Treasure Event Transcript - 25/01/23

Welcome, everyone. We’re recording this session on Can We Have a Sustainable Future with Cars? It’s for research purposes. Just so everyone is aware, this is an event that is part of Treasure, which is a research project where Edgeryders is creating a community driven model of addressing societal aspects related to circular design practices. And today we are joined by Paul Nieuwhuis. He is a self styled automotive philosopher and came to this after his retirement from the automotive industry. As an academic working for the Center of Automotive Industry Research as part of business school in Wales, UK. So I’m just going to leave it at that. Just a quick explanation on the structure. We’re going to have four different parts. So Paul will present and talk about his research and his thoughts regarding sustainability and the automotive industry. And after each part, there will be room for questions. You can put your questions already in the chat beforehand, but it’s also possible to ask the questions in person once the parts are over. And I’ll give you the room and a space to ask questions or start a conversation or put in a discussion points. But Paul, the floor is yours. We’re very interested in hearing more about your your research or backgrounds and your thoughts.

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Right. Good. So I call it the car industrial complex, how it works and why. But a bit about me. I think Inga has said a few things, but for the last 35 years or so, I’ve been trying to reconcile being both a petrolhead and a tree hugger, as they call it here. So I love cars, but I also like to think of myself as a bit of an environmentalist. I now call myself an independent automotive philosopher. There are not many people who think about the industry, and the industry is full of doers rather than thinkers. So that’s important. But I used to be a singer pointed out. I used to be a senior lecturer in logistics and operations management at Cardiff University here in Wales, specifically at Cardiff Business School, and I was co director for the Center for Automotive Industry Research, but also at the Electric Vehicle Centre of Excellence. I was also an associate of the Sustainable Places Research Centre Research Institute here in Cardiff and the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, which you may have come across. So here is me next to a Formula One car, right? Cars and our environment. Now, for many of our mentors, and this is how I started off as well, it’s very tempting to assume cars can be invented. I say, Why don’t we get rid of all cars and everybody cycles and things like that? But that’s really unrealistic that I call it a quixotic quest.

It’s not going to happen. So what can we do instead? So I spent with a number of colleagues many years starting to see how we can accommodate both the car system and the needs for for environmental optimization. One of the things we can obviously consider is making fewer cars and also making different sorts of cars. So here’s the structure I’ve got. I’ve sort of bounced off here. First, something about the car industry, how it works, then about its environmental impact. Then how people relate to cars, and then finally a section about the future, how it’s likely to pan out. So first, the car industry, how it works and why. Now, mass production was. Not inevitable. History could have taken us in various different directions. Mass production, of course, had precedent in other sectors like guns and meat processing and things like that. And applying it to cars was actually quite tricky. And it was done in the US because they perceived a potential massive increase in demand for cars and this is usually credited to Henry Ford. Now here the picture here is a Ford Model T coming off the production line at Highland Park. And this is essentially it coming off the Ford production line. This is what Ford made. And this is an important point. Ford did not make bodies at Highland Park, but a model T was made bodies were outsourced to around 50 different coach builders because they couldn’t work out how to mass produce car bodies.

So all those 15 million Model T’s used a separate chassis and then an outsourced body, which was often made of wood. I mean, the picture that the entire picture there shows a wooden structure with plywood panels on the outside. And that’s how a lot of early bodies were made. That particular body is from an early model, a Ford to earlier, and then the black and white picture in the corner that shows a Model T being fitted with a body that came from an outside contractor. So and that is how they were then delivered. Now, many of the activities Ford adapted to mass production, which is the making of mechanical components, is now carried out by suppliers. So we’ve done a lot of historical research into the history of mass production just to see why do we produce so many cars, Why do we have this overproduction problem just to see if there was a way in which we could realistically reduce production and yet still have a viable automotive business. So we came across this guy called Edward Budd. Edward Budd was also an American born in Delaware, and he actually invented with his colleague Joe Ledvinka, the old steel welded body. And this was quite a novel technology.

