For individuals, they greatly increase your mobility and open new possibilities.
For societies, they are loud, dirty, dangerous, and require expensive roads which take up large swaths of land.
It is this dichotomy that prevents us as humans from properly understanding the cost of the vehicles we drive. I see all over this thread people calculating the cost of their vehicle in dollars, but this grossly underestimates the cost to society as a whole.
In regards to the article, how much visibility do western analysts have into the Chinese automotive market? If domestic sales aren’t accurately monitored, this would explain why the Chinese market has dropped.
Capitalism is exceedingly poor at accounting for negative externalities, and many armchair economists don't seem to even acknowledge negative externalities exist because they are a "hidden" cost not determined by the market and paid by third parties. Any economist worth their salt, of course, says that as a mechanism created specifically to solve coordination problems like this, it's the government's job to put a real price on negative externalities.
If we changed traffic laws (and automotive subsidies) in the US to make them more feasible in cities, I imagine small electric vehicles would take a huge dent out of the automotive industry here.
Take for example our car:
- we bought a used 2007 Yaris 3 years ago for AUD$ 6K.
- every year we have to pay a registration fee in Australia which is AUD$ 650.
- insurance is $AUD 200 per year
- car service every 6 months is AUD$ 330.
- random repairs in the last 3 years: AUD$ 700
- Petrol cost is AUD $60 every second month on average.
We only use the car on the weekend to go to the beach 1h30 hours away, to buy groceries and visit my wife's family 600 km from where we live twice a year.
The total cost of ownership: AUD$ 12310
The car is probably worth AUD$ 4.5k now and we only drove 35k km in the last 3 years as we use public transports a lot.
The only reason that we have kept it around is for the what ifs.
I am starting to think that this is probably the last car that we will own.
I drive even less than you do (6k for around 3 years), and bought new as well, but find the car super useful because of our toddler, Uber simply doesn’t do car seats well and the bus doesn’t go to the pediatrician.
Larger SUV's or 4WD's have anything in the $300-$600 yearly registration fee, ~1500-2k for yearly insurance, and a LOT more on fuel.
Of course the voluntary insurance component, ie. fire / theft / third-party property / comprehensive, is going to depend on a few factors, predominantly vehicle type and age, garaging address, driver age and gender, driver history, insurance-claim history.
12,000km per year in Uber’s or hire cars will cost you far more than $2500. Sounds like you’re the perfectly rational car owner. As are a lot of people, this isn’t isolated to US only.
The problem is not that people live outside of cities, it's that many people do not live near viable mass-transit options.
>Mass transit will replace car ownership
Mass transit sucks in a lot of places. Where I'm from, the bus came every hour, stopped running before evening and covered only some of the town.
>Self-driving cars are here in a few years
I'm still waiting for the self-driving tech companies to start doing tests in the Finnish Lapland during winter.
NYC for example is ~1/38th the US population on (including parks and office space for commuters) ~1/12,000 the the land area of the US. It’s hard to do these kind of comparisons across the US, but the car culture has a lot more to do with how rich the US is than absolute need. Consider the school buss system is a form of mass transit available across most of the US. It’s inexpensive and something similar would work if most people could not afford cars.
We've been able to get by on GoGet and Car Next Door for the occasional trip to the shops (although we mostly get groceries delivered; it saves time and allows you to pre-plan what you need easier) or for a weekend away. Works out much much cheaper than owning a car.
The petrol cost is averaged and when I say AUD$60 every 2 months, it really depends on the trips we make and if we go see my in-laws.
I guess what's important is the trend, the first year we owned the car, we drove everywhere because we were living in the outer suburbs but then we moved closer to the city. So we barely touch the car these days.
We use it even less in winter as its too cold to go to the beach, so I can safely say that for the next 3 months we are probably going to be using the car once a week to go buy groceries at the supermarket that is located about 5km from where we live. So we will average 10km per week for the next 12 to 15 weeks. That would translate in maybe a full tank of gas if that.
