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Friday, December 12, 2008

Detroit can go on sleeping

Interesting article today on The New York Times.
It refers to an interesting business plan I posted some time ago and presents it as the Future iPod in the car industry.
This is what I posted:

Imagine the cars' infrastructure run as a Telephony network.
The operator sells the cars (electric) at a good price (or even gives it for free, just like a telephone).
They could because the profit wouldn't come from the car, but from selling electricity, may be by minutes.
The country would be covered by a network of "smart" charge spots. Drivers could plug in anywhere, anytime, and would subscribe to a specific plan—unlimited miles, a maximum number of miles each month, or pay as you go—all for less than the equivalent cost for gas.
Of course you could have plugs in homes, offices, shopping malls.
Or the car driver would just have to exchange the exhausted battery with a fresh one.
Also this hardware would be free, you just pay the consume.
This doesn't only work on paper, it is potentially profitable, too.
Behind this idea there is Shai Agassi's Audacious Plan to Put Electric Cars on the Road and Project Better Place, the world's first global electric-car grid operator.
This is an interesting plan and catching too.
But I see a big difference with the Telephone network.
In this case, once you build the network the consume is at zero cost for the Operator, while the Cars' network will consume electricity which still has to be produced someway.
The second thought is that it wouldn't be cheaper than the existing oil .
We shouldn't forget that the big winner in the oil business is mainly the State.
How would they suck the same money?
They would certainly have a big part on this electricity, bringing either the profit to a minimum or the cost to the same level as oil.
The only winner would be the air, and that is not irrelevant.


I was talking about Italy and Europe, where the State has reached a heaviness in taxes on ALL what we do and the easiest way is of course taxing CARS and houses.
So, either we dream of a place where the State won't suck anymore. or suck less, but then it would spend less, or we just imagine how and when those taxes will be transferred to something else.

That said I do not think that spending tax payers money saving a dinosaur is a good idea.
If you want to help people give the money directly to the unemployed, saving some bucks on the salary of the managers and in keeping offices and factories that are useless.
If you want to create jobs, look (intelligently) to the future and a good idea would be investing money and create new jobs building new infrastructures, which anyway are essential.
Then, without any hurry think what would be the best future for a nation, in terms of pollution but also in terms of a good life.
You will come to the conclusion that we have more than enough cars, oil or electric, that besides the air pollution there is also the noise and traffic pollution.
We have precious things called legs that should be moved more, for example walking to the next station, where we can board the next public transportation, sit on it, enjoy a nice talk or reading the newspaper or why not? Surfing the Internet in search of the next "killing" business plan....
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