How the Tesla Model 3 could trigger the collapse of the traditional auto industry

Tesla Model 3 s

Clean tech consultant Julian Cox made some interesting points about the coming disruption of the auto industry in a presentation at CleanTechnica’s recent Cleantech Revolution Tour in Berlin.

Cox begins his talk with a recap of some past technological disruptions, which he says have usually played out within 20-30 years (good news for us older EVangelists – we can hope to see the end of the movie). Kodak is only one example of a company that invented the technology that would later kill it. Did you know that Exxon invented the lithium battery in the 1970s?

Cox went on to argue that the Tesla Model 3 will be not only better, but cheaper (in terms of total cost of ownership) than any comparable legacy vehicle. He takes us through point-by-point comparisons of the Model 3, the BMW 328i and the Toyota Corolla (!).

Mr. Cox also examines the economics of selling (as opposed to producing) EVs from the standpoint of the incumbent auto companies, and concludes that, once consumers have the option to buy a compelling EV, and are able to comparison-shop between electric and fossil-fueled options, the Dinos of Detroit could well be sucked into a death spiral, hastened to their extinction by sub-prime leasing.

Cox’s arguments are closely reasoned, with detailed examples and many (mostly interesting) digressions, so it’s difficult to summarize them in a brief blog post. Alas, many of those who most need to hear what he has to say likely lack the attention span to view the entire video.


Source: CleanTechnica

  • timerbeltkiller

    Why take it for granted the big auto producers will simply lie down and die with the fossil car?

    More probably they will simply prefer to be part of the BEV revolution.

    They can do as VW and make plugins their main future.
    Or they might “join the ones they cannot beat”.
    Or even “buy them”

    • ned_plimpton

      You would think that would always be the case when old corporate giants are disrupted by new agile companies – why wouldn’t they participate in the new tech?

      But they’re usually too flat footed and invested in the old way of doing things to adapt. So they go away. We’ll see if this is true for the auto industry. It’s very possible if the business model of building and selling cars changes quickly.

      • timerbeltkiller

        Fact is most of them are adapting.
        Just below this article you see one example:
        Convinced that the market is ready for plug-ins, Daimler invests 7 billion euros.

        • ned_plimpton

          They’re investing because of gov’t regulations, not adapting. Even the most aggressive automaker’s EV plans aren’t very aggressive at all. How many LEAFs are sold relative to all the other Nissans? It’s one model introduced like 6 years ago. Nothing new since then?!

          To your point: What exactly is Daimler doing besides putting out press releases about their “big” investment? Adding plug options to some models to appease regulators – they will sell only handfuls of them. Nothing even close to the scope of Tesla.

          And it’s not just the electric aspect. It’s the whole automotive business model that’s changing really quickly.

          • timerbeltkiller

            Do you really believe Nissan, GM, Ford, VAG, Daimler, Porsche & CO are out of business in 2020 or 2025?

            If so, it is more likely due to private ownership of vehicles idle 90% of the time becoming obsolete except in sparsely populated rural areas.

          • ned_plimpton

            I believe that it’s not out of the question that these giants could begin to fall, given how fast everything is changing and how slow they move. They’re giant bureaucracy, they can’t adapt very fast.

            It’s also possible that a lot of the brands survive, but the companies look nothing like they do today.

            2020 or 2025 seems too soon. Is that what the guy in video predicted? Too long; didn’t watch.

          • nordlyst

            With that time frame I agree it’s looking silly. But 2030 is much harder to predict.

            You have to acknowledge that switching to BEVs changes the game significantly. It lowers the barriers to entry and goes a long way to demolish the incumbents intellectual property. The modern car industry is not at all vertically integrated, and with the important exception of drivetrain technology ALL the major manufacturers rely on external suppliers for chassis, brakes, suspension, seats, airbags, switches, gauges and electronics – and more.

