Electric vehicles (EVs) have been proven to be better for the environment, hence it will be adopted. Because it will be adopted, it has a future. Certain countries have already started building the necessary infrastructure for it and pushing it with an expected timeline to totally phase out gas-powered cars. To expect such a push to succeed within the various timelines set by the different countries is not realistic, however I believe it is safe to assume that progress will definitely be made.
One exciting thing about EVs is not only the environment saving component, but their autonomous driving function, which is a leap in technology in this sector. From horses to cars, from manual gear to auto gear to finally autonomous driving, mankind has been steadily improving the modes of transport in terms of efficiency and safety.
Replacement Of Labour
Yet, with autonomous driving cars, I foresee the taxi and private-hire driving sector getting totally replaced. With a fleet of Tesla or any other brand of autonomous driving EVs, any company can command an army of automated cars without any need to rest. These cars can work round the clock, stopping only for 2 hours to recharge their batteries. These cars require no salary, no benefits, no rest – the ideal worker for the capitalist system. That is why industries replaced scores of manual labourers with machines in the first place. Granted that the technology is not perfected yet, but it will only be a matter of time before it is. Uber can replace its fleet with autonomous driving cars. Tesla or any other EV companies can set up a taxi branch and deploy their own cars themselves. All they need is a few backend operators to ensure everything is running smoothly.
What you should do: If you are in a sector which will be replaced with EVs and its peripheral technologies, find an exit plan quickly unless you are old enough to retire before the replacement takes place. The affected industry is not only just the EV sector, but may extend to the whole supply chain of gas-powered cars and old technology. For example, if you are running a petrol kiosk business, then you better plan ahead. The sectors are numerous, so I will not list them here.
Freeing Up Labour
Countries know this, and they are pushing ahead knowing full well that many people will be out of jobs. In the past, farming was a labour intensive activity, that was why farmers have many children. Later, farming was made easier by machineries and freeing up much needed labour to work in the industries. As factories also slowly replaced the labourers with complex machineries, more people are now to be deployed in the tertiary sectors, such as technology and services.
Of course, the transition takes time and with each transition, those who cannot keep up will be sacrificed. But over in the long run, it is good for the economy and the country. Such developments are necessary. With EV, there is potential to free up private hire drivers, bus drivers, truck drivers and if we go further, perhaps food and parcel delivery riders will be replaced too, creating opportunities for the country to engage in new and higher-order sectors. This is especially important for countries with falling birth rates, which many developed countries are worried about.
What you should do: New technologies present new sectors. Using the replacement concept above, EVs and its peripheral technological sector will be more important in the future. If you are a student or fresh graduate with ample time to make a career switch, you may want to think about upcoming sectors which you can do. The semiconductor and statistics / data processing industry is already well-known and should be further developed, but new or currently lesser developed sectors will also be coming up. But even if it is too late for you to switch careers or go into such businesses, there is always the stock market for not only the EV companies itself, but the whole of the supply chain.
That being said, stock market is a dangerous game which you should be very careful of. Playing the stock market is another topic altogether which I will not elaborate here. Anyway, Tesla is overpriced now.
Tools Of Production
I have mentioned earlier that in the current era, the tool of production is petroleum. With it we power up our industries. With it we advance our technology. North Korea is so backward today because it has no access to oil and it cannot level up from an agricultural society. In the future it will be data. How much data one is able to obtain and process will determine how far one will be able to go. That is why companies like Amazon Web Services and Alibaba Cloud are trying to advance as far as they can. EV is not simply a greener alternative, but is also a wealth of data source. From a person’s daily commute to his individual preferences in the car, the data to be obtained can include frequency of travel, frequency of replacing car parts, type of music listened, frequented places etc as mobile and digital integration with the EVs happen over time.
What we should expect: Since we talk about what we can do as an individual in the paragraph above, I will not repeat here. But now, we should look at which countries are able to hold the tools of production. Just like North Korea without oil is struggling, countries which are unable to control the tools of production will also be at an disadvantage. The biggest internet companies are overwhelmingly from the US and China. The biggest EV companies are also from US and China. If you look at the figures (click the links) carefully, you will realise one very critical thing – for all its wealth and power, only one European company made it to the top 10 EV companies, and none in the top internet companies.
This bit is a prediction of what the governments around the world will do. I do not have any definitive proof but depends on logical deduction.
With all EVs linked up to servers and data centres, law enforcement work could be made easier. Not only that, perhaps even more sophisticated road tax systems based on distance travelled could be imposed. Road traffic control could be more specific than what we currently have. The list goes on, made possible by cars going digital and the governments behind it having access to critical data. Even car maintenance need not be a yearly checkup at the workshop. With Tesla’s function of auto-detecting what parts need replacement, the governments could interfere and set a certain standard in the systems, failing which your car will not be able to go out on the roads. Of course, road users would not be too excited about it, but if I am in the government, I will also impose all these upon my citizens. Control is something every government want, and in the name of your safety and overall efficiency, I will exercise certain controls.
What you can do: Nothing. Accept it.
With the rise of EVs, there will be quite many changes in the automobile sector and the industries surrounding its peripheral technology and supply chain. Keep up with the times in your own way. It will still take a minimum of 15 years for everything to kick into effect. 15 years is a long time. Do something early. Do something now, or regret to no end when you are left behind.
Many are optimistic that EVs will rule the roads by 2030 or 2035, but because of politics, that is a far too optimistic figure to target. In every change, there are people who benefit and there are people who are displaced. The same goes for countries. But countries have the resources and the power to push through their objectives, and a fight on the international business and political stage will not be so straightforward. For one, countries dependent on oil for a significant part of their revenue and countries who rule the roads with their gas-powered cars will not be too excited about EVs. Countries who want to see their rivals sink will also be enthusiastic to take away their rivals’ tools of production.