And this, for the first time, allowed the mass production of car bodies as well as all the other components. This then eventually led to the development of the steel unibody or Monocoque, as we call it, in Europe, which is essentially a well, that’s steel box that creates that carries the whole structure of the car so you can get rid of the separate chassis. You just have that box. And it is really this technology that determines the economics of modern car making. So when you go around a modern car factory, that is most of what you see. And he the picture here, the small picture is Edward Budd. The bigger picture is a 1930s, all steel welded body. And you see all those different elements in there are separate pressings that are welded together to create that box. 1930s structures were more complex than many modern ones, in fact. So that’s quite pleased with that picture. So as I said. Board and especially bird technology, create the economies of scale in car manufacturing. And here we have a typical capital investment in a modern, so called assembly plant, which is a car factory. So you can see that the investment on the whole, the investment in making that steel body and then painting it are far bigger than the investment in traditional Ford technologies. The picture at the top there of the Schuler Kramer Transfer Press.

That is how a lot of these panels are pressed in a modern factory. So in the. The table here. I’ve budgeted for two of those which you would get in a big factory if you if you want to make 2 to 300000 cars a year. That’s what what you have now that press, you can see the green thing on the left. That’s where the flat bits of steel go into planks. So they’re already cut into shape, but they’re flat. They go in there. Then what’s sitting by the side? There are die sets and I’ve got the second entry in the table. There has a budget for the die sets. The die sets are a male and a female, as they call it. You squeeze the sheet metal between it to create a shape. And typically in this particular setup, there are seven sets, so each panel goes through seven operations to then create a front wing or a door panel or a bonnet or a bootlid or something like that. It’s usually between five or seven of these tools. So the reason why it is arranged there of €4,230 million for the die set, it depends on how complex your model range is. So for your €40 million you have one model in the model range for €130 million. You also have you pay your estate and things like that.

Then the body and white is where all these panels are welded together. So that’s largely robots and jigs that fix them in place. And then the robots and then the paint plant is the most expensive thing because steel rusts and people like that, cars in different colors and things like that. So that is your investment in a typical assembly plant. Then the picture at the bottom, that’s final assembly. And as you can see, you see more people there at the top. There’s only one little guy next to the machine. I don’t know if you spot him, but he is lots of people on the assembly line because the assembly process is very people intensive. There’s a few tools to help you like. You could see the orange thing at the moment, at the bottom that lifts up the power train, the engine and transmission into the body that’s hanging above it, held above it, but it’s mostly people who are there. So that’s why it is lower capital investment. So these technologies determine economies of scale and mass production. And this is crucially important. It means that your break even point in a typical car factory, I say here between 120000 to 200000 per year. At 120,000, you’re making luxury cars. Now, Saab, for example, who you may remember, their production was usually between 90,000 and 120,000 per year. So they very rarely reached break even point.

And this is one of the reasons why they failed in the end. So you really need to make those very high volumes. I mean, Nissan here in the UK, which is generally considered the most efficient car factory in Europe, has between 300 and 400,000 annual capacity. It depends a bit on which model they make. So that’s that’s an efficient size. Once you go below those figures, you start losing money. Now, by contrast, I mean, I’ve got the picture there of a morgan I don’t know if everybody’s heard of the Morgan Car Company here in Britain. They are traditional coach built car. So they’re made in the way. Cars were built before Ford and board came in there. Break even. Point is, at about 500 cars a year. That is how big the difference is. So we were really looking for many years. Is there a sort of in between level at which you can operate? And the industry has also been looking to fill that gap and has had limited success there. So that forces you into these very high levels of production. Now, once you produce it in those numbers, you need to sell them, of course. And some people worked out and in fact, by 1929 the US market had reached saturation point and any additional sales after that were purely due to marketing, which is an interesting thought.

