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The unknown factor of a transition without rules

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More software and less hardware for the car. This could be the slogan of 2022, a year that is opening, from the automotive point of view under many unknowns and among these the chip shortage dominates, the shortage of semiconductors that disconnects demand from supply, making the market lose market share. has reduced its volumes by almost a quarter while prices rise on the boost of a product that is not available except in the expensive electric and hybrid variants. In fact, in the era of the technological automobile, small cars are disappearing, cars for everyone, those that enable the mobility of those who work and live. And this is certainly not good for the democratization of the car which, far from becoming a smartphone (it is an infinitely more complex object) accessible to all, risks becoming a good for the few who can (right now) afford electricity. or the plug-in hybrid. For the others, perhaps, the “fabulous” cities will be reserved for 15 minutes and gentle mobility, on foot or by bike or scooter, perhaps in the rain.

The survival of the car is therefore at risk. Its existence as an instrument of unlimited freedom and maximum individual mobility is threatened by a transversal anti-car party that has shown that it does not want a just and sustainable energy transition towards electricity (or other solutions) but to aim for the eviction of cars from the streets. And not only of the thermal ones but also, in the future, of the electric ones. In this sense, both the traffic calming initiatives in all the cities and the declarations of representatives of the Italian and European local administrations are eloquent. Just as the new regulations in France that limit the advertising of cars and equate it to that of cigarettes are emblematic.

In short, there is someone who does not only want the evolution of the car but its elimination. Meanwhile, the car evolves and new players appear and they are Chinese. No, we are not talking about Geely or Saic but about smartphone and device manufacturers such as Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi. And this landing is certainly one of the most interesting phenomena of the next few years because these brands must demonstrate that they have an image and appeal. In the world of smartphones, the fortunes of a manufacturer are played out in a few months (think of Huawei demolished by the US ban on software) or in a few years. In the automotive industry, it’s different: it takes decades to build reputation and respect. This at least in the era of the thermal car, in that of the electric one the rules are all to be written. Perhaps. Meanwhile, in this race towards the electric in forced stages, with limited infrastructures and thunderous announcements to stop the production of thermals, customers are increasingly confused and inevitably waiting.

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