            Modern ICE engines are extremely complicated. That is one of the reasons EV technology is superior, but it also means that the chances for someone else to appear and make a competitive product are much greater with EVs. Battery technology is the area that might play a similar role for EVs, but it’s not a given m, even if you have more billions to spend, who will gain the upper hand. Given how much luck is involved in invention and discovery (as opposed to engineering, which is a much more evolutionary tale) it is perfectly possible that nobody will have a clear advantage for a long time to come.

            Juicy profits require high barriers to entry. I am convinced that is why car makers have resisted EV technology – not collusion with big oil. I really don’t believe a car maker’s income is dependent on selling fuel; otherwise we would not have seen the drive to reduce consumption that started long before EVs became a taking point (at least in most of the world – the cheap fuel in the USA explains why its car park is only half as efficient as Europe’s). But any company that is making money steadily thanks to owning technology that is difficult and expensive to replicate will have good reason to resist changes that make that technology obsolete.

          • My Vizn

            nordlyst, wrong again! I.C.E. OEM’s make 5% on selling cars, 30% on part and 60% on parts and labor. Do the MATH, thats one reason GM killed the EV-1. The dealer model is not conducive to producing profit. Tesla and other EV startups like Atieva, Faraday Future, NextEV have a better chance of success starting with a clean slate. But don’t get caught up in the BS, Ford, Fiat etc. can’t make a profit in the near future because of their LEGACY cost structure. Tesla was extremely smart by partnering with Panasonic on the gigafactory so they can earn a profit and sell quality EV’s WITH a CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE…

          • nordlyst

            Source? Show me the data, from a credible source, that supports your assertion that only 5% of OEM’s profits are from the cars, 30% on the parts, and – most ridiculous of all – 60% on parts and labor! Then I’ll discuss your “points”.

            The latter is ridiculous because as you know it’s not OEMs that charge for labor (except as part of the price of a new car). That would be dealerships. They aren’t OEMs. It would seem clear you are speaking pure nonsense then.

          • My Vizn

            You don’t know the inner workings of car dealerships? These are the numbers give or take a point or two. The distribution model for internal combustion car makers is not conducive for distributing the EV profitably. The dealer and OEM rely on selling parts and labor. Selling the car is the smallest part of the OEMs dealer sales channel. That system doesn’t work for the high reliability and less amount of parts and labor needed for a typical EV. Stretch out their revenue stream over 5-10 years and the profit margin can’t keep up with the overhead.

          • nordlyst

            You have ZERO credibility when this is how you respond to a request for your source.

            Do you not know where you have this information from? Aka your source. Or do you not want us to know? Either way, it can’t be good.

          • Red Sage

            The source used to be NADA, but they keep revising their numbers and claiming that no one, anywhere, makes any money on selling new cars at all, and that it is such a shame that Tesla wants to put them out of business.

            Fact of the matter is, since early 2014, they have continually rvised their numbers downward, first admitting to five or six percent at MSRP… then saying it was only three or four percent… then settling at ‘almost’ two percent for a while… before most recently stating their margins are worse than grocery stores at maybe 1%. Complete [BOLSHEVIK].

            It is firmly a matter of record by independent observers that 60% of what is profitable activity on a dealership lot comes from the Service Department after the sale. There is a reason why the lots at new car dealerships are filled with used cars, and it isn’t just because they don’t want the new ones egged by rowdy teenagers. It is also well known that the profit margin on used cars, particularly trade-ins, is far higher than it is for sales of new cars.

            You cannot design an electric vehicle to predictably fall apart outside of warranty. If you design it to work at all, it will probably work forever. The economics of the ICE industry are such that the profitability of vehicles is measured on the back end, either through financing, or maintenance and repairs, if not both. When you run the numbers and don’t have that back end list of fuel pumps, water pumps, compressors, seals, gaskets, and belts that you KNOW are going to fail over time and WILL need to be replaced? The profitability matrix goes to [HECK].

            EVs simply don’t fit the schedule that traditional automobile manufacturers have become used to following as a given agenda toward a continual roadmap that leads to everlasting (or at least 15 or 20 years worth) of revolving profits. ICE vehicles after the first four or five years in service are naught more than rolling spare parts conveyances. They produce kickbacks for parts sales for decades after they are built.

