they are that smart. Not too hard to drill a hole and pump liquid out of it. All of their IP for doing that is useless once everything goes renewable electric.

Naw….they won’t. Like the coal companies they just can’t change their stripes. However, it will be a long slow decline. The oil biz has a lot of captive customers that can’t just switch to EVs…aviation, maritime, plastics, petro-chemicals, etc.

The oil companies just can’t get themselves to invest in renewables. Renewables are just a thin profit margin and the oil companies are used to having that thick profit margin. They are literally in the business of digging up buried treasure.

Renewables and Oil/Gas are two different business models. One is a utility model. Low risk, low profit, but steady. The other is a high risk, but high reward model where portfolio and risk management are top of the chain. It’s difficult to transform wholesale from one to another over a short timescale, while satisfying investors. Over a longer period however it can be.

Exactly. The oil biz needs a big portfolio because they have projects where they invest a few million and then get huge returns of hundreds of millions for years. But they also have projects where they invest hundreds of millions that become a complete bust. For example, arctic drilling has been a disaster for some.

Invest in a wind farm….it is EXTREMELY predictable. You can easily model how much it will cost and how much electricity will be generated over its lifetime.

Kinda ironic considering that renewables are the energy source tagged with the “unreliable” and “intermittent” tag.

Great guy, Dan. Years ago I have worked a few days with him on his car-show in Germany.
He drove a red Audi R8 spider V10 (for filming)
Always wondered why they hired a dutch camera guy. Anyway, Revian looks like a good choice if they come trough.

I was in Somalia in the early 90ies. About 1% of the population had electricity. Now they’re at 30% ish.. many places will be slow in EV adoption due to cheap fuel, cheap cars and / or poor electric infrastructure.
But the change will be fairly quick, most places. When prices drop, the more EVs will be sold.

Combination of solar and EV (and to some extent hydrogen fuel cell vehicles) will be integrated without need for normal infrastructure.

Oh, I think you’ll be surprised how fast they will be able to switch. However, they won’t have Teslas powered by nuclear power plants. They’ll have PV & wind powered micro-grids that are used to power electric bicycles.

Flip phones were phased out due to lack of demand, being replaced by a new product that consumers wanted. There are still flip phones, shutter bug and disposables. EVs will eventually replace the majority of commuter cars there will still be a need for ICE, just not as much of a demand since EV will have newer features and functionality that will phase out ICE.

It is pure economics. BEVs will be cheaper to buy, cheaper to run, more reliable and longer lasting.

“Govt passing death sentence on ICE” is irrelevant. ICEs will die, with or without govt regulation. The increasing market share of BEVs will embolden the governments to pass even more strict emission control rules and hasten the death of ICEV. But even without any action, on a pure free market no holds bar battle, BEVs are poised to win.

BEVs will not be cheaper to buy in any mainstream vehicle category during the time period under discussion.

10 years from now? Of course BEVs will be cheaper by then, even in the very cheapest entry-level cars. The only thing keeping EVs more expensive now is that the economy of scale favors gasmobiles. There’s no way a car with 200-300 moving parts in the engine alone, plus the transmission, exhaust system, etc. etc., is going to be cheaper to make than a BEV, once volume production begins at multiple auto makers.

If that’s what you really believe, Doggy, then you’re going to be astonished at how fast BEV prices will drop over the next several years.

You can buy a gently used Nissan Leaf for $5000 right now. You can buy a really nice BMW i3 for $20000. Is that not cheap enough already?

The fly in the ointment here is that currently, more ICE’s have been made than ever before…. And the future always seems to happen much slower than people may want it to. Tesla is at least to be congratulated to still be making electric cars…… But it seems Ford and GM are only months away from totally getting out of the EV car business… I’ve got $2000 built up in credit on my GM credit card, but if GM no longer has any electrics for me to buy, I’ll forgo the money I’ve built up on it since I don’t want to buy anything without a plug on the side. I have no illusions that although the BOLT ev is a fine car, its sales will approach zero when competitors’ cars of otherwise equal value suddenly become $7500 cheaper. So, it is ironic that soon, I’ll say that 10 years ago I could buy a semi-affordable Roadster (no way can I afford the new one), and buy a nice PHEV that practically speaking drives the vast majority of the time totally electrically – but no American Manufacturer makes a PHEV any longer. So in 10 years, this is progress? Fast… Read more »

Don’t worry….both Ford & GM will build EVs. The Volt got dropped because PHEV is kinda stupid for a very small car now….it is much cheaper & easier to go pure electric with that.

PHEVs are getting dropped because BEVs are fast improving in capability. PHEVs were never going to be more than a transitional technology.

If either Ford or GM are still not making any BEVs in high volume 5 years from now, then those companies will be replaced by newer auto makers taking their former market share. But I don’t for a moment believe that. GM isn’t going to go away anytime soon, and even Ford, belated altho it seems to be in joining the EV revolution, probably is working furiously behind the scenes to come up with one or more compelling BEVs. Surely not every executive at Ford has his head buried firmly in the sand?

I still think PHEVs could play a HUGE role in larger vehicles like SUVs, Pick-ups, minivans. People just don’t realize how well PHEVs fit their driving patterns.

This article completely ignores the non-ownership models. When you can summon a car on demand quicker than pulling out of your garage and it’s 10x cheaper per mile, nobody will own one except for hobbiests.

The cost savings/benefits on that scale assume you’re comparing an autonomous EV to a non autonomous ICE.

