Converting a Car Company from Making Gasoline to All Electric Vehicles: The Stakes Involved and the Brands Least Likely to Survive as a Result.
Even though there are about a half dozen global car companies that are or have self proclaimed themselves to be now and/or at a soon future date “all electric,” the fact is that if they want to stay in business, ALL car companies around the world will need to produce a model range of competent battery electric vehicles at some point in the future. There is no law that forbids them from making gas cars in the future, not yet, that some may be wise to save a gas motor here or there and the parts to make a vehicle that can go with it, in case of crisis. Some makers might be able to either stock shelf ICE supplies or make a totally new vehicle powered by gas or diesel in the future made to order by hand from the ground up. A lot of them do this already, although most don’t advertise this. But most of them don’t advertise their electric cars either. The bespoke hand built and crafted gasoline vehicle will become even more expensive and extremely rare, than Maybach or Bentley either could.
If your car company is based on Earth, the bulk of your vehicle portfolio in the future MUST be battery electric for you to survive. Some parts of the industrialized world have banned new car sales or even banned their use on the roads by 2040 or sooner. But there’s a quandary that goes with this new paradigm: the costs to convert an entire model range inside a company’s vehicle portfolio is to put it decent terms, extremely astronomical. Some car makers, some iconic but small and legendary, cannot afford to begin the process that could make more profit and stabilize their business. It costs way too much money. They will try to hybridize a model here or there, promise plans for electrification, but they just are never able to deliver. Because they can’t. Time is running out soon, as a market becomes saturated with battery electric vehicles, costumers will have so many choices what would there ever be a need to go back to using a gasoline car? And that is the moment when some of these brands, who have been in existence since the mid-nineteenth Century, will suddenly be gone:
- We should reasonably expect and sooner than anticipated, that all car companies around the globe will stop production of ICE cars and their motors.
- This will give no choice to makers other than through either market demand or regulation, to just stop making gas cars. Some will sooner than others based on things like profitability, regional demand v. need, solvency, and EV accessibility.
- Just because they’ll soon stop making gas cars doesn’t mean we should stop driving, caring for, or loving them. Some for various and legit reasons may still be needed for continued use.
- For you doubters out there remember how quickly purged electric cars were 100 years ago if you don’t think they can do the same thing to gas ones now!
- Although smog generating, newer gas cars are still lower emissions and paid for, therefore contributing to the economy and society. They were here originally, still serve a useful purpose, makes the need for creation of another less likely, thus they contribute to ecology even though they are not green vehicles.
- Although soon one day no longer in production, dealers and shops will continue to service gas cars for years and decades.
- Many luxury and performance brands have generated new revenue by creating classic line restoration and maintenance business to find ways to keep older heritage and vintage models serviceable while creating a new luxury service to add to the car brand for new and current owners.
- It is very expensive to make both gas and electric cars full scale production separate assembly lines but simultaneously. Market and consumer demands will rarely see data alignment of both types in trends and trajectories if they’re sold competing against themselves full range.
- Both require two completely different and separate supply chains that are so expensive that really gives makers reason to choose which kind they want to build even if they wanted both that probably none do.
- Choose wisely: Once they make the supply chain switch it’s hard to go back: chains supply the whole line usually for whole model year. They’re expensive up to billions each model year and financially dangerous to tinker around with them while in use.
- Although the supply chains are similar the materials used to assemble either type car are extremely different to wonder how something so similar looking was made to look alike!
- With the switch in chains comes an ironic switch in vehicle dynamics: BEVs should now expect to become a little cheaper to make, buy, find, shop, and order because the materials that make them are cheaper, easier, and more plentiful to access, while gas and hybrids will become much more expensive, and scarcer to order and build.
- You’d expect hybrids to die last. Actually expect them to be the first casualty in the gas car mass extortion. They require more parts, more assembly, more complicated, more cost to build, now more expensive to buy, and you can’t even mega charge on them, soon not even to supercharge! The new tech risks blowing up their tiny battery!
- Speaking of tiny plugin battery, the PHEV was a byproduct of the now endangered gas car supply chains. Since lithium ion battery supplies were small they had to make the car batteries tiny which they don’t have to do anymore!
- That yellow brick road of across the board BEV conversion of global company-wide operations, usually entails the company to start losing money on everything from the onset, and for years, and even if you somehow turn a small profit. Until you have a range of BEV cars to recover and make money, the same BEVs were the reason that started the loss both in BEV sales and starting the gas car shut down.
