As the US withdraws from the Climate Change Paris Agreement, the world enters a new era of uncertainty about a better future for all. The worst predictions about Donald Trump’s presidency and new policies seem to become realities and therefore rough times are ahead of us, maybe for the next four years, perhaps eight, until he is either removed or finishes his mandate or mandates. He might be the dimmest President the US has ever had. The US is missing the target on Climate Change. Nonetheless, this is not a crisis, it’s just a setback and it can be fixed. Information has become essential for citizens. I’m trying to contribute here with these lines to spread light.
VEHICLES OF THE FUTURE: SERVICE ORIENTED, INTELLIGENT AND SUSTAINABLE CARS. FROM THE FUTURE THAT NEVER WAS TO OUR CURRENT SITUATION
When “Back to the Future” was released in 1985 one of the most famous quotes by Doc Emmet Brown at the end of the first film and at the beginning of the second one of the trilogy was: “Roads? Where we’re going, we don’t need roads”. The car used in the film, a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12, was turned into a time machine that could actually fly, as Michael J. Fox characterized as Marty McFly pointed out. On the other hand, the vehicle, the time machine who came back from the future (October, 21, 2015), was electrical and powered by a nuclear reactor via plutonium to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity needed. A lightning bolt was used to power the flux capacitor in the first movie. Nowadays, this still sounds like science fiction, though.
October 21, 2015 is the day. Unfortunately, the countdown from back to the future is here and, unless a miracle happens 30 years from that first Doc Emmet Brown’s journey, roads are still in use and cars cannot fly. Nonetheless, some steps forward have been taken and improvements have been produced. Plug-in hybrid vehicles and electric cars, as well as hydrogen cars have become a reality.
World vehicle fleet is estimated to have currently 1.1 billion running units and by 2050 it will reach 1.5 billion. World vehicle production in 2014 was 89.734.228 and nearly 80% of it came mostly from 10 countries, was the ninth amid them.
I suggest that, based upon my own calculations taken from countries’ economic situation and consumers’ taxes, by the end of this year the number of cars produced could reach 90 million units. Meaning a 0.5% higher rate. If production levels are kept in Spain and not taking Volkswagen crisis into consideration, in the short run, the country could rise up to the eighth position overtaking Brazil’s. Out of the 2.7 million units that Spain could produce, 83% would be export based. This due to high demand from Turkey, Poland, Switzerland, South Korea and Japan.
Sustainable vehicles: plug-in hybrid cars, electric cars and hydrogen cars will become part of energy technology
Greenhouse gas emission (CO2) reduction is today among world sustainable development goals (SDG), supported by the United Nations SDG 2030 Agenda. If we also take into consideration global population growth, it seems logic to preview that clean technologies applied to mobility will become a very important resource.
Current trends are promoting hybrid cars and technology vehicles powered by gas (Liquid Gas Petroleum (LGP), Natural Gas Liquid (NGL) and Natural Gas Compressor (NGC)), though. Notwithstanding, by 2020 market will be overtaken by plug in hybrid vehicles, electric cars and and units run on hydrogen battery.
Please, to enlarge image clic on it
As the International Energy Agency suggests, by the end of 2014 there were 665.000 plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles around the world. Currently, this number has outreached one million vehicles.
The United States (275,100 vehicles), Japan (180,248 vehicles) and China (83,198 cars) have become the countries with the highest number of electric vehicles. In Europe, the most important are the Netherlands (43,762) and Norway (40,887). Spain is far behind with 6.780 units.
The global fleet powered by Natural Gas is estimated to be around 18 million units, 44,590 of them located in Spain.
Currently there are 2.800 orders for hydrogen cars in the world. It is estimated that by 2020 this figure will be the exact amount of units running in Spain, although there are not any.
Intelligent vehicles: wired and driverless
Vehicles of the future will become part of a digital infrastructure ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems), in which through ICT (Information Communications Technology) use, all will be wired. Such a significant evolution shall have a positive impact on traffic, making it more efficient, cheaper and will increase security levels.
From this process an important asset will arise: driverless cars, through a testing period at the moment. Google has already launched a prototype, proving that this sort of technology can become a reality in no time.
On the other hand, this evolution will extend new behaviors such as car sharing, following the path set by collaborative economy, cutting down traffic in the streets, reducing the number of accidents by human factor and, above all, saving money.
Driverless vehicles will allow us to manage time in a different way, transforming endless hours on the steering wheel into more profitable hours. In a world where time and its use becomes more expensive, technology will focus on providing services to benefit from this extra time.
And remember that by October 21, 2015, as Doc Emmet Brown pointed out 30 years ago in Back to the Future, we should have been using flying cars because where we were going roads were not needed. Who knows? Maybe he was right and perhaps the year 2015 was just too early.
Geographic areas and their competitive core: USA-Canada and LAC
USA and Canada
The United States has a population of 321 million people and it is estimated that by 2050 it will reach 389 million people. Canada will increase its population from 36 million people in 2015 to 44 million by 2050.
The key point in the USA will be to maintain its determination for renewable energies, technological development and environment.
Context is quite optimal due to three main grounds:
A legal framework is being consolidated.
There’s investment potential and capability.
The USA owns most of the technological knowledge needed
USA’s competitive core for the 10 coming years are wind energy development, solar industry, environment parameters improvements for waste treatment and consolidating the technology for the electric car.
The Canadian pattern, which was based upon natural resources (oil) and service sector is being contracted since the beginning of the crisis.
One of its most relevant strengths has to do with diversification within the telecommunications and biotechnology (biomedicine) fields, areas where time, resources and knowledge were invested.
As in other areas, the future should have on account a strong interest on technology and knowledge, implementation of efficiency energy models and infrastructure development incorporating a high technological investment.
Latin America + Caribbean (LAC)
Latin America has a population of 634 million inhabitants. By 2050, it could reach 784 million, 150 million people in 35 years.
Among these countries, the population of three of them will decrease their population (Cuba, Puerto Rico and Jamaica). Nonetheless, by 2050 two LAC countries will be among the world most populated (Mexico with 163 million and Brazil with 238 million). Both represent 51% of the area population.
This significant population rise will need better basic water and electricity supply, as well as water treatment, nowadays only covered in a 20%.
Latin America’s production model is based in a large scale in its commodities, provoking an extremely fragile situation, even worst among Mercosur countries than within the Pacific Alliance area.
This scenario, hold for over a decade, stuck all this countries in a comfort zone that did not allow them to push upward a new model based on its strengths and opportunities.
The region after a weakness and strength analysis (natural resources, public policies, government strategies, among others) offers a series of opportunities to encounter its intra-area empowerment main challenges.
Fields of activity that could be used for a new production model:
Assuring water supply and treatment along with solid waste treatment could be one important issue as well as developing more opportunities within renewable energies and bio-energy fields, such as bio-mass and ethanol which have a higher potential.
These activities not only generate value by themselves, but also their generation chain, like their maintenance and operations processes.
Within this production model there are countries who have taken steps forward (Chile, Peru, Uruguay, Mexico and Brazil), but they should empower this way with regulatory frameworks.
Among the isles, on their side, remarkable opportunities are given, specifically in relation with their environmental and energy needs, such as clean and renewable energies, as well as solid waste new management systems, looking towards values as Waste to Energy.
Like this, taking resilient steps against the unexpected climatic and nature odds on infrastructures and building turn absolutely vital.
Another line that could be supported within this field would be giving added value to commodities through innovation. In this way, they could hold on with clear competitive advantages in international markets.
All data about population was extracted from UNPD.