So if demand doesn’t exist, it needs to be created. Static demand is very problematic for the industry and growth is thus essential. So the car industry is a key part of that. That dreaded growth economy model that we in the environmental movement have so many problems with. And so far this growth has largely been achieved by making the car into a desirable must have consumer good and by tapping into new markets such as China most recently. Right. So how big are these guys? Well, this is I took 2019 as the last pre- pandemic year. Of course, with the pandemic, sort of volumes came down. Then we’ve had the chip salt shortage in the last couple of years, which is also affected production volumes. But as you can see, Volkswagen as a group is was the largest producer at that stage. About a third of that production and sales are in China. So they’re very dependent on China, followed by Toyota, then Renault- Nissan, then General Motors. And then in recent years, Fiat, Chrysler and Peugeot have merged to form a new group, which they call Stellantis. And that would then be number five if you combine their volumes, which is at the bottom. So there is a big place now, these are big groups, but they operate with a number of different brands, which you may or may not be fully aware of. So General Motors, we know, has many different brands, but the others also operate under many different badges, which allows them to differentiate in the market.

But underneath a lot of these cars can share a lot of commonality, particularly in the Volkswagen Group, for example. And then at the bottom, you get the independents. I mean, Tesla is in there. Tesla has a capacity of about 1.5 to 1.9 million a year at the moment. It’s been growing very rapidly in recent years. Right then, retail and distribution, once you’ve made them, you need to get them to the market and cars are typically sold through independent dealers. So the dealers are typically not owned by the manufacturer. There are exceptions to this. For example, in France, Italy, Germany and Japan, the manufacturers do own big dealers to to cover the territory. And these bigger dealers, these main dealers feed into smaller, privately owned dealers. Now, here in Cardiff, exceptionally, our local Renault dealer is directly owned by Renault in France. But that’s that’s a very unusual situation. So the dealers on the whole are not owned by the manufacturer. Many cars are shipped around the world and the little picture in the top corner is a a pure car and truck carrier. Ictsi. And it’s a typical ship used for moving cars and commercial vehicles around the world. So they are dedicated vessels, Roro, as they call them, show you.

Roll off and roll. Roll on. Roll off. So cars are driven in. They’re very tightly packed. And that’s how cars are shipped from Japan to Europe, from the US to Europe, from Europe to the US, from Korea, etc., etc… They carry between 2005 thousand cars in a row. As you can imagine, they are they’re quite flat sided and they’re not very stable. They regularly go down in those areas of various of these things full of cars, various of these ships lying at the bottom of the ocean, various places anyway. So on the whole, they don’t like shipping cars. So as long as if if a manufacturer finds there is enough demand in a particular market, they like to produce near that market rather than ship around the world because shipping from Japan to Europe takes about three weeks at least, and then you need to distribute them from the port and things like that. In addition, there is then an independent aftermarket, which is often again not owned by the manufacturers, and it supplies goods and services for vehicles in use. And I’ve got a little pie chart there that shows how that breaks down. And as you can see, the new car sale is only a relatively small part of the pie and that’s controlled by the manufacturer. Then parts the is about a quarter, but only some of that is controlled by the manufacturer.

Partly that is because the manufacturers themselves rely between 60 and 80% of the value of the car on outside suppliers. So these suppliers often can also supply straight into the aftermarket. Then there’s vehicle finance, also a large chunk, only partly involving manufacturers. Then the body Shop. Body Shop is a large chunk, mainly because it operates under very high profit margins. It’s not that everybody crashes all the time, but it’s quite a profitable area. Insurance is a big chunk and then final repair and maintenance of cars is a small chunk. So manufacturers only capture a relatively small share of the total automotive lifetime value chain. And the profit margins on new cars are typically quite low between zero and 10%, often below zero, depending on how how luxury the car is. If it’s a Porsche, it’s much higher. But typical General Motors products, they make two or £300 per per car on the haul or euros. Suppliers take 20% of that chunk. Car manufacturers, only 18%. But this again, this is to do with the fact that the suppliers supply into the manufacturers, plant dealers, only a small chunk of it, and then the rest is that large aftersales area. That’s where a lot of money is made and the manufacturers are not at the moment part of that. Right? So that’s the first very quick overview of the industry. Any questions on that?

