This is not a normal time in the auto business.  While many are thinking that ICEs (internal combustion engines) will be with us for a long time, I believe that they are dead wrong.  Why would anyone buy anything BUT an electric vehicle when the price is competitive, performance is better, you can drive 200 miles on a charge and recharge very fast when necessary and cheaply at night?  You’ll never have to go to a gas station again.  (Neither my wife Debbie or I have been to a gas station all summer.)  We won’t be sending our dollars oversees to countries that give that money to terrorists.  We won’t be profiting oil companies who pollute our air, water, soil and politics.  Our foreign policy and military budget won’t be dictated by protecting ocean oil routes and pipelines and the countries from which they originate.

And even if a sizable number of the cars on the road are like my Volt and by then get 80 to 100 miles on electricity before using any gas, that will eliminate probably over 90% of driving using gas.  Add this to all the other innovations that are coming very fast down the “pipeline” for cars and trucks and things are about to change and fast.  By 2025 I see a future in which most new cars and light duty trucks will be using a very, very small fraction of the gas that they are burning today.  

Impossible you say?  Lighter vehicles, smaller lighter batteries that can store much more power, faster charging and other innovations we haven’t even conceived of will come faster than you can imagine.  

Even Keith Crain of the Automotive News recognizes that the automotive world is about to experience a paradigm shift.

New F-150 could be a game changer

Keith Crain is editor-in-chief of Automotive News
Automotive News
September 8, 2014
Some time ago Audi introduced an aluminum-bodied car. Because Audi didn’t plan to sell that many in the U.S. and didn’t want to force dealers to invest much money, it set up a few service centers around the country where dealers could truck customers’ cars to have body damage repaired.
More recently, Range Rover introduced its latest aluminum-bodied vehicle, and there has not been one bit of conversation about any problems for dealers in taking care of customers.
Now comes the biggest aluminum automotive production ever.
This fall, Ford will start building an F-150 pickup with an all-aluminum body. Not just the pickup bed. Not a couple of fenders or doors or a hood. Beyond a steel frame, the whole body is aluminum. It’s a massive undertaking.
Dealers across the country are investing tens of thousands of dollars each in equipment to repair aluminum bodies. I can’t imagine the number of hours going into training experienced body-repair technicians to repair, replace, straighten and repaint aluminum.
Ford executives have assured me that they’re not betting the farm. They know what they’re doing, and I have little doubt that they are ready for this massive change. The aluminum industry has been working for decades to get a volume product made of aluminum.
The F series is the best-selling vehicle in the U.S., and the F-150 is going from steel to aluminum overnight.

The performance improvement is bound to be substantial. Get rid of 700 pounds or so, and you’ll have a vehicle that will surprise just about everybody. Not only will it be able to use a smaller engine to get the same performance, but everything else — from transmission to rear end to brakes — can be downsized. The whole structure can be lighter.

Once lighter materials become the norm, it will be fascinating to see how quickly other car companies switch to using aluminum or even more lightweight steel.

A revolution is about to begin in materials for vehicles. We’re going to witness a battle involving plastics, steel, aluminum and even carbon fiber. It will spark some product differences that will be nothing short of remarkable.

Anyone who expects only subtle changes in future cars and trucks should get out of the way.

A product war is about to start, and Ford is the trigger. Let the games begin.
You can reach Keith Crain at

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