- Dynamic Now: having problems finding that electric car you want with those colors and options? Wait 8 week’s I’ll get what you want from the factory!
- Dynamic 2021: having problems finding that gas car you want with those colors and options? Hmmm, I’m not sure if I can get you that in gas. Wait 8 weeks and if I’m lucky I might be able to get what you want from the factory but no promises!
- Emerging/Developing, and Third World Markets are obligated too. Auto makers, suppliers, and industries like charging networks have product and service choices available for those markets for those demographics to also benefit. Their governments also signed the Paris Accords. They too will get quickly swept in perhaps not at light speed but maybe bullet train!
What is most ironic about this entire story is that there was a time over 100 years ago and hence, that it was considered beneath the gasoline car industry to invent, cater, and/or service to anything or anyone about the electric car industry. There was a reason why Henry Ford traded in his wife Clara’s electric car one week before the Model T launch, for another lease on a new one! Gearheads were gearheads, and if you wanted anything delivered, installed, and fixed that was electric, you asked the Maytag man, nobody else! There were no public charging stations 100 yers ago, one of the top 5 reasons electric cars went extinct. Not once anywhere would you ever hear back then, like you do as the norm now, about the gasoline car industry providing solutions for their electric car competitor one! Unheard of!
The biggest of biggest ironies of the incredible story of the Electric Car Revolution, is that in the end consumer and market demand asked the auto industry to do something it never asked of the electric cars to do 100 years ago for them when consumer and market demand insisted upon it for them when the electrics faced extinction: even though nothing was and still is noting wrong with a gas car other than polluting the air, the auto industry was asked to trade in its gas car invention after it made improvements to the electric car, and then stop making gas cars. The auto industry was asked to use an invention of a competitor 100 years ago so that they can stop using their own: in other words, they used a competitor’s invention against themselves, to kill their own industry. Shakespeare couldn’t have made this up!
Let’s not fool ourselves. All car makers will eventually have to become either all electric, or non-fossil exhaust producing vehicle companies. This is a matter of fact that comes in a matter of time. Maybe not now, or five years, or even fifty years, but that long is doubtful. It will come sooner for all makers eventually, rather than later. The Age of 21st Century All-Electric Car Assembly Production by Several All-Electric Car Companies just started somewhere a few weeks ago. The ones in best shape to start making a range of new BEV models has begun the manufacture process. As a result of these several actions of the past several days and weeks, at least on the GM side, means that electric car proliferation that’s somewhere in the process of happening right now, has just in fact intensified a bit more, and the impeding gasoline car production phase—out will occur most likely or probably even sooner, much sooner than the sooner anticipated by GM, and by result of both GM’s and VW Group’s recent industrial moves, their gasoline car production phase-out will probably help push the whole industry to purge most future production of gasoline passenger cars ASAP.
This is the Conversion Process: Confusing, Expensive, Imprecise, Uniforming, but is it Worth it?
With all the above said, let’s look at this process from the eyes of a senior leader at an impending all electric car maker. It is a long and expensive journey for a car maker to make the transition from gas vehicle to electric vehicle production. In the end you won’t be sorry to see the gas buggies go, but some of those models were well built, collector cars, classic models, money makers, or just the best damn car you ever owned, driven, had, or seen! It will be painful to determine which of the first and which of the last will stay or go. Emotion and sentimentality, not economies and practicalities, may bias your production team in these decisions. So you’ll leave final say as to what gas model goes after the other, to your product development people as you go along. And as you draw down one side, that’s gas, that usually gas car production operations is a money maker, it becomes a massive money loser as you close or furlough plants, sell off unneeded equipment and assets, sell the money-making aspects to other makers and suppliers, and finally shut off the spigot after the last gas car ramps off. It will be a historic day with ribbon cutting and fanfare, tears and bittersweet memories as well!
All this happens while you’re ramping up all electric. As your best BEV model is selling like hotcakes, you’re about to ramp up a CUV variant, but you also decided it not going to get any better than these circumstances with both the business and car markets, the economy, consumer demand, recent product sales, to undertake the inevitable, and you signal to your leadership team the go-ahead: to take the whole company with the CUV ramp-up as well, to all-electric. So you start to switch supply chains, buy new EV supplies and materials, inventories, manufacturing and development equipment, retool assembly lines, revamp and improve the battery factory for even greater volume, renovate or outright buy new assembly plants, etc., and suddenly even your EV operations are losing money as well. Everything is now losing money suddenly! What gives? Is there any way of avoiding this?