I, just one.

Yes, go ahead. No, no, no, please, please.

Just one quick question. I didn’t really understand why you said the static demand is problematic because it’s not like there are many new competitors in the car manufacture market. So apart from Tesla internationally, I’m not aware of any developments. Or do you or is it because there’s now new car manufacturers in emerging markets trying to export or what’s what’s the problem with just producing replacement cars?

Well, the problem at the moment is really the Chinese. I mean, at the moment, Tesla is the largest manufacturer of electric vehicles, but BYD is coming up very rapidly and the Chinese are also producing models for other markets. But if you think of companies like Volkswagen in general Motors, for example, that are heavily reliant on the Chinese market, they’re gradually being squeezed out by local manufacturers. So the growth is really fighting competition all the time. So they’re all taking sales from each other and some manufacturers succumb on the way. I mean, I mentioned Saab earlier. Manufacturers do not survive because of competition. So there is a notion that was developed in the early 1990s that there is a minimum size at which you need to be able to operate, and that’s at a capacity of about 4 million a year. This was first launched, this concept first launched by fiat at the time, but has since been since been adopted by other manufacturers and they reckon that only that gives you those economies of scale. But yes, theoretically it would be possible to create a stable market where you would only have replacement demand. But that’s really not where we are at the moment.

Could I connect to this? The future perspective you’re describing or what is happening is the concentration as the only dynamics of the car industry because it is caused by the necessity to to fight and to compete for the chunks of profit. But as a matter of fact, the amount of the cars produced is due only to that, and it would be eventually possible to create, if you exclude the market from the equation, it would be absolutely possible to produce locally cars enough for the local communities. Yes. Did I get it right?

You got that very right, because we, in fact, developed an alternative business model precisely around that system. I’m not covering it today because it would go into. But yes, about 20 years ago, we we developed an alternative business model that abandons that Bud style car making and allows you to make cars in local assembly plants and. For local markets. That idea has been picked up by other people. I don’t know if you are familiar with Gordon Murray. He designed Formula One cars, but he now runs a small consultancy company. He picked up that idea. There is a company I’ll be mentioning later here in Wales that makes small hydrogen cars that it also picked up that idea. And local motors in the US also came to talk to us about that idea. And then there’s an electric van company here in this country that also picked up that we call it micro factory retailing. Mfr And it’s just beginning to be picked up by people. But yes, you are right. There is an alternative possible model.

Veronica. You have a question?

Yes, I do. I can’t. My video seems to be off, but that’s okay. Yeah, I was thinking about I would I want to read up more on this alternative model of kind of local production of cars. I was thinking about. So in the wake of the pandemic and the lockdowns, there was such a kind of palpable problem with supply chain, and it really affected the car market, which I know personally, because I had a car and I couldn’t get like a new lease car, etc… But from it seemed like in some ways it not by design, but sort of by consequence of these situations, it created all of these like local like markets for cars where people just kept like getting used cars from each other because they simply couldn’t get new ones. And, you know, in some ways, do you have a sense of whether this phenomenon that, as far as I know, was happening kind of globally, whether it gave some ideas for perhaps reproducing something like that intentionally rather than just because COVID messed up the entire commodity chain?

I think that would be an excellent idea. Yes. I mean, you’re absolutely right. At times of crisis, what happens is precisely what you point out. I mean, we’ve had the pandemic, which meant certain factories weren’t doing anything at all. Then we had the chip shortage, which is still ongoing. And what happens then is with a shortage of new cars. Prices of used cars go up, demand for used cars go goes up. So people are beginning to use more. The cars that are already in the park, which which I think is an excellent idea. But as long as we have this industry, that’s that’s that feels the need to produce very large numbers of cars to meet those economies of scale, then we’re not going to have that model. Sustainable. And this is why we identify 20, 25 years ago that overproduction as the main problem we have in the car industry and the overproduction we reckon is due to what I’ve just outlined. Is this the massive investment in making these old steel bodies. So our alternative model, the micro factory retailing system, abandons the all steel body altogether and goes for a different vehicle to.

