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Discussion Starter #1
It has been a long time (decades if not longer) - to wait for established and capable automakers to make their best possible effort to make, widely-distribute, sell and support BEVs to their customers. There has been a lot of foot-dragging, commiserating, resentment toward the main upstart, etc. Here in the US, the wait goes on - For one key example, to this day, Ford still has not started widely delivering a single good long-range BEV model (though hopefully the wait will only be a few more quarters). Virtually all of the competition under $50k has a significant asterisk next to it (not widely available, not competitive for the MSRP, significant battery depreciation questions in some regions, etc.) other than the Model 3.

In the history of business, how often has it been the case that producers have struggled so mightily to hang on to an old way of doing things, .... to the point of turning away so much business? Maybe Clayton Christensen (who recently passed away) covered this in his Innovator's Dilemma theorizations, but I haven't yet had the chance to read. In the history of business, how often has it been the case that one particular upstart is able to overcome massive barriers to entry, with the right product at the right time, and to so significantly bring a somewhat complacent or oligarchic industry of incumbents to focus more on innovation, a new technology, and ultimately acknowledging that some customers were and are not at all satisfied with the old products?

I don't know the answers, but I'm just putting the idea out there that this seems to me to be an unusual moment.
 

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Or Microsoft.

They are called disruptors I believe. They are relatively infrequent but not at all uncommon. Tesla is a bit unusual in that they have disrupted an industry with long lead times on development and getting production running, so it looks a bit different but isn't really.
 

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Many companies have suffered the same fate, ending up as just IP to be sold on or a fraction of there previous size.

  • Sega
  • Polaroid
  • Borders
  • Blockbusters
  • Xerox
  • Compaq
  • Blackberry
  • Palm
  • Apple (yes them)
  • Loads more.
 

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Kodak often get brought up but IMO its a flawed comparison, they were not a camera company, they are a chemical and paper company and their business model was destroyed by digital in the same way a buggy whip maker or a farriers business was by the car, there was nothing they could do.
The same thing applies to Polaroid , the "instant" result they gave was eclipsed by the effectively free and really instant digital photo. Polaroid didnt really sell cameras, they sold paper/film.
I do think there is one thing very different about this change which is that foot dragging by incumbents has slowed its progress.
In contrast Kodak and Polaroid couldn't slow down the rollout of digital, Nokia couldn't slow down the sales of no keyboard smartphones, and in most other industries incumbents were either non existent or happy to have something new to sell. Manufacturers of mangles couldnt block washing machines and those who made B&W TV's were happy to sell colour.

But in autos, there'sa key difference, incumbents could slow down progress simply by not creating good enough product, the incentive to do that was otherwise they would be Osborning their existing products was good enough reason not to get started in earnest. Now though theres a realisation (except amongst the Japanese it seems) that its time to get serious or be made irrelevant. When theres a countdown in Europe and China of 20 years or less, and alreday many previous ICE buyers are waiting for EVs to come down in price or meet some other criteria, so ICE sales are already dropping off.
 

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I think Ford and GM will say they are not car companies - they make money on the finance side. Manufacturing is just a means to an end.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
[...]

But in autos, there'sa key difference, incumbents could slow down progress simply by not creating good enough product, the incentive to do that was otherwise they would be Osborning their existing products was good enough reason not to get started in earnest. Now though theres a realisation (except amongst the Japanese it seems) that its time to get serious or be made irrelevant. When theres a countdown in Europe and China of 20 years or less, and alreday many previous ICE buyers are waiting for EVs to come down in price or meet some other criteria, so ICE sales are already dropping off.
In the US, if we really take a very close look, the floodgates have only been slightly been opened (Jaguar i-Pace, Audi e-tron) at the high end. In the high volume vehicle areas, they have not. The Leaf, Bolt, Niro and Kona EV all are examples of hold-back in one way or another. This situation (of across-the-board holdback) cannot last forever, and won't, but it got me to reflecting on this: what if just one of those manufacturers had really gone after it earlier? What if, for example, Hyundai or Kia had put everything possible into making their longer-range BEV not as some sort of ZEV state car, but as a full-blown, no-holds-barred, they-actually-want-our-EV-business, Model Y competitor? I wonder if they would have received very strong orders for the vehicle. Yes, it would have canibalized some of their (for the moment) higher-margin sales, but what would the other impacts have been? Once one of them, with true mass-production competency, really gets in the game, then how long can the others stay out? So: does this mean that it was always going to have to be this way - that once someone actually gets in the game in earnest, then the changeover will happen very quickly and perhaps this explains why (or part of why) it has seemingly taken longer than one might have thought even in a semi-uncompetitive set-in-its ways large industry?