            That is by design.

          • Bruno Bevilacqua

            Just got out of MB Museum in Stuttgart yesterday, the only EV on display was an electric SLR, doesn’t even have a price. The dealership that operates in a connected building had absolutely NO electric cars for sale – though they had B-Classes and Smarts in the room.
            I’m talking about Mercedes-Benz headquarters. This is inside their industrial complex in Stuttgart.
            No space for EVs here, unfortunately.

          • nordlyst

            I disagree. Perhaps it’s because of dieselgate, perhaps not, but VW is close to going all-in on electric cars. The company recently presented its new strategy looking ahead to 2025 – and BEVs are front and center. More than 30 new BEVs will be introduced in the period. It’s investing more than 10 billion dollars in EV drivetrain technology, platform and battery technology. The stated goal is 2-3 million BEVs sold annually by 2025. New CEO Mathias Müller is also leaning towards cutting all R&D programs relating to ICE propulsion.

            I’d say that is a pretty ambitious plan from a company that is, even in the midst of dieselgate, making good money on being one of the world’s top three makers of “conventional” (i.e. fossil-fuelled) cars.

            GM also seems to mean business, even if in a much smaller way, with the Bolt.

            Ford has announced huge investments (six billion dollars if memory serves(??)) in developing their first BEV platform.

            BMW has already invested billions and established a new sub-brand and developed a lot of future-looking new technology. The i3 is not only the most efficient car in existence, but it’s also made using 30% *less* energy in manufacture than a 3-series. They built a brand new factory for BMW I that runs on renewable energy (mainly hydropower). The car’s interior is made from recycled materials, and nearly 100% of the car is itself recyclable.

            Nissan too has invested billions in EVs already, although in my opinion they have not gained a technology advantage like BMW for their money. They did however start selling BEVs when battery packs still cost north of a grand per kilowatt-hour – and that tells us something about how its leadership views the future of the car industry.

            I am just listing up those initiatives and significant accomplishments and/or promises that we’ve seen so far. It would be possible to go on for some time and speak of many more brands and manufacturers.

            And of course there is Tesla and its potentially game-changing Model 3 (if they can turn a profit making it and make enough of it before investors run out of patience – an open question IMO).

            All in all, I think if you look back at how much has happened in the past six years, it looks like the beginnings of a successful revolution so far. Disrupting a big industry seldom takes less than a decade, and usually two or three. IMHO it is just our very human impatience that makes it FEEL as if things are moving at a glacial pace and that the revolution is at risk. Objectively we should be very pleased with the development. There are a million OTHER changes humanity needs to deal with to get to invent a sustainable way of having prosperity – transportation is relatively speaking well on track to achieve 90-95% emissions reductions, which is the ballpark we need to be in.

            So please be more optimistic! There are definitely good grounds for optimism. 🙂

          • Najeeb Ullah

            Most of the EVs sold in the world today are from Chinese companies (mostly sold in china), that no one is talking about. I would say after Tesla the most important EV makers are BYD and BAIC. These two companies sell more EVs than all the European and American car manufatures combined.

          • nordlyst

            That isn’t accurate. China is the biggest market and by some margin, but not bigger than the rest of the world combined.

            In percentage terms China is nowhere near the top. Norway is at 25% and 2.5% fleet penetration. The Netherlands is, if memory serves, at 15% EV market share. China is at a not so impressive one percent…

          • My Vizn

            Nordlyst again I completely disagree with your over the top comments. When you read Press releases from Tesla you seem to get annoyed and yet when VW, Ford and GM put out their propaganda you drink the juice lock stock and barrel. How are they going to overcome the dealer model where their salespeople get to sell the car that makes them the most money? Before you answer, go to anyone of those 3 OEM/s and tok to the sale staff about your dream of seeing 2-3 million EV’s from Ford, VW, GM…again, you are not living in reality…

          • nordlyst

            That’s fine, agreement is overrated. 🙂

            I think you have to be somewhat biased not to see that the reality distortion field has been inherited by Elon Musk. People speak as if the company obviously merits the share value, although it’s financials say otherwise and makes very clear that it’s value is extremely speculative. That’s not to say it’s wrong – maybe it will make money some day, maybe even more than necessary to justify its lofty market cap.

