For all the hype we hear about Tesla and the electric vehicle initiatives of western automakers, China alone accounts for one-third of global EV sales, and almost all of the vehicles are Chinese-made.
Government policy—rather than market economics—created the electric car craze there. For nearly a decade, China’s government has poured money into the EV industry, offering generous tax incentives and subsidies for car makers and consumers, building charging infrastructures across the country, and placing restrictions on the sales and use of gasoline cars.
As a result, electric vehicles have become a large part of Chinese people’s daily lives in a way that hasn’t happened in countries like the US. And there’s no better place to see that than in Shenzhen, one of China’s tech hubs in the southern part of the country.
Shenzhen is the world’s only city to have 100% electric buses. It’s also one of the first Chinese cities to set a goal to replace all gasoline-run taxis with new electric vehicles, which includes pure battery vehicles and plug-in hybrids. And that’s not a coincidence. Shenzhen is home to BYD, the world’s second largest EV maker after Tesla.
While Norway takes the top spot in terms of percentage of EV sales (where 52% of all new car sales in 2018 were either hybrids or pure electric), no one comes close to China in terms of unit volume.
Burger King’s one-cent Whopper offers a Taste of the Robocar Future
I don’t know if this is horrible or genius, but it’s definitely a prescient take on the future of location-based targeting of autonomous vehicles.
Jump forward a few years, though, to the day when computers take the wheel: Suddenly this sort of campaign becomes less gimmicky and much more pervasive.
You get a hankering for fast food, call up a robocar, and enter McDonald’s as your destination. Burger King has paid extra to reach McDonald’s-bound riders. So as the car gets going, you get this message on one of the many interior screens: Special offer! Head to Burger King right now and get a free order of Cheesy Tots™ with your order of any burger! Touch here to accept a rerouting. This will add three minutes to your trip time. You hit the button and the car takes you to the Land of Whoppers.
Wonder if Planet Fitness will be targeting you with an offer of a free ride to the gym a couple hours after you’ve downed those burgers and fries.
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