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The benefits from the car users and the taxi corporation’s point of view from having a fully self-driving car for transport are so huge that even Tesla will be in trouble if they can’t get this technology out before most others are able to do it. Once these fully autonomous cars arrive in 2020 there will be exponentially decreasing demand for cars that are not fully autonomous even if they are made by Tesla. From a production point of view for an auto-producer to make all their cars fully autonomous once the technology is developed will take very little time even for a huge car maker like VW that makes 10 million cars per year. All the components needed for autonomous driving (sensors, cables and CPUs) can be scaled for mass production in the 10s of millions in less than 2 years. Fitting censors, CPUs and cabling to existing car models may take 4 years for a mass producer like VW or GM. So when this autonomous tech hit the real world market in about 2020 it is not going to take forever to scale it to all cars made by any car maker that has the technology. Those automakers not getting this technology shortly after 2020 will therefore bankrupt as there will be no demand for their cars. This short lead-time to implement fully self-driving tech for cars is much shorter than the lead-time to go from making 10 million gassers to making 10 million long-range BEVs as the latter will require the construction of about 15 to 20 50Giga watt hour battery factories and that will take at least 10 years to build even if capital and demand is not an issue. So my conclusion is that we will see a world of driverless cars many years (at least 10 years) before we will see a world of clean, inexpensive and battery electric long-range cars. However, it is also driverless tech that will make long-range BEVs triumph over gassers in terms of usability and costs so driverless tech is clearly accelerating the time it takes for the global auto industry to go all battery electric.
Good luck with that. The law is designed to promote plug-ins that suck because that is all that will be available in that price range until Tesla launches Model 3. Fossils cars are subsidized ridiculously much because they do not pay for all the harm they do to society with air-pollution and because they are unnecessarily unsafe to drive as they lack the most fundamental accident prevention systems like auto-pilot.
@ Roger it is as if you don’t know that Tesla has already build a dense global network of supercharger stations that will be nearly everywhere by the end of 2016 and certainly everywhere by 2020 when the first autonomous vehicles will be ready for driverless transport of anything. So there are none important rural transit routes left that Tesla has not already covered or will very soon cover. Each supercharger station is typically connected to a 1.4Mwatt power line enabling up to 12 simultaneous Tesla’s to charge 120kW each or say 3 autonomous heavy duty trucks to charge at 480kw each. BYD has already sold thousands of large busses with 350kwh batteries and the 500kwh battery we need for a heavy duty truck is really no big deal either in volume or weight. We will probably use the super durable lithium titanate chemistry so expect 5000 kg for the battery pack. That is a lot but you can save a 1000 kg by not using a driver cabin and another 700 kg or so because the electric moter is less heavy than the comparable diesel and complex transmission and exhaust system. Then you also save a 200 gallons or 800kg diesel tank. So this truck that is meant to transport up to 12000 kg will weight some 2500 kg above a diesel truck. So what? Use aluminum instead of steel and we save 2500 kg. That will be more expensive but we have saved the drives salary and the high cost of diesel and the cost of making a cabin with life support. Aluminum also last longer than steel that rust. The latter is important because this driverless truck will be doing about 16*50 = 800 miles per day 350 days per year or 280,000 miles per year! Not possible with a human operated truck but it is with a driverless BEV truck.
GM I agree that long-term we need to focus exclusively on zero emission solutions. Renewable hydrogen could be used for heavy duty vehicles on a large scale if we forgo fuel cells that we do not have enough platinum on the planet to deploy on a large scale and non-platinum fuel cells are inefficient and even heavier. It could be done using standard combustion engines instead that are optimized for hydrogen combustion. However, it is still going to be electric autonomous trucks that will prevail because hydrogen is a very expensive fuel to make from renewable energy because of all the efficiency loses in the process and the expensive non-durable equipment that makes it possible. There are batteries that can be charged 10s of thousands of times before they wear out like Toshiba’s lithium titanate cells. They will be perfect for heavy duty trucks that drive 24/7 for many years before they are used up. Another cost saving factor about using an autonomous heavy duty truck is that you can skip the cost of making a driver cabin with life support altogether. Just make a large skateboard shaped truck that can carry a standard container on its top and equip it with some robotic arms at the four corners to handle plugged autonomous charging and driving sensors. If you start developing this truck today it and its driverless technology could be ready in about 5 years time. Plan B for not being ready with a fully driverless truck in 5 years is that the truck is launched as a semi-driverless truck that is capable of following a human operated truck. Of cause you keep working on the driverless tech until it is fully autonomous and then relaunch the truck as such or if possible apply an OTA upgrade to the existing fleet of semi-driverless trucks in order to make them fully autonomous.
