Asymcar 17: 27 Quadrillion BTUs

Part I is a review of the “automotive stack” and note how there is no singular event that seems to affect disruptive change. From changing jobs to be done, modular design and manufacturing processes, powertrain evolution, urbanization, environmental interests, regulation and taxation.

Part II is a review of a framework of analysis based on sources and uses of energy.  Inputs, efficiency/losses, network effects and inertia, what can change and what can’t change.

For a shot of theory, Horace reflects on the dichotomy of efficiency vs. efficacy when it comes to predicting change in the sector.

via Asymcar 17: 27 Quadrillion BTUs | Asymcar.

  • neutrino23

    Energy discussions are very complex. It is one thing to consider the efficiency of an individual device like a solar cell or internal combustion motor. It is quite another to consider the efficient of an entire system. Biomass sounds great, until you consider all the fossil fuel that goes into tending the fields, producing fertilizer, harvesting the plants, etc.

    All things considered, putting a few kW capacity of solar cells might be the most efficient way to produce a large,fraction of our power. The cells are just 20 to 24% efficient but there are no losses in the transmission lines as most of the power is used locally.

    Another factor is fleet turnover. Any idea how long it takes to turnover half the fleet?

    Another important factor is politics. Has tax revenue would not be a problem if they simply raised the tax and indexed it to inflation. Gas guzzlers would pay more, people would shift to lighter, higher mileage cars, road wear and tear would be reduced ( except for that from trucks). I’m puzzled why some politicians think it is easier to implement a new tax per distance than simply raising the existing tax. Must be some lobbying not making the news.

  • katherine anderson

    Many thanks to you, Jim and Horace, for your insights and all your work with AsymCar. Never could I have imagined I’d enjoy listening to talk about cars, let alone looking forward to your next post.

    For a future post, perhaps you’d be interested in taking a look at a fellow blogger by the name of Charles Bombardier. (He’s of the Bombardier engineering family in Montreal, and writes an occasional piece in the car section for the Toronto Globe and Mail.)

    Last winter he wrote a short piece about his design for a city vehicle that when parked would not require the dedicated dead-zone parking space necessary for current vehicles, but would instead be integrated into the design of a home when parked, and would serve as an room-like living space attached to the house, e.g, an office, a reading space, a tv room.

    This idea of vehicles adapted for living made me think of the iconic Volkswagen van of the 1960’s and 70’s. The hippie era pre-dates me, but wasn’t this a vehicle that a lot of young people (unemployed, uncertain futures) adapted for itinerant living …. a mobile living space that offered new prospects, the freedom to move to new locations at low cost to find new work experiences, to meet new friends.

    Perhaps the vehicles of tomorrow (if adapted for living) will disrupt rental housing as we know it, particularly for young people. This life -limiting, chained-down housing is the heaviest expense for most young people, making it difficult to save and plan for the future.