Great. I thank you so much. I think this is a good moment to continue to the next part. If you have any questions still left, we will have more time also towards the end. So, Paul, let’s let’s talk a bit more about environmental impacts.

Right. Environmental impact. The key thing is that it’s more than just emissions, of course, but the focus has been on emissions. Now, at first when the car came in, say, around 1900, it was welcomed as a cleaner alternative to the horse. At that stage we had a horse economy which was actually relatively new that only developed in the previous 50 years or so. Now I’ve got some figures here from New York in 1900 which had 300,000 horses doing various jobs, and they left about 15,000 horse carcasses every year. They were worked very hard. The horses died. And you see this picture here, the picture on the left of the two pictures. You see some children playing by just next to a dead horse. This was not atypical of 15,000 horse carcasses. You then needed to get two horses in to drag that horse carcass away. Right. The other picture shows a street scene and you see a layer of essentially horse shit spread out all over the top of the road. And this was an accepted feature. And as you know, women had these long skirts at the time. And you can just imagine you picked up all sorts of rubbish on the way. They try to remove them in Europe, the whole shit because it’s good manure of course, and it was used in the market gardens throughout the city. But still the cleaning up costs in New York alone cost $100 Million a year.

So when the car came along, they said, finally, we can get rid of this problem, right? So it was initially welcomed as a clean alternative to the horse economy. However, this changed and I’ve got this quote by from a book, The Great Car Craze by Ashley. Brilliant. He tracks the development of the car in Southern California, which in the early days was the most heavily motorized part of the world. So here with an irony, almost too tragic to be true, the clear blue, sunny skies, which more than any other factor, have been responsible over the years for attracting people to Southern California and for making it a motorist paradise became discolored and poisoned by the waste matter emitted daily by millions of motor vehicles. Now, there are some some issues specifically around the Los Angeles Basin area which made the problem worse there. I mean. I don’t know if you’ve been there, but it’s sort of it’s in a bowl. It’s surrounded by mountains and then the sea on the other side. Also, it has oil and tar underneath it. I mean, you get oil wells within the city. So so even Native Americans already call it a place of bad air. So if you have the natural by day about a you don’t put a big city on top and then you run lots of cars in it, then you get problems.

So the emissions from an unregulated car I’ve outlined here, 97% of what comes out of an internal combustion engine car is actually nontoxic. It’s water. And on a cold day like we’ve got here today, you see steam coming out of the back of the car. That is literally just steam. Oxygen comes out. That’s not used for burning fuel. Nitrogen comes out, it’s sucked in and sent straight out. And of course, carbon dioxide, no carbon dioxide we’ll talk about in due course. But it’s of course not toxic. We breathe it out ourselves. But 3% are toxic and really very toxic. Carbon monoxide is one of them, which is a byproduct of of incomplete combustion oxides of nitrogen. Nitrogen are formed from the nitrogen that’s sucked in and then heated in the engine. So it’s not a byproduct product of the fuel. It’s just heating the nitrogen creates these oxides, that is the hydrocarbons, which are a byproduct of the fuel, unburned fuel, particulate matter, tiny bits of suit that can lodge deep into your lungs. And then there was also sulfur dioxide and sulfur dioxide. But we now have low sulfur fuel, so it’s no longer a problem. But it was certainly in the fifties and sixties that was an issue. So in response to this regulation was introduced, I’m not going to take you through all the different bits of regulation, but this is sort of a summary. The interesting thing to note here is that California, which is the at the bottom left there, actually started regulating.