            Similarly, some people write about the Model 3, which as a matter of fact is merely an announced vehicle that relatively little is known about, as if it is the Second Coming itself. It’s annoying. I want to see a bit more balance.

            Same thing goes for my post here. Dude says nobody but Tesla is doing anything, in reality VW is doing three times as much. VW has more than 3x the resources, so by all means say Tesla is the moral winner. Say VW wouldn’t be doing ANY of it without Tesla. I don’t see how you can know this (there is such a thing as regulations, which may offer an alternative explanation), but never mind. All I want is have people reduce their Tesla Tunnel Vision (TTV) at least to the point where they can admit that VWs plans, if the company follows through (I believe they will, don’t you?), are very significant indeed.

            As for dealerships, I’ve never had any kind of issue with them. I don’t live in the US and there are no laws here that prevent anyone from selling cars, whether the manufacturer or someone else. I think Tesla’s “Rangers” sound like a really nice, but expensive, idea. I wonder how Tesla will manage the upscaling of their service organization if the Model 3 becomes the swift success we’re all hoping it will be (even if some of us are cool-headed enough to see that’s not a given).

            Try to consider the actual content in my claims and address that instead of just how it makes you feel. Clearly you feel upset that anyone has the audacity to say something seemingly not supportive of your beloved Tesla, and that is EXACTLY the kind of attitude that motivates my posting in the first place!

      • SRW

        100 years ago when technology was catching the horse and buggy industry off guard, the horse and buggy industry didn’t have investors and shareholders to report to.

        • nordlyst

          Kodak, however, definitely did have so! This did nothing to prevent digital photography – invented by Kodak – to undo the entire business.

    • Perttu Lehtinen

      Most of the traditional auto companies will die like Nokia.

      • Bruno Bevilacqua

        Wait untill next year. Nokia ain’t dead.

        • nordlyst

          Distinction without a difference. Nokia’s mobike phone business, once more than half the value of the entire Finnish stock market, is dead or as good as dead.

          • Bruno Bevilacqua

            They are temporarily out of the mobile phone business, it’s part of their sale agreement with M$.
            The ban ends on the 4th quarter of this year.
            Wait until next year, then we’ll see if they are definitely out or else.

          • nordlyst

            Any name can potentially reappear. Even if Nokia of 2017 were to succeed it’s just silly to regard it as the same business as Nokia of 2006. It is just the same brand, and that’s meaningless.

          • Bruno Bevilacqua

            Silly you! Search for ‘Nokia Networks’ on Google. Just like Ericsson, they are not just a brand, they only sold their handheld phone business to M$ with the condition they would not compete again until 2017.

          • nordlyst

            In all honesty, I think you are the one being silly. Nokia Networks was founded in 2006 and acquired by Nokia Corporation only in 2013 – so whatever it is, it’s not the old mobile phone giant we all call Nokia (that would be it’s now mother, Nokia Corporation, when it still had a mobile phone business).

            You haven’t addressed my point, which it is apparently necessary to reiterate: regardless of the formal ownership and corporate entity, the actual Nokia mobile phone business is what matters and it is in tatters.

            Even if a mobile phone business using the Nokia brand should succeed (against all odds, but that’s beside my point), and even if it was formally the same company as the old Nokia (which it isn’t, not even close) it would STILL be much more accurate to regard it as a new venture than as the old Nokia resurrected.

            Please either present some form of argument or just leave it. Saying I’m silly and reducing your argument to “just google” is highly disingenuous.

          • Perttu Lehtinen

            It’s not the same thing. The Nokia factories are gone. Everyone can buy HW from China and put brand labels on it.

