Thursday, August 28, 2014

Why the Car Industry Is Ripe for Disruption

“The numbers are damning. After housing, cars are the second-most-expensive goods most Americans buy. Yet most of us buy vehicles just to park them; on average, cars are moving during just 5% of their lives. When we do drive our cars, we often do so alone. Worse, most of the energy in our gas tanks is being wasted by the inefficient internal combustion engine.

“Then there are the roads, which consume vast stretches of land to accommodate very few cars. A freeway reaches capacity at around 2,000 vehicles per lane per hour, when only about 10% of its physical space is covered in cars. Add more vehicles than that and you get traffic jams, because humans aren’t very good at coordinating into fleets at close distances.

“The final cost of our cars can be calculated in lives and injuries. Automobile accidents are the No. 9 cause of death around the world. In the United States, car accidents kill about 33,000 people every year and cost society at least $300 billion a year.