Electric cars ...Volvo takes a brave stand.

stroppy
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Electric cars ...Volvo takes a brave stand.

Postby stroppy » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:22 am

Article:
http://www.theage.com.au/business/volvo ... x5dyt.html

Volvo has signalled the beginning of the end of the wide use of the internal combustion engine in motor vehicles. By 2019 all of its models will be solely electric-powered or hybrids and I'm willing to bet that the number of hybrid models will reduce significantly once better battery technology comes online and/or hydrogen fuel cells become cheaper to manufacture and easier to maintain.

If I was an oil company executive or shareholder I'd be going to bed with a headache. The question now is how quickly oil companies realise they have an advantage in having properties already set up to refuel cars which can be converted to rapid charging stations. The need for oil won't go away...it underpins much of our food production, our textile production and the production of modern electronics and plastics, however the reducing need for petrol will mean lower polluting emissions and a win for the environment.

IMHO, governments should now look at schemes like the "clunker program" in the US (used to keep the demand for cars going in the GFC) to reduce the number of petrol cars on the road in the next 15 years or so. Either that or create incentives to buy electric vehicles. In LA you get tax breaks for buying electric cars or cars with emissions or fuel usage below a certain target. I can't see why we couldn't do this here.

I am looking forward to the time when we go all electric. I've driven a Nissan Leaf overseas and was impressed with the car's torque characteristics and its quietness. The only thing I will be sad about is the loss of my lovely new station wagon when it becomes obsolete. Oh well...nothing is more certain than change, I suppose.

stroppy
Posts: 193
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Re: Electric cars ...Volvo takes a brave stand.

Postby stroppy » Fri Jul 07, 2017 2:10 am

And so the revolution begins:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-40518293

Once one major EU country enacts a law like this all the others are likely to follow. I predict that other western nations and probably China will follow suit.

Hardy
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Re: Electric cars ...Volvo takes a brave stand.

Postby Hardy » Fri Jul 07, 2017 6:35 pm

They may as well said they'd ban them by 2099. Combustion engined cars will be scarce in showrooms by 2028 regardless what time-frame the politicians try to set.

stroppy
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Re: Electric cars ...Volvo takes a brave stand.

Postby stroppy » Fri Jul 07, 2017 9:15 pm

Hardy wrote:They may as well said they'd ban them by 2099. Combustion engined cars will be scarce in showrooms by 2028 regardless what time-frame the politicians try to set.


I would have to agree. I think that hybrids will probably be the final new cars allowed to have internal combustion engines. People with cars still using petrol or diesel engines will probably be allowed to keep them until they are worn out. I also think that governments will allow vintage, veteran and collector's cars to be kept running but with usage restrictions.

I bought a new station wagon early this year. Had the brand offered a hybrid or a pure electric for the same price I would have bought it as I no longer do long country miles. I think that once the car companies drop prices and governments give incentives for hybrids, fuel-cell and full EV cars sales will go through the roof. Already, as I wrote previously, if you go to LA you'll see a huge swag of Prius, Fiat 500s and other hybrid and EV cars. LA council offers a tax and purchase incentive. On my last visit in 2013 I was shocked to see virtually no gas guzzlers in central LA at all. Oh there are SUVs and pickups but you'll see these out in the suburbs rather than in the central city. Anyway, you can buy EV SUVs and pickups there now.

Come on Malcolm Turnbull...be proactive and work on the car companies to increase their EV model range. Get the states to offer sales tax and registration discounts. This might be just the ticket to upgrade the country's ageing car fleet and bring in safer vehicles.

It's a real pity no Australian consortium came forward to buy the Holden factory. It is a modern car plant which is almost fully automated and it can build any platform you program into the machines. We could have produced EV vehicles of our own. Such a pity to see the factory close with all those job losses and ancillary job losses.

allde
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Re: Electric cars ...Volvo takes a brave stand.

Postby allde » Fri Jul 07, 2017 10:39 pm

stroppy wrote:It's a real pity no Australian consortium came forward to buy the Holden factory. It is a modern car plant which is almost fully automated and it can build any platform you program into the machines. We could have produced EV vehicles of our own. Such a pity to see the factory close with all those job losses and ancillary job losses.