How about Keeping Both? You Make Hybrids Anyway!
These scenarios are what the two largest car companies in the world, GM and VW Group, are doing at their world-wide facilities, lately, and the same two who didn’t realize what they were really getting into as they went along. It is extremely expensive and thus not practical really, to have a car production dynamic where you make both gas and deisel cars on one side, with BEVs on the other. The only exception I can find to this paradigm is if you were a true global brand and had two large and very separate markets where both kinds of vehicles flourish separetly, but that’s in Fantasyland. Otherwise in the real world if not careful, they might compete against one another under your own very brands, so we need to make up our minds what direction, and that decision is pretty obvious. A sales disaster worse scenario is that they compete against each other, NOT SELLING AT ALL! And once your mind is made up, get rid of the gasoline vehicle operations ASAP, like tomorrow, before you find yourself in default!
When the industry dynamic started changing for the legacy makers to anticipate whether they should eventually convert their processes entirely to all electric, conventional industry wisdom always dictated that the process should be done as slowly as possible. By doing gradually and slowly, it was originally thought a company could take their time to absorb and defer the costs of conversion over the years. With the latest processes underway, that old train of thought is trashed! Getting rid of gas car production ASAP and quickly reduces the chances of a car company finding itself in a prolong period of uncertainty and instability. A long transition would make both investors and the market nervous about the future of both the company converting, and the industry as a whole, especially if there’s a slow down in the economy. Selling off old remnants of gas production to other peers or other car companies or suppliers in other other markets creates business opportunities not foreseen.
But the biggest risk that an immediate gas phase-out minimizes or cuts out, is the corporate spiraling cash “money burn,” a financial position that’s the worse nightmare of any large corporation, especially when it wasn’t discovered for a long time, and the steps required to correct it or reverse it, are a Herculean task. This is where usually any large corporation if it’s not careful with its finances, can find itself in a cash position where it has little or none, that because of its size and scale, it is now generating daily operational expenditures taking it into debt by millions of dollars each hour, day, week, or month. And there is no end in sight. The spiral continues everyday, and it does eventually stop usually three ways: the company borrows money, leadership massively restructures the company to grab hold of spending finally, and of course we all get laid off. The last way is for the company or someone else empowered, to declare the company in default, insolvent, or bankrupt. Historically, Chrysler, GM, Tesla, and Ford are all familiar with the money burn, the last two most recently and ongoing. To avoid this, the phase-out should happen as sooner, faster, massively, and completely as time can make it possible, without fail.
Taking a Glance at Other Car Makers with their Electrification Plans.
You don’t have to be a wealthy car Goliath to weather a gas car phase-out. And you don’t have to worry if you’re much tinier either. Thank goodness because of different sizes and scales, there are some legacies that don’t really have to worry about this kind of scale and dynamic. Jaguar Land Rover is one of them. As they go along on their BEV journey they tell us, they’ll electrify their entire range one each new model at a time. So when one cancels, the next new one will replace it with an electric. JLR seems to be in a sweet spot if you will, to close out the books on gas car production as they finish manufacturing their last gas models. They need to be careful however, as JLR is both too small and too big to be vulnerable to failure.
With GM’s massive cancellation of all kinds of vehicles throughout their portfolio, noteworthy to particularity their PHEV hybrids including the Chevy Volt, moving forward I would be most suspicious and skeptical if I hear another car makers post with over zealous all electric enthusiasm about electrifying their model range with “up to 40 hybrids and electric cars!”
Beware of car companies bearing gifts of hybrids. If a car maker’s portfolio of electric cars is offered as a stable of hybrids, that means that the car company did not have enough development money to make a real electric car. Hybrids are the definition of compromise, and that’s exactly what legacies like Ford and FCA did when they had to make five and ten year plans for electrification. You could tell FCA was in no mood at the time to electrify. It offered hardly any BEVs, and whatever needed electrification in whatever part of the world, is/was going to get at minimum with a hybrid.
Ford is probably the top five largest, and even they recently found out that they are going to need some kind of help if they intend to survive the gas vehicle production elimination and EV transition. If Ford needs help, then gauge other competitors and from there, where the rest of the industry’s health is, as to determine if the legacies can weather the gasoline phase-out storm. In what started with talks with VW Group about expanding each other’s commercial van development and operations, continued at higher level talks realizing the seriousness, magnitude, and scales of each sides’ markets, demographics, portfolios, future projects, etc. so that moving forward each side was better positioned to help one another.