All in all, if I average the cost of petrol over the last 3 years, it's probably close to the numbers I gave, plus or minus a few hundred dollars.
As for the insurance, we both have a clean driving record(no tickets ever), we don't drive a lot and we live in a very safe suburb and keep the car in a closed/locked garage overnight. We also have the lowest tier in terms of insurance and we wouldn't get much back if we were to total the car.
Finally, as for the current value of the car, I just had a quick look on google and those were the first numbers I could find. I presume that if we were to sell it we probably would get less maybe $AUD 3.5k.
As for the 35000km in the last 3 years, that's an estimate.
It may very well be 30k or 40k and as for petrol, we used to drive a lot the first year we got the car but since we moved closer to the city, we started using less and less so, for example, during the last 12 months, we only filled the tank maybe 7 or 8 times and its a small tank, probably worth 60 dollars each time.
Again all the numbers I gave are estimates and in the end, the total ownership cost may be off by plus or minus $AUD 1k.
But yeah, many time-sensitive events are able to be easily solved with our own cars. There's a flexibility that is absent when relying on public transit and ride-sharing. Does it worth the trade-off of maintaining your own vehicle and it's attendant issues? In my opinion, it is. For some others, it isn't. It would be better if cars can become a non-essential for everyone in the world though, or at least the urbanites. Less traffic jams for the rest of us.
Have you ever considered how
are our best implementation
of the abstract idea
of efficient, terrestrial mass transit?
If you can figure out how to bike, walk, or bus most of the time and your significant other can too, you get nearly all of that security with one vehicle per family and a lot of money to put towards other things.
I’m not sure what’s actually creating the 3% drop, though, the evidence in the article for a lifestyle shift seems to be relatively weak outside of the charts they give for the EU.
For a typical US buyer who drives 12,500 miles per year, 1,000,000 means they can drive the car for 80 years. They could skip buying the next 4 cars.
The CEO of the maker of those cars claims (unsubstantiated at this time) that his company's battery technology will be capable of 1,000,000 miles. TBD, but if true, changes the game for the auto industry in an additional vector.
With the new generation of electric cars the cost of replacing the battery isn't what it would cost today, but what it will cost in 15 years. Probably will be reasonably cheap.
It was never really an issue in practice, because (iirc) they had a 10 year warranty but if they failed on year 11 or 12 then Toyota would still usually just replace them for free anyway. And for the last several years you've been able to just get individual cells replaced rather than the entire battery, so it's no longer expensive to begin with.
Actual experience seems to show that hybrid and electric car batteries are lasting longer than expected. Except for the Leaf with it's crummy thermal management.
Having said that, electric cars are simple, so maybe there will be a luxury “100 year car” brand that removes all the planned obsolescence and provides repair parts / service indefinitely.
That's the drive train, but the interior is a different thing. As modern cars are essentially computers on wheels, their UX will feel outdated and sluggish after five years tops (for what it's worth, even current top of the line cars have serious problems there), stuff like the n-th iteration of CarPlay or whatever wasn't updated for ages, navigation systems don't have upates any more... and that's only the electronic interior.
The "real life" interior aka dashboard plastics, veneers, seats, ... will be of exactly the same durability as with current ICE cars, which means after 10 years of regular usage the car is for all intents and purposes to be considered a beater.
In addition, spare parts are going to be a major issue. While the aftermarket is decent in supplying parts for common cars (you can still get original parts for VW vans), I wouldn't be so sure about "non-common" cars. Tesla doesn't even manage to supply their own garages with parts to fix customer vehicles at the moment.
All of this has to be considered when thinking about "useful life".
GF's 1999 Toyota Camry's interior is 'fine'
What I think is if the drive train is good for 30-50 years that'll push manufacturers to improve the lifespan of the rest of the car. Also possible the government regulators will also apply pressure. For a lot of countries automobiles negatively effect their balance of trade. Anything to get that down.
