You're right, any1, that the numbers could be different in developing countries. I believe this is Carlos Ghosn's plan, too. He wants to sell a lot of Nissan Leafs in Asia. The wild card in all this is still the battery, however. Consumers in China and India could have problems with $20,000 battery packs.
I'm assuming Musk is talking about all cars manufactured in the world. In fifteen years the vast majority of the world market is likely be China, India (and the rest of Asia), and places like Brasil. The number of cars used in the US will be a small minority of the total. So you have to think about what kind of car people in these places will be driving in 15 years. I think that people living in large cities in the developing world are not going to have the same wants and needs as Americans. So I'm guessing those cars will be much smaller, and cheaper than what Tesla is making for US consumption today. I'm talking very basic transportation. That could be half of all cars manufactured. If we were to include electric bicycles and scooters in the mix I would say we could achieve half of all "vehicles" as being electric in 15 years easily.
@Absalom: China has much more regulation than the United States, since it is a socialist country. (It's true that regulations are not always enforced as consistently, but this only adds to the uncertainty). If companies are outsourcing in order to escape regulation, why on earth would they go to China?
Also, why does Germany, which has higher taxes and more regulation than the United States, have a much higher percentage of manufacturing employment?
Also, how come U.S. manufacturing was so healthy in the 1950s and 1960s, when tax rates were higher, and "government" was not considered to be a bad word?
There are certainly many factors which led to the decline of U.S. manufacturing (which, by the way, started around 1980 -- exactly when an anti-tax, anti-regulation administration came into office), but the idea that taxes or regulation were the main driver is just dogma and is not supported by facts.
The fact is that global competition drove business interests to lobby for policies that benefitted them, so government is a problem to the point that it created policies that "lost" jobs due to businesses off-shoring and created tax loopholes that forced the US tax payer to subsidize offshoring. There is no valid reason for any society to subsidize profit at their expense.
Outsourcing is the effect not the cause. Government creates the taxes, licensing and regulation here that make it too complex and expensive to compete. Anything that can be outsourced should be outsourced.
Mazda built another Wankel rotary engine powered vehicle around 2004, the RX-8. I own one. 18mpg is about the best mileage, maybe 20 on the highway. But it is smooth and responsive, throttle lag is non-existent. Yes, torque is low at low rpm but it redlines at 8500 rpm and the max torque is at 8000; keep the rpms up and it is a monster: 235 hp out of a 1.3 l engine. It's mounted low in the car and close to the transmission, you can't see the engine under the hood. 50/50 weight distribution front to back gives spectacular handling. Oil consumption is true but not a problem. And yes this engine has contemporary electronic engine controls. They fine tuned the performance by reflashing the PROM. Couple years ago an RX-8 won the 24 hours of Daytona. That one had a three rotor engine and a turbo, around 450 hp. The car is a delight to drive but it was a commercial failure. Mazda stopped selling them last year. Oh well!
Yup, that was the engine. I had a friend that rebuilt his so I saw some of the inner workings. Like ChasChas said, it was really quirky, and the smog devices made it worse because the engine passed a great deal of unburned fuel. There were two sets of spark plugs and a host of devices to tame the beast. Maybe with electronic management it would be better today, but so's everything else.
If we're on the same engine, it was a Wankel design. It had poor mechanical rotary advantage (relatively low torque) and the combustion chambers could not acommondate clean/efficient burn characteristics (flame shapes). Plus there was the end seals and oil usage problems.
We need to design around what already works well and concentrate on what doesn't work well. Changing everthing (like the Wankel) creates a whole new host of problems.
If I remember right, Mazda created an engine in the 80s where the pistons were part of a circular motion so there was no reciprical motion, only forward motion. Was there something about that system that didn't work?
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