Autonomous Vehicles

One of the quiet issues that was raised during the 2016 election was that there was a goal to have long haul trucking done by autonomous vehicles within 10 years.  Many large companies, including Amazon and Google, plus members of both political parties talked about safety and reduced costs.  Long haul truckers are about 1.3 of the cost for transportation in the US – 10% of the economy. That means some big profits for someone.  Here is a link –

One of the issues is the age of long haul truckers – they are getting older which increases accident risk. There are over 1 million long haul truckers, which is one of the higher paid jobs for non-college educated people.  So that is a huge hit to working class individuals.  Waymo (a Google company) is leading the way in California after testing in Arizona. Tesla and others are trying out the market.  But in addition to the workers, there are other questions.  First how are they going to run?  They cannot fill up with fuel themselves so that suggests electric vehicles, perhaps with added solar components.  Electric vehicles makes sense as that is easier to operate – like electric trains.  Solar-electric-autonomous – that is the plan it seems.

Electric vehicles are all the rage.  GM will be completely electric by 2022 (a goal anyway).  Tesla is only electric.  Other manufacturers are racing to electric. Volkswagon has a goal to be the world leader by 2022.  Toyota has a goal to be zero emission by 2050.  Governments are feeding the demand.  California leads the way with electric vehicles in the US.  The state has a goal of 5 million by 2030. Ireland, the Netherlands, and Solvenia have 2030 deadlines to end gasoline car sales.  Norway has a 2025 deadline; Sweden 2045.   France and the UK have given automakers a 2040 deadline to end the sale of new gas-powered cars, and Germany may soon follow.  India has a 100 percent electric vehicles, as does China although neither is published. Why?  Electric vehicles will reduce the demands for gasoline, reduce particulates and reduce greenhouse gases.  Right?  Well before we get too carried away all these electric cars begs the question, like all electric vehicles, where does the power come from?

Where the power comes from and how utilities can benefit are subjects to come….


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