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Electric Cars So Disruptive, Gas Cars Will Be Obsolete In 2016, Says Futurist

Many people like to think they can predict the future, but only futurists (and psychics) get paid to do it.

And futurist Lars Thomsen thinks that electric cars are such a disruptive technology that they will make gasoline cars obsolete–starting in 2016, or much earlier than most other analysts suggest.

Thomsen delivered a speech this past September, at the 25th International AVL Conference “Engine & Environment” in Graz, Austria, that’s contained in the clip above.

It’s also in German, which may make the 36-minute-long video a bit impenetrable for non-German speakers.

Tesla Road Trip from MD to CT, Feb 2013 – Tesla Model S cars at Delaware SuperCharger location

Tesla Road Trip from MD to CT, Feb 2013 – Tesla Model S cars at Delaware SuperCharger location

But Thomsen suggests that electric cars are a sufficiently disruptive technology that they will lead to quick behavior changes by consumers in the market for automobiles.

He uses the example of Nokia as a cautionary tale, noting that less than 10 years ago, that company dominated the world market for mobile phones.

In June 2007, Apple released its first-generation iPhone, a radical new entry from a company that for three decades had confined itself to personal computers and portable music devices.

The iPhone was such a radical rethinking of what a phone should be and how it should operate–essentially a small Internet-connected computer, operated via a touchscreen, that also provided voice calls–that it completely reset the market’s vision of what a “mobile phone” should be.

It was only a handful of early adopters who were initially excited about Apple’s entry into a tough, low-margin industry dependent on volume and price competition.

Little more than a year later, the first version of the Android mobile-phone operating system was released.

Five years later, most readers of this site will know the outcome: Phones running either Android or Apple iOS dominate the mobile market in the developed world, and Nokia has plummeted so far that its mobile business was recently sold to Microsoft.


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