    • nordlyst

      Of course. But it’s difficult to change huge corporations and especially so when you have to cannibalize existing business. It’s not just Kodak that have had a Kodak moment.

      Fun fact: Kodak invented the technology that went on to bankrupt the company. Do you know who invented the lithium battery..? A little firm called Exxon…

  • Greg Shiff

    With 4 European nations going “Full” electric by 2013 and 10 “giga” size battery lithium factories coming on line shortly the demand for Lithium is at a fever pace. Last year the only lithium mine (brine) in America was sold to $ALB for $6.2 billion. has this company just discovered the “perfect lithium brine Basin? 120 miles from Tesla’s lithium battery plant.

    • Zephyr


    • nordlyst

      Lithium is undoubtedly more popular than ever. Luckily there’s not actually very much of it in a pack, so even a tenfold increase in lithium prices would translate only to a small increase in total battery pack cost, which is rapidly decreasing despite the surge in lithium demand.

      Maybe it could become a problem; I’m not sure. But I think it’s unlikely because the known reserves of easily extracted lithium surpass the amount needed to electrify all land transportation, and the increasing prices obviously stimulate the supply as well. There’s likely much more to be found if we were to look harder, and at some price point you could take it from seawater for a practically “inexhaustible” supply. So I’m not really worried 🙂

  • PriceDav

    The Model 3 is a shot across the bow of incumbent automakers and some will not make it. But what you’ll see first is consolidation. Or maybe the weaker companies will buy Tesla platforms and batteries, Toyota and Mercedes did it. Then there are the new entrants, Apple and Faraday come to mind, how will these players impact the market? Disruption is a term loosely used by pundits with no understanding of the market. The winners and losers won’t be known until 2030. In the meantime fortunes will be made and lost.

    • nordlyst

      Well. If you said things like “could be” I might agree. What the Model 3 is – right now – however is little more than a promise.

      Teslas continued failure to deliver on their ambitious but still far more modest goals for the past couple of quarters doesn’t bode well. Of course it’s not for me to say that a failure to come close to the stated goals will necessarily spell trouble for Teslas business. The goals are so lofty that it seems plausible they might succeed even if they fall short of the goals by two thirds or even more. But it also seems plausible they could break their back. It will be exciting to follow and I of course HOPE that they will be hugely successful and impact the entire industry as much as possible as fast as possible.

      But too much commentary of what Tesla and the Model 3 is and will effect is closer to wishful thinking than sober analysis. It is still very possible for Tesla to fail as a company. As an EV catalyst however I think they’ve already accomplished their mission and EVs will happen much sooner than if Tesla never existed even if the Model 3 should bomb completely.

      • My Vizn

        Nordlyst “the tesla model 3 is little more than a promise”? You’ve got to be kidding with that statement. Tesla is major disrupter to the OEM establishment. No expensive dealerships, direct sales, customer service unparalleled in the industry, over 300,000 Model 3 pre-orders in 10 days…you are not speaking with any actual knowledge, just outside judgement which is your right, but you are stating personal feelings which don’t hold any water. You said “Tesla’s continued failure”…is one of the most ridiculous comments I’ve ever read on thus forum. They are clearly not catalyst because there aren’t more than 6 EV’s on the market right NOW from 8 OEM’s. Get Real or you’re just another troll.

        • nordlyst

          Yawn. You do the very thing you accuse me of – spew opinion as if it’s indisputable fact.

          “Tesla is [a] major disrupter [sic] to the auto industry.”

          What’s your source? What facts is this based on? In truth, it’s just opinion that can be more or less supported by the facts, and still depends on your POV.

          I actually also think Tesla is a disruptor. But my point concerned the fact that Model 3 isn’t in production yet, won’t be for AT LEAST another year, and quite possibly more. It’s not a given that Tesla makes a success of it, and there is a chance it could break the company rather than have it take over the world.

          As to Teslas failure to deliver their published goals in the past couple of quarters (it pays to read people’s comment if you want to critique it), this is the one matter where there is no room for opinion but purely a matter of fact. And the facts prove me correct. So suck it.

