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What effect will electric cars have on the German economy?

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I wasn't previously interested in electric cars (I was actually previously much more interested in what effect self driving cars would have on society).

 

But one fact I heard in this podcast really hit me:

 

http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2017/08/benedict_evans.html

The drive train of a car will be dramatically simplified with electronic cars.

 

Big deal you may think!  But I researched it, it really is a massive change.  In an electric car the motor (which doesn't have many moving parts) attaches to the wheels with a transmission containing one gear.

 

Think of all those parts that transfer the up and down piston power into wheels going around- gone!! A very simplified or none existent gear box.  No more pipes and filters or exhaust system for the fuel.

 

A normal internal combustion car has approx 30,000 parts, an electric car will have approx 3,000 parts.

 

This is a massive change, on to my economic point, how will this effect the number one car nation Germany?

 

Currently 1 in 6 German's has a job connected to making cars.  There are many German companies in the supply chain (Bosch, Continental etc.), could a lot of these jobs and companies disappear?

 

It seems the only non generic part of an electric car that is at the moment being fought over as the real differentiator is the battery (no German cat company makes its own batteries, and neither does Tesla).

 

Are we heading to a future where all car parts are assembled in a Chinese Foxconn factory, with maybe some local assembly of the parts and body work on the relevant continent?

 

To me it seems this is the case, with a massive impact on Germany, and thus the rest of Europe.

 

Some links:

 

Edited by reddog

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It is interesting to note that whilst the electric motor and drivetrain (such as it is) seem  to occupy a notably smaller volume than in an IC car, the volume of space saved is then used up by the battery?

But, in part answer to the threads question....I would surmise that just as some IC cars are noted for better quality than others then so too not all electric motors (and related/connected parts) are the same?  There's no reason to assume that Germany, famed for its better quality cars, will not similarly choose to sell only higher quality/better design electric cars?

Also, at the risk of taking this latest electric ar related thread off on a tangent, what ever happened to fuel cells? It wasn't that long ago they were seemingly the future (of the source of electricity required for electric cars) instead of lithium batteries?

Edited by anonguest

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18 minutes ago, anonguest said:

It is interesting to note that whilst the electric motor and drivetrain (such as it is) seem  to occupy a notably smaller volume than in an IC car, the volume of space saved is then used up by the battery?

But, in part answer to the threads question....I would surmise that just as some IC cars are noted for better quality than others then so too not all electric motors (and related/connected parts) are the same?  There's no reason to assume that Germany, famed for its better quality cars, will not similarly choose to sell only higher quality/better design electric cars?

Also, at the risk of taking this latest electric ar related thread off on a tangent, what ever happened to fuel cells? It wasn't that long ago they were seemingly the future (of the source of electricity required for electric cars) instead of lithium batteries?

In answer to your points:

1) I think the idea is the batteries will occupy a thin layer along the floor of the car, this saving space, and also making the car safer by lowering the centre of gravity

2) my point was not really about Germany maintaining its position as the global leader it terms of quality.  It was more to do with the fact that if an electric car literally requires 10% of the components of an IC car, that will leave a lot of German workers and machines idle (Germany is also a global machine tool powerhouse).  It has nothing to do with how big these parts are, a small part may take more effort to make than a big part.  Also with fewer moving parts reliability is likely to go up for all manufacturers.  Maybe reliability will just become assumed.

 

3) no idea about fuel cells, apart from the fact that I think the fuel cell will convert power to electricity, so both a battery and fuel cell car will basically have the same architecture, because they will both power an electric motor.

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1 hour ago, reddog said:

To me it seems this is the case, with a massive impact on Germany, and thus the rest of Europe.

I wouldn't buy into the hype.

Let's not decry the end of the IC engine just yet.

The net benefit of cars changing over to electric or hydrogen will be negligible..both economically and environmentally... unless you choose to ignore the big impacts from industry, power generation, shipping, construction, military, aviation to name a few.

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1 hour ago, reddog said:

I wasn't previously interested in electric cars (I was actually previously much more interested in what effect self driving cars would have on society).

 

But one fact I heard in this podcast really hit me:

 

http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2017/08/benedict_evans.html

The drive train of a car will be dramatically simplified with electronic cars.

 

Big deal you may think!  But I researched it, it really is a massive change.  In an electric car the motor (which doesn't have many moving parts) attaches to the wheels with a transmission containing one gear.

 

Think of all those parts that transfer the up and down piston power into wheels going around- gone!! A very simplified or none existent gear box.  No more pipes and filters or exhaust system for the fuel.

 

A normal internal combustion car has approx 30,000 parts, an electric car will have approx 3,000 parts.

