From petrol to electric vehicles, like cars replacing horses
Wednesday, 29 November 2017
Photo: NZTech chief executive Graeme
Some overseas reports say petrol cars may be obsolete by 2026 but either way the massive switch to electric vehicles will be the biggest disruptive change to people’s lives in more than 100 years, NZTech chief executive Graeme Muller says.
As New Zealand’s 15,000 motor mechanics get ready for the exciting electric vehicle (EV) era, petrol cars will soon begin to phase out in the biggest change to transport in the modern era, Muller says.
“A couple of weeks ago, I was at a conference on digital transformation and a presenter showed a photo of Times Square in New York from 1900, complete with horses and carriages.
“Then we were shown the same view, in 1920 and not a horse to be seen. Something like 20 million horses were unemployed within 20 years. Last week, Stanford economist Tony Seba told APEC delegates in Wellington that this process has already started for cars.
“He believes the tipping point is here and no petrol vehicles will be built after 2025. Tony also believes that the number of cars will have decreased by 80 percent by 2030, with most of us opting to ride in an Uber style self-driving vehicle.
“I dropped my daughter off at school the other day and I was almost run over by a Tesla. We stepped out between two parked cars, heading towards the school gates, when this lovely looking car glided past.
“It didn’t make a sound. Instant car envy. It got me thinking about technology change. Before my daughter finishes school, I will no longer have to do the school run. Maybe one of those purring Tesla’s will collect her.”
According to Tony Seba, on current trends it will be cheaper to build a mid-range EV costing US$33,000 than a conventional car by 2019, and they would be cheaper than the average equivalent conventional small car by 2022.
The next step is embeddeing the technology into roads. This is being piloted in several countries including UK, Israel and Sweden. The technology, similar to that developed by Kiwi company PowerbyProxi which was recently purchased by Apple, allows wireless charging from the road to the car. This charge-as-you-drive system would overcome battery limitations.
“EVs will also play a crucial role in supporting the environmental sustainability of future transport. Helping to rid the environment of harmful fossil fuels, cutting down on air pollution emissions and providing not just a more convenient future, but a healthier one too,” Muller says.
“So consider the horse and car example, by 2037 if you look along Highway 1 in New Zealand the number of human driven petrol vehicles will have probably dropped substantially to about 1 in every 10 vehicles.
“The cost of insurance and enviro taxes making them too expensive for most people to run. It will be likely that many roadways in New Zealand will have embedded inductive charging systems allowing EV’s to travel and charge at low costs, and the majority of the population won’t own a car, instead choosing to “request” a vehicle when they need it.
“There will be more ride sharing, lower cost of transport, reduced environmental impact, more space on roads and easier parking.”
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