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The Coming Disruption of Transport

Admiral Beez

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The biggest expense in an Uber ride is the driver. Eliminate that and it gets a lot cheaper.
Do you honestly think eliminating the driver will make your Uber ride a lot cheaper, for you?

Of course not. Uber hasn't made a profit yet, and is banking on autonomous cars not to reduce their prices, but to make a profit. So how does any of this benefit Canadians? More unemployment, and now 100% of your transportation spending going to the USA. Where's the upside?
 
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MisterF

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Do you honestly think eliminating the driver will make your Uber ride a lot cheaper, for you?
In a crowded and competitive marketplace, yes. Uber isn't just competing with taxis and Lyft, they're competing with Silicon Valley and the entire automotive industry combined. The alternative to reducing prices is becoming the next Blockbuster.
 

kEiThZ

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When you consider that all core EV tech is decreasing in cost rapidly, very soon you will be talking about $30K vehicles, not $50K

You can get an electric vehicle for under $30k right now. The question is whether it is one the majority of buyers would consider. And particular to Canada is the deterioration of our currency. Doesn't make EVs cheaper.

And one must also consider the significantly lower operating costs.

How many people consider operating costs when buying a vehicle today? Do you honestly believe that most people do this in a country where the most popular vehicles are pick-up trucks and SUVs?

EVs, like other technology, has an S-curve adoption rate.

I'm a fan of Tony Seba. But there's plenty of debate on how steep the S-curve will be for EVs. Cars aren't televisions. They are much more expensive. They require much more infrastructure and are last over a decade in service.

The common wisdom is that the tipping point comes when EVs with 200 miles of range go for US$25k. Forecast for 2023-2025. But this ignores the fact that range and affordability are very different everywhere. 200 miles range is plenty in Italy or Japan or India. In Canada with our cities far apart and our climate, the minimum may be 250 mi (~400 km). And then there's the US$25k threshold. That's already CA$33k. Close to Canadian average, only because our average includes lots of expensive trucks. Those drivers aren't trading down for a cheap Nissan Leaf. Similarly US$25k is most definitely not a tipping point price in a lot of the world.

All this is to say that even if we see S-curve adoption, the curve maybe far less steep than a lot of EV advocatesv imagine. At our current rates, the government's own targets of 30% of new car sales by 2030 may be in jeopardy.
 

Johnny Au

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Once self-driving vehicles become commonplace, those who enjoy driving can still drive in racetracks.

Automation can't replace NASCAR or Formula One. If it did, then it would be no different from playing a racing video game.

Likewise, horse racing and equestrian events are still popular despite horse-powered transport being practically relegated to special occasions and certain rural communities.
 
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Towered

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Do you honestly think eliminating the driver will make your Uber ride a lot cheaper, for you?

Of course not. Uber hasn't made a profit yet, and is banking on autonomous cars not to reduce their prices, but to make a profit. So how does any of this benefit Canadians? More unemployment, and now 100% of your transportation spending going to the USA. Where's the upside?

The potential upside is UBI.
 

Admiral Beez

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Once self-driving vehicles become commonplace, those who enjoy driving can still drive in racetracks.
You need to get out of the city. When I lived in Fredericton I would often drive to small towns across Atlantic Canada through blizzards and dense fog, often down rural and gravel roads. I think we’re years away from a car driving itself through such conditions or serving communities outside of the major developed areas.
 

afransen

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I can see myself buying an electric car, but I‘ve no interest in car sharing, that’s a taxi by any other name.

I sense a lot of car sharing proponents think that owning a car is a nuisance or financial waste. But no, I enjoy driving, I enjoy cars and like to own my transport. So, while I’ll buy both an electric car and motorcycle, if I want to go somewhere without parking I’ll call a taxi or Uber.
I think owning a car will become substantially less convenient when most people use autonomous rideshares. Free parking, or parking period, is going to start shrinking and disappearing with that space put to better use. Street parking in particular is ripe to disappear.
 

afransen

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Do you honestly think eliminating the driver will make your Uber ride a lot cheaper, for you?

Of course not. Uber hasn't made a profit yet, and is banking on autonomous cars not to reduce their prices, but to make a profit. So how does any of this benefit Canadians? More unemployment, and now 100% of your transportation spending going to the USA. Where's the upside?
Uber are the ones who are going to be disrupted by actual self-driving rideshare companies. The first company to develop reliable autonomy for rideshares can collect disproportionate profits, but once there are two the pricing pressure will drive fares down. There is a reason Uber is unprofitable despite paying drivers near min wage.
 

kEiThZ

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Yep. The amount of space dedicated to parking in North American cities is mindboggling in both scale and wastefulness.
 

MisterF

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The cost of lithium ion battery packs fell by 13% in 2020, to an industry-wide average of US$137/kWh and $126 in BEVs. Down from $1100 a decade ago.

Battery Pack Prices Cited Below $100/kWh for the First Time in 2020, While Market Average Sits at $137/kWh

 

kEiThZ

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The really significant part is that quoted pack prices are dropping below $100/kwh. So in about 3 years, when that's the industry wide average, BEVs will be competitive with ICEVs without subsidies.

This explains why Volkswagen is planning a €20 000 car for 2025. That's CA$31 000 at current exchange rates. No subsidies.

If we haven't already, we're definitely on course to see peak ICEV and peak oil demand in the next 5 years.

The government really needs to get on with building the infrastructure for all this. Need a lot more renewable power. And a lot more charging infrastructure.
 

afransen

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TuSimple is a self-driving long haul trucking company already operating in the US south. Add electrification and I am starting to come around to the idea that this will eat pretty significantly into rail traffic--or rail really has to up in game from a service point of view to remain competitive.


Interesting to think what this does to railroads. Do they remain viable? Do they need to merge? Do high value ROWs for passenger rail get freed up (North Toronto sub)?

It definitely feels like autonomous electric HOV vehicles (aka minibuses) will have potential for longer distance regional travel, too. Especially if we can create dedicated HOV lanes for them. They should be quite affordable and effective for travel time, just need to give them appropriate priority over single occupancy vehicles.
 

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