Sociology not technology will decide the electric car rac

The early history of the automotive industry, full of epic successes and epic failures, also provides clues about its future. As is often the case during the technological revolution, the first burst of savage pioneering experiments is followed by a wave of industry integration by more subdued corporate types.

So, since the 1890s, dozens of compulsive entrepreneurs have launched the modern automobile industry in the United States. Over the next few decades, they founded hundreds of companies that manufactured thousands of different models.In words One historianThese enthusiasts seemed to compete in the “dramatically Darwin” world and prefer to “break and build cars rather than get rich by doing other things.”

However, the development of capital-intensive mass production methods, the Great Depression, and World War II have diminished competition. By 1950 The industry was dominated by only three giants: General Motors, Ford, Chrysler. Among these, it accounts for about three-quarters of the world’s production.

Today, the automotive industry reopens its doors to new entrants in another technological turmoil as electric and connected cars, and ultimately self-driving cars, replace human-powered internal combustion engine motors. I am. As this revolution unfolds, we’re witnessing a renewed intensification of creative competition as entrepreneurial start-ups and tech companies flood the market.

According to market research firms CB InsightRecently, more than 70 start-ups have been launched in the EV sector, from automakers and battery companies to charging infrastructure providers. Investment in the EV startup market reached $ 16.3 billion this year, up 28% year-on-year. Company forecast..

By far the most successful new entrant is Tesla, founded by Mercury Elon Musk. Tesla has redefined the entire EV sector, boasting a market value of approximately $ 632 billion, which is greater than the combined GM, Ford, Toyota and Volkswagen. But if the past is certainly a prologue, some of the start-ups these days must be on fire in the midst of overheated tech claims and production catastrophes. “There’s an evil waste of ridiculous money,” said Peter Rawlinson, CEO of EV car company Lucid, predicting that 80% of EV startups and 20% of traditional car makers are likely to go bankrupt. doing.

Nonetheless, former Tesla engineers are convinced that the transition to the EV world will occur sooner than anyone would expect, driven by environmental demands. Lucid release A unique luxury EV saloon with a range of over 500 miles, enough to drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles on a single charge. “We are at the forefront of the transport revolution. The environment is at stake. Tomorrow, the world will need millions of electric vehicles,” Laurinson said at a technology event at the Founders Forum last week. Told me.

So far, the EV sector is a small but rapidly expanding market, backed by environmentally friendly governments and often heavily Data provider EV-volumes.comIn 2020, global EV sales increased from 2.3 million units in the previous year to 3.24 million units, surpassing China as the fastest growing market in the world.

It’s an open and engaging question, who will eventually consolidate the EV market? There are many bets on the Chinese companies that dominate the EVs in the mass market. US tech giants such as Google and Apple see cars as “computers with wheels”, adding to their unique ambitions in this area. Many have fallen behind in the game, but traditional car makers are now investing heavily in EVs.

GM’s vision is “Zero Crash, Zero Emission, Zero Congestion” Car market. GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra announced this month that the company will spend $ 35 billion on EV investment by 2025, a process driven by customer demand. “Overall, we see a very strong and positive response to all electric vehicles.” She told CNBC.

The industry’s dream is to create an attractive, reliable $ 25,000 electric vehicle that overcomes range anxiety. As Professor Alan Kornhauser of Princeton University says, the winners are not just “greasers and truck drivers”, but those who can make cars that appeal to everyday drivers. “It’s all about sociology, not technology,” he adds.

In other words, it’s the customer who decides, as it has always been throughout history.

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