E.c.i. you are spot on with volumetric energy density also being a show stopper for FCV. I knew that already but was surprised to discover today that gravimetric energy density is also a show stopper at least for “small” FCV below about 11000 pounds. There is one hardly auto-relevant way to increase volumetric energy density of hydrogen and that is to use super cooled liquid hydrogen in cryogenic tanks. It is not relevant for vehicles because the fuel tank boils off after a few days regardless of whether the vehicle is used or not (not very practical or efficient for non-commercial vehicles not operated 24/7). It is used for space rockets today and it might become a renewable kind of fuel for large future airplanes and large commercial ships that are operated nearly 24/7. For large airplanes to work with hydrogen they would use low weight conventional jet engines instead of heavy fuel cells and electric motors. For shipping I imagine using liquid hydrogen to operate a combined cycle power plant and then use electric engines for propulsion. GM the solution is to use a 500kwh battery or so in a fully autonomous heavy duty truck that can drive perhaps 100 miles for two hours in cold weather with up to 12 tons of cargo to the next supercharger station where it charges for an hour to drive another 2 hours and 100 mile and so forth non-stop all year round. Labor cost is not an issue as the truck is unmanned. Harvey I suspect you must be an AI bot optimized for stupidity and hilarious speculation? A real human can’t be that good at it.
GM I can assure you that all vehicle categories can be decarbonized using battery electric energy storage. Tesla is selling a large SUV called the Model X and it is one of the fines vehicles on the planet and it is a BEV. It is not small but can seat 7 large adults. Tesla does not yet make any small BEVs but they will with the upcoming Model 3. Forget about all the other automakers BEVs they are halfhearted attempts and mostly compliance cars. The real comparison is with Tesla’s BEVs and the hydrogen cars that may be offered for sale one day but never actually sell in volume. The newest version of Model S 90D is rated for 296 miles range not far from the 312 miles range of the Mirai research vehicle. Tesla will launch a 100D Model S with over 330 miles range within a year. We will see if Toyota can ever make a FCV for sale with 500kw power that can beat that. I say they can’t. Your definition of small must imply anything that weight less that 5000 kg or 11000 lb. Over that weigh FCV might be able to begin competing in terms of weight with equal range BEVs. However, self-driving vehicles that will be here before FCVs are commercially available will make that point non-important as well. Heavy duty trucks that are self-driving have plenty of hours during the week where they can charge themselves so we don’t need hydrogen here either in order to save weight.
This is Toyota’s pet project that will never sell but exists purely for green washing reasons in order to trick soft minded people into thinking that Toyota want a better world to happen. It has been claimed that hydrogen cars had low weight so I looked it up. Turns out they are far heavier than gassers and just as heavy as long range BEVs. Toyota mirai Weight 1,850 kg (4,078.6 lb) mid sized sedan. Power 113kW, 2WD. Toyota prius Weight 1,379 kg (3,040 lb) mid sized liftback. Power 100kW, 2WD. Tesla Model S Weight: 2,090 kg (4,608 lb) (70D) full size sedan. Power 386kw, 4WD. Note that Model S 70D is bigger and over 3 times as powerful as the Mirai that has nearly the same weight and only has 2 wheel traction. Imagine the weight of the Mirai with 4WD in full size with 386kW power? I bet 2700 kg or 6000 pounds! So much for the myth about low weight FCV.
