Unfortunately, the big battery breakthrough still isn't on the horizon. In June, Musk was quoted by Bloomberg News as saying, "There are few industries with more BS than the battery industry. It's really quite remarkable."
That hardly sounds like a vote of confidence in battery technology.
Maybe Musk sees a breakthrough of another sort on the horizon. If there is such a breakthrough, though, it's going to have to happen soon for automakers to reach 50 percent in 15 years. Kevin See, an analyst for Lux Research Inc., told us:
We do expect innovation and there are things that you can't predict. But when it takes six years to develop a new car and get it to the market, it's hard to see how we could get to 50 percent so fast. For that to happen, all of the major automakers would have to dive in wholeheartedly, and they'd have to do it soon.
Forecasts of massive EV success have been frequent since the late 1980s, of course. During the 80s and 90s, battery manufacturers were notorious for saying that we were on the cusp of an EV revolution.
Musk is different, though. He has built electric cars, worked closely with battery makers, is acutely aware of the unfulfilled promises of the past two decades, and has succeeded anyway. He has to be taken seriously.
His prediction could easily be written off as a bit of hype. Or it could simply be interpreted as overstatement during the thrill of the Model S introduction. Then again, there's always the other possibility: Whatever Musk is seeing isn't visible to the rest of the auto industry. It wouldn't be the first time.
For a close-up look at GM's Chevy Volt, go to the Drive for Innovation site and follow the cross-country journey of EE Life editorial director, Brian Fuller.
Socialists always claim need and complexity when confronted with the simplicity of profit and loss. BTW competition does not "cripple" industry. Competition rewards the most efficient and punishes the stupid.
I'm no pro on this. But the Wankel is still being developed/adapted among the home-built experimental aircraft people.
The concept of a rotary engine is nobel, but after a few bad experiences, the money dried up. (Incidentally, that is probably what will happen with the current battery development.)
Now like I said before, I personally have a poof of concept, CAD models, demo movies, etc. of a true rotary engine concept that has nothing in it that hasn't already worked well, but I can't find any money out there. Everyone seems to be gunshy after the Wankel, etal.
When I say basic transportation, I mean the entire vehicle will need to cost less than $10,000. So there will not be any $20,000 battery packs. I'm talking about vehicles with a total weight of about 1,000 pounds (about the same weight as a model T Ford). Think about something the size a golf cart. It would be a "city car" for the masses that live in the cities of the developing world. One step up from a scooter.
I think that cities in places like China and India may grow concerned enough about air quality to ban many ICE powered vehicles from city centers.
This excess capacity may be there, but I don't believe it is in that amount and it is but one issue. Just a quick guess but 90% of daily use autos are parked in places where the owner is not going to be able to safely plug it in during those times.
Apartment dwellers, people who park on the street... even in a drive way... that 'grid' is not there.
I wonder about all the angst about the grid being able to support electric vehicles. There is LOTS of spare capacity available. It is mostly available off-peak. Ever wonder why so many large office buildings have their lights on at night? And how do you take a 1,000MW power plant off-line for service and repairs. If you just look at what has happened with gas fired power plants in the last, very few, years, you will see that the system is much more flexible than some are led to believe. If there is demand, the plants will be there. With smart grid technology and new storage technologies, these problems can be easily solved. Yes it takes money, but that money is available where there is proven demand. Sales of electric vehicles are a very concrete proof point of that demand.
So let me get this straight... a guy who makes 'zero fat' cup cakes is predicting that in 15 years half of all cup cakes eaten will be 'zero fat'. Gee I' gonna run out and buy some stock in a company that makes 'zero fat cuppy cakes'...
Not to be cynical, but just to start with the grid will not support it. The only way I see this prediction coming true is if overall car sales fall through the floor, and governments impose strict dictatorial mandates on what is left of the industry.
All politics aside, Elon Musk's job is to create demand and pervceived future value for his companies and their shareholders. No amount of "in-depth" analysis that I can think of will make his statement come true.
The end may not yet be near, but recent statements by two of the world’s biggest automakers point to the fact that the industry has begun to plan for a dramatic decline in vehicles that are powered solely by internal combustion engines.
At the recent Autodesk Accelerate event in Boston, the director of product development for a niche hypercar firm replied "no, no, no" to three answers he got for what makes a car go faster. What was the right response?
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