Hertz Supercharged Tesla Agreement Could Bring Us Into Era of Electric Vehicles | John naughton


OOn Tuesday, Hertz, the car rental company that recently emerged from bankruptcy, announced that it had reached a deal to buy 100,000 cars from Tesla for an estimated value of $ 4 billion by informed sources. Upon learning this, my first thought was that if this is what insolvency looks like, please direct me to the nearest bankruptcy court. My second thought, however, was that this could be an important moment on the road to wider adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

The reason is, as anyone who has hired conventional cars knows, the best way to have a realistic test drive of a vehicle is to hire one for a week or two on vacation. As Tesla become available through Hertz, many more people will have the chance to experience what an EV looks like. This is important because, in general, only geeks and masochists (like this columnist) are the first to adopt new technology, and normal cautious consumers see EVs as rather exotic and peculiar, not something you rely on. school travel or management.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that a key factor in changing people’s views on EVs is word of mouth: someone you know has taken the plunge and given you a ride in theirs. This was the driving force behind the widespread adoption of the Toyota Prius Hybrid over the past decade and now appears to be happening with electric vehicles, which may explain the fact that the Tesla Model 3 was the best-selling new car in the UK in September, despite the fact that the company does not spend anything on marketing or advertising.

The main concern people seem to have about electric vehicles is “range anxiety,” something conventional car owners have also been experiencing recently when the pumps have dried up. In this regard, Tesla’s masterstroke was to start building a network of “compressors” almost from the time it started making cars. These high-speed chargers are only available to Tesla owners, many of whom cite their availability as one of the reasons to buy the car. Other concerns are that electric vehicles are more expensive than conventional vehicles and charging difficulties, especially for city dwellers who do not have a driveway.

Tesla owners, of which I am one, have a few other obscure issues, including how everyone holds you responsible for Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla who is widely seen as a flake of Cadbury proportions due to his tendency to tweet apparently without engaging his brain first. Many of his clients also have a foul-smelling habit of continually referring to him as “Elon” as if he were a friend. (Apple fans had the same tendency with “Steve” Jobs, which suggests it may be a geek affliction.)

Another source of skepticism is the course of action of society, which, like the peace of God in the Bible, is beyond comprehension. News of the Hertz deal pushed the company’s valuation to over $ 1 billion, which could be further confirmation that the stock market and the real world are parallel universes.

But perhaps Tesla’s most misleading perception is that it is not a “correct” automaker, like, say, VW or Renault. It reminds me of the prevalent opinion in 2007, when Apple launched the iPhone, that it was not a pukka phone company like, say, Nokia or Blackberry. (Anyone here remembers Nokia?) This disdain is somewhat undermined by Tesla’s third quarter results published the other day, which reveals that it managed to produce 237,823 cars (during a period allegedly plagued by supply chain problems), had revenues of $ 13.74 billion, a net profit of $ 1.6 billion and a gross margin of 30.5%.

The iPhone comparison may well be relevant in the long run – when EVs are ubiquitous. Apple is not the dominant smartphone maker, but the iPhone takes the lion’s share of the industry’s profits. Tesla’s position in the auto market will likely end up like BMW’s in today’s internal combustion market, as a maker of nice, relatively expensive products with higher profit margins than those enjoyed by more mundane manufacturers.

However, when the ubiquity of electric vehicles arrives, the world will discover that electron-powered vehicles are not a silver bullet for our environmental crisis. Electric vehicles may be cheaper to run than conventional cars and require less maintenance, but they are only “greener” if they are recharged with electricity from renewable sources. There are still horrific CO2 emissions inherent in their manufacture and the production of the huge batteries they need leads to massive environmental damage, water pollution, mountains of waste and possibly rights violations as well. of man and the dislocation of indigenous peoples.

Hertz’s monumental deal with Tesla is a notable step on the road to the ubiquity of electric vehicles. It will do wonders for Mr. Musk’s net worth, but it remains to be seen how much good it does for the planet. In the meantime, we need a plan to get rid of all those fancy VW, BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes diesels that we will no longer allow. I wonder who’s working on it?

What i read

Code breakers
One of the most egregious scams in the history of science is a interesting essay by Kevin Berger in Nautilus on a new story of the race to decipher DNA, which instead takes the luster away from conventional history.

Donald’s luck
Trump’s new media will go with his steaks and mattresses is a wise comment by Jack Shafer on the Politico website about the ex-prez’s latest foray.

it will not add up
False positivism is a thoughtful essay by Peter Polack on reallifemag.com on the implications of using data-driven arguments to navigate ideologically fueled disagreements.

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