Warren Buffett: All Cars Will Be Electric. In 20 Years
Hidden deep down in a story written by the Houston Chronicle about Rice Business School students visiting Warren Buffett, there is a startling prediction by the Oracle of Omaha.
Jan Goetgeluk, president of the business school’s Finance Club, asked what Buffett thought of the peak oil theory.
Reports the Houston Chronicle, to the dismay of the many oilmen amongst its readers: “Buffett told him that in 20 years, he believes all the cars on the road will be electric. He’s already invested in a Chinese company working on the technology to make it happen.”
That company of course is BYD, the Chinese automaker i n which Berkshire Hathaway owns 10 percent, so Warren might be driven by a bit of self-interest. A BYD car, the F3, has been a chart topper in China. However, it is powered by a conventional ICE.
Gurufocus.com, the website that follows Warren Buffett to a degree that borders on stalking, says Buffett’s prediction “explains another reason why Burlington Northern Santa Fe would be attractive to Buffett.” Nah, it’s not because people will take the train.
“All those electric cars will need to be recharged,” says Gurufocus, “and the electricity that will enable that will be mostly created by coal, at least for the foreseeable future. Burlington’s tracks run right through the coal-rich Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming, meaning BNSF will be hauling coal to meet the nation’s increased electrical needs.”
Still, Buffett may be engaged in a little hedging. He recently plunked down $100m on Exxon Mobile. Gurufocus has an explanation for that: “Exxon does much more than produce oil.”
I never said that our military are mercenaries; the US is contracting for over 100,000 actual, mercenary by definition, armed private contractors in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Their use has been heavily lobbied for by private contractors like Xe, its politically convenient because it keeps deaths off the news, and unfortunately it is possibly necessary because the US military is not authorized to directly pay experienced people enough to keep them. The use of private contractor mercenaries, which is spreading to domestic US security, is a huge threat to democracy. With poor white trash I was calling out the disdain that is given to other government employees. Like any generalization it is not true for every individual, and the military is a good career and educational decision for people well into the middle class. If only because there are not a lot of other job opportunities.
I see that a new thread has been opened specifically for political discussion, and I respectfully suggest that rants about white trash, military mercenaries, Iran, Iraq, and peasant slaves would be more appropriate there. Let's give the moderators a freakin' break.
As one who has been driving a fully electric Toyota RAV4 EV for 7 years, and charging it with a solar PV system, I can speak to the question of whether this technology is ready. My little SUV will out accelerate the gas version of the car and hit a top speed of 80 mph, plenty fast enough for me. The car emits zero pollution, well-to-wheels and is as quiet as a bicycle. I've got 76,000 miles on the car, all of them driven on kWh generated by the sunlight falling on my roof. I haven't been to a gas station in 7 years and my electric bill is a measly $100 per year, for both the house and car! I mostly charge at home while I'm sleeping, but there are lots of public chargers around the LA area that I can use for free. For instance, when I'm shopping at the grocery store, getting a haircut or going out for dinner and a movie, my car is charging for free courtesy of the grocery store or the city of Santa Monica. New charging infrastructure is being deployed up and down the west coast next year in the tens of thousands to get ready for the thousands of new EVs that will be coming to market. This technology is indeed ready for prime time. While the last round of EVs were the victim of an attempted murder (see "Who Killed the Electric Car?"), a few hundred survived the crushers and are still running perfectly well 7-10 years later. LiIon batteries are significantly better than the NiMH batteries in my RAV. Those of us in the EV movement are eagerly awaiting the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt, both of which will be in showrooms next fall. If you don't like giving your money to the oil companies, or to the terrorists, an EV will allow you to keep all of your money domestic. If you don't want to pollute your kid's air, then an EV is the vehicle for you.