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Technological Revolutions & EVs (Reader Comment)

nissan leaf technological revolutions

Below is part of a discussion on the Nissan Leaf and electric vehicles here on CleanTechnica. It’s got broad relevance to EVs, solar technology, wind technology, and more, and is just a great little reflection on society. So, here it is (slightly edited to be tailored to a post rather than a comment in that Nissan Leaf thread):

I’m old enough to have lived through multiple significant technological changes.

The first that I recall was from slide rules to calculators. The first calculators were very expensive and had limited functions. An experienced slide rule user could calculate faster. But calculators added more functions and prices fell. It’s been over 40 years since I saw someone use a slide rule.

Then there was the transition from typewriters, “adding machines”, and ledger books to computers. Most people resisted at first, but as computers improved and prices dropped, people rapidly switched. Seen a typewriter store lately?

And film to digital. Around 2000, we got ‘not cheap’ two-meg digital cameras. Some of us, mostly those who weren’t interested in printing large, switched, but the real movement happened a few years later when megs rose and prices dropped. Kodak just announced that they will no longer manufacture slide/transparency film.

I look at today’s EVs like those multi-hundred dollar calculators, personal computers that ran at 8 megs and cost a couple thousand dollars, and the first 6-meg digital SLRs that cost thousands of dollars.

It’s the opening round. A few people do the math and find that it’s cheaper for them to drive a limited-range Leaf. A bit later we’ll have the option of an EV with a bit more range and for a few thousand less. My guess is that, in a few years, almost everyone will find an EV/PHEV that works for them and saves them money.

Image: Nissan Leaf courtesy of shutterstock

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Written By

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.


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