      • greggwon

        Tesla has caught up at the end of the year and are exceeding even modest goals.

  • honeebadger

    Fascinating video. Tesla is a revolutionary “technology disruptor”. We may have already reached the tipping point where Tesla is to the internal combustion engine car what the internal combustion engine car was to the horse. Tailpipe missions replaced manure on the road – it’s a sure thing consumers will choose clean air, provided they’re given the choice.

  • Ramon A. Cardona

    If the Model 3 is a pilot program that will start an avalanche of technologies, it will be a great success. But more brands will have to have access to the Tesla charging technology. The Bolt may be a 200 mile range car but start a journey with a Bolt and a Tesla and the Tesla shall win due to faster charging. However, with the numbers of Model 3 projected to sell the first year of production, Tesla needs more stations. A recent news item that Tesla is working with gas stations to expand its network is the right step. Will recharging be per k/w hour or free? Time will tell. For sure, the Tesla technology is changing personal transportation around the planet.

    • nordlyst

      Yes, Tesla has a big advantage in its superior charging tech and above all superior network. Even so, the network side will improve a lot for Bolt as CCS is rolled out. I think there are plenty of people that can live happily with an EV that charges less fast if it has a 60 kWh pack. I know I can. Even with my LEAF I seldom fast-charge or indeed charge away from home.

      I reserved a Model 3 largely because I think it’s much more desirable than the Bolt. But things like driving position, comfortable seats and easy to see out in all directions may still convince me to switch – I’ll have to wait and see until Model 3 is much closer to reality and hopefully test drive one before having to convert my reservation into an order. And then there’s all the buyers who will simply not consider a sedan over a hatchback, such as most dog owners. 🙂

      There’s plenty of room for both. Hopefully M3 will steal customers from the BMW 3-series and Audi A4 crowd, and the Bolt from ICE hatchbacks!

      • My Vizn

        Go sit and drive a BOLT then get back to us, the car is a smart car with 4 door. Its nothing more than a Cheap Corolla EV should be $25,000.

        • nordlyst

          I have a suggestion for you: either attempt to have a discussion, and do things like argue a point of view, point out problems with others points of view, and so on, or just go away.

          Every day now I encounter some not-so-bright person with developed TTV (Tesla Tunnel Vision) that causes me to feel a bit more like cancelling my Model 3 reservation and go for the Ampera-e instead. For me the M3 is certainly a lot more exciting. It’s much sexier than the Bolt, and will do more for my image. This doesn’t prevent me from seeing that a Bolt will do more for some people than a Model 3, and especially for tall people who own dogs. I’m sure you feel they should all wait for the Model Y, and some will do just that. But it’s also true that some will choose the Bolt. And none of them can hear you cry!

          • Red Sage

            I’d be happy if the BOLT looked at least as good as GM’s other cars that can be had for the price. Such as the Chevrolet MALIBU, Buick LaCrosse, or Cadillac ATS. Instead, the BOLT is basically a greatly improved version of the 2014 Honda FIT EV.

    • Red Sage

      Eventually, sure. Elon Musk has been begging, pleading, advising, and hoping that traditional automobile manufacturers use their money, influence, talent, and capacity to move toward an electric drive future for over a decade. They refuse to do so. That doesn’t change the fact someone has to do it. So Tesla is doing what they can. The biggest issue facing traditional automobile manufacturers is their own internal ‘willingness limits’. They are not willing to make the fundamental change to their product lines that may allow them to survive.

      I’m sure a lot of print shops went away as a result of the XEROX copying machine coming to market. It was a very long time before anyone else even offered similar technology. And those people were probably rather peeved that their machines were called a ‘XEROX’ by default. But some people realized they could replace the functions of old school typesetting print shops by using the new technology and that has spawned an entirely new and profitable business opportunity. Because, believe it or not, some people still don’t know how to use a printer, let alone of photocopier or FAX machine, because they are still ‘too complicated’ or ‘too technical’ for them. Despite being far easier to operate than plating a typeset machine for a four-color process job.