Ford got religion from VW Group, so hopefully Ford can and will see the light: Ford realized that to be truly competitive in the electric market, particularly the electric pickup one too, it too really needs to ditch the hybrids and have a new strategy. The problem sadly was that Ford ran out of money to make a truly robust and competitive BEV program, and it’s in serious trouble. With VW’s help, Ford will be using VW’s MEB all electric modular platform to make Ford cars under VW license, maybe even VW pickup trucks too!
Who Might be at Risk for Cancellation, the Extinction Kind!
Make no doubt or mistake as the circumstances were during the Great Recession and the few preceding and proceeding years around it that saw the extinction of several historical and iconic car brands, the next round is overdue and the bulk of which shall come from electrification. Whether the reasons are corporate cultural, lack of funding, lack of will, or the costs entailed to make them because we don’t realize that by asking a gas car company to make an electric vehicle, they have no choice but to make it at a high price than any other industry possibly could, becase gas car companies have different supply chain that are less compatible with electric cars. Making a commitment to produce an electric vehicle requires product development, assembly tooling and integration, and for the long term logistical conversion to electric for the rest of the production lines.
And it is for these reasons that legacy car makers are always being put at an uncompetitive disadvantage when dealing with electric cars. These are the very same reasons why after 11 years of the Electric Car revolution the legacies are still having such a difficult time with their participation in transforming the electric car market, while Tesla now almost has a vehicle that just about covers most of the vehicle market segments with what is now an entire model range of all electric vehicles, including a soon coming super sports car, a pickup truck, and a truck tractor too. With these vehicles, very soon Tesla will have successfully cornered the US BEV market. They’re poised to do the same thing elsewhere.
And then there are a few legacies that hardly have any electric thing going, and at this stage that calls for serious trouble. The recent accelerations in market shifts by GM and VW makes their market positions even more untenable. With old timelines, perhaps they had a little room to wiggle, but if there’s anything that this new market is showing us all, is that waiting for anything like time, market conditions, technology, even the consumers to change, is waiting for trouble, and a serious career ending or car business ending mistake to happen. They shouldn’t have done that. You see, what they set themselves up to happening, is that with the shift and acceleration, everyone else comes prepared with their homework to have sine kind of vehicle to offer the crowded BEV market. Now here comes these guys on this list selling their gas cars and a paltry old tech PHEV that yeah, gets a nice 70 eMPG, while Model 3 gets 200 eMPG! See how this works? People are less interested, their lots full of unsold cars like it back in 1979, and their headquarters CFO headed to bankruptcy court because the status quo was unsustainable.
I’m not saying to run out and sell off their stock because they’re toast; what I’m saying is that they’re in serious trouble, and they know it, at least the few left sensible ones who work for them do. They now need good market conditions, good daily operational and debt financials, sales of any kinds of car to sustain them, and great electric products to turn this around. They’re also going to need starting now moving forward, a bit of luck to survive as well, frankly. I wish them well to want them to succeed, and unless this recipe I give you here helps them, the only next hope is that a wealthy Goliath steps in at the foot of bankruptcy to the rescue. Here’s a very short list of great iconic car brands that may NOT survive the Electric Car Revolution, because it cost so much goddamn money to make an electric car, and then convert a car company into electric:
1. Subaru: Eh tu? Subaru? What is it with you, one of my favorite brands? It seems you’re allergic to electric? I find another irony here that Subaru was the first car company in the world to introduce an EV decades ago. I guess the sole Subaru guy in charge of that has since retired, since he also made that his last! And since, Subaru apparently without shame for decades allowed its brand to be blemished for not having some kind of green vehicle out on the road for its portfolio. Subaru, Subaru, what happened to you? Subaru customers are another intense loyal group like Model 3 owners who could have helped Subaru with these kind of things! A green Subaru would be been a perfect match for that demographic motley crew! It’s paying the consequences for that now. They promise a PHEV this year and a BEV by 2023, but that statement was made by the now standard industry form given out to all media departments about EV press releases for legacy car makers, in fact, 2023 is a check off option. Too little, probably too late. They also learned too late doing now what they should have done again, decades ago:, alliances, partnerships, and collaborations: Diahatsu, Suzuki, and Hino joined up with the storied boxer folks to iron out electric technology. There’s a heavy emphasis here on PHEV, not a good thing, and as I wrote above, is another indication a car maker isn’t flush with enough cash to make a real electric car, to instead go cheap. They aren’t serious about making a real serious electric car. So also put Diahatsu, Suzuki, and Hino to this list.
