#4: Happy Belated Newsletter About Electric Cars!

You lucky bastards. 

Not only are you getting a well-considered collection of timely and vital news and opinion pieces, you're getting it hours later than usual today -- and all for free. ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?

This week's collection, like last week's, has a theme, which definitely won't be the case every week, but I don't control the goddamn news cycle, I just curate this shit out of it. And so today I offer (mostly!) positive selections on the more-imminent-than-you-think rise of autonomous electric cars, and how this is very good for our survival as a species, the earth and your commute. Oh, and potentially the singularly most devastating job-destroyer we've ever experienced. Pros and cons to everything, amiright?


On to the news!

1. It's very unfortunate that none of the presidential candidates have been asked how they'll handle the fundamental re-shaping of the economy that will occur by the end of their (presumably) eight-year term. - ZackKanter.com

"Ancillary industries such as the $198 billion automobile insurance market, $98 billion automotive finance market, $100 billion parking industry, and the $300 billion automotive aftermarket will collapse as demand for their services evaporates. We will see the obsolescence of rental car companies, public transportation systems, and, good riddance, parking and speeding tickets. But we will see the transformation of far more than just consumer transportation: self-driving semis, buses, earth movers, and delivery trucks will obviate the need for professional drivers and the support industries that surround them."


2. VIDEO: If you think the 2014 oil glut was gnarly/exciting, wait until 2025. - Bloomberg

"If Tesla can build and sell 500,000 electric cars a year beginning in 2020 and the other major car makers build them too, but retain their overwhelming market share...that's a shitload of electric cars. So what if we just stop buying oil?"

+ That's my quick summary, because it's a 3 minute video and I'm not going to transcribe it for you. Jesus. But regardless -- yes, it'll take a long time to replace all of the cars we own, but what everyone's failing to account for is all of the cities and countries where car ownership is drastically lower than the US, and upcoming generations that will NEVER purchase a car.


3. Your move, Uber/Tesla/Google/Apple - WSJ

"Lyft has a prototype smartphone application that would show customers the option of being picked up by an autonomous car. It would have options to contact a GM OnStar assistant for questions or to aid the rider if some problem occurred. The app also allows the passenger to tell the car when to “go” and when he is finished with the ride and the car can leave."


4. "But it's not going to be easy", says world's richest man who's doing everything he can to solve basically all of the world problems, you're welcome. - Technology Review

"I’m in five battery companies, and five out of five are having a tough time. For instance, Don Sadoway’s company, Ambri16, is great, but they’re having a real challenge in terms of getting the seals of their sodium batteries to work, and getting the economics of their batteries so that storage people would find them attractive. I don’t regret having invested, but all the battery things I’m in are finding both the size of the market and proving the technology more difficult than they expected. They’re still in business, but it’s proving to be quite daunting. When people think about energy solutions, you can’t assume there will be a storage miracle. It’s still possible there will be, but we need to invest in lots of paths that don’t demand storage."


5. Also: we're still doing our damnedest to ruin the place. - ThinkProgress

"Environment America reports that at least 239 billion gallons of water — an average of three million gallons per well — has been used for fracking. In 2014 alone, fracking created 15 billion gallons of wastewater. This water generally cannot be reused, and is often toxic. Fracking operators reinject the water underground, where it can leach into drinking water sources. The chemicals can include formaldehyde, benzene, and hydrochloric acid."


6. Extra credit! Sometimes (fancy) pictures are worth a thousand words. Here's the year's best data visualizations.  - Gizmodo