The cost savings of comparable vehicles will probably be more similar to UBER/Car to Go now. Yet they haven’t displaced car ownership.

That’s before you get into the discussion on what you do with all the car seats/”stuff” people need to keep in their cars when out and about, or just in general. Or the part where people are dealing with “modified and specialist” equipment – everything from roof/bike racks to tow hooks and campers. Is it going to be cheaper to own a car than rent one for a week at a time, every week (isn’t that called leasing now…?)

Great option for some commuters though. But then the companies need to work out what their cars are going to do for the other 22 hours when there’s way more vehicles than needed parked up.

“roof/bike racks to tow hooks and campers”.

Those would be in the hobby category. Very low volume and someone will probably have an on-demand program for those as well.

As far as ‘stuff’, I get by with a small backpack or mostly an even smaller laptop bag. Not a lot of stuff kept in my car. Even media is streamed. I rarely read or carry an organic book any more. Just rare ones not on media.

So that’s at least 10% of vehicles on the road in the “hobby” section. Now we’re into the “stuff” section. Anyone with children would be in this part. That’s what, maybe another third or more of the population? That’s assuming we don’t have a system setup where you remove your two car seats and kids stuff from your rented vehicle at the mall and store it in a giant rental lockers, then spend half an hour replacing it all when you rental car turns up to take you home, where you then remove everything, check under the seats for dropped things, and clean the car of any spills from the kids (damage deposit/charge). etc etc… That’s just two basic groups that will struggle to deal with rental vehicles and may well find it easier and less hassle to just own their own, especially when the benefits that make the autonomous rental vehicle so cheap also make the owned vehicle so cheap. I’m not saying they won’t reduce car ownership, but the idea most people still not at the very least having a long term rental (months/a year or more at a time) is slim. It’s another thing that’s great in… Read more »

I’m sure the ride-sharing business will have every bit as much impact on car ownership as Air BnB has had on the hotel business.

That is to say… not a noticeable amount.

Note: I still have a flip phone. New sales maybe electric but the old cars will take time to die.

Like a lot of people here I am waiting for my ICE car to need a major repair before I buy a new BEV.

I think his resale question is a bit of a red herring. He’s talking about owning a vehicle for 10 years. No matter whether it’s an ICE or an EV the resale value of that vehicle (unless he’s thinking about a low volume Ferrari or something) is going to be in low digit thousands, or even possibly hundreds of $.

If he’s looking at $60k-100k+ vehicles then the difference in resale between $3000 and $700 shouldn’t really be high up on his radar.

Obviously that’ll be different if he was keeping the car for 3-5 years, but then it’s unlikely resale values of ICE vehicles will crash in that timeframe if he’s buying today.

You’re way off on used vehicle prices. There are tons of 2008 and earlier pickups, SUVs, sports cars, etc. out there for $10k++. Not Ferraris, either, just well kept Fords, Toyotas, etc.

Depends where you live and what vehicle. The majority of vehicles on the road will be in that range. It’s still a minor point in the grand scheme of things however.

2008 BMW 5 series. $60k is worth $7k today – a bit more than $3000. 2008 Audi S4 is $14k. No idea why the difference but also a $60k car.
Does anyone expect an EV to drop like an ICE? I mean it might. But used cars are a value play so the cost to fuel is a much larger percentage of the TCO.
Obviously the Leaf has an issue with resale but I suspect the others will do fine if they prove reliable and have decent range left.

The main reason for such huge drops on high end vehicles is repair cost. It’s the same question with Teslas. How much will a Tesla cost to repair at 10 years old? Most of the issues are less drivetrain related, but electronics, suspension etc.

Something like a Rivian with it’s air suspension and more complex electrical (non drivetrain components) may well cost a lot more and be much harder to maintain than a simple petrol engine in the equivalent ICE.

That said, one of the solutions is to just swap the airbags out with standard coils, which is what people do with older Range Rovers, whose value also drops like a stone for similar reasons.

And the $3000 and $700 prices were examples, not specifics. The point being the 3-4x difference in resale at the end of 10 years is not huge in the grand scheme of things.

Currently the only EV that can tow is the Model X. This may change with the Rivian. The F150 is Americas top selling truck, if I worked at Ford I would be a little concerned.

This article didn’t mention the godawful headline…”Think Electric Vehicles Are Great Now? Just Wait…”

That headline sucks because it could induce Osborne-effect problems. Yes, he extolled the virtues of EVs…but he also literally told people to wait. We need people buying EVs NOW so that those future cars are actually completed and built.

Well, he is picking up the Rivian, that’s got to be the most expensive pickup on the market today, and it’s not yet on the market.

I think for most of us who have been driving an EV for any length of time, The prediction is already true. I can’t imagine going back to driving an ICE vehicle on a regular basis. I hate having to deal with them at all on the few occasions I actually have to drive one.

When they have a big clearance sale on 911’s, let me know.

Sorry – but I instantly lose respect for humans(the majority) who fall over themselves to stress that their switch to electric isn’t – God forbid – about protecting and preserving the planet for future generations – nah..it’s primarily or exclusively about saving ca$h.
Jeez – the lengths that humans – especially of the male persuasion – will go to to avoid being seen as wussie, touchy-feely eco-warriors and treehuggers ! It beggars belief..always the same, obligatory “I’m no buzz-killing eco-warrior” script-line from “men” desperate to stress that they’re far too macho-masculine to care much about the future of life on earth.
(Me = Paul G – a real, earth-responsible, terrifically masculine, in-yer-face EV and green activist – no apologies, no caveats, no cop-outs..)