The two things I have battled most with my readers both pertain to cars. The first is self-driving, the second is electric.
Self Driving Cars a Proven Given
Autonomous cars and trucks are a given. I am done debating the issue. Some still do not see it. But it will be the next major disruption.
What About Electric?
On the heels of a self-driving disruption comes another major disruption: Electric vehicles will replace gasoline combustion engines, sooner rather than later.
But, But, But
- Many of my readers will point out that electric vehicles do not make much sense except for those who only travel small numbers of miles.
- They also claim the battery charging infrastructure is not in place and the alleged energy savings are nonexistent.
- Finally, who the hell wants to wait thirty, twenty, or even 15 minutes when a gas fillip takes at most a few minutes?
My readers are correct on all three points. But why does that matter?
I assure you it doesn't. If China and the EU switch to electric, the world will follow whether or not it makes any economic or environmental sense.
With the above backdrop, let's tune into EU nannycrat thinking via Eurointelligence.
Parliament Votes for Much Tougher Car Emissions Standards
The European Parliament wants to force the European auto industry to massively accelerate its switch to cleaner vehicles such as electric cars. Ignoring strong industry lobbying coupled with resistance from Germany and some Eastern member states, a majority of MEPs voted to go substantially beyond the European Commission’s proposals, and demanded that manufacturers reduce the average carbon dioxide emissions of their passenger cars by 20% until 2025 and 40% until 2030. They also voted to impose sales quotas for electric vehicles.
EU governments are scheduled to determine their own position next Tuesday when environment ministers meet in Luxembourg. We expect that yesterday’s vote in the EP will ensure that the standards emerging from the final deal between EU lawmakers will be significantly tougher than the industry was hoping. Erik Jonnaert, the secretary general of the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association, warned that the result would be to force the industry into a dramatic transformation in record time, possibly resulting in many job losses. And it would not make sense, he argued, to engineer such a rapid switch to the production of much more expensive electric cars, so long as the recharging infrastructure is not in place and incentives to buy them remain so different from one member state to the next.
Advocates of these tougher standards point to the need to step up the fight against a further acceleration of climate change; also, the European industry would reap global competitiveness benefits from being forced into a more rapid modernisation. Handelsblatt notes that the narrow vote reflects the loss of political influence and public credibility of an industry shaken in recent years by huge scandals around fraudulent emissions practices.
In Germany, meanwhile, the details of a deal to prevent driving bans for diesel cars have now been agreed - and it looks like a bad compromise that will make very little difference. It will only benefit the 10% or so of old-diesel drivers who live in 14 critical regions. The remaining 90% are facing the same depreciation losses but won’t get anything, as FAZ reports. We also have our doubts that this is legally watertight. What is touted as a compromise is seen by German commentators as a personal defeat for Angela Merkel, who sought a binding commitment by the car industry to upgrade old diesel cars for free. The deal may benefit some diesel drivers in and around Munich in particular - where elections are held in ten days - but will do little or nothing to stop the inevitable decline of the diesel car nationwide.
Please, let's not get bogged down into debates as to whether or not this makes any sense.
I assure you that it does not matter one iota. No one in their right mind will rush to buy a diesel engine car in the EU.
The writing is on the wall.
The German car makers are not about to invest any energy in gasoline cars.
By process of elimination, electric is the 100% guaranteed wave of the future in Europe.
So let's not debate whether this makes any sense. It doesn't have to.
China Same Story
China is on the same path for a different reason.
China does not much give a damn about the environment.
Rather, China can burn coal to produce energy to recharge batteries instead of being dependent on the Mideast for oil.
What About the US?
This entire debate is over most people's heads, except for the auto industry itself.
In a nutshell, If GM and Ford want to sell cars to the EU and China, they better have electric offerings.
So here we are.
Electric Cars the Star of the Paris Auto Show
The lead image is from that report. So are electric vehicles from Audi and Peugeot.
Ironically, the US has far and away the best technology right now, but that technology will be adopted, en masse, elsewhere first.
Mike "Mish" Shedlock