#cars

sootmann asked:

So are you (and lefsetz) saying that existing automakers will be replaced by appliance-like Tesla-type makers, or that people will just start not driving? I get that kids today don't care about getting their licenses at 16-years-and-one-day like we used to, but if you think people will quit buying cars altogether, I doubt it. Kids will want cars once they have kids. What, you think you're gonna use Lyft to go school-practice-practice-store-home? That 300M people will move into walkable cities?

Yes, I believe we’re entering a time of decline for driving itself — certainly amongst the younger generations. It may be hard to see now because our world (especially in the U.S.) is so car-centric. But the pieces are coming into place that makes owning a car not only less attractive, but often unnecessary. 

Sure, it will hit dense urban areas first. But again, I see no reason why this doesn’t spread to all but the most remote reaches of the country. Things tend to sound crazy before they’re suddenly reality.

Anonymous asked:

Re "Kids Don't Care About Cars": So you think "kids" all want to drive the same $20K box? Do they all dress exactly the same, use devices for utility only too? The bottom line is there area so many things wrong about that piece that I wonder if the author has any clue about society, regardless of how technologically advanced it may be...

No, I believe that increasingly, they don’t care about driving anything. But maybe they will care what they’re driven in at certain times.

(This will obviously be true in denser cities at first. But I see no reason why this doesn’t spread to suburbs as well eventually.)

Bob Lefsetz:

Just because cars have lasted a century, that does not mean they’re here to stay, that does not mean they’re not ripe for disruption. Cars are the newspapers of today. Something oldsters can’t live without and youngsters can.

The basic premise is you’ve got to go. How you get there is irrelevant. Furthermore, the costs of car ownership…the insurance and the gas, never mind the maintenance, none of them appeal to a youngster who believes all costs should be baked in.

A common mistake is thinking that just because something has been around for a long time, it’s impervious to disruption. If anything, the long incumbency makes it more ripe for disruption. Everything — everything — eventually gets disrupted. 

(And yes, I now hate using the word “disruption” as much as everyone else because it has basically been neutered of meaning and turned into pure marketing. But it’s simply the best term here.)

Charles Montgomery:

In the third year of his term, Peñalosa challenged Bogotáns to participate in an experiment. As of dawn on 24 February 2000, cars were banned from streets for the day. It was the first day in four years that nobody was killed in traffic. Hospital admissions fell by almost a third. The toxic haze over the city thinned. People told pollsters that they were more optimistic about city life than they had been in years.

Old-ish, but a really interesting look into the tweaks that can alter a city’s happiness. 

David Undercoffler on Tesla’s plans to debut a cheaper model in early 2015:

The newest model debuting in 2015 will be the third step, as its platform will differ significantly from anything else Tesla has built so far.

The plan for a mainstream model follows a strategy that Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk laid out in a 2006 blog post.

“The strategy of Tesla is to enter at the high end of the market, where customers are prepared to pay a premium,” Musk wrote in a post titled “The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (just between you and me).” “Then drive down market as fast as possible to higher unit volume and lower prices with each successive model.”

That post, written nearly eight years ago, laid out exactly what Tesla aimed to do.

In the world of startups, eight years seems like an eternity. It’s hard enough to think one year out, let alone a decade. Yet in the automotive industry, eight years seems like nothing. Very little used to change in that span. 

It’s amazing not only how far Tesla has come in the past eight years, but just how well they’ve been able to execute on that original plan. 

Elon Musk on the ruling that you cannot buy a car directly from a manufacturer in the state of New Jersey:

It is worth examining the history of these laws to understand why they exist, as the auto dealer franchise laws were originally put in place for a just cause and are now being twisted to an unjust purpose. Many decades ago, the incumbent auto manufacturers sold franchises to generate capital and gain a salesforce. The franchisees then further invested a lot of their money and time in building up the dealerships. That’s a fair deal and it should not be broken. However, some of the big auto companies later engaged in pressure tactics to get the franchisees to sell their dealerships back at a low price. The franchisees rightly sought protection from their state legislatures, which resulted in the laws on the books today throughout the United States (these laws are not present anywhere else in the world).

The intent was simply to prevent a fair and longstanding deal between an existing auto company and its dealers from being broken, not to prevent a new company that has no franchisees from selling directly to consumers. In most states, the laws are reasonable and clear. In a handful of states, the laws were written in an overzealous or ambiguous manner. When all auto companies sold through franchises, this didn’t really matter. However, when Tesla came along as a new company with no existing franchisees, the auto dealers, who possess vastly more resources and influence than Tesla, nonetheless sought to force us to sell through them.

The reason that we did not choose to do this is that the auto dealers have a fundamental conflict of interest between promoting gasoline cars, which constitute virtually all of their revenue, and electric cars, which constitute virtually none. Moreover, it is much harder to sell a new technology car from a new company when people are so used to the old. Inevitably, they revert to selling what’s easy and it is game over for the new company.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: an outdated law being twisted to impede progress and maintain the status quo. Even better:

An even bigger conflict of interest with auto dealers is that they make most of their profit from service, but electric cars require much less service than gasoline cars. There are no oil, spark plug or fuel filter changes, no tune-ups and no smog checks needed for an electric car. Also, all Tesla Model S vehicles are capable of over-the-air updates to upgrade the software, just like your phone or computer, so no visit to the service center is required for that either.

This is so clearly the future of the automotive industry, so this is ultimately just delaying the inevitable. But consumers have every right to be outraged and New Jersey should be ashamed of itself.

ericmortensen asked:

Do you think Apple is providing the touch screens, wiring harnesses, etc. for CarPlay? I can't imagine they'd leave something like the touch experience or screen resolution to a car manufacturer. I have a hard time believing this is just a software solution.

It’s a good question — it seems that no, they’re not. As you can see here, companies like Mercedes are not only leaving these screens open for use with their own systems, they’re also leaving them open to Android in the future (though details aren’t clear there).

All of this sort of led to my reference to the Rokr. We’ll see how well Apple likes playing on other’s hardware. They do it a bit with the Apple TV, but as you note, this is someone else’s touchscreen. 

Mark Rogowsky:

Well consider this: The number of “zero-car families” has been growing since 2007, after shrinking nearly every year since 1960; it’s approaching 10%. While the recession has doubtless played a role, it’s less than you might think. First, there has been an increasing move back toward the cities, where transit is more readily available. Second, millennials seem especially uninterested in owning their own cars. Third, the trend away from driving actually dates back to 2004, when the economy was still thriving. A government measure called “per capita vehicle miles traveled,” which had gone up steadily for decades began trending down that year and has fallen ever since. After 8 consecutive years of declines, on average we’re driving as much as we did in 1996.

The trend is clear.