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Frank Hovis

Far fewer cars in the future

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Here's a testable prediction.

I think that there will be noticeably fewer cars in ten years' time and substantially less in twenty years'.

For the simple reason that anybody on benefits (except Motability) or on low wages will be unable to afford them.

Reasons for this:

The march of inflation with wages not keeping pace.

My other prediction that Saudi oil will start spluttering in ten years causing sharp increases in energy and particularly fuel prices; so exaggerating the effect of the aforementioned inflation

The increased regulation / move to EVs and hybrids ramping up the initial purchase price and so upping second hand prices

The increased complexity of cars (aforesaid hybrids) making them expensive to fix and maintain (the equivalent of an alternator on a Prius will cost £3k not £300 to replace)

The cost of replacing batteries in EVs ?£6k

The difficulty that people in cheap housing will have in charging EVs.

 

There are probably more but those are my main points.  At present there are plenty of cheap second hand conventional cars available hence my ten year starter prediction.

We already have had a big unreported change the last time petrol went to 140p ?2009.

Prior to that people who were skint tended to buy big cars because a ten year old Mondeo was cheaper than a ten year old Fiesta and that outweighed the extra fuel consumption for the two or three years it would last.

At 140p that equation no longer worked and the cars were scrapped; now all the old cheap cars I see on the roads are Focus / Fiesta sized.

 

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I would welcome it too, and agree with the prediction.

Its easy to find studies which conclude that 95% of cars spend 95% of their time parked up (certainly true in the case of my car, more like 99% of its time).

If theres a credible move towards car sharing, which already has a good foothold in many European cities, Uber uptake, etc, I agree that we could see car ownership fall quite dramatically. One of the studies I have read (unfortunately cant find it right now), makes the point that societies are going to have to seriously consider what to do with all the empty space which will be liberated in our streets when most of the cars have gone!

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3 minutes ago, Mirror Mirror said:

 

If theres a credible move towards car sharing, which already has a good foothold in many European cities, Uber uptake, etc, I agree that we could see car ownership fall quite dramatically. One of the studies I have read (unfortunately cant find it right now), makes the point that societies are going to have to seriously consider what to do with all the empty space which will be liberated in our streets when most of the cars have gone!

It makes economic sense I know but I still think taking a taxi is an extravagance.

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19 minutes ago, spygirl said:

I dont think cars are getting more complex.

Less hittable by hammer fixable.

Come EV and its simple battery -> motor, no transmission.

I was thinking hybrids for the complexity point; which for anyone unable to charge at home is going to be the only non-conventional engine option 

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With universal income we won't need to commute to work. Groceries will be delivered and entertainment piped directly to our homes. Virtual reality will be far some stimulating that any costly real world experience. AI will take care of any medical problems and drugs will be dispensed with the groceries. Everywhere will be like everywhere else so why bother to go away from home? Who wants to partake in community activities when there is no community anymore?

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I more-or-less agree, but with different specifics.

I think there'll be far fewer cars on the road, but not fewer cars.  I think they'll change to a pay-per-mile model (they have to do this to maintain income currently coming from fuel duty) -- at first people will just moan, but then you'll see changing behaviours.  Then, because there'll be fewer cars actually on the road, they'll increase the per-mile to compensate.  Which will result in fewer cars on the road, and so on.

[Government is very good at this -- seeing only first-order effects.  Not enough money coming in?  Increase taxes.  There is scant thought to the second order effects (people change behaviour]

Anyway, my actual prediction will be that -- if you want to invest in property, buy something spitting distance to a busy motorway.  It'll currently be priced low because of noise/pollution and that sort of thing will be hit by a (the coming) property crash, as any actual negative to do with a property will just result in the average purchaser dismissing the option.  But by 10 years and certainly 20 there'll be fewer cars on the road and lower pollution.

[I'd note that most noise nuisance from roads, at least so long as you're not actually on-top of the thing) is tyre and wind noise, not the engines.  However, the noise is proportional to numbers, so even if the noise per vehicle remains, the overall noise levels will reduce significantly]

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I will chip in and say that people will buy and drive smaller cheaper cars rather than the impractical tanks the unthinking masses have aspired to as a result of cheap credit.