 

This is a massive change, on to my economic point, how will this effect the number one car nation Germany?

 

Currently 1 in 6 German's has a job connected to making cars.  There are many German companies in the supply chain (Bosch, Continental etc.), could a lot of these jobs and companies disappear?

 

It seems the only non generic part of an electric car that is at the moment being fought over as the real differentiator is the battery (no German cat company makes its own batteries, and neither does Tesla).

 

Are we heading to a future where all car parts are assembled in a Chinese Foxconn factory, with maybe some local assembly of the parts and body work on the relevant continent?

 

To me it seems this is the case, with a massive impact on Germany, and thus the rest of Europe.

 

Some links:

 

Lot's of opportunities in these sorts of areas.

Change from film to digital cameras posed similar issues for long established companies a while back.

In addition to your comments :

i) Ignition system. Is there any more need for spark plugs, coils, fuel delivery system and fuel pumps ? Fuel tanks ?

ii) reduction in need for pms in cats.

iii) reliability should be improved (at least in the long term) - lowering service revenue.

iv) Infrastructure in petrol delivery and refining. Pumps, tank replacement etc.

v) Fluids industry. Lubricating oils for gearboxs and engines.

Opportunities in terms of driverless cars, recharging infrastructure, lower pm emission brakes and tyres, along with the obvious.

Governments appear to be laying out the legislation to try to capture the market share in components as we speak. See China. Much more analysis can be done on this.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, cashinmattress said:

I wouldn't buy into the hype.

Let's not decry the end of the IC engine just yet.

The net benefit of cars changing over to electric or hydrogen will be negligible..both economically and environmentally... unless you choose to ignore the big impacts from industry, power generation, shipping, construction, military, aviation to name a few.

Doesn't really matter if there are net benefits or even negative benefits for the environment.

Drivers in places like China is colossal pollution in the cities, which is severely impacting quality of life. Battery cars may produce more pollution. But if the pollution can be spread out over the whole country rather than focussed in one spot like ICE pollution that's a political gain, which to them is far more important to the party than the global environmental issues.

 

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1 hour ago, reddog said:

I wasn't previously interested in electric cars (I was actually previously much more interested in what effect self driving cars would have on society).

But one fact I heard in this podcast really hit me:

http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2017/08/benedict_evans.html

The drive train of a car will be dramatically simplified with electronic cars.

Big deal you may think!  But I researched it, it really is a massive change.  In an electric car the motor (which doesn't have many moving parts) attaches to the wheels with a transmission containing one gear.

Think of all those parts that transfer the up and down piston power into wheels going around- gone!! A very simplified or none existent gear box.  No more pipes and filters or exhaust system for the fuel.

A normal internal combustion car has approx 30,000 parts, an electric car will have approx 3,000 parts.

For moving parts (i.e. those that are going to wear out mostly) it was 2000 for an ICE vehicle vs 18 for the tesla.

Its going to decimate the auto repair industry - youl be left with a few tyre places and perhaps the odd independent battery specialist. The motor mechanic as a career is essentially going to vanish.

Edited by goldbug9999

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57 minutes ago, Gigantic Purple Slug said:

Doesn't really matter if there are net benefits or even negative benefits for the environment.

Drivers in places like China is colossal pollution in the cities, which is severely impacting quality of life. Battery cars may produce more pollution. But if the pollution can be spread out over the whole country rather than focussed in one spot like ICE pollution that's a political gain, which to them is far more important to the party than the global environmental issues.

 

China? Like the whole nation?

Political gain?

I await the global electric car revolution with baited breath.

And yes. Statements about benefits not subject to a strong peer review are just that. Statements... not fact.

The car industry and their lobbying power is deeply ingrained in today's politico.

Like I said. Don't believe the hype.

Edited by cashinmattress

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Wouldn't the manufacture of a greatly simplified machine mean that local manufacture would be easier requiring less skill and less labour intensive. Wouldn't the shipping costs from somewhere like china then negate the benefits of manufacture abroad. 

 

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5 minutes ago, cashinmattress said:

The car industry and their lobbying power is deeply ingrained in today's politico.

Like I said. Don't believe the hype.

No, the car industry are fully onboard. They know very well that Lobbying and Lawsuits did not protect the recording industry. It simply resulted in them spending all the money they had in court and fading into obscurity.

Five years ago, the car industry laughed at the idea that they would be disrupted too. Today they are taking it very seriously. Tesla, even with all of it's issues compared to an IC car at this moment in time is selling more cars than Mercedes and BMW etc. 

They do not have a choice. They can lobby their political pals all they like.  