Uh, to control emissions before anybody else. And its first regulation in 1963 was positive crankcase ventilation. This is a little tube that takes addition to high pressure from the crankcase, the bottom of the engine, and sends it back in through the carburettor to to to be burned in the fuel. And they thought at that time that that that would solve the problem. It didn’t. But it does mean that California was the first to regulate. It is for this reason that in the US there are two different standards of regulation as the California standard and there is the federal standard now. During the 1990s, a lot of states were saying, well, because California has its own standards, can we also have ours? And then the federal government said, no, we’ll just have two standards. You either follow federal standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington or you follow the California Air Resources Board standards. So there are no 15 other states other than California that also follow the California regulations. And that made me in New England and along the West Coast. New York is one of them. And Washington, D.C. is another one, actually. So that’s the two US standards. And the US was the first to regulate for vehicle emissions. Europe was relatively late initially it was regulated in Europe by the United Nations Economic Council for Europe, and their first measure was in 1971 and was positive crankcase ventilation.

And then when the EU took over from the nineties onwards, you get the euro one, two, three, etc. and that’s the program we’re still on. E Technology in all of this is the catalytic converter which is that picture at the bottom there, which sort of converts the toxic materials and creates exhaust fumes that are much cleaner than what goes in at the front. And that’s a relatively expensive piece of equipment, but it’s mainly the regulatory computers that regulate that, that are expensive. However, they still get stolen underneath cars. I don’t know if anybody has been victim to people like to steal them. Right. But what about CO two? I mean, we’re all talking about CO2 these days, of course, because that’s to do with climate change. Now, CO2 was largely ignored initially until about the 1990s when people started talking about it. And of course by 1997 we get the Kyoto Protocol. Now, unlike toxic emissions, which is driven by the US CO two, regulation has been driven by the European Union. And really when European negotiators excuse me, I’ll take a bit more t. Then the EU negotiators came back from Kyoto and they identified the car industry as one of the biggest problems. So to talk to the car industry and initially negotiated a voluntary agreement with RCA, the association, the constructed European automobile who represent the car manufacturers.

But eventually, I mean, I say I could not stick to the voluntary agreement because, of course, customers buy whatever they’re being offered by the manufacturers. And with competition, manufacturers sort of offered bigger and bigger vehicles and customers bought them so they couldn’t meet those requirements. So then by about 2006, 2007, the commission said, all right, you guys can’t stick to this. We’ll now regulate. So that was the first regulation in the world of of automotive greenhouse gas emissions, which has since been followed by others. I mean, China initially followed the European regulations. Exactly, but now has diverse diverged slightly from it. As you can see in the pie chart, they are passenger cars are by far the biggest problem within the transport sector and this is why regulation of the car sector is so important. When you talk to people in the car industry, they say, Oh, it’s unfair that we are so heavily regulated. What about shipping and things like that? But all you need to do is look at this pie chart and this is recent. This is 2020. Cars are still the biggest emitter within the transport field of greenhouse gas emissions. So that’s being regulated for there are other impacts as well. Of course, the car really has shaped much of our world, especially in the 20th century, especially in developed countries in terms of infrastructure, politics, social change.

The impacts include, of course, congestion, infrastructure impacts, road building. I mean, in some cities like Phoenix, Arizona, for example, more than half of the urban space is dedicated to car related infrastructure. European cities aren’t quite that bad, but I mean, that’s how bad it that’s as bad as it can get. There’s the overproduction. We’ve already discussed resource consumption. Of course, you need to dig up massive amounts of stuff to make all these cars. And then there’s the oil dependence, which has shaped our politics over the last hundred years. The reason we we are friendly with certain regimes that we might otherwise find unsavory is because we need their oil. So it has shaped the politics. Right. Sustainability, which really was the overarching arching principle, is really about considering the well of future generations in the decisions we make today. It’s not about just about cleaning up the environment or something like that. It’s really thinking about our great grandchildren. What sort of a world will they be living in and is it still worth living in? Now in Wales we have actually a well being of Future Generations Act, which means that all public sector bodies have to take future generations into account in any decisions made today. It doesn’t always work, but that’s the official requirement. But taking that approach requires a much more holistic approach to how we see the car system, then our current focus on emissions.

