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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Though the title focuses on tesla, the body of this story is the best summary of climate change, electric cars (and everything), that I've read in years, or maybe ever. I'll even share with my 10-year old, since it's so approachable.

The full story is at
http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/06/how-t...ail&utm_term=0_5b568bad0b-6091d95cd0-50936841

Here's an excerpt of particular applicability to fisker:

"Why hasn’t the car technology forest moved upward over the past century?
I see two primary reasons:

1) Insanely high barriers to entry—so no leaps forward caused by hungry underdogs:

Try to think of something ickier and harder than starting a car company.

First, before you can sell one product, you’ll need to put down an absurd amount of capital to buy a factory, figure out how to design a car and all of its parts, build a prototype, use that to raise a lot more money, get a much bigger factory and hire thousands of people, and pump many millions of dollars into marketing to tell the world that your company exists. And you probably need to be incredibly rich and risk-tolerant yourself since very few people are zany enough to invest money in a startup car company.

Second, in order to be profitable, you have to sell at a high volume. Cars are too expensive to make and margins are too thin to only sell a few each year. So for this to be a good idea, you not only have to create an awesome car, but one that a ton of people will want to buy.

Third, gas cars are already well-optimized—if you want to aggressively burst through the canopy like an underdog without any brand awareness needs to, you have to create a much better type of car than what’s out there. In the case of cars, that probably means addressing the core of the car itself and the thing that’s been stressing everyone out with its billowing emissions—the engine. But since no one has really done this yet, it means you need to not only create the first successful startup car company in a long time, you need to create the first startup to ever succeed at making whatever type of car you’re creating. And since you’ll be there first to do it, you’ll have to put a huge amount of time and money into innovation research and development and bear the brunt of the invention costs for the whole industry. You’ll also have to bear the marketing costs to educate the world on why they should want this new type of car—that’s a one-time expense and once it’s done, other companies will be able to ride on the consumer demand you spent a ton of money building.

So it’s not surprising that the last successful startup car company in America was Chrysler in 1925—90 years ago. It’s basically an impossible endeavor.

And without any threat from below on the forest floor—from the wild innovation of scrappy entrepreneurs with nothing to lose—the car industry has had the luxury of calmly sunbathing in a tight canopy quilt, making only incremental advances, only when they’re needed..."
 

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Well there went several hours of my workday I'll never get back.

I agree, this is a fantastic article/novella. It manages to be both eminently readable, factual and apolitical than anything else I've read about many of the topics it touched on. I remember reading Part 1 when it came out, and now I really look forward to Part 3.

Brent
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well there went several hours of my workday I'll never get back.

I agree, this is a fantastic article/novella. It manages to be both eminently readable, factual and apolitical than anything else I've read about many of the topics it touched on. I remember reading Part 1 when it came out, and now I really look forward to Part 3.

Brent
You are right: it is a definite weekend read - I couldn't stop this morning.
 
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