2. Toyota. Where Subaru lay, Mazda is not far to follow, and Toyota is usually the culprit. Ah the usual suspects! But my God if none of them careful now, we might actually will be going to funerals! I notice that when any entity collaborates with Toyota with hybrid or fuel cell technology, they too become bogged down for one to wonder if anyone is awake at the wheel to notice the shift of priorities? And here we are, Subaru, Mazda, and Toyota in serious trouble because they’re clinging onto their decades old tech hybrid technology, and this stuff isn’t going to cut it anymore for the 21st Century. I’ll worry about alternate fueling the main fossil energy sources for fueling our electric cars later, and we’re finished electrifying everything out on the road. I’ll worry about that proverbial coal power plant some of you seem to be stuck on to use that as a lame excuse as to why we shouldn’t us electric cars, and when I get back to it, thank you. What Toyota needed to do, that for some reason of corporate cultural complacency they chose not to, and that was to either put up or shut up, especially when it came to all the hydrogen stuff. The time was about 10 years ago, for better or for worse, to start proliferating this tech so that it could be more widely used. Toyota played it safe and conservative instead. Now it seems as if it’s almost useless to even bother, at times more secretive if not anything else. If it were risky for Tesla to proliferate with lithium ion battery technology 12 years ago, it was just as risky as Toyota with hydrogen, and again, I don’t care about the dangerous volatility this stuff may have, they spent billions on the tech it to swear by it, so they should have put it to makret by now. Either lead or follow. So Toyota, step aside now please.
3. Mazda: Meantime, Toyota being the bigger and supposedly responsible has enabled Subaru and Mazda for all three, as the three companies are now \in serous trouble, and what’s sad, is that they really don’t think they are, at least from some of the senior management. You see with the recent shift in EV market priorities, and the acceleration of future EV company plans which lead to a massive cancellation of gas/hybrid vehicles, is that the gasoline car as the backup default option for things like Toyota’s hybrids and their hydrogen program, is no longer the reliable assumption. You can have hydrogen as long as you have a good reliable car as a backup in case the stuff doesn’t work. What Toyota should have did was somehow replace the gas car to make their hybrids the best backup safe default reliable vehicle. They did not. And people are not going to run out and buy their hybrids and their fuel cell cars. Mazda without gasoline cars is in serious trouble. I knew we were heading for trouble when Mazda recently introduced that RX sportscar with that fuel inefficient Wankel rotary motor as its showcase feature being a Mazda trademark, I immediately said to myself, oh c’mon. What time warp are these people still living in? Have they yet caught up with us in the 21st century? I got angry. This is perhaps the biggest missed moment of the Electric Car Revolution, and the auto industry world-wide. And if Mazda was truly looking out for its best interests as a company for its investors, and its customers, and not of those of the ruling class of either Japan or the US who is employed by them, and those person(s) know exactly who I am referring to, as it seems this car was made for their garage collection, not for consumers as a global product: if someone with brains and balls at Mazda had the forethought to put an insane electric setup in this car instead of that useless Wankel they insisted on using, this car would have been even more reliable, much much faster, and with an insane amount of torque. That was a watershed moment for Mazda I don’t even think they even fully realized or cared, and why now they probably don’t even see how much trouble they’re in now. And the sad ending comes when they are literally the last ones selling gas cars on the market to wonder why no one is buying them anymore.
4. Mini: Speaking of missed opportunities, Mini will inevitably be remembered as the perfect brand BMW could have used to introduce us all to the all electric car. What better platform, driving dynamics, size, weight, simplicity, etc. to have for battery electric technology, then using a high tech modular BEV platform used to make new Mini’s or using a classic or legacy vintage kind and stuff motors and battery packs in all of that and over it, and then start having fun? Well what started as years of testing and development turned into decades of just pain ol’ just giving up and moving on, and that’s exactly what consumers in their markets did with Mini. Parent BMW Group needs to take the blame for that, as that is the perfect example of what is all wrong about the auto industry whether based in Detroit or in Munich, it speaks the same language of risk aversion, lack of inspiration, no leadership, not willing to try something, just something, just anything new and not tried before. Instead of Mini having one or two generations of young owners becoming a bit older Mini electric owners who swear so much by their brand they grew up with, to be forgiving of the CUV craze to have one still sitting in their driveway, along with that damn CUV I wonder if they’ll ever let go of now, BMW and Mini have nothing, but empty and closing sales stores, a rescue plan to protect them under and at BMW brand, another missed opportunity that defeated the whole purpose why BMW bothered to buy Mini in the first place, and now a timer ticking away at when they’ll finally put the brand to eternal sleep. AGAIN. They just turned on Mini . . .
