Emerging Market Megacities Together In Electric Dreams

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

In the former millennium, if you had a fantasy in overdrive and writing skills, you wrote books. These days, you join a management consulting company, and you author future scenarios. Easier and far more lucrative than coming up with “The Hunt For The Red October.“ Your client will give you the desired finale, along with a lot of money. All you need to write is a halfway logical plot that leads to the desired finale.

Everybody has decided that the future belongs to the electric car. Expensive batteries, high cost, low range, long recharge times, short battery life, these are just distractions. What we need is a halfway logical plot that leads us to the finale where the electric car gets the girl, and the ICE drives over a cliff. In comes Frost & Sullivan.

Frost & Sullivan has a unique perspective of emerging market megacities. It differs decidedly from my former millennium view. If I want to drive someone crazy, I ask “what is the world’s largest city?” They answer “New York? Tokyo?” I say: “Not even close. Chongqing. Population 32 million.” “Chong what?” Works all the time. Some people get aggressive when I insist that a city they don’t know and can’t spell is the world’s largest.

When I look out of my 40th floor window in Beijing, I see daily traffic jams in a city that grows so fast that nobody really knows how many people live here. (Latest version: 20 million, and possibly 3 million more – let’s call it 25 million). Most of the people see huge problems in these monster cities. What does Frost & Sullivan see? An ideal market for electric cars.

In their “360 Degree Perspective of the Global Electric Vehicle Market – 2010 Edition“, the huge megacities that mushroom in emerging nations are the perfect market for electric cars. Offices, apartments and shopping centers will move closer together, said Anjan Hemanth Kumar of Frost & Sullivan to Automobilwoche [sub]. An optimal breeding environment for electric cars. What about range anxiety? What about the money?

“With the lithium-ion battery an innovative financing models, the automakers are ready for a revolutionary business scenario,” promises Kumar.

So there you have it. Problem of bursting megacities solved. Market for electric cars created. Can’t think of a better win-win scenario. BMW already bought into it.

Until I take the elevator down to the basement garage of my building. 3 floors of garage. Lowest floor with heavy blast doors. My German clients who came to visit last week saw there “more S-Class cars than in our whole town.” There are the occasional Rollers, and the rest are run-of-the mill A6es. What’s missing?

Electric outlets.

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2 of 13 comments
  • Dimwit Dimwit on Sep 01, 2010

    I'm always amazed at the gullibility of people. Follow the money... where is the infrastructure coming from? In most major urban areas in NA there's a shortage of power. Utilities/gov'ts are not building gen stns fast enough for future demand. Most instead are installing "Smart meters" to social engineer, i.e. force, energy usage patterns away from daytime. Adding to the load by massively increasing the demand from new uses doesn't seem to be on anyone's radar. And if you think that everyone will only plug in their cars at off peak time, you got to be joking.

  • Greg Locock Greg Locock on Sep 01, 2010

    The Auto X Prize mainstream class has been won by an internal combustion engined vehicle. Not even a hybrid. http://gigaom.com/cleantech/edison2-last-mainstream-car-standing-in-x-prize-finals/

  • Tassos ask me if I care.
  • ToolGuy • Nice vehicle, reasonable price, good writeup. I like your ALL CAPS. 🙂"my mid-trim EX tester is saddled with dummy buttons for a function that’s not there"• If you press the Dummy button, does a narcissist show up spouting grandiose comments? Lol.
  • MaintenanceCosts These are everywhere around here. I'm not sure the extra power over a CR-V hybrid is worth the fragile interior materials and the Kia dealership experience.
  • MaintenanceCosts It's such a shame about the unusable ergonomics. I kind of like the looks of this Camaro and by all accounts it's the best-driving of the current generation of ponycars. A manual 2SS would be a really fun toy if only I could see out of it enough to drive safely.
  • ToolGuy Gut feel: It won't sell all that well as a new vehicle, but will be wildly popular in the used market 12.5 years from now.(See FJ Cruiser)