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28 minutes ago, Sawitcoming said:

No, the car industry are fully onboard. They know very well that Lobbying and Lawsuits did not protect the recording industry. It simply resulted in them spending all the money they had in court and fading into obscurity.

Five years ago, the car industry laughed at the idea that they would be disrupted too. Today they are taking it very seriously. Tesla, even with all of it's issues compared to an IC car at this moment in time is selling more cars than Mercedes and BMW etc. 

They do not have a choice. They can lobby their political pals all they like.  

You've gone off track dude. Actually this thread has.

Also...the sales of Tesla.. go back and check your sums.

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22 minutes ago, cashinmattress said:

You've gone off track dude. Actually this thread has.

Also...the sales of Tesla.. go back and check your sums.

Tesla’s Model S outsells Mercedes S-Class, Porsche Panamera, and BMW 6/7 Series combined in the US

https://electrek.co/2017/05/26/tesls-model-s-leading-us-large-luxury-segment/

Are Fritzs' Electric ? 

:P

 

Edited by Saving For a Space Ship

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18 minutes ago, ThePiltdownMan said:

Will there be enough electrical generation capacity to make such a change feasible within the next couple of decades?

Will most charging occur during the night? -lower demand, idle generating capacity, cheaper with a smart-meter?

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42 minutes ago, ThePiltdownMan said:

Will there be enough electrical generation capacity to make such a change feasible within the next couple of decades?

Generation...yes. Distribution...no.

Electric cars will remain a luxury toy for the upper classes. And these folk will care nowt that coal and gas are providing the majority of power to charge their vehicles.

Don't get me wrong here. I'm all for innovation and a more efficient standard for life and transport.

As an engineer with a lot of experience in power electronics, induction and synchronous machines to name a few....I'm not being drawn into the whole cult of Tesla...I smell shite.

Despite all the problems of oil & gas production, refining, distribution and combustion of it...there simply no practical and economically feasible alternative on offer to the world.

Our modern world was built on cheap petroleum and it will stay that way....for a long time to come.

Edited by cashinmattress

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1 hour ago, Sawitcoming said:

Wouldn't the manufacture of a greatly simplified machine mean that local manufacture would be easier requiring less skill and less labour intensive. Wouldn't the shipping costs from somewhere like china then negate the benefits of manufacture abroad. 

 

Bingo. In a couple of decades, if you want a car, you'll just go to the local 3D printer store and they'll print an electric car of your design while you wait. That would be much harder to do with an ICE car, and you'd need the whole fuel infrastructure to keep it running.

But the real threat to car manufacturers isn't from electric cars. It's from VR making cars obsolete for the vast majority of people. Why move your body if you can just jack into a drone at your destination?

Edited by MarkG

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3 minutes ago, MarkG said:

Bingo. In a couple of decades, if you want a car, you'll just go to the local 3D printer store and they'll print an electric car of your design while you wait.

And you know where that's gonna go....

the-homer-inline4.jpg

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Not sure what effect electric cars will have on precious metals.  I guess with more electronics it will be good for gold and silver, but with no exhaust gases, bad for platinum and palladium.

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2 minutes ago, reddog said:

Not sure what effect electric cars will have on precious metals.  I guess with more electronics it will be good for gold and silver, but with no exhaust gases, bad for platinum and palladium.

It will make them scarce and drive up cost.

Then there is the other (ugly) side with respect to disposal and/or recycling component parts, chemicals and minerals. 

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3 hours ago, Gigantic Purple Slug said:

Lot's of opportunities in these sorts of areas.

Change from film to digital cameras posed similar issues for long established companies a while back.

In addition to your comments :

i) Ignition system. Is there any more need for spark plugs, coils, fuel delivery system and fuel pumps ? Fuel tanks ?

ii) reduction in need for pms in cats.

iii) reliability should be improved (at least in the long term) - lowering service revenue.

iv) Infrastructure in petrol delivery and refining. Pumps, tank replacement etc.

v) Fluids industry. Lubricating oils for gearboxs and engines.

Opportunities in terms of driverless cars, recharging infrastructure, lower pm emission brakes and tyres, along with the obvious.

Governments appear to be laying out the legislation to try to capture the market share in components as we speak. See China. Much more analysis can be done on this.

 

 

I definitely agree there will be opportunities, but although the IC will stick around for quite a while, I can really see this as being bad news for component makers.  Also speaking from a neutral point of view, if you were creating a car from scratch, would you really start making all the parts in Europe (like many German car companies do at present)

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1 minute ago, cashinmattress said:

It will make them scarce and drive up cost.

Then there is the other (ugly) side with respect to disposal and/or recycling component parts, chemicals and minerals. 

I have heard on various podcasts that electric cars need rare earth metals, and China has cornered the market in these things.

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