CommentaryOct 25th, 2018

The Future of the Automotive Industry Is Electric


For the past 30 years I have owned an advertising agency that specialized in television advertising for mostly auto dealers. For the past 15 years, I have also owned the magazine you are reading now. In that time, like you, I’ve seen the automotive industry change and develop. As I approach retirement, I want to suggest to auto dealers that “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

I believe our industry will thrive and prosper, but unlike many of my colleagues in the automotive press, I think it will be down a very different road than we are on now. I have been driving a Tesla S electric car for the past two years. My daughter works as a salesperson at a Tesla dealership, and, as dads often do, I bought what my daughter was selling. If you haven’t driven a Tesla, you need to. Despite all the recent Elon Musk brouhaha, the vehicle is a wonder. It’s luxurious, with great lines and a cool interior — and the giant screen in the dash is amazing. No gas, no oil, no maintenance at all except tires and window washer fluid. But nothing prepares you for the silent acceleration that is instantaneous, smooth, and powerful. If you haven’t seen the old video of a Tesla S 100D taking on — and beating — all of the top sports cars from a year ago, watch it here on Motor Trend's YouTube channel.

Anyway, this isn’t an advertisement for Tesla. My point is that the future is electric cars. As much as we love our gas cars, killer cars of the future will be electric. In a recent podcast, McKinsey & Company’s Simon London and his guests, Asutosh Padhi and Andreas Tschiesner, both senior McKinsey partners, talked about ACES, which is an acronym for “autonomous, connectivity, electrification, and ridesharing.” These are the four factors they say will drive disruption in the automotive industry. Further, they say we will see more disruption or change in the auto industry in the next 10 years than we have seen in the past 50 years. In short, more cars will be autonomous, they will be connected to the internet and each other, they will be electric, and we will see more things like Uber, Lyft, and short-term car rental/borrowing.

Although our generation of drivers love to drive, future generations will prefer to do something else while the car drives itself. My generation loves the throaty roar of a powerful engine, but I have to tell you that when you are entering the freeway next to a roaring sports car and your electric car silently leaves the gas car in the dust, it is a really great feeling.

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