OKay, We’re in the BEV Express Lane: What to Expect Moving Forward
VW and GM gave us timelines: For VW, 2026 is the magical last year of a new VW gas car that’ll see production or if already in production, will see a refresh. I’m presuming this all means that if such a VW Group car was rolled off or refreshed by 2026 and with anything else still in gasoline car production considering, VW Group will go by a case by case and year by year assessment to determine that gas model’s fate. In theory this could mean that if the average car model has a seven model year cycle before a refresh, then 2026 + 7= 2032 as the final year for VW Group to put up with this nonsense, and frankly I’d be shocked if any VW mufflered car lasted past 2025.
Folks please don’t get emotional or sentimental about this. These are just cars, ironically and probably the number one thing that killed human civilization before we knew it did, and before we could do anything to stop it. We just won’t know. I don’t care what car or what VW Group brand you may have bias toward, but it ain’t that special, and it probably will be more valuable either in sentiment or worth if purchased in the used market. And business is business. Frankly, if VW can so easily if not cruelly cancel their Holy Grail Halo, the Beetle, and do it more than once to get so used to it, then man, can they cancel everything else and replace it with a BEV that’ll make it even more money! So in industrial speak I’m loosely translating their timeline to mean Folks, with these new supply chains it now costs us more money to make your gas car now that you ordered from us in Wolfsburg four months go, so it’s now about finding more reasons to cancel your gas car now and ASAP while it’s still in production than finding reasons not to, even if it’s becoming a collector’s item or even if it’s still a Bentley.
Speaking of which, I’ve had some people actually start arguing with me about Bentley. I wasn’t having it. Exceptions to what? Because most of those cars are bought by affluent people they’re going to make an exception for them? Please I said, Bentley is now a brand in the VW Group portfolio. VW Group is now an all electric car company. That means moving forward, that’s all the VW brands will make. Get ready to plug in your new Bentleys, Lamborghini’s too. And yes, this means no more gas versions for these cars too. I shall miss the storied Bentley 6.75 Litre that was once called the Rolls Royce 6.75 Litre, because it was actually once Roll Royce’s engine they left behind, other things too at Crewe, that really makes Bentley as we see it today to be the actual Rolls Royce we’ve always known. For this reason alone, I do not nor cannot see where any exception or rule bending will ever need to be made, for these brands. So unless they intend to refresh whatever generation of Mulsanne, Spur, and Continental, they’re using to transfer that vehicle onto the special BEV modular platform Bentley was going to use for their first production BEV anyway, that’s it for now for the Bentley Three. And I wouldn’t doubt the GM gas car too. On the VW side, if any car on the drawing board was not tentatively approved for production by 2026, then forget it, frame it, because it’ll never be made with a muffler. “The GM Christmas Cancellation of Almost Everything that Gives You Gas for Christmas” made things easier for them to clear off the decks to start saving money and put that new BEV supply chain to good use. . If it is already on a board and by 2026 if the gas car is not already on the drawing board scheduled for production, or are happening now, and sooner, and the process of production conversion of an entire company, by ramping down all gas and ramping up all electric across the portfolio range world-wide, became understood a little more easier, more discernible to break down, but just as expensive to undertake thanks to two key players, VW Group and GM.
I think what’s happening here is that they’re trying to honestly be respectful and courteous by trying to give you, the customer, a sense of closure about a vehicle product you may like or anticipate acquiring in their portfolio, when they’re really not. Time really is of the essence here, and they got it figured down to each unit that rolls off assembly how much money they’re either making or losing. Companies like VW Group are that efficient at such things, and can you blame them? VW Group is a car making institution. Its function in our world and lives is to make cars for us as efficiently as possible, and deliver the ultimate cusotmer service based upon the ethos off each of the Group’s brands, while we drive them in the most proficient way possible. That’s it. So:
1. Prices of either car: Change of supply chains is a big game changer for the industry, even for prices. What you make more of costs less per unit. Make less of something, it’ll cost more to make per unit. So the pricing dynamics of BEVs and gas cars just suddenly switched. Within and over the next 5 years expect to see the price of an average BEV to be lower than it currently is for a gas car. It’s difficult to now forecast the production life of a gas car especially in the European market, let alone here, as I’m sure the shifting and acceleration has affected other markets dramatically, too.
