Astonishing news from the auto industry this week: “General Motors said Monday that it plans to electrify its entire lineup, bringing at least 20 models to the U.S. market by 2023, including two electric vehicles within the next 18 months,” according to Patrick Olsen and Nick Kurczewski of Consumer Reports. GM stock opened the week sharply upward at 4.4% following the news.
Obviously, the auto industry is fearful of Tesla and the growth of the Chinese electric car market. And, recent announcements by major nations they plan to phase out gasoline cars are very much in the minds of industry leaders..
According to Bloomberg’s David Welch, major automakers are tripping over themselves to bring almost 50 new all-electric cars to market by 2022. From their article, which lists the market entrants: ” ‘Nobody doubts that the future will be electric,’ said Erich Joachimsthaler, founder and CEO of brand-strategy firm Vivaldi, which works with German luxury carmakers.”
One way to interpret GM’s bellweather move: The auto industries realize they have to start thinking like technology companies or die, technology innovators in particular. And thus have opened extensive research footprints in Silicon Valley, far from Detroit. An important key: In the Valley’s fast-paced business environment, the scariest thing is to be on the wrong side of a sea change – being on the wrong side of a disruptive technology.
At the same time, they are reacting to recent announcements by the UK and France that they will ban the sale of new gasoline cars by 2040, while China is following suit with a more aggressive date that hasn’t been finalized yet. Even California is considering several bills in the state legislature to sunset gasoline engines.
All this means we can expect the auto industry to gradually cut its traditional cord to the fossil fuel industry. And in the long run this may mean oil-company stock prices will be soft… As Shakespeare said, “Sell while you can, Phoebe, you are NOT for all markets.”
I can’t think of more exciting and promising news for global warming solutions… In my state of California, the largest source of greenhouse gas pollution is light vehicle travel. This is true in all states of the American West with significant populations.
Kudos to General Motors and other major automakers for moving aggressively into electric cars, and kudos to the nations setting policy targets to phase out the sale of gasoline-powered light vehicles. If India follows the UK, France and China, this could turn into a rout for the internal combustion engine.
How might this news play out in each of our lives? Well, as we say here, “To Save the Planet, Change Yourself First…” Please consider owning one of these models. The good cash-flow news about electric cars is that juice is cheap, at around four cents per mile compared with roughly triple that cost for gasoline. As well, in mass production battery costs should drop steeply. Finally, repair costs for electric cars are ultra low as all you really have to take care of is replacing brake pads and body accessories… for the most part, motors are durable and long-lived with few moving parts and no transmission or robust systems to contain combustion and hot gases. Overall, cost of operation of electric cars is quite low, and you simply plug them in like a cell phone wherever you are to top off.
As well, one might consider our saying: “To Save the Planet, Invest One’s Working Life” – in this case joining the emerging green auto manufacturing industry. It could be very satisfying to know your work is fundamentally ethical (and there are an awful lot of green cars to be made and sold, hence the paycheck should be pretty solid).
We just might save the planet after all…
* * *
Not sure how to start saving the planet (civilization, really)? Start by always remembering that “Hope is a renewable resource.”
Then, our practical answer becomes “Deeply know the personal Superpowers” we all bring to the game of life:
3) To save the planet, USE OUR VOICES and take advocacy seriously! Never miss a vote and never, ever stop influencing your government and all businesses locally, at the state level, and at the national level. As well, set a solid example for all around you to see. Jawbone to others about what we need to do, and influence them as peers. Finally, have an annual cash donations program. All of these are ways we can use our voices.
Stay focussed: Lead the way with substantive global warming solutions. (Far from being a bummer, this is actually a fun trend for each of us to be part of… get energized!) Our kids and their kids will be proud of us.
And in all cases and at all times, cast aside the learned-helplessness that infects so much of modern life… the time is now for climate change solutions. Never give up.
* * *