Happy New Year South Florida!
As we say goodbye to 2018 and welcome 2019, I’m reminded that we are living in the future. It’s 20 years ago that the millennium bug was big news across the IT world. Looking back, the millennium bug was a bit of a non-event compared to the real issues we are facing today like massive security breaches and hacks involving hundreds of millions of private data records.
But with the future comes some really cool tech – Cloud computing, AI augmented apps, voice assistants, wearable tech, the blockchain, 5G networks and more.
All this splendiferous technology will need great talent to design and implement it successfully. Email me at [email protected] for the tech talent of today and beyond.
Think Electric Vehicles Are Great Now? Just Wait…
Originally published in the WSJ, Dec. 26, 2018
AT YEAR’S END it seems appropriate to give thanks for the wonders of the automotive world. So I’m waiting. Waiting to choose one of the scores of electric vehicle models that I know are coming down the pipeline in the next 18 to 36 months—the exact timing of my purchase depends on whether it’s possible to paint the whole van with rattle-cans. In any event, I’m waiting, because internal-combustion (IC) just doesn’t work for me anymore. In the car market, I am a human headwind.
This is above all a pocketbook issue for me. A gas-powered vehicle would be too expensive. I plan to keep my next vehicle for 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 car.
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.
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.
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.
I’m not missing anything staying out of the car market. 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.
The greatest offenders are also the most complex, like Volvo’s T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain, with electric motors, CVT, batteries, power inverter and a supercharged/turbocharged 2.0-liter engine thrashing away at one another, all so it can eke out a few miles of EV range. 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.
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.
Meanwhile, EVs just keep evolving. The Tesla Model 3 is amaze-balls, crazy good. But I’ve got hauling and choring to do, so I’m going to wait and kick the tires on the Rivian R1T pickup, due in about two years. Rivian, with offices in California and Michigan, last year acquired the former Mitsubishi plant in Normal, Ill., to build what it calls “electric adventure vehicles.” Its makers claim the R1T will have 400-plus miles of range. Its four electric motors inboard of the four wheels will together produce 750 hp and 14,000 Newton-meters of torque at the wheel.
Here a yoking of unlikely attributes: The R1T will accelerate to 60 mph in 3 seconds and have a wading depth of 3 feet. In it you could jump over the woods and through the river to grandmother’s house.
Don’t agree? Fine, fine. You go ahead and finance that $70,000 pickup with V8 power for 60 months. It’ll be a two-ton albatross around your financial neck before it’s over. Gasoline could be free and you would still hate it. Better cars are just around the corner.
Read the complete article by Dan Neil in the Wall Street Journal: https://www.wsj.com/articles/think-electric-vehicles-are-great-now-just-wait-11545838139