Electric Vehicles · Entrepreneurship

The EV Revolution – Threat or opportunity?

Mo Tech startup

April 1st, 2020

Most people know someone with an electric car, or at the very least have seen these cars a little more often on the road. While adoption is still in its early stages, long-term projections show a rapid increase globally.

The tangible/hardware challenges are clear: Limited driving range, high costs, battery issues, and a spotty charging infrastructure are the main challenges for battery electric vehicles

What web/app based challenges and opportunities do you see in the Electric Vehicle industry?

David M

April 2nd, 2020

Like everything else, technology will be a hurdle, but people will accept any technology challenges because they already exist in every other part of their lives. My 2019 truck has the most advanced computer display/system in the market. It has proven to be more annoying than anything. I didn't want it, but had no option. There was a dead cell (bad battery) and it shut down on me in the middle of the road...locked up. My 1983 5 speed sports car has no electrical dependencies. I can put into neutral if that happens and push to the side of the road. And if there is an EMP, it and my 1941 Ford are going to be able to function flawlessly, assuming I can get gas somehow. But the point is people accept technology and all the bugs...also one huge reason people are so much more stressed out. Technology has filled the world with needless little "pointless have to haves but don't needs." I think electric vehicles will eventually reduce stress and function better than the current gas driven cars that have electrical components. The EMP as warfare is a very real threat. If you listen to Dick Cheyney, that was and is his #1 worry of existential threat to the US as a country because of all the damage it would do. My friend who works on weapons systems no one can speak of keeps a functioning 1980's Off Road vehicle because of how real the threat is. I don't know what systems are being implemented or could be implemented to prevent the damage of an electro magnetic pulse, but it should be seen as a major risk. Imagine any country in which all ambulances, police, fire, food shipping etc, was shut down. The death toll would be in the tens of millions within 6 months. With the unfortunate reality of this pandemic, all existential threats must be put on the table with contingencies in place, something no one was prepared for currently. Civilization and most countries are merely in the infant stage of existence, and the advancements we have made to destroy life and the planet in the last 100 years are light years beyond how we can actually preserve life and save the planet amidst the most horrific of threats.

Dane Madsen Organizational and Operational Strategy Consultant

April 2nd, 2020

We are an exception-based species. We only notice things when they do not work. Dependence on single-solution paradigms are disasters. When those solutions fail - as @DavidM mentions - then we are without a roll back plan.

My wife owns a 14 yo hybrid. We live in Seattle. We walk and barely use the car. Why not a full EV? Range anxiety. We are also more comfortable with the 14 y/o technology as, ironically, more dependable than newer alternatives. Would we own a full EV? Maybe, but it’s more likely we would choose to not own a car than a full EV. I was recently on a short road trip with a colleague in his Tesla. The anxiety became real when we had to find a supercharger to make the last 20 miles back into Seattle. Will that change eventually? Yes, but it did take years to get fuel stations broadly to support gas/diesel fleets.

You can compare it to other products - think laptops or mobiles. What happens if (in the EMP scenario) they are unusable? Even a less dire version (we lived in NYC during Sandy - and "SoPo" (South of Power), the area of Manhattan below 34th that had no power for a week) - we had to walk north daily to charge devices. A minor first-world problem. IF it had been an EV, we would have had zero options.

Now imagine regional outages where the grid is offline - even from a more likely than an EMP good old-fashioned failure where your only transportation options are full EV. Pretty bad outcome. Will it get solved? Yes. Maybe not soon now (based on a global -20% GDP drop).

Are there opportunities? Yes. We had no passenger air transportation 100 years ago and now we whine about the lack of peanuts. We see headlines about every air accident, but not traffic accidents, because flying is safer, faster, and more enjoyable than driving (than David’s 1983 truck) cross country. What was the opportunity? More, better, redundant systems. But even then, see the damage cost-cutting hurt Boeing prior to pandemic.

EV dependency embraces a ton of the barriers of all technology. Why is it difficult to get older drivers off the road? They fear loss of mobility they control. The unintended consequences can be dire. But mobility is core to our very self-definition: Predictable mobility. We use a car less than 4% of its life but pay to have them parked and maintained, with huge cost to the commons. Why? So we can go when we want to, even if we do not. So EVs are not just about transportation, they are emotional and safety (not driving – our perceived self determined safety of movement). I think this is different than the mobile phone things, although that dependency is bad - it’s our wallet, phone book, control center for our doors and homes - and sometimes our car. EV is something bigger. Long editorial (since I have nothing else happening today 😊) to say, yes – there are opportunities, yes we will eventually evolve there, but there are many things to think about other than power and platform.

In the last part lays the opportunity. It may be less about the platform and more about the structure of ownership and use.