2. The prices for BEVs also will lower because of the cheaper cost it now takes to make a battery setup per vehicle. And because both the materials and the technology habe both become cheaper, there is no need anymore for a tiny battery. In fact with this new recharging technology it is dangerous to attach a tiny battery to a mega supercharger.
3. Also, remember that car dealer guy who seemed disinterested in selling you a BEV last year, that he wanted to instead sell you a Camaro or a PHEV, and you wanted to smash his head with a frying pan? Well guess what? No, most likely he’s still working at that same dealership, but now with the change in dynamics, he’s very interested in selling you a BEV now! There’s a whole lot more of them to sell, not with President’s Day Sale prices, but you can now walk into a dealer and have a greater chance he’s got a car with the colors and choices you’ll love with your name on it waiting for you. Where were the both of you in the deal negotiations last year, it didnt go well I assume? Let bygones go! You may not be able to get a stellar deal, remember, it takes time for the new BEV prices to catch up with materials for the manufacturer to cut a deal like that. On the gas side of the market, don’t let prejudices by people get in the way of what it is you really want to be happy. But be aware of it so you know how to work around it to make it a non-issue. The presumption moving forward is that you need a gas car for things like being a 5150 nut, legit reasons like a potential collector model, or performance variant, or rare color etc. It’s now going to become much more difficult to get a gas car the way you want it, and depending on production priorities. I’ll say it’ll be even more trying and frustrating to get a gas car at all, regardless of how you want it, especially when they get close to phase-out, when it will be impossible, and probably too late. At that time period, it is definitely not the time to be seriously gas car shopping expecting results. In fact if this car you’re still looking for is still in production now after this massive cancellation by several manufacturers, I predict this; because gas car volume will suddenly and dramatically slow, if you can’t find your car by the end of next year the latest and regardless of how long it’ll be inpriduction, I’d change my expectations and start looking for the same car in the used market to hope chances improve there, as well as price savings.
4. Start watching to see how your BEV car insurance should also go down as well. More BEV cars means more choices, more parts being made by new supply chain that makes replacement costs cheaper and ordering parts faster, means a bigger pool, means the risks are more easy to identify, means you save even more money.
5. Starting next year that same dynamic you had when you went electric car shopping last year when you couldn’t find that right electric car in your color with all the options you really wanted, that you had to compromise just to get a BEV at all. Stop doing that. I mean it. You don’t have to anymore. You should be able to get what you exactly want for a BEV if you now know where and how to look and at worse the wait isn’t that long anymore.
6. Starting next year that same dynamic you had when you went gasoline car shopping last year when you could find that right gas car in your color with all the options you really wanted so easily, that you didn’t have to compromise just to get a gas car. You fool. You should have bought that gas guzzler when you had the chance to. Now your options and the prices all suck! So is the wait to get it!
Based upon GM’s recent reaction and behavior that lead them to cancel a whole bunch of GM cars, I think at the first smell of losing money they will incinerate your coveted VW gas car, even if the Type 2 van was still in production. They will cancel a gas car based on how current production models are doing, gas or BEV. If the gas one helps the brand sales, let it run. If not, kill it. And they’ll do this also for Bentley since Bentley is going to need more time obviously to revamp their electric product development into a new all BEV range of cars, as that’s not something that can get quickly done at that insane level of bespoke customization. Shorthand: they have to make allowances for being such a low volume producer. To every rule there is an exception, and I will make no allowance for Bentley, a cut off is a cut off as I’m sure the world is watching to see if VW makes special and/or inappropriate considerations for Bentley customers, and in this post Dieselgate World, I honestly believe as sleazy, greasy, and greedy as VW execs were, I really do believe the rest of VW Group is a good company, and they get it. They know: I don’t think the world would tolerate such nonsense from either VW or Bentley, with customers allowed post gas phase out delivery dates with special treatment for pig fuel efficient anti-economy cars, and it would definitely start with me, and as all of you know who know anything about me, I am a super big Bentley fan!
The Fate of the Few Last Gasoline Cars Still Standing
At these moments I can really tell among you readers which of you are prepared for radical car changes overnight, and which ones are still in denial and honestly believes they can do things like go to a GM dealer in El Salvador or Honduras and buy a brand new full sized Buick or Chevrolet no longer sold in the US market but sold elsewhere, lets predicate, and drive it home across the US Mexico border without issue. How about this one: you’ll be able to order a gas Cadillac in the year 2045. Or you’ll be able in 2038 to drive to their Mobil station around the corner from your friend’s house in Texas, and mega charge your new electric GMC Yukon. True or False?
