A look at the changing landscape of our world – PART 1
One of the hardest things to do correctly is to predict the future. It is an interesting exercise but the nature of life on earth is fraught with un-imagined twists and turns. I don’t have a crystal ball but I do pay attention to the ongoing developments in science and technology so I can offer an educated guess. Time will tell if my vision of the future was accurate or not.
I grew up in Detroit, Michigan during the Golden Age of the automobile. I feel blessed to have been there to experience the automobile before it morphed into what it is today. it was a real treat for a young boy. Automotive technology has steadily advanced, but the romance of the Golden Age is long gone. Thankfully museums and private collectors like Jay Leno have kept the romance alive.
AUTO REPAIR SHOPS:
As electric vehicles become more and more popular there will be less need for traditional auto repair shops. They will eventually disappear but it will take some time. Even if there is a rapid transition to electric cars, it will likely take about 10 years, maybe more for most of them to go out of business for lack of business. We may not see it happening now but it has already begun, In a couple of years, we will see a rapid departure from what exists now. However, don’t sell your stock in the local mechanic just yet. In 2021 there are not enough alternatives to the current crop of gasoline and diesel-powered cars so this may be one area that has more time on the clock.
Typical gasoline or diesel engines need hundreds of individual parts to function. An electrical motor needs about 20. Some electric cars are already being sold with lifetime guarantees and are currently only repaired by dealers. I am told that an electric motor can be replaced in as little as 10 minutes. That is a big departure from replacing an internal combustion engine which can take a couple of days to a week if it needs a complete rebuild. The electric motor will be a game-changer for the auto industry. There will come a time when faulty electric motors will not even be repaired in the dealership but instead will be sent to a regional repair shop that uses ROBOTS to repair them. Robots and robotic processes are already here and will continue to expand to the point of almost eliminating the need for much human intervention. The combination of robots and AI (Artificial Intelligence) could even become the dominant form of life on the planet. It is anticipated that this scenario could happen as soon as 2050. Some say even sooner, but no matter the date, it will happen. This also raises the question about job opportunities and job security. I delve deeper into that situation in Part 2
If you have a malfunctioning electric motor in your car then time and the ease of repair are on your side. You drive into what looks like a car wash and your car slowly moves through while you have a cup of coffee. In that short time, your car comes out on the other side with a new electric motor or replacement component. This is a great visual, but it will be a few years before this will likely be a daily experience. I imagine that some people might be wondering if such a process will also be available in the future for changing one’s spouse. (Just kidding)
Will a reduced need for combustible fuel stations make them disappear? Yes, but the date for this is very difficult to predict. Nevertheless, at some point gas stations as we know them will go the way of the buggy whip.
The advent of the electric car demands plentiful electric charging stations. Governments and private companies will install electrical recharging stations. This has already started in many developed countries. No doubt you have already seen some of these locations. The 500-pound gorilla in the room on this one is the electricity has to come from someplace. The debate rages on as to how that will be handled.
Tesla is just the tip of the spear. The move to electric cars is well underway. Major auto manufacturers have already invested in new plants that will ONLY build electric cars. Additional information can be found here: https://science.sciencemag.org/content/366/6464/422
A baby born today will likely only see “personal cars” in museums. I have not owned a car for over 30 years now. I was able to transition away from owning a car because of where I live. As a person that at one time had a love affair with cars, I found the transition a bit difficult. However, my main motivation was to force myself to walk a lot to mitigate the effects of my type II diabetes. It worked. My lifestyle proves that for some people a car is an option, but for others, probably most people, having a car is an absolute must. I use Uber taxis, and a few times a year I rent a car. My yearly transportation costs are a fraction of what most people with a car are paying. Consider the following:
The cost of the Car…
Gasoline… (unless it is electric)
Oil Changes… (unless it is electric)
The Utopian plan is telling us that The big difference between 2021 and 2025 is that by 2025 there might not be a need for human drivers. I don’t necessarily believe that (yet,) but I do believe that in 2025 the trend will be toward autonomous cars. I would bet cold hard cash on that coming to pass. Pride of ownership aside, the reality is that self-driving cars and taxis will alter the age of the personally-owned automobile.
In a few years, the entire auto industry will be disrupted. 2018 brought forth the first self-driving cars. 2021 promises sufficient advancements to start making the technology mainstream, but some folks disagree. Nevertheless, once reliable self-driving becomes a proven technology you might not want to own a car anymore. You will do what I do now. You will call for a car with your phone and it will show up at your location and drive you to your destination. You will pay only for the distance driven. No need to pay to park it. Right now my taxis do have a human driver, but likely, children born in 2021 and beyond will never get a driver’s license and never even own a car. This will change the landscape of our cities because the reduced need for private cars will also reduce the need for parking spaces. Some people are already suggesting those unneeded parking lots will be turned back into green areas. That sounds great, but I am wondering about the psychological effect of not owning a car. For some, it could be like trying to break an addiction.
Worldwide about 1.2 million people die each year in car accidents. That includes a high percentage of drunk drivers. Currently, there is one accident per every 60,000 miles driven. However, it is anticipated that with autonomous driving that will drop to one accident in about 6 million miles. That alone will save million-plus lives each year and it will have a clear effect on Insurance companies as well. Without accidents, the cost of insurance will become cheaper. The current automobile insurance business model will eventually disappear. Some auto insurance companies will likely cease to exist once the transition to autonomous driving is well underway.
THE ELECTRIC CAR IS HERE NOW
Volvo is now producing hybrid cars and in the not-too-distant future, they intend to phase out the hybrid models and go completely electric. https://www.volvocars.com/en-th/news-and-event/volvo-presents-my-2021-line Volkswagen and Audi also are well aware of Tesla’s success and what it is doing to the auto market. All the major US. companies are now offering electric vehicles as well. Ford, GM, and Chrysler are well into the transition to electric cars. Once Tesla showed there was a market everyone else followed.
Say goodbye to OPEC
The Middle East is in trouble! The middle east is ALWAYS in trouble. Oil is king right now but it is becoming an endangered species. The question is how long will it take to be phased out completely. The current occupant of the White House in the USA has been tasked to try to save the worldwide oil industry, but nobody can hold back the tide. However, if we are going to transition to electric cars then the electricity needed to support that Utopian Dream must be generated from some source. Maybe it is not time to sell your oil, gas, or coal stocks just yet, but that day is eventually coming.
With solar power, homes can produce and store more electrical energy during the day than they use. The excess production can be sold back to the grid which can then dispense it to industries that are high electricity users. I have not seen the statistics on this but I imagine that worldwide thousands of houses are already doing just that. Fossil energy companies have at times tried to limit that access to the grid to prevent competition from home solar installations, but that simply cannot continue, and it should not. Technology will dictate a new paradigm in the not-too-distant future.
Solar energy conversion has been happening for years. Every passing year brings significant improvements. Elon Musk came out with something called “The Tesla roof?” A good concept but the original did not go as planned. Nonetheless, the combined initiatives of the industry are rapidly gaining traction. https://www.theverge.com/2021/4/26/22404639/elon-musk-tesla-solar-roof-mistakes-cost-price-increase
In general, the concept of a one hundred percent solar-powered world is possible. Technically that situation would produce the electrical output that the dreamers envision, but the cost and the other realities of getting there will place this well into a future that might never materialize. Many people reading this will probably be dead or very old before it becomes a reality. Will solar work? Yes, but only if a significant number of private homes and businesses use it.
The FUTURE is approaching faster than most of us can handle. If you have a differing view of the future then I presented here then please share it with me.
— END PART 1—