I doubt it is possible to get it to more than 15 years. People do all kinds of stuff with and in their cars, especially if there are kids and/or pets involved. Vomit, feces, spilled food/drinks, cigarette smoke, scratches and dents from transported stuff, animal claws, the list of things that can damage a car is pretty much endless.
As if there's zero risk associated in getting into someone else's car...
Not to mention any vehicle I willfully own will never barrage me with advertisements or surveil my movements.
Uber is burning billions of dollars in an attempt to corner the market. When/If they succeed, do you really think they won't put the screws to the customers living in circumstances where car ownership has likely become all but impossible?
The prices will shoot up, the monetization of the personal data will increase, the in-vehicle advertising will increase, the whole experience will become worse than what the end-game of yellow cabs looked like.
I fully expect the self-driving Ubers of the future to partner with the police in arresting people. You get in the car you ordered, it knows your identity, it reports all rides to the police system, if a boolean comes back true, the doors lock and it drives you to the jail entrance for processing. It's just another revenue stream.
What!? I'm not following your logic. If there is a warrant for your arrest, and law enforcement is tracking your phone, law enforcement can simply come pick you up in a squad car.
Do you actually think there are sufficient LEOs to run around chasing phones for every petty outstanding warrant? Why bother even trying when they can just be delivered by a robot.
Cities are ringed with rich suburbs with overstaffed police departments full of bored cops. I can see them being very interested in a product that scrapes cell subscriber and location data to ID people with outstanding warrants.
I fully agree with you that there's aren't sufficient resources to track down every deadbeat that failed to show up in court, or accumulated too many parking tickets or whatever. However, things that make it easier and cheaper to find people do not bode well for free society. Think about the kind of sigint that went into catching Bin Laden. Now imagine a world where 99% of that is automated and the police feel it's reasonable to use it to catch petty thieves.
I'm very likely to be the old dude driving a beat up classic driver's car with a home-grown performance-oriented EV conversion under the skirt.
Is it really more expensive to own than use a ride share service? Seems to only be reasonable when you have a monthly payment and even then depending on how much that payment is and how much you go out; it still may be less expensive to have your own.
I own my car outright. Calculated, it costs me roughly ~2500 a year to keep it, baring any catastrophe. Thats Insurance, gas, maintenance, inspection, registration, and a few hundred on top for surprise road trips. On the other hand to take an uber/lyft "only" to-and-from work each weekday would cost me ~6000 per year (ride + tip using the cheapest option). Add on for any additional activities and it goes up considerably from there.
Don't get me wrong, I would love to not have to own a car, but it really is cheaper and more convenient for me to do so. I live in a major US city.
I don't own a car outright - many people obviously do not - so that's another $400+ every month for a rapidly depreciating piece of equipment that will inevitably cost me additional money in maintenance and repairs in the years to come.
And of course there is insurance, gas and registration.
And once I'm spending this $1000/mo for the benefit of owning my very own car, I'd still be using ride shares or public transit anytime I'm going to consume alcohol.
Instead, I spend maybe $50/mo on transit, $100/mo on ride shares and another $200 or so every other month to rent a car for a weekend (and on those occasions, I get to pick the car).
Transportation, to me, is a minor line item in my budget. I never have to search for or pay for parking. I am never in a situation where I would be inclined to drive after drinking. My car can never be broken in to because it doesn't exist. It's actually a pretty sweet setup if you can pull it off.
Based on this I went without a car for about a year and used ride sharing services exclusively, but I found it to be more hassle for very minimal savings. (Some of the variables obviously depend on where you live though. ex: parking)
The fact of the matter is that owning a used car that's 5-10 years old actually isn't that expensive. I purchased my current car for $8k when it was ~6 years old, and did the same for the car before that. Repairs have been basically non-existent, just the normal oil change every year or two (I drive a few times a month).
Does that include depreciation? Even if you own the car outright, it seems to me that a proper cost accounting should include the cost of eventual replacement of the car.
