The auto industry, with the help of some national governments around the world, is rapidly plunging into a massive bet on vehicle electrification with little or no consumer demand.
Now I can understand why China has a few hundred electric vehicle manufacturers, given that the Chinese government can decide to switch to EVs overnight and put all gasoline-vehicle companies out of business in a flash. But it would appear that even China will have to worry about having fossil-fueled vehicles for commercial shipping.
Some national governments seem to be taking a more measured approach and are talking about eliminating gasoline-powered vehicles after a decade or longer—certainly enough time to see how the public reacts to EVs.
Meanwhile, many global manufacturers are rushing headlong into a new and unproven market. Only time will establish winners and losers, and let us hope that the marketplace decides, not big governments.
The stakes are very high, and if a car company makes the wrong bet, it could go out of business or shrink.
The irony is that although a shift to EVs will require a large change in business practices, automobile retailers would seem to be in a position to survive intact.
It seems that many car companies are willing to bet the farm, so to speak, with their commitment to electrification, happy to risk everything on a technology that consumers have not yet supported in large numbers. I would think that a more cautious approach would make more sense. I am surprised that more companies have not adopted a more moderate strategy.
Maybe they know something that the rest of the world doesn't.