      That said, I haven’t seen an actual XEROX machine in ages. The time may come when enough new companies enter the electric vehicle business that they too become successful. And then, eventually, just as was the case with Westinghouse, Zenith, Singer, IBM, Osbourne, Kaypro, XEROX, and Kodak, Tesla will be a long forgotten brand. But not today. Not today.

      • robinjoe1

        Most of the car manucturers took $1-4B from the US government to develop electrified cars around 2009. That’s why everyone sells them now. The real problem is not enough people buy them.

  • beardedman

    Fiat’s Chrysler division, aimed at knuckle-draggers and barely-pubescent teens, should be the first to fold.

  • robinjoe1

    Its actually the driver-less vehicle that will kill the auto industry as we know it. It will no longer be necessary to own a car. You just go online and schedule the exact size, feaure car you need to whatever you are doing and it will show up. Cars are only used 10% of the time or less. If that goes up to 90% then we only need 1/9th as many cars.

    • Torsten Gruhn

      yes … and thats the bitter truth, the vehicle manufacturers are driving the tech which might just reduce drastically their sales numbers. Current vehicle utilization rates are in the low 10s of percent. An AV autonomous vehicle will drive that up to maybe 40%.
      In the wake we will replace 3 Mil truck drivers, 1 Mil bus drivers and countless cab jobs with autonomous vehicles … the EV industry will unfortunately obsolete an unknown number of suppliers, muffler and oil places etc. And our society has no plans in store to replace those. Its easy to say … oh, they will just move into different jobs … but that’s a bold assumption in times where adding just a mere 100k jobs is seen as a success. I love our current acceleration in clean tech, I love EVs, but society will have a hard time adjusting without any alternative model for jobs and education.

      • robinjoe1

        People are creative and adaptive. They aren’t like horses which all of a
        sudden were obsolete with the Model T. There are more useful uses for
        people than driving vehicles or even manufacturing cars. The profession
        we reward most lavishly at the moment are entertainers, tech and inventors. At one time 90% of people made their living in agriculture.

      • nordlyst

        In my opinion it is really the wrong way to think about it. If work is the stuff we have to do to survive and enable some of the stuff we *want* to do, then it would be good to minimize it.

        It really is a distribution problem. A hard one, that we’ll likely have to go through a lot of grief to grapple with. But the solution really has to be to distribute wealth more evenly – not to “create work”.

        But the work itself can perhaps also be distributed more evenly. We could work 30 or 20 or even fewer hours a week – if we were paid enough to survive and enjoy our increased leisure time.

        How to do it though, I don’t know. The global economy is set up as a game that drives everyone toward our mutual destruction with ever increasing speed. Ecosystems are destroyed and we risk not having any environment in which to have an economy. When France reduced its work hours from 40 to 35 hours a week the critics were all over them saying they hurt “growth”.

      • Red Sage

        Society adjusted pretty well to the loss of workhands and blacksmiths at livery stations. The Economy bore the brunt of losing whale oil as a primary machinery lubricant just fine. We’ll be OK when cab drivers and bus drivers and train operators go away too. Don’t worry about it.

    • Red Sage

      Cars have been largely unnecessary in well planned cities for most of the past century. The problem with Los Angeles, for instance, is that all the good plans were thrown in a dumpster fire sometime in the 1930s. And every plan that has come since has been the exact opposite of the best thing to do. Los Angeles used to have the most modern railcar system in the world. But the entire thing was purchased and dismantled to make way for the individual profitability gleaned from making the place automobile centric instead.

      • robinjoe1

        The culture in LA drives people to own a home. That’s why it sprawls instead of growing vertical as most cities have. Sprawl and mass transit are not comparable. Your point about it being sabotaged is motivation to do research. Thanks!

  • Brandon Fouts

    Tony Seba disruption (Stanford University ?)
    check video tab -or just search YouTube – his papers are also good
    His later talks have more uptodate info -but all are good -pick the venue you might prefer.