Friday, 18 May 2018 17:48

Experts Weigh in on the Future of the Automobile

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The Petersen Automotive Museum, in partnership with the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, recently held “The Future of the Automobile Conference.” The Petersen Automotive Museum, in partnership with the Los Angeles World Affairs Council, recently held “The Future of the Automobile Conference.” Courtesy of Petersen Automotive Museum


Dan Eberhart, CEO of Canary and author of Switching Gears: The Petroleum-Powered Electric Car

“I started thinking about the electric car phenomenon and what it is going to mean for industry …  I think it is going to be transformative for what energy we are going to need in the future and how we use energy. About 29 percent of the total energy consumption in the U.S. is used as transportation fuel. These internal combustion engines we are using are roughly about 25 percent efficient in how they displace energy. It is thought that with these electric cars, we’re going to be able to achieve about 70 percent efficiency. In terms of displacement in what we are doing, we’re potentially going to have 45 percent more efficiency, which is over double of where we are currently, and it could really be transformative for how much energy we need and how much energy we use and where we need to find it.”

Stefan Krause, CEO of EVelozcity 

“We will not solve this problem that urgently needs to be solved with companies that think like combustion engine companies, that have business models by combustion engine companies, market like combustion engine companies and have a mindset like combustion engine companies. That’s the big issue today and why some people are still not believing that this change will occur because we are coming at this whole industry with a different mindset.” 

Kent Kresa, former chair of GM and Northrop Grumman and member of the board of directors at Petersen Automotive Museum

“This transformation of the automobile in the next 30 years will change everything. This is extremely disruptive and the world in 30 years will be very, very different. We’ll have two different worlds---the urban world where the trucks will play the same way they play today and then we’ll have this electrified world where nobody owns cars and people will lease them for their short moments of driving. This will be very disruptive to many, many industries. There are predictions ranging all over the map. Some say this will happen rapidly, some say it won’t happen at all. I believe that it will be huge.”

Dakota Semler, founder and CEO of Thor Trucks 

“About 10 years ago, we were operating a fleet that had about 300 trucks in L.A. County and we were forced out of compliance. We were forced within three years to replace all of our trucks with newer technology. We realized that it was a customer need that started this electrification interest in the commercial and heavy duty electric space. We set out to develop heavy duty electric trucks to fulfill that need. We think that this acceleration will actually happen a lot quicker than the consumer space in the passenger car realm because of a few key things, including forced compliance and a clear TCO (total cost of engine) case … we can actually create a compelling savings for fleets that operate electric vehicles over the diesel vehicles, so instead of them making the option to be electric because it’s sexy or trending or the next best thing, it’s actually a clear economic case, and that’s what we want to drive home.”

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