> On the other hand to take an uber/lyft "only" to-and-from work each weekday
Yes, I think if your daily commute depends on a car, ownership is the most cost effective model. But an increasing number of people are finding ways to commute in other ways.
Outside of LA/SF & NYC and maybe Chicago are I wonder what other ways people are looking to commute. Mass transportation even in my own city doesn't service enough areas to be in any way convenient. Biking in most cities (there are a few good ones for it) is just right out in most places due other traffic. I just feel that the people who write these kind of articles can't see beyond where they are, which is probably in one of the aforementioned cities and think the rest of the US is similar.
I did a similar calculation and found it cost me ~$2k, and this includes depreciation, car insurance, opportunity cost (funds would be invested @ ~8% return if they weren't locked in a car - this accounted for ~40% of the cost), registration, regular repairs, and depreciation.
If you have to pay for parking and tickets, this math changes pretty dramatically.
I bike or ride the train much of the time (~10 miles). This is slower and has it's own costs, but also benefits. I work downtown and parking is not free. I find daily driving miserable (and I love cars). I rent a Home Depot truck whenever I need a truck, which is still probably less the $100 a year. Knowing I can get a ride in a pinch is just one more thing on the scales.
This makes operating a family of four with one small, aging car perfectly reasonable.
Friends and family from Texas and Arizona seem concerned we don't have 1.5 luxury vehicles per adult of course.
Transportation is boring but necessary. These companies also have plenty of experience and infrastructure.
Sales are marketing based.
I used to be quite bullish on Telsa...until I bought a 2019 Mazda 3 this past weekend. It is basically a Telsa that cost me $25K...Prior to this weekend I drove a Mazda 6 that I bought in 2006. While car shopping I came to realize that most of the things that made Telsa exciting are rapidly being integrated into standard consumer vehicles.
With Elon's seeming unsuitability for the role of car company CEO and if it is the case that Telsa doesn't have much of an edge over the competition, it is hard to see Telsa pulling through in the long haul.
Tesla has an EV of $43B. GM has an EV of $135B.
What does 'auto' mean in this context?
Hopefully Lyft and Uber are stepping stones, but at the present moment, both of them depend on someone having bought a personal car at some point. I haven't used them very much yet (my bike is one reason, being a double bassist is another) but from what I can tell, nobody buys a new car to drive Lyft/Uber, and it wouldn't make financial sense.
I've noticed a definite culture shift regarding our relationship with cars. My generation: Every kid arranged their affairs so they could get their drivers license on their 16th birthday, and worked a job so they could have a car. My kids and their friends are ambivalent about cars and driving. When they finish college, taking on a car payment will be the last thing on their minds.
In SOME places, people are driving less and need to drive less. In other places, both farther suburbs and smaller areas, cars are no less essential than they've always been. In some cases of aging infrastructure in terms of public transit for cities that have it, suburbs are getting even more car dependent in places where you could have once been fine on transit (looking at you crappy DC metro system combined with extra development in housing).
Now, many of these places aren't dense enough for rideshare, scooters, or whatever else have you to be worth a damn. Alternately, in places like Phoenix, and loose cities with little transit, plenty of people still need cars, and rideshare just craps up the roads even more.
Curious to see how this ends, because I don't think it will go well.
Exceptionally sad news for car nuts like myself. Swindon is the birthplace of the magnificent Honda 2.0 turbo powering the Civic Type R.
BTW, I love the pics that accompany the article. Starsky and Hutch's Torino, the Duke's Charger are car show staples.
Now I understand Brexit. Good job, Britain. You’ll soon look just like Detroit.
We should design residential areas, cities, shopping and communities for people first once again. Then we wouldn't need to think about a car as often.
That step of removal from being designed for humans conflicts with any idea that designing for cars is design for humans by proxy: disproportionately catering to automotive concerns has negative affects on humans relying on their infrastructure to facilitate other forms of transport, or otherwise to not excessively distort either the urban or natural environment they are members of.
Could you post a source backing your claim?