Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Andy Grove - Intel Maven and 1997 Man of the Year may have made his finest commentary yet - A New Vision for Cars

(Andy Grove, image:

Speaking across a flurry of forums (magazines, conferences, interviews, etc.), Grove's message is simple and compelling....AND tailored to LM. He is touting the shift to electric cars in this country, but perhaps even more appropriately is his forecast of the method of adoption....

This passage from the Associated Press 7/1/08 and a talk reiterated at Stanford Graduate School of Business just yesterday, both make a clear statement of his bias.

Grove says the fledgling plug-in hybrid movement offers parallels to the Homebrew Computer Club from the mid-1970s that helped electronic hobbyists in Northern California set the stage for personal computers. Plug-in hybrid conversion shops could spread the technology in similar ways.

"The personal computer ... went to individuals first before it went to corporations. The conversion goes to individuals," Grove said. "Electric cars ... the corporations are sitting, wishing this whole friggin' thing to go away. Which is exactly what the computer companies' attitude was to personal computers."

Unfortunately on the opposite side, the intransigence perpetuates. Listen to the big auto industry's attempt to coopt this revolution.

Automakers have urged the government to provide more consumer tax incentives and research aid to develop advanced batteries, but they have questioned efforts to retrofit the vehicles.

Any changes to the engine would void the warranty, and the alterations could undermine the vehicle's reliability and safety functions, automakers say.

"We strongly discourage consumers from retrofitting vehicles," said GM spokesman Greg Martin.

Who will win? the homebrew car modifier who doesn't take no for an answer? or the big company who only gives no for an answer? I am most tempted to trust the mind that brought us Intel.


Unknown said...

Hey there,

Fantastic post on a true visionary with a wonderful vision.

As the industry currently stands (artificial inflation caused by C4C etc.), we're witnessing a massive over supply of product in a saturated market.

Surely, if governments had enough foresight, they would see that the most sustainable long-term option would be to, as you say, retrofit the existing vehicle fleet.

Sadly, it seems, foresight is the one thing our governments lack on this particular issue.

I've written a couple of posts around this topic at my blog:

It's be great to have your thoughts on them!



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