Combustion-engined vehicles are doomed because they rely on oil, a limited resource that will eventually end. Electric cars will take their place not solely because of that, but also because using all the oil on the planet would be an environmental tragedy. Sandy Munro made a speech for EV investors that shows that, but he goes further. The engineer revisited the past to show how electric cars are the future of transportation.
Munro started his speech by mentioning how men moved around on foot before realizing they could use animals to get places faster. When the combustion-engined vehicle was invented, it made mankind trade horses for machines. Pollution, believe it or not, was a major drive for the change.
We also mentioned that on September 1, 2019, when we discussed an article that claimed car advertising should be banned like cigarette propaganda was – as if transportation was not a major human need. We used that discussion to remember José Luiz Vieira, who once wrote Londoners had multiple respiratory problems due to horse manure back in the 19th century.
Munro brought that story back with an interesting image from the British newspaper The Times from 1894. The headline was that London streets would be buried under nine feet of manure in 50 years. What prevented that from happening was the automobile.
Right at its beginning, people could buy electric or combustion-engined cars. The latter had a massive handicap: getting their engines started. People often broke their arms or died trying to do so with huge cranks until Charles Kettering invented the electric starter. Ironically, that invention helped kill early electric cars by making ICE vehicles easier to use. Range differences did the rest.
With the push for electric cars Tesla and Nissan initiated more recently, combustion-engined cars will fade away for the same reasons carriages and horses are not mainstream anymore. Electricity is a renewable asset, even if current batteries are not – they are only recyclable. That may not be an issue now, much like gasoline was not a problem by the 1900s.
Munro filled his speech with interesting slides, one of which shows most OEMs lose money with their EVs. Only the VW group and Tesla escape that rule, and Munro is unsure about the German automaker yet.
Since this was a speech for investors, Munro reinforced that Tesla promised to sell components and even software to other companies. Among these companies is Nobe, which Tesla allegedly refused to help a while ago. Has Tesla changed its mind? If it hasn’t, we wonder which companies Tesla would be willing to sell its components and software to.
Munro also stressed how much Tesla modifies its cars as soon as it thinks it must – quoting Martin Luther King about that. By coincidence, a Tesla fan said the company sells prototypes, not production vehicles. Prototypes are changed on the fly for more testing before they reach series production.
Apart from these other observations, Munro believes Tesla and Rivian are the companies that will make EVs become mainstream. Unfortunately, at least one of his slides had EPA numbers that presented Tesla leading the pack. Thanks to Car and Driver, we know those numbers do not reflect range reality: Tesla chose a method that presents its cars in better lights. We are not sure why other manufacturers do not do the same for their EVs.
Nonetheless, the engineer made an interesting comparison between companies and boats. When you are sailing, an anchor can be useful to keep your boat at a given location. If it is sinking, the anchor can become an issue.
According to Munro, for legacy automakers, investments in combustion engines are the anchor that they believe will keep them afloat. Most have not noticed that their boats are making water. The engineer hopes that they cut the anchor and sail to safety while they can. If they don’t, they’ll reach the future as fish food.
Source: Munro Live