We are at a critical juncture in our journey with electric and autonomous vehicles that anything is possible (okay folks, just within reason though), and it can happen much sooner than we anticipated, and beyond the most reasonable expectations. Even if you have no desire to even try the technology to see if in some way it might improve your way of life, then pease be courteous to get out of the way and allow someone else to try it, because starting right here on this online page, that’s one of the reasons why they’re here! Besides the fact I’m disappointed at how people don’t keep up with the latest technology to see how public network charging has improved in the past year, actually in last 3- 6 months, how and why PHEV technology not only has become outdated and dangerously obsolete, how battery technology has actually improved to such an extent, the batteries are much cheaper, and the ranges have recently and suddenly become much longer! When I tell people this, all they want to do is just hold on to whatever technology they captured now years ago, and not let go of it, because they believe, “it works for me.” Well, I tell them, I’m so glad for them! But it isn’t all about just them, it’s about the rest of us they apparently forgotten, and that’s what’s amazing about new technology: there’s enough for everyone to either share it, or leave it to the next person to enjoy! But please don't tell me you think your old technology works to imply I should hold on to it as well. What works for you may not work for the rest of the world, and my job is to figure out as I tell our Torque News readership what the issue is about it that impacts us most, it’s how that impact affects all of most of us, not just a few of you. Only you can get away with doing what I choose about you what not to do!
FINAL THOUGHT: And then suddenly without warning it was gone . . .
And regardless of whatever your feelings about new technology may be, I want you folks to remember this, that we seemed to have forgotten this happened 100 years ago: this is for those of you who are in some state of denial about the progression of this technology, you hold on dearly with excises and explanations either to your gasoline cars, even your PHEVs, and how swiftly will it not only overwhelm you with immmediarte integration into your lives, but how it will swiftly become a life altering game changing drive of the ages.
It is one thing to engage in debate about whether we should have a certain technology, whether its virtues are useful, or its side effects are harmful. It’s another thing when suddenly it’s taken away from you without warning, without debate, and without even discussion. Suddenly without much fanfare that most hadn’t noticed when the last few that could have warned us still remained, that they too were collected to be quickly gone: 100 years ago almost to the day we now live at this moment that it could so easily happen once again: there suddenly were no more electric cars. They were gone. Gone. There didn’t seem to be a debate beforehand, there was no discussion about whether we should contemplate their sudden disappearance from our lives. It almost seems that we either didn’t so want them to actually wish them away, or we weren’t paying attention, to even seem perhaps not to care.
Regardless of how the purge came and went, it is scary. And it is a warning to all of you that massive changes in our lifestyles are about to occur. And for those of you who cling to your gas car, remember this: the electric one was here in some shape, spirit literally, or function for the last 177 years. It was here for decades before Karl Benz and his wife hopped on their buggy. And the electric car will be here long after your gas one, and YOU. And if they suddenly and almost without fail made the electric car almost disappear overnight 100 years ago, what do you think their abilities lay to make the gas car do the same here, and now, as well? And do you really think Big Oil still has enough power from stopping them from disappearing?
What’s relieving in a sense about the Electric Car Purge of the 1920’s, is that was not about a living thing I could have care for, or been taking care of. But it could have been something that belonged to me, and it was taken away from me without asking, without warning, without notice, without a hearing of due process, and without closure.
Tell me folks: is this something would you allow to happen to you today? Would you allow anyone or anything or any institution to take your electric or gasoline car away from you without warning, consideration, debate, or permission?
These are things I want you to walk away from after reading my stories to consider. This journey is far from over.
Photos of various key models belonging in the portfolios under the houses of GM or VW Group, courtesy of their Media Departments, and all under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, and news reporting.
I am so grateful that my publisher allows me the generous privilege within reason to express my opinions about matters related to the auto industry. I try to be judicious and respectful about the content. I ask you do the same in the comments section. And please keep in mind that the opinions expressed here are solely mine, and not those of Hareyan Publishing or its employees, including my staff colleagues.
Al Castro is a security expert and a retired LEO who is a staff and opinion piece writer on electric and autonomous vehicles for Torque News.
What do you think of “the gas phase-out” of all-electric car company conversion? Please let us know below!