Who's Right? Elon Musk or Ian Wright...

Updated from original piece published on LinkedIn : February 3rd 2015  

 

'USA Today' recently interviewed Wrightspeed CEO & Tesla Co-Founder Ian Wright.

 

He had this to say in regard to the electric vehicle proposition - and I strongly agree...

 

"What Tesla has achieved in terms of changing people's perceptions about electric cars, from golf carts to vehicles that compete with Mercedes and Porsche, is beyond my wildest dreams. That said, we're going after high polluters, and in that sense our economic proposition could allow us to scale bigger than Tesla"

 

It makes the most economic sense to focus energies on a sector where you can displace the most fuel, especially true now that gas has plummeted to under $50 a barrel, says Wright.

When you switch a garbage truck to electric power, you're saving about $50,000 in fuel and $30,000 in maintenance a year."

 

Richard Branson recently highlighted some progress in this sector - prefacing the blog with this...

 

"The trucking industry is fundamental to the economy, delivering the goods we depend on to live our daily lives - from food to clothes to fuel for our own transportation. Given its prominence in our economy, trucking faces steep costs: In North America alone, tractor-trailer fleets spend $105 billion per year on fuel. These costs come with amazing savings potential: the industry can save $40 billion per year by improving fuel efficiency"

 

Industry research increasingly backs up his contention - for example Navigant Research are saying:-

 

"Worldwide sales of electric drive and electric-assisted commercial vehicles are expected to grow from less than 16,000 in 2014 to nearly 160,000 in 2023"...

 

I think they are under-calling that by some margin.

 

I've documented in previous LinkedIn articles where the UK start-up Modec was with all this back in 2007. Whilst we met an untimely demise - it was not before learning on the job with the likes of FedEx and UPS that urban operating defined mileage back to base electric vehicles were a strong proposition.

The relative struggle the passenger car continues to have with range and charging compatability was never there with Modec fleets running in London and a few other places. Vehicles often returned on an SOC anywhere between 20% and 50% - and were easily plugged in overnight ready for the next day.

 

So as Mr Wright and other players in the electric commercial vehicle world come to market - I'm sure they will receive a warm welcome.

 

Fleet operators have a twin imperative - reduce fuel costs and reduce (or even eradicate by 100%) tailpipe emissions.

 

City authorities are increasingly cracking down on polluting vehicles - the need for clean urban air is perhaps trumping everything else.

 

I was tempted to make my headline PV-EV-CV but I felt I was getting carried away. Now I come to think of it...

 

Oh! if only Modec were still in production...

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