People have X amount per month to spend on 4 wheels and all cheap credit plus a PPI payout did was enable idiots to by SUVs/AUDI/Mercs.

The people who had a large car just because they needed one a couple of time a year will stop buying one and share/rent one instead when required and will switch to a small vehicle for everyday use.

Chinese/Indian manufactured vehicles will gain a rapidly increasing share of this market, the number of EU manufactured vehicles will tank.

Edited by Chewing Grass

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I've just come from Geneva airport in a battery bus that fast charges at every stop. The tech is coming along now. There will indeed be less cars but not less car journeys imo. So people will call a self driven car and one will come and get them and take them to their destination, there will be less cars "owned" by individuals.

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8 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

I was thinking hybrids for the complexity point; which for anyone unable to charge at home is going to be the only non-conventional engine option 

Im not a car person but id guess a engine charging a battery is more reliable than one connected to a transmission.

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I for one look forward to throwing self-driving cars into the canal like mo-bikes.

Wouldn't want to use one in a big city as they will be like shit and piss tips inside, the equivalent of riding round in a public toilet.

At least Taxi drivers have skin in the game.

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7 minutes ago, Chewing Grass said:

I will chip in and say that people will buy and drive smaller cheaper cars rather than the impractical tanks the unthinking masses have aspired to as a result of cheap credit.

People have X amount per month to spend on 4 wheels and all cheap credit plus a PPI payout did was enable idiots to by SUVs/AUDI/Mercs.

The people who had a large car just because they needed one a couple of time a year will stop buying one and share/rent one instead when required and will switch to a small vehicle for everyday use.

Chinese/Indian manufactured vehicles will gain a rapidly increasing share of this market, the number of EU manufactured vehicles will tank.

Yes. But not China or india - see nano thread.

Neither country shiws any aptitude fir getting quality and production done.

A bit of braibstorming, simplifucation of models and Honda and Toyota will dominate.

Germans too tied to ICE and big cars.

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11 minutes ago, sleepwello'nights said:

It makes economic sense I know but I still think taking a taxi is an extravagance.

Taxis can be cost effective. I briefly drove a taxi in Preston, late 80s. Not a taxi conscious town at the time. 4 lads would get the bus into town without ever thinking of getting a taxi. 'I'm no rock star, I can't afford taxis. Couldn't explain to them that 4 bus fares came to more than the price of the taxi. Oh well. 

With EVs, the councils could ban private traffic in the town/city centers and have a fleet of taxis. Park up on the outskirts and get an EV taxi. Said taxis would only travel within the zero private driving zone.

With subsidised taxis, the drivers settle can be low enough for them to make a living from a very low fare structure. 

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15 minutes ago, Chewing Grass said:

I for one look forward to throwing self-driving cars into the canal like mo-bikes.

Wouldn't want to use one in a big city as they will be like shit and piss tips inside, the equivalent of riding round in a public toilet.

At least Taxi drivers have skin in the game.

Nah you’ll need memberships and ID to enter the cars, and they’ll be full of cameras. Those who abuse them will be excluded. So if you want to relive your youth and shag in the back seat, you’ll probably have to buy your own.

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The evidence from Asia is the opposite of what Frank’s expectation is. Due to huge taxes on purchase prices, cars are massively expensive in Asia. My Discovery 4 would still be $100,000 second hand. A new 5 (ugly, not getting one) is $178,000.

A 2005 Camry is $14,000. Let that sink in.

Despite this, car use, car ownership and road congestion are at insane, record levels. Bangkok’s traffic is back to the legendary jams of pre-Skytrain 1990’s.

Price does not seem to be restricting demand.

 

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15 minutes ago, jm51 said:

Taxis can be cost effective. I briefly drove a taxi in Preston, late 80s. Not a taxi conscious town at the time. 4 lads would get the bus into town without ever thinking of getting a taxi. 'I'm no rock star, I can't afford taxis. Couldn't explain to them that 4 bus fares came to more than the price of the taxi. Oh well. 

With EVs, the councils could ban private traffic in the town/city centers and have a fleet of taxis. Park up on the outskirts and get an EV taxi. Said taxis would only travel within the zero private driving zone.