I suspect this is a study that is funded by lobbyists from the oil industry and the old auto industry that are interested in talking bad about the quality long-range BEVs they don’t want to make. The study “fails to tell” that emissions from combustion engines is by far the most life-shortening emissions a car produce. The study “fails to tell” that the second most dangerous type of emissions come from braking dust that contains high levels of toxic cobber. These are emissions that BEVs have almost none of and gassers have lots of. The study “fails to tell” that the third most important kind of emission is dust created when wearing down the transmission system and moving engine parts which causes much more emissions in a gasser that has a far more complex transmission and hundreds of times more moving engine parts than battery electric vehicles. The least important kind of emissions is that of rubber and road dust created from friction between the road and the wheels. The only dangerous materials that are on the road are residual exhaust particles and braking particles already produced exclusively or primarily by the gassers not the BEVs. That should not count as particle emissions from BEVs. When all vehicles become BEVs there will be none of these particles left on the road. With regard to tire wear which is the only type of emission that BEVs may have that is higher than gassers because of more weight the problem is not analyzed properly. Is rubber dust dangerous for the environment or not and to what degree and how it is related to vehicle weight? These questions are the relevant to study. Again self-driving BEVs will be much less heavy than today’s non-fully self-driving BEVs because they can be right sized in a taxi service only sending a two seater when transport for one or two is ordered. They also share capital cost for the vehicle among many making it more profitable to make self-driving vehicles with low weight materials that cost more but can save on fuel and maintenance.
Roger hydrogen will always be at least 8 times as expensive per mile driven as battery power. It is easy to see why. You lose efficiency for electrolysis, compression and at the fuel cell. On that account alone you lose a combined 75% of the energy (0.75% = 1-0.65*0.65*0.6) so hydrogen is 4 times as expensive as battery power. However, you also need to add hilariously expensive capital cost from the electrolyzer, the hydrogen storage tank and the compressors and its pipes and security sensors all of which has low durability and need to be replaced pretty often. Add these capital costs for hydrogen for FCV and we get at least 8 times as expensive fuel per mile driven as you do with BEVs. It is game over and you should be smart enough to see that. That being said I agree we still need to make hydrogen for industrial applications like steel manufacturing, plastics and for large scale leverage of intermittencies from renewable energy. There are alternatives to hydrogen with regard to the latter. Thermal storage can also be used to store intermittent renewable energy on a large scale and it may be cheaper than hydrogen. I believe thermal and hydrogen storage will coexist to solve the intermittency of renewable energy in the most affordable manner. Renewable hydrogen may also have a future as aviation and shipping fuel. But please forget about hydrogen for FCV it is game over already.
Fuel cell vehicles are the conception of progress in the heads of conventionalists deprived of any economic reason or technological vision. FCVs do not make sense economically or technically when compared to the alternatives. They are already an enormous failure with 40 years and 10s of billions of R&D money and not a shred of a viable product to show. Aren’t gonna happen. What is gonna happen is self-driving vehicles of all sorts. All of Teslas’ cars are already driving themselves at 90% of the miles that people are driving in them. That percentage is going to reach 100% with hardware and software upgrades by 2020. At that time Tesla will log about 10 million miles per day of autonomous driving which is enough to convince many authorities around the world to allow Tesla to make a new driverless taxi service that will launch also around 2020 and expand explosively on a global scale after that. Uber will get some serious competition. Driverless BEVs of all sorts will kill the combustion engine and the non-existing full cell cars because they cost too much to drive per mile and have no advantages relative to driverless BEVs whatsoever. Private ownership of driverless BEVs will also be much like fleet operators with the wealthiest in a family buying the cars and making them available for the rest of the family using smart phones and perhaps a little reimbursement for electricity used. Privately owned driverless BEVs will therefore not log 15000 miles per year typically but rater 50,000 or 100,000 miles per year and be made for durability (1 million miles that is only possible with BEVs) just like the fleet owned driverless BEVs. The old auto industry does still not get it and they keep investing most of their resources in developing stuff that will have zero value in less than a decade. They need to focus all of their resources on driverless technology and BEVs and be satisfied with what they currently got in terms of gassers. We don’t need more efficient gassers when they can’t compete anyway with the driverless BEVs that will be here in 2020. By 2030 the market for new gassers will be completely gone and few will remember what fuel cell vehicles was all about. There will still be a large market for repairing a large fleet of old gassers. The gasser auto repair shops and manufacturing of gasser spare parts will continue until about 2045.
It is not 5% it is nearly 10% in efficiency loss. Convenience is the same weather a robotic arm connects a wire or it is done wirelessly. 200kw wireless is not coming to cars any time soon as it weight hundreds of kilos and takes up lots of space.
