Skip to main content

You Can’t Change The World One Car At A Time


Tesla, GM, Nissan and other motor industry players want to get you out of your gas guzzling cars, with their nasty tailpipe emissions and into their EVs, whose absence of tailpipes mean less local emissions, even if the nastiness is only moved as far as the nearest non-renewable power station.

You can’t change the world one car at a time because car ownership is as much of a problem as the emissions they produce. Owners invest significant chunks of their income in purchasing an asset that spends most of its time doing nothing.

Uber, Lyft and Tesla (again) want to change things by expanding the use of on demand taxi services to reduce the need for consumers to own cars. The problem is that this still demands sufficient cars on the road to cope with peak demand – which benefits nobody, moving the problem to a different location. Municipalities may gain some advantage from reducing the amount of urban zoning set aside for parking, but that’s of limited value.

An electric bus however offers incredible benefits for consumers, the environment and local councils. By removing up to 50 cars off the road each bus improves the traffic and journey times for all commuters; reduces the stress on infrastructure, reduces parking requirements and for all intents and purposes is self-driving without requiring investment in technology that is yet to be proven.

For a city like Auckland, where the vast majority of electricity is generated from renewables (up to 95%), where infrastructure is already setup to support mass transit by bus and where the introduction of rail service is punishingly expensive; this seems like an absolute no brainer.

The reason why this topic is so interesting right now? Early this week US Bus company Proterra introduced its second generation ePSV – the Catalyst E2 – which boasts a electric only range of over 550km – more than enough to cover daily routes on the North Express route or any of the three city ring routes.

Together with the expected introduction of toll roads and a significant increase in the number of busways and bus lanes, Auckland has a perfect opportunity to push its green credentials forward and become and exemplar provider of city-wide mass transit.

In any case, this seems to me like a much better vision of the future than that being pushed by companies with self-interest very much to the fore.

Self-driving Bus or self-driving car? I know which would be my choice every time.


Popular posts from this blog

F1: Robert Kubica Impresses In Renault Test Run

The car may be old but its the performance of the driver that's the story here. Robert Kubica returned to F1, after a fashion, earlier this week with an extensive test run in a 2012 Lotus Renault F1 car at Valencia.
The age of the car and the circuit were likely determined by F1's current rules which ban testing, but the reason for Kubica being in the car is far more interesting. Considered by many to be a potential World Champion and certainly one of the fastest drivers of his generation, Kubica's F1 career seemed to be over after a 2011 crash whilst driving in the Rally of Andora. His Skoda Fabia was penetrated by a guardrail in the high speed accident partially severing his right arm.
Up until last year Kubica has been competing in rallying, with the expectation that the limited movement in his repaired arm would prohibit a return to single seater racing.
So this week's test is both interesting and confusing. Interesting because Kubica completed 115 laps of the ret…

F1: Robert Kubica's Williams Test Asks More Questions Than It Answers

Comparing driver's times at a tyre evaluation test like last week's Abu Dhabi event is difficult at the best of times, but when trying to assess the performance of a driver who has been out of the sport for six years, that difficulty level is raised even higher.
On the face of it Robert Kubica's test for Williams was a success. Fastest of the three Williams drivers present the headlines look promising. However, taking into consideration the different tyres used to set those times muddies the water considerably.
Kubica ran a three lap qualifying simulation on the new 'hyper-soft' tyre - which should have given him a two-second advantage. Correcting for tyres it would appear that Kubica was significantly slower than Sergei Sorotkin - who was on the harder 'soft' tyre - and marginally quicker than Lance Stroll, the team's only contracted driver.

Stroll's family fortune currently funds Williams, so there' no chance that he will be anywhere but in a…

Panos Panay's Defence Of Microsoft Surface Hardware Sounds Eerily Familiar

This weekend I went out with my ten year old daughter to select a laptop for her school year beginning in January. The schools requirements are quite specific, requiring a Windows 10 device, with a preference for a touchscreen and a stylus. She chose a Surface Pro, after trying a large number of different options. Having seen the way I use my own Surface Pro - and tried it herself there was only ever going to be two options - and the other was a Surface Laptop.
I tell you this so that you understand I am a buyer of Microsoft's products through choice, not compulsion. I'm on my third Surface device now. 
So when Panos Panay dismissed reports of the death of the Surface hardware line, I was very interested to see exactly how strong these denials were. Especially how they reflect what has gone before. To whit: Windows 10 Mobile.
Panay claimed that Microsoft is in hardware for the long haul. Almost exactly mirroring the words of Terry Myerson, when he claimed Windows Mobile was g…