The first of the three waves is something most of us have already experienced: the ability to summon a car and a driver with your phone. Millions of people around the world now use ride sharing every day. When the CEO of the world’s biggest ride sharing company behaves like a dick and takes an enforced leave of absence, it makes headline news (incidentally, now that Uber doesn’t have a CEO, COO, CTO or CFO we guess this is the closest it’s ever been to a self-driving car company?)
The second technological wave is the arrival of the electric vehicle. Tesla is now the planet’s 4th most valuable automaker and there are already more than 2 million electric vehicles on the world’s roads. While the falling costs of batteries gets most of the attention here, the truly revolutionary bit in an electric vehicle is actually the drivetrain. That’s because the drivetrain for an internal combustion engine contains about 2,000 parts while an electric one contains about 20. A system with two orders of magnitude fewer parts is way more reliable and saves a lot of money by eliminating around half the cost of traditional car maintenance. It gives electric vehicles much longer lifespans. The average combustion vehicle lasts about 250,000 km, while current estimates for today’s electric vehicles are around 800,000 km.