Automakers are stuck in whirlpool of tech & regulation ‘evolution’

It would become cliched to write that electric vehicles are here to stay, for many have written about it, explored the possibilities and explained the technology on a large scale worldwide.

People have also spoken about what new car manufacturers will come up with and how important it is for them to move with times and that is all good. But nobody seems to care about the difficulties that manufacturers go through.

I am not talking about the electric vehicle (let’s just call them EVs from now on, eh?) brands that are seemingly coming up every day these days, but rather about brands that have established themselves painstakingly over the years by producing gobsmacking cars, excellent customer service, thorough after sales err…service and providing something unique for the endearing customer to behold.

Take for example Lamborghini. It is one firm that has made the best bedroom wallposter cars and is connected with the V12 engine more than any brand in the world. But stricter emission norms has made it tricky for Lambo to pull its trick in present testing times. So, the firm has decided to take the hybrid route rather than completely ditch the 12 cylinder engine, unlike some German manufacturers have done. That is because the blokes at the Italian firm value heritage over plain marketing.

Ferrari too has been in the fray and might provide a naturally aspirated V12 with a hybrid setup (in a regular product) rather than ditch it. The two brands are expected to evolve their top engines and keep them alive until there comes a day when the music stops and everything goes eerily silent. It is very difficult for manufacturers like Lamborghini and Ferrari to sustain their name in a market that now alienates cars that run on juice from dead plants and animals.

There are other manufacturers such as Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, Rolls Royce, Koenigsegg, Pagani and some more (there will not be enough space to list them all in this article) who built their business around an ‘x’ factor that earned them their name.

While carmakers do speak about adopting EV architecture as something brilliant, you can’t help but notice that they are some what uncomfortable with that. It is a bit like asking a friend who has got himself an attack dog, how things are going about. Of course he would say ‘nothing’ but with a sheepish smile that covers the bloody truth.

Mass market carmakers do not have to worry about such heritage because they cater to a different field. Now there is nothing wrong with that, but there is nothing desirable with it either. Nobody, who has made it successful in their lives, wants to buy a car that will cost around Rs 5 lakh and will give them 22 km per litre and everybody wants to become successful in life.

I feel the sheer pressure they are under because politicians, as ever, are trying to ‘mark’ their name and are coming up with new ideas every day. But the truth, that politicians will not agree and carmakers really want them to come to terms with is that nobody knows where the world is going.

Of course, fossil fuels are producing emissions that is harming the natural way of the world. But the alternative, in the form of EVs, is no better on the emissions front. Carmakers would really be pleased if those who made the laws found ways to create clean electricity instead of burning coal and more of it to sustain the onslught that the earth will face when EVs go mainstream.

Why? well, if travelling in your EV is much cheaper than taking a public transport, won’t you rather get your own vehicle? This would clog all the roads up and we know how well lawmakers are dealing that part. The solution is very simple. Let carmakers do their business. Yes, bring stricter emission norms but crucially, find sustainable mobility solutions and then force them to adopt it. Or, to be realistic, make energy generation clean.

A lie will not somehow morph itself into the truth even if it is said a million-trillion times. A lie is a lie. But things at this rate will more often than not change and manufacturers will have to find ways to take their business into the next decade and it is going to be an arduous one. Keep charging at godspeed boys.

Praveen Kumar S