You mention one key difference from other industries. I think other differences include the sheer scale (in dollars or pounds) of the matter. We're talking about changing or ending two large industries not one (fossil fuels for transport and the engines for the vehicles). I'm not quite sure of the best way to estimate the annual revenues of the two industries, but perhaps a decent approximation will lend perspective.

Other differences arguably include:
  • this technology changeover takes place in the face of a life-and-death global environmental emergency.
  • the massive capital investment needed by start-ups to get in the business (this is in part what I meant by barriers to entry).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
an added point here -

I think another key difference with most or all of those technology change-outs is the amount of bank financing at stake. I wish I knew more about the numbers, as to the percentage of new vehicles where a loan helps cover the cost, but I think it's safe to say that banks with substantial portfolios of auto loans would probably like to understand how this changeover to the new technology is going to work. Will there be a sudden devaluation of fossil fuel vehicles, or will it be more gradual? At what point will they want to become more reluctant to make loans on fossil fuel vehicles, or not make them at all? Is there a particular type of policy support that would be smart to put into place in respect of financing of a vehicle type that everyone on earth knows is going to be removed from use over the next few years/decades?

Another difference arguably is the number of jobs at stake, both in the phase-out of fossil fuels and the vehicles that burn them, and in the phase-in of battery-powered vehicles.
 

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In the US, if we really take a very close look, the floodgates have only been slightly been opened
But the US is seemingly fairly hostile to EVs and low gas prices mean that the current high price of them is not really countered by fuel savings.
You also have larger cars in general, so the likes of Hyundai who seem to make for 'smaller' markets probably don't expect to be able to sell much there. So they are targeting their currently limited production at places like Europe where smaller cars and high gas prices mean they can push a higher price.
Similarly Tesla make American cars for your market. They are selling them here too, but the size, body style and price of the M3 will limit penetration. The Y will be more interesting I think, but still too big for many people here.

Almost everything is currently dictated by battery prices and availability, so the global market is very strange at present. Trump throwing tariffs around like birdseed won't help encourage foreign companies to push products into the US either.
 

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It has been a long time (decades if not longer) - to wait for established and capable automakers to make their best possible effort to make, widely-distribute, sell and support BEVs to their customers. There has been a lot of foot-dragging, commiserating, resentment toward the main upstart, etc.

In the history of business, how often has it been the case that producers have struggled so mightily to hang on to an old way of doing things, .... to the point of turning away so much business?
If you are expecting me to accept this assertion without critique, you are mistaken, I don't accept this is correct.

To date there has been a very small, but nonetheless outspoken, group that have been in support of EVs and the rest of the consumer pool has shunned them.

Case in point the UK market, despite being around for 8 years, up to last year the residuals on EVs were dreadful and one could pick up ridiculously good bargains for BEVs, testament to a virtually universal lack of interest.

What has changed? Ah, people now understand the benefit of EVs and no longer hold illogical bias against them? Well, no, not exactly, they still struggle to see the benefits (over getting 'a good ICE'), but have suspended their bias against them because they are being forced to do so by legislation, both local (low/zero emission zones) and national (ban on ICE by 2035) plans to implement by law such restrictions.

Offer a typical person an ICE or a BEV, with the latter costing £10k on top, they will pick the ICE. Some have to, not everyone has that much money available nor a driveway at home where they can recharge.

'Unfortunately', if that is the right word, today's consumers of BEVs are the, let me suggest, 'more intelligent' ones. As such, they have more to say, better arguments, etc, etc, and those that are not so intelligent if they try to engage in debate will get toasted, of course, both because they have a shit argument and couldn't debate it very well anyway. Hence ... we have talking shops like this where everyone is in agreement and most assume that everyone else thinks like them. Y'know, the sort of socialist left we see, like thosee arguing a lot in the Brexit threads, that are 100% convinced that anyone who doesn't agree with them is wrong and needs to be corrected somehow.

I am afraid that your argument fails because you've not offered a shred of evidence that the BEV production rate has not matched demand. On the contrary, I think it has exceeded it so far. OK, sure, short term delivery delays and restricted production aside means there's a pent up demand, but that pent up demand only needs to be a few 100 more than the production available.

