Automaker C-Suites Are Pondering A Big Question On EVs. Choose Humanity!

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EV sales have grown strongly in recent years, and while we’ve explained that they’re still growing nicely in many places and for many companies, it’s also clear that we’re not in the period of the fastest growth for the industry. Most notably, we’ve just seen #1 BEV seller Tesla report a drop in 1st quarter sales year over year. But it’s not the only company that has struggled through a challenging time in which sales were not what they were expecting.

Many in the media have blown this issue way out of proportion, significantly amplifying the problem and also giving some automakers cover to cut EV production, plans, and sales targets. Without a doubt, there are widely varying opinions in the C-suites of auto companies about how quickly the industry will electrify, or even if it will fully electrify at all. If someone doesn’t see the benefits of electric cars as well as another person, they are going to be less bullish on EV sales growth.

Perhaps more significantly, it is difficult for a large automaker to make big changes in the products it is producing — it is difficult to lead a company through such changes and it is especially difficult financially to phase out old technology and phase in very different technology.

When all was positive about EV sales growth and TSLA booming on the stock market, it seems every automaker got a little more serious about EVs and announced bigger targets for how many EVs they’d sell in the next several years, how many EV models they’d offer, and, in some cases, when they’d get to 100% EVs. With a little tiny bit of a challenge, some of those goals have been scaled back, but I would bet money that many more of them are being reconsidered and talked about behind closed doors in automaker C-suites. Many automaker executives are considering right now whether to stick with their existing EV plans or scale back some EV targets and kill or postpone some EV projects.

I think making such a change would be quite fickle and shallow, and that’s not a good way to lead a company. For one, EV demand and EV sales growth might start booming again at any time, and just as you wouldn’t want to be left in the dust previously, you wouldn’t want to be left there in the future when most other automakers have put a lot more into this and are ready to reap those rewards. Also, just from an outside perspective, if your company is swinging back and forth on a topic, it’s hard to believe you have solid, serious plans and approaches on that topic — it’s hard to trust the company, and would seemingly lead to fewer sales.

But even all of that aside, or adding a giant cherry on top, humanity is threatened massively by global heating. There is no doubt about this. And there is no doubt that we need to electrify the auto fleet as quickly as possible in order to help stop global heating. There are matters beyond quarterly profits. Marvel movies and series are very popular these days, and they are constantly about saving the world. We have strong “save the world” genes in us, but we have to use them and let them rule our decision making when it really matters — in order to be the heroes we know we should be. Executives have to lead, and leading in the auto industry means one thing today: helping to clean up our auto emissions and cut CO2 pollution (and other pollution) as quickly as is practical (financially and otherwise) for that company.

Auto company C-suites, use your best genes and common sense: choose humanity, rather than some fear that you might try to electrify too quickly.


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Zachary Shahan

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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