Connectivity is only needed for software and mapping updates and for uploading freshly made maps to datacenters from the databank of the autonomous car. All that can be done when the car is not moving. For privacy and security reasons the car’s driving related systems should not be connected when in motion. You can have a separate cell phone data connection for work etc but the car should not be connected itself. It is not needed for autonomous driving and people in general do not want it for privacy reasons.
I fear that rules of standardization will be used to block and delay the emergence of fully self-driving vehicles. Self-driving vehicles is a huge threat to the economic interest of the oil industry and the old auto industry that has invested 100s of billions of USD in factories that make combustion engines, exhaust systems and complex transmissions that will all be worthless when driverless BEVs take over because they offer much cheaper ways of transporting people and goods. It is not possible to harmonize a technology that has not been developed. Try doing it will lead to inefficient results or even block any progress. What we need is to remove current laws that are blocking the development of efficient driverless battery electric cars. There is a rule that requires a steering wheel, a braking pedal and a gas pedal in a car. That rule has no justification for a driverless car of cause. There is also a rule that cars must have a mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the front wheels of the car. That rule is not needed either for any car that has electric servo steering which most new cars have today. It just adds thousands of USD to make a car and delays new cars with better technology from being launched as early as they could otherwise be launched. The rule has to go and be replaced with a rule that requires redundant power and data connections between the steering wheel and the electric servo steering which cost peanuts by comparison to a mechanical connection and is just as safe. The same is true for the braking pedal which is also required to have a mechanical relation to the brakes. It has to go and be replaced with a redundancy rule for its power and data connection. Another idiotic rule made for a non-digital era is the rule that requires cars to have side mirrors that creates air drags and increases fuel consumption significantly. The world could save between 100,000 to 300,000 barrels of oil per day by replacing side mirrors with video streaming that of cause also needs redundancy. With video streaming a much better view of the cars surroundings is possible than with side mirrors so it will save lives as well to get rid of the side mirror law. The authorities need to get their act together and start to do something about making our cars safer from accidents and air pollution both of which cause death on a massive scale all over the world. In the US alone 30,000 dies each year in car accidents and 55,000 dies each year prematurely because of air-pollution from gasser and diesel vehicles.
So with 128 million ton of minable lithium carbonate in Argentina we could make the batteries needed for 2,560 million cars with a 100kwh battery in each car (100kwh requires 50kg of lithium carbonate so 20 cars per ton of lithium carbonate and 20*128=2560 million cars). There are about 1,500 million vehicles globally so Argentina alone already has all the lithium the world needs.
One ton of lithium carbonate is enough to make 2000 kwh of lithium batteries that will cost at least 200,000 USD assuming a very low battery price of 100 USD per kwh. So a price of 7,000 USD for a ton of lithium carbonate is not going to make lithium batteries expensive. Lithium prices could easily double once more and still not be a problem for battery producers like Tesla. It is a good thing that lithium has increased in price because that leads to more production and investment in new production capacity for lithium carbonate which is needed. Eventually argentines lithium brine will be mined up and other sources of lithium will evolve. The most promising is to make lithium from salt from desalination facilities. Such production does not exist today but there are endless amounts of lithium in salt from seawater so it is not a resource that will ever run out like oil will. And any country with access to seawater can make it. Moreover, lithium can be recycled so the same lithium can continue to power the same stock of vehicles forever. Not so with oil and gas.
Tesla has already solved this problem. You can drive a Tesla car in manual mode or autopilot mode. Tesla is nearly logging 1 million miles per day in nearly 100k Teslas that are driving everyday in autopilot mode. That is about 10 miles per Tesla per day in autopilot mode. For reference Tesla is also logging the miles driven per day in manual mode. By 2020 Tesla will have at least 1 million Teslas on the road that logs about 10 million miles per day in autopilot mode or 3.6 billion miles per year in autopilot mode. Tesla again is the only automaker in the world with this system for logging accidents for both manual and autopilot miles driven. By 2020 Tesla has (as the only car maker in the world) all the statistical documentation they need to prove beyond any doubt that their cars are safer in autopilot mode than in manual mode. By 2020 Tesl’s cars can also do 100% of all roads in autopilot mode. Today it is more like 90%. This study has some valid and important points about proving the safety of autopilot versus manual driving. However, we do not need to make the actual statistics for fatalities that are pretty rare per mile driven although in the US about 30,000 lives are still lost in traffic accidents per year because of an incredible high number of miles are driven. As can also be seen from the numbers in the table we only need about 65 million miles to prove without any doubt that autonomous driving is more secure than manual driving with regard to car crashes of any kind. Tesla can make such a statistics in just 7 days in 2020! The point is if you can demonstrate that autopilot diminishes car crashes significantly relative to manual driving then you also know that there will be fewer deaths (“down the road”) even though we need to drive many more miles to get a high number of actual deaths for making that statistics. In other words, you can make a reasonably certain prediction that there will be much fewer deaths if you can just prove that autopilot will result in much fewer accidents of any kind. That relation is strongly and positively correlated of cause. The correlation coefficient is probably over 0.9. In due time that will also be proven to be true.