With subsidised taxis, the drivers settle can be low enough for them to make a living from a very low fare structure. 

The problem with subsidised anything is that it is never applied to the working man or woman. 

Give tax breaks to companies that allow staff to work from home using skype or what ever.  Transport problems would disappear over night.

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34 minutes ago, Mirror Mirror said:

I would welcome it too, and agree with the prediction.

Its easy to find studies which conclude that 95% of cars spend 95% of their time parked up (certainly true in the case of my car, more like 99% of its time).

If theres a credible move towards car sharing, which already has a good foothold in many European cities, Uber uptake, etc, I agree that we could see car ownership fall quite dramatically. One of the studies I have read (unfortunately cant find it right now), makes the point that societies are going to have to seriously consider what to do with all the empty space which will be liberated in our streets when most of the cars have gone!

Well, harking back to the 1940s which I remember well, it will be the children that claim the roads for playing, just like we used to.

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I think that ICE car use will decline and electric cars will never be cheap enough in the near-term to overcome both the rising cost of fossil fuels and the pollution taxes that will reduce iCE car affordability.  So, car use in general will decline.

Private transport has been incredibly cheap for the last 20 years, they will be see as the halcyon years for private transport, the years when cars became reliable and long-lived as rust was sorted, and fuel was inexpensive - with the caveat if you 'did it right', and bought sensible, secondhand, fuel efficient cars.

Private Transport cars, and public transport planes,  are going to become restricted to the wealthy.

The world will get much smaller for many people, even for those on middle incomes.

The divide in society will get far greater in terms of your access to the world beyond your local estate boundary.

The reduction in transport will suit the wealthy because they will have the world much more to themselves. As it should be.

 

8 minutes ago, Bkkandrew said:

The evidence from Asia is the opposite of what Frank’s expectation is. Due to huge taxes on purchase prices, cars are massively expensive in Asia. My Discovery 4 would still be $100,000 second hand. A new 5 (ugly, not getting one) is $178,000.

A 2005 Camry is $14,000. Let that sink in.

Despite this, car use, car ownership and road congestion are at insane, record levels. Bangkok’s traffic is back to the legendary jams of pre-Skytrain 1990’s.

Price does not seem to be restricting demand.

 

Interesting, perhaps that blows my rationale out of the water,

Or perhaps it is only if you are prepared to spend all your income on local private transport ?

Edited by Hopeful

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1 hour ago, Bkkandrew said:

The evidence from Asia is the opposite of what Frank’s expectation is. Due to huge taxes on purchase prices, cars are massively expensive in Asia. My Discovery 4 would still be $100,000 second hand. A new 5 (ugly, not getting one) is $178,000.

A 2005 Camry is $14,000. Let that sink in.

Despite this, car use, car ownership and road congestion are at insane, record levels. Bangkok’s traffic is back to the legendary jams of pre-Skytrain 1990’s.

Price does not seem to be restricting demand.

 

Is that though an expanding middle class buying them?

Here we are already in the position where most people who want a car have a car.

I'm saying that the people currently struggling to buy and run a car (zero hours contract, minimum wage, benefits) are going to be steadily squeezed out of it and that this will keep going.

Which I think is different to your example.

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11 minutes ago, Frank Hovis said:

Is that though an expanding middle class buying them?

Here we are already in the position where most people who want a car have a car.

I'm saying that the people currently struggling to buy and run a car (zero hours contract, minimum wage, benefits) are going to be steadily squeezed out of it and that this will keep going.

Which I think is different to your example.

Eventually, there will be two classes in a future UK

The privileged class and the other class

The former will have access to space, private local transport, global transport, unprocessed food, etc

Milliband's squeezed middle is a misnomer as a squeeze suggests pressure from both sides, instead the middle is getting pushed downwards, deliberately.

Edited by Hopeful

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3 minutes ago, Hopeful said:

Eventually, there will be two classes in a future UK

The privileged class and the other class

The former will have access to space, private local transport, global transport, unprocessed food, etc

Milliband's squeezed middle is a misnomer as a squeeze suggests pressure from both sides, instead the middle is getting pushed downwards, deliberately.

Which class will have to live underground to protect itself from the other?

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