So that’s really the main point I wanted to make. Now, we proposed in the 1990s and apologise. I apologise for the bad quality of this slide. I just scanned that little table from one of my publications in the nineties, but it’s an approach we started to take to to capture in a more holistic way the environmental impacts of the car. We developed that further and we developed an environmental rating system of cars based on all these different criteria that was adopted by Volvo, for example, it was adopted by the province of Quebec for their car buying as well by the Environment Agency here. But I think it’s gradually petered out over the years. It also influenced the piece of Japanese legislation in the late 1990s, the pop runner system. I don’t know if you’ve heard of that, but for a while Japan geared its regulation by the best achievable technology in the market. So if if one company like Mitsubishi came up with a better technology anybody else then the standard was raised to that level which was quite interesting. But a lot of this sort of regulation seems to have petered out as the world obsesses about CO two an important issue, not minimizing it, but still. Right. So any questions on this short section? It’s it’s a very it’s skimming over the surface but still. Or answers.

So I do have two questions. The first one is about the fact that the China’s choice to go electric has influenced the whole battle between the car giants in the world. What, in your opinion, are the possible social consequences of and outcomes of this? And also is in our society a more holistic approach to mobility really possible?

You mentioned China. China is interesting. We did some work for the Chinese government in 1999 2000 through UNIDO, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization. It became quite clear that the Chinese had already decided at that stage that they could not compete with the West or with Japan or Korea on internal combustion technology, but that they could compete on battery and electric technology. So that decision was already made more than 20 years ago. So they then started to move in that direction and. Partly because of that, but also because of developments, for example, in California, again, where the the conclusion really from the California Air Resources Board was the only way we can really control emissions is by going prop zero emissions. So once that became viable, we were on the zero emissions path. Now, obviously, as you say, that will have new implications. I actually discussed to some extent some of those implications in the future scenario. So perhaps we can revisit this question at the end to see if I cover any of it. Any any other issues.

Yeah. One question or comment really about CO2 regulation in especially passenger cars. I always wonder why this is so un inventive. Like they try to regulate how much CO2 comes out of the internal combustion engine which you can’t get down to zero. And then if you want every passenger car to be electric, you run into other issues. But how about, you know, the big problem of car occupancy being 1.2, 1.3 in Germany, if I remember right. Has there any has there ever been a regulation attempt? And to deal with that like it doesn’t have to be like in Cuba. This is the only example I am aware of where there’s a rule that you there was maybe it’s not anymore, but there was a rule that you can go hitchhiking with any vehicle of government officials and they have to take you.

Yes. Well, yes, I mean, you’re absolutely right. I mean, there are different issues. First of all, why do cars need to be as big as they are and why do they need to be as inefficient as they are and why are they used? I mean, all these things have been explored. I mean, with car clubs, car sharing schemes and things like that as well, and downsizing. The only problem is the market sort of for some reason demands bigger and bigger cars. My argument with that, I mean, I’ve had a lot of these discussions with people in the car company. They always say we only make what the customer wants, but of course the customer can only buy what they’re being offered. And if you only offer them big SUVs, then that is indeed what they will buy. If you only offer them Fiat 500 and that is what they will buy. So it is a bit of a chicken and egg argument, but yes, yes, your points are very valid indeed. But I’m not going to be able to come up with a solution to.

Isn’t like carpooling, like lanes. Partially wasn’t that like sort of like a method that they try to at least increase occupancy. I remember this from growing up in the Netherlands that they had these carpool lanes and you’re only allowed in one car if you were more than one person. And they like circumstances. Traffic jams. I don’t live in the West anymore, so I don’t even know if they still exist. I don’t even know if that’s still a thing. But they have it and they have it in the US.

The US is full of them.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. In in some cases you have at least have to have at least two people. But in New York where I live, you have to have at least three people to be in the express lane.