Not really it was a bottomless pit, also with tarrifs removed there was no protectionism in place for the car manufacturers.

stroppy
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Re: Electric cars ...Volvo takes a brave stand.

Postby stroppy » Fri Jul 07, 2017 11:49 pm

allde wrote:
stroppy wrote:It's a real pity no Australian consortium came forward to buy the Holden factory. It is a modern car plant which is almost fully automated and it can build any platform you program into the machines. We could have produced EV vehicles of our own. Such a pity to see the factory close with all those job losses and ancillary job losses.




Not really it was a bottomless pit, also with tarrifs removed there was no protectionism in place for the car manufacturers.


I agree that manufacturing the types of cars coming out of Ford and Holden was costing too much money in the end but the situation could have been salvaged had the two companies started making cars the people wanted. I have a good friend who is high up in Holden. All the media hand-wringing about how the unions screwed things up is not correct. The actual labour cost, compared to Europe and the US was not really an issue and the workers on the shop floor were amenable to bargaining and taking wage freezes. What killed it was the government signalling that there would be no more subsidies, the lack of tariff protection as you correctly pointed out (thanks to some lopsided FTAs) and poor economies of scale.

Now I can understand not wanting to keep the subsidies going but, really, compared to Europe and the US our government industry subsidy was quite low. The real nail in the coffin was the FTA with Thailand. It's a very strange one because the Thai government has kept import tariffs for their vehicle industry (80% !) whilst we basically destroyed the industry with a tariff of a paltry 5%. I have to add that the car companies have not helped by charging us an "Australia tax" like a particular electronic company I could name. Every car in Australia is higher priced for what you'd pay for the same car in the US and in the UK.

In my humble opinion our government made a huge mistake in awarding the go ahead to make an Australian car to GM. Sure, the Holden factory had the engineering and manufacturing expertise but I'm sure an Australian consortium could have come up with the goods as well. Let's not forget that GM also got a multi-million pound subsidy to start making cars here as well. The problem with our car industry being owned outside of the country was (and is) that all the big decisions were made in Detroit and Holden persisted with having Americans run the show down here. Had locals been in charge with an Australian company at the helm maybe things would have been different. Maybe we could have made vehicles for a particular market niche...tough vehicles, perhaps a distinctly Aussie SUV. I dunno.

I do know this. Without a car industry we leave ourselves less prepared if the world goes belly up and there is a war. Back at the start of WWII the federal government of the day approached the then head of GM Australia (the venerable Larry Hartnett...who went on to become Sir Laurence Hartnett) and asked him to get the factories making war materiel. He had them converted within a month and they pumped everything from Howitzers to military trucks, aircraft engines, patrol boats, microscopes, binoculars...you name it. Now, without a similar industry we'd be cactus. Larry Hartnett was a true genius. He also believed in Australia. It was his drive that got the plan to make a car in Australia up and running. Unfortunately GM dumped his Australian design and went with a pre-war Chevy prototype to create the Holden 48-215. It made him so angry he resigned. He tried to get an all Australian car company up and running but because the Americans had government backing he just couldn't get the required support. Australia and Australians owe a lot to that man. There should be statues of him in every state capital. He single-handedly developed the local supply chain and got companies making parts for Holden and then the other local makers. He was the father of Australian automotive industry and today most people don't know his name and yet they can quote famous footballer names of that era. It must be our Aussie mindset. Too much emphasis on deifying our sports people without a fig for our scientists and engineers.

Sorry for digressing but this subject makes me very cross. I love my country with all my heart and to see how we've allowed whole industries to be piddled away and sacrificed on the alter of globalisation makes me hopping mad. That and how we have such short-sighted companies who are okay with our best and brightest having to leave this country to get ahead.

If you are as old as I am you will remember the time when we made everything here...from the clothes you wore, to the tv you watched to the cars you drove. Now we make hardly anything. Sure, prices back then were higher but everyone had work and we didn't have the problem with drugs and homelessness we have now. Now everything is cheap (thanks to the factory known as China) but fewer and fewer people have work and our young people are so devoid of hope they find alternatives in meth-amphetamines and marijuana. So sad...so bloody sad. And our governments? More worried about the next election and keeping their noses in the trough of privilege than nation building.

Here's a very interesting episode of the old science program "Quantum" which discusses how Holden came to be...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IR8BhiiAWTo


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