Electric Cars and China

“The mechanical value of the automobile is falling, but the electric value of the car is rising.”

— Amit Gattani, Micron Technologies

Let’s take Amit’s point one step further: the trajectory of automotive development is such that the car is evolving into an oversized piece of consumer electronics. If there is a single factor that inveighs in favor of China eventually becoming the automaker to the world, this is it.

David Lloyd-Jones

The dictum that “a car should be built to the same technical standards as an airplane” originated with Nissan — but then they’re a Chinese, i.e. Mongolian, company, not Japanese. :-)

(“Nissan” is the contraction of “Nippon Sangyo,” the investment and theft arm of the Japanese Army in Manchukuo.)

One funny sidelight on this is that by becoming the world’s leaders in recycling garbage the Chinese have positioned themselves for leadership in an important area of robotics. An essential part of the recycling process is discriminating among all the sorts of crud thrown at you. China took the aftermarket brake industry away from Argentina and Mexico on a single skill, sorting out the metals that go into the cast iron melt. If you throw bearing balls into cast iron you get brake rotors that judder. The Latins made that mistake, and the thrifty Chinese didn’t, because bearings are more valuable scrap, though they pollute cast iron.

Fast forward to when Chinese labour becomes expensive enough to be worth automating, and the Chinese robots will make fine discriminations from square one.