Range extended BEVs cost just as much to make as long-range BEVs but pure BEVs are better cars because they have more storage, more power, better handling and can be charged at home. Mass market ownership of sub 35k USD cars will be replaced by an even more affordable mass market for driverless BEV taxis where you can get any type of car with any range you need whenever you need it. The commercialization of these services will start in 2020 at the latest and experience explosive growth thereafter because they money is so good both from the view of taxi customers and taxi fleet owners. PHEVs will not be the most cost effective driverless taxis so they are not going to be part of the future as I see it.
Harvey. It is not a prediction only a thought to provoke some action to set priorities right (like focusing on autonomous BEVs) in an almost sleeping industry that has not seen disruptive change for 50 years or so. I don’t believe in anything growing at 50% for nine straight years. The growth will slow because it takes time to educate and hire people with new skill-sets like high voltage engineers and electricians. You also need a lot of new capital to build the necessary factories. 20 million autonomous BEVs will require 40 times Tesla’s capacity in 2020 when they are at full speed at the 50GWh Nevada battery factory and their Fremont assembly plant. Each 500,000 unit capacity will require about 10 billion USD in investment so about 400 billion USD need to be invested. That is still only what was spent in 2 years in Iraq and Afghanistan but anyway. However, I do predict that a constellation of Tesla, Apple and Google can do 20 million autonomous BEVs per year by 2030 without help from any of the old automakers. But I hope there is still life at the old automakers and they will also be part of the game. Their intellectual property with regard to combustion engines is becoming worthless shortly after 2020 and they will all have to make some hard choices to focus their resources on growth areas instead of unsustainable technologies like the gas engine.
In 2015 the global auto industry made about 500,000 plugins. This auto segment has hitherto grown by 50% per year. When fully self-driving cars are a reality in about 2020 the demand for BEVs will become extremely strong because of its cost savings mainly by sharing cars so that they drive 100,000 miles per year and last for 1,000,000 miles or at least 5 times as much as any gasser. The world will therefore need about 20 million self-driving BEVs to replace an annual production of about 100 million non-self-driving gassers. How fast could we get to 20 million self-driving BEVs per year in order to eliminate the need to produce gassers? It turns out we only need 9 years or until 2024 assuming 50% growth per year. 19,221,680=500,000*1.5^9. So Yes I believe self-driving BEVs will be very disruptive and become the biggest industrial revolution man has ever seen. It will be fast and affects 10s of millions of jobs globally in the oil industry, in the auto industry and in the steel industry because cars will not be made of steel when durability and low weight is of essence.
This is another potential cost saving from autonomous cars. When all vehicles are autonomous we will not need street lights nor will cars need to have lights themselves apart from navigation lights signaling to other vehicles their intended drive. Of cause that light may not need to be visible to the human eye either. Other savings. No cost of adding steering wheel, gas pedal and brake pedal. Then there is the cost savings from people being able to spend their time on work or pleasure when they drive. The cost savings from sharing of autonomous taxis between many more people getting 100k miles on a car per year instead of less than 15k miles as in private ownership. Then there is the cost savings from making extremely durable BEVs that can last 1,000,000 miles without repair of the drive train or battery and by using aviation grade aluminum and carbon fiber that also can last a 1,000,000 miles without repair absent the extremely unlikely event of an accident. I watched mobileyes CEES presentation again yesterday and this time I took note that mobileyes say they will begin selling a suite of 360 degree sensors in 2017 that will have everything you need to make a fully autonomous car provided you can get the software done. They expect cars to get this hardware in 2017 and subsequent software updates should enable them to become fully autonomous on all roads. Tesla is buying most of its autopilot sensors from mobileeye and I am convinced that Tesla will start to produce Model S and X with these sensors by 2017 and also be in time to have the Model 3 come with this hardware. After two more years of software updates all of Tesla’s cars could be fully autonomous from model year 2017 and forward. And Tesla will have endless demand to support them in building new factories all over the planet.
@ Davemart it may not be a serious problem until 2020 but after that time it will be a huge problem to find certified high voltage engineers and electricians. The auto industry is the largest industry in the world employing more people than other industries and it is going all high voltage with almost 50% growth per year for electric vehicles. We need to start increasing the number of students for the required fields to be better prepared for that labor supply problem that will otherwise arise and slow down the growth of electric vehicles.
Davemart the BEVs that Tesla are making will all be fully autonomous by 2020 give or take 2 years. You don’t need to charge them. The cars will charge themselves. If you own a Tesla in the city and does not have a parking space or a charger near you the car can pick you or your relatives up whenever you need and park and charge itself at another location. Self-driving ability for BEVs will be the final nail in the hydrogen car fantasy. Not only will hydrogen cars cost more in all regards than BEVs they will also not have any practical advantages over BEVs that are fully autonomous. Note that I am not personal or opinionated about this. My reasoning is based on rational thinking and I think that people that believe in a future for FCV or gassers do it for entirely emotional reasons.
Yes, Tesla also has a policy of prioritizing deliveries of Model 3 to Tesla employees first and foremost and second to prioritizing current Tesla owners and third to prioritizing preorders in geographic proximity to California. After that they look at the order in the preorder list with a priority to people who ordered by lining up in front of Tesla stores of cause. This all makes sense to maximize Tesla loyalty for employees and customers and to minimize cost of making and delivering the Model 3. I am wandering where Tesla will build their second Giga factory and car factory. It is going to be Europe and for these facilities to start op by 2021 they need to make the early investigations today. Tesla now knows they will have demand for much more that 500,000 cars per year by 2020 especially if they all come with an option that can make them fully autonomous. That will guarantee far greater demand than Tesla can possibly supply even if they could make 10 million BEVs per year.
So the average selling price is estimated to be 43,000 USD by Tesla. Assuming 50% sells for 35,000 USD the other 50% will have to sell for an average price of 51,000 USD. We know the 35,000 USD is the Model 3 with RWD and 215 miles range. We also know a duel-engine 4WD option will be available. That option cost 5k on Model S so it is probably going to be 4,000 USD for Model 3. But that is only 39,000 USD for a 4WD Model 3. A 10,000 USD battery upgrade to 90kwh and over 300 miles of range is almost certain or it would not be possible to get close enough to the 51,000 USD for the 50% of the cars that has that average selling price. Then there will be the ludicrous speed option probably costing 7000 USD making the Model 3 into a zero to 60 in less than 3 sec. That Model will cost about 35+4+10+7=56 USD. Then there will be the autopilot option. It could be 3,000 USD. Audio upgrade for 1,500 USD, Leather seats and premium panels for 2,500 USD, Extra panoramic roof for 1000 USD (small 2 foot area in roof not already in class), larger better looking tires 2,000 USD and a trailer hook for 1000 USD and winter package for 1000 USD. So a maximum loaded model 3 would be 56+3+1.5+2.5+1+2+1+1= 68,000 USD. The genius of Tesla is that they are the only BEV maker in the world with a strategy that says we will only make a BEV if we can do it in a way that makes a better car than a similar priced gasser in the same segment. They have done that with their 70k USD + Model S and their 80k USD + Model X. Now they will do it with a 35k USD + Model 3 that hopefully will start shipping by Christmas 2017. All the producers of 35k+ gassers in the compact sedan segment must be quite shaken. They know their business is about to die out if they can’t match Tesla’s offer and they can’t unless they start making BEVs.
It is far from solved in the EU. It is much worse than in the US but the European auto industry has so much power over politic in EU that nothing is done to fix the massive emission problems that diesel cars both new and old causes in Europe. The car industry has "solved" by getting away with polluting even more because the EU legislation is so sloppy and there is no effective controls in EU that detect emission violations by used cars. We can't go all BEV by 2025 I agree but we should tighten the emission legislation up a lot for those gassers and diesels that are out there and still being produced.