If there were brand new BEVs and ICE available for next day delivery, and no emissions regulations looming on the horizon, most people would, today, choose ICE. I am afraid you are wrong. Not that I want you to be wrong, we understand what there is to be understood, but your assertion that manufacturers have not met demand is unproven merely by your assertions.#

If you have any data to the contrary and back up your assertion, here's your chance to put it into the thread....
 

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I would add something also - not sure it's too relevent but anyway - there are beginning to be quite substantial numbers of EVs available on AT - some obscenely priced, some just overpriced due to greed or desire for easy profit, in fact you could argue that all of them are overpriced - but they don't to me seem to be selling like hotcakes. Even the MG is pretty widely available from stock at it's "discount" price or thereabouts. I have a strange feeling that we've reached a sort of plateau where price is overweighing the very obvious flaws in pretty much all EVs (Price, range, lack of app, dodgy software etc etc) which will take some sort of shift to set us on the upward takeup curve again.
 

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Ahem:



Also this:

 

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This is different from some of the other innovations alluded to in this thread. In most of the other cases, a new technology has been a step change and existing products have been obsoleted almost overnight.

This is not the case here. EVs are an alternative to ICE cars, they in no way make them obsolete. You could argue that government bans will eventually make them obsolete, but those bans are still several business cycles away and there are plenty of big markets with no ban in sight.

Demand for ICE cars may be gradually declining, although the current slack demand may just be due to the short term slowdown in the global economic cycle rather than any structural fall in underlying demand.

I think there will be a switch to EVs, largely driven by regulation, but it's not an overnight change which means that traditional carmakers have a fair bit of time to adapt and they do not face the survival crisis that companies have faced where their products have been made redundant almost immediately. Likewise, the new tech companies - in this case mainly Tesla - do not have that overwhelming advantage that innovators have had in other product sectors.
 

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Ahem:



Also this:

Well the first one just says that a Zoe sold fastest, but not how many of them, and 21 days is not exactly flying off the forecourts is it ?
and the second one says that there are enough rich (yes I know rich is subjective) people who can afford a fantastic EV ordering the Model 3 such that they can't provide them in the same quarter - how long does it take the boat to bring them over ?
 

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Well the first one just says that a Zoe sold fastest, but not how many of them, and 21 days is not exactly flying off the forecourts is it ?
and the second one says that there are enough rich (yes I know rich is subjective) people who can afford a fantastic EV ordering the Model 3 such that they can't provide them in the same quarter - how long does it take the boat to bring them over ?
Well it was the fastest selling car on AT, so what’s your point?

The Model 3 is also the highest selling EVin Europe by a large margin. So they are selling in volume as well as having large demand.

Remind me what your argument was again?
 

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My point (not an argument) was just that EVs, which supposedly we can't get enough of, are hanging around on forecourts - and I was just pondering wether we've reached the end, in the UK, of the first responder phase of take-up.

and just for information, why do you keep changing your place of registration on speakev, UK, then spain, now europe - are you really moving around that much ?
 

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Remind me what your argument was again?
With respect, before you slag off someone else, remind me what YOUR argument was again?

In this internet age, it is easy to find a web article to illustrate any point, but your references are merely anecdotes.

In more general terms, BEVs were 2.7% of the UK car market in January, and the waiting lists for the Model 3, Kona, Niro and ID3 combined are probably less than one month's sales of the Ford Fiesta alone.

There's a tipping point coming, but it's still years away. To get back to the topic of the thread, incumbent car makers have considerable time to get ahead in the race. This is not a Kodak moment of instant obsolescence.
 

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I'd suggest quartz watches are another instance. The power source changed from mechanical spring to battery, and initially the quartz ones were range-limited by the Led display needing refuelling rather often, and were expensive, being new tech. But the snags got ironed out, as the performance (accuracy) was so much better. As was the reliability, and the lack of regular expensive servicing needed. Oil consumption is nil, unlike the mechanicals. So the mechanicals (Swiss) moved up-market, and the now-cheapo quartzes grabbed the mass market. So maybe any auto mfrs who insist on staying petrolly will be forced to stay/move upmarket to the supercar/luxury market & concentrate on wood panelling & upholstery to sell well?
 

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With respect, before you slag off someone else, remind me what YOUR argument was again?

In this internet age, it is easy to find a web article to illustrate any point, but your references are merelyanecdotes.
Not sure where I ‘slagged’ someone off.

The articles I posted had hard numbers in them. Where you expecting only original research?
 
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