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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

SIAM: Reinventing Mobility: Vision 2020

There is a lot of discussion about fuel price hikes..
Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) had their 51st annual convention on Sept 7,2011. 
"Reinventing Mobility: Vision 2020"

In the end of 19th century electric cars outsold all other types of cars
- Electric cars had less vibrations, no foul smell, roads were limited and electric car range of 18 miles was sufficient.
- Gasoline/Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) cars had manual cranking to startup, vibration, noise and foul smell.

By mid 1920 better road network and limited range of electric cars was a big negative. Gasoline cars with electric starter and a longer range due to high energy density stole the show..  cheap cheap oil made gasoline cars affordable. Thus high energy density, cheap availability of fuel  and better road networks...were prime reasons for the death of electric cars.

Cutting the discussion short lets look at the summary of Vision 2020 (according to me):

- Automobile industry needs to reduce oil dependency and pollution to ensure sustainable growth in the future.
- To meet the challenges transition to electrified powertrain will completely change the Value equation.
- China adopted industrial policy to accelerate Electric Vehicle (EV) technology to leapfrog US/EU/Japanese auto industry - goal was to become dominant auto exporter of EV technology. 
- China strategy is failing due to high cost, low quality and consumer resistance for EV.
(this shows that EV and Plugin Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) adoption will be slow in China, US, EU and elsewhere.) << == Very Important observation.
- Necessary to restrain demand, but by providing good mobility and accessibility.. enhance public transportation specially for middle class .. charge full cost of vehicle use ..considering pollution, energy security, Green house gases.. through fuel, vehicle and usage taxes.
- Consider "Climate Policy" in Context - Strategies to reduce Green house Gases are the same strategies to reduce .. oil imports.. air pollution .. road infrastructure cost.. improve urban livability.. 

Actually there are 3 presentations which are trying to address the future.
1 - The most presentable one is by Booz & Company (link
2 - Institute of Automotive Research at the University of Applied Sciences Nuertingen (Germany) (link)
3 - The Best presentation ..as far as addressing the real problem is  UC Davis (University of California Davis) (link)

Looking at the presentation of the 3 Keynote speakers .. we can see the real problem..  

Speaker1 and 2 are looking at the peak oil problem from an automotive standpoint and giving an automotive solution .. Electric Vehicle (EV) 

Speaker 3 Prof Daniel Sperling is looking at the problem holistically and saying.. 
- Reduce the adoption of person use vehicles.
- Encourage public transport
- Encourage city development to reduce requirement of long distance commute for work/play.

Conclusion: The most effective way to deal with "peak oil" crisis is to discuss it openly and make changes at the country, state, city, community and personal level and take a holistic view of the problem.  1/2 the oil used in the world is for transportation!!

Most likely solution adopted by Indian political system will be:
- Stop building/repairing highways motorways for vehicles. (make the journey .. a torture)
- Increase fuel prices (pinch where it hurts the most .. in the pocket)
- Create Metro rail and public/bus transport network. (will take its own sweet time..)
- Pray ..Middle class public will get frustrated by the long commute with bursting bladders and get the message (wink wink..) use public transport!! (Gotcha!!) 

Unfortunately freedom to choose and freedom to travel with personal space (provided by a car) .. will delay